How to pick the right travelling partner

March 9, 2018 - 12:32pm

NANAIMO — Why is it that even beautiful friendships, or otherwise happy marriages, sometimes turn stressful on holidays? If you travel with a person who has a different idea than you do about what a makes a great trip, and you don’t know that in advance, you may end up wishing you’d stayed home!

As travellers, we need to better understand exactly why we travel so we can plan more satisfying holidays.

And visitor economy businesses need to understand what travellers hope to find when they visit Nanaimo. Marketing can then be tailored to lure them here and help understand their desires to deliver an exceptional holiday experience after they arrive.


Happily, discovering one’s travel type has been made easy!

Extensive research done by Destination Canada (the Canadian Tourism Commission) shows there are nine different traveller types.

They took what they learned and created a three-minute, anonymous quiz, which instantly tells you which type you are. The categories are called a traveller’s EQ, or Explorer Quotient.

I was curious, so I did the quiz and found my type.

My travel type EQ and what kind of accommodation and activities I would love on a trip seemed exactly right — incredible!

Take the online quiz.

Turns out that our psychological profile determines our traveller type. Our inner makeup, personal beliefs, social values, and how we view the world shape the kind of a travel experience we crave, whether we know it or not. Each of the nine EQ traveller types want very different travel experiences.

Let me describe one.

Some folks just want to escape the stresses of everyday life into the bubble of an all-inclusive hotel, only taking guided tours and mainly eating in the hotel restaurant. They want to be pampered and taken care of every moment of a trip. Destination Canada calls those traveller types Rejuvenators.

But pair that Rejuvenator with a Cultural History Buff, who wants to go to festivals, stay in B&Bs, dine with locals, find their own way to museums and seek out heritage sites to explore — well, you can see the potential for holiday stress there!

Destination Canada has used this new understanding to let each part of the country know what type of traveller is best suited to enjoy a visit to their region.

Their research shows Vancouver Island best matches three of the nine traveller types. Using EQ terms, those types are: Cultural Explorers, Authentic Experiencers and Free Spirits.


If we can attract visitors whose travel expectations are fulfilled or exceeded, it benefits visitors and residents alike. Happy visitors stay longer and have a smaller impact on residents because they blend in and feel at home. Longer stays help Nanaimo’s economy And satisfied visitors are more likely to return and tell their friends and families about us, which grows Nanaimo jobs and tax revenue.

Travellers have the whole world to choose from, but Destination Canada’s research helps us to bring the perfect ones to Nanaimo.

Plus, knowing your EQ can help you plan your holidays. EQ has helped our campground business understand our own campers better. Now we share more information and actively assist visitors find the things we know they want to see and do that are within an hour’s drive of Nanaimo.


More visitors staying in Nanaimo longer, making Nanaimo their base. They take day trips to see other Island attractions, returning to explore more Nanaimo restaurants, shops, suppliers and entertainment businesses. Nanaimo prospers, and visitors have a perfect holiday.

By the way, I now self-identify as an Authentic Experiencer (and I'm married to one too which makes life much easier!)

Watch for Scott's next piece which will explore managing visitor economy growth.



Scott Littlejohn is the community engagement and marketing coordinator for Living Forest Oceanside Campground and RV Park. The Littlejohn family has been in the tourism business nearly 40 years, and Scott has also served on the board of Tourism Nanaimo and Tourism Vancouver Island. Celebrating Vancouver Island is his passion and career.