Travellers today crave experiences over possessions. Forget the latest gadget or designer bag; most travellers (67%) would rather spend their money on adventures that create lasting memories. This shift in priorities is driving a boom in the travel industry, with people prioritising trips even if it means cutting back in other areas. A whopping 73% of travellers say travel is a consistent priority, and a remarkable 95% are willing to make sacrifices to make their dream vacations a reality.

But what exactly makes a trip so transformative? The recent TripAdvisor Experience of Travel Survey reveals three key findings that travel companies and destinations should consider.

1. Transformation Through Travel

As we know, travel has the profound ability to change us. A significant 69% of respondents agreed that their most recent fulfilling trip catalysed personal growth. This transformative power is particularly pronounced among younger generations, with 77% of Millennials and 74% of Gen Z reporting significant personal growth from their travel experiences.

2. Memorable Moments

These transformative experiences often stem from incredible memories made during the trip. When asked about the most crucial factor for a memorable trip, 87% of travellers pointed to in-destination activities. For many travellers (53%), the activities they choose are a big part of why they pick a destination in the first place. Looking ahead, over half (56%) of travellers say activities are crucial for creating a fulfilling and unforgettable trip.

3. The Power of Every Piece

While activities play a starring role, a fulfilling trip is about the complete experience. Nearly all travellers (95%) participated in at least one activity on their most recent fulfilling trip. But other aspects matter too. Comfortable and memorable accommodations are essential to 79% of travellers. In comparison, great restaurants and bars contribute to some of the most memorable moments for 73%. Every part of the journey matters, and these details make a trip truly fulfilling.

Travellers with Options

Travellers today have access to a broader range of experiences than ever before. Online platforms like SafariQuest have transformed how we plan trips, offering access to hundreds of thousands of activities you can book throughout your journey. The survey results reflect this, with 84% of travellers booking activities online. Interestingly, younger travellers lead the charge, with 79% of Gen Z booking activities before their trip.

Positive Experiences Lead to Repeat Business

Travel companies and destinations take note: a positive experience of travel is the key to repeat business. A fulfilling trip creates long-lasting memories that make travellers crave the positive emotions associated with a place, activity, or brand. An incredible 97% of travellers would return to the same destination, and many already have. Similarly, 90% would repeat their loved activities, and 59% say their recent trip will change how they approach future travels.

Travel Demand Shows No Signs of Slowing

The travel industry is booming, and there’s no sign of a slowdown. Even with a potentially changing economic landscape, a substantial 73% of travellers plan leisure trips next year, with over half (52%) planning to travel more in the next year than the last.

The experience of travel is more important than ever. By understanding what travellers crave – transformative experiences, memorable activities, and a focus on the complete journey – travel companies and destinations can position themselves to capture a growing market hungry for adventure. So, dust off your suitcase, plan your next adventure, and prepare to make memories that will last a lifetime.