MAGAZINE: The average British holidaymaker - how we love to spend our summers

From Shirley Valentine to the Inbetweeners to Benidorm... the classic summer holiday for Brits abroad has been parodied on the big and small screen for decades, and while they may be a bit far-fetched, some of the comedy capers and clichés still ring true for many of us.
Brits abroadBrits abroad
Brits abroad

A light-hearted look at the typical Brit’s summer holiday, thanks to a poll released today by Nationwide FlexPlus, shows millions of us still enjoy a package holiday, love to fly and flop, stick to holiday rituals such as a beer in the airport bar before take-off, still struggle with the local lingo, get so burnt we can’t leave the hotel room for days and take the risk of holidaying without travel insurance.

Where we like to go and who with

While city breaks and beach hotels are the most popular types of holidays for Brits these days, more than a third of us still love nothing better than the good old all-inclusive package holiday deal. More than two thirds of us have done the big family holiday – taking grandparents, aunties, uncles, kids, and grandkids abroad and a third of us intend to do so this summer.

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Three quarters say these ‘multi-generational’ holidays are becoming more appealing than ever as it’s a chance to get the whole family together. However more than 70 per cent say it’s a good chance to be able to sneak off while the grandparents look after the kids.

Preparation – from packing to panicking at the airport

One in 14 are so eager for their holidays, they start packing a fortnight before they’re even due to leave, while a quarter start packing at least a week before. And we’re a nation of over-packers, with the average holiday-maker taking six pairs of socks, seven t-shirts, four shorts, two swimsuits, eight pants/boxers, two pairs of sandals, two towels, one pair of sunglasses, one hat, two pairs of trainers/shoes, one jumper, one bottle of insect repellent and two bottles of sun cream for a seven-day holiday.

Almost 30 percent of us like to take something that reminds us of home when travelling abroad – around one in ten take tea bags, more than one in 20 take a family photo, and the same number a teddy bear. Slightly less take a photo of their pet or their own pillow case or pillow. A small number of people even take spreads, sauces and preserves to remind them of home.

In fact, before landing overseas, Brits have already spent an average of £139.26 on pre-holiday items. But many of us still go into a mad panic of having forgotten something when we get to the airport, with more than half of us having had to make a dash for toiletries and more than a third having to get local currency last minute. One in five of us though always have time for that holiday drink in the airport bar before we jet off – a great British holiday tradition.

What we like to do when we get there

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While many of us love to explore the cultural and natural side of a destination – the ‘fly and flop’ holiday is still king for millions of us, with almost 40% admitting to flopping by the pool or the beach all day when on holiday and one in five admitting to not moving an inch for most of the time. And for a third of us, there’s nothing better to finish off the day than to watch the hotel ‘entertainment’ with more than one in ten having embarrassed ourselves as well as our kids and family by joining in.

More than one in 20 admit to having a bit of ‘couple time’ by sending their kids to the kids’ club, initially for the day, often leading to most of the holiday. For singletons the summer holiday is also the perfect time for a holiday romance – almost a third of us have had one and one in 20 even say they married their holiday fling.

When it comes to money, Brits spend an average of 10% of their annual salary on holidays every year and when on holiday have a carefree attitude to spending with a third saying their attitude is: “I’m on holiday, I’ll worry about money later”. While a third put most of their holiday spending on the credit card, the average person spends around £40 a day on holiday.

Sangria and Sunburn

But it’s not all fun and games with plenty of things that can go wrong. More than one in ten have had a classic ‘language gaffe’ moment, a similar number admit to having got so lost when they have left the hotel that they’ve not got back to their hotel until after dark, while slightly less have got so sun burnt they haven’t been able to leave their hotel room.

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Almost one in five of us have also lost luggage before we’ve even got to our destination, with some saying they have had to wear the same clothes throughout their holiday, some having to borrow off their friends and others having to wash their clothes in the bathroom sink every night.

And while mishaps regularly happen to us, a surprising one in 12 admit they never bother with travel insurance regardless of where they are travelling to, while more than 30% wouldn’t bother buying travel insurance if they were travelling to a typical summer holiday destination in Western Europe and around four in five Brits would not take out travel insurance for a UK holiday.

The Simpsons, the Mitchell’s or the Harpers?

Finally, when asked which fictional family they believe their own family most resembles on holiday, the Simpsons topped the list, followed by the Harpers (My Family) and the Dunphys (Modern Family).

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