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The Results Are In: What's Your Travel Personality?

by Christine DeSadeleer May 21, 2010
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.

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.

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.

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