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Irish and UK Holiday Habits Revealed

14 November 2019
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Recently, Travel Department surveyed over 500 people in Ireland and the UK on their travel habits and how they like to holiday. With questions ranging from what makes or breaks your holiday, whether you travel alone or with a partner to how much luggage you like to bring along, we wanted to take a deep dive into peoples’ habits from when they book their holiday to looking back on their holiday snaps.

We also wanted to know whether there are any differences between people from Ireland and the UK in their travel preferences and what annoys them on holiday the most.

The results were interesting to say the least, and here is a quick look at some of the data below:

UK vs Ireland

The post boxes may be different colours, but the mindsets of Ireland and the UK have a tendency to overlap, though occasionally in ways that may surprise you. For instance, did you know that 65% of Irish people said they take 1-3 holidays a year while only 35% of our UK respondents do the same. However, when they are on holiday, those in the UK seemed to answer our questions in a way that suggested they were a little more relaxed when abroad. Brits prefer a relaxing holiday the most, while Irish folks said that they preferred a holiday focused on culture and history.

Furthermore, when discussing the types of mishaps that would ruin a holiday, only 3 of every 10 UK respondents said that losing their wallet or passport would qualify. Compare this to 7 out of 10 Irish respondents confirming that a lost wallet would spoil the entire trip for them. If you’re Irish, then you were more likely to travel either alone or with your family than your UK counterparts. If you hail from the UK, you were more likely to travel with a partner/spouse or a group of friends than our Irish respondents.

Age differences


We had anticipated variation between age groups of course, although not necessarily in this exact manner. The age bracket that was most likely to take 10 or more trips a year was those in their late 20s. In a particularly heart-warming statistic, 4 out of 5 respondents over the age of 70 travel with their partner/spouse. This compared to our 18-25-year-old bracket, in which only 1 out of 5 respondents travel with a partner/spouse.

If you are in your 50s, then you were least likely to book your holiday by yourself at a mere 1%, but most likely to book an all-inclusive package at 53%. We suppose that by the time you are 50, you’re ready to let someone else tackle the details of holiday planning.

Over 70s were also the most likely to book a holiday over the phone. Apparently old habits are tough to break. When looking at how our 18-25-year olds answered this question, not a single one of them said that they typically book over the phone.

The most annoying habit?

We had assumed that we would get a lot of respondents that were upset at the increase of selfies at particularly picturesque spots, but only 1 in 4 people found people taking selfies annoying on their holidays. The most annoying habit? Being rude to service workers at 86%, followed closely by queue skipping at 84%.

The most interesting gender divide came down to a question asking people how they pack for a holiday. 1 out of 4 women admitted to overpacking, compared to only 15% of men. 21% of men claimed to pack light as a feather vs 9% of women. Whether they were telling the truth or not is another matter entirely!

And finally, in news that we certainly find heartening, only 1% of our respondents said they would “never” consider booking a package holiday.

Going solo


The rise in solo travellers and growing numbers of females now holidaying alone has prompted the launch and recent expansion of options for Solo Traveller tours by Travel Department, Sara Zimmerman, the company CEO says.

“Group travel has always been popular for solo travellers. It allows them to meet like-minded people interested in exploring their chosen destination. There are over 400,000 solo households in Ireland, as well as large numbers of people who choose to travel without their partners, on account of having different interests”, the travel expert says.

Booking data this year shows that bookings from people travelling alone were up by over 40%, while uptake of the company’s Solo Traveller tours increased by around 200% over last year.

The company’s more extensive 2020 portfolio includes long haul travel, European destinations, city breaks, river cruises and active holidays.

547 people were surveyed across the UK and the Republic of Ireland from the 6th of June to the 1st of July.

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