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One of the benefits of working in the travel industry is that we occasionally get a chance to experience some of the same destinations and types of travel as the super-wealthy. Whether it’s the latest over-the-top resort, a super-luxe cruise ship or having a once-in-a-lifetime tour experience that most people dream about, working in the travel industry sometimes gives us a glimpse into how the top 1 percent lives.
This issue’s cover story, “Trips of a Lifetime” (page 10), has some travel ideas that even the truly privileged can only dream of. Whether we are talking about a trip around the world by private jet or a trip into space with Virgin Galactic, the experiences we write about in the story are true dream vacations. And people really do dream of travel. According to a survey by Travel Leaders last spring, even during a full-blown recession, if consumers were given a windfall of $5,000 they would spend more of it on travel than on paying bills, investing or shopping — combined.
A more recent study by Princess Cruises and Wakefield Research reinforced the power travel has for consumers, as well as examined the bucket-list phenomenon. One interesting fact from the study is that, if Americans could only accomplish one goal in their lifetime, 72 percent would choose a travel goal. Also, nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of Americans have a list of places that they want to go and things that they want to do before they die. More surprising, younger Americans are really embracing such lists: Americans ages 18 to 34 (70 percent) are more likely to have a bucket list than those ages 35 and older (63 percent).
“It’s no surprise that travel tops Americans’ bucket list of life goals because we know that travel experiences often create our most meaningful life memories,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president. Travel agents have the enviable job of helping to make their clients’ dreams come true — in this world and even beyond.