Want to travel like the pros do? Here's your chance.
Travel professionals—writers, photographers and documentarians who spend an average of 88 days a year traveling—shared insights about what makes them hit the road. The results will be discussed during a panel moderated by Adweek's digital managing editor David Griner later today at the TBEX conference in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
According to a survey by TBEX, 17 percent of travel professionals spend more than half the year traveling and fork over an average of $2,415 per trip—though 79 percent of them use rewards or program points for hotels and flights. The survey was co-commissioned by TBEX and The Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express.
The top three types of travel among the professionals surveyed were adventure (69 percent), food and wine tasting (65 percent), and destinations off the beaten path (64 percent). At 83 percent, fine dining ranked as the No. 1 activity followed by local cultural events (75 percent) and experiencing nature (67 percent).
The top U.S. cities to visit were New Orleans, New York, Portland, Ore., and Austin, Texas, according to the survey. Iceland, China, Japan and New Zealand were the top international destinations. The travel bloggers were bullish on Cuba now that it has restored relations with the U.S.—the Caribbean nation ranked as the fifth most popular destination to visit next year.
Travel bloggers were split on their biggest advice for travelers. Eighteen percent said reading reviews or blogs is the most important thing to do, while 16 percent said spontaneity on a trip was paramount. Others advised travelers to ask questions of locals (12 percent) and pack light (12 percent).
The rise of mobile devices and social media will continue to play a key role in the travel industry. The survey respondents noted that social media sharing and mobile apps will be the top trends for 2016. Nearly two-thirds said WiFi is one of the biggest factors to consider when deciding where to visit and what hotels to stay in.