Winston Aldworth is the Herald's Travel Editor.

Winston Aldworth: In the merde

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The "commentator's curse" is one of the neatest things in sport. As soon as the TV pundit observes that someone is playing well, said player wellies the ball into the back of their own net for an own goal.

We got hit with it in the travel department last week. On the day that Travel featured a fabulous campervan image on the cover - with the evocative coverline "Freedom trail" - a freedom camper, allegedly from France, made the news for dropping her trousers in downtown Dunedin and taking a merde in the gutter.

Stay classy, France.

Of course, such behaviour is not to be condoned - whether from freedom campers or locals.

But I was reminded of comments from an English friend of mine, who did a road trip of New Zealand after driving around Australia.

Across the Tasman, she found, towns welcomed freedom campers with facilities - toilets, showers, even open-air gas barbecues.

"It was almost as if towns were competing with each other," she said. "When word gets around that one place has good facilities, you're more likely to go there."

Which means the travellers are more likely to spend their money in the towns with better facilities, too.

How long before some savvy South Island town does the same?

- NZ Herald

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Winston Aldworth is the Herald's Travel Editor.

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