VIRTUOSO LIFE® Magazine's "Travel Dreams" Survey Reveals How and Where the Affluent Plan to Travel

Upscale Travelers Select Sailing aboard a World Cruise as the Top Trip of a Lifetime, Cruising as the Most Desired Travel Experience & Australia as Favorite Dream Destination

Jul 12, 2011, 16:18 ET from Virtuoso

NEW YORK, July 12, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Virtuoso®, the leading network of luxury-focused travel advisors, proves that the affluent have no intention of sticking close to home when it comes to their travel aspirations.  Today Virtuoso reveals findings from its fifth annual "Travel Dreams" survey, a poll made available earlier this year through the network's award-winning magazine, VIRTUOSO LIFE®.  Responses came from the magazine's readers who are among the world's most sophisticated travelers, in part because they rely on the expertise, knowledge and connections of Virtuoso travel advisors. Full survey results appear below.  

Spending time on the high seas emerged as a common theme. Taking a world cruise and sailing the Mediterranean by private yacht were the top two "Trips of a Lifetime," while cruising was selected as the "Most Desired Travel Experience."  Australia, Italy, South Africa, New Zealand and Greece appear as the top five "Dream Destinations," respectively, indicating a desire to venture farther from home. The Greek Isles also emerged as the "Top Island Escape," especially with women, single travelers older than 50 years of age and travelers hailing from the southern U.S.

Former favorites such as the Galapagos Islands slipped from the "Trips of a Lifetime" category to make room for experiences like chartering a private jet. The Caribbean, a previous favorite in the "Dream Destinations" category, was replaced by newcomers like China and Ireland. The rising popularity of historical journeys and cultural experiences, both of which rank high as "Most Appealing Travel Experiences," may account for the shift in destination preferences.

"Virtuoso clients are some of the most sought-after travelers because of their strong desire for authentic experiences and their propensity to vacation longer and more frequently, and spend more," says Elaine Srnka, editorial director for VIRTUOSO LIFE. "How and where they want to travel is as vast and varied as the world itself. The 'Travel Dreams' results allowed us to determine distinct 'Virtuoso Traveler' profiles based on common likes and dislikes, which is the key to understanding the motivation behind selecting certain travel products and destinations."

Virtuoso identified five individual traveler profiles. 'Adventurers' like communing with nature in destinations such as Kenya, but forego Western Europe and organized outdoor activities. 'Beachgoers' share a love of water, whether in Australia, French Polynesia or Italy, but avoid expedition cruises and group tours. While 'Cruisers' favor long vacations, their destinations vary based on age: the Mediterranean appeals to those under 35 years; Alaska for travelers 35-49 years; and world voyages for travelers over 50 years. 'Culture Seekers' aim to visit all seven continents and like to soak in their surroundings and the local language, but you will not find them beachside. 'Families' are drawn to beach resorts, national parks and European villas over theme parks. While the Hawaiian Islands are the clear family favorite, other desired destinations vary based on children's ages: families with children under 17 years venture to the Caribbean, while families with children over 18 years opt for Italy.

Virtuoso identifies its readers as married (73 percent), female (61 percent) with children age 18 or older (47 percent). Sixty-two percent of readers are between the ages of 35 and 65, and 46 percent have household incomes in excess of U.S. $150,000. Sixty percent plan to take three or more short vacations this year (defined as four nights or less), while 63 percent will take an additional one-to-two longer vacations and 33 percent will take more than three longer vacations this year (defined as five nights or longer).

The "Travel Dreams" survey, conducted between January 1 and March 31, 2011, yielded nearly 14,000 responses. Please visit to see the survey results featured in the current issue of VIRTUOSO LIFE magazine.

Top Trips of a Lifetime

1.  Setting sail for a world cruise

6.  Photographing the “big five” on African Safari

2.  Sailing the Mediterranean on a private yacht

7.  Renting a private island

3.  Calling on all seven continents

8.  Blasting off on a Virgin Galactic flight

4.  Renting a European villa

9.  Chartering a private jet

5.  Visiting all seven New Wonders of the World

10. Dining through Paris’ best restaurants

Top 10 Dream Destinations

1.  Australia

6.  Antarctica

2.  Italy

7.  France

3.  South Africa

8.  French Polynesia

4.  New Zealand

9.  China

5.  Greece

10. Ireland

Most Appealing Types of Travel Experiences

1.  Cruising

6.  Relaxation

2.  Beach stays

7.  Romantic getaways

3.  Historical journeys

8.  Safaris

4.  Cultural experiences

9.  Family/multi-generational travel

5.  Adventure/nature exploration

10. Educational

The Most Alluring Island Escapes

1.    Greek Isles

6.  Fiji

2.    Hawaiian Islands

7.  The Caribbean

3.    Galapagos Islands

8.  Bay of Islands, New Zealand

4.    French Polynesia

9.  Seychelles

5.    Bali

10. Capri

Greatest Outdoor Adventures

Most Ideal Family Destinations

1.  African safari

1.  Hawaiian Islands

2.  Exploring a national park

2.  Italy

3.  Expedition cruising

3.  The Caribbean

4.  Hiking/walking tours

4.  Alaska

5.  Whale-watching

5.  South Africa

Most Romantic Cities

Most Desired Enriching Experiences  

1.  Paris, France

1.  Cooking school

2.  Venice, Italy

2.  Archaeological exploration

3.  Santorini, Greece

3.  Historical pilgrimage

4.  Rome, Italy

4.  Photography instruction

5.  Florence, Italy

5.  Foreign language immersion

Top River Cruise Itineraries

Top Seagoing Cruise Itineraries

1.  French wine country canal

1.  Mediterranean

2.  Danube River

2.  World cruise

3.  Amazon River

3.  Australia/New Zealand

4.  Rhine River

4.  Alaska

5.  Nile River

5.  South Pacific

Most Craved Dining Destinations

Most Toasted Wine Regions

1.  Paris, France

1.  Tuscany, Italy

2.  Rome, Italy

2.  Bordeaux, France

3.  Florence, Italy

3.  Napa Valley, California

4.  New Orleans, Louisiana

4.  Champagne, France

5.  New York City, New York

5.  Loire Valley, France

SOURCE Virtuoso