Thursday, 25 July 2013

Creature Comforts Abroad – good, bad or plain ugly?

We were interested to read an article this week in The Independent, which suggested that British holidaymakers should not expect their home comforts when holidaying abroad and that they need to drastically rethink their mind set.  Equally, the article suggested that foreign tourism boards also need to stop catering to people who simply refuse to step outside of their comfort zone.

The reality is, many British travellers are guilty of this syndrome.  It’s the fear of the unknown; anything different puts the fear of god into many of us.  It’s probably the reason why countries like Spain and France are still amongst the most popular holiday destinations with Brits.  As long as we’re just hopping over the channel and not going too far afield, we can rest safe in the knowledge that if we want to eat a good old ‘English breakfast’ or indulge in the safety of foods and brands we recognise, we can (not to mention talk to the locals, because hopefully most of them will speak English).  It’s all about home comforts, feeling safe and secure.  But that goes against everything that foreign travel is supposed to be about.  It should be about exploration, adventure, new experiences and diverse cultures.

Instead of worrying about whether somewhere will be different to our own country we should be embracing this.  Trying to fit in with the local environment wherever you travel is a key element of travelling.  So too, is the exposure to new ideas, greater perspective and a desire to challenge the way you normally think.

So why are the great British public so keen to take their own culture with them when they go on holiday abroad?  As the article goes on to mention, holidaying in popular ex-pat destinations like Spain has become increasingly like visiting a sunnier Britain with no need to utter a word of Spanish.  Probably true.  Will it change? I doubt it.

On that note, we’ll leave you with the thoughts of Telegraph journalist Jem Collins:

“If your cultural values are so rigid you refuse to accept anything other than Earl Grey and fish & chips perhaps you should rethink your choice of holiday destination. I’ve heard that Devon is quite British…”

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