Travel & Leisure

A Good First Day of Vacation Is Crucial

For a third of travellers, the first 24 hours can make or break a vacation

By Lola Augustine Brown

Photo: iStock/Proformabooks.

It apparently doesn’t take long for most of us to pass judgement on a vacation spot: almost half of Canadians polled in a recent survey said the first 24 hours after their arrival somewhere set the tone for a vacation, with almost a third saying that the first day can make or break the whole trip.

The results of the survey, conducted for the global online travel site, included responses from more than 18,000 people in 25 countries, including 500 Canadians; 48 per cent said the first day set the tone for the holiday, versus 46 per cent worldwide, and 30 per cent of us felt that a bad first day could ruin a trip, versus 36 per cent globally.

What do we want when we get where we’re going? According to the survey, 78 per cent of Canadians are looking forward to a beer or a glass of wine on arrival.

Unpacking and exploring the place they’ll be staying were the first things on the agenda for most people—36 per cent of travellers said a priority was testing the bed—but high up on the list after that for 46 per cent of Canadians was getting online to check out restaurant reviews. About a third of travellers said a priority was getting a good photo to post on social media.

Perhaps we have such high hopes for the first 24 hours because we expend so much energy worrying about them in the days leading up to travel. Just over a quarter of Canadians, 26 per cent, said they fret about things going awry on the first day. In addition, 46 per cent of us worry about losing luggage (though only 8 per cent had ever had that happen), and 42 per cent stressed over whether their accommodations would be up to snuff—but 86 per cent said they were pleasantly surprised. Perhaps sadly, a big concern was the possible lack of Wi-Fi access.

Given how much time, energy, and emotion we invest in our vacations, it’s no wonder we get stressed out about them. Obviously, the point is to relax and enjoy, though, so try to leave those anxieties at home next time you travel and enjoy the moment!