So much of life is governed by “unwritten rules,” but beaches and pools are surprisingly short of convention to cite. Public opinion is all over the map on what matters most – and what can lead to a heated conversation. But, there are still a few hot buttons that irritate the world. According to a recent survey of 3,800 people by TripAdvisor, 69 percent encounter some breach of etiquette, with 13 percent taking the cynical view that everyone breaks these undocumented standards.
The most common violations at the beach and pool are hogging beach chairs, pissing in the water and littering, while the most annoying are loud music, smoking and, yet again, draining into the water … though you can get away with doing this in the ocean if you aren’t too close to anybody. And, in praise of double standards, more respondents believe that women can get away with skimpy beach gear than feel men should wear speedos.
So, what enrages?
Hogging beach chairs: if you’re “saving” a chair for someone for to use later, 84 percent of TripAdvisor readers think you’re an asshole. According to a TripAdvisor Destination Expert, “My bugbear is when people throw a towel over one of the highly sought-after sun lounges/cabanas, and then go AWOL.”
“Bugbear”? Eh …
Unleashing the stream: 16 percent of survey respondents called this the most annoying breach of pool and beach etiquette, but 53 percent will piss in the ocean if nobody’s around.
Smokers blow: 82 percent want to ban poolside smoking, and 62 percent don’t want you puffing at the beach. Says one of these Destination Experts, “I can’t stand when on a crowded beach day people smoke one foot away from you, and then discard their butts in the sand…I don’t care at all if people choose to smoke as long as it doesn’t affect me or the beauty of the beach!”
Washing off not a big deal: 14 percent of travelers don’t bother to shower before they go into a pool (hell, it has all that chlorine anyway, right?), and 37 percent do so rarely. A substantial 69 percent find it acceptable not to bother cleaning up before swimming.
Stay away: if the beach isn’t crowded, 38 percent of respondents believe you should set up camp at least 20 feet away, and 22 percent think seven feet to 10 feet is acceptable. When the beach is crowded, you should stay at least six feet away. According to one of these TripAdvisor Destination Experts, “I find the perfect spot on the beach, far away from the intrusion of kids, pets, and game players. Then a family of 12 with undisciplined kids sits right next to me! When the beach is empty move over!”
Watch what you wear: 76 percent of respondents don’t think it’s a big deal for women to wear revealing bikinis (no word on whether hotness matters), but only 65 percent say the same for men and speedos. Only 14 percent think speedos are only appropriate in the United States. One of the Destination Experts is irritated by people who “either go topless or wear tiny little dental-floss bikinis on the beach or by the pool.” Again, I say don’t judge until you see the body that’s barely covered.
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