Dec 10

Travel Survey: The Results (and Winners) Are In!

First off, thank you to all who completed my travel survey. There were 61 respondents, and, quite frankly, some answers and trends that I did not expect. I guess that’s the whole point of doing surveys, though, hey?

Bamako, Mali - Guy Sleeping on CartThe reason I asked this particular set of questions is that I’ve been playing around with the idea of designing unique tours to Africa—Ghana, Mali, maybe Malawi and Mozambique. There are plenty of safari companies and volunteer exchanges out there, and I didn’t intend to repeat that. My vision is what I call “progressively independent itineraries.” We’d start out as a group who does everything together, then branch off into increasingly individual excursions until everyone is able to experience solo travel like never before. Of course, the “like never before” part has a lot of details behind it, crafted by my own travel experiences.

And guess what I found out from your answers? A trip to Africa, where a plane ticket costs about $1000 USD from London and more than $2000 from Sydney, followed by pretty rough accommodation in an area fraught with disease, likely would *not* be a big draw for people. I’m not kidding.

See, I love Africa in all of its gritty glory. While I want to share it with everyone (and their dogs), the data shows that it’s not a top pick for people, especially when you have limited time and travel dollars, like many of us do. Here’s what your answers told me.

Basic data

  • Q1: Of 61 respondents, 64% were women and 36% men.
  • Q2: Generation X (born 1965-1981, like myself) made up 57% of the respondents, followed by 28% for baby boomers (born 1946-1964). The other age categories had single-digit percentages.
  • Q3: A full 57% categorized themselves as having traveled a lot, followed by 33% who traveled a little, and 8%, a shit ton. Only 1% was in the ‘untraveled’ category. As to why I didn’t assign “trips per year” or some such metric to the categories, I have no reason other than it was more fun to say things like “shit ton.”

More specific data

  • Q4: In response to “what’s the one place you most want to visit,” this requires a table view! Apparently, we’ve all got a different corner of the globe (or beyond) in mind, which is actually pretty cool.


Place Picked by Place Picked by
Australia 5 Africa 1
New Zealand 1 Egypt 2
South Pacific Islands 2 South Africa 1
Hawaii, Fiji/Hawaii 2 Seychelles 1
Pitcairn Islands 1 Madagascar 1
Bora Bora 1 Caribbean 1
Europe 1 Trinidad 1
France 3 Accompong, Jamaica 1
Ireland/Scotland, or Scotland, or British Isles, or London, or Edinburgh, or England/Ireland 8 Key West 1
Barcelona 1 Alaska 1
Italy, or Italy’s Cinque Terra/Amalfi Coast, or Rome, or Italy/Greece/French Riviera 4 China 1
Trans-Siberian Railway 1 Vietnam 1
Norway 1 Himalayas or Cuba 1
Iceland 1 India 3
Israel 1 Mars, space or the moon 3
South America, or Central/South America 4
Peru, or Machu Picchu 2
Argentina 2


  • Big Ben & London EyeQ5: One person chose “tour group” as the ideal way they’d like to travel, 82% said they’d go with a friend or partner, and 17% said they’d go alone.
  • Q6: Suitcase or backpack ran at a near-even split, with 48% choosing the former and 52% the latter.
  • Q7: For accommodation type, the majority – 43% — chose two- or three-star minimum. Four- or five-star got 18% of the votes, one-star received 29%, and 10% chose dirt-bag cheap.
  • Q8: The thousand-dollar mark seemed to be the sensitive price point which most folks don’t want to exceed, as that’s what 39% said. The other price points — $500, $1500 and $2000 – garnered between 15% and 18% of the answers, while we had seven people who confessed to being travel hackers (a goal I’m working my way toward).
  • Q9: I thought it was interesting that the numbers were split when it came to planning – having everything booked vs. winging it. About 56% said they liked their trip to be planned and booked, while 44% preferred less structure.
  • Q10: My apologies for constructing a wonky question/answer format here. I was trying work within my 10-question limit for the free version of Survey Monkey, but the format confused enough people that I didn’t get a full 61 true/false responses. From what I heard, 25 people are scared by tropical diseases, and 21, not so much!

Yaqeta Island, Fiji photo courtesy Francis ZeraNow for the prize draw. There were 47 people who included their contact information, ranging from full addresses to “your friend in ____.” Using the nifty sequence generator on Random.org, the winners are as follows:

  • African mask – Larissa McCormack
  • Fijian brain fork – Miriam Drori
  • Boeing 787 Dreamliner* – Jo-Anne Teal

*not full size

Congratulations, you three! I’ll be sending you all emails soon. The person whose name landed dead last in the sequence, hence the farthest from winning a prize, was Arnesh Ramnarace. Sorry, Arnesh, hope your luck runs better for other things (and look both ways before you cross the street, okay?).

What do you think of the responses? Did anything surprise you? 



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  1. Chris James

    Cool results – it was a fun survey to take part in and congrats to the winners!
    Chris James recently posted…Genesis authority Alan Hewitt drops in for a chatMy Profile

    1. Laura Zera

      Thanks for playing, Chris! :)

  2. Jeri

    Darn, I did not win the brain fork :( Your idea of leading “progressively independent itineraries” is really cool. Would you think about doing it for other countries, or even for places in America?
    Jeri recently posted…The Will to Change: Between a Rock and a Hard PlaceMy Profile

    1. Laura Zera

      Thanks, Jeri. As for doing it in other countries/America, I think I need to chew on that for a bit.

  3. Jo-Anne Teal

    I’m always tickled to be mentioned and the Boeing mini-plane will indeed be my ‘Dreamliner’ :))) One of these days I shall sail the seven seas or at least one ocean and get to Israel…or did I choose Africa? Gosh, I can’t remember now. I would love to explore most of the world. As I get older, I become acutely aware of lyrics from The Circle of Life:
    From the day we arrive on the planet
    And blinking, step into the sun
    There’s more to see than can ever be seen
    More to do than can ever be done
    There’s far too much to take in here
    More to find than can ever be found.

    Thank you to the luck of the random generator! And thanks to you Laura for another interesting, eye-opening post :))
    Jo-Anne Teal recently posted…East HastingsMy Profile

    1. Laura Zera

      Maybe putting the Dreamliner on your shelf and seeing it day after day will transform into something. I did that with a diecast model of a Mini Cooper, red with a white top. Looked at it for four years. Then, all of a sudden, I had one! The power of suggestion and all that, you know?

      1. Jo-Anne Teal

        I’ve got a shelf in my heart full of such dreams. :))
        Jo-Anne Teal recently posted…East HastingsMy Profile

  4. Miriam

    Thank you, Laura! I’ll look forward to receiving the Fijian brain fork. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with it, but whatever it is won’t be what it was originally intended for!

    Just back from a very intensive and most interesting tour of Japan with a great group of people, so if I was the one who chose “tour group,” that’s why. I wouldn’t go with any group, but these were people I knew or who were friends of friends. We did much more than I could have done if I’d planned it myself.
    Miriam recently posted…Jumping at SixtyMy Profile

    1. Laura Zera

      It’s on its way, Miriam! :)

      Hmmm, I’ll have to see if I can find who said ‘tour group.’ And what you pointed out is exactly the advantage of doing a trip with a group — you can cover so much. That you described it as intensive made me chuckle. When I was a student, I visited Israel with a tour group. We got so much history and information in a 10-day trip that I could barely process a simple sentence by the end of it! I’m sure I had a few wires that short-circuited in my brain.

  5. Jo Carroll

    As a Brit, I’m surprised how many people want to come here – given our unreliable weather. I hope we live up to expectations – and make everybody welcome.

    1. Laura Zera

      No offense, but I was surprised as well! But then again, that’s because I’ve been. No, wait, that’s coming out all wrong. When I hadn’t been yet, then it was top of my list, too. :)

  6. Jodi from Heal Now and Forever

    Everything was sort of half and half. Kind of cool!

    1. Laura Zera

      And yet, there was enough there to demonstrate or confirm certain things. For example, I assumed that most of my readers are in the same age range that I am (Gen X), and this survey backed that up. I know it wasn’t super scientific or anything, but it’s good info!

  7. Jagoda Perich-Anderson, M.A.

    This survey was fun. Got me thinking about how my travel preferences have changed over the years–namely I like more comfort nowadays than before. I don’t mind roughing it for a few days but then I want a place with a hot shower and soft bed too. South Africa is still on my list–just have to save up those nickels.
    Jagoda Perich-Anderson, M.A. recently posted…How Does Nelson Mandela Inspire You?My Profile

    1. Laura Zera

      Thanks, Jagoda! And you’re not alone. My standards and/or needs have risen over the last few years, too. I really hope that you get to South Africa in 2014. I’m plotting a way to get back there asap. I really, really miss it. Let me know if you have any travel-planning questions for SA.

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