Previous Next
After two weeks of comments, we’ve (kind of) determined how different personality types travel best.

A couple of weeks ago, as the Enneagram – a personality typing system – seemed to be popping up everywhere in my life, I was astounded to find out there was nothing around the web about travel and personality.

I knew it was time for a revolution, and that you guys would bring the heat.

My informal study led to some pretty interesting results. Although the count was less than 40, it became clear pretty quickly what personality type is most into travel (and is the most vocal about it) – 7, The Enthusiast. Shocking, I know. As a person who consistently tests second-highest as a 7, I get it: you all are enthusiastic people who want to see the world. The words “spontaneity”, “plan little” and “love to explore” came up the most.

I think this comment from Anita sums up 7s pretty darn well:

I love it when i go somewhere where i don’t know anyone, it really makes me feel alive and every unknown moment of my existence in that place is such a rush and pleasure – pleasure of unknown, it’s so fantastic I can never get enough, I just love to explore what hasn’t been explored yet or has been explored rarely.

You can feel excitement of being a 7 just from that quote, can’t you? Looks like the best type of travel for you 7s is one that is open-ended, maybe with friends, as long as they’re down with letting you take off at a whim to hang out with that Buddhist priest you met at the cafe.

Photo: squacco

Second highest? This came as a bit of a surprise: 4s, The Individualist (yes, that’s me), and 5s, The Investigators, tied with six each (though the 5s edged out the 4s with a person who was split between two numbers).

At first, I thought it odd that so many 5s love to travel since they often like to watch from afar, but then it began to make sense – they are totally interested in understanding the complexities of the world. They’re investigators, for chrissakes.

The 5s seem to need to travel with a purpose. As Billy stated:

When I went to Ireland it was to study literature. When I went to India it was to study Hinduism and Buddhism. I’m planning a trip to Ecuador to plant tress in a rain forest to learn how the ecosystem works. I travel to different places to understand more about the world to see why it’s working the way it does, where I can fit in it, and, ideally, improve it.

And there you go. Of course, making the world a better place is mostly done alone, at a “slow pace”, so remember this the next time you are about to click on that group adventure trip, 5s.

The 4s were a bit wonky, with some loving to plan, and others hating it. Some plan crazily before the trip, and then throw those plans out the window once they get there. They also seem to prefer extended trips, and a nice little balance between being with others and being by themselves.

Ah yes, 4s, we are the insane, grass-is-always-greener bunch, so it makes sense that we tap into both sides of the spectrum. Balance is what we’re shooting for in any trip we decide to take.

A man and his dog; a 5, maybe? / Photo: greenkozi

As for the rest of the numbers, there were three 9s, The Peacemaker; three and two halves (people that split between numbers) for the 2s, The Helper; another three and two halves for the 3s, The Achiever; two 8s, The Challenger; one half for 6s, The Loyalist; and finally a whopping ZERO for 1s, The Reformer – guess the perfectionists are more home-bodies?

The 9s seemed to like to “wing it” and were open to change. The 2s were in fact, planners, and really wanted to get to know the people in an area well. 3s were “task buster”s and developed big agendas. The poor 6s and 1s had, of course, no feedback.

The Tally

Based on the evidence, here’s what kind of travel I believe would best fit each personality type:

  • 1 – Apparently, not much into travel.
  • 2 – You like to plan trips for a group, get in-depth with the locals, wherever you choose to go.
  • 3 – You are interested in seeing as much of the world as possible as quickly as possible. Better get on those flight reservations, stat!
  • 4 – You are into more long-term travel, must be alone some of the time, with others the rest of the time. To plan or not to plan, that is the question.
  • 5 – Best go traveling by yourself, with lots of guidebooks, history books, and notes at your disposal.
  • 6 – Who knows?
  • 7 – You are the epitome of the explorer extraordinaire. You might as well just go, go, go and forget about Lonely Planet or Google Maps. None of that matters when you’re hopping on a boat at the last minute to a destination you’re not even sure of.
  • 8 – Travel alone or with someone who is down to go along with your plans, and give yourself some time at your destination. You’ll be glad you did.
  • 9 – You’ve got some goals but…you’re also open to what others want to do. You can wing it, just make sure what you really set out to do doesn’t get lost in other’s (louder) wishes.

The Purpose

Leah wrote:

Not sure that identifying what personality type you are = understanding what type of holiday you prefer. I’d be bored with having the same holiday experience every time I travelled. Isn’t travelling all about opening your mind and filling your life with experience?

Great point. Travel is definitely about opening up your mind and experiencing different things than you already know. I think it is more about knowing how you travel best – with or without people, plans or no plans. That way, you don’t get stuck signing up for a situation that you hate because it’s not gonna allow you to do your thing.

As people continue to comment on the previous article and this one, I’ll add more data to the list and do another round-up in a couple of months.

Do you agree with the results? Share your thoughts below.



About The Author

Christine Garvin

Christine Garvin is a certified Nutrition Educator and holds a MA in Holistic Health Education. She is the founder/editor of Living Holistically...with a sense of humor and co-founder of Confronting Love. When she is not out traveling the world, she is busy writing, doing yoga, and performing hip-hop and bhangra. She also likes to pretend living in her hippie town of Fairfax, CA is like being on vacation.

  • Tabitha

    My highest scores were in the predictable 7 and the “non-traveling” 1.

    So as best I can describe, my traveling style seems to blend the two well. I have the spontaneity and flexibility of the 7′s but my “reformer” side rids me of the scattered, distractibility of the “enthusiasts” (which I find very annoying on the road).

    This from the website sums it up perfectly: “Ones are people of practical action—they wish to be useful in the best sense of the word. On some level of consciousness, they feel that they ‘have a mission’ to fulfill in life, if only to try their best to reduce the disorder they see in their environment.”

    Maybe ones don’t have to travel to do this. Although I love to travel, I believe I was put in the place I am for a reason and I can create change wherever I am. Sometimes travel is selfish.

    So the best kind of travel for 1′s is travel that is practical – you aren’t going into debt or tying to escape home – it’s the kind that makes sense in your life.

    • Emily

      I am also a travel junkie whose top scores included type 5, which was only 3 points ahead of my type 1 identification. I agree with Tabitha that for 1s, travel needs to have elements of logic and practicality, and as a 5 I find that it usually isn’t difficult for me to find a goal in my travel. I’m currently preparing to study abroad in Cyprus and cannot wait to explore there – and throughout Asia and the rest of the Mediterranean, as I plan to do. I think that 1s seem to prefer to be able to justify their actions, and, depending on other dominating aspects of their personality, this may be easier.

  • Kasey

    I just took the tests and discovered I was a 1 w 2, followed closely by 8 w 7.

    My Meyers-Briggs results are an ESTP, also.

    I can see what Tabitha is saying because all of my trips have been with purpose and working towards my goals. I took two service trips, which fits with my travel goal of helping people in some way in every place I visit. My mission is helping people and I use travel as an outlet to do that.

    Also, I am currently studying abroad, which is working on improving myself. I see travel is the opportunity for improvement, discovery, and change.

  • Nancy

    Cool stuff, Christine! I got into the Enneagram last summer. I’m a “1″ but I’m in my heart space at “7″ so it totally makes sense that I love to travel.

  • lakshmi

    My score was 7 and I so agree with it and with your assessment..I do not go by books and itineraries..I walk and discover and see what I have to see..I do not like to travel in big groups either..I prefer a small company of just 2 or 3 people and yet, I like to wander off on my own..i do not believe in must see, I see and experience everything from touristy to off beat places..both heritage and nature fascinate me as well as people and cultures ..but Im not the adventure type

  • Alouise

    I’ve been doing a lot of researching into the Enneagram types since taking that test… I know typical five behavior. It’s a bit freaky how accurate the test results are. I’ve even read through the other descriptions but five seems most like me, followed by four and nine. Of course there’s a skeptical voice that says I might be biases towards favoring traits typical of a five. Anyways the travel advice for me is perfect. The only point I might add if to maybe do more slow travel. I’ve found with every trip I’ve taken I haven’t had enough time to learn about/explore and discover the places I’ve been too. Like for example I gave myself 3 days in London, I’m thinking at least 3 months next time.

    And I’m glad I’m not the only one who plans things. Sometimes I think planning and researching is (almost) as fun as the trip itself. Does anyone else feel a rush of excitement moving the little walking guy on Google Maps?

    • Rena

      Alouise- I adore google maps- I get excited just thinking about mapping out a new destination! :-) I do think the planning is part of the fun- and I know I could never enjoy myself as much if I didn’t plan so well.

  • Christine

    My test result said that I was most definitely a Type One and I’m not surprised. The main thing that I can see in regards to travel that relates to my type is that I prefer having some things planned out over total spontaneity. I think travel can be a way for Type Ones to face and deal with their perfectionist tendencies, since no matter what everything won’t go 100% perfect while traveling. Also, Type Ones are supposed to have a sense of mission in life. I haven’t figured out what mine is, but I feel that I do and that travel is a way to go about discovering it.

    …But that’s just me. :P

  • Jess

    Very interesting! I missed the first article the first time around, but found it now. I tied for 2 and 5, and the travel explanations there are perfect for me. I love to travel alone, and you should see how many guidebooks, history books, websites, and fiction set in those locations I read to prepare for a trip. But at the same time, connecting with the locals is one of my favourite parts of travel, and I don’t always like to go alone – but when I’m with others, I like to do the bulk of the planning.

  • Jess

    Also, I wonder if the 6′s would be “quest” or “pilgrimage” travellers – going toward that thing that’s important to them.

    • Rena

      Jess- I think Sixes would definitely be drawn to that- but also mixed in with some relaxation travel- since Sixes seem to have a lot of anxiety- they really need time to chill out.

  • Fran

    As a 6, I can tell you that my travel (since I’ve been doing it alone, at least) is about making a contribution that fits with my values, and increasing my own knowledge for use in – well I haven’t figured out what yet, but it’s all gotta be for something at some point down the track.! So I guess Jess is right – it’s about what’s important for me, and I’m not so bothered about interacting with other people so long as I feel like I’m fulfilling my purpose in life.

  • Tina

    I’m 4! :) With a “wing” to 5.

  • Rena

    Great article Christine- I thoroughly enjoyed both of them. And the results for the Three (my type) were definitely spot on. I also think it’s an interesting idea to think about what countries and cultures are most suited to certain Enneagram types. For instance, would a culture like Japan’s, that highly prizes the arts be a good match for Enneagram Fours? Here’s an article that lists the dominant Enneagram types in different countries:

Ditch the safety net and travel for real.
Sometimes your demons push you to stay, sometimes they pull you to go.
" storytelling these bottom-places are often the cruxes, the moments that hold it...
Are guidebooks still worth the paper they're printed on? Maybe. Fact is, they're still...
How do publications' policies on what a writer can and can't accept for gifts or comps...
You beat your way to the next great "undiscovered" village, the ultimate "secret" beach....
"Survival, when you think about it, is the oldest way of being."
Robin Esrock experiences the classic epic struggle...and lives to eat lobster salad.
Our friends at Wend Magazine are offering a one-year digital subscription for the...
With inspiration like this, next year will be nothing less than spectacular!
These days, all it takes for a memorable journey is a few bucks in your pocket and an...