13:50 PM

To Boldly Go… New Data Reveals that First-Time Travel Experiences can be the Secret to Success in Life

  • First-time travel experiences inspire us to make life-changing decisions - with more than one in 10 (13%) switching their job or career, one in 10 (13%) changing their relationship, and one in five (21%) deciding to move somewhere completely new because of a first-time travel experience
  • A first-time travel experience is more exciting than a first date (53%), a first job (51%), making a new friend (62%) and even a first kiss for more than one in three people (36%)
  • Two thirds (65%) say first-time travel experiences lift their confidence
  • Three in five (61%) think the well-travelled are more interesting, and almost half (45%) believe travel makes them more successful in life and career

The thrill and excitement of our first time travel experiences positively increases our confidence, broadens our horizons and makes us ultimately more successful in life according to new global research commissioned by Booking.com, the global leader in connecting people with the most incredible places to stay. Whether you’re getting your passport stamped for the first time, trying out a new city or doing something completely out of your comfort zone, the research, which surveyed over 15,000 people from 20 countries worldwide, proves that travelling to new places and opening your mind to different, novel experiences inspires life enriching changes.

A life less ordinary

Whether their first-time experience was travelling abroad, embracing a new destination, or travelling solo, almost two thirds (65%) said that pushing themselves to take part in a new travel experience vastly increased their confidence. While first-time travel can seem daunting, most agree (61%) that any nerves felt before they travelled were unnecessary.

Re-energised and with confidence, we can be motivated to make more dramatic life decisions. One in 10 (13%) state a first-time travel experience has led them to switching their job or career, one in 10 (13%) saying a first time travel experience led them to change their relationship, and a fifth (21%) have decided to move somewhere completely new.

Respondents also claim that confidence boosted by first-time travel can also open doors to other life-inspiring opportunities, such as meeting new kinds of people (40%), cooking and eating new types of food (43%), learning a new language (29%) and reading and learning about another culture (29%).

This impetus to experience and learn new things leads people to believe that those who have travelled to many places and have tried out different travel experiences tend to be more interesting that those who have not (61%), and that with all these new interpersonal and practical skills they tend to be more successful in their life and career (45%).

First-time travel thrills

A first-time travel experience can be such a momentous occasion in a person’s life that people deem it more exciting than going a first date (53%), landing their first job (51%), making a new friend (62%), and even having a first kiss (36%).

And it seems that once people have the travel bug, it’s hard to shake with about two in three (64%) stating that experiencing places for the first time prompts them to visit other new places, experiences or accommodation in the future.

In fact, almost half (45%) plan to be more adventurous in their travel plans in 2017 and one in two (56%) plan to travel further away from home. Over half plan to take more weekend getaways (54%) and visit somewhere where their friends haven’t been (47%)[i].

And the types of first time experiences people are keen to try in 2017 are broadening, with volunteering based trips (21%), spiritual adventures (23%), eco tours (39%) and road trips (44%), proving to be popular choices for globe-trotting travellers[ii].

Pepijn Rijvers, Chief Marketing Officer at Booking.com comments:

The adrenalin and confidence boost that travelling somewhere for the first time gives us makes it irresistible. Our first time travel experiences open our minds, sparks our imagination and inspires us to continue trying something new or change direction in life. Once you catch the travel bug it’s simply contagious!”

“There’s so much of the world to explore and experience to fuel your wanderlust. With over 1.1 million unique properties that have over 23 million bookable rooms, Booking.com offers more awesome, unique places to stay than any other travel company in the world. From homestays to apartments, villas, igloos, boats, treehouses and more, whatever kind of incredible ‘First Time’ stay you can imagine, Booking.com has got the one that’s right for you.”


[i] According to data collected by Booking.com with 12,781 respondents across 13 markets in September 2016. Respondents had to be 18 years of age or older, had to have travelled at least once in 2016 and had to be planning at least one trip for 2017. All respondents had to consider themselves part of their travel decision-making process.

[ii] ibid