It seems that the standard package holiday just isn’t cutting it anymore, with the more adventurous among us choosing to go on a longer trip with multiple destinations. Whether it’s a Working Holiday in New Zealand, island-hopping in SE Asia or a road trip across the US, travelling has never been easier or more popular. As someone who caught the ‘travel bug’, I wanted to find out what encourages some and prevents others going travelling, and our perceptions of the risks involved. OnePoll polled 2000 UK adults to find out.
Two fifths of those that we surveyed said that they had been travelling, with the average length of their last trip being 5 months. However, 1 in 10 adults who have been travelling went away for 12 months or more, with 5% going travelling for over 2 years!
Three quarters of travellers said they saved up for their trip by working beforehand and just under a fifth worked during their trip. A quarter (26%) of Brits who have been travelling admitted to dipping into their savings account and one in ten (11%) got a credit card to help fund their adventure.
Three quarters (75%) of respondents who have been travelling before said they caught the ‘travel bug’, with 25% already planning or booking their next trip!
You may not be able to put a price on the memories you make or the people you meet when travelling, but the cost of hostel beds, flights, food (and drinking!) soon adds up. So much so that cost was the most common reason for people being put off travelling.
Almost a quarter of female respondents (23%) said they would be put off travelling due to having young children or dependent family members, compared to just 15% of men.
But what compels us to travel? Why do we want to do it? Over half of Brits (57%) said that experiencing new cultures would be important to them.
The cost (59%)
Could be dangerous (28%)
Missing home comforts (27%)
Missing friends/family (24%)
Having to leave work (19%)
Experiencing new cultures (57%)
Creating new memories (44%)
Opportunity to meet new people (33%)
Having a break from work (26%)
Spending time in nature/around wildlife (26%)
The survey also asked respondents about material possessions; what would they take with them and what would the miss the most?
Older panelists were more likely to stick with traditional items compared to younger panelists. 56% of those aged 55+ would take a map of their route with them, compared to just 36% of respondents aged 25-34. This could be explained by the rise in the use of technology, especially by younger travellers, as 64% of young people aged 18-24 said they would take a smartphone travelling, compared to 52% of those aged 55+.
We asked respondents what they would miss the most if they went travelling…
Friends and family (61%)
My bed (49%)
My own toilet/shower (47%)
Reliable WIFI (28%)
Having my own space (25%)
When we think of travelling most people will inevitably think of young twenty somethings, on their gap year. But does travelling have an age limit and if so how old is too old? Many of our respondents felt that there was an age at which people become too old to go travelling, with the average age being 51. I’m sure Keith Wright, an Australian WWII veteran, would disagree. In 2012, at the age of 95, he embarked on his eighth backpacking trip around Europe!
As we saw earlier 28% of respondents said that they were put off travelling because they felt it was too dangerous. But why do they think that travelling is so unsafe?
One possible factor could be the way that travelling is reported in the media and in popular culture. If you watch the news regularly you may see tragic events such as the recent shootings in Tunisa or the horrific bomb explosion in Bangkok, which may put you off seeing the world.
Likewise, watching films such as ‘Hostel’, ‘The Beach’ or ‘Wolf Creek’ you’d be forgiven for thinking that travelling could be very dangerous indeed. And while hitchhiking in the Outback or attending a Full Moon Party may seem risky, the truth is that many travellers do these activities all the time and live to tell the tale!
Almost two thirds (64%) of those who have been travelling feel that the media makes travelling seem more dangerous than it really is. Of those respondents who haven’t been travelling, only 44% felt the same way.
We asked respondents in what ways the media makes travelling seems more dangerous than it really is…
“Always emphasizing the problems in a whole region where only a part of the country is unsafe”
“You only hear about the bad stuff, not the thousands of journeys that take place without incident”
“Travelling is only dangerous if you make stupid decisions. Anyone with common sense can travel safely and have a great time.”
“They sensationalise instances of travellers having problems, and ignore the large numbers of travellers who do not have problems.”
Although many feel that travelling is unsafe, there are obviously those that don’t share this opinion. In fact 84% of previous travellers said they would feel safe travelling by themselves.
Understandably, people who haven’t been travelling before were less likely to take this risk with only 55% saying they would feel safe alone. Male travellers were more likely to travel alone, with almost two fifths doing this, compared to one quarter of female travellers.
Men, generally, appeared more likely to take risks than women. For example over a third of male travellers (35%) said they have hitchhiked while travelling abroad, compared to just 18% of female travellers.
Top 8 risks people have taken while travelling:
Stayed in a hostel dorm (40%)
Got lost (36%)
Travelled alone (32%)
Got sick/ill (29%)
Travelled without insurance (15%)
Been pick-pocketed or had something stolen (12%)
Couch Surfed (12%)
We asked respondents for their best/funniest travelling stories. Here’s the ones that we can actually share…
“A man I met got lost on his way back to his hostel in San Salvador, with nothing but his empty wallet and his hostel key with him. He was very drunk. A man jumped out of an alleyway to mug him. He told the man he had literally nothing. Upon searching him, the mugger realised this was true, and pitied him so much he walked the man back to his hostel!”
“I travelled from Phuket to Krabi on a bus, which broke down and the only transport available was an ambulance. I travelled the rest of the way by ambulance!”
“Drinking wine out of a Frisbee”
“Got totally lost on a mountain and had to spend night in an animal hut before being rescued in morning.”
“I once had a beer and gave it to a walrus”
‘Getting on the wrong train, but enjoying the wrong destination.’