Weekend Poll Results: Well Travelled Assistants

With thanks to all who participated, here are your responses to my question … Will you travel and explore the globe this year? For many, the answer is a resounding yes! You are one well travelled bunch, with domestic and international travel lined up for leisure, conferences and other business purposes.

Well travelled readers

A whopping 45% of respondents have visited 11 or more countries over the course of your lives, with 7% of you having already journeyed to more than 30. If you’re based in Europe or the UK, it may not seem a significant accomplishment to visit more than a few countries. In other locations, where you have a limited number of countries per continent, that is a big deal. Twelve percent have travelled within a single country, and  69% of you have visited six or more countries.

98% of you will be packing your bags in 2019

… and 13% of respondents have already taken their first trips of the year. Two percent of respondents will not be travelling in 2019. Whether that’s by choice or circumstance, I hope you enjoy thinking about the assorted locales readers mention below.

What kind of travel? Ninety-three percent of respondents will travel for leisure, and a full 65% will travel in order to attend a conference this year. Assistants also travel for business reasons other than conferences, and sometimes internationally. Here are a couple of examples; when I asked where you’ll be travelling this year, two readers offered the following lists. The parentheses in the second example are mine.

Cuba on a cruise, Florida as a stop over, Hawaii as a quick vacation, New Zealand for business 

Turks and Caicos (pleasure), Atlanta, Georgia (conference), Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina (pleasure), New York (family and friends), Phoenix, Arizona (family)

About that conference travel

18_6002 APC Florida Copyright Shelagh DonnellyEven without the statistic that 65% of respondents will travel for a conference this year, readers’ identification of your travel destinations told the story.

How so? I recognised a number of destinations where I’ll be presenting at 2019 conferences – and look forward to seeing many of you at one or more of these events!

Bleisure travellers

I asked readers whether you turn conference or other business travel into bleisure travel, which involves adding some personal/vacation time on to the trip. Fifty percent of you said you do this whenever you can, and another 30% reported that you occasionally engage in bleisure travel.

Travelling internationally as well as domestically

When it comes to leisure travel, 38% of respondents will stick to home this year; domestic travel is the order of the day. More than a couple of readers noted, either here or on other social media channels, that you’re saving up – whether it’s for international travel next year, or for a house or home.

Another 38% of readers have international leisure travel plans this year, and 24% will travel both at home and abroad.

When it comes to conference travel, 62% will stay in their own countries, while 21% of respondents plan to travel abroad. The remaining 17% will attend conferences both domestically and internationally.

It’s not unusual for assistants to travel for business purposes beyond conferences. While 42% of such travel in 2018 will be domestic, 58% of respondents reported plans to travel internationally for business – and another 21% will travel both domestically and internationally for business.

Travel budgets and influences

I asked readers about your 2019 travel budgets, and some of them are impressive. 44% of respondents will spend somewhere between $5,000 – $20,000 on their 2019 travel; another 31% will spend between $2,501 – $5,000. These sums are all expressed in US dollars.

Although readers reported some healthy travel budgets, one needn’t spend vast sums in order to enjoy travel. While I love a fine hotel and exploring cities and the great outdoors in a number of countries, some of my fondest travel memories are from our early years as a family, when we focused on holidays close to home.

When it comes to external influences on your travel planning, what is that counts? Unsurprisingly, advertising and promotions landed at the bottom of the list. Exactly half the respondents cited recommendations from friends, family and peers, while another 42% noted reviews from a trusted source as being most likely to influence your planning.

Curl up and dream

All right; if you’re at work, you won’t want to curl up with a glass of wine to soak up other assistants’ 2019 travel plans, which are included in the data below. You may settle for a glass of water, or a warm mug of coffee, tea or hot cocoa. You will find some exciting travel inspiration, whether your time zone finds you reading this during your commute, at home or on a break. Enjoy!


Spanish Banks 15-6913 Copyright Shelagh DonnellyNote: Information below reflects the percentage of respondents who selected specific responses from multiple choice options.  In instances where more than one person offers similar responses to an open ended question, I typically cluster or paraphrase such responses rather than duplicating all of them.

1. Do you plan to travel this year? 

  • 85% of respondents: Yes
  • 13% of respondents: Yes, and I’ve already taken my first trip of the year
  •  2% of respondents: No

2. Do you plan to travel for leisure this year? 

  • 93% of respondents: Yes
  •  7% of respondents: No

3. Do you plan to travel in order to attend a conference this year? 

  • 65% of respondents: Yes
  • 35% of respondents: No

4. I asked about the types of travel you’ll undertake this year, and invited readers to identify any of the categories that applied. 

  • Personal (leisure): 45% of respondents
  • Conference: 29% of respondents
  • Bleisure (adding personal travel on to business travel): 16% of respondents
  • Business other than conference: 10% of respondents 

5. When you travel for a conference or business, do you turn it into “bleisure” travel, tucking in some personal vacation time? 

  • 50% of respondents: Yes; I do so whenever I can
  • 30% of respondents: Yes; I do so occasionally
  • 20% of respondents: No

6. Is this year’s leisure travel likely to be domestic or international? 

  • Domestic: 38% of respondents
  • International: 38% of respondents
  • Both: 24% of respondents

7. Is this year’s conference travel likely to be domestic or international? 

  • Domestic: 62% of respondents
  • International: 21% of respondents
  • Both (I’m attending more than one conference): 17% of respondents

8. Is this year’s other business travel likely to be domestic or international?  

  • Domestic: 42% of respondents
  • International: 37% of respondents
  • Both: 21% of respondents

9. Budget aside, what single factor most influences your choice of destination? 

  • Bucklet list/sites of interest: 43% of respondents
  • Family/friends: 15% of respondents
  • Climate/weather: 13% of respondents
  • Professional development – conference, networking: 13% of respondents
  • Adventure: 4.5% of respondents
  • Arts/culture: 4.5% of respondents
  • Travel logistics – available time, ease of connections, etc.: 5% of respondents
  • Relaxation/decompress: 2% of respondents
  • Sense of safety: 0% of respondents

10. Expressed in US dollars, how much do you estimate your household spent on travel last year? 

  • None: 8% of respondents
  • <$1K US: 13% of respondents
  • $1,001 – $2,500 US: 15% of respondents
  • $2,501 – $5,000 US: 21% of respondents
  • $5,001 – $10,000 US: 23% of respondents
  • $10,001 -$15,000 US: 15% of respondents
  • $15,001 – $20,000: 5% of respondents
  • >$20K US: 0% of respondents

11. Expressed in US dollars, how much do you estimate your household will spend on travel this year? 

  • None: 3% of respondents
  • <$1K US: 11% of respondents
  • $1,001 – $2,500 US: 11% of respondents
  • $2,501 – $5,000 US: 31% of respondents
  • $5,001 – $10,000 US: 28% of respondents
  • $10,001 -$15,000 US: 8% of respondents
  • $15,001 – $20,000: 8% of respondents
  • >$20K US: 0% of respondents

12. Which of the following is most likely to influence your travel planning? 

  • Recommendations from friends, family, peers: 50% of respondents
  • Reviews from a trusted source: 42% of respondents
  • Advertising/promotion: 8% of respondents

13. Where will your travel plans take you this year?  Note: Greece topped this year’s list in terms of repeat mentions; does that surprise anyone? The rest of the list below is presented in random order.

Greece … Africa … Florida as a stop over … Hawaii for a quick vacation … Bulgary/Bulgaria … Oahu … Pensacola … Greece and maybe the Canary Islands … Ireland 💚 … maybe Jamaica … Scotland … Washington, DC … National Harbor, Maryland … London, England … Spain, England, Wales, Australia, New Zealand, US, Canada … United Kingdom … New Orleans … Toronto … Caribbean … Mexico … Edinburgh, Scotland … Cuba on a cruise, Florida as a stop over, Hawaii as a quick vacation,  New Zealand for business … Vancouver … Domincan Republic …  Vegas … Dominican Republic, Texas, Louisiana/ Mississippi, Kansas, Maryland … Aruba … Too many to mention … Scotland for a week’s holiday and then also to Kent, Sussex and Lincoln for long weekends competing with the dogs … Paris … Sri Lanka … India … Spain … Vegas … Holland, Switzerland, United Kingdom, France…  Weymouth, Southampton and Paris … Switzerland … France … Somewhere within 2-3 hours’ driving distance from home in order to keep costs down … Just domestic this year as going to Japan next year … Texas … I’m currently in New Zealand, Australia is next up … Spain, United Kingdom, Portugal … France, Switzerland, maybe Spain … Turks and Caicos – pleasure, Atlanta,  Georgia – conference, Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina – pleasure, New York – family and friends, Phoenix, Arizona – family … Canada, USA, England, Thailand … Around New Zealand … London … Vancouver, BC Canada … Boston, MA; Washington, DC; Cromwell, CT; Portland, ME; Ridge, NH; Atlanta, GA; Bermuda … Mexico, Vegas, possibly Australia/New Zealand … Arizona and New York State … New Zealand and Australia … Jamaica, Missouri, Washington, New Zealand, Australia, Maryland, New Orleans

14. How many different countries have you visited to date? 

  • 1 country: 12% of respondents
  • 2 – 5 countries: 17% of respondents
  • 6 – 10 countries: 24% of respondents
  • 11 – 15 countries: 20% of respondents
  • 16 – 20 countries: 5% of respondents
  • 21 – 25 countries: 10% of respondents
  • 26 – 30 countries: 3% of respondents
  • > 30 countries: 7% of respondents

15. Let’s dream big. Please select “Other” and name three locales you would visit if time and money were no object. A note: some places received multiple mentions, so I’ve tried to not duplicate entries and have separated out the locales.

 Canada … the Caribbean … all the European cities … Greece … the Cook Islands … Iceland/ Iceland for the Northern Lights … Malta … Maldives … Greece … Turks & Caicos … South Pole/Antarctica … Boston … Italy/Rome … France … London … Paris …  Germany … Caribbean … Australia …  Japan …  Moscow … Argentina …  the Arctic … Africa … Madagascar … Malta … China … African safari … New Zealand … South Africa … Dubai … Scandinavian countries … the Scottish Highlands … Honduras … South America … NYC/New York …  Galapagos Islands … Sentosa Island (Singapore) … Switzerland … Morocco … Norway …  Philippines … Australia … Bora Bora … Fiji … Latvia … South Korea … USA/west coast of the US/all states … Spain … Mauritius … cruise in the Norwegian fjords … Dominican Republic … Cape Horn … Denali National Park, Alaska … Pacific Rim/Australia/Fiji … Portugal … … Bali … Bermuda … The Bahamas … Egypt’s pyramids … Morocco

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