How much do most people travel in the US? According to a recent poll by SPGAmex, it’s only 12 days a year on average. But at the TBEX conference, hands were raised and it was confirmed that in this room, we travel about 88 days a year. But then again, most of the people here are traveling on press trips, writing stories about destinations, so we’re not very representative of the general public.
Only two hands went up among the audience of 800 when asked how many refused to take free trips offered by destinations. “If that’s true you’re at the wrong conference,” said Johnny Jet, a well-known travel blogger from the stage. But free trips are a misnomer, as anyone who has gone on a press trip would say, because it’s a working trip, and there is little time for relaxing. Cue the violins here.
The top destinations for Americans in 2015 are California, (30%), New Orleans Louisiana (24%), New York (21%), National Parks (21%) and Portland (16%). For international destinations, Iceland is number one (13%) and China (11%), Japan (10%), New Zealand (10%) and Cuba (9%).
Why is Iceland number one? Johnny talked about Wow Air, an ultra low-cost carrier with incredible deals…and it’s like a totally different world, in just five hours. It was a poignant moment during the presentation when Johnny talked about how important it is to use miles, and to gift miles you can’t use. He recalled taking his mom to Europe using miles, and teared up thinking of that wonderful memory. I did the same back in 2005, when we took my mom and dad to a rented villa in Tuscany for a glorious week. I’ll never forget doing that and to anyone with miles to spare, I’d tell them that it’s one of the most fulfilling things you can do in a lifetime.