Stop clapping on planes and stay away from buffets – you’re giving everyone the ‘travel ick’

Over 32.8 million Britons have experienced a travel ick in the past year, and you could be next.

Becoming exclusive, taking the unfathomable risk of moving in together, and eventually tying the knot are all crucial points in the relationship timeline. All come with their insurmountable risks, but there’s arguably no better way to test if they’re really the one than that first-ever baecation together. It could be a time when love blossoms, but equally, there are a million ways it can crash and burn, and there’s no scenario that matches in terms of risking giving your partner the infamous ‘ick’. And while the popularity and absurdity of the ick continues to rise, it now seems that Brits have acquired a number of ‘travel icks’ as a result.

New research from First Choice has found that over 32.8 million Brits have experienced a travel ick in the past year, and as a result, have revealed the top 10 culprits that can make or break a holiday.

Shot-gunning sun loungers 

While you may view waking up at the crack of dawn to reserve your poolside sun lounger as a cardinal sin (especially in the company of a romantic interest), this is one of the more divisive on the list. Nearly a quarter (21%) of 24-35 year old’s find that it ruins their holiday lay-in, while over 8.3 million Britons aged 16-24 see it as essential for securing prime seating.

Clapping when the plane lands

Let us set the scene. You’re on your first flight with your new love interest, in the honeymoon phase, and they could seemingly do no wrong. Then, disaster strikes as they begin erratically clapping as the wheels hit the tarmac. Surely, that’s more than enough to warrant a breakup? Somehow, 5.9 million Britons find it fun and heart-warming, while over 15.5 million (correctly) say it’s “unnecessary and awkward”.


With sand comes blue skies and immaculate vibes – but also a hell of a lot of mess. Of those First Choice spoke to, over a third (36%) declared that the feeling of soft sand underfoot is the “epitome of beach relaxation”. However, one in five (20%) 16-24 year olds voiced their exasperation about sand’s relentless intrusion into everything from snacks, bed sheets and the shower.

To Speedo or to board short?

Over 14.5 million people aged 16-24 prefer board shorts for their comfort and versatility. However, as a fashion favourite with sports fans and rugby players, a surprising 8.5 million⁶ of the same age demographic embrace the budgie smuggler for the tradition. 

Children playing by the pool

We’ve all been there: painfully hungover from the night before, hoping for some desperate recovery time on the sun loungers, and all of a sudden, an army of kids come storming into the pool like a herd of elephants. The study from First Choice found that over a quarter (25%) of travellers love seeing kids having a blast by the pool, reminiscing about their own childhood holidays. Meanwhile, over 9.7 million 16-24-year-olds prefer peace and quiet.

Fake accents

When it comes to holiday personas, 19% of 16-24-year-olds believe putting on an accent whilst speaking English abroad is a sign you’re trying to replicate the language (even if you know very few words). However, travellers rocking accents can be quite the holi-‘Ick’ for some – over 6.6 million, in fact.

Mixing and matching at the buffet 

Nothing could close the curtains on a relationship sooner than seeing your other half pick up a ghastly plate of pizza, fish, and burgers. Thankfully, the population agrees as almost one in five (18%) of travellers prefer to keep their courses separate and distinct, finding the idea of mixing and matching different cuisines at the holiday buffet a foodie faux pas. 

Crocs or flops?

The Crocs vs. flip-flops debate is a travel ‘Ick’ or ‘pick’ dilemma. Where over a quarter (28%) of 16-24-year-olds favour flip-flops for their timeless look, one in five (20%) will “proudly” sport Crocs on the beach.

Namaste or nightclubs?

Holiday experiences can make or break a trip. Over a quarter of 25-34-year-olds (26%) say a wellbeing retreat is their “ultimate holiday pick”, whereas the nation’s 16-24-year-olds crave wild nights with glitter and margaritas more than any other age demographic.

Printed itineraries

Printed itineraries can be adorable, but nobody under the age of 40 should be going near them. Unsurprisingly, In the digital age, over 8.1 million 25-34-year-old travellers prefer to skip printouts, while almost half of those aged 55+ (46%) prefer to carry printed documents to avoid digital disruptions.

WriterChris Saunders
Banner Image CreditFirst Choice