How social media impacts travel decisions

From Travel Pulse

Is the fear of missing out (FOMO) making it impossible for Americans to relax on vacation?

A new Travelzoo survey found that conflicting desires are leading travelers to return home from vacation feeling less than satisfied.

“With news feeds full of envy-inducing photos, it is no wonder that travelers feel torn between their desire to post their Instagrammable vacation experiences while also stepping away from it all,” says Mike Stitt, Travelzoo’s president of North America.

“It’s important to get real memories and experiences on your next vacation and not just post about them—actually tasting the truffles before tweeting about them,” Stitt added.

The survey found that 53 percent of respondents feel pressure to book more unique or exotic vacations. Forty percent feel the need to undertake more adventurous travel pursuits.

Adventure is one of the top trends that travelers are looking for. One in six respondents said that they feel compelled to be “more adventurous than they really are.”

Even more travelers believe that, if you aren’t doing something adventurous, you are wasting your vacation.

This feeling is shared mostly by younger travelers. Twenty-four percent of millennials and even more—29 percent—of Gen-Xers felt that they didn’t “experience enough” on their last vacation.

Travelzoo found this feeling of vacation inadequacy can be directly tied to social media.

Photo heavy sights are driving travelers’ need to book more exciting trips. Travelzoo found that nearly half of those surveyed said that social media drives them to experience more and 30 percent said that they consider a destination or activity based on how it will look on social media.

However, while the appearance of the vacation is important, many people are also wanting to disconnect more.

In what seems like a contradiction, half of respondents noted that “cutting digital ties” enhances the appeal of a trip.

This need to relax and enjoy without the perils of social engagement is driven by the desire to cut the cord with email, which is felt by 28 percent of respondents. Many felt the need to disconnect with the news and 22 percent felt too connected to their smartphones and devices.

Despite the yearning for over-the-top adventures, the top goal for travelers is still relaxation, sought by 56 percent of respondents and followed by the desire for good food.

For insight into where U.S. travelers are looking to find an exotic or unique destination, an American Express survey found that destinations in Africa and the Middle East were leading the way.

Beirut and Telaviv were at the top of the list of destinations with bookings up nearly 150 percent.

Other exotic destinations such as Nairobi, Kenya, and Casablanca, Morocco were also top of mind for travelers.

It may be that exotic destinations are big right now, but traveling the U.S. by car is still a major trend. The rise of the American road tripper is well documented but perhaps the appetite for these trips are more adventure-driven  these days—an idea buoyed by the fact that people taking road trips are spending as much or more than they do on other types of vacations.

 

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