Let’s play Family Fortunes. If Vernon Kay said, ‘we asked 100 people what home comforts they take with them on holiday’, what do you think the most popular answers would be?
In fact, 1,000 people were asked this very question as part of a recent survey by the World Travel Market. And this is what the survey revealed:
Teabags 30%; supplements (vitamins, protein shakes) 20%; picture of a loved one not on holiday with you (including pets) 11%; condiments 6%; teddy bear 4%.
Surprised by any of these? It’s worth saying that nearly half of the people surveyed said they don’t take any home comforts with them at all. I fall into that camp. With the growing number of airlines charging for hold luggage, I’m keen to leave out anything I don’t think is essential.
OK, so a few teabags don’t take up much room, and I’ve had many tasteless cups of tea abroad, so I can understand that one. But condiments? Jars of Marmite, ketchup or pickle can take up valuable room. Plus, isn’t this a sign that these holidaymakers have no intention of getting properly stuck into the local food? And by extension, the local culture in general?
I can understand that expats abroad could hanker after the tastes of home, and there are stores across the world that stock British fare, like Heinz beans and Weetabix. But surely we can do without our food routine for a week or two, and be a little more adventurous?
Home from home – our travel essentials
I did a quick straw poll around the office too. And yes, teabags did crop up more than any other item, but there were plenty of larger items too.
One colleague packs slippers for the evenings after spending the day in ski boots. Another always takes her own soap, and won’t sleep in a hotel bed without wrapping her own case around the pillow.
Others pack Cornflakes, bottles of strawberry-flavoured water, orange squash concentrate (‘because I probably won’t like the taste of the water’) and even packs of rice cakes (‘as I know I won’t be able to find the healthy snacks I want in Spain’).
Another friend takes her laptop and own DVDs because the local TV programmes would be no good to them. Of course, there are some resorts that are so anglicised that all the British newspapers are on sale and bars broadcast British TV shows. So you get the ‘best’ of both worlds if the only reason you’ve left the UK is for better weather! I tend to shun these resorts in favour of somewhere that’s a uniquely foreign experience.
What little (or large) reminders of home do you take with you when you go away?