Canadians have always had a reputation for being nice and now it seems they might just be the key to making some travellers’ holidays a success.
A recent survey commissioned by Booking.com reveals that it’s the locals that can immediately affect our happiness on vacation. A third (33%) said staying with locals makes them happiest, and a quarter (24%) say meeting new people makes them happy. And this happiness is obviously infectious, with almost half (47%) saying they get along better with their partner and family when on holiday.
Canadians ranked second globally for having some of most cheery and relaxed locals. Topping the charts only slightly was our commonwealth friends down under in Australia (35%) and falling in at third were the Italians (29%).
Top 10 countries with the happiest and friendliest locals: Australia, 35%; Canada, 33%; Italy, 29%; Spain, 25%; United States, 24%; Thailand, 20%; Japan, 20%; France, 20%; New Zealand, 20%; Brazil, 19%.
Shawn Achor, BA, MA, Harvard, one of the world’s leading experts on happiness, explains, “Over a decade of research proves that mind-set and happiness are incredibly contagious. You don’t even have to say a word to affect someone else with your optimism. If you find yourself around positive people, you have an increased likelihood of experiencing the world in a positive way as well, which is why friendly locals can have such a significant impact on travel experiences. In addition, this is why we should be encouraged to do rejuvenating activities like go travelling, because when we are more positive, it is easier for other people around us to choose to be positive as well. Scientifically happiness is an interconnected choice.”
After the initial happiness boost of seeing their accommodation for the first time and a welcoming reception (38%) there are many holiday elements that people say keep their happiness levels on a high. A quarter (25%) immerse themselves in the local culture, half (48%) say eating delicious food is a winning ingredient for a happy holiday and almost half (45%) say breath-taking scenery is top of their list.
Top 10 ingredients for the happiest holiday: Delicious local food, 48%; Perfect weather, 48%; Breath-taking scenery, 45%; Amazing accommodation, 38%; Smooth travel, 37%; Travelling with a partner, 36%; Travelling with family, 34%; Ticking off a new country, 26%; Immersion in the culture, 25%.
Of course, it’s not just where you go or what you do that makes for a happy holiday. Where we lay our heads has significant impact on how happy we feel when away. When it comes to accommodation the research reveals a comfortable bed is top of the list for keeping us happy when on holiday (80%), closely followed by a picturesque view to wake up to each morning (60%).
Top 10 accommodation requirements for a happy holiday: A comfortable bed, 80%; A picturesque view, 60%; Free Wi-Fi, 52%; Nice toiletries, 39%;
Soft pillows, 35%; Great room service menu, 28%; Waterfall shower, 25%; Complimentary bottle of wine on arrival, 21%; Coat hangers and wardrobe space, 17%; Mood lighting, 13%.
“Our travels make the more mundane aspects of our daily lives worthwhile, so it’s important they live up to our high expectations. The research shows just how much emphasis people place on the people they meet and experiences they have when they go away to make the perfect trip. At Booking.com we know that there are certain key comforts that are a must for any traveller, from a comfortable bed, to the perfect view or just simply being able to access free Wi-Fi,” said David Mau, director of product, Booking.com. “That said, every traveller has their own unique wants and needs. With over one million properties worldwide, 30 different property types to choose from and more than 102 million verified reviews from guests, Booking.com makes it easy for travellers to find their ‘holiday happy.’”