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Brits vs Americans: Analysing the language around international travel

Perhaps you’ve felt it: a mounting excitement at the prospect of grasping your passport— dusting off the document which grants you the right to roam and explore—and jumping on a plane? We certainly have. And as restrictions ease in the UK, international travel appears within reach.

We wanted to understand what exactly the public are saying when it comes to travelling, particularly in the US and the UK. Are ‘vaccine passports’ putting people off? Or is everyone too excited to care?

Using Relative Insight’s text analysis software, we compared social insights from both sides of the Atlantic to understand the differences between Brits vs Americans. To do this, we ran a social media listening search around the category of ‘holidays/travel’ over the past seven days. We then uploaded this to the platform, splitting by location to create two language data sets and then comparing Brits against Americans. Here’s what we found…

Let’s start with Americans

The anticipation for international travel is real

In comparison to British audiences, Americans are high on the anticipation of international travel. The word someday appears 7.4x more in this data set, suggesting that Americans are optimistically looking forward to future travels. Further, Americans are 3.3x more likely to discuss what they’ll do once they can holiday…dancing, socialising and getting drunk!

Excited to explore beautiful places

The hopefulness and positivity of Americans is a common theme throughout this analysis. We found that Americans are 3.6x more likely to talk about the beauty of destinations they would love to visit, describing places as scenic, beautiful and cool. The phrase wanna travel also appeared more in tweets from the US, implying an excitement and desire to explore.

insight card showing American conversation around travelling to beautiful places

Fake vaccination cards

Across the US, there has been a rapid development in the sale of fake vaccination cards. Americans on Twitter are commenting on this trend, drawing parallels, and pointing out hypocrisy between those forging vaccination cards and the idea that the same group of people often frown upon undocumented immigrants.

insight card showing American conversation around fake vaccine cards

What are Brits saying?

Rules, restrictions and the traffic light system

In our Brits vs Americans comparison, we found that the British conversation around travel is much more cautious. Brits are 2.1x more likely to speak about rules, restrictions and what they are currently allowed to do. Some Twitter users even feel as though the travel restrictions shouldn’t have been eased. Brits claim that the recently introduced traffic light system is both confusing and a “bloody joke”, calling the government out as foolish.

Worried about travel

Whereas Americans’ overall sentiment towards the prospect of international travel is excitement, Brits are worried. Words such as concern, risk and danger are 4.7x more prevalent in tweets from UK users. Much concern stems from the uncertainty of new variants and their threat to the UK’s battle against COVID. Phrases such as stop travel highlight how Brits are exhibiting caution, in comparison to the unbridled enthusiasm of Americans.

brits vs americans insight card showing British conversation around risk of international travel

Staycations

Staycation has become a popular buzzword, with many Brits opting to holiday in the UK over international travel. However, there is some debate on Twitter around the use of the word staycation. Some users felt that the word reflected class issues, remarking that a holiday in the UK is still a holiday – especially for those who cannot afford to travel abroad or have larger families. Travel companies should bear this in mind throughout their comms.

insight card showing British conversation around staycations and international travel

The travel industry has experienced an unprecedented level of disruption since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Travel companies including airlines, hotels, tour operators and shared accommodation marketplaces such as Airbnb could benefit from this kind of social monitoring analysis as a way of understanding the mindsets of travellers as the world begins to reopen. This will support the travel industry as they adjust to operating in a changed world.

Relative Insight unlocks value from your language data, improving any social monitoring analysis you already do. We can help you discover audience insights you didn’t know to look for.

Speak to our team!