Are You Guilty of Destination Dishonesty?

Posted by Sue Anderson, 20th Oct 2015

If the holidays you've been on or the places you've visited don't look all that impressive on paper, it's probably tempting to bend the truth a little; either by being vague about the number of places you've been to or talking up the things you did in countries you have visited.

But telling people you've been on a tropical jungle safari when you've actually been to an all inclusive beach resort in Spain might be a stretch too far. You will be found out! We spoke to 2,023 people aged 18 and over from around the UK to find out how common lying about travel was.

1 in 5 Britons Lie About How Well Travelled They Are

First of all, we asked everyone taking part the question 'Have you ever lied about how well travelled you are (e.g. over exaggerating the number of places you've visited or saying you've been somewhere you haven't)?' A total of 21% of the respondents confessed to us that they had. These people were then asked who they had lied to in the past about this topic (they could select more than one answer if they had fibbed to multiple people), revealing the following top five answers:

1. Work colleagues - 47%

2. Stranger - 38%

3. Partner - 19%

4. Friends - 15%

5. Relatives - 9%

People Lie About Travel To 'Seem More Interesting'

When the relevant respondents were asked why they had lied about and over exaggerated their travel experience, the majority of people (47%) admitted that it was so they could 'seem more interesting'; whilst 24% revealed that their motive for lying was 'to compete with others'. 12% admitted they 'didn't know' why they had lied. 38% of the people who had lied were later caught out and had to confess to their dishonesty. Whoops!

A further 5% of the total respondents admitted that they had done the opposite and had actually downplayed the number of places they had been or the destinations they had visited. When asked why they felt the need to do this, 64% said it was because they didn't want to 'seem like a show off'. Hey, there's nothing wrong with telling people where you've been and what you've seen. Sharing your travel knowledge and experiences might inspire them to follow suit.

Travel Liars Most Commonly Say They've Been To Thailand, When They Haven't

We asked anyone who had lied about their previous travel experiences (in the sense that they had said they'd been somewhere that they hadn't) to name the places they had lied about. The most likely places for people to say they've visited when they actually haven't were revealed to be 'Thailand' (12%), 'USA' (9%) and 'Australia' (7%).

Lying about where you've been or seen in the world is a risky game to play. What if you tell someone you've been to Sydney, for instance, and the person you're telling has been there too and wants to get into an in-depth conversation about what you did when you were there? People are bound to get caught out when telling fibs about travel, as our results found.

We think it's quite sad that some people lie about their travel experiences. It probably, in part, stems from a desire for them to get out and actually see the places they are lying about having visited. All we can say is that through a bit of dedicated saving and good planning, there's nothing to say you won't ever be able to visit the places you want to go. Just don't start telling people you've been there before you actually have!
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