Pinpointing the dream vacation

By By Jeri Clausing

*logoWhat do luxury travelers want?

It’s the question that travel companies, travel publications and travelers themselves never grow tired of asking and answering.

Two new surveys that attempt to identify luxury travelers' dream vacations show that trips focused on adventure and health continue to top the list of preferred experiences.

Virtuoso has just released its eighth annual Travel Dreams survey, which also categorizes respondents in five different “travel personalities.”JeriClausing 

Given the growing focus on adventure and health-based travel, it’s not surprising that the largest group, or 24% of the 8,830 respondents from 33 countries, identify themselves as go-getters, or active, adventurous travelers who “want to see and do it all on their vacations.”

Among their dream vacations: traveling the Trans-Siberian Railway, cruising the Amazon, ziplining with the kids in Costa Rica and biking with the family through Tuscany.

Seventeen percent identify themselves as “trendsetters” -- those who are all about making it to the hottest emerging destinations. Among their dream vacations: Going on safari in Namibia, heading to space with Virgin Galactic, river cruising in Myanmar and wine tasting in Chile.

A separate survey by Spafinder Wellness 365 Research said that 62% of North Americans would like to take a vacation where healthy activities are the primary purpose of the trip, and one in five report they have already taken a wellness-oriented vacation.

The more than 1,000 consumers surveyed last month for the Spafinder Wellness survey also ranked the activities that are most important during a wellness-focused getaway. Healthy meals topped the list at 70%; outdoor and nature experiences came in second at 58%; fitness activities and classes at 56%; and yoga at 43%.

“The fact is that summer vacation is the only real vacation, outside of standard holidays, that most North Americans get to enjoy, so how they spend it is becoming increasingly important,” said Spafinder Wellness 365 Chief Brand Officer Mia Kyricos. “Our job is to make it easy for people to add healthy experiences to their lives every day by offering destinations, tips and special offers at thousands of locations worldwide.”

Still, the Virtuoso survey shows there remain plenty of traditional luxury travelers and those looking for nothing more than a relaxing week on the beach.

In the Virtuoso survey, 21% identified as “connoisseurs,” those who like the best of everything, and indulge their interests and passions while traveling. Their dream vacations: exploring Saint Petersburg, French wine-country cruises, taking the kids to the Swiss Alps in the summer, family pasta-making lessons in Italy and dinner dates in Paris’ five-star restaurants.

Twenty-percent are “classic travelers,” those who are loyal to the places they love. Their dream vacations include taking over a French villa with their family, going on a world cruise or riding the Orient-Express.

And 18% of respondents are “relaxationists,” those who travel to get away from it all and restore and rejuvenate. Their dream vacations: lounging on a beach in Tahiti, staying in a Paris apartment or relaxing in the Maldives or the French Riviera.

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