• One in ten Brits (11%) refuse to try to learn the native language of the country they are visiting
    • Three in five (59%) feel embarrassed when they spot another Brit on holiday making a fool of themself
    • Expecting everyone to speak English is the most common holiday faux pas Brits make (74%)
    • A huge four in five (78%) Brits use their phone abroad as a language guide
    • O2 Priority has teamed up with the world’s No.1 language app Duolingo to help Brits learn a language before their travels with an exclusive three-month free trial of Super Duolingo

    Branded a nation who mind their Ps and Qs, Brits are renowned for their love of queuing and politeness – but according to a new report, 90% think that Brits have bad holiday habits. The research[1] by Virgin Media O2 and Duolingo comes as millions of Brits are expected to flock abroad this summer for a well-deserved break.

    Despite holidays usually being the perfect time to unwind and let your hair down, almost two thirds of those polled (63%) believe that there are plenty of typical “fails” Brits make when on holiday, including drinking beer at breakfast, which nearly a third (32%) think is a no go.

    The study revealed the biggest holiday faux pas Brits make, including leaving the hotel room in a mess for staff to clean (45%), playing loud music or talking loudly at the beach or pool (41%) and ordering British food for dinner, like fish and chips, instead of sampling local delicacies (38%) all featuring on the list.

    The most common holiday faux pas Brits often make:

    1. Expecting everyone to speak English – 74%
    2. Getting burnt – 55%
    3. Not trying to learn the local language at all – 49%
    4. Leaving your hotel room in a mess for staff to clean – 45%
    5. Playing loud music or talking loudly at the beach or pool – 41%
    6. Ordering British food instead of the local specialities – 38%
    7. Bagging sun loungers or spots on the beach with towels – 33%
    8. Drinking beer at breakfast – 32%
    9. Accidentally insulting a local by saying something rude in their language – 31%
    10. Ordering British drinks, instead of alcohol made in the country they are visiting – 26%

    Other cringeworthy signs of a Brit abroad include ordering UK made beer or alcohol instead of something made in the country they’re visiting (26%), not tipping at a restaurant or bar (25%) and ordering a full English for breakfast (18%).

    Despite Brits’ bad holiday habits, it appears we have good intentions, with 41% suggesting they always make an effort to learn some of the language of their holiday destination before they go away, and a further 48% stating they do try to learn a few phrases on occasion. Of those inclined to learn the language, the most popular phrases learnt include “hello” (88%), “thank you” (86%) and “please” (78%), with a fifth of Britons (19%) also attempting to learn directions to somewhere and 16% making a note of how to order their favourite drinks and how to say “cheers”. And, it seems convenience is key, with four in five (78%) Brits using their phone abroad as a language guide rather than a book.

    Of those who don’t try to learn any phrases before they go abroad, over a quarter (27%) admit they often resort to hand signals to try and communicate on holiday, such as gesturing for the bill or saying thank you by putting their hands together.

    Gareth Turpin, Chief Commercial Officer, Mobile, at Virgin Media O2 said: 

    “Holiday season is upon us with millions of Brits set to travel this summer for some well-deserved down time. But with life being busier than ever these days, it can be hard to find the time to learn a language and really get into the holiday spirit. So, we have joined forces with Duolingo to offer our customers a quick and convenient way to brush up on some basics before they go away this year. And as O2 is the only major network to offer EU roaming at no extra cost, our customers can keep on top of their Duolingo streaks while they’re away, without having to worry about data roaming charges.”

    George Audi, Director of Partnerships at Duolingo said:

    “Travel is once again the top motivation for learners on Duolingo in the UK, with 24% of people choosing it as their primary motivation to learn. We’re proud to partner with O2 Priority and help Priority customers make their roaming this summer even better by giving them the chance to learn the language of their destination before they travel.”

    Duolingo has seen an over 60% increase in people learning for travel this June compared to last June here in the UK. Almost one in four learners on Duolingo are now learning for travel.

    The most popular languages on Duolingo in the UK in June 2022 are:

    1. Spanish (24% of learners)
    2. French (19%)
    3. German (8%)
    4. Italian (8%)
    5. English (6%)
    6. Japanese (5%)
    7. Welsh (3%)
    8. Russian (2%)
    9. Portuguese (2%)
    10. Korean (2%)

    Virgin Media O2 has teamed up with Duolingo to offer Priority members a free three-month trial of Duolingo Plus on the mobile app, offering Virgin Media and O2 customers a saving of £29.97 so they can brush up on their holiday lingo.

    Priority members can choose from a range of languages, including Spanish, French, Dutch, Italian, Irish Turkish and many more. And, as O2 is the only major provider to offer EU roaming at no extra cost, customers can keep connected throughout Europe without the hassle or concern of extra roaming charges.

    Virgin Media and O2 customers can download the free Priority app on iOS and Android, or O2 customers can text PRIORITY to 2020 to access exclusive perks, rewards and experiences.

– Ends –

Notes to Editors:

  • O2 customers can enjoy roaming in Europe Zone at no additional charge, up to 25GB. For more information head to O2’s website.
  • Duolingo Plus is currently £9.99 per month for individual monthly plan. Priority members can enjoy three-months free Duolingo Plus via the Priority app. The Reward is valid now until 11 September 2022.
  • Duolingo Plus includes:
    • Ad-free content
    • Unlimited mistakes
    • Progress tracking
    • Mistakes inbox
    • Additional learning features
Journalists can contact the Virgin Media O2 press office on:
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