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German Vacation Habits (April 1, 2004)

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Perhaps the German vacationer has a lot in common with the cartoon character businessman Scrooge McDuck. He goes through the world ruthlessly and without mercy and lives according to the motto: survival is everything. Except that the German vacationer is less flexible than Scrooge McDuck. And most of all, he is less flexible than marketing expects him to be. Not only is he sitting down in the driver’s seat of his own car, he is also showing himself to be touchingly conservative before every vacation. In the age of the Internet, when every hotel and every vacation park and every tour operator has its own homepage, he continues to get his information from the travel bureau.

He leafs through the catalogs of the operators and relies as always on his own travel experience. “Even for the info-elite with an Abitur or a college degree,” write the Hamburg leisure-time researchers, “information from the travel bureau is more relevant in the decision making process than online offers.”

And after the vacation, hundreds of thousands of Germans will sit down at the computer to vent. For nothing is harder to take than a succession of happy days.

Source: Thomas Niederberghaus, “Wie die Deutschen Urlaub machen” [“How the Germans Vacation”], Die Zeit, no. 15, April 1, 2004.

Translation: Thomas Dunlap

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