Most international travelers need ‘recovery mode’ afterward

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By Dan Sears

More than half of Americans who travel internationally require “recovery time” when they first get there (58%), according to new research.

A survey of 2,000 Americans who have traveled abroad within the past five years looked at how they prepare for their excursions and found that coming back home isn’t any easier, as the average person spends four days in “recovery mode” after the trip ends.

On average, respondents begin preparing 15 days before an international trip.

More than half said they “physically prepare” themselves by practicing their steps or going to the doctor beforehand (58%).

Other popular ways people prepare for international travel are by making copies of important documents (37%), arranging to have cell phone service (29%) and purchasing travel insurance (30%).

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of AIG Travel, the survey revealed that many find all of this prep to be worth it, with nearly a third saying international trips are more fun than domestic trips (29%).

Those surveyed recalled some of their favorite destinations they’ve ever visited, like Hong Kong, Machu Picchu in Peru, Cape Town in South Africa, the Great Wall of China and Sao Paolo, Brazil.

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More than half of Americans who travel internationally require “recovery time” when they first get there (58%), according to new research.

SWNS

When they travel, respondents identify as “The Planner” more than any other personality type (16%), claiming they’re the one who plans most of the trip and keeps everyone on time.

Another 14% say they’re “The Tourist” who always wants to see the tourist sites while 13% are “The Foodie” always interested in trying new foods.

One in eight admit to being “The Wanderer” who doesn’t stick to plans and finds their own way.

A survey of 2,000 Americans who have traveled abroad within the past five years looked at how they prepare for their excursions and found that coming back home isn’t any easier, as the average person spends four days in “recovery mode” after the trip ends.

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While a quarter of those surveyed don’t mind being seen as a tourist when traveling internationally (26%), another 41% say they try to “blend in” so others don’t see them that way.

“Every traveler is unique, but no matter what your travel personality may be, it’s important to be prepared for your trip by understanding any risks at your destination and to always be vigilant and aware of your surroundings,” said Jeff Rutledge, CEO, AIG Travel. 

While one in four “always” keep in touch with loved ones when traveling (24%), one in eight admit they “rarely” or “never” do and try to enjoy their time away.

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On average, respondents begin preparing 15 days before an international trip.

SWNS

Even with their research, nearly a quarter of those surveyed have at least three “panic” moments while traveling internationally (23%).

The most common moments of panic include issues with their flight being canceled or missed (29%), losing their luggage (23%) or not being able to understand or speak the language of the country they’re visiting (22%).

Americans also shared some of the top things to avoid when traveling internationally like engaging in potentially offensive behavior such as gestures or wearing certain clothing (48%) or giving in to people who are trying to sell you something (33%).

While one in four “always” keep in touch with loved ones when traveling (24%), one in eight admit they “rarely” or “never” do and try to enjoy their time away.

SWNS

Thirty-nine percent of respondents said that safety is always top of mind when traveling internationally.

The top safety tips they’d offer are to be wary of your surroundings (39%), keep copies of important documents in a safe place (29%) and research the safety of your intended destination beforehand (21%).

Still, respondents can’t get enough of being abroad, with nearly half saying they plan on traveling before the end of 2023 (47%).

Thirty-nine percent of respondents said that safety is always top of mind when traveling internationally.

SWNS

Six in ten (61%) are making it a goal to travel more internationally in 2024 than they did in 2023.

“It’s likely that more people will be traveling in 2024, and with new tourism policies being put in place to ensure sustainability in certain destinations, proper advance preparation is key to having an enjoyable journey,” said Rutledge. 

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Tips for preparing for international travel

  1. Do ample research ahead of time — 39%
  2. Make copies of important documents — 37%
  3. Share your itinerary with loved ones — 30%
  4. Keep an open mind to the culture — 30%
  5. Purchase travel insurance — 30%
Americans also shared some of the top things to avoid when traveling internationally like engaging in potentially offensive behavior such as gestures or wearing certain clothing (48%) or giving in to people who are trying to sell you something (33%).
SWNS

Top things to avoid when traveling internationally

  1. Engaging in potentially offensive behavior — 48%
  2. Giving in to people who are trying to sell you something — 33%
  3. Waiting until the last minute to pack — 29%
  4. Dressing flashily — 25%
  5. Tiring yourself out too quickly — 22%
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