What Kind of Travel Personality are You and Where Should You Travel Next: Does Pseudoscience Have the Answers?
By Scott Dicken
What Kind of Travel Personality are You and Where Should You Travel Next: Does Pseudoscience Have the Answers?
Let me start this month’s column with a disclaimer; I don’t honestly think that if you tell me your inside leg measurement and favourite colour that there’s any form of pseudoscience that can determine where you should go on your next vacation. However, it’s fairly obvious that different people enjoy different types of vacations. It’s also fairly obvious (to anyone that’s ever travelled with a friend for the first time only to want to tear your own eyebrows out a mere 24 hours in to the trip) that traveling with someone who doesn’t have the same travel style and expectations as you can be frustrating for all concerned. That basic premise got me wondering if there was any way to ‘evaluate’ travel companions and destinations to determine if they’re a good fit. After all, if you have limited work vacation and budget then it’s important to maximise the enjoyment and minimise the frustrations of any vacation you book.
And then it hit me. I’ve worked in highly politicised corporate office environments for long enough (lucky me) to have been subjected to personality testing on a whole host of occasions (just to be clear – it wasn’t because of any personality transgressions on my part!). With my limited knowledge of personality testing it seems possible that knowing both your personality-type and that of those you’re traveling with could help you work out the kinds of vacations that suit you and how you’ll get along when you get there. Of course in no way am I saying you should ostracise any friends that don’t match your personality (as convenient as that sometimes might feel), but it might help you get a better understanding of your friend’s and family’s travel preferences, and how to manage any conflict before the Disney security team are called to respond to an incident on the ‘It’s a Small World’ ride.
Just like people, I like to think that destinations have their own personalities, so once you’ve taken the test (16personalities.com) and psycho-analysed your travel buddies take a look at the destinations I’ve listed below that best fit with the keywords of each personality type.
My hometown of London is well suited for the Logician’s amongst you
The Architect (INTJ): Imaginative, Strategic, Planners (Seattle)
Innovative, liberal and highly educated, Seattle seems like an ideal place for an INTJ to visit. There’s plenty to see in town (I highly recommend Pike Place Market, the Experience Music Project and Chihuly Garden) and plenty of quiet outdoors just beyond the city which would appeal to the introverted INTJ personality.
The Logician (INTP): Innovative with a thirst for knowledge (London)
INTP’s thrive in intellectually stimulating environments and, although I may be biased as a native, London seems to ‘hit the nail on the head’. London’s abundance of free museums (Natural History, Science, V&A for example), and artistic offerings (The Tate, Tate Modern, Portrait Gallery to name but a few) should cater perfectly to the INTP. The fact Londoners don’t really engage with tourists might also suit the introverted side of the INTP…..just kidding…..I think.
The Commander (ENTJ): Bold, Imaginative, Strong-willed (Mt Kilimanjaro)
ENTJ’s (which includes me) love to be set a goal and are strong willed and bold enough to go out and get it. One of the biggest travel goals I’ve ever set myself was to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania so that seems an apt choice for any ENTJ out there! Alternatively, if a few days challenge isn’t enough then you might want to check out what ‘The Adventurists’ (theadventurists.com) have on offer. I’ve personally participated in the Rickshaw Run (based in India) and can definitely attest that it’s a challenge!
The Debater (ENTP): Smart, Curious, Intellectual (Washington DC)
Nowhere on earth seems more fitting for ‘The Debater’ than the centre of the political world that is Washington, DC; and with so many global travel restrictions there’s no time like the present to be a tourist in your own back yard. Perhaps sign up for a free tour of the Capitol Building to get a better understanding of the inner workings of democracy (although at the moment I’m not sure anyone really understands what’s going on). Once you’re done there the curiously intellectual ENTP will be delighted to explore the Smithsonian Museums.
The Italian city of Florence is the perfect destination for ENFJs
The Advocate (INFJ): Quiet, Mystical, Idealist (India)
INFJ’s don’t feel at home in big cities (so you might want to steer clear of Delhi) but the reflective and ‘mystical’ Rajasthan might be the perfect fit. India’s largest state is the home of Jaipur and Jodhpur and one of the primary draws for tourists is the Thar Desert. Alternatively, to the North East of the country lies Darjeeling. In Darjeeling I highly recommend getting up at a truly ungodly hour to watch sunrise over the Himalayas; and what can be more mystical than that (especially, as a Brit, if its twinned with a nice hot cup of Darjeeling tea).
The Mediator (INFP): Poetic, Kind, Altruistic (Amsterdam)
The altruistic, all-inclusive nature of INFPs makes liberal Amsterdam a great choice. Sitting on the banks of one of the canals or biking across one of the city’s 1,500 bridges is the kind of poetic vision that seems aligned with the INFP personality. Of course, it’s also the home of legalised cannabis; so the poetry will probably flow a lot easier after a few days here!
The Protagonist (ENFJ): Charismatic, Inspiring, Leader (Italy)
ENFJs thrive off of social interaction and where could be more social than Italy! ENFJs will love the café and bar hopping culture of Italy; in fact my wife and I try to keep our itineraries in Italian cities clear of touristy attractions because we’re bound to spend most of our time sitting outside in piazzas watching the world go by, drinking wine (which is certainly the one part of Italian culture I can subscribe to).
The Campaigner (ENFP): Enthusiastic, Creative, Social (New Orleans)
For ENFPs life is always a party and nowhere hosts a better party than New Orleans. The French Quarter really is at the center of everything you think of when you imagine New Orleans. Its home to Bourbon Street, restaurants, bars, live music into the small hours and to New Orleans most famous French architecture and landmarks. ENFPs will spend hours just wandering the streets, listening to music and indulging in so many rounds of food and drink that it’ll be difficult to make it back to your accommodation at 5am covered in Mardi Gras beads.
The buzz of New York is a good fit for ESTJs
The Logistician (ISTJ): Practical, Fact-Minded, Efficient, Reliable (Seoul)
Logisticians like to find time to themselves when on holiday. They also love efficiency and reliability. The calming nature of Seoul’s grand palaces and the ordered efficiency of its transportation networks are likely to suit them down to the ground. Make sure you visit the tranquil Gyeongbokgung and Changdeokgung Palaces before hitting the shops and restaurants in Myeong-dong. If you’re looking for true seclusion, then head to Bukhansan National Park to convene with nature.
The Defender (ISFJ): Dedicated, Structured, Protector of Peace (Switzerland)
Having secured its neutrality in the Treaty of Paris in 1815 I think it’s fair to say that there aren’t many nations more peaceful than Switzerland. The introverted nature of the ISFJ also lends itself to Switzerland’s outdoor activities and the solitude of hiking in the foothills. Of course, Switzerland isn’t exactly renowned for being for the budget-conscious amongst us; so just make sure you save those pennies well in advance.
The Executive (ESTJ): Dynamic Manager, Efficiency, Order (New York)
Dynamic and business-savvy, ESTJs are likely to feel right at home in New York. The efficiency and order of a grid-based city will probably also appeal to the structured mind of the Executive. Spend time downtown in the Financial District; head out on the Ellis Island Ferry to catch a glimpse of Lady Liberty; catch the views from the Empire State Building; feel the buzz of Times Square…New York should easily have enough to capture the attention of an ESTJ for a long weekend.
The Consul (ESFJ): Caring, Social, Popular (Sweden)
Hostelworld recently commissioned a study that ranked Gothenburg as the most sociable city on earth based on openness, propensity to party and frequency of social events. Those results indicate that ESFJs should feel right at home in Gothenburg. Perhaps my photo (of the Gothenburg Archipelago; easily accessible from the city on a half day trip) doesn’t quite evoke those party feelings; but I’ll guess you’ll have to visit and find out for yourself.
Adventurers will love the ancient city of Angkor Wat
The Virtuoso (ISTP): Bold, Practical, Experimenter (New Zealand)
Apparently, even though they’re introverted, ISTPs love to experiment and love a good thrill. Based on that description where sounds more perfect than New Zealand, one of the true thrill-seeking capitals of the World? Start with a couple of days exploring Auckland and its surrounding islands before hitting the road; it’s the perfect start to a few weeks exploring everything New Zealand has to offer (including two of the top ten bungee jumps in the World).
The Adventurer (ISFP): Flexible, Charming, Explorer (Cambodia)
For the adventurer I had a number of choices but ultimately went for Cambodia. The main reason for this is Angkor Wat; where ISFPs can let loose their inner explorer and pretend to be Indiana Jones. Head away from the crowds of the main Angkor complex (although certainly do go and see it!) and you can still find relatively unexplored temples crumbling and covered in vines. You’ll also get the chance to see some of the best sunrises and sunsets anywhere in the World.
The Entrepreneur (ESTP): Smart, Energetic, Lives on the Edge (Overland Africa)
Although I’m not an ESTP, like an ESTP I’m one of those people who can’t sit still for more than 10 minutes. I love being on the go and want to maximize my time (after all, time off from work is limited so why would I want to spend it sat on a sun lounger). Seeing as much as feasibly possible on each and every trip is the primary objective. Group “overlanding” is a great way to achieve this; you only spend a couple of days in each place, the journey itself is a large part of the overall experience, and you get to meet new people (with whom you’ll soon be talking about your personal hygiene at a level of familiarity usually reserved for your doctor).
The Entertainer (ESFP): Spontaneous, Energetic, Enthusiastic (Las Vegas)
Where else but Las Vegas could be described as spontaneous, energetic and enthusiastic? The Entertainer should definitely feel at home on the Las Vegas Strip taking in the gambling, live shows, music, and high-octane atmosphere.
If you’d like to learn more about some of the destinations featured in this month’s article then make sure to check out takephotosleavefootprints.com for more.
All photo credits Scott Dicken.