New survey results confirm that you’d rather listen to a screaming baby on an airplane than hear a xenophobic adult say offensive things.
So-called “travel-dating site” MissTravel.com announced Monday that current cultural pet peeves have everything to do with the current political climate.
Some 700 survey respondents told the site that their irrational dislike or fear of people from other countries — also known as xenophobia — topped the list as the Biggest Travel Pet Peeve of 2017. A total of 24 percent of percent of them ranked xenophobia as the single most annoying thing that can happen while you’re traveling.
Case in point: In May, a passenger in a “Make America Great Again” hat delayed a United Airlines flight from Shanghai to New Jersey after caling somebody who didn’t speak English a “moron.” Nice. (He was kicked off the plane as other passengers chanted, “lock him up.”)
Other top annoyances included overcrowded destinations, hidden travel fees, flight delays, and loud children, which came in second, with 9 percent listing them as their top annoyance. Almost a quarter of them would rather deal with overcrowding, delays, loud children, or even hidden extra fees, than listen to someone complain about foreigners.
Founder and CEO of MissTravel Brandon Wade said in a statement that “a sense of security” is a necessary condition for the travel industry to succeed, especially considering how social media plays “a large part in helping to make exotic destinations feel accessible and has roused a curiosity about other cultures.”
In short, people want to travel to increasingly diverse destinations, but they don’t want to experience bigotry along the way.
“Travelers want to feel safe while exploring a new place,” Wade says. “Fear of discrimination and a perception of not being welcome can deter people from choosing to venture out to particular destinations.” A more practical consideration than comfort when traveling is overall safety, and people tend to perceive xenophobic attitudes as threatening.
A surprising 21 percent of survey responses marked “Other” as the greatest pet peeve, the second-biggest percentage of all responses. What could more than 600 people possibly consider more annoying than overcrowding, hidden fees, delays, noisy children, and public xenophobia? It’s tough to say, but with the holiday season fast approaching, I’m sure somebody will be able to come up with a more specific answer.