Nothing to grumble about

Trip Start Jan 30, 2007
Trip End Dec 31, 2011

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Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Thursday, April 16, 2009

Damn those wide sandy beaches and oceans full of fish. And let's not get started on the consistency of gravy.

Honestly, it's enough to ruin a perfectly pleasant holiday, according to a list of recent complaints by not-so-intrepid British tourists.

Consider this "it's all your fault" rant by a woman who returned to Britain with an unexpected holiday souvenir: "My fiance and I booked a twin-bedded room, but we were placed in a double-bedded room. We now hold you responsible for the fact that I find myself pregnant."

Her complaint and scores like it, compiled by the Association of British Travel Agents and Thomas Cook, have done nothing to dispel the whingeing Pom cliche.

In one case, a British guest at a Novotel hotel in Australia made a fuss about his soup being too thick and strong. He had been supping from the gravy boat.

Another culinarily challenged traveller grumbled that "on my holiday to Goa in India, I was disgusted to find that almost every restaurant served curry. I don't like spicy food at all."

Other British tourists found their holidays were spoiled because "the beach was too sandy" and "no one told us there would be fish in the sea; the children were startled".

One disgruntled wife declared that topless sunbathing should be banned because her "holiday was ruined as my husband spent all day looking at other women".

While Australians love a rant as much as the next ticked-off customer, they are more likely to see the funny side of a bad situation than British tourists, Flight Centre spokesman Haydn Long said.

"Australians tend to be a little bit more adventurous and when you take the more adventurous option, you tend to be more tolerant of things not always being perfect."

Peter Hook, spokesman for the country's largest hotel group, Accor Asia Pacific, said Australians have a more laid-back attitude to travel because we've had to "overcome the tyranny of distance".

"When you fly 24 hours to the UK, a park bench looks attractive compared to an economy airline seat.

"Travel is in the blood of Australians and they also see the humour in situations. Other nationalities can be far more irritable."

How do you tell when a plane full of British tourists has landed? A selection of complaints from travellers from the UK

* We bought Ray-Ban sunglasses for five euros ($9) from a street trader, only to find out they were fake.

* The brochure stated: "No hairdressers at the accommodation." We're trainee hairdressers - will we be OK staying here?

* There are too many Spanish people. The receptionist speaks Spanish. The food is Spanish. Too many foreigners.

* We found the sand was not like the sand in the brochure. Your brochure shows the sand as yellow but it was white.

* We had to queue outside with no air-conditioning.

* I think it should be explained in the brochure that the local store does not sell proper biscuits like custard creams or ginger nuts.

* It's lazy of the local shopkeepers to close in the afternoons. I often needed to buy things during "siesta" time - this should be banned.

* I was bitten by a mosquito - no one said they could bite.

* We booked an excursion to a water park but no one told us we had to bring our swimming costumes and towels.

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