Trafalgar: New Research Finds the Wonder of Travel Has Been Lost

Trafalgar has conducted research to learn more about “The Good Life,” or as the tour operator defined it, “everyone’s stated ambition.” The results, Trafalgar says, “were surprising and somewhat disconcerting, with the overall sentiment stipulating that rather than travel evoking wanderlust, the wonder of travel is getting lost.”

Here’s what the study found:

First, Trafalgar sought to find what “The Good Life” means to people. They said it’s:

  • Being able to relax; a time without stress or anxiety
  • Being with people you love; friends and family
  • Being able to have time to remember one’s values and what’s important to you in life
  • Being childlike again; being surprised, learning the new and exploring the different

Ultimately, “The Good Life” is about happiness, wellness and doing something new rather than having things, Trafalgar concluded. Eighty-three percent of respondents said happiness is more important than success; 79 percent said being well is more important than being wealthy; 74 percent said having experiences is more important than having products; 71 percent replied that doing something new is more important than staying in their comfort zone; and 70 percent said trips where you have new experiences are more important than those where you see all the sights.

What’s more, a whopping 93 percent of people said that “travel has traditionally given them distance from their day-to-day life and granted people the time and space they need to stop, switch off and reflect.” Trafalgar says the removal from their daily stresses and experiencing other cultures allow people to gain a sense of what’s important. There is one caveat, however: A staggering 89 percent of people think travel is stressful. Some of the top causes? Time and research needed (50 percent) and pressures of social media (39 percent).

A real issue is that Trafalgar sound travel is losing its charm. Sixty-one percent said that being in places with large crowds is a negative aspect in travel and that two-thirds experienced this during their last trip. Over one-third (37 percent) said they did not see any “real” culture on their last trip and nearly half (49 percent) said they did see “real” culture felt these were not unique. Trafalgar adds “travel has become an overwhelming checklist of things to do,” noting close to half of respondents admitted to feeling guilty when they haven’t seen all the sites.  

Additional stresses from travel include the pressure to post pictures on social media (53 percent), but that, by doing so, people miss the “special moments” by Instagramming their trip (47 percent). Connectivity has caused other issues, as well: Sixty-three percent still check the news while traveling, 57 percent check social media, and 51 percent stay on top of emails.

There is positive news, Trafalgar says. Good travel experiences are when people:

  • Seek out sights others don’t (11 percent are less likely to see the sights everyone else sees and are more likely to think the sights they see live up to expectations)
  • Switch off and relax (20 percent say this helps experience “true relaxation”)
  • Make a real connection with local culture (19 percent want to get off the beaten path, 17 percent want to do something “truly local,” and 18 percent want to connect with locals)

The study was conducted by a third party and included 1,400 participants globally. Find more information on the survey here and an infographic here.

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