There's nothing more disappointing than saving up money and planning for a trip with a friend, only to arrive and discover that that friend isn't actually interested in exploring your spectacular new surroundings. Don't get me wrong: I'm here for ordering room service in fluffy bathrobes as much as anyone, but for me personally, a huge joy of traveling is learning as much as possible about the new culture. If you can relate, you're in good company, because a new survey has found that the best people to travel with are those who are naturally curious.
The survey, which was conducted in two parts by Hilton's hotel brand Curio Collection, looked at over 2,000 people nationwide, and discovered that the majority of people — 73 percent, to be exact — say traveling is their go-to outlet to express their curiosity. What's more, the survey's press release says, more than 90 percent of people travel for the sheer sake of learning something new, "and 79 percent consider learning something new while on vacation a priority." And in fact, it's this one personality trait that may make someone a better travel companion than, say, your friend who's just looking to get the most quality boomerang of your destination for her Instagram story.
According to the survey's findings, 64 percent of people believe the perfect travel buddy is someone who is curious.
Whether they're curious about learning a new language, tasting new foods, seeing new sights, or all of the above, the person you travel with should be just as curious to learn about your new environment as you are, according to this survey's findings.
And that curiosity is said to serve you well not just in traveling, but in several different facets of everyday life. For instance, a study published in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology found that a curious personality can help a romantic relationship grow deeper and more intimate. What's more, research published in the journal Neuron found that curious people are more likely to be able to learn a new skill, even when that skill is something they don't find especially interesting. In other words, if you make a point to invite only your most curious, open-minded BFF on your next trip, they might just help you learn a new language while you guys are abroad.
But what does it really mean to be "curious" when you're traveling? I mean, you went ahead and booked a flight to go somewhere totally new — that's curiosity in and of itself, isn't it? Well, yes, but what can really enhance a trip abroad is a willingness to go outside your comfort zone and experience things that are completely new to you. In fact, the Hilton research found that more than half of those surveyed wish they could spend more time exploring the things they're most curious about, like ancient ruins, wildlife safaris, and exotic restaurants.
If you can relate, instead of, say, hitting up the local McDonald's at your OOO destination when you're hungry for a snack, why not take the plunge and explore a random hole-in-the-wall that your co-worker recommended before you left for your trip? It's little things like this that'll help you cultivate a true sense of curiosity and experience new, incredible things.
Of course, traveling, especially if you're in another country, can be stressful — but a healthy sense of curiosity can actually help manage some of that anxiety.
It's absolutely possible to both yearn to explore, and to be anxious about what lies ahead, all at the same time. A study published in the Journal of Anxiety Disorders found that people with social anxiety are often more likely to explore and satisfy their curiosity compared to people who don't have social anxiety. Of course, everyone is different, but if anxiety is something that's standing in the way between you and that flight to Iceland you want to book, perhaps this research will settle some of your worries.
I don't know about you, but I'm ready to text my most curious friend ASAP, because my wanderlust is now off the charts.