Do not disturb: 1 in 8 people don’t check in with loved ones when traveling

NEW YORK — Do you call your family and close friends when you travel? While one in four “always” keeps in touch with loved ones when traveling (24%), one in eight admit they “rarely” or “never” do and try to enjoy their time away. That’s according to a new survey of about the habits of 2,000 Americans who have traveled abroad within the past five years.

The survey also shows that more than half of Americans who travel internationally require “recovery time” when they first get there (58%). And coming back home isn’t any easier, as the average person spends four days in “recovery mode” after the trip ends.

On average, respondents begin preparing 15 days before an international trip. More than half say they “physically prepare” themselves by practicing their steps or going to the doctor beforehand (58%). Other popular ways people prepare for international travel are by making copies of important documents (37%), arranging to have cell phone service (29%), and purchasing travel insurance (30%).

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of AIG Travel, the survey reveals that many find all of this prep to be worth it, with nearly a third saying international trips are more fun than domestic trips (29%).

What’s your travel personality?

When they travel, respondents identify as “The Planner” more than any other personality type (16%), claiming they’re the one who plans most of the trip and keeps everyone on time. Another 14% say they’re “The Tourist” who always wants to see the sites while 13% are “The Foodie” always interested in trying new cuisine. One in eight admit to being “The Wanderer” who doesn’t stick to plans and finds their own way.

Couple hiking, beautiful view of nature
(© Halfpoint –

While a quarter of those surveyed don’t mind being seen as a tourist when traveling internationally (26%), another 41% say they try to “blend in” so others don’t see them that way.

“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,” says spokesperson Jeff Rutledge, CEO, AIG Travel, in a statement. 

Keep calm and carry on

Even with their research, nearly a quarter of those surveyed have at least three “panic” moments while traveling internationally (23%). The most common moments of panic include issues with their flight being canceled or missed (29%), losing their luggage (23%), or not being able to understand or speak the language of the country they’re visiting (22%).

Americans also share some of the top things to avoid when traveling internationally like engaging in potentially offensive behavior such as gestures or wearing certain clothing (48%) or giving in to people who are trying to sell you something (33%).

Thirty-nine percent of respondents say that safety is always top of mind when traveling internationally. The top safety tips they’d offer are to be wary of your surroundings (39%), keep copies of important documents in a safe place (29%), and research the safety of your intended destination beforehand (21%).

Still, respondents can’t get enough of being abroad, with nearly half saying they plan on traveling before the end of 2023 (47%). Six in ten (61%) are making it a goal to travel more internationally in 2024 than they did in 2023.

“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,” says Rutledge. 

Survey methodology:

This random double-opt-in survey of 2,000 Americans who have traveled internationally within the last five years was commissioned by AIG Travel between September 15 and September 19, 2023. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).