social egomania, going solo, and road trip adventures: the 2017 first-time travel intentions of thai travellers

Bangkok – Today, new global research commissioned by Booking.com, the world leader in connecting people with the most incredible choice of places to stay, reveals the intentions of intrepid Thai travellers who plan to widen their first-time travel experiences in 2017.

While first-time travel can seem daunting, most agree (55%) that any nerves felt before they travelled were unnecessary. The fastening of your airplane seatbelt, the turning of your hotel room or apartment key, the view from your bedroom and the taste of a local delicacy – first-time travel moments create memories that stay with us forever and unlocks new and exciting travel adventures.

Going solo

The research revealed that first solo trip made Thais feel free (41%). Among 68% of Thais who have been on a solo trip, their first one was a road trip (19%), follow closely by a city break (16%).

Whilst travelling for the first time can be a scary prospect, three in four (79%) feel it is worth it to be able to see a new place, and more than half (55%) believe any nerves felt when they travelled somewhere for the first time have usually been unnecessary.

But where are these adventurous Thais travellers going? The research reveals that 11% had their first travel experience somewhere outside Thailand, most are planning to far-flung destinations like the most iconic temple of Cambodia, night life in South Korea, the beauty of Japan, busy night market of Hong Kong and cleanest city of Singapore.

The top 10 most popular planned international destinations for Thai travellers are:

  1. Siem Reap, Cambodia
  2. Seoul, South Korea
  3. Kyoto, Japan
  4. Hong Kong
  5. Singapore
  6. Tokyo, Japan
  7. Beijing, China
  8. Jeju, South Korea
  9. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  10. Osaka, Japan

And it seems that unforgettable experience of solo travelling is kicking-off a new trend for 2017 as two in five (42%) of Thai travellers are planning to travel solo for the first time this year. Here are some valuable advice from experienced solo travellers:

  • Make plan for how to get around (30%),
  • Research safety advice before arriving (29%),
  • Try the local food (28%),
  • …but most of all, relax and enjoy every minute! (38%)

The social ego has landed!

From cobalt blue seas, adventurous roof-down road trips and delicious cuisine – social media feeds are full of the filtered fantasy of our travel dreams. So it’s no wonder the research reveals that social media plays a hugely important role in deciding where to go on a first-time travel experience, especially with 18 to 34 year olds. In fact, about half (49%) of millennials said that they use social media posts to help them remember their first-time travel experiences.

And it is millennials who are most affected emotionally by what they see on social media with almost half (45%) of 18 to 34 year olds confirm their social media feed makes them feel like everyone is travelling but them, and 44 per cent admit that it makes them feel that they are missing out on new travel experiences. The competitive nature of this generation is also displayed in the findings, with almost half (46%) saying they feel jealous of the travel experiences they see on their social media feed, one in three (34%) say they travel more and try more first-time travel experiences so they can post new pictures on their social media.

In fact, it might be the popularity of social media and the fear of missing out that drives the perception held by nearly two thirds (66%) 18 to 34 year olds that they are more adventurous than the generation before them.

Seeking something new

The research reveals how first-time travel ignites the travel bug for Thais with three in five (60%) confirming their first-time travel experiences inspire them to try a new or different type of travel experience or accommodation the next time they travel.  In fact, almost half 47%) are planning to be more adventurous in their travel plans in 2017 with three in five (67%) resolving to travel further away from home.

The types of first time experiences people want to try in 2017 is also broadening beyond the traditional beach holidays or city explorations, with road trips proving to be a popular choice for 2017 (44%), followed by eco tours (39%), spiritual adventures (23%) and volunteering based trips (21%) being selected by wanderlust travellers in their travel plans for 2017[i].

Pepijn Rijvers, Chief Marketing Officer at Booking.com comments:

“Undertaking a new travel experience for the first-time, whether that’s visiting a new place or travelling solo, can be a fruitful, life enhancing and even life changing experience. So for those looking to undertake their very own first time travel experience, Booking.com is here to help. With over 1.1 million unique properties that have over 23 million bookable rooms and more awesome, unique places to stay than any other travel company in the world, whatever kind of incredible first time stay you can imagine – from apartments to villas, igloos, boats, treehouses and more – we make it easy to find and maximize it, empowering you to experience the world.”

[i] According to data collected by Booking.com with 12,781 respondents across 13 markets in September 2016. Respondents had to be 18 years of age or older, had to have travelled at least once in 2016 and had to be planning at least one trip for 2017. All respondents had to consider themselves part of their travel decision-making process.