Canadians may smell bad but at least we have travel insurance

Canadians are more willing to unplug while on holidays than many folks, a new study by hotels.com says.

Canadians are far more willing to unplug on holidays than most folks in the world. We’re also less likely to exaggerate our vacation experiences than residents of other countries.

That’s the good news.

The bad news is that Canadians place deodorant ninth on their list of things they find most important to pack, behind their passport, travel insurance and even a razor. Then again, this is the country that brought the phrase “playoff beard” into the global lexicon, so the latter may not be surprising.

In a wonderful study issued today by hotels.com , it was found that folks from Thailand are less willing to give up their mobile devices on holidays than residents of any other country surveyed. The study found that a whopping 85 per cent of Thai respondents are unwilling to leave their mobile devices at home when they make a trip. Next on the “fear of unplugging scale” were Koreans at 78 per cent, followed by Japanese at 69. In China, 60 per cent of folks said they’d be unwilling to leave their devices at home.

Europeans seem much more willing to stash their power cords and iPhones in the desk drawer. Only 36 per cent of folks from the UK said they would not leave their smartphones and such at home. In the U.S. that figure was 35 per cent and in Canada it was only 27 per cent.

Despite the stories we read about how hard Canadians work and how we’re vacation deprived, it seems that roughly three out of four of us are willing to unplug if and when we get our week at the beach. That’s pretty good compared to many Asian countries. But Swedes (23 per cent unwilling to unplug), Spaniards (23), Argentinians (22) and folks from India (20 per cent refusing to unplug) ranked higher than Canadians on the relaxation scale.

A trip to the Riviera Maya near Cancun should be relaxing, travel experts say. Leave your mobile phone and laptop at home.

Jim Byers photo

A trip to the Riviera Maya near Cancun should be relaxing, travel experts say. Leave your mobile phone and laptop at home.

The study also found that 44 per cent of Canadians don’t spend any time on social media when they’re on holidays. That’s nice.

“Going away on vacation should be a time to unwind, whether you’re lying on a beach in Cancun or snowboarding down a mountain in Whistler,” says Taylor L. Cole, APR, travel expert at Hotels.com. “While smartphones are useful for checking the weather or viewing maps, travellers would benefit from switching off their e-mails to disconnect and restore a little more of the all-important work/life balance.”

Canadians, you’ll be glad to know, also come out pretty well on the honesty scale. The hotels.com study found that a full 67 per cent of Chinese respondents were likely to exaggerate their vacation experiences, followed by 64 per cent of Germans. Next were Koreans, albeit at a paltry 48 per cent exaggeration rate. Clearly the government of North Korea was not part of the poll.

Canada? Only 20 per cent of us said we’re likely to stretch the truth about our trip when we get home. That’s better than the UK (31) and the U.S. (24). But several countries did much better on the truthfulness scale than residents of the True North. Australia was at 19 per cent, while Hong Kong was way down at nine per cent and Mexico at just eight, which makes Mexicans the group you can most likely trust when you check out the Facebook page they updated while refusing to be unplugged on their holiday.

Canada increasingly likes to think itself as edgy. But I’m afraid it’s not true. Not only are most of us willing to unplug on holiday and mostly unwilling to lie about our mountain climbing or sexual adventures on holidays, but we’re also just about the most practical (read “boring”) country you can imagine.

Asked what was most important to take on a trip, the number one issue was a passport, followed by travel insurance.

Travel insurance? Really? Wow.

Can’t you just imagine the stimulating conversations that go in Canadian bedrooms when folks are planning a trip?

“Look, honey, this one has a $100 deductible AND we get an upgrade to a full-sized car with automatic transmission.”

“Oh, come closer, babe. I love it when you talk like that.”

Experts say we should stop and smell the flowers on our holidays and not worry about our Facebook page.

Jim Byers photo

Experts say we should stop and smell the flowers on our holidays and not worry about our Facebook page.

Other folks are packing sexy oils and copies of Fifty Shades of Grey. We’re packing London Life insurance manuals. And the only leather you’ll find on us are our passport holders.

Next on the list, despite our relative willingness to unplug on the road, was our smartphone. After that in packing importance came swimwear (guess where we take most of our holidays?), sunscreen, a razor and sunglasses. After that came a travel guide (I’d argue that a good blog printed out from the Toronto Star’s Travel page would qualify as a travel guide so I’m taking this as a personal victory), then deodorant and, finally, a gym kit. Not that we’d actually use it, but we feel good taking it with us to Miami.

Americans have their priorities right. They list their passport as number one for packing, followed by their smartphone and sunscreen. Travel insurance? Way down at number 10. But we know how Americans feel about insurance, right? Travel insurance is probably some nasty plan foisted on hard-working folks by that socialist in the White House.

As for Canada, it seems we’re willing to unplug. And we won’t lie about our vacations. And we love nothing more than a government- issued document. So if you find someone on the beach next year who doesn’t have their smartphone but has their passport in the pocket of their swim trunks and who’s telling the truth about turning in early and who’s clean-shaven but smells a little bit because they forgot to pack their “Dry Idea,” you’ll know you’ve met a Canadian.

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