Infographic: Reasons Why People Travel Abroad


A shout of gratitude to every reader who comments on travel blogs and in forums. Your honesty is the foundation for this infographic about the reasons why people travel abroad.

Travel is huge. According to the World Tourism Barometer there were over 1.1 billion international tourist arrivals in 2014. Significantly more than my wife or I can count on our fingers. To understand these nomads we Googled the reason why people like travel.

Dazed by 1.57 billion web results we exhumed the reasons by slogging through individual blog comments and travel forums. Again, thank you commenters; we love you and we used you. We grouped people’s reasons for traveling abroad into six categories.

Like this? Leave a snarky comment about this infographic to provoke our next travel topic.

Reasons Why People Travel Abroad Infographic

This is why people love to travel:

32% – People and Culture

Curiosity about how others live is the foremost reason people travel.

Learning not to point with chopsticks, and eating the Australian witchetty grub or Icelandic puffin heart. Yum yum. Traditions entice the web-commenting traveler to go abroad.

Learning at home: what a chore, what a bore. Intrepid travelers want to climb over ruins and give history meaning. They are overseas to chat up the waitress in her own language.

Is immersing in someone’s culture why you like traveling?

24% – Perspective

Gaining outlook is the second most popular reason why people travel abroad.

While abroad, vacationers realize how messed up their priorities are. Bhutan has developed a Gross National Happiness measure for the lives of its citizens, which sounds nice. Meanwhile in Canada, workers feel guilty about wanting the vacation time just to visit Bhutan. Two different perspectives on what’s important.

At home the news makes people fear the world. But savvy travelers knows the media is skewing their perspective, so they leave home to correct it. People are traveling to form their own opinions.

Does travel challenge your understanding of life?

14% – Adventure

Escaping from an ordinary life provides motivation to travel.

Grey cloth walls, grey suit-wearing colleagues, and grey attitudes towards work. Breaking the routine is the reason why 9 to 5 workers are traveling abroad. And when they arrive their inner Vin Diesel breaks out to go jet boating, mountain trekking, or bungee jumping.

Excitement is why people like to travel. Crossing the road in Vietnam, taking public transit in Zambia, or scrumming in a Chinese queue gets the tourist blood pumping.

When you return from traveling does home life seem like a snooze?

11% – Personal Growth

People travel because it makes them better.

Do you remember How Stella Got Her Groove Back or Eat Pray Love? Sure the transformation was all in these ladies’ minds, but traveling abroad did support their personal development.

Internet commenters are using travel to discover their strengths and weaknesses. Overcoming challenges, and growing because of it, is my particular favorite reason for traveling.

Will your next vacation bring personal fulfillment?

7% – Earth’s Beauty

The world is one sexy place and seeing it all is why people travel.

National Geographic-level photographers armed with posh cameras fail to capture the emotion of the Grand Canyon. So tourists flock to Earths stunning landscapes to experience Mother Nature for themselves. Then they buy t-shirts and mini-donuts.

Funny that the people who live next to natural wonders often fail to appreciate them.

Do you travel to experience the only world we have?

12% – Others Reasons

With a billion tourists each year internet forums are filthy with distinctive travel motives.

Not popular enough to make our cut: the love of planning, romance, relaxing on a beach, sex, being anonymous, partying, having a story to tell, and traveling just to say you’ve been there.

What’s your unique reason for traveling abroad?

Information Exclusions

It’s doubtful that anyone only has one reason why they like to travel. Yet when prompted on the internet commenters could narrow their motives down. Our infographic represents the most prevalent reasons genuine people listed when commenting on blogs or in travel forums.

To keep our data pure we set a few rules. We ignored the opinion of anyone who spoke for more than themselves. Starting a comment with “People like to travel because …” guaranteed exclusion from our tally. We also ignored the “lost bloggers”.

Lost bloggers are the few who haven’t realized that public forums are not their soapbox. A detailed response is nice, but that doesn’t mean you should promote your blog by copying an entire 500 word post into a forum. Bonus to those who pasted irrelevant photos along with their extensive responses. Too bad your opinion didn’t make our cut either.

What do you think?

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