Lost in translation? research exposes surprising gap between travel ambitions and reality

Despite the world at their fingertips, lingering anxieties prevent many travellers from making the most of their trips

  • research reveals that travellers are keen to push their limits and seek out the new, yet are being held back by language barriers and niggling anxiety
  • Almost half (48%) of people today want to be a limitless traveller, someone who does not feel held back from getting the most out of travel, who embraces the new and different and is not afraid to push the boundaries when it comes to travelling
  • Yet two thirds (68%) don’t believe they are being adventurous enough while on vacation and are missing out on making the most of opportunities whilst traveling

Technology has transformed travel, shrinking the world with thousands of destinations only a click away. However, new research reveals a significant 68% of Singaporean travellers don’t believe they are making the most of their travel opportunities., the global leader in connecting travellers with the widest choice of incredible places to stay, has conducted research across 20,500 global travellers, including Singapore, to uncover the barriers and anxieties which prevent people from making the most of every trip and reveal how they can move to a state of truly limitless travel.

The research shows that despite a world of opportunities one in five people (20%) have never felt limitless on vacation and one in 10 (14%) have only ever felt limitless once.

Nevertheless, there is a strong desire to be a limitless traveller[i], with almost half (48%) of Singaporeans expressing that aspiration and over three quarters (77%) wanting to make the most of every travel experience and travel with no regrets.

The research also shows almost 72% of Singaporean travellers want to experience new cultures, two thirds (67%) want to taste local delicacies, over a third (45%) are keen to experience staying somewhere new, and a quarter (25%) want to embrace meeting new people whilst travelling, which can help travellers unlock in new places.

Overcoming travel trepidations

A common worry is the language barrier, as over a third (31%) of respondents agree this can hold them back from planning a trip and 29% are nervous about getting lost without speaking the local language. Travellers believe they are being held back by struggles to find accommodation (36%) and 38% feel anxious about unfamiliar situations when travelling.

When asked what would remove travel barriers and anxieties for future trips the top factors Singaporean respondents called out were great accommodation options (45%), positive reviews from other travellers (39%), being able to ask questions and directions in the local language (33%), and being able to order their favourite food (27%).

Helping hand from technology

Technology can help overcome these concerns as over half (60%) of travellers admit to using technology frequently while travelling. As a global leader in digital technology, has already brought travellers its pilot Booking Assistant, an Artificial Intelligence chatbot which empowers customers to get first-line support for upcoming bookings, all through a single intuitive chat interface. With over 147 million real guest reviews on travellers can also research and get advice in their own language before they go. is piloting a unique partnership in the US, Japan, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, UK, Canada, New Zealand and Australia with ili, the world’s fastest offline translation device. With customer support in available in 43 languages, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, is an expert at connecting people of different languages and this partnership will further help travellers to overcome their travel concerns around language., a leader in digital technology, is continually exploring how innovative technologies, such as this, can overcome traveller stress and enable travellers to discover more.

Pushing the limits

Over half (62%) of Singaporean travellers think the best thing about travel is getting outside their comfort zone, confirming that they want more unique travel experiences to push their travel limits. The top getaways which travellers haven’t done before because they are too afraid, but would love to try one day include:

  • Volunteering trip (51%)
  • Long distance train (45%)
  • Mystery trip (44%)
  • Living with locals (43%)
  • Sabbatical trip (41%)

In addition the top five trips that people have already been on and would like to go on again, as they allow them to experience travel to the fullest, are:

  • Road trip (44%)
  • Solo trip (30%)
  • Gourmet adventure (30%)
  • Long distance train (30%)
  • Snorkelling/diving (27%)

Travelling without limits isn’t confined to the younger generation, as although over half of Generation Z (18 to 24 year olds) are most likely to intend to take a solo trip (60%), Baby Boomers (55 to 64 year olds) are looking to be more adventurous with the trips they take. Almost half are planning a long distance train journey (48%) or a volunteer trip (45%). In fact, two in five have taken a road trip (42%) in the past year, and 26% are planning to one in the future.

Pepijn Rijvers, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at comments: “Travel can fulfil dreams, exposes us to new experiences, and ultimately enriches our lives for the better. Not only do we want to connect travellers with amazing places to stay, but we also provide knowledge and advice about a destination so that no matter where you choose to go, you can feel inspired to see more, go further and embrace every amazing opportunity along the way. As an industry innovator, we are continuously looking for ways to use the latest technologies to take the friction out of travel and empower people to experience the world, wherever they want to go and whatever they want to do.”

- Ends-


For further information, contact

Nicole Verghese 

 +65 6645 0500


[i] Someone who does not feel held back from getting the most out of travel, who embraces the new and different and is not afraid to push the boundaries when it comes to travelling.


Research commissioned by and independently conducted among a sample of adults who have taken a trip in the last 12 months/plan to take a trip in the next 12 months. In total 20,500 respondents were surveyed (1,000+ from Australia, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, China, Brazil, India, the USA, the UK, Russia, Indonesia and Colombia and 500+ each from Japan, New Zealand, Thailand, Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Hong Kong, Croatia, Taiwan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Sweden, Singapore and Israel.) Respondents completed an online survey in March 2018.



Established in 1996 in Amsterdam, B.V. has grown from a small Dutch start-up to one of the largest travel e-commerce companies in the world. Part of Booking Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: BKNG), now employs more than 17,000 employees in 198 offices in 70 countries worldwide.

With a mission to empower people to experience the world, invests in digital technology that helps take the friction out of travel. At, we connect travelers with the world’s largest selection of incredible places to stay, including everything from apartments, vacation homes, and family-run B&Bs to 5-star luxury resorts, tree houses and even igloos. The website and mobile apps are available in 43 languages, offer over 27 million total reported listings and cover more than 130,000 destinations in 227 countries and territories worldwide.

Each day, more than 1.5 million room nights are reserved on our platform. So whether traveling for business or leisure, customers can instantly book their ideal place to stay quickly and easily with, without booking fees and backed up by our promise to price match. Via our customer experience team, customers can reach 24/7 for assistance and support in 43 languages, any time of the day or night.

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About ili

Ili is the world’s fastest offline translator designed for travelers. It can translate your words into other languages in as little as 0.2 seconds without an internet connection. It’s simple to use, all you need to do is pressing the button and speaking into it.

Developed by Logbar, a Japanese startup, ili has been used by over 50,000 travelers around the world. ili has also received high praise from outlets such as Forbes.

ili gives you a chance to explore different countries in brand new and exciting ways. Shop, dine, and navigate easier than ever thanks to ili’s translation technology. Say hello to the locals and introduce yourself. You’re bound to meet someone special.

ili currently translates from English to Spanish, Mandarin, and Japanese. Updates will be available in the near future.