Friday, 14 December 2012

An idiot abroad? Is there a Karl Pilkington lurking inside us…?

Well yes, one third of us to be precise; that’s if we are to look at the results of a recent study from which claims that as many as a third of Brits can draw comparisons between themselves and TV grump, Karl Pilkington whilst on holiday abroad.

Something that really seems to stand out in these types of surveys is the apparent level of stress that a holiday overseas can bring for many people.  Surely a holiday is supposed to evoke thoughts of basking in a tropical paradise, embarking on a cultural adventure, or the lure of carefree relaxation which is a welcome change to the pressures and realities of everyday life? And yet, more than a third of UK holidaymakers said they found a day’s sightseeing to be stressful.  Surely not?

But maybe there is more to it than that.  Perhaps these levels of stress are linked to other factors associated with holidaying abroad.  Interestingly, the survey also found that people were concerned about other aspects of travel, such as organising public transport in a foreign language – it found that this in particular could drive stress levels through the roof!  It’s also another reason why many people invest in hiring a car on holiday in an attempt to avoid this issue altogether (despite the possibility that using local public transport could be much cheaper or a better option).

Of course, if you’re worried about the language barrier anyway, hiring a car isn’t going to solve that problem.  What if you get lost?  What if the car breaks down and you need to contact the appropriate emergency service?  What if you have an accident in the vehicle and need to communicate with a local?  The recent survey by Ford (discussed in our previous blog) sheds even more light on the number of people who wouldn’t be able to make an emergency call in a foreign language. So it seems that having the capability to communicate in another language as and when the need arises, would be invaluable in reducing stress levels for many people.

Sadly, the assumption is that new environments and cultures are more suited to the seasoned traveller (and the language barrier probably has a lot to do with this) – but for everyday Brits, these less–frequent overseas trips can cause stress and anxiety.  Holidays should be fun, exciting and stress-free, particularly as most people only get one or two weeks holiday off work per year; it’s precious time that shouldn’t be fraught with panic and worry.

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