Well, it finally happened: the weather here got so bad that this week Terry and I started thinking about booking a last-minute holiday, to get ourselves some cheap* winter sun. 

This, of course, means I’ve been spending a lot of time on Trip Advisor lately.

At first, I was just there for the reviews: because I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t even consider booking a hotel without reading approximately a millionty-one reviews of it first. (Although it has to be said that I’m usually looking for the exact opposite of what most reviewers seem to care about. For instance, when a hotel has lots of people complaining about the non-existent entertainment and lack of atmosphere, I just think, “Great: that means I won’t be kept awake all night by the thumping baseline from the on-site nightclub: sign me up!”) After a while, though, I found myself returning to Trip Advisor purely for the LOLs. And occasionally for the WTFs.

You find a lot of strange things on Trip Advisor, people. Lots of stories, lots of incredible comments, lots of.. well, racism, to be totally blunt. And I’m not there for the racism, I hasten to add: it’s just pretty hard to avoid it sometimes, when you’re trawling through reviews of yet another apartment complex which…well, you’ll see.

Here are some strange things I’ve seen in Trip Advisor reviews this week…

strange things people say on Trip Advisor reviews

“not enough children in the buffet”

I’m guessing they meant to say “not enough FOR children in the buffet”, but you never really know, do you? And, I mean, a hotel that serves children for dinner is bad enough, but a hotel that doesn’t have enough to go around is TERRIBLE.

“not much to eat for English people”

Er, possibly because it’s in Spain?

“All inclusive was a misdemeanor…”

Either you mean to say “misnomer”, or something went on here that I’m much more interested in than I probably should be.

“Day 1, guest dies in pool…”

Some people are just SO inconsiderate, aren’t they? I mean, they couldn’t have chosen to die somewhere else? Is that really too much to ask? Because the pool area was closed for FOUR HOURS after that, and SOME people were trying to have a holiday, you know?

“this is full of german and dutch people and not 1 english sausage…”

Because if you’re going to travel all the way to Spain, the very LEAST you should be able to expect is a nice English sausage, FFS. What’s the point of traveling abroad, after all, if you’re not going to be able to get exactly the same things you get at home?

“We had to call the POLICE on our check out because the hotel didn’t gave us the official government complaints book…”

You called the POLICE because you didn’t like your hotel? And I thought I was a drama queen!

“A lot of local people. Security always unhappy if you sit outside and speak after 10 o’clock with children, we must shut up because local people want to sleep”

Pesky locals, with their stupid need for sleep! What right do THEY have to call all the shots? This would never happen back in good ol’ Blightly, let me tell you. No, back home, if tourists want to keep us up all night, we just let ’em – we even cook them a nice sausage in the morning and everything, because who cares if we have to go to work on no sleep? These people are on HOLIDAY, for God’s sake!

“We didn’t expect the hotel to be at the top of a steep hill.”

Right. Because there’s nothing in the name “Panoramic Heights” that would suggest that, is there? And the panoramic views featured on every single photo on their website could just as easily have been taken at ground level, couldn’t they? That’s false advertising, if you ask me…

“We were staying there half bored…”

This could mean “half BOARD” or it could mean what it ACTUALLY says: we will never know.

“There’s not much entertainment for babies, ours was too young for the kiddie club, so if you have a baby with you, I don’t know what you’re supposed to do with it all day?”

Er, you could try looking after it yourself? Novel idea, but it just might work!

And, finally, my all-time favourite…

“We were all walking beside the pool area, wearing our santa hats, and dragging our suitcases along. It was when we glimpsed into the pool that we all thought ‘here we go…’ It was full of travellers (Gypsies) Not many english foke [sic] and many people were speaking in foreign languages!!”

You know what would be awesome? A country that only had English people in it! And everything in it could be English: language, sausages, er, santa hats –  the lot! We could call it ‘England’! And there would be none of those foreign foke in it: we don’t want their sort around here!

Now, all sarcasm aside (Er, you DID all get that I was being sarcastic in the responses above, didn’t you? Because I’m kinda paranoid that someone’s going to come along and think I was actually agreeing with them, and I’m not sure I could stand it…), some of the things I’ve read this week have been just … mind-boggling, really. Quite apart from the casual xenophobia that apparently leads people to believe that “foreign foke” shouldn’t even exist in foreign countries (I mean, I shudder to think what some of these people would think if they encountered an OMGFOREIGNER in their OWN country…), there’s also the strange fact that an awful lot of people apparently spend a lot of money to go on holiday, with the expectation that it will be EXACTLY LIKE HOME. And if it’s not, they will complain. Bitterly.

I mean, I’m guessing most of them are there purely for the sun, and you know, that’s cool: I’ve done it myself, and I have every intention of doing it again. This upcoming holiday, for instance (assuming we can find a hotel that doesn’t have dead people by the pool and children in the buffet, that is…) is going to be the kind of cheap break you take just to escape the miserable British weather for a while, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, really.

Even with the kind of trip where we mostly just want to relax, though, we still love to explore, to experience a different way of life, and to just be somewhere else – and all of the little differences you encounter on a vacation are the very things that make it memorable, aren’t they? Hearing all of the different languages being spoken around the pool. Eating food you don’t often find at home. Wearing your Santa hat as you drag your suitcase along the.. wait: maybe not that last one, huh?

For a lot of people, though, it’s just an excuse to drink a lot of cheap alcohol in the sun, and then complain on Trip Advisor that it was watered down, and that the man who served it had a funny accent. Sometimes I despair for humanity.

(*”Cheap” being the operative word: so no, we will not be going to Australia, New Zealand, or anywhere else very far away!)

23 Comments
  1. People are mad. We were in Paris once and were having a chat with the nice English couple behind us in a queue and they were complaining that so few people in Paris spoke English. They were finding it very difficult to be understood. That was bad enough but then they were telling us that they lived in Quebec (where the official language is French) and had lived there for the last 17 years…………….. apparently without managing to pick up any French whatsoever.

    1. It’s so strange: I mean, can you imagine how British people would react if French tourists were going around complaining that people here don’t speak French, and that there’s not enough French food? Everyone would think that was ridiculous, but SO many people seem to do exactly the same thing when they travel! And it’s not just frustration at not being understood, either – quite a lot of them are just really annoyed that they can even hear other languages being spoken, as if everyone should be obliged to speak English at all times!

      1. You would be surprised by the sheer amount of French tourists complaining because “they don’t speak French here”… I’m French myself and I don’t understand. To me, going to another country and not even bother to learn a few words is beyond me. I guess it’s not specific to a country 🙂

  2. People baffle me. Like The Other Emma I’ve heard people in places like Italy complain that no one speaks English. I never know what to say, because “what they heck were you expecting?” would just cause more trouble than it’s worth. Not liking the food because it isn’t suitably Anglo and complaining about the weather (“it’s too cold” being a complaint I heard about Iceland in December) also baffle me, although the latter is less racist and more extraordinariky poor planning.

    At least going for the weather is comprehensible. People who have clearly gone somewhere for the sake of travelling and hate everything about the foreign land bewilder me. Like a woman I met in Paris who hated all the French, hated French food (?), hated the crowded streets, hated the art museums she nevertheless kept lining up for, etc etc, and yet evidently travelled often with similar experiences. Like. You know you are allowed to stay home, right?

  3. Yep, will never understand people who travel to a country where English isn’t the official language, don’t bother even trying to learn how to ask if a person speaks English before talking to them (or just say “English?”, not that hard.), and complain everyone is rude there. Or just assume everyone is being rude because they don’t smile, or don’t try to chat with the customers unless requested to. Just because some place happens to have nice weather and beaches, it doesn’t have to turn itself into the perfect holiday destination for foreigners. The customer may be always right, but not everyone is the right customer…

  4. To be honest, I usually prefer to travel during non-peak season because of this type of tourists. They can be like that, no matter where they are from. I am Spanish myself, and most Spaniards tend to holiday nationally simply because they can´t stand “foreign habits” (!) That´s completely fine to me, as there is nothing more embarrassing than finding rude countrymen complaining loudly about normal things while you re trying to relax abroad. I remember this guys when I visited a lovely castle in Transylvania, they were completely frustrated because the perfectly preserved palace was so far from the capital… Imagine! A Victorian time capsule that used to work as Summer retreat for the Romanian Royal Family… in the woods! Like, why should monarchy spend their spare time far away from the city? Oh, and most importantly, there was NO MCDONALD´S around! Can you believe it? On a traditional village?! Like WHAT?!

  5. This is amazing. How do people travel so obliviously? How do they think it might be useful information to tell others that people in Spain tend to speak Spanish? Can you imagine believing no one else might have thought of that? Can you imagine being indignant about it?

    …Is it possible a lot of these reviews were written by trolls? Or am I putting too much faith in humanity?

    1. I don’t think they’re trolls, necessarily (although some of them probably are), I think it’s possibly just that the anonymity of the internet allows them to say things they wouldn’t normally say. Also, they’re probably writing the reviews when they’re still angry/upset about having not enjoyed their holiday or whatever, so I guess there’s a tendency to go a bit overboard with the comments! With that said, I think some people really are THAT stupid – the hotel on the top of a mountain is a good example: there were just SO many people saying the views were amazing but it was really hilly, and you could practically sense the manager’s frustration as he tried to explain that you can’t have a panoramic view without being fairly high up!

  6. This was so funny! The tone was just so ludicrous – “the nerve of a foreign country to be full of foreign people!” I think there is something about going on vacation (or going out to eat, or going to a store, or going anywhere where you’re paying people to take care of you in some way) that brings out the worst in people. Some people just feel so entitled when they’re spending money, and basically forget that the other people they encounter may have their own needs and concerns.

    1. Definitely! I think a lot of people just have this attitude of “I’ve spend a lot of money for this, so everything better be EXACTLY the way I like it, or else!” Which is sort of understandable, because obviously no one wants to go on holiday and have an awful time, but with a lot of the people who write reviews sound to me like they’d be better off staying at home!

  7. I have a feeling that people who complain incessantly while on holiday probably complain incessantly at home too. They probably aren’t happy anywhere. That’s my take on it.

  8. Haha, oh this has tickled me. So many of these comments remind me of my Nan. Every single time she goes abroad (and by that I mean to Spain) she comes back and says, “The hotel was lovely, but the restaurant was disappointing; it was full of foreign muck, no food for english people.” As if all they were serving was paella and you had to show a Spanish passport to get a dish, with all Brits being forced to sit outside, and paw at the window.

  9. I live in a very cultural diverse city and yet still encounter people who get miffed if everything isn’t in english. I was at the grocery store and the clerk put my eggs to the side but said “huevos” and then told me she said that earlier and the customer got mad and said “I’m an American, I speak ENGLISH”. Ugh. All the eye rolls.

  10. This made me laugh so much! I work for an online travel company, so we have to look at a LOT of TripAdvisor reviews for work. I probably think everything you just said at least 3 times a day! Haha.

    Although, I’ll admit I’ve never come across something as drastic as someone calling the police, because they didn’t like their hotel!

    Bowie | Disastersofatwentysomething.com
    x

  11. The funniest one I read was the couple who complained the sand was too sandy.
    The worst I have seen personally were British tourists 1) breaking pieces of coral in Fiji, 2) picking up pieces of the crumbling mosaic in Herculaneum, 3) walking over the Cheddi in an important temple in Bangkok and taking photos when asked not to. Some Brits are the most disrespectful I have ever encountered, although others are delightful.

  12. Oh god. So embarrassing. And the worst part for me is the idea that there are people in other countries who might think that we are all like that. Horrifying.

  13. Bit pointless to come to Australia at the moment, Melbourne at least seems to have forgotten it’s summer for the moment.

    We will expect a daily running total on both foreigners in the pool AND children on the buffet from your holiday.

  14. The “Security always unhappy if you sit outside and speak after 10 o’clock with children” Why I think that could be a bit weird sitting outside after 10 o’clock at night talking to random children… no pedophile vibe there at all…

  15. I believe one of the best things about traveling to a foreign country is the new experiences. Plus learning how to communicate with the people in a new place is fun and can be exciting! It is truly quite rewarding to put your all into learning more about a different culture!

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