Opinion UK

Brits Abroad: We Need to Talk

“Brits abroad – mentally challenged individuals from the UK who travel to foreign countries with no intention of integrating with the culture there.”
Urban Dictionary

First things first, let it be said that I love my country. I feel incredibly humbled and privileged to have been born in a place that grants me so much freedom. Things are not perfect by any means, but I have been blessed with social mobility, a great education and free healthcare. As a woman, there are laws in place to protect me from sexual assault and domestic violence, and if I ever become pregnant, it is up to me to decide what happens (this is not the case in many European countries).

England has historically had a rich culture. Our country has borne incredible literature, poetry, art and music. We have high tea and Ascot and a Royal Family beloved by millions (if not billions!) of people worldwide. We have twinsets and pearls and a stiff upper lip.

We have class.

Or at least, we did.

brits abroad

Note: very few people pictured are British & we were all very well behaved.
IMG: Choice Club


You see, something else that my British passport allows me to do is travel (wow, a travel blogger who travels? God Dani you’re really surprising everyone with that one), and this love of travel is not mine alone. Every year, millions of Britons descend on Magaluf, Prague and Kraków in their droves, keen to take advantage of cheap air fares and even cheaper nightlife.

Cities such as the latter two have become especially popular with British stag parties. While the typical British stag do previously consisted of a few pints in the pub with the occasional surprise stripogram, recent years have seen hordes of rowdy young men flocking to the historical cities of Prague, Kraków and Budapest to behave in ways that they wouldn’t dream of back on their home soil.

Of course, every country has its bad apples. It would be foolish to think that England could (or should) be the exception. However, it pains me to say that I truly believe that when it comes to Brits abroad, the bad apples outweigh the good by far. 

brits abroad

He’s not British. And I am not a bad apple. I don’t think.
IMG: Krystian Wacławik

You don’t have to take my word for it.

Brits abroad have caused so much trouble that many countries have simply had enough. Rikardo Novak, Mayor of Croatian island Hvar, has announced fines of €700 for anyone caught drinking alcohol in public after becoming fed up with unruly British tourists. When asked to comment on their behaviour, he said “They throw up across the city streets, they pee on every corner, they walk without t-shirts, they sleep on the streets, in public spaces, they make noise and they are out of control.”

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Think he’s alone in his thoughts? Think again.

Konstantinos Lagoudakia, Mayor of Malia said that “They scream, they sing, they fall down, they take their clothes off, they cross-dress, they vomit. It is only the British people – not the Germans or the French.”

I have spent over 6 months in Poland, constantly being told that I am the exception. Why? I don’t come from a rich background. My family are working class, and we have always struggled to make ends meet. I don’t have the airs and graces of the Chelsea crowd. Why am I, a beer drinking backpacker from the outskirts of Manchester, held in such high esteem compared to my fellow countrymen (people?!).

brits abroad

You know it’s bad when I’M the good example.
IMG: Choice Club


I’ll tell you why.

I don’t vomit in the street.

I don’t urinate in the street.

I don’t take my clothes off or perform sexual acts in public.

I don’t get blind drunk at midday and yell football chants at the top of my lungs.

I don’t take my penis out in restaurants.*

You get the picture. One nightclub waitresss in Kraków told The Telegraph that she often has to deal with “mad” Brits abroad. She said that she “once witnessed a drinking competition where the person who won was the first person to throw up.” She also “saw a group of men walking naked from the waist down.”

Is this any way to behave?

brits abroad

It’s possible to drink and NOT get naked in public.
IMG: Dreams


Perhaps I’m old-fashioned, but when did it become acceptable to behave in this way? Scratch that, when did it become the norm to behave in this way?! Do we have no shame? Do we not care that the Archbishop of Kraków has said that foreign stag parties (read: Brits abroad) have made Kraków “defaced by debauchery and drunkenness”? Does it not matter to us that some restaurants in Kraków have taken to posting signs in the windows saying “NO ENGLISH PEOPLE”?

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It matters to me. It matters to me a lot.

It matters to me that I have somehow become an ambassador for good behaviour when I am travelling, desperate to prove that not all Brits abroad are disrespectful louts. It matters to me that we feel as though it is okay to visit other countries and behave in this manner when we would never dream of doing so at home. It matters to me that my own people not only lack respect for themselves, but for everyone else as well (or so it seems).

It is too much to ask that we keep our trousers on when we go for dinner in a foreign country? Is that setting the bar a bit high? 

brits abroad

Sad because English people suck.
IMG: Dreams


The main thing that worries me (no, the penises aren’t the worst of it) is what can be done about this? I know for a fact that this article will not make a scrap of difference. Even if the worst offenders read this article (and let’s face it, they won’t because they probably can’t read), they wouldn’t care. If they had any respect for themselves or the cities that they deface with their prominent displays of vulgarity, then they wouldn’t behave in this way in the first place. Sure, we may have a faint sense of national “pride” (usually in the form of attendance at an EDL march or a tick in the “Brexit” box), but as far as any semblance of self-respect or dignity goes, we leave it at the the check-in desk.

Perhaps the solution is for the locals in the cities of Kraków, Prague etc. to crack down even harder on troublesome Brits abroad. Be hostile, increase prices and ban Brits from your establishments if they cross the line. Of course, this will affect income from tourism (Brits make up 20% of Kraków’s annual 8 million tourists), but if it saves the city from descending into complete disrepair then in my opinion it’s a small price to pay. †

This is an extreme solution and a very sad one but perhaps it is necessary. If Brits abroad want to behave like children then perhaps other countries should treat them as such.

brits abroad

Not Brits Abroad.
IMG: Krystian Wacławik


*Okay, now this one is kind of impossible for me but you get the point.

 † I would also like to point out that the decrease in stag parties would probably result in an increase in the “right” kind of tourists, so the financial loss would likely be minimal.

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  • Reply
    April 17, 2018 at 2:27 pm

    What an excellent article. It would be my worst nightmare to visit a beautiful European city or ‘unspoilt’ tropical island and find myself surrounded by the idiots you describe.

  • Reply
    April 28, 2018 at 2:36 pm

    Loved reading this! And even if some Brits may behave horrible, we all know that those are just the bad examples. We’ve met so many cool and decent Brittish travelers abroad, just like we’d love to meet you. It might be so that this behavior mostly occurs during city trips and short trips. Most backpackers and British travelers we met during our backpacking trips were just as respectful as we are! I see what you’re saying, but let’s hope all is not lost, yet 😉 I loved your writing style and this is a very interesting post! Thanks!

    • Reply
      Travelling Jezebel
      April 29, 2018 at 12:35 pm

      Ah it’s so nice to hear that your experience of us Brits hasn’t always been negative haha. I agree with you that this kind of behaviour is usually reserved for city breaks/shorter trips. Thank you so much for commenting 🙂

  • Reply
    April 28, 2018 at 3:23 pm

    I love being British and love the people, except when they leave the UK. I hate the way some people drink to excess and just ruin it for everyone else. I’ve also been told we’re an exception and it feel so wrong. Also British families just sounds so miserable on holiday too (I swear all the do is moan!)! Hopefully things will change soon enough and we’ll be the normal British travellers! For now it’s easier to avoid the stereotypical places!

    • Reply
      Travelling Jezebel
      April 29, 2018 at 12:04 pm

      Haha yeah fingers crossed something changes! Thanks for commenting 🙂

  • Reply
    May 1, 2018 at 1:32 am

    Yes, the wrong kind of tourists do tend to deter the more pro-social kinds. There are locations in Southeast Asia that purposely don’t advertise to attract certain tourism types or tourist segments, precisely so that they would better pull the less destructive sorts 🙂 I won’t say where so that I won’t ruin their strategy.

    • Reply
      Travelling Jezebel
      May 1, 2018 at 1:25 pm

      Yeah, they probably have the right idea. It’s sad that people have to resort to not advertising in order for these types of people not to find them but it’s probably necessary. I see nothing wrong with people wanting to party and have fun but unfortunately people just take it too far.

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