European travel habits: A new survey

european travel

A European travel habits survey discovered that we are more alike than you think.

Europe’s leading train booking site,, recently commissioned a survey from Atomik Research about European travel habits and the results have shown that, in the majority of cases, we all – somewhat surprisingly – share strikingly similar likes/dislikes about our holidays – whether we are German, Spanish, Dutch, Swiss, Belgian, British or Italian. With 7,000 frequent traveller respondents drawn from various socio-economic groups in seven countries, we are united by a common goal – to simply chillax on our holidays (overall 58% European-sample-average).

The price is right
Budget conscious travel has shown up as a key consideration when travelling across Europe with over three-quarters (75%) of Brits booking long in advance of travel with 28% of Belgians booking between three and six months in advance. This trait is echoed by our European neighbours with over 70% on average following suit.

Money saving tips
17% of the Brits said that overpaying for charges is their biggest travel mistake. The Belgians however are the most creative with saving money tips with 9% wearing multiple sets of clothing to save on baggage costs, whilst one in 10 Spanish travellers have just worn one set of clothes for their entire trip (10%) and one in 5 Italians have shared their travelling companion’s food to cut down on café costs (18%)!

Holiday gripes
Children running wild when travelling for the Belgians (19%), a sentiment echoed by the Spanish (27%) and the Dutch (24%). For the Italians however, their bugbear is not being able to move around (25%) whilst for the Germans (24%) and the Swiss (21%), its overhearing loud phone conversations that makes their blood boil.

Left red-faced
The most embarrassing thing for most travellers is missing their stop (European-average 33%) whilst for the Italians, its breaking wind (36%) and for the Brits (22%) it’s falling asleep and waking up to the sound of their own snoring!

What makes us travel
When asked why do you travel, 37% of Brits said it was a desire to experience new cultures and destinations – a feeling echoed across Europe by all but the Germans who travel to forget about their work (29%).

Where we research
57% of Brits prefer to take holiday advice from friends, family & colleagues whilst other Europeans prefer Google (Europe-wide average 71%). The Swiss are the only nation who ask work colleagues for their destination recommendations in any great numbers (21%). Belgian (15%) and Italian (17%) travellers are much more likely to take travel advice from Facebook than any of the other countries.

One centre or multi-centre – The Brits prefer to stay in one place when on holiday (48%) whilst the majority of their itchy-footed European neighbours prefer to use their destination as a base whilst exploring the area. There may be a reason for this as this survey highlights the fact that the Brits in particular find the journey the most stressful part of their holiday experience (26%) with over a third of Brits choosing flying as their preferred method of travel (35%).

Train travel is the continental favourite
Our European neighbours found that train travel was the answer. The survey shows that travelling by rail tends to have a calming influence, so given that a third of British travellers (29%) said that the lack of traffic was the greatest thing about train travel, it’s no surprise that travelling internationally by rail (and leaving the traffic jams behind) is enjoying something of a renaissance in this country. The Spanish (26%) particularly highlight its convenience whilst every other market said that they enjoy the passing scenery. 9.5% of Brits particularly liked arriving at the centre of their destination but overall, almost a quarter of respondents from the seven countries surveyed said that simply watching the world go by was the best thing about travelling by rail (24%).