Americans’ Travel Bucket Lists and Barriers to Travel

LoveHomeSwap commissioned a survey company to research American’s travel desires. The survey, conducted in July, included 1000 people ages 21+.  The results give some insight into travel interests, but perhaps more interesting are the barriers to travel.

Of the 77% of Americans who have a travel bucket list, the most desirable countries to visit were:

  • 55% Japan
  • 34% Finland
  • 34% Thailand
  • 28% Portugal
  • 26% Argentina
  • 19% Singapore
  • 14% Croatia
  • 5% Slovenia

    Japan wins as a top travel destination for Americans

I’m surprised by Finland, and also Slovenia. I’ve never met someone who professed a strong desire to visit either country. Though both are definitely of interest to me (and the two places I’ve never been from this list). The popularity of Finland makes me wonder if I missed some pop culture reference recently (a movie perhaps?) set in that country.

When asked how likely it is that they will visit destinations on their bucket list, people responded:

  • 3% have already visited all the destinations on their bucket list
  • 52% are likely to visit a destination on their bucket list
  • 45% are unlikely to visit a destination on their bucket list

Why are so many people unlikely to visit a destination on their bucket list? Well, for most it’s cost. But there are some other interesting reasons:

  • 85% cost is an issue
  • 21% dream big, but tend not to follow through
  • 19% don’t have anyone to travel with and they don’t want to travel alone
  • 17% have too many places they want to travel to
  • 14% want to experience the destination like a local, but don’t know how to
  • 5% don’t think that hotels provide a comfortable travel experience as they don’t have enough space

I suspect there is a bit of bias in this survey, introducing potential answers that are of interest to a home exchange company (the sponsor). That doesn’t make the results irrelevant, but I’m betting there are other important answers to this question that we are missing from the list entirely. For instance, I don’t see “difficulty of organizing a trip” on here, which I’d expect a lot of people to list as a barrier.

These results are quite interesting for LoveHomeSwap, the sponsor of the survey, since their business focuses on home exchange. House swapping makes travel quite a bit cheaper. I find lodging to be at least half the cost of a trip when staying in hotels. So it would be interesting to learn if those for whom cost is an issue would be more likely to travel if the trip was half the cost. Home Exchange also addresses the complaints of 5% of think hotels aren’t comfortable, and to a lesser degree could help with those who want to experience a destination like a local. Hosted home exchanges could even address the issue of traveling alone.

The survey also asked respondents their views on home swapping:

  • 4% have done a home swap
  • 14% plan on home swapping, but haven’t yet
  • 20% are nervous about someone staying in their home
  • 29% are not familiar with home swapping
  • 34% aren’t interested in a home swap

This suggests there is a huge untapped market for home exchange. Between the unfulfilled travel desires of 74% of Americans (3% have already visited all the destinations on their bucket list), and the people unfamiliar with, nervous about, or planning on home swapping, that’s a lot of opportunity for growth of home exchange.

Finally a quick comment on who this survey represents. I don’t have much information on the methodology behind the population sampling. And of course the financial situation of the respondents will have a big impact on their responses. I’m not sure which portion of Americans this survey represents. The survey was conducted by M Booth, and according to them: “…compared to syndicated benchmarking studies, the data is representative of the US population and typically has a margin of error of +/- 3% (95% confidence, based on 1,000 respondents).”

1 Comment

  1. yes, this study seems weird to me…No France in the top, which is still the first touristic country in the world for foreign arrivals. Slovenia and Finland are not very known even here in Europe, so very surprising that so much Americans would go there, unless their was a tv program about it or something, otherwise I don’t understand 🙂

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