Quick. Conjure up a picture of the next vacation you want to take. Thanks to today’s stream of content and our ever-connected lives, you probably have a picture in your head of the dream beach, countryside, or cityscape that you’re dreaming of visiting. Technology’s impact on how, when, and even where we plan our travel is only accelerating. To tap into what this means for our travel planning habits, Cheapflights.com, the online leader in finding and publishing travel deals, surveyed over 1,000 Americans on everything from the primary reason they travel to the events in their lives that trigger them to look for a flight. The findings reveal Americans have big travel aspirations but are amazingly practical in much of their planning.
Underscoring that we’re a country of travel dreamers, 64 percent of those surveyed reported having a “bucket list” of destinations they hope to visit one day. For women, in fact, that number is 68 percent. But we are drawn to travel for a mix of reasons. The biggest driver was “adventure and exploration” (27 percent) followed closely by “rest and relaxation” (25 percent). Other top choices were “new experiences” (16 percent) and “time away with family and friends” (15 percent).
In today’s mobile world, planning a vacation can happen anytime and anywhere. With access to mobile flight search to a constant social media stream of travel photos and flight deals, travel inspiration is literally in the palm of your hand. Cheapflights.com set out to get to the bottom of when, where, and why Americans search for travel by surveying over 1,000 Americans on their travel habits, from dreaming to doing and everything in between.
Showing our practicality as travelers, a good deal has triggered an overwhelming majority (73 percent) of those surveyed to search for a flight. Other than a deal, our wanderlust is most often sparked by others, with 30 percent reporting they have searched for flights after hearing about someone else’s trip. Additionally, a TV show or movie with a cool setting has inspired 18 percent of Americans to research flights.
On a more personal level, a bonus or raise has sent 19 percent of us looking for flights while 9 percent have searched for flights while still on vacation. And, in an unlikely parallel, 6 percent have looked for flights both when they’ve fallen in love and when they’ve had a bad day at the office.
Technology has changed not just how we dream about travel but also how we find and book our trips. In today’s mobile world, flight searches can and do happen anytime and anywhere. Places respondents have searched for flights include: while watching TV (72 percent), while eating lunch at their desks (38 percent), in the bathroom (20 percent), at a bar or restaurant (14 percent), on the way back from vacation (12 percent), commuting to and from work (9 percent), in a work meeting (8 percent) and in class (7 percent).
“We’ve witnessed a massive shift in the last few years to a mobile-centric world,” said Amanda Festa, editor at Cheapflights.com. “By offering up everything from an endless Instagram feed of travel inspiration to text alerts for fare sales to full-featured app and mobile sites for finding and booking flights, hotels and other travel offerings, our phones and tablets have become our de facto travel agents. The ability to imagine and the opportunities to explore are now, literally, in the palm of our hand.”