Brits Abroad – Great Race or Disgrace?

Published: Mon Jul 25 2005

A major new survey into the actions and attitudes of British holidaymakers has revealed that nearly 98% of us agree that, as a nation, we let ourselves down when we go abroad.

The survey for car hire specialist, questioned nearly 2,000 parents about holiday activities as part of the company’s Family Active campaign, designed to encourage families to get out and about more over the school summer holidays.

Over 91% of respondents believe that drunken behaviour in the resort or on the plane is the main way British holidaymakers let themselves down, with the female response slightly stronger at 92%, compared to men at 89%. In terms of a regional split Wales had the strongest views on drunken behaviour with 95%, followed closely by London (94%), while the South West was the most tolerant but still had nearly 89% of respondents highlighting drunken behaviour as an issue.

David Beckham did a great job in Singapore, yet only a few months ago he was being criticised for failing to learn Spanish. The views of his bosses are supported by over 60% of British parents who stated that not trying to speak the local language was second in the main ways we let ourselves down. People in the South West see this as the biggest problem with nearly 70% of them believing we should make more of an effort to communicate in the local language.

Third in the research, with over 60% of respondents, are public sexual antics. Again, the South West feels most strongly about this with over 68% selecting it, followed by Yorkshire at 67.5% and Scotland at nearly 66%. The East of England is most tolerant of public sexual activity, with 54.5 % highlighting it as an issue.

Badly behaved children and a failure to explore beyond the tourist resort came a close fourth and fifth in the survey, with 54% and 53% respectively.

Regionally it’s Londoners who are the strongest believers that we let ourselves down while on holiday (over 99%), while the Geordies are the most tolerant.

The two sexes also reveal differing concerns. Women are more concerned than men about public sexual antics, getting sunburnt, the clothes we choose to wear and fighting over sunbeds. Men are more concerned than women about not trying to speak the local language, badly behaved children, playing loud music on the beach, and ordering English food in restaurants.

In terms of age, the 35-44 age group shows the most concern for holidaying Brits (nearly 99%) with one of their biggest qualms, compared to the other age groups, the fact that we continue to order the traditional full English breakfast and pie and mash while looking out over the Med (49%).

The 25 – 34 age group is the most relaxed about our public sexual antics (51%), compared to nearly 60% of 16 – 24 year olds who highlighted this as a concern and the highest the 45 – 54 year olds with 65%. The 55+ age group highlighted badly behaved children as one of their major concerns (66%), compared to just over 28% of 16 – 24 year olds.

Andrew Stevens, managing director of, said: "The results of the survey reflect a growing concern about the attitudes and behaviour of British holidaymakers. There is a definite feeling that we let ourselves down in a holiday environment where only friends or relatives know us, acting in ways we wouldn’t dream of doing back home. Carrentals hopes the survey will highlight this issue and how our holiday behaviour impacts on others, including our own friends and families."

· 97.6% agree that Brits let ourselves down when on holiday abroad

· Top 10 Ways we disgrace ourselves on holiday…

1 - Drunken Behaviour on the plane or in resort
2 - Not trying to speak the local language
3 – Public sexual antics
4 – Badly Behaved Children
5 - Failing to explore beyond the resort
6 – Getting Sunburnt
7 – Playing Loud Music on the Beach
8 – Ordering English food in restaurants
9 – The clothes we choose to wear – eg thongs on beach
10 – Fighting over sun beds

· London is the region most concerned at Brits behaviour abroad

· The East of England is the most tolerant about Public Sexual Activity

· The South West is the most tolerant region on drunken behaviour

· Yorkshire is the region most concerned about Brits fighting over sun beds


Editor’s Note
For more information on the Family Active campaign visit

Launched in February 2003 online car hire specialist offers low-cost car rental in over 4,000 destinations around the world. Through agreements with major companies such as Hertz and Europcar, carrentals provides customers with high quality car hire at great value prices.

Designed to make booking car hire easy, the site offers a wide choice of vehicles all booked in three simple steps online. Bookings are confirmed by e-mail or by SMS direct to a mobile phone.

The site also features over 6,000 links to useful tourist information sites, plus over 2,700 pages of travel information in a mini-guide format.

To book or for further information visit or call 0845 225 0845

For further information contact –
Rachel Builder or Helena Szehidewicz
Context /
Tel: 01625 511966
Fax: 01625 511967
Contact Name: Helena Szehidewicz
Contact Email:
Contact Phone: 01625 507 205

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