The newest trend in leisure traveling is the “total experience,” or travelers that are looking to immerse themselves in a destination’s culture.
A recent InterContinental Hotels & Resorts poll of 2,054 adults, found that travelers want a real taste of the locale they are visiting. True travelers use the following guidelines to make sure they’re getting the most out of a trip.
1. Know what’s going on locally. The easiest way to do this is to read the local newspaper. But if an English edition isn’t available, try finding a copy of an English standard, such as the Wall Street Journal or the Financial Times. According to the poll, of those respondents who do read the newspaper while traveling internationally, 32 percent opt for the local paper.
2. Try the local cuisine. More importantly, give it a chance to grow on you. Don’t pass judgment on the cuisine of a country based on one dish at one restaurant. Try a few specialty items before you head to the local burger joint. Nearly 70 percent of respondents try the local specialties when traveling abroad.
3. Learn key phrases in the official language of the place you are visiting. Know enough to get around. Even if you’re just making an attempt to get the phrases right, you’ll be seen as less of the “typical tourist” if you have some command of the local language. However, make sure that your hotel staff speaks English - that is what 82 percent of respondents say is very important to them. This provides a feeling of comfort should an emergency arise while traveling abroad.
4. Venture out on your own, or with a small group of daytrippers. Check with the hotel concierge to find some of the best “insider” secrets about your destination, and then head to those places to get a true picture of what an area is like for the people who live there every day. Seventy-two percent of respondents said they prefer setting their own schedule rather than following a planned itinerary on international hops.
5. Set your watch to local time. Make sure you have time for that walk through the local art museum. If you already set your watch to the local time zone, then you are like 73 percent of respondents who said they prefer seeing the local time of the place they are visiting when they look down at their wrist.
InterContinental Hotels and Resorts has been the preferred choice of the world`s business and leisure traveler since 1946. InterContinental offers exceptional comfort, convenience and service in 122 cities and more than 135 locations throughout the world through its historic landmark hotels that are as much a part of a city`s present as its glorious past, its striking contemporary hotels that reflect the vibrant cultures they represent, and its superb resorts that are both a tribute and an attribute to the natural beauty surrounding them.
Harris Interactive was commissioned by InterContinental Hotels & Resorts to conduct an omnibus study. The findings result from a telephone survey among a nationally representative sample of 2,054 adults comprising 1,009 men and 1,045 women 18 years of age and older, living in private households in the continental United States. Interviewing for this omnibus survey was completed during the period September 4-9, 2003. Completed interviews are weighted by four variables: age, sex, geographic region, and race, to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the total population, 18 years of age and older. The margin of error for the total sample is plus or minus 2.2%
InterContinental Hotels Group PLC of the United Kingdom [LON:IHG, NYSE:IHG (ADRs)], owns, manages, leases or franchises, through various subsidiaries, more than 3,300 hotels and 515,000 guest rooms in nearly 100 countries and territories around the world (www.ichotelsgroup.com). The Group owns a portfolio of well recognised and respected hotel brands including InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts, Holiday Inn, Express by Holiday Inn and Staybridge Suites, and also has a controlling interest in Britvic, the second largest soft drinks manufacturer in the UK.
InterContinental Hotels Group offers information and reservations capability on the Internet - www.intercontinental.com for InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, www.crowneplaza.com for Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts, www.holiday-inn.com for Holiday Inn hotels, www.hiexpress.com for Express by Holiday Inn hotels, www.staybridge.com for Staybridge Suites by Holiday Inn hotels and, for the Group’s rewards programme, www.priorityclub.com