Away We Go

Photo by Naomi Reynolds, Flickr, Creative Commons

Whether for business or pleasure, travel is a favorite pastime for Americans of all ages. Research shows that both domestic and foreign travel are on the rise, with Americans showing the most enthusiasm for travel within the United States. Whether journeying to lands unknown at home or abroad, Americans are hitting the road in greater numbers than ever before, a practice that translates into robust economic returns for travel, tourism, and service industries. There are many benefits to venturing outside your comfort zone, and travel is one of the best ways to do it. It’s not hard to see why so many people are opting for new adventures.

There are many reasons why more people are seeking out travel opportunities than ever before, but perhaps the most notable is simply because they can. Advances in technology and human support services are helping people to lead active lives longer and to pursue more experiences. With the help of mobility devices such as electric chairs for elderly users and disabled adults, travelers now have the freedom to pursue activities that they may have been sidelined for in the past. For many people, this has opened up a whole new world of sights to see, and they are eager to get moving.

Social media has also encouraged a boom in the tourism industry, with many travelers so inspired by pictures posted by their friends and family that they embark on trips of their own. People making the leap from armchair traveling to visiting destinations in person are often taking cues from loved ones who decided to do the same. Popular posts on social media have also driven traffic to landmarks and other sites, increasing their popularity and bringing in additional revenue along with a sea of eager travelers. For many towns in the United States and abroad, tourism provides a much-needed economic lifeline that helps communities to flourish.

The uptick in the number of people who have made travel part of their lifestyle has also led to the rise of savvy travelers. Not content to fall into tourist traps of the past, today’s consumer of travel is knowledgeable, thrifty, and self-aware about their impact. Smart travelers do their homework before setting off to parts unknown, a practice that saves a lot of time and headaches and generally leads to a more enjoyable experience. Today’s tourist is confident in their traveling skill-set and knows when and how to ask for help. From guidebooks to apps to interactive tours, every traveler has enough information at their fingertips to ensure a successful journey.

Another hallmark of today’s traveler is knowing tips and tricks for traveling on a budget. Clever consumers avoid getting fleeced while away from home by being well-prepared and seeking opportunities to save money. From discounted flights and hotels to traveling light and taking advantage of free museums and landmarks, there is no shortage of chances to pinch pennies and maximize your experience—as well as the value of your dollar. When it comes to traveling, it definitely pays to plan ahead.

Today’s tourists also travel conscientiously and understand that they impact the places they visit and it’s a good practice to be mindful of that. Some of our world’s most awe-inspiring sites are also among the most vulnerable, and thoughtful travelers tread lightly. In addition to engaging in environmentally responsible behavior—no littering!—thoughtful tourists also take care to minimize their imprint when possible by sharing lodging with traveling companions, taking public transportation instead of private taxis, and bringing re-useable water bottles with them. These are all small changes that can make a big difference in preserving beloved sites for the future.