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TripAdvisor® Survey Reveals British Travellers’ Superstitious Beliefs

LONDON, U.K. – 12 March, 2009 – A quarter of British travellers feel more anxious about travelling on Friday 13th than on any other day of the year, reveals new research by TripAdvisor®, the world’s largest travel community.

The TripAdvisor poll of 597 travellers reveals that superstitious “baggage” also weighs heavy with many Britons year-round. Over one in ten (11%) travellers always avoid sitting in seats or rows carrying the number 13, whilst 3% always request their favourite “lucky” seat.

A further 9% refuse to stay in hotel rooms or floors carrying the number 13 – whilst the number seven strikes fear in others, with one TripAdvisor traveller noting, “I do not like the number seven, any numbers including seven or any numbers that add up to seven. I will avoid these at all times. This includes my declining any hotel room involving the number seven.”

A superstitious 15% of British travellers carry a good luck talisman, with a piece of jewellery the most popular choice (37%), followed by a St Christopher medallion (18%) and a photograph of a loved one (3%).

Travel-related premonitions have led 8% of Britons to change their travel plans, whilst 5% pay closer attention to their horoscope on days when they are travelling.

“Whilst horse shoes and four-leafed clovers may do little to prevent service delays or overcrowded trains, it seems that many centuries-old superstitions continue to impact on a significant number of travellers today,” said Luke Fredberg, TripAdvisor spokesperson.

Planes, Trains and Superstitions: Travel Facts 

  • In February 2007, Belgian carrier Brussels Airlines added an additional circle to its logo – a ‘B’ formed of 13-circles – following a flurry of complaints from superstitious travellers.


  • A number of airlines skip row 13, including Air France, Virgin Atlantic, KLM, Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines and Continental.

  • Many hotels omit a 13th floor – including Fairmont hotels in Acapulco, San Jose, Quebec City and Vancouver.

What rituals do you follow, in order to “safeguard” you on your travels? TripAdvisor travellers tell all...

“I must read every part of the flight safety card in detail without being disturbed or interrupted – and if interrupted, I must start reading it again.”

“I would never carry green luggage.”

“I always carry a pencil in my bag, so I can touch wood for luck.”

 “I always touch the fuselage when boarding a flight.”

“I always wear the necklace I’m wearing in my passport photo.”

“On take-off, I grab either the armrests or the person sitting next to me – whether I know them or not, sweat a lot, swear and pray!”


Amelie Hurst

+44 (0) 203 320 3244

Notes to editors:

597 British travellers took part in the TripAdvisor survey (February 2009)