New survey reveals British holidaymakers’ nasty surprises

2nd Jun 2010
New survey reveals British holidaymakers’ nasty surprises

A new survey has revealed the top nasty surprises of British Holidaymakers, with unexpected additional costs and the poor standard of accommodation coming top of the poll.

The survey, which was carried out by leading car hire price comparator, questioned 1,500 people on their experiences of nasty surprises while on vacation. A key area highlighted by the survey’s findings is unexpected additional costs, which was listed as one of the worst nasty surprises experienced by 40% of holidaymakers. Within this 40%, the biggest surprise cost factor was related to car hire, which accounted for 27%, followed by accommodation at 21%, while medical treatment and excess baggage also rated highly for unexpected additional expenses. 

Half of respondents stated that they had experienced unclean rooms, which included; people having found used condoms under the bed, urine soaked duvets and vomit on the bed sheets; one in three having experienced appliances that didn’t work; and 25% answering that they had been provided with a room that had broken furniture.

Further to this, the results revealed that one in three respondents had discovered cockroaches or similar infestations in their holiday accommodation, with other creatures listed including ants, rats, worms, termites, spiders, lizards, possums and snakes.

Managing director of, Gareth Robinson, says: “We’ve all heard horror stories about infested hotels and nightmare resorts, but seeing just how many people had experienced such a thing was really quite revealing.”


Gareth adds: “The unexpected additional costs also demonstrated a serious lack of transparency in the travel sector, particularly relating to car hire.  Renting a car offers travellers the freedom to explore their holiday location in their own time and it should not be with the caveat of having to worry over surprise extra payments.

“We’ve recently launched our ‘Raising the Standard’ campaign to help draw attention to such issues as this, as we want to see consumers offered a fairer deal, where additional extras are not cloaked in the small print. Lack of transparency in the travel sector is damaging to the whole industry. Consumers are becoming increasingly savvy and they are looking for genuinely good deals and becoming far less tolerant of hidden costs.”

The nasty surprises survey also revealed some interesting trends on Britons’ holiday choices, with Spain coming out as the most popular first choice holiday destination with 22%, while the UK and Republic of Ireland came second with 15%, with people in Scotland most likely to holiday in the UK or Ireland. However, despite this promising figure, staycations came out top for the location of the worst holiday, with bad weather being largely responsible. Three quarters of respondents also claimed to go on holiday at least twice a year, with only 8% not taking a holiday at least once a year.

Gareth added: “Despite the tough economic climate, seeing how much Brits value holidays is an encouraging sign for the travel industry. The recession has seen everyone facing added stress and being able to get away from the day to day routine and switch off is very important.

“While the UK and Republic of Ireland were voted top for the worst holiday experience, 15% of respondents would still choose a staycation as their first choice, which really says a lot about how much the UK and Ireland have to offer and a promising sign for tourism this summer.” 

The results also demonstrated the growing popularity of online travel bookings, with more than 80% of respondents choosing to book their holiday over the Internet, in comparison to just 10% who book through a travel agent and 6% who prefer to make arrangements over the phone.

The nasty surprises survey supports’s Raising the Standard campaign, which sees the company highlighting the need for greater fairness and transparency in the travel industry. For more information on Raising the Standard or to access the forum, blog or to download travel advice papers, visit compares car hire deals from up to 50 rental companies, including Alamo, Budget, easyCar, Holiday Autos and Sixt, in over 9,000 locations worldwide.


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