Travelling & Technology: U.S. Attitudes & Expectations

A new survey, “Tech Norms for Travelers” conducted by Intel Corporation and commissioned by TNS to explore American attitudes towards travel and technology, finds U.S. vacationers feel anxious when traveling without their mobile computing device, angry when they cannot access power sources to charge these devices and annoyed when others take uninvited glimpses of their computer screens, potentially compromising their personal information.

The survey exposes the deepening love affair between travelers and their devices revealing Americans feel an emotional bond with their mobile devices to the point of feeling calmer and less stressed when they have access to this technology while vacationing.

  • Nearly half of all travelers feel anxious without their mobile computing device
  • Nearly three-quarters of young Americans admit to suffering “outlet outrage” when traveling
  • “Peeping-tech” behaviors rank amongst travelers’ top peeves while almost half fear device heists

Key Survey Findings

Today’s traveler has increased expectations and views each connected minute as invaluable, desiring to create, consume and share safely with a mobile device that is easy on the eye, and the back, with style and design paired with performance and long battery life.

Tech Turbulence

– Female travelers admit greater travel anxiety than men, being significantly more likely than male travelers to report losing their mobile computing device as very stressful (82 percent vs. 73 percent).

– Three-quarters of all travelers surveyed bring their mobile computing device to stay connected to friends and family (75 percent), bucking the idea that dependence on technology detracts from time with family and friends.

Outlet Outrage

– Sixty-three percent of young travelers admitted going out of their way to secure power for their device including compromising their comfort and hygiene by sitting on the floor (37 percent), searching public bathrooms (15 percent) or choosing a restaurant or coffee house based on outlet availability (33 percent).

– Despite our tech addictions, 52 percent of all travelers are annoyed by the physical burdens traveling with technology brings, including heavy mobile devices, power cords and battery packs, and pulling their device out of their bag to go through the airline security check.

“Peeping-Techs” and the Fear of Device Heists

– Forty-six percent of travelers say their biggest pet peeves about traveling with technology relates to device security, including worrying the device may be lost or stolen and someone glancing at their screen. This concern rises to 62 percent among young adult travelers.

– Despite this reported paranoia, around one-quarter of travelers (26 percent) fail to take basic security precautions and admit to security risks including entering credit card details in public, using unsecured Wi-Fi networks, viewing sensitive documents on their device and even leaving their device unattended.

– “Peeping-techs” are among travelers’ top pet peeves. Half of American travelers (49 percent) admit getting annoyed when the behaviors of others compromise their traveling comfort and security, including screen glancing and viewing inappropriate content, with more than 29 percent of all travelers claiming they’ve caught fellow travelers peeping at their screens.

– Despite “peeping-techs” topping the list of travel peeves, more than half (51 percent) of young adults admit to peeping at someone else’s screen while 33 percent of travelers admitted being a “peeping-tech.”

The survey was conducted online within the United States by TNS on behalf of Intel from May 9-13, 2012 among a nationally representative sample of 2,500 U.S. adults ages 18 and older with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. Respondents were asked about traveling with Ultrabook devices, tablets and laptops. 

Full Survey here

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