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Travel: Does your holiday match your personality?

Last updated on: November 4, 2009 19:22 IST

Have you ever returned from a holiday feeling slightly under whelmed, or possibly needing a holiday to recover from your holiday? A holiday a bit too tranquil, or a 'city break' a tad too vibrant could be the result of not having chosen the right holiday for your personality type. 

The key to selecting the right kind of holiday is knowing your own and your travel companion's personality types, researching the likely holiday scenarios, and factoring those in with other practical elements like time available, travel distance to your destination, and of course, budget, according to Arthur Hoffman, Managing Director, Expedia Asia Pacific. 

"Choosing the right holiday is more than just picking a place or experience that sounds fun or interesting. Travellers should carefully reflect on what makes them and their travel companions tick, and then research travel destination options and consult independent traveller reviews. This will help ensure the right holiday for the right person and their personality," he said., with the help of an expert in consumer behaviour, provides some valuable 'insider' advice on what the different personality types should look for when picking their next holiday.

Dr Marylouise Caldwell, a Senior Lecturer in Marketing at the University of Sydney, said there are distinct travel behaviours that correlate closely with the Big Five factors of personality, also known as the Five Factor Model. This model includes five broad domains of personality that have been found to include roughly all known personality traits.

Dr Caldwell discusses predictive holiday behaviours associated with the relevant Big Five personality traits:

1. Extrovert / Introvert

2. Apprehensive / Relaxed

3. Open / Closed

4. Conservative / Eccentric

5. Conscientious / Non-conscientious

So which ones relate to you? Click on the Next button to find out.

Illustrations: Uttam Ghosh

Personality Trait 1: Extrovert vs Introvert

Extroverts are characterised by sociability, assertiveness, activity, talkativeness and the need for excitement and stimulation.

Conversely, introverts are typically more reserved, and prefer to be alone or in small groups. They like to lead life at a more even pace.

Holiday behaviour

Extroverts seek holiday experiences that provide high levels of stimulation, novelty, risk taking and social interaction. They tend to prefer big cities, restaurants and crowded bars rather than art galleries and temples or churches. They love action-packed holidays that never stop, and ones where they might 'shop til you drop'. They don't like to rise too early -- they are likely to stay out to the wee hours because they are night owls.

Introverts are the opposite: they like activities that promote introspection, deep thinking and experiences that have an intellectual or mystical bent (like art-house film festivals or meditating at Buddhist retreats).

Personality Trait 2: Apprehensive vs Relaxed

Apprehensive people tend to experience negative emotions such as anxiety, fear, disappointment, embarrassment, anger, guilt and disgust, while relaxed individuals tend to have an absence of these feelings.

Relaxed people are not easily flustered, shocked or irritated and they tend to be even tempered.

Holiday behaviour

Apprehensive individuals tend to seek destinations, cultural activities and food types that remind them of home, or past travel experiences. When travelling overseas they often seek restaurants that serve food similar to their country of origin. Unusual experiences tend to unnerve them. Although they prefer not to travel alone, they can find resorts or holiday experiences with high levels of socialising and activities overwhelming.

Relaxed people are just the opposite. They are okay with trips involving unknowns, and deal with new challenges one at a time and take them in their stride.

Personality Trait 3: Open vs Closed

Open people are characterised by vivid fantasy, attraction to art and beauty, depth of feelings (love experimental theatre, avant-garde art), lots of different actions (go abseiling, doing tai chi or the tango), intellectual curiosity and flexible value systems (listening to political debates). Very open people seek heaps of different types of experiences that are emotional, sensual, aesthetic or social.

Closed people prefer familiarity over novelty and are resistant to new or unfamiliar experiences -- similar to apprehensive individuals. 

Holiday behaviour

Open people will rarely go back to the same destination unless they have fallen in love with the place and wish to explore it further. They seek urban hubs that offer lots of variety, such as Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi, London, Paris, New York or Sydney -- not smaller cities like Nagpur, Coimbatore or Indore.

Closed people visit places they have fond memories of such as their hometowns. They will often go back to the same holiday destination time and time again.

Personality Trait 4: Conservative vs Eccentric

Conservative types are cooperative, altruistic and easily fit in with others. They gravitate towards what is traditional or the norm.

Eccentrics like to be different to others, staying clear of what they consider to be fads. They are often uninterested in others, let alone others' opinions.

Holiday behaviour

Conservative types will often do what is socially accepted and rewarded -- taking holidays that others will be impressed by within their immediate social circles. Hence they love telling others where they have been and showing them their latest holiday photos.

Eccentrics take holidays that might not win them much social approval, such as bird-watching in Siberia!

Personality Trait 5: Conscientious vs Non-conscientious

People with a conscientious personality trait enjoy control, planning and order. They are always prepared and pay attention to detail, doing their best to control what's going on around them.

Non-conscientious people tend to be less disciplined and are inclined to be a lot more self-indulgent and impulsive. They often appear disorganised.

Holiday behaviour

Conscientious people like to plan well in advance -- way before a holiday even begins. They want to know the exact where, when and why of their holiday, and often have a long list of must-see's and have-to-do's. They tend to have strict time and money budgets and will spend a lot of time researching on the internet, reading travel books and questioning their travel agents. Conscientious individuals will often record their holidays as photos, videos and travel diaries, to reflect upon after a holiday has concluded.

Non-conscientious people are spontaneous, acting on their desires without planning or notice and will go along with the flow with whatever might come along in their travels.