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The "Perfect" Formula for a Memorable Vacation, According to Research

A new study breaks down the elements of creating an unforgettable trip.

What's the secret to a perfect vacation? A lot of travelers would say it comes down to who you're spending your time with, while others may argue that location plays a key role in a trip's potential for success. Logistics might also come into play like the duration of your stay, excursions, transportation, or… how Instagrammable your destination is.

According to a new study conducted by OnePoll, and commissioned by the social traveling company Contiki, there is actually a formula for planning "the most memorable vacation." So, what is it?

The company asked 2,000 travelers, between the ages of 18 and 34, what they think makes a vacation perfect, and some of their answers may surprise you. For starters, participants said you should be traveling with at least three other people and try at least four new experiences. Thirty-six percent said travelers should "push their boundaries." These could range from scuba diving to learning how to ride a bike to trying a new type of food. On that topic, those in the study also suggest trying at least three new dishes.

Thirty-two percent of travelers say a vacation is made more memorable by meeting three new people. Even more interesting is what sets a perfect trip apart from an outstanding trip. According to the study, an outstanding trip will conclude with 45 photos and 15 videos of which capture four "perfect moments" from your getaway. Fifty-three percent said that in an ideal world the "perfect" moments wouldn't be planned, but happen naturally.

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"The reason we travel is, at its core, to create memories—whether it's from that perfect moment or trying something new out of your comfort zone," Contiki's brand director Rachel Storey said in a statement. "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."

Following the COVID-19 pandemic, travelers said that physically spending time with others is a key motivator to planning group vacations. Additionally, people noted that the want to create a magical trip is more prevalent than ever amidst modern society's hustle mentality. In fact, 47 percent said they would leave a job that "didn't allow them to take the time off they needed for an unforgettable trip."

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The study also revealed how travelers choose their vacay destination. Forty-three percent said it comes down to what experiences the city has to offer, while 36 percent said they choose places from their vacation bucket list.

So the next time you're planning your vacation, remember: go with at least three people, try at least four new things and three new foods, capture 45 photos and 15 videos, and meet three new people. This part isn't required, but having fun should also be part of the perfect vacation formula, don't you think?

Emily Weaver
Emily is a NYC-based freelance entertainment and lifestyle writer — though, she’ll never pass up the opportunity to talk about women’s health and sports (she thrives during the Olympics). Read more
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