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10 reasons why we love to travel, ranked by the UK

Posted on August 18, 2022 by Kelly Johnstone
A father embraces his young daughter while having fun in the sea on holiday

Holidays are a luxury that many of us use as something to look forward to. A chance to relax, unwind and escape our everyday lives.

But what do we REALLY love about travel? And do these opinions change as we get older? We asked 2,500 people in the UK aged 16+ for their thoughts.

So read on for the top 10 reasons why people love to travel…

senior couple having a relaxing moment in a hammock by the sea

1. 3 in 4 people love to relax on holiday

Most people agree that they love to relax on holiday. Having a chance to sit back and do absolutely nothing, with nowhere to be and no-one to see.

The group most likely to indulge in relaxation on holiday are those between 35-44 years old, with 80% agreeing with the statement. Unsurprisingly, 16-24 year olds are least likely (64%) out of all age groups to sit back and relax when abroad.

This suggests that the younger group go on holiday in search of vibrance and excitement, quite the opposite to rest and relaxation.

A mother and her two young daughters making memories on a rollercoaster ride

2. 73% of us travel to make memories

Making memories is an important part of travel for nearly 3 in 4 of us making it our second biggest love of holidays.

We found that 16-24 year olds are least likely to travel to make memories with only 62% agreeing, closely followed by over 55s, where 67% agreed. This suggests that both the youngest and oldest age groups are more interested in living in the moment as compared to 25-54 year olds. For the over 55s, this might also suggest an attitude of ‘been there, done that’, where they no longer need to make memories, and instead choose to revisit treasured places.

In comparison, the most likely group to love travelling to make memories is the 35-44 year olds with 77% agreeing.

The 25-34 year olds actually rated making memories as their top love of travel, before relaxing.

This suggests that the groups most likely to be travelling as young families are focused on making memories for their children. From experiencing a first flight, to visiting a childhood bucket list location like DisneyWorld, these are important milestones for children and parents alike that are often cherished forever.

3. 67% love having time to unwind on holiday

When our lives are full of the hustle and bustle and stress of everyday life, holidays give us a great opportunity to unwind. And to take things a little slower to recharge our batteries.

Those that are least likely to travel to unwind are the youngest groups.

Just over half (51%) of the youngest age group (16-24 year olds) love to travel to unwind. In comparison, 77% of 45-54 year olds travel to unwind.

This suggests that working adults want a break from the stresses of life and work – where those that are younger don’t yet have these added pressures of life.

An older woman follows younger family members into the sea with a surfboard

4. 2 in 3 people love escaping the everyday on holiday

Sometimes, the routine of everyday life can get a little boring. Holidays can offer us some respite from our day-to-day lives and inject some much needed excitement… not to mention giving us ample conversation starters at the hairdressers.

There’s a clear difference in opinion by age on whether we love travelling to escape the everyday as we found that only half of under 25s agreed with this sentiment. This might be because their lives aren’t yet as hectic and full of responsibilities as compared to those that are older, so there’s not much need to escape, but instead a desire to add extra excitement through travel.

Over 55s actually ranked escaping their normal routine as their second biggest love of going on holiday before having time to unwind and make memories! The need to escape the everyday seems to increase with age and may have something to do with the amount of responsibility you have as you get older. From children, work, housework, life admin, caring for their own parents as they get older, there are ample reasons why the over 55s may want to escape their everyday life through travel.

5. 56% of people love to travel because they don’t have to work!

Work can be stressful no matter your occupation. So being able to turn on your out of office and wave goodbye to your colleagues as you leave for holiday can feel great.

So there’s no wonder why the fifth biggest love of holidays is that you don’t have to work. In fact, over half the people we asked (56%) agreed with this.

Our findings suggest that those at a key working age tend to agree with this sentiment more than those who may be in full-time education or who are retired!

Not going to work graph

Senior male sitting on side of kayak with female overlooking a lake

6. Nearly half travel to appreciate life

When we’re living busy working lives and focusing on the next thing on our to-do list, it can be hard to stop, and appreciate life in the moment.

Nearly half (48%) of the people we asked said they travel to appreciate life.

The age groups that are most likely to travel to appreciate their lives are aged between 25-44. The least likely age group to agree in comparison to other ages is the over 55s with only 36% agreeing.

Having a desire to travel to appreciate life seems to be strongly linked to whether or not we’re working and dealing with the stresses of everyday work life.

Maybe when we have a better work-life balance (or aren’t working) we have more time to be present. In the meantime, those that are working are using holidays as an outlet to appreciate their lives.

A young man tastes a vegetarian local dish in a Thai restaurant

7. 44% love tasting new dishes

For some, travelling is about trying new culinary experiences.

There’s a mix in opinion over who’s more adventurous when it comes to tasting new dishes abroad.

The youngest demographic we surveyed (16-24) only agreed 39% of the time. This is interesting, because when we also asked them about their holiday budget, this group said they spend most of it on luxury culinary spots. Together, this data suggests that although tasting ‘new’ food isn’t a top priority, good food is still a priority for them.

In comparison, 46% of 25-44 year olds agreed that one of the reasons why they love to travel is to explore local delicacies.

The love of trying new foods then dramatically drops to the 45-54 year olds with only 42% wanting to try new food. Perhaps having already tried the food, or having had bad experiences in the past!

8. 38% love to tick adventures off the bucket list

Holidays aren’t always about sitting back and relaxing. For some, being able to tick off your must-do activities on your bucket list is a big driver for going on holiday.

Our findings highlight that younger groups are more likely to go in the search of adventure. We also found that this desire starts to drop off after 35. Older groups seem to be less likely to love holidays as a reason to do adventurous activities and instead, as we’ve previously found, are drawn towards relaxing and escaping the everyday.

Maybe as we age, we feel too old to have a new adventure, or feel like having medical conditions hold us back.

In reality, you’re never too old for an adventure if it’s something you’ve always wanted to do. That’s why we can cover most activities from land, air to water at any age (take a look at your travel insurance policy for limits before you go to check you’re covered!).

Or maybe it’s another case of ‘been there, done that’ having already fulfilled our lists.

Bucket list graph

Happy male and female friends toasting wine glasses during summer holiday

9. 38% love to travel to celebrate with friends and family

Travel can be a great excuse to celebrate big occasions like milestone birthdays, weddings and anniversaries.

We found that younger age groups are more likely to travel to celebrate with friends and family, with the most likely group being the 25-34 year olds with 42% agreeing.

The age groups from 45+ were much less likely to love holidays as a reason to celebrate something. Maybe, having more disposable income with children that have fled the nest, they’re able to travel more often, not needing as much of an excuse to travel.

Senior female friends eating ice cream and shopping together in the city in summer

10. 37% travel to strengthen relationships

Having dedicated time together can be tough when juggling life.

Again, we see a similar trend here of those that agree most are of a working age. This suggests that having time together to strengthen relationships is more important to us when we don’t usually have time because of work stresses.

Here, the most likely group to strengthen relationships as a key ‘love’ for a holiday is the 25-34 year olds, with 40% agreeing, in comparison to the over 55s where only 29% agree.

Final thoughts

As a nation, it’s clear to see from these findings that we love relaxing holidays at any age.

But our other drivers for what we love about holidays change depending on our stage of life.

For the youngest group, we found that they have a sense of adventure. They don’t really need to unwind as they haven’t yet got a stressful life.

Another trend we spotted was that those with young families are making memories more than any other group, suggesting a key shift in focus of their priorities.

We also unpicked a trend of ‘work’ and growing responsibilities being a key cause for those of working age using holidays to help them unwind and appreciate life.

As for those that are retired, we found that they’re looking for a chance to escape their everyday lives – which might not be caused by work. As a group, our findings suggest that they have a better appreciation of life and less need to travel to reduce stress. Instead, they’re enjoying the escapism.

Together, this backs up our thoughts that working causes added stress that most of us try and fix through holidays. Perhaps this also suggests a need to address a better work-life balance for many of us instead of relying on holidays!

by Kelly Johnstone

Kelly Johnstone is Staysure’s Head of Content. She’s known for a love of tea and shares data-driven and breaking travel news.