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Ready, tech, go: A tech-led focus allows vacation-makers to experience ultimate first 24 hours

  • Nearly half of travelers (46%) agree that the first day of their vacation sets the tone for the rest of the trip
  • When it comes to deciding what to do, taking pictures for social media channels and checking work emails tend to happen before the more traditional aspects of a vacation such as indulging in a treat like ice cream!
  • doesn’t think the social world is equipped with the right emojis to truly express how people feel during their first 24 hours of travel, so we’ve taken the liberty of creating new ones for you…. based on what travelers tell us they can’t live without

The first 24 hours[1] 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.

But how do these hours play out? What are our ultimate priorities during that first day on vacation? And do our hopes, worries and pre-travel perceptions match the reality?, the global leader in connecting people with the most incredible places to stay, conducted research across over 18,000 people from 25 countries worldwide, to investigate what really goes on in the first 24 hours of a holiday.


Only go for ice-cream if it looks good on your social channels

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 revealed 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 ice cream and hitting the pool - 47% have a vacation treat within the first hour and only 19% hit the pool, versus 54% who take pictures, 56% who check emails and 57%, who order room service, within the same timeframe.

The perfect home away from home

In the first 24 hours of a vacation, 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 revealed,

  • 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% saying that anything complimentary is important, 9% preferring the mini toiletries and one in 20 (6%) opting to make the most of the “Do Not Disturb” sign!

A different first 24 hours?

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. But are these anxieties founded? How much do we expect a different first 24 hours to what actually happens?

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:

  • Four in 10 (39%) were worried they would lose their luggage; this may be more of an urban myth as only eight percent had this happen to them.
  • Forty percent worried about accommodations not living up to their expectations but their vacation story had a happy ending as 83% 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 worrying about falling ill (34%)
  • One key worry for travelers was not being able to get online/connect to Wi-Fi (40% worried about this!), reinforcing the importance for travelers to be as tech-forward as possible. In 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. It was revealed that

  • Over half (54%) hoped to arrive to perfect weather; actually more than six in 10 (62%) said their wish came true – proving the weather gods may well exist
  • 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 found romance in the first day.

When looking at traveler reviews on, the nationalities most likely to talk about the above positive elements in their reviews and who may well have had the most fulfilling first 24 hours are Russians, Dutch, Thai, Spanish and Norwegians*.

Bringing your first 24 hours to life via new emojis

Vacations make up such a huge part of our lives and we often want to share our experiences with others via messaging on our mobile devices. But is the social world equipped with the right emojis to truly express how people feel during their first 24 hours of travel? doesn’t think so. That’s why we’ve taken the liberty of creating new ones for you…. based on what travelers have told us they can’t live without.

Over 18,000 travelers were asked which new emojis they would like to see and the top ones include someone looking at a map, someone dressed in typical tourist gear, and someone taking a selfie. has brought these emojis to life and created a light-hearted petition for Unicode, the organization that approves all emojis, to include these as part of their current list. If you would like to see more holiday emojis on your mobile device, sign the petition here:

Pepijn Rijvers, Chief Marketing Officer at comments: “Vacations are times when we can go to new places, try new experiences and take a break from the routine of everyday life. Expectations often run high and with so much to see and do, a lot rides on those first 24 hours. Our mission at is to empower people to experience the world, and that includes helping to ensure that those first holiday hours meet, if not exceed, those expectations. Accommodation is one component integral to any holiday, so whether you want to stay connected via Wi-Fi, chow on a hearty breakfast every day or simply gaze an impeccable view, we make it easy to find the right stay for you, as well as developing the best in technology-powered solutions to make in-destination exploration a cinch, right from the start.”



Research commissioned by and independently conducted among a nationally representative sample, provided by Research Now. In total 18,496 respondents were surveyed (1,000+ from the UK, US, Brazil, China, Germany, Italy, Spain, France, India and Russia and 500+ each from Australia, Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Hong Kong, Croatia, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, Thailand and Taiwan). Respondents completed an online survey between 27th April and 15th May 2017.
*Analysis of real Booking traveler review data across 42 languages, where specific keywords of 'friendly locals', 'taking / the perfect photograph', 'discover/discovering a hidden gem', were mentioned. The nationalities were then ranked as per those who mentioned these words the most in their reviews.