NEW YORK — There’s no place like home for the holidays, but according to a new survey of 2,000 Americans, that isn’t necessarily a positive. A significant 21% of respondents said that holidays spent at home consistently fail to meet their expectations. Consequently, many indicated they are considering traveling next year.
The survey, commissioned by Heathrow Airport in London, also revealed that many people are flat out bored by typical holiday traditions. Among respondents who have traveled before, and celebrate both Thanksgiving and Christmas, 71% said they are open to celebrating this year in a “non-traditional” way.
Interestingly, despite this clear desire among many to spice things up, many Americans are stuck in the same routine year after year. In all, 72% of respondents report having a set tradition of how they celebrate the holidays each year, and 63% said they would feel guilty if they didn’t follow their usual routine.
Besides just guilt, the survey’s participants listed off a variety of other factors stopping them from heading to the airport each holiday season. Many said they would hate to miss a holiday celebration with friends and family (52%), while others said they don’t want to waste an opportunity to greet family members they rarely see (49%). Others simply don’t want to miss out on holiday food (37%), or can’t afford the expense of traveling (34%).
If we break the results down by age group, millennials are the most open to breaking holiday tradition. Respondents between the ages of 23-38 indicated more than any other age bracket that they would like to spend the holidays traveling with friends and family.
So, where would Americans like to get away to? The most popular destination listed was Europe (35%), followed by the Caribbean (25%), and Australia or New Zealand (21%).
A large portion of respondents (43%) also noted that the holidays are a perfect time to plan a trip that involves some family history. For example, a family of French descent opts for a visit to Paris.
Of course, there are other benefits to travel, with 55% of respondents stating they’ve made new connections and friendships while traveling. Among that group, 42% have been able to maintain that friendship, 22% have kept in touch and made plans to meet up again, and 11% have even made a romantic connection while abroad. All in all, 68% said they are still in touch with someone they’ve met while traveling.
If you’re wondering where to go to meet people in a new place, most respondents said they met friends through travel activities (46%), while others listed coffee shops (16%) and the airport (11%) as great places to meet fellow travelers. In all, eight in 10 respondents agree that traveling offers a tremendous opportunity to meet new people.
Survey participants were also asked about the biggest positives when it comes to travel. The top five responses were: seeing a new place (72%), experiencing something new / having an adventure (51%), enjoying a break from everyday life (49%), witnessing a new culture (37%), and meeting new people (23%).
The survey was conducted by OnePoll.