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Tuck-shop tourists are on the rise

Jul 16, 2008

A fifth of British holidaymakers pack familiar food into their suitcase, such as baked beans, cornflakes, soup and even tea bags, to avoid getting an upset stomach when they go abroad.

More than a quarter of travellers claim to have suffered food poisoning while on holiday, with the average sufferer being laid up for two days.

The fear of getting ill in a foreign country has spurred nearly 20 per cent of families - dubbed tuck-shop tourists - to take tinned food, cereals and biscuits with them, according to research.

The survey, by Halifax Travel Insurance, shows we are worried about drinking the water too.

Almost half those who travel overseas, even to nearby Northern Europe, refuse to trust the local tap water and only drink the bottled kind.

Psychology professor Cary Cooper, from Lancaster University, said we like to take our own food abroad with us because we like to have a 'comfort blanket.'

He said: "I think a lot of it depends on where people are going on holiday.

"If they are going to somewhere where the food and water is known to cause problems then they might take their own food to get around that.

"But if it's happening with places like Spain or France where the food is perfectly ok then I think the food is being taken as a psychological comfort blanket.

"It's likely to be those people who are quite insecure and unsure about travelling and also not quite sure what they will find when they reach their destinations."

Tea bags head the top 10 list of food and drink items that holidaymakers take abroad, followed by biscuits, chocolate, ketchup, Marmite, crisps, brown sauce, beer, corn flakes and baked beans.

The survey of 2,000 adults found that Spain was the country where most Britons fell ill, with Greece, Turkey and Egypt next on the list.

Vicky Watson, spokeswoman for Halifax, said: "Brits have become increasingly adventurous in recent years when it comes to eating out on their own doorstep.

"But for some reason, that attitude disappears completely for many when they head abroad.

"'Tuck Shop Tourists' are the type who fill their suitcases with tins of beans and packets of soup, biscuits and cornflakes, rather than go all out to sample the local delicacies.

"But if you just use a little common sense when abroad there's really no need to cram your case full of food from home.

"It's always a good idea to eat where the locals eat, and seek recommendations from fellow tourists when you arrive.

"When it comes to water, many of us buy it in bottles when we're at home, so buying bottled water when abroad should be second nature.

"And if you do plan to take food or alcohol, you should always seek advice from your travel operator or the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on possible importation bans before travelling."

Tuck-shop tourists are on the rise

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