Are Aussie travellers dumb, drunk and racist?

AN interesting piece from Doc Holiday on news.com.au this week addressed this very question.

Given that more Australians are travelling than ever, thanks to the high Aussie dollar, he considered whether downunder residents do in fact fit this stereotype or others.

He raised a number of stereotypes and addressed each based on his experience. Here’s his, Visited Planet’s and a number of other people’s opinion on the same topic.

Aussie travellers at the dawn service in Gallipoli, Turkey. Pic: Joanne Lane, www.visitedplanet.com

“Australians are the world’s worst tippers”

Doc Holiday:

Tipping is not part of the egalitarian Australian ethos with our labour laws allowing for workers in the service industries to earn a relatively decent wage.But there’s no doubt we have a reputation for being rotten tippers in countries where gratuities form the major part of a worker’s wage.

Visited Planet:

Hear hear to Doc Holiday; tipping simply isn’t part of our system but something we just have to educate ourselves on. Even as a regular traveler I still find it a bit confusing and I’m never quite sure if I’m meant to give a little extra for the massage, haircut or other service. But the bottom line is even though we don’t tip in Australia and it is un-Australian but when you’re abroad you’re not in Australia so get used to it and be prepared.

Ben Groundwater, Sydney Morning Herald:

When in Rome eat spaghetti. When in the US tip.

Suck it up. Pull out your wallet. Tip appropriately. Don’t let the fear of tipping ruin your meal and your holiday.

When you draw up the budget for your US trip take tipping into account.

Aussies often argue they should not they have to make up for America’s crappy wages. It is a fair argument. There is a simple way to protest. Don’t visit the US. But, you will find generally the level of service will be higher in the US than Australia because your servers are working for their tips. If you avoid tourist trap restaurants, the food is cheaper.

“Australians are easy-going and don’t complain”

Doc Holiday:

At last, something positive to be said about Aussies! There’s no doubt, in my experience, that Australians tend to be more friendly and carefree than travellers from other parts of the world.The French-born general manager of a luxury hotel in Asia once told me that Australians were his favourite guests because of their easy-going natures and the fact that they rarely, if ever, complained (not that complaining is necessarily a bad thing).

Visited Planet:

I agree with these comments and will seek fellow Aussie company if I just want a good laugh and nothing too serious/pompous. The only drawback is that Australian humour can be misinterpreted at times. We tend to joke around a bit and poke fun when we like people/places/spaces; there’s definitely a possibility this could be misconstrued as complaining or being difficult when really we aren’t.

CNNGo:

Infectious laid-back nature. If they’d been able to get visas, there would probably have been congenial Australians dressed like surfers wandering around Afghanistan under the Taliban. “Nice beard, mate …”

Ben Groundwater, Sydney Morning Herald in 2011:

The mentality of most Australians suits travel. We’re an easygoing lot, generally, from a multicultural country, which means that while we haven’t seen it all, we’re less likely to be shocked or offended by “it all” when we do see it. Enjoying travel takes a certain amount of open-mindedness – hopefully that’s something most Australians possess.

Daily Telegraph/Expedia:

AUSTRALIANS may be among the loudest travellers, but overall they are polite, don’t whinge, and are well behaved, a new survey has found. In its second annual global Best Tourist Survey, online travel company Expedia found hoteliers around the world rank Australians the sixth-best tourists among 27 nationalities surveyed. “It’s encouraging to see that Australians continue to be regarded as good-natured among hoteliers around the world,” Expedia Australia’s Louise Crompton said releasing the results yesterday.

“Australians are the world’s greatest travellers”

Doc Holiday:

It never fails to amuse me how often I hear an Australian accent wherever I go.

There’s no escaping us, even with a population under 23 million.

There’s no doubt, in my mind, that we’re among the world’s best and most adventurous travellers.

Visited Planet:

It’s a rare experience to travel somewhere and not run into an Aussie. I’ve been asked why we travel so much constantly and agree with Ben Groundwater’s comments below but also feel our island status and mentality of being out on our own down here in the Pacific means we’re that more keen to explore. We haven’t grown up with neighbours around us to wander in and out of so travelling abroad is always a unique experience, and yeah, we have to fly a long way just to get to another country so we make it worth the while.

Ben Groundwater, Sydney Morning Herald in 2011:

When you look at spending per capita, however, we’re the clear winners, with about $US1000 each per year nudging us just above Germany, Canada and the UK as the world’s top travellers.

So it’s official: Australians spend more on travel than any other nationality.

Why this obsession with travel? These stats won’t come as a surprise, as everyone knows we like to get out and about, but what hasn’t been answered is why?

Is it in our genes? We are, after all, a nation of wanderers, of adventurers and risk-takers. Our earliest settlers arrived by boat some 50,000 years ago, and that trend has continued throughout our history.

There’s also the tyranny of distance to consider. When Australians travel, they’re forced to do it properly. We can’t take a weekend in Paris, or a couple of days in Tuscany. We’re talking long-haul flights – more time spent in a plane than your typical European tourist might spend on an entire city break.

Travel for us means covering massive distances, even if we’re staying in our own country, which makes spending a lot of time away a more attractive proposition. More time away, more money spent.