Motivating Factors for Why People Travel

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  • 0:03 Why People Travel
  • 0:44 Maslow's Hierarchy
  • 1:22 Motivating Factors
  • 4:03 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Beth Hendricks

Beth holds a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, and has worked in journalism and marketing throughout her career.

If you could travel anywhere, what destination would you choose and why? It's likely your reasons for travel fall into one of several motivating factors. In this lesson, we'll explore the four most common.

Why People Travel

Think about the last vacation you took - hopefully you were lounging on a sandy beach, shopping down the narrow streets of Italy's shopping district, or taking in the sights and sounds of a new culture. Wherever you went, you likely had a very specific reason for doing so.

Maybe you went to Colorado to go skiing, New York to tour famous museums, or Florida for sun and theme parks. Perhaps you didn't care so much about the location but wanted to get away from the stress of work or to meet up with family and spend some time together. We can, however, pinpoint some pretty popular reasons that are motivators for people traveling. Let's try it in this lesson.

Maslow's Hierarchy

In the 1940s a psychologist by the name of Abraham Maslow came up with a concept we now call Maslow's hierarchy of needs. In it, he details why people do the things they do. Of course, he didn't necessarily mean it to apply to traveling - that's our job! He said that basically people are motivated based on a number of things including physiological needs such as:

  • Food and rest
  • Esteem needs such as prestige
  • Self-actualization needs like personal growth and creative experiences

It's a pretty solid foundation upon which we can look at the motivating factors for why people travel.

Motivating Factors

Motivations for travel can generally be broken down into one of four areas:


Job got you down? Kids on your nerves? Travel that is motivated by physical factors has to do with refreshing the mind or body - or both. These types of vacations typically involve stress- and tension-reducing activities so that the vacation-goer can return home feeling rejuvenated.

Say John has planned a week-long stay at a condominium in Cancun, Mexico. Sarah has scheduled a luxury spa vacation to the Poconos with a group of girlfriends. Tom and Jen are heading to Iceland to experience the relaxing hot springs.


Sometimes, travel isn't about simply relaxing but about incorporating opportunities to learn more about a different culture or group of people. Perhaps you're interested in experiencing the lifestyle of another country or learning more about the food, art, or history of an area different from your own. Traveling in another country can be a great way to immerse yourself in a culture that you're unfamiliar with.

Say Beth traveled to Italy, where she took in Italian architecture, art museums, and new foods. Jerald's ancestors are from Germany, so he booked a trip to Frankfurt to learn more about his heritage. Alicia scheduled a vacation to Kenya, to learn more about the culture of her newly-adopted family members.

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