Aa recent survey conducted by OnePoll on behalf of AIG Travel reveals more than half of Americans — 58% — who travel internationally require recovery time when they first arrive. Even so, sixty-one percent set a goal to travel more internationally in 2024 than they did in the previous year.
The survey of 2,000 Americans who have traveled abroad within the past five years, found international travel is a struggle going both ways. In fact, upon returning, the average person needs another four days to get back into their normal patterns and routines.
Preparation for international travel begins, on average, 15 days before departure, with more than half of respondents physically preparing themselves by walking more or consulting a doctor. More than a third make copies of important documents, while slightly fewer arranging for cell phone service (29%), and purchasing travel insurance (30%).
But it seems to be worth the extra effort. Of those polled, 29% found international travel to be significantly more fun than domestic trips.
Favorite destinations mentioned the most often included Hong Kong, Machu Picchu in Peru, Cape Town in South Africa, the Great Wall of China, and Sao Paolo, Brazil.
Traveler Personalities and Blending In
Four distinct travel-oriented personalities emerged over the course of the study, with little to no overlap.
“The Planner” emerged as the dominant archetype (16%), claiming responsibility for organizing most of the trip and ensuring everyone adheres to the schedule.
Another 14% identified as “The Tourist,” eager to explore popular tourist sites, while 13% embraced the title of “The Foodie,” always keen to try new cuisines.
One in eight respondents admitted to being “The Wanderer,” preferring to deviate from plans and find their own path.
“Every traveler is unique, but no matter what your travel personality may be, it’s important to be prepared for your trip by understanding any risks at your destination and to always be vigilant and aware of your surroundings,” explains Jeff Rutledge, CEO of AIG Travel.
While 24% say they always keep in touch with loved ones when traveling, one in eight admit they rarely or never communicate with folks back home, just trying to enjoy their time away.
While a quarter of those surveyed don’t mind being seen as a tourist when traveling internationally, just under half say they prefer to blend in or go local to get the best experience on the journey.
From avoiding tourist scams to being mindful of local wildlife and environmental sensitivities, be careful to balance your adventurous spirit with a sense of awareness. Preparation is more than just a practical step; it’s a commitment to responsible travel that enriches the experience for everyone involved.
Safety, Panic Moments, and Future Travel Plans
But international travel isn’t all wine and roses.
Flight-related issues, such as cancellations or missed flights, losing luggage, and language barriers ranked high amongst the routine concerns of international travelers.
While that won’t deter most of the survey respondents, they did recommend several safety measures.
Nearly 30% recommend keeping copies of important documents in a secure place. Another popular suggestion was to do your research ahead of time. Know your destination, and the security and safety precautions before you land in a new city. You can even use street view on Google maps to get a detailed lay of the land.
The number one caution – stay aware of your surroundings. Even if you’d like Liam Neeson to rescue you from terrorists or ill-intentioned nationalists, you’re better off enjoying that in the theaters.
Safety cautions aside, experienced international visitors also shared a few things to be cognizant of. Research and avoid engaging in potentially offensive behavior — certain gestures or clothing choices can be perceived negatively, no matter how innocently you intend them. A third of respondents warned new travelers to be careful giving in to people who are trying to sell you something.
In most cases, once you’ve been overseas, you can’t wait to get back.
“It’s likely that more people will be traveling in 2024, and with new tourism policies being put in place to ensure sustainability in certain destinations, proper advance preparation is key to having an enjoyable journey,” adds Rutledge.
In order to have a successful and stress-free time abroad, the following tips are recommended:
- Do ample research ahead of time — 39%
- Make copies of important documents — 37%
- Share your itinerary with loved ones — 30%
- Keep an open mind to the culture — 30%
- Purchase travel insurance — 30%
It’s also recommended that these five things are avoided while traveling internationally:
- Engaging in potentially offensive behavior — 48%
- Giving in to people who are trying to sell you something — 33%
- Waiting until the last minute to pack — 29%
- Dressing flashily — 25%
- Tiring yourself out too quickly — 22%
In a world where exploration is cherished, look for a balance between preparation and spontaneity, ensuring that international travel remains a fulfilling and enriching experience for all.
This article was produced by Media Decision and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.