Nearly half of Brits feel inspired to see the world thanks to travel writing tales

5 Dec 2016

Research released by Travelex shows books trump films for travel inspiration as it teams up with Penguin to launch new travel writing competition

Travelex research released today has revealed Brits get their holiday inspiration from travel stories. Almost half (46%) are motivated to book a trip inspired by something they have read. Often considered the ideal travel companion for long journeys, the travel novel still holds the same appeal in inspiring people to up-sticks and travel to far flung places.

Not only do Brits enjoy reading travel stories but they also enjoy retelling them. A whopping 61% of British travellers admit to retelling holiday stories – whether they are bad, embarrassing or otherwise – when they get home. Armed with this research, Travelex has today launched a new travel writing competition with Penguin Books, so budding storytellers can share their travelling tales far and wide. The winner will receive a £1,500 cash prize and have their entry reviewed by a Penguin editor for feedback and advice on how to get published. Students are also encouraged to enter, as a special prize pot of £500 cash is up for grabs for the best travel story submitted by a student*.

British travellers also cite their travel inspiration as coming from film and television (38%) as well as from stories told by friends and family (28%). There’s certainly something to be said about word of mouth when it comes to motivating people to travel, retelling stories of experiences had in the countryside of South America or the bustling cities of Asia makes the discerning traveller suffer from severe bouts of itchy feet.

Respondents to the survey said they predominantly enjoy reading about new places (42%) and avid travel readers like the fact that reading travel novels inspires them to travel to the places they read about (36%). Interestingly, over a third (34%) of Brits said they like reading travel writing as they find it relaxing, and a further 31% said they enjoy the feeling of escapism. 

Vincent Arcuri, Head of Retail for Travelex UK, comments: “Brits are intrepid explorers when it comes to booking holidays. Travellers are soaking up inspiration from media all around them, but predominantly from the books they read and many more of us like retelling stories of our own travel experiences. That’s what has prompted us to launch this competition with Penguin to find the country’s next top travel writer. We’re excited to read the submissions that will inspire us all to book a trip somewhere new.”

When asked about the travel books they have read, surprisingly more British travellers have read Alex Garland’s The Beach than some of the traditional classics like Sydney Pollack’s Out of Africa (18% versus 11%) or For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemmingway (14%). Yet 16% of British travellers selected Bill Bryson’s Notes from a Small Island as their most-read travel novel, showing how much humour plays a big part in travel writing. It’s no surprise that Bill Bryson is considered the favourite travel writer by 15% of respondents to the survey, with Michael Palin coming in second (12%).

So, whether you’re a student with editorial ambitions or you spend your days jotting down notes on your next voyage, we’re giving you the perfect platform to tell us all about it and also be in with a chance of getting Penguin’s expert editorial guidance on your writing and £1,500 to boot. For more information on how to enter, visit:

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