As international travel gains popularity each year, new destinations are added to bucket lists and new travel gadgets and accessories appear on the market. The way we travel has changed in the past few decades, but that age-old itch to explore and discover new places and experiences remains the same. So how and why are people travelling now? The results of Visa’s recently released Global Travel Intentions (GTI) Survey reveal some interesting travel trends — and tips — to keep in mind for 2018.
1. Simplifying payments abroad
For as long as anyone can remember, a standard part of travelling to a foreign country involved exchanging currency. Carrying cash involves time, planning, anxiety about losing money and often, wondering what to do with leftover cash once you return home. In fact, loss or theft of cash is the number one money concern for travellers while on trips. And 72 per cent of people say working to get their hands on foreign currency prior to departure is a waste of time. With more than 46 million merchants accepting Visa around the world, a Visa card is the most important travel accessory you can carry.
TIP: Use your Visa card and pay in local currency for a competitive exchange rate. A whopping 87 percent of travellers have leftover cash after a trip. However, only 29 percent convert it back to currency that can be used at home. Avoid wasting money by sticking to your Visa card and only pulling out cash when needed.
2. People travel because of culture
Of all the places to go in the world, why is it some people choose one place over another? According to Visa’s GTI survey, 41 per cent of people cite “rich culture” and “friendly locals” as reasons to pick a destination. Although famous monuments, great museums and spectacular palaces continue to draw in visitors, the people who live in a traveller’s destination are hugely important.
TIP: Hang with the locals. Check out fun events such as festivals and concerts to make sure you’re not missing the best events in the city you’re visiting. And don’t forget local flavours of the country’s national dishes.
3. Ideal vacations look a little different to everyone
What do you want to get out of travel? Is it to meet new friends, see something in person you saw on television, or fulfill a longtime dream? When vacationing, 63 per cent of travellers are motivated by a combination of reward and achievement. That means to them, an ideal vacation has some combination of relaxation and experiencing new cultures or exotic locations.
TIP: Block out time on your trip to relax and reflect on the experience. It can be easy to plan activities and sights to see, but it’s important to rest in between.
4. People are feeling optimistic about travel
Though they may be excited to get out of their comfort zone, some people have reservations about the safety of travelling to far-off locations, or worry about affording such a trip. However, according to the GTI Survey, people are not letting these factors keep them at home. Globally, only 17 percent of people cited security as a top concern and only 19 per cent chose a destination because it fit their budget. What that says is that people are willing and eager to visit their dream destinations.
TIP: Budget your trip accordingly. A better understanding of what you can spend can help keep your mind at ease during travel.
5. Technology is the new travel companion
The traveller’s well-folded map and dog-eared guidebook might be a thing of the past. As more travellers adopt digital technology, virtually everything they need to navigate fits right in the palm of their hand. What’s more, 88 per cent of travellers have online access while abroad and almost half, 44 percent, use ride-sharing apps to get around once they are on the ground.
TIP: Research apps or technology that might be helpful on your travels. Downloading your bank or credit card apps can help track your money while travelling. As technology continues to revolutionize our daily lives, so it will continue changing how we travel.
Staying on top of trends can allow travellers to plan accordingly. By budgeting, planning, avoiding cash and finding out the best ways to track spending, travellers can get the most from their dream travels — and their wallets. — BPT