Humans have been on the move since the dawn of time. Now more than any time in history, it’s easy to travel – both in our own backyards and halfway across the planet. But, not every person is the same and some people like to travel more than others. Who do you think travels more?
A few general trends emerge: people from smaller countries are more likely to travel abroad than citizens of larger countries; more affluent countries tend to have populations which travel more frequently; and, maybe surprisingly, people from island countries are not more likely to travel abroad than they are to travel domestically. So, where do you think the most well-travelled people come from?
Travel data is sourced from Timetric’s study on 2013 travel habits across the world. For a trip to count, it must include an overnight stop, but it could be leisure, business, or otherwise.
Taking an average of 7.5 trips per person per year, the Finnish prioritize climate and culture when choosing a vacation. As with most other nationalities below, Fins mostly travel within the country but are the second most likely (after Hong Kongers) to travel internationally. While residents of many other northern countries prefer to visit warmer (frequently Mediterranean) countries for leisure trips, Fins most frequently visited Estonia and Sweden.
2. United States
The only non-Nordic country on the top five, the United States is one of the most diverse countries on Earth, geographically and ethnically. The wide variety of tourist attractions partly leads Americans to keep their trips domestic. Though the average American takes 6.7 trips each year, only 0.2 of those (less than 3%) are abroad. With many families spread out across multiple cities, many domestic trips are to reunite for the holidays. Despite their frequent travels, Americans are among the least well-travelled internationally among citizens from Western countries.
If you see a Scandinavian-looking blond tanning on the beach or by the pool, you’re likely looking at a Swede! Among people from Nordic countries, Swedes put a major focus on sunbathing and swimming. The third best-travelled people in the world, Swedes won’t be stopping anytime soon: over 50% of Swedish citizens say they plan to travel more in the upcoming year.
Besides having fun and friendly personalities, Danes are major travelers! Like other Nordic countries, workers in Denmark receive 5-6 weeks of vacation annually which many locals often take weeks-at-a-time in the summer or, if possible, during the cold and dark winter. Among all the Nordic countries, Danes are the most fond of cruises and of sampling local food and culinary traditions while travelling.
The fifth most travelling nationality in the world, Norwegians kick off Nordic domination of this list. Extremely high incomes and near-constant favorable exchange rates lead Norwegians to travel frequently to Europe and further afield. Taking an average of 5.2 trips each year (2 of which are international), Norwegians are also big spenders, dishing out 90% more money than the standard European tourist while on vacation.
6. Hong Kong
Hong Kong is the most visited city in the world. Though most visitors go for business purposes, Hong Kong has plenty to see for those interested in culture or nature. Living in one of the world’s densest and most vertical cities must get tiring for locals who eschew the trend of most other nationalities on this list (and the world) and travel much more abroad than domestically. Almost every trip of their 4.3 annual jaunts are abroad, with Hong Kongers preferring to visit Japan, Australia, and the United Kingdom.
7. New Zealand
It’s been a common trend thus far that citizens of smaller countries travel abroad more often than those in larger countries such as Brazil, Spain, and Indonesia. New Zealand is an anomaly in this trend – or is it? Though most people think New Zealand is a small country, it would reach from Jacksonville to Boston if overlaid on the U.S.’s Eastern Seaboard. Despite its size, New Zealand has some of the most diverse flora and fauna on the planet and is routinely lauded for its widely varied landscapes. Kiwis – as New Zealanders are often known – go on 3.8 trips domestically (0.5 internationally) each year.
Canadians are the 8th most travelled people on our list with the average Canadian embarking on a trip over four times per year. Though one of the largest and most beautiful countries on Earth, Canada is, in many places, sparsely populated and covered by snow for much of the year. This may influence differences between Canadian and American travelers; while Americans prefer to travel within the U.S., most Canadians prefer to leave Canada for vacation. Maybe the cold gets to them.
Australia is a continent and a country. Though not an island, strictly speaking, Australia’s vast outback and high incomes leads its citizens to frequently travel abroad. Though Australians travel much more within the country – 3.4 within to 0.4 abroad – don’t let the numbers fool you! Australians are major travelers all-around with almost 1 out of 3 Australians travelling abroad every year. Most trips are to nearby countries such as New Zealand and Indonesia and this number is expected to increase – since 2008, the number of Australians going abroad for vacation has been greater than the continent’s inbound visitors.
The most visited country in the world, France is a traveler’s paradise. It’s alpine skiing, lush wine country, rolling lavender fields, and trendy cities brought in almost 84 million visitors in 2014. The globally-curious French mostly preferred travelling within their own country, taking an average of 3.1 domestic trips per year. As compared to other European tourists, the French typically spend less on a trip (about 600-700 euros), especially in contrast with the Brits and Germans who spend upwards of 1,000 euros per person.