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A New Poll Points to a Formula For the Perfect Vacation: ‘Unexpected’ and ‘Unforgettable’

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A New Poll Points to a Formula For the Perfect Vacation: ‘Unexpected’ and ‘Unforgettable’

What makes a vacation truly memorable? There may be a reliable formula, at least for younger people.

A poll of 2,000 travelers between 18 and 34 identified some of their favorite ingredients.

Traveling with a group of at least four people, enjoying a minimum of four new experiences, and doing something “unexpected” were among the most essential.

36% felt stepping out of your comfort zone was necessary for an unforgettable trip, wanting to push their boundaries at least four times during any given adventure.

32% believe making new friends is desirable, with a memorable vacation defined as meeting three new people.

At least three new dishes should also be tried.

Conducted by OnePoll and commissioned by Contiki, a social travel company, the survey recipients pointed to a successful vacation as including 45 photos and 15 videos to capture the “perfect moments” they want to remember.

Respondents have been on an average of seven memorable trips. Almost 30% of those who’ve traveled solo feel that those vacations created more memories than any other.

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“Exploring a new destination and culture is opening yourself up to the unknown with the potential to create memories that can last a lifetime,” said Rachel Storey, Brand Director of Contiki.

The research also found that 34% feel they need to make every moment count when traveling due to increased work pressure. Nearly half (47%) feel so strongly about this that they would quit a job that didn’t allow them to take time off needed for a meaningful trip.

36% have a vacation bucket list that they want to tick off.

But 53% prefer a perfect moment to happen naturally or organically, rather than be something that is engineered—and 81% believe it’s the imperfect or unexpected moments that can make a vacation the most memorable.

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“When you reflect on trips from the past, it’s often the moments you couldn’t have imagined, that leave the deepest impact,” continued Rachel. “Whether it’s a moving encounter with a local, making a new friend, ordering an unusual item in a restaurant, or taking a leap of faith on a new activity – the ultimate souvenir is the memories you make along the way.”


Watching a sunrise or sunset with friends or family
Some kind of joke or funny event that becomes a running joke
Something that becomes a story to tell for years to come
Doing something that takes you out of your comfort zone
Drinks or food with a view
Making a connection with a local or group of locals
Trying the local delicacy which is considered unusual at home
Taking a detour or getting lost and finding an empty beach or amazing view
Seeing a famous landmark
Swimming in the sea
Doing something adrenaline-spiking, such as bungee jumping or parachuting
Ticking something off your bucket list
Getting a full tour of a beautiful city
Seeing animals in their natural habitat
Finding the ideal souvenir or gifts
Getting a tour around a local town or village
Marriage proposed or witnessing a proposal
A romantic kiss
Climbing a mountain

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