We like to think we’re the masters of stereotypes – we’ll never drop the cliché of the Germans reserving their poolside spots with towels at the crack of dawn and we’ll forever chuckle at the groups of Japanese tourists’ trademark photo poses. But as a nation, we typically don’t have the greatest of reputations as holidaymakers either. In fact, the stereotype of Brits abroad is perhaps the least flattering of all… But just what is it that makes us stand out a mile off?
1. Failing miserably at the local language
Who are we kidding? We Brits simply aren’t the most linguistically competent of nations. Sure, we may have GCSE French tucked under our belt and we can tentatively throw out the odd “gracias” and the occasional “parlay voo onglay”, but when it comes to ordering anything more complex than a baguette, we tend to fall back on the old point and nod trick. Failing that, we can always just slow down our English, speak more loudly than necessary and over-enunciate everything.
2. Going hard or going home
We’re certainly not the only nation out there known for our heavy boozing, but we are somehow highly skilled at taking drinking to a far more outrageous and uncontrollable level. Each weekend groups of loutish students on society trips and rowdy stags and hens descend on the likes of poor old Prague and Budapest in an ensemble of matching tour t-shirts and fancy dress to give the local nightlife a run for its money.
3. Showing plenty of skin
The prospect of layers are somehow incongruous with our ideal of a holiday; exposed flesh is much more our thing. So, guys, don your wife-beaters and linen shorts, and girls, you’ll need a pair of tiny hot pants and River Island flip flops – skin is in.
4. Getting a “tan”
We tentatively apply a thin coating of sun cream, sit back and bask in the 30 degree sun for the rest of the afternoon. Maybe we give ourselves a break from the sun with a swim every once in a while. Re-application doesn’t really seem too necessary though, you gotta soak up as many of those precious rays as possible, all the more urgently if you’re just on holiday for a couple of days. Inevitably we have atrocious tan lines and a peeling nose, but it’s worth it the moment we return home and get that compliment on just how brown we’re looking.
5. Photographing every moment of the trip
It’s essential that we document our trip excessively, a heavy focus of which is photos of friends passed out in various locations, propped up by their backpack in the airport waiting room or slumped across the cocktail bar. One click-happy person will make this their mission, and will stay armed with a camera for the entirety of the holiday. The instant they get home, they’ll upload all 857 photos to Facebook – and no, not one photo will be filtered out!
6. Complaining about everything
It’s overcast on our beach holiday, we’re too hot in the midday Egyptian sun, the customer service isn’t up to standard, the guy selling kebabs doesn’t speak flawless English, the bar’s too smoky, the beer’s more expensive than your local pub… Whatever it may be, no fear, we’ll manage to find something to whinge about.
7. Shunning the local cuisine
We are particularly untrusting of foreign food, especially when we can’t even pronounce its name. The best way to minimise disappointment? Stick to what we know! BBC News reckons that a whopping 50% of Brits snub local delicacies in favour of good old fish and chips and English breakfasts. And even then we’ll moan that the tomato ketchup just isn’t as good as Heinz…
8. Stocking up on tat
Caution with money usually goes out the window the minute we step foot on foreign soil – bills are a distant worry, we’re in holiday mode now. So why not live a little and splash out on those duty-free cigarettes or that banana boat ride? And of course, no holiday would be complete without a tacky souvenir to take home, an Eiffel Tower keyring or I Love NY t-shirt should do the job.
9. Generally disturbing the peace
We like to think we’re more culturally malleable than our friends the Americans, but we tend to stick out like a sore thumb when we’re holidaying. It happens all too often that you’re enjoying some nice down-time in a charming Alpine hut after a full morning’s skiing or you’re strolling down a quaint sidestreet in Krakow, when suddenly you hear a bellowing, “Oi, Steve, get us a beer, mate!”
10. But not forgetting our manners
From the brash young Brits to the other end of the spectrum is another classic stereotype that we manage to live up to even when we go abroad: extreme over-the-top politeness. We may be loud, drunken and sunburnt, but we do remember our “please” and “thank you”s.