Can you build the perfect unforgettable holiday? These travellers think so…

The 18-34s have spoken. 2000 of them to be exact. The results are in, and the consensus for what makes the most memorable holiday looks like this…

Who goes with you?

When it comes to the number of travellers, the general consensus is me + 4. Makes sense, right? After all, you’ve got some close friends with you, but you’re still perfectly poised to meet some brand new friends during your travels.

What will you do?

In a word: adventure. In a phrase: stepping out of your comfort zone. In examples: the survey respondents claimed that pushing their boundaries was central to an unforgettable adventure. On average, they’d like to step out of their comfort zone at least 3 times, and stumble upon at least one ‘hidden gem’ during their trip. This includes meeting approximately 2 new friends, and trying up to 3 new dishes.

And when it comes to unforgettable activities, how does an active New Zealand adventure sound – with bungee jumping, glacier walking and skydiving all high up on the agenda?

A ‘right amount’ of photos?

It’s a position we’ve all found ourselves in. Wanting to be present in the moment, but also wanting to take enough pictures and videos to look back on when the trip is all over. How many pics is too many? And what just isn’t enough?

According to participants, their 4 ‘perfect moments’ would be best captured with 55 photos and 13 videos. Does that sound like a lot to you? Or barely any? Either way, your peers have spoken.

“The reason we travel is, at its core, to create memories – whether it’s from that perfect moment or trying something new outside of your comfort zone.

“Exploring a new destination and culture is opening yourself up to the unknown with the potential to create memories that can last a lifetime when you make every moment count.”

Rachel Storey, Brand Director at Contiki

A hearty handshake, you can’t beat it

In a digital world where you can order pizza, earn a living, study for a degree and even become famous without so much as brushing shoulders with another human being, you could argue that the need for a true and authentic human connection is greater than ever – especially among 18 to 34-year-olds.

A whopping amount (43%) of the travellers surveyed agreed that spending real time with real people was a key component of their unforgettable trip. After all, as funny as a virtual background can be, it doesn’t beat real laughter in a real live group setting. (Nothing does.)

If there’s one thing worth doing in person, it’s making your very own sushi in rural Japan – with a group of 18-35s to help you along the way.

Choosing where to go

Travelling is like reading a great book: the more places you visit, the more places you realise you still need to visit. With a list so long that you keep tripping over it, how can you ever hope to prioritise?

Well, according to our survey, 37% of travellers choose their destination based on the experiences they could have during their visit, while 30% have a ‘holiday bucket list’ full of would-be moments for them to cross off.

And when it comes to bucket list moments, our ‘LA to the Bay’ trip is chock full of ’em. Think hot air balloon rides over Arizona, the Grand Canyon sunset, the bright lights of Las Vegas and much more across 11 star-studded days.

The proof is in the planning… or is it?

The best moments in life are the unplanned ones, everyone knows that. But ask yourself this: where would you be if you never planned anything? We think the answer lies somewhere in the middle, and the survey responses appear to agree.

46% of travellers say they’ve tried to plan the ‘perfect moment’ on their holiday, while 66% prefer to let their perfection occur naturally rather than trying to engineer it. If this sounds like a split of opinion, here’s one the majority agreed on: 85% said it’s the imperfect or unexpected moments that make a holiday more memorable. So keep planning, and keep embracing the unexpected.

Sometimes good, sometimes bad, always social

So we know what travellers want from their mesmerisingly memorable trip, but what about documenting it? Well, realists, this is your lucky day. Authenticity is in, with 48% preferring to showcase unfiltered content, compared to just 15% who said they’d want their images to be perfectly staged.

Is holiday time more important than ever?

For those wondering how important holiday time is in 2023, the answer is ‘very’.

31% of those surveyed said they consider holidays to be more important than ever, while 30% said that an increase in work pressures have left them more eager to make every moment count during their travels.

“When you reflect on trips from the past, it’s often the moments you couldn’t have imagined that leave the deepest impact.

“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.”

Rachel Storey, Brand Director at Contiki

Top 20 ‘perfect moments’ to experience on holiday, as chosen by our respondents

Watching a sunrise or sunset with friends/family

A one-off joke (or funny event) that becomes a running joke

Something funny that becomes a story to tell for years to come

Leaving your comfort zone

Drinks or food with a view

Making a connection with a local person/group of people

Trying a local delicacy which is considered unusual at home

Taking a detour or getting lost, only to find an amazing view

Seeing a famous landmark

Swimming in the sea

Making a new friend

Doing something adrenaline-spiking, such as bungee jumping or parachuting

Ticking something off your bucket list

Getting the full tour of a beautiful city

Seeing animals in their natural habitat

Finding the ideal souvenirs/gifts

Getting the tour of a local town/village

Being proposed to/proposing to someone/witnessing a proposal

A holiday romance or a kiss

Climbing a mountain

Back To Top