Traveling should be a happy, rewarding, and thrilling experience. But for a select few, the process of boarding a plane, taking a train, or driving to a brand new destination can be downright miserable.
According to RewardExpert, a free service that helps people maximize their credit card points and travel rewards, those grumpy travelers are pretty easy to identify, because they all come from certain U.S. states.
In a new analysis, RewardExpert looked at a data set of 878,561 user reviews from 4,333 hotels that include both the reviewer’s location and a numerical rating. From there, they identified people from the states that left the grumpiest, saltiest reviews. The grumpiest location, according to the company’s findings, was Washington, D.C.
“To determine our list, we ranked states by three key metrics: the number of one- and two-star reviews proportional to population; the number of one- and two-star reviews as a proportion of all reviews from that state in our data set; and the overall average rating for all reviews by users from that state,” RewardExpert CEO and co-founder Roman Shteyn said in a statement. “We then combined these three into composite scores for grumpiness. This allowed us to account for each state’s population share and to adjust the available data to make it more representative of the country’s population distribution.”
According to the findings, our nation's capital is home to the grumpiest tourists nationwide. In fact, it was home to the most over-represented group in the company’s set of negative hotel reviews, with 882 more than RewardExpert estimated based on the district’s 0.2% share of the U.S. population.
The second grumpiest state was Colorado, according to the analysis. Coloradans left the lowest average hotel rating in the country (3.82 on a five-point scale out of 4696 reviews). Oregon rounded out the top three grumpiest states, with 14.98% of Oregonians leaving negative reviews, 33% more negative reviews than expected, and an average rating of 3.88.
On the flip side, people hailing from Louisiana are the happiest and most satisfied tourists and left the highest national average hotel rating of 4.18. Mississippians and New Hampshirites rounded out the top three states with the happiest tourists.
“We can’t help but make judgements about people based on where they are from,” Shteyn added. “It is common belief that Southerners are known for their kindness and hospitality, whereas New Yorkers are perceived as rude and loudmouthed. Yet do any of these conceptions hold true in practice? By analyzing user review data, we set out to achieve an objective assessment of which states are most and least good natured.”
While the findings are interesting they should be taken with a big grain of salt. People from Washington D.C. could, after all, just all coincidentally stayed at bad hotels, or all experienced a collective weather event that set their vacations back.
But, if you’re from D.C., or somehow just experiencing a bad vacation, there are ways to fix it so you can at least maximize the time you have left. The key to enjoying your trip, according to Utrip CEO, Gilad Berenstein, is to take full advantage of the experience and find the most authentic experiences possible in any destination.
“I was doing that same top 10 cookie cutter thing that everyone who has been to Europe has done,” he told Travel + Leisure. “People talked about the hidden restaurants. They talked about that random concert they went to. The picnic they had. The person they met who took them somewhere,” he added. “It’s not necessarily unplanned ... but it was really unique and special to that destination.”
So next time your vacation goes sour try to regroup, find a local, and try to get off the beaten path to fully immerse yourself in your destination.