NEW YORK — “Will my vacation photos be a hit on Facebook?” This is a question many travelers are actually asking themselves and taking into consideration before booking a trip, a new survey finds.
Researchers at Travelzoo, a travel deals platform, commissioned SWNS Media Group to administer a questionnaire to 1,000 American consumers, hoping to evaluate the priorities of today’s traveler.
Fifty-three percent of respondents indicated that they felt pressure to book unique or exotic vacations, while 40 percent expressed a need to take notably adventurous trips. In fact, about a third of the survey’s participants said that a vacation would go to waste if an adventurous activity wasn’t part of the itinerary.
This sentiment was especially the case for younger travelers — 24 percent of millennials, and 29 percent of Gen Xers — said that they felt they had wasted a significant portion of their time while away, which resulted in a sense of not experiencing enough.
Why such pressure or strong feelings of “wasting” the experience? Social media. Almost half of the respondents (47 percent) indicated that social media puts added pressure to go on an exhilarating vacation catered for social platforms. That is, people feel the need to have incredible photos to share or they simply see friends taking unconventional trips, making the yearly beach getaway seem like a bore.
In fact, 30 percent of the participants said that they actually book trips based on whether or not they think their photos will be a social media slam dunk.
“With newsfeeds 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, in a press release. “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!”
Interestingly, there was also a strong pull for many respondents to disconnect, as half said that getting away from technology devices made a trip alluring.
The most common reasons provided for wanting to eschew electronics were a compulsion to checking email (28 percent), a desire to escape the news cycle (27 percent), and feeling phone dependent (22 percent).
Overall, the top two priorities of travelers were to relax and enjoy great food, respectively.
Forty-four percent of those surveyed said that having an original or meaningful experience played a great role in selecting a trip, and one-fourth — led by millennials and Gen Xers — prioritized personal or spiritual growth.
It would seem that for many travelers, a balance between memorable in-person and social moments is elusive, yet highly coveted.
The survey, conducted in late July, was completed over the internet.