Booking platform GetYourGuide.com recently showed the results of a new survey—aimed at uncovering what ‘unforgettable’ experiences mean to U.S. travelers in today’s world—which showed consumers are in search of authentic experiences, avoiding tourist traps when planning itineraries and opting for domestic destinations in 2022.
These trends are expected to play out widely as travel bookings are increasing: GetYourGuide’s U.S. booking volumes have more than doubled compared to pre-pandemic numbers in 2019.
“It’s great to see a renewed desire to discover new and different experiences through travel,” said Caroline Berger, head of brand, the U.S. at GetYourGuide in a news release. “We’ve observed a sharp increase in our U.S. booking volumes as travelers are making up for time lost over the last few years—many of whom are more conscious than ever of avoiding the stereotypical tourist traps. As travelers become more discerning, we will be providing unforgettable experiences for them.”
The report’s results found common themes among those planning to travel and book experiences in 2022. Notable highlights include:
Travelers Going out of Way to Avoid Tourist Traps
As many seasoned travelers know, popular destinations can often include ‘tourist traps,’ identified by survey respondents as attractions lacking in authenticity – inaccurately claiming to be unique and exclusive – with inflated prices, long lines, and/or large crowds, according to a news release.
These ‘traps’ may act as a barrier for travelers when creating their travel itineraries, leading some to change plans or avoid a destination altogether.
- Two out of three (67%) travelers feel they have experienced tourist traps that led to inauthentic experiences.
- More than two-thirds of travelers (68%) say they’ve decided against visiting an attraction or excursion because they were concerned it was a tourist trap, while four out of 10 travelers (41%) say they’ve avoided a destination altogether due to concerns of tourist traps.
Travelers Craving to Explore New, Unforgettable Experiences in Their Backyard
On average, U.S. travelers take around 3 ½ leisure trips per year, and this year, many (55%) Americans are planning to spend their time off within the U.S., opting for beach getaways (44%) and road trips (36%). Among those with 2022 travel plans:
Two-thirds of travelers say that experiencing new and different things (66%), as well as feeling recharged and relaxed (66%) are the main goals of their vacations.
Most travelers plan to go sightseeing (42%) and partake in family-friendly activities (39%).
Travelers ranked favorable prices (54%), having a wide range of activities and experiences (34%), and avoiding big crowds (34%) as top priorities when booking travel experiences.
The top priorities for travelers are having a sense of freedom (38%) and taking part in authentic experiences (37%).
Travelers Valuing the ‘Who’ in Addition to ‘Where’
Whether it is enjoying a new city’s culinary scene, hiking the Grand Canyon, or swimming with sharks, most travelers agree that it’s the people they travel with that contribute to making an experience ‘unforgettable.’ Among the open-text comments requested in the survey, respondents echoed the importance of family, friends and loved ones when creating lasting memories.
- Close to two-thirds (58%) of travelers feel that creating beautiful memories with loved ones contributes to making a travel experience unforgettable, while four out of 10 travelers (38%) say that learning about the history of different sights and places also makes a trip unforgettable.
- ‘Beautiful’ and ‘fun’ were the most mentioned words when asked to describe unforgettable experiences.
1 Survey issued to 2,000 U.S. adults who usually take at least one vacation per year, representative of the U.S. population based on age, gender, and region; surveyed online between March 16-21, 2022.
2 Based on years when there were no restrictions in place due to COVID-19 or anything else; including anything from a ‘weekend away to a longer vacation.