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Do You Seek Adventure Or Relaxation During Vacation? What That Says About You (Video)

Those vacation eureka moments — from taking relationships to the next level to deciding on a major career shift — reveal many Americans are creating space between themselves and their stresses which can lead to breakthrough decisions.

The study of 2,000 Americans aged 25 to 55 years old who travel for leisure found that escaping career and work stress is a top motivation for close to 60 percent of those who travel.

More than one in four Americans now travel partly to escape the stress of politics and the news cycle.

The new survey, conducted by OnePoll on behalf of international, small-group tour operator G Adventures ahead of Employee Wellbeing Month (June), found that Americans don’t completely de-stress until three days into their vacation.

While wellness and de-stressing are common goals, Americans differ in their methods of getting there. 35 percent of Americans prefer to spend their vacations mainly resting and relaxing poolside, at the beach, or in a resort, while 38 percent prefer more active, adventurous trips focused on exploration.

How you prefer to spend your vacation days also says a lot about your goals. Those who use vacation as a means to rest, unplug and relax reported that the primary reason they travel is to reset and unwind (38 percent). On the other hand, those who use vacation for more active sightseeing, new experiences, and adventure cited their primary travel incentive as a desire to see new places (47 percent).

According to the survey, adventurous travelers tend to make stronger lasting memories and report fewer regrets about their vacations than those who primarily seek rest and relaxation. But more than one third of these more active travelers (34 percent) say they don’t get enough rest while away.

On the other hand, travelers who say they prefer to lounge and meditate when traveling, tend to come away from their trips feeling revitalized and more favorable about their vacation accommodations. One in four of these relaxation-focused travelers, however, regret their trip being too touristy, and not containing enough local experiences.

G Adventures brand manager Simon Ma, whose work supports the company’s 10 new wellness tours, said: “People don’t have to choose between an active adventure or a restful reboot anymore. It’s a false choice. Wellness travel is the new common ground. By blending movement, nourishment and mindfulness, plus time to explore awe-inspiring destinations, our travels serve to help us decompress from work and regain our sense of balance.”

Both groups of travelers – the relaxation seekers and the adventurers – believe the ideal vacation experience should last eight days, with a nearly equal mix of each built into each day. Those surveyed suggested that travel days, which offer five hours of exploration and six hours of rest and relaxation, are ideal.

Whether they’re relaxation or adventure focused, the majority of travelers (71 percent), prefer their vacations to be planned out, with set activities.

Relaxation-focused travelers are more likely to travel for their physical well-being, while adventure-focused travelers are more likely to travel for their emotional well-being. Both groups, and 88 percent of Americans surveyed believe that the best travel experience is once in which rest and wellness are intertwined. 69 percent of all respondents said that physical activity and exercise while traveling was important to them.

The most common vacation wellness activity for both types of travelers is spending time in nature. 58 percent of all travelers surveyed reported that outdoor activities in nature are the most appealing vacation wellness activity. Adventuring travelers also report time in nature as their favorite wellness activity, while relaxation travelers, unsurprisingly, are most attracted to catching up on rest.

Anne Dimon, President of the Wellness Tourism Association, which counts G Adventures as a member, said: “Science tells us that we have a natural affinity for nature, and our own consumer surveys emphasize this point. Simply being out in nature, sharing outdoor experiences with like-minded travelers can certainly be an antidote to the many day-to-day work stresses we endure, whether the motivation is relaxation or adventure.”


1. Time in nature                          55%
2. Outdoor exercise                      50%
3. Massage                                   45%
4. Healthy eating                          43%
5. Hot tub/thermal bath                 36%

1. See new places                               42%
2. Make new memories                        37%
3. Reset/unwind                                   33%
4. Connect with friends/family              30%
5. Get away from work stress               30%

1. Work and career                                  59%
2. Money and bills                                   49%
3. Marriage and love life                          35%
4. Parenting and care-taking                   33%
5. News and politics                                28%

Prefer Adventuring 

Prefer Relaxation