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Bickering and bust ups abroad

July 27, 2012
by Laura Canning | industry news

A properly packed suitcase We’ve heard this week how camping is less stressful than going abroad , which anyone with an ounce of sense could have told you anyway. But now it seems that as well as struggling with passport control, giant foreign winged beasties and having to pay to get jabbed in the arm with a vaccination needle, foreign holidays are the death knell to many relationships too.

A recent survey by an online travel agency found that over three quarters of couples have at least two major bust ups on a two week holiday abroad, usually on the beach or by the poolside. And not in the bar or by the pool table, which we would have thought had much more potential for relationship-y conflict. (Different pool rules in different countries + exotic cocktails = much disharmony.)

The survey also listed the ten most common causes of fights between couples on holidays abroad, which just proves to us all the more that you should stay in the UK instead. It’s surely better than rowing over these:

Men checking out other women by the pool/on the beach : Ah, this is why most of the rows happen at the poolside or on the beach. We are assured by our coupled-up friends, as well as our indignant male friends, both that this does happen and that it doesn’t mean anything. We’re not so sure about the veracity of that latter statement, but would like to offer two pieces of advice for those utterly compelled to look: it should be like looking at the sun (quick split-second glance and then look elsewhere), and sunglasses are not magic: we can still see you looking through them.

Disagreements over activities : men wanting to be active, women wanting to lie on a sun lounger: Well, it’s a holiday. Of course you’re going to want to lie on a sun lounger. Sheesh. That said, a holiday in the UK should sidestep this nicely, both because there are thousands of things to see and do that’ll rouse even the most lazy, and because Britain doesn’t have a sun lounger culture even when the weather’s good. But if you want to avoid any rows, booking into one of our top holiday parks should keep everyone happy, including the kids.

Where to eat and choice of food : We’re assuming this means that one half of the couple wants to daintily try the local cuisine, while the other half wants to find the nearest English café and have a full fry-up. Both approaches have their merits, but we can see that it could cause conflict. If you’re unlucky enough not to have a partner who shares your choices for every meal (rare steak), make a pact to sample some of the best British cuisine together instead, from cream teas in Devon to wild salmon in Scotland. There are dozens of food festivals around the country throughout the year, such as the Brighton and Hove Food and Drink Festival or the York Food Festival in September – just type ‘food’ into our festival finder to find all foodie events coming up and where to stay nearby.

Drinking too much : Well. Yes. We can’t suggest anything here. Moving swiftly on…

Arguments over driving in a foreign country : While back seat drivers and angrily clenching the steering wheel so tightly that your knuckles turn white are both universal things, we have to say that driving is much easier in the UK. You understand the signs, you can ask for directions (if allowed), and everything is within relatively easy reach. If you don’t want to drive for more than an hour or so to get to your site, we have plenty of camping and caravanning options within 40 miles of a major city .

Happy campers Disagreements over spending too much money : This can also happen anywhere, but in our experience is worse when abroad, when you have no idea until you get there if you’re in a normal resort or a ‘let’s fleece all the tourists’ one. There’s also the notion, sadly much too easily subscribed to, that you’ve spent so much money on flights and hotels that you’re jolly well going to have a good time now that you’re here, by golly. Stay in the UK instead and save the pennies by checking out our special offers , or by going to one of our many budget sites .

Disagreements over currency and what the equivalent in sterling is : See above. We’re in a time of austerity, as all those millionaires in the cabinet keep telling us, but at least in Blighty you can figure out the cost of a pint of milk.

Arguments over packing : men packing too little, women too much : Pfffft. Of course you need to make sure you pack for every eventuality, from walking on the beach to going clubbing all night – with matching shoes for each one. And you need to do this more when going abroad, as you’ll likely have never been to your destination before and have no idea whether ‘dressing for dinner’ means a cocktail dress or your manky tracksuit. But if you stay in the UK, you can wear what you normally do anyway, without having to struggle with assembling that thing known as a ‘capsule wardrobe’.

What time to get to the airport : Never a problem with a local holiday, and no passports, security or standing in your socks while your toothpaste is binned for being slightly over the regulation 100ml. Even if you disagree about the driving time to Cornwall, no-one is going to be particularly bothered if you turn up at your campsite or park an hour later than you planned.

Women taking too long to get ready for dinner : We fail to see how this is a particularly ‘abroad’ thing, and we challenge this assumption anyway, as any hair straighteners in houses we’ve cohabited in have belonged to the male half of the couple rather than the female. Bystep this completely by staying in a campsite or caravan park instead, picking one with campfires allowed .

Ten very good reasons not to go abroad, then, especially this summer when the country is in Olympic fever. If you’re not in London, you can pitch up on the Jurassic Coast in Dorset and Devon, follow in the steps of Good Queen Vic on the Isle of Wight , go to one of the country’s mad museums or just take your pick from our thousands of sites .