The first 24 hours of a vacation are crucial, with nearly half of travelers (46%) believing that the first day sets the tone for the rest of the vacation, and just over one in three (36%) going as far to say that these hours can make or break their trip, according to new research from Booking.com.
Booking.com said it conducted research across over 18,000 people from 25 countries worldwide to investigate what really goes on in the first 24 hours of a vacation.
When respondents were asked about the top things they’d want to do during the first day of their vacation, the results paint an interesting picture of a 21st century traveler. While more ‘traditional’ elements such as unpacking bags (63%), exploring accommodation (60%) and starting to plan for the next day’s activities (53%) came out as the top three activities, the research also shows how varied and much more tech orientated our activities on vacation are today compared to vacations gone by:
- Take the ultimate picture for social media channels (27%, rising to 37% for 18-34 year olds)
- Go online to check out local restaurant reviews (26%)
- Meet someone new/attempt to make new friends (24%)
- Try to improve language skills (16%)
- Order room service (15%)
- Listen to my vacation playlist (13%)
- Check work emails (10%)
In terms of how long it takes travelers to do these activities, results showed that taking pictures for social media channels, checking work emails and ordering room service all tend to happen before the more traditional aspects of a vacation like indulging in our first vacation ice cream and hitting the pool - 47 percent have a treat within the first hour and only 19 percent hit the pool, versus 54 percent who take pictures, 56 percent who check emails and 57 percent who order room service within the same timeframe.
In the first 24 hours of a trip, activities involving accommodation ranked highly in traveler’s list of priorities. Exploring the accommodation came second (60%) and over one third of travelers (36%) said one of their top things to do on day one is to test out the bed, by jumping or having a snooze on it.
Reflecting the importance of getting comfortable in our temporary home base, when asked about the top things to take advantage of in their accommodation in the first 24 hours, the results showed:
- A comfortable mattress (44%)
- An amazing view (39%)
- A hearty breakfast (35%)
- A spacious room (33%)
- Strong Wi-Fi signal (32%)
It appears that some travelers prefer the simple things, with 16 percent saying that anything complimentary is important, 9 percent preferring the mini toiletries and one in 20 (6%) opting to make the most of the “Do Not Disturb” sign.
While nearly four in 10 (38%) travelers believe that the first 24 hours of a trip are the most memorable, high expectations can mean we’re prone to worrying that things won’t go as well as we want with almost one third (29%) saying they worry about things going wrong in the first day. When questioned about what travelers were worried would happen versus what actually happened, it’s clear that we tend to fret more than we need to, Booking.com said:
- Four in 10 (39%) were worried they would lose their luggage; this may be more of an urban myth as only eight per cent had this happen to them.
- Forty percent fretted about accommodation not living up to their expectations but their story had a happy ending as 83 percent were pleasantly surprised when this actually did
- Other anxieties that didn’t materialize include not being able to satisfy hunger by finding a good place to eat (35%) and fretting about falling ill (34%)
- One key worry for travelers was not being able to get online/connect to Wi-Fi (40% worried about this). In actual fact over 7 in 10 (73%) said the opposite was true and they were able to log on to their heart’s content.
On the flip side, perception matches reality when it comes to our vacation hopes with these often being met, Booking.com said. The survey showed:
- Over half (54%) hoped to arrive to perfect weather; actually more than six in 10 (62%) said their wish came true
- One in three (33%) said they’d hoped to make friends with other travelers; we’re a friendly bunch as the same number’s wish came true (32%)
- Just over one in three said they were able to take the best picture for their social media channels (35%, rising to 46% of 18-34 year olds)
- Over a third (35%) discovered a hidden gem
- Nearly one in five (19%) received an accommodation upgrade
- Over one in 10 (13%) must have been speaking the language of love as they actually met a vacation romance in the first day.