Escape - The Real Motivation for Leisure Travel

Applying Grounded Theory Methods on the Topic of Leisure Travel Motivation and Behaviour

Bachelor Thesis, 2009

389 Pages, Grade: 1,0


Table of Content


Table of Figures

1.0 Introduction

2.0 Literature Review I: Contextual Grounding
2.1 Leisure Tourism and Tourists
2.1.1 Leisure Tourism
2.1.2 Tourists and Travellers
2.2 Tourist motivation
2.2.1 Motivation
2.2.2 Needs-Based Motivation Theories
2.2.3 Values-Based Motivation Theories
2.2.4 ‘Benefits sought or realized’ Motivation Theories
2.2.5 Expectancy Theories
2.2.6 Overview of Important Tourist Motivation Theories

3.0 Research Method
3.1 Choice of Research Method
3.2 Grounded Theory & Its Application
3.2.1 Data Collection
3.2.2 Data Analysis
3.2.3 Coding and Memos

4.0 Data Collection, Coding & Discussion
4.1 Codebook
4.2 Interviews
4.2.1 General Information
4.2.2 Interview #1
4.2.3 Interview #2
4.2.4 Interview #3
4.2.5 Interview #4
4.2.6 Interview #5
4.2.7 Interview #6
4.3 Summary of Initial Coding
4.4 Axial & Selective Coding

5.0 Literature Review II: Related Theories
5.1 Escapism
5.2 Man for Himself
5.3 Functionalism vs. Phenomenology
5.4 Reference to Literature Review I: Conceptual Grounding
5.5 Simmels’ Autonomy

6.0 The Theoretical Model

7.0 Limitations & Further Research
7.1 Limitations
7.2 Further Research

8.0 Bibliography


A1: Codebook

A2: Memos

A3: Code Tree (including Memos)

Table of Figures

Figure 1: World Arrivals by purpose of visit (including estimations for countries with missing data)

Figure 2: Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Figure 3: Summary of studies on tourist motivation

Figure 4: Expectancy model of holiday preference and choice

Figure 5: Grounded Theory Research Model

Figure 6: Coding Structure of Grounded Theory

Figure 7: Code Tree

Figure 8: Theoretical Concept (Hypothetical) – Motivation Escape Circle


Human behaviour is one of the most interesting topics to be studied, but also one of the most complex. But who would not be relieved if he would know the reason why humans sometimes behave as they do?

Especially in the field of tourism, a domain of intense human interaction, where offering services is the core activity of most businesses, it would be quite favourable to predict how potential customers or business partners do react; or if the extensive marketing spending has the desired impact.

Consequently, this work focuses on the topic of human motivation, particularly on the motivation of travelling behaviour, drawing attention to a field that is as diverse as the ways it can be approached. Tourism researchers usually refer to an established set of theories and models to describe motivated behaviour, of which Maslow’s ‘Hierarchy of Needs’ probably is the most renowned. But considering its year of publication, it is remarkable that there is no established contemporary approach to behavioural research.

Accordingly, the objective of this work is to develop a theoretical model relating the variety of leisure travel elements to as few as possible underlying motivations, being responsible for thriving one of the biggest industrial sectors of the world.

Research was carried out by undertaking in-depth interviews in the context of grounded theory methodologies, investigating the travel behaviour, experiences and motives of a small sample, detecting relations and dependencies, and drawing according conclusions.

Based on the analysed data a theoretical model emerged, defining the motivation for any leisure travel activities as psychological escape, an instinctive reflex to a temporary dissatisfaction caused by a variety of influences.

Keywords: grounded theory, leisure travel, motivated behaviour, psychological escape, tourism motivation, travel behaviour, travel motivation

1.0 Introduction

The author of this work has to admit that he always harboured a profound interest in the way humans behave and what their motivations are. Due to the fact that humans are such complex beings, particularly in a psychological sense, they always come up with a variety of interesting reasons to justify their behaviour. But in the authors’ opinion, often times this range of reasons can be simplified and categorized into a limited set of motives driving human behaviour.

Studying in the area of tourism for several years, it therefore seemed quite logically for the author to become engaged with the question of tourist motivation and to discuss it in this work.

Admittedly a wide range of theories and studies on the subject of tourist motivation already exists, or as Kay puts it, “tourist motivation studies embody an amalgam of ideas and approaches” (Kay, 2003, p.600). Cohen (1974, p.528) even criticized it as being a “fuzzy set” of concepts, descriptions and definitions. Nevertheless, the basic question, first formulated by Lundberg (1971), remains: Why do people travel?

Despite the fact that tourism organisations and experts usually list many different reasons, for example Santiago (2007) named seven reasons for travelling, and the World Tourism Organisation differentiates between four purposes as shown in figure 1, the author concluded that there are only two main categories. Work-related travel and leisure travel, including recreation, health and religious purposes as well as visiting friends and relatives, and other non-work related travel purposes. In most cases business travel motives are assumingly externally forced upon the traveller. In contrast, leisure travel is more interesting to focus on, because related behaviour and decisions are assumed to be taken with “a major element of voluntarism” (Walmsley, 2004, p.49/50). Therefore the field of research can be specified to: Why do people do leisure travel?

In the thought process related to this question, the author reflected on his own experiences. The first possible answer that came up was the urge to see other cultures and visit historically relevant sites and monuments as well as a desire to relax. But thinking about these reasons thoroughly, the author came to the conclusion, that these are actually not the true motives for travelling but the explanation for the choice of a specific destination. This can be generalized to most proclaimed travel motives like religious or health purposes, or travelling to friends and relatives. So what could then be the real, the underlying motive?

Pursuing this issue further with the help of self-reflection, the first explanation coming to the authors’ mind was the habitual behaviour of humans. Nowadays most people travel at least once a year on account of leisure reasons, possibly having created some kind of society tradition everybody feels obliged to. But considering this, the author felt neither satisfied with this explanation nor was he able to neglect the deeply embedded urge to travel within himself and assumingly also within others, looking at worldwide 763.2 million incoming travellers in 2004 (figure 1).

Figure 1: World Arrivals by purpose of visit (including estimations for countries with missing data)

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Source: World Tourism Organisation UNWTO, 2005, (Online) available at:, last accessed on July 26th, 2009

Therefore the guiding research question of this work can be stated as: What are the underlying motives and decisive factors urging humans to leisure travel?

To gather rich and descriptive information about this topic, qualitative research was necessary. In contrast to quantitative research, qualitative methods are based on human interactions and emotions, generating a complexity that cannot be described by statistics.

This work does not intend to generate data to proof assumptions, it rather intends to find reasons for human behaviour and describe underlying motives for seemingly obvious decisions, based on statements derived from personal in-depth interviews. Therefore the aim is not to test a hypothesis, but rather to generate one (Corbin & Strauss, 2008, p.25).

This generated hypothesis might be useful for further research in the field of tourist motivation, particularly regarding the process of travel decision making and therefore the prediction of future travel behaviour, potentially leading to more efficient marketing measures, presumably giving hints as to what are the triggers for leisure travel.

2.0 Literature Review I: Contextual Grounding

2.1 Leisure Tourism and Tourists

2.1.1 Leisure Tourism

Working within the topic of tourism and leisure travel, it is necessary to clarify the terms “leisure tourism travel” and “tourist”.

The World Tourism Organisation (1991) defines tourism generally as follows: “Tourism comprises the activities of persons travelling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business or other purposes.” The Travel Industry Dictionary (2007) differentiates between tourism as “the activity of travel for pleasure” and as “the industry based on such travel”.

These are only two of many different definitions for tourism. There is no definition that is commonly agreed upon (Vogel, 2005). Nevertheless most of the definitions include travelling and staying outside the usual environment as core activities. Usually the purpose of the travel is seen as either recreational, for leisure or for business. However, for the purpose of this work the author differentiates only between two categories of travel purpose, work-related and leisure travel.

To gather information about travel motivation, this work concentrates on leisure travel, including recreation, health and religious purposes as well as visiting friends and relatives.

2.1.2 Tourists and Travellers

Looking at the difficulties to find a common definition for tourism, consequently it is equally difficult to define who is a tourist. For example in Australia, “a tourist is defined as somebody who is at least 40 km away from his/her usual home for at least 24 hours, but not more than one year”, whereas in Germany “a tourist is defined as somebody who stays in a place away from his/her usual home for not more than two months” (Vogel, 2005). The Travel Industry Dictionary (2007) states a tourist simply as a leisure traveler. The common denominator of most definitions for being a tourist can be stated as being away from the usual living and working environment for some time.

Moreover, the term tourist is commonly seen rather negative, as mentioned by McCabe (2005). According to McCabe, being a tourist implies the reputation of behaving in a meaningless way without purpose. Therefore the more positive term traveller, as someone who likes to be engaged in the culture and society of a destination, is widely preferred.

To understand this differentiation and its contrary social notion, it is necessary to examine our society, which is predominantly shaped by the concept of capitalism. According to Weber (1920), capitalism is rooted within the Calvinistic doctrine, a religious protestant way of thinking and living taught by Johannes Calvin in the 16th century. This doctrine is best expressed by Webers’ theory: ‘Instead of enjoying the fruits of his work, the Calvinist will do his best to accumulate more fruits until the accumulation itself becomes his ideal in life’ [ translated by the author ] (Ostermann, 2009, p.77). This theory states that the purpose of our capitalistic society, expressed by rationalism, is not to enjoy the wealth generated by work but the accumulation of wealth itself. Consequently every activity needs to serve a certain purpose, be meaningful, to be seen positive. Because the reputation of the term tourist implies a rather meaningless behavior, as explained above, it is despised. Consequently, every tourist will state a certain purpose for his travel.

However, the author of this work does not agree with this differentiation. There might be different purposes and preferences regarding the type of travelling, the destination, the activities and the degree of integration, but they can be still classified as leisure tourists.

Summarizing, leisure tourists, the subjects of interest for this work, are individuals travelling to a destination outside their usual environment and staying there for a certain time with a certain purpose, for example recreation, health or religious purposes, or to visit friends and relatives.

2.2 Tourist motivation

2.2.1 Motivation

To gain a better understanding of the field of research this work is placed in, it is necessary to give a short overview about the application of motivation theory in tourism. Nevertheless the author has to remark that this theoretical overview was prepared after the primary research took place, to avoid contradiction with the chosen research methodology, as pre-research literature review would have limited the usability of it. However, to provide a better understanding of the scientific surroundings, this part has been included before presenting the primary research findings.

Motivation can be defined as reason for action, directing human behaviour (Princeton University WordNet, 2009), or as Mill and Morrison put it: “Motivation occurs when an individual wants to satisfy a need” (1985, p.4), transforming needs, aware and unaware, to wants. This approach is based on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (figure 2).

As mentioned in the introduction, manifold studies about motivation in tourism do already exist, trying to explain “why people travel or why tourists participate in particular activities” (Kay, 2003, p.600). Overall, Kay (2003) identified four main approaches to tourist motivation: Needs-based, values-based, benefits sought or realized, and expectancy theory.

Figure 2: Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Source: Author, based on Maslow, A.H. (1954) ‘Motivation and Personality’, 3rd ed., Addison-Wesley Educational Publishers Inc., and Dann, G. (1977) and Pearce, P.L. (1982)

2.2.2 Needs-Based Motivation Theories

Needs-based motivation theories imply the concept of leisure tourists choosing destination and holiday type according to their preferences to satisfy needs and desires finally reaching an equilibrium when needs are met. These theories are based upon the hierarchical needs theory of Maslow (1954) and Murray’s classification of human needs (1938). However, needs-based approaches only show a “wide variety of different needs” (Kay, 2003) motivating humans to travel and travel related actions, but are not useful to predict behaviour. Moreover, the usefulness of Malsow’s hierarchy in the field of tourist motivation is arguable due to its generic and, for tourism purposes, incomplete nature as well as for its hierarchical structure, which “cannot be tested empirically as there is no way to measure precisely how satisfied one need is before the next higher need becomes operative” (Kay, 2003), a shortcoming even remarked by Maslow himself (1954).

2.2.3 Values-Based Motivation Theories

Values-based motivation concepts try to measure personal values and their impact on tourist motivation and travel behaviour, decisions and motives for the purpose of market segmentation (Kay, 2003). These approaches can be seen as rather abstract due to the difficulties in measuring personal values. Furthermore they are focusing more on varying travel reasons, determined by personal values and preferences, than on the underlying travel motivation.

2.2.4 ‘Benefits sought or realized’ Motivation Theories

The approach of benefits sought or realized applies benefit segmentation to the leisure industry to predict future tourist behaviour. It relies on causal factors and thus “has been noted as being better at predicting and explaining behaviour than other measures which merely describe it” (Kay, 2003, p.606). There are two main types of this approach that are applicable. The first identifies the benefits provided by the attributes of tourism services or destination. The second measures psychological benefits expected while experiencing the tourism product. When applying these approaches or a combination of both to infer travel motivation, the timing is an important factor, differentiating between benefits which are sought prior to the travel experience and benefits which have been actually realized during, respectively after the travel experience (Kay, 2003). The issue arising when applying the approach of benefits sought respectively realized, is the usage of provided attributes of tourism products and/or benefits expected by the tourist, whose expectations are most likely shaped by the advertising of tourism product providers, to determine travel motives. Moreover, being based on provided and/or expected attributes and features, this approach is dealing more with travel purposes than with the ‘real’ travel motives even tourists themselves may not be aware of (Mill & Morrison, 1985).

2.2.5 Expectancy Theories

The fourth approach to tourist motivation is the application of Vrooms concept of expectancy theory in work motivation to tourist motivation by Witt and Wright (1992), as explained in more detail under 2.2.6 Overview of Important Tourist Motivation Theories.

Summarized, this approach states that needs might be potential motives for travel behaviour, but are unable to define the resulting behavioural actions. Therefore the focus is directed towards the point where needs are transformed into behaviour, and the influence of inter alia expectations, preferences and limitations on this process. (Witt & Wright, 1992)

2.2.6 Overview of Important Tourist Motivation Theories

Figure 3 shows a summary of the most important studies on tourist motivation, presenting different approaches and concepts. Like Mill and Morrison (1985), most explanations of tourist motivation take a content theory approach based on Maslow, reducing travel reasons to mere need satisfiers.

Dann (1977) for example differentiates between pull and push factors, describing pull factors as destination determiners following the initial ‘push’ towards feeling the desire to travel. Accordingly this desire is only a manifestation of the personal needs for social interaction and recognition (Dann, G., 1977, p.188), which Pearce critically assigns to Maslows’ ‘love and belongingness needs’ and ‘self-esteem needs’ respectively, as shown in figure 2 (Pearce, P.L., 1982).

Instead of two push factors, Crompton (1979) identifies seven push and two pull motives for travelling. The pull motives being novelty and education, the push or socio-psychological motives being “escape from a perceived mundane environment; exploration and evaluation of self; relaxation; prestige; regression; enhancement of kinship relationships; and facilitation of social interaction” (Crompton J., 1979).

Iso-Aloha (1982) describes the concept of tourist motivation as interaction of personal and interpersonal factors in the dimensions of seeking reward and leaving problems behind.

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Figure 3: Summary of studies on tourist motivation

Source: Author, based on Kay, P. (2003, p.601), ‚Consumer Motivation in a Tourism Context: Continuing the Work of Maslow, Rokeach, Vroom, Deci, Haley and Others’, ANZMAC 2003 Conference Proceedings, and Witt, C. & Wright, P. (1992) in Johnson, P. & Thomas, B. (1994, p.33-55), ‘Choice and Demand in Tourism’, Mansell Publishing Ltd.: London

Pearce (1982), Mill and Morrison (1985) as well as Krippendorf (1987) all point out the difficulties to obtain valid data regarding travel motivation, and that most answers only relate to the choice of destination rather than to the real motives, reiterating the content of tourism advertising. They ascribe this partly to the reluctance people might have when asked to give away their private motives, but also to the fact “that tourists themselves may be unaware of the true reasons behind their travel behaviour” (Mill & Morrison, 1985, p.2)

Whereas particularly Crompton and Iso-Aloha describe tourist motivation based on social psychological content theories, Witt and Wright apply the expectancy theory, pointing out that needs, or push factors, are “only a potential source of motivated behaviour. They may arouse motivated behaviour in the first place, but a knowledge of people’s needs will not necessarily tell us what they will actually do to fulfil such needs, or indeed whether they will do anything at all.” (Witt & Wright, 1992, p.44).Witt and Wright draw more attention to the processes whereby identified needs are transformed into behaviour, the influence of expectations on motivated decisions, and how these expectations can be influenced by travel service providers. They developed an expectancy model, shown in figure 4, of holiday preferences and choice, acknowledging needs, attractiveness of tourism product attributes, relative preference of different holidays, the knowledge of destination characteristics, limiting factors as well as expectations (Witt & Wright, 1992).

Summarizing, a variety of related and non-related approaches to understanding tourist motivation do exist. And “while there is clarity about what [...] motivation is” (Kay, 2003, p.609), being the driver for human behaviour, and its importance in the travel decision process, there is no agreement about the best way to understand the nature of motivation in tourism.

Figure 4: Expectancy model of holiday preference and choice

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Source: Witt, C. & Wright, P. (1992). ‘Tourist Motivation: Life after Maslow’ in Johnson, P. & Thomas, B. (1992). ‘Choice and Demand in Tourism’. London: Mansell Publishing Ltd.

3.0 Research Method

3.1 Choice of Research Method

Referring to the guiding research question stated in the introduction – “What are the underlying motives and decisive factors urging humans to leisure travel?” – the research method used for this work was to be qualitative, as it is widely acknowledged “that quantitative research is not especially good at generating understanding and uncovering meaning” (Blichfeldt & Kessler, 2009, p.5). In contrast to quantitative research, Blichfeldt and Kessler (2009) carry on, a qualitative (interpretative) approach is particularly relevant when investigating the underlying motives of human behaviour as it provides the advantage of revealing realities that could not be predicted prior to the study.

Moreover, qualitative methods are based on human interaction and emotions, allowing the researcher to gather rich and complex descriptive information, necessary to uncover behavioural motivation. Therefore this work does not intend to proof existing hypothesises or assumptions by interpreting statistical data, but to detect motives for leisure travel through personal in-depth interviews. Due to the sensitive topic of having to reveal possibly private motives, the participants had to be selected carefully. These interviews provided a rich and complex picture of travel behaviour, travel purposes and travel motives. Due to the research aim, the systematic guidelines and analytical tools of grounded theory were the most suitable (Corbin and Strauss, 2008, p.25).

3.2 Grounded Theory & Its Application

According to Charmaz (2006), grounded theory provides systematic guidelines to analyse gathered data. These guidelines serve to avoid trivializing and ensure a fair and equal treatment of all included descriptions.

Basically, grounded theory offers a “flexible set of inductive strategies” (Charmaz, K., 2008, p.82) on the path from collecting data, analysing it, and finally building according theories grounded in the gathered data. The key focus of this methodology lies on the active involvement of the researcher into the data by comparing parts of data and interacting with the ideas emerging around it, effectively combining inductive and deductive thinking. Therefore grounded theory starts not with the development of a hypothesis but with data collection according to the general research question.

Important for the successful application of grounded theory are three rules, according to Glaser (1992). 1) No pre-research literature. 2) Taping should be avoided. 3) Talking about the theory should be avoided. The followed the first rule, because pre-research literature review would have prohibited an unbiased approach to the data, and would have resulted in a confirmation of existing theories. Referring to 2.2 Tourism Motivation, this has been the reason for including tourism motivation theories after completion of the primary data analysis. The second rule was neglected, because the author believes that taping interviews and transcribing offers the possibility to get to a deeper level of understanding. Regarding the third rule, the author contradicts Glasers’ opinion. Talking about an emerging theory does not necessarily lead to feeling content with the findings through positive feedback, or to damage on the researchers’ self-confidence through negative feedback. Despite these risks do exist, the author argues that they are counterbalanced by the opportunities gained through talking about an emerging theory selectively. Positive feedback motivates, whereas negative feedback is a valuable starting point for discussions, which are useful for detecting week points in the emerging. Thus discussions provide the opportunity to hone ideas and subsequently build coherent theories.

3.2.1 Data Collection

For the purpose of this work data was gathered by undertaking and taping six in-depth interviews. Due to the sensitive character of the topic, asking interviewees to reveal possibly private motives for their travel behaviour, the interview partners had to be acquaintances of the author. Despite consequently harbouring the risk of getting similar views and experiences, caused by social interaction preferences and inheritance of the author determining the circle of acquaintances and its social class, this was seen as the best way to get honest and therefore valid data for the analysis.

Furthermore, the interviewees were selected according to their age and gender to determine potential differences referring to these attributes. Two participants, the male #1 and the female #2, can be categorized as young and single adults. Interviewees #3 and #4 can be categorized as elderly retirees but are still actively involved in travelling, supported by steady income and increased leisure time. Whereas interviewees #5 and #6 belong to the category of middle-aged just-empty-nesters, where children have grown and left home but are still financially dependent on parents, nevertheless leaving them more disposable leisure time. For more detailed information on the interviewees please refer to 4.2.1 General Information.

With this concept of pre-determined attributes of the participant the author decided to differ slightly from the traditional methodology of grounded theory, where sampling is guided by the first analytical results. Due to the fact that the author of this work wanted to discover potentially differences in the answers to the guiding research question with regard to different social environments, in this case featured by age and gender, interviewees’ attributes were pre-determined, drawing on Flicks’ methodology of thematic coding (2002, pp.271). This allowed a comparing analysis of the gathered data, potentially enriching the resulting theory.

3.2.2 Data Analysis

Accompanying the collection of data the analysis took place as shown in figure 5. In compliance with Charmaz’ (2006) reasoning, key points described within the interviews were marked with codes, allowing the key aspects to be captured in comparison to other gathered data. The generated codes were thereafter grouped into similar concepts, looking for relations and dependencies, building the foundation for the formation of categories and sub-categories, which, together with the generated memos, provided the basis for the creation of the resulting theory, after reaching theoretical saturation.

Figure 5: Grounded Theory Research Model

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Source: Fernandez, W. D. 2004, ‘The Grounded Theory method and case study data in is research: Issues and design’, in Hart, D. N. and Gregor, S. D. (eds) Information Systems Foundations: Constructing and Criticising, ANU E-Press, Canberra Australia)

3.2.3 Coding and Memos

As Charmaz (2006, p.43) explains, the stage of coding means “categorizing segments of data with a short name that simultaneously summarizes and accounts for each piece of data.” Therefore codes help to sort the raw data.

Referring to coding, different approaches are possible, caused by differing views on grounded theory by the developers Glaser and Strauss. Whereas Glaser “remained consistent with his earlier exegesis of the method and thus defined grounded theory as a method of discovery” (Charmaz, 2006, p.8), relying on emerging theoretical codes and categories, Strauss and Corbin established “new technical procedures” (Charmaz, 2006, p.8), advising researchers to use well-defined coding paradigms, systematically focusing on conditions, strategies and consequences for actions within the data. (Charmaz, 2006, 2008 and Corbin & Strauss, 2008)

For the purpose of this work the author decided to follow the lead of Charmaz (2006), who returned to the original nature of grounded theory, seen not as a strict prescription for theory building but rather as a set of flexible guidelines. This way it was possible to focus on the actual data and the interpretive understanding of it. Nevertheless, the author understands the efforts of Strauss and Corbin to create a firm structure for the general usage of grounded theory. To generate a structured research, the author followed Corbins’ advice of doing software-supported coding with MAXQDA 2007, a software tool for analysing qualitative data, offered by ‘VERBI Software. Consult. Sozialforschung. GmbH’ (2009).

The coding stage was structured as shown in figure 6, starting with initial coding, followed by focused coding and axial coding.

Figure 6: Coding Structure of Grounded Theory

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Source: Author, based on Charmaz (2006) and Corbin & Strauss (2008) Initial Coding

The interview texts were analysed incident by incident, sometimes line by line, and labelled with initial codes. These codes try to identify “actions in each segment of data” (Charmaz, 2006, p.47). Therefore it was important to take an open approach to the data and stick closely to it to avoid pressing pre-existing categories on the data. The results of this stage were provisional codes, directly evolved from the data and therefore grounded in it.

Moreover, in vivo codes, stating the interviewees own words, were integrated carefully in the evolving theory. However, the author tried to keep their number low. Despite being useful to preserve interviewees’ words, in vivo codes bear the danger to miss out on the context of the catchy phrases.

Furthermore, already while doing initial coding, the author started to compare the data. According to Glaser and Straus (1967), constant comparison of data is an important feature of grounded theory application. Relevant findings were captured in notes and memos throughout the whole analytical process. Focused Coding

The next coding phase included focused coding with the aim to reduce the amount of initial codes. This phase partly overlapped with data collection and initial coding as data analysis is ongoing and iterative, reconsidering already coded sequences. During focused coding “the most significant and/or frequent earlier codes” (Charmaz, 2006, p.57) are identified. Therefore the author had to decide which codes are useful for further analysis, providing the most analytical sense. Basically, initial codes were transformed into sub-codes of focused codes, which captured the meaning of similar codes. Axial & Selective Coding

According to Charmaz (2006, p.60), the phase of axial coding “relates categories to subcategories, specifies the properties and dimensions of a category, and reassembles the data [...] fractured during initial coding to give coherence to the emerging analysis.”

The works of Strauss and Corbin provide a formal framework for accomplishing this coding phase. But due to the nature of the interviewees’ statements, developed codes and categories as well as the variety of topics conglomerated within the interviews, the author decided not to apply this framework, as it would have limited the vision on the topic of interest, restricting outcomes, a risk already pointed out by Kelle (2005) and Charmaz (2006). Nevertheless the author adhered to the axial coding phase by defining sub-categories for existing categories. Thus the number of categories was reduced and their properties specified. Moreover, investigating the relations between categories and subcategories was a crucial part of this stage. This reduced form of axial coding served to clarify emergent ideas, and in turn the emergence of a coherent theory.

While attending to the phase of axial coding, the author did also apply selective coding, identifying main categories and transforming other categories to sub-categories in such a way that a coherent and logically structure emerged. Memoing

Kathy Charmaz describes memo-writing as “the pivotal intermediate step between data collection and writing drafts of papers” (Charmaz, 2006, p.72), presenting a crucial part of the concept of grounded theory methodology.

Since the beginning of the analytical process, memos were attached to suitable and important codes and data segments by the author, serving the development of provisional theoretical ideas, capturing the authors’ thoughts. Furthermore, memos were important to capture discovered and/or emerging connections and comparisons.

In the further course of the work the resulting memos served as foundation for the formulation of the theoretical findings. The complete codebook as well as all memos can be found in the appendices A1 and A2. The placement of the memos with regard to the codes is shown in the appendix A3.

4.0 Data Collection, Coding & Discussion

4.1 Codebook

The codebook is the collection of all codes emerged from the interview transcripts, labelling relevant key statements of the participants. Therefore the codebook provides a valuable overview about the developed codes and their grouping to categories and sub-codes.

Starting from the analysis of the first interview, initial codes are collected in the codebook. Because initial codes are grounded in the interview texts, a great variety of codes does exist, often times coding similar statements in different words. Due to allocating incidents to already existing codes and focusing the coding on the relevant aspects emerging from the analysis, codes per interview decreased. Further codes were included creating sub- and umbrella-codes, the first step of categorisation.

The complete codebook can be found in the appendix A1, also quoting the respective paragraphs. Due to the fact that the chosen participants are German and their mastering of English would not have been sufficient enough to express their views and opinions, the interviews had to be conducted in German. The most important segments of each interview have been translated for the illustration and discussion of the interviews’ content in 4.2 Interviews.

4.2 Interviews

4.2.1 General Information

Referring to 3.2.1 Data Collection, the rationale for collecting primary data for this work was already pointed out by the author, including the issue of pre-determined participants’ attributes.

The first interview was taped August 6th, 2009. Interviewee #1 is a male, young and single adult of 25 years, who is employed as a graduated scientific assistant in the field of maritime technologies at an university of applied sciences.

The second interview took place August 13th, 2009. Participant #2 is a young and single adult as well, but female and a student in the field of tourism management.

Based on the findings from the first two interviews, participants #3 and #4 were interviewed August 15th, 2009. Both interviewees, female (#3: 70 years) and male (#4: 74 years) respectively, are retired teachers. Both are married. Despite their age, both are still actively involved in travelling, undertaking leisure trips throughout the year, supported by steady income and increased leisure time.

Interviews #5 and #6 were taped August 16th and 17th, 2009, respectively, based on the findings and theoretical assumptions gained previously. Both participants are married and can be categorized as middle-aged just-empty-nesters. Interviewee #5 is a 47-years old male, employed as general manager of a company dealing with construction equipment. He studied agronomy and business management. The female interviewee #6 is a grammar school teacher for physics, mathematics and informatics of 45 years.

Consequently, the observation of the influence of gender and life cycle status on leisure travel behaviour, particularly on motivation, was enabled.

Regarding the core interest – leisure travel motives – a gradually saturation was sensed by the author after three interviews. The remaining interviews confirmed this sensation, providing diminishing new views on the topic, but confirmed the emerging findings. Therefore more data input, implicating further interviews, has not been necessary.

The direction of focus changed as data gathering moved on. Some emerging aspects were picked up, others were upgraded and discussed in more detail, whereas others proofed not to be important.

The interviews have been unstructured to allow emerging new and important aspects to be discussed in more detail and to amplify certain points. Moreover, the unstructured interviews supported an informal and relaxed atmosphere, important for gathering such sensitive data.

However, all interviews evolved along a rough guideline. To involve the participants in the topic of leisure travel and get information about their travel experience and habits, the author started with questions regarding the experiences of the interviewees related to leisure travel, moving on to preferences and the influence of interests and destinations on the travel decision. Afterwards asking for other factors influencing the desire to travel, or limiting travel activities. Moreover, purposes and objectives of travelling have been discussed as well as the role of employment and social contacts, especially family. The interviews usually were concluded by talking about future travel intentions.

In the following parts the content of the interviews is outlined with selected important initial codes, and discussed with respect to the findings. The respective coded segments displayed are translated by the author. The complete list of codes can be found in the appendix A1: Codebook.

4.2.2 Interview #1

Interviewee #1 told the author about his early travel experiences going on holiday with his parents regularly, once a year, usually to destinations in Middle and Western Europe.

Code: annual holiday travel with parents

‘It was custom to travel with parents, actually yearly. No long-haul trips, I believe the most remote was a trip to Greece.’

This coded segment contains information regarding the travel experience of interviewee #1. Obviously he started his travel career already with his parents, accumulating an already considerable travel experience due to regular leisure travel to various destinations in Europe.

Code: hobby finding

‘Well, generally for determining hobbies, I would say. There I have done both for the first time.’

This statement was made after the author asked for the best holiday experience and got the answer that this was a boat trip where the interviewee participated in his most favourable leisure activity for the first time. Consequently it gives a hint towards his reasons for travelling: pursuing his hobbies and interests. Moreover, this incident states that holiday travel can be used to explore new leisure time activities.

Code: travel motive: distance to daily routine

‘On the one hand there is the desire to create a distance between oneself and the daily life.’

Consequently, one reason why interviewee #1 is doing leisure travel is his daily life or something connected to it, something he wants to be apart from, which creates a feeling of dissatisfaction. This statement includes the desire to get away from the daily life physically as well as psychologically, hinting at a possible relation between both.

Afterwards interviewee #1 stated other travel reasons, his hobbies and social contact with friends, obviously important components regarding his travel behaviour.

Code: travel motive: hobbies and interests

‘Then the exertion of my hobbies’

Code: travel motive: social relations

‚close contact with good friends’

Asked to elaborate on the topic of distance to his daily life, the following was answered.

Code: holiday everywhere else than residence

daily routine as motive for travel

‘Simply gaining distance from my centre of life. The probability for me spending my yearly holiday in Bremerhaven is marginal, because I would be too close to my daily routines.’

The author decided to code this segment twice. One for the interviewees’ desire to create a physical distance between himself and his residence, leaving the question of the reasons for this desire open, and one for the last part, the explicit mention of his daily routine he wants to be away from, further proofed by the following segments.

Code: holiday as mean of being away from daily routine

‘Well, because for me holiday (...) simply pursues exactly this goal. Being able to let go.’

Moreover he confirmed his desire to create a physical distance.

Code: other environment than residence

‘I: So it comes all down to escape to another environment?

B: Yes, yes. For sure.’

After elaborating on the fact that another environment than the usual one is a decisive factor for him, the following asked question regarding the importance of the destination itself was the logical consequence.

Code: destination variety not important

destination has to fit expectations and demands

‘Well, by no means I do intent to work off points of interests from a map. I do not at all have a problem to travel to the same country regularly, as long as the destination lives up to my demands.’

This stated the minor importance of the destination for interviewee #1, also implying that his demands do determine the destination. A resulting issue was the role of the destination in the overall travel experience, especially in comparison with the other interviews.

More coded segments related to the interviewees’ daily life and employment routine. Some attributes cause him to desire physical and psychological distance, such as working discipline, workload and incessant accessibility. For example included in the following code.

Code: desire to be not available for work concerns

‘And this is achieved best if I am not available. So I do not want to receive an email requesting me to do something promptly. I do not want to be called upon on the mobile, and that I realise by my choice of holiday, hedging myself’.

Another important code deals with the travel objectives, respectively the expectations interviewee #1 has towards his leisure travel activity.

Code: relaxation as main desire

‘Well. What do I expect from a holiday? (...) Of course, first and foremost there is the idea of relaxation.’

Consequently, the relaxation idea plays a rather important role as travel outcome, therefore it can be categorised as a travel purpose. But the underlying questions leading towards the objective of this work were: Relaxation from what? What are the reasons this relaxation is necessary? This again led to the factor of daily routine, needing further verification, possibly with the following in vivo code.

Code: „Flucht vor dem Alltag“ [‘Getaway from daily life‘]

Another question arising from the interviewees’ desire to escape from his daily life to relax regarded the obvious inability to recover from stress at home.

Code: no complete relaxation at home

‘I: But would it be impossible for you to recover in a familiar environment? Without travelling away?

B: No. That is exactly the point I wanted to make regarding the flight from daily life. Of course I can also recover a bit in my free time, but such a complete reset like I experience while on holiday is only possible by being disconnected from it.’

Obviously, interviewee #1 is not able to disconnect psychologically, a precondition for relaxation, without disconnecting physically. Therefore he travels. This represented an important issue to be considered for the following interviews.

During the subsequent parts of the interview the participant elaborated again on the role of his free time activities and interests. They are a crucial component of his leisure travel activities, as to pursue them implies a certain degree of relaxation. Therefore his interests determine the destinations of his leisure travel.

Another point discussed relates to travelling as a habit. Interviewee #1 did not feel he is travelling out of habitual motives. However, he allowed the habit to be determining the time of travel. In this regard, interviewee #1 stated the importance of friends for travelling, which can be categorised as specific type of interest.

Code: important: holiday as time of social interaction with friends

‘It is important for me not to be by myself on holiday, but to travel with friends.’

The answer to a rather important question, when he feels the urge to travel, was quite interesting.

Code: holiday urge just before start

‘I: ‘When do you feel the urge to travel?

B: I do not feel the urge to travel until the holiday is booked and I am ready to start. Thus not until the actual beginning.’

In this segment interviewee #1 stated that he decides to travel before actually feeling the urge to do so, possibly hinting towards a relation between travel behaviour and travel habit. That was unexpected by the author, being another issue to observe for the coming interviews.

Moreover, the interviewee told the author that he relates a positive holiday experience not to a certain destination, but to other basic parameters, which were captured by the following codes.

Code: holiday conditions: distance to daily routine

‘B: Maximum distance to my daily life.’

Code: holiday condition: following maritime interests

‘water sports opportunities’

Code: holiday condition: social interaction/friends

‘contact with friends‘

These codes allowed an overview about the interviewees’ travel objectives and preferences: pursuing interests and hobbies, socializing with friends, and being away from daily routine. Whereas the first two mainly serve internal and personal desires, the latter is forced externally. Therefore the interests and friends aspects can be categorized as travel purposes, relating to activities which are executed while on holiday but would also be possible at home. Therefore it would not be appropriate to define these purposes as underlying travel motive. However, the ‘being away’ statement does not relate to an actual activity, but can be seen as a driving factor, relevant to the guiding research question of this work. Thus this aspect had to be observed closely for the coming interviews, directing more attention to it.

While discussing the planned travel of interviewee #2 to a remote island in Sweden with close friends, his earlier expressed views and preferences were confirmed: adventure, being away from home environment, not accessible, pursuing his interests, and the aspect of friends. Moreover, the author recognized a price sensitivity, possibly a limiting factor for destination selection.

The interview went on discussing possible views of other people towards their travel reasons and motives. Participant #1 expressed his opinion that relaxation would certainly be an important reason for most humans. According to him, travelling also acts as status symbol for some people, something he cannot relate to.

Code: status as travel motive for many people

‘B: Well, in my opinion the group, using travelling as status symbol, obviously contains a lot people. They define quality of their holiday by the distance covered; I have the impression that the more miles they have travelled around the world the merrier was their holiday.’

This aspect of viewing leisure travel as status symbol did also occur to the author before the interviews. But what would it mean if one would be travelling to gain a certain social status? It would imply dissatisfaction with the previous social status which is defined by the life someone is living. Consequently, it would relate travelling to a, maybe only temporary, dissatisfaction with life. This dissatisfaction could have many properties, for example insufficient standard of living or scant social interaction. But in the end it is dissatisfaction with daily life, relating it to the ‘getting away from daily life’ theme already pointed out.

Interview #1 was concluded talking about the idea of a perfect time, a distinctively positive event, which could be another reason people are travelling in their leisure time.

Code: holiday as subjective and emotional sensation

‘Then the only possibility to accept a real holiday for oneself is the fulfilment of this idea.’

Code: holiday travel as distraction from daily routine

‘I: So the two factors of distraction and self-actualisation play a role?

B: Yes.’

Thus a reason for travelling would be to experience something positively distinctive. But for an event to be positively distinctive, it needs to differ in one way or another from the usual. The usual being the daily routine, the author again drew the connection to the ‘getting away’ theme. So the perfect holiday would be mainly characterised by being away, gaining distraction, from the usual environment, including everyday plights. However, the following interviews had to confirm and enhance this emerging theory.

4.2.3 Interview #2

Interview #2 also started with the topic of past travel experiences of the participant. She told the author of regular family holidays and the gradual development of standards and destinations, directing towards an increasing travel experience. At first her family spent the holidays camping or caravanning in Germany and Denmark, sometimes with friends of her parents. Apparent features in this narration were the preferred individualism and flexibility regarding the leisure travel activities, illustrated by the holiday types, and the regularity, hinting towards a certain degree of habitual travel behavior.

After the first travel experiences, interviewee #2 told the author, that travel standards increased and destinations became fancier.

Code: travel distances increased with holiday experience

‘B: No, Europe. Germany and Denmark at the beginning, and then towards Spain, the Canary Islands, Turkey, destinations like that.’

The regularity of the holiday was bound to the employment of the participants’ parents, tied to school holidays. Obviously employment influences travel behaviour, in this case limiting potential travelling time.

In the course of talking about holiday times, interviewee #2 revealed another potential travel reason: season and climate.

Code: importance of season & climate

‘As we considered the Canaries or Turkey, it came down to the autumn holidays to catch some sunshine before winter. Here it already has been relatively cold and there it was still summerlike warm.’

This could have been considered a promising aspect. However, after pondering about this aspect the author decided it to be a property of travel purpose, determining for example time and destination. Moreover, it also depends on personal interests. Furthermore, referring to the ‘get away’ theme of interview #1, weather and climate are also properties of daily life. Using leisure travel to get to better weather conditions therefore can be related to fleeing from the everyday environment.

Nevertheless, asked about the most impressive travel experience, interviewee #2 named the first flight travel to Menorca.

Code: fascination of different surroundings

‘I thought the Mediterranean Sea was fascinating; that has been the first bigger holiday where I could say: wow, we are going on holiday, gorgeous, we had a great trip!’

Besides the discussed aspect of warm climate, the factor of differentiation needs to be emphasised and revived from the first interview. There it was pointed out that a positive holiday experience depends on being different from the usual. The segment quoted from interview #2 does fortify this point, as do similar statements. Her most memorable travel experience relates to a rather unspectacular holiday, compared to the holidays she went on since. Nevertheless this one was highlighted. Why? Because this holiday was distinctive from all other travel experiences she collected previously. It became a positive sensation because it meant breaking with routines. This holiday was not only different from daily life, but also from the previous travel routine. This illustrates that interviewee #2, like interviewee #1, believes that leisure travel is seen as distraction, positively distinguished from daily life. The following coded segment supports this assumption.

Code: fascination of different sensation and surroundings

‘I: And the first holiday, the Menorca trip. What were the reasons it created such a lasting impression?

B: Because for the first time it was something different than we were used to, we did not start off with the car or had a holiday flat.’

Another clue drawn from this previous text segment is the importance of travel standards for the overall holiday experience. However, there seem to be many factors interacting to create a specific holiday experience, for example travel standards, climate and destination. All factors accumulated facilitate the distraction travellers seem so be looking for, and which, as already pointed out, is possibly related to the perseverative ‘get away’ theme.

After confirming that her Menorca holiday was special due to being different from the usual ‘holiday routine’, interviewee #2 told the author about preferring sun and beach holidays. However, she dislikes all-inclusive travel due to too little action and flexibility, limiting her freedom.

Code: disdain of all-inclusive because too less action and flexibility

‘I: And why no all-inclusive holiday?

B: Because by now that is no longer ‘holiday’ for me. I could also lay out in my backyard at home after all. But I want to see things. And due to the ‘I have paid it, I want to consume it all’ mentality, with all-inclusive there is always the danger of spending the major part of time in the hotel. Maybe one can make it down to the beach. But the general trend is to stay in the resort, in one place. And I like to explore the area a bit. So when seeing a place I like, I can stay there a bit longer or so, arrange everything in a more flexible way.’

As she stated it, laying out at the beach would be no difference to laying out in her own backyard. Thus it would be no real holiday. This statement provides two important information.

Firstly, another confirmation that travelling is the search for distinction from everyday life. She likes to do different things when travelling, compared to staying at home. Moreover, interviewee #2 requests freedom of choice, preferring individualism. When following the emerging theory of using leisure travel to experience different sensations, this might be an expression of her feeling limited in her freedom in daily life, possibly through routines and expectations. This is potentially leading to a general dissatisfaction with life, even if it might only be temporary. This trend can be detected within the remaining interviews, too.

Secondly, with an increasing travel experience the demands are increasing accordingly. Whereas some years ago a holiday was spectacular for her when it meant flying to the Mediterranean, nowadays this is not sufficient enough. New and better distractions are requested.

Moreover, the influence of the participants’ interests is shown. Obviously interviewee #2 is interested in other cultures and countries, as was confirmed through further statements she made. Therefore she is using her travel time as an opportunity to pursue these interests, manifested as travel purpose, possibly creating a positive distraction.

Code: travel to see things, surroundings, customs, life

‘I: So it would be an objective for you to see different things?

B: Different things, yes. And, maybe a learning effect would be too ambitious, but simply to broaden one’s horizon. To experience other customs and ways of life.’

In this respect interviewee #2 did also express her opinion about her daily environment.

Code: everything is familiar at home

‘You have your one place of residence, you know the neighbours, you know the acquaintances. It is not the case that I walk out of the house suddenly gaining a completely new awareness.’

Apparently the usual environment is also part of the daily life. Therefore a physical distance seems to be desired.

In the further progress of the interview participant #2 related to the importance of getting the real sensation instead of second-hand experiences from books. Furthermore, she stated that another travel reason is relaxation, as already mentioned in interview #1, of course posing the question why it is necessary to travel for relaxation. When defining relaxation as creating a psychological distance to the demands of daily life, the author infers from the statements and descriptions of all participants that it seems not possible to establish this distance without physical distance, too. Consequently leisure travel would be the facilitator to create this distance.

Besides the travel reason of relaxation, interviewee #2 highlighted that she is pursuing a variety of interests and activities, for example sports. Thus using this leisure time for activities she usually has no time for, summarized in the following coded text segment.

Code: holiday as time for one’s interests

‘I: So, while on holiday you like to do things, which you usually more or less...

B: ...neglect.’

When the author pointed out that she could pursue such activities at home as well, instead of having to travel, the answer related to the earlier highlighted relationship between psychological and physical distance.

Code: daily routine as prohibitory for relaxation and time for interests

‘I: But theoretically you could do all these activities at home. You could do sports at home, you could go swimming at home, or relax. Maybe even better than on holiday, or not?

B: Yeah. But as I see it, at home there is always something. Even if I am planning some activity (or to relax), it never happens as planned. Therefore relaxation in daily life happens only selective, but you would never say ‘now I have got one or two weeks, or ten days, according to the duration of the holiday, time only for myself and my desired activities. In daily life and at home there is always something intervening.’

This inability to find relaxation in the usual environment was confirmed by the next code.

Code: inability to completely relax at home

‘I: So you would say that it is impossible for you to completely relax at home, to disconnect?

B: No, no. Even if there are periods when I have got less to do, I get cabin fever. Then I personally feel the urge to do something.’

In the course of the interview, the participant related these difficulties to relax at home to the many plights and a sense of duty. But on holiday she is able to repress these thoughts.

Code: being away from plights

‘When you are on holiday you are so distanced...well, for example myself, I can repress this completely.’

Possibly the most important, despite its shortness, answer the author received, summing up the previous segments of interview #2 and stating the relation to the increasingly emerging theory of ‘getting away’, belongs to the following code.

Code: holiday motive: escape daily life

‘I: So you would say you are going on holiday to escape your daily life? To do these things which are not granted to you in daily life?

B: Yes. Yes.’

Progressing with the topic of destination choice, interviewee #2 remarked that for her the destination is a very important feature of the holiday. In contrast to interviewee #1, who determined his destination according to the activities possible, interviewee #2 chooses her activities based on the destination possibilities. As the first interview let the author to assume destinations are facilitators for travel activities and therefore on a sub-level, this view had to be revised. Destinations and activities are operating on the same level of the travel process, influencing each other, and together the holiday experience.

At a later point of the interview the participant acknowledged the influence of social pressure on the destination choice, mentioning an ‘I have been there’ approach to the destination choice. This complies with the statements of interviewee #1 referring to leisure travel as status symbol, which the author related to the ‘getting-away’ theme under 4.2.2 Interview #1.

Nevertheless, interviewee #2 also acknowledged the dependency of the destination towards her travel purpose, for example learning about the culture of a destination.

Regarding the question referring to the frequency of her feeling the urge to travel, participant #2 replied the following.

Code: Holiday Travel Urge

‘This is permanent‘

But despite permanently feeling the urge to travel, the interviewee stated that there is only one annual holiday, due to having done it always that way as well as due to being subject to financial and time constraints. Moreover, she expressed that one big holiday per year is sufficient, otherwise travelling would become routine and loose its distinctiveness.

Furthermore, interviewee #2 elaborated on the importance of social interactions when travelling, preferring it to travel together with friends and being able to share the experiences.

Towards the end of the interview the author redirected the topic back to the participants’ travel motives, particularly referring to daily life and usual surroundings.

Code: desire to experience different environment

‘Just to see something else, not the environment or the usual surroundings with the daily views.’

Code: travelling as positive, chosen escape from daily routine

‘I: Would you say that holiday is some kind of escape? From the routine of your daily life?

B: Yes. But not necessarily escape in a negative sense, not a forced escape.

I: Ok.

B: But a chosen escape, yes indeed.’

Code (in vivo): “Mal was anderes erleben“ [ ‘To experience something else’]

All three codes relate to the already explained concept of deliberately using leisure travel to create a physical distance to the daily surroundings and routine, aiming at establishing a psychological distance, too, supported by experiencing differentiation and distraction.

Concluding the interview, author and participant recapitulated her travel decision process.

Code: urge to travel when workload is high

‘I: And at what point do you feel the urge to go on holiday?

B: I feel the urge when I have got a lot to do.’

Apparently the urge to travel is triggered by stress due to high workload, a pressure from the daily life, relating urge to the current employment status of the respective interviewees. Consequently, leisure travel is seen as reward for accomplishing the workload, and travel planning is used as distraction. Following the urge a destination gets chosen according to travel purpose, determining the activities.

Due to the fact that within the first two interviews the direction of the research emerged, focusing on specific appearing relations and concepts, the remaining interviews are illustrated and discussed in less detail, concentrating on aspects confirming the concepts outlined in 4.2.2 and 4.2.3, or showing differences.

4.2.4 Interview #3

In comparison to interviewees #1 and #2, interviewee #3 possesses a larger amount of travel experience, due to her age. Lacking the financial means she gathered no travel experience during childhood, but as teenager started travelling to visit relatives. When she started her own family, the participant went camping and caravanning, but by now she prefers individual travel at higher standards, accommodated in hotels. This illustrates and confirms the assumed dependency between increasing travel experience and travel demands.

Noteworthy is her opinion regarding camping holidays. In respect to individualism and flexibility, interviewee #3 regards this holiday type as the most preferable. Thus, like interviewees #1 and #2, she showed a strong desire for autonomy. This conformity of the three interviewees might be caused by the acknowledged risk of similar social backgrounds. Nevertheless the author likes to refer to the assumption pointed out on page 47 under 4.2.3, stating that this travel preference could be traced back to a feeling of too little autonomy in daily life, thus being another supportive component of the ‘get away’, motive, including the feature of having time for oneself.

Code: dislike of package tours – individuality

‘I do not see it as being always ideal, because one is tied to a specific itinerary and sometimes has to compromise on personal interests and objectives.’

Code: development of standards


‘I: Which type of holiday do you prefer nowadays? You told me it used to be camping, and now?

B: Nowadays I like to travel individually, stay in a nice hotel and explore the area on my own.’

While talking about camping, an apparently important limitation of the interviewees’ travel activities was mentioned: health. As could be expected, with increasing age health can be a limitation. The financial aspect remains another limitation, but due to higher disposable income not as influencing as for interviewees #1 and #2. Another limitation not mentioned before used to affect the interviewees travelling until 1989: political constraints referring to the restricted freedom of travel in the German Democratic Republic.

Participant #3s’ opinion about the benefits of leisure travel is best acknowledged by the following coded segment, contributing to the emerging aspect of daily routine being a decisive factor for motivation.

Code: get away from daily life & surroundings

‘One has by all means escaped the daily grind, does not have to ponder everyday on the issue of what to cook, what to buy; and not always do the same scope of activities at home. One is able to find to himself.’

Moreover, interviewee #3 highlighted the combined benefits escaping from daily routine, having time to pursue ones’ interests and being able to explore new destinations.

Complementing the reasons stated by interviewee #2, participant #3 attributed the inability to disconnect from daily routine and pursuing own interests at home to plights, a sense of duty and the expectation of others, in her case the family.

Code: family as stress factor enforcing daily routine

‘B3: At home you cannot do that because you have got family. And the family expects you to put something to eat on the table every day.’

This is to be seen as a symbol for the repetitive household plights, accumulating to stressful daily routine.

The following code refers to the interviewees’ most impressive travel experience, revealing as to why certain experiences are more memorable than others, thus giving information about preferences, purposes and motives of travel behaviour.

Code: landscape of destination as impressive sensation

‘B3: Well, (laughing) memorised...our honeymoon to the Soviet Union, Moscow, Minsk and what today is Saint Petersburg, back then called Leningrad. That has been phenomenal indeed.

I: What was the special thing about it?

B3: Travelling across the country, to the cities in a train, and the overwhelming vastness impressed me the most. One was travelling for hours before spotting a settlement.’

Next to the emotional aspect of this travel experience, the author defines the travel purpose as following interests, in this case exploring a foreign country and its cultural heritage, as stated in further comments. This experience, together with the impressive features of the destination and the unique travelling method, created a distinctive and lasting holiday experience.

Referring to the importance of distinction from daily life, the following code fortifies this as an important aspect of travelling.

Code: search for differentiation

‘I: To bring in a bit of distraction regarding the routine?

B3: Yes, exactly.’

Moreover, like the previous interviewees, participant #3 stated relaxation as purpose for travelling.

Code: relaxation

‘And the reason: to relax from everything.’

The ‘everything’ can be interpreted as accumulation of daily plights, demanded activities and stress. Consequently, the purpose of travelling would be relaxation. But this desire would be triggered by daily routine.

Furthermore, the interviewee mentioned a variety of travel purposes, which she usually combines with the purpose of relaxation. Therefore they cannot be categorized as motives. Like interviewee #2, participant #3 travels to collect new impressions and experiences, according to her interests. But she also mentioned a new aspect, environment and health, preferring destinations with pure air, implying that the choice of destination depends on her travel purpose, which in turn depends on her interests.

Code: destination important in process

‘I: Back to the destination. So you would say the destination is an important factor of the decision?

B3: Yes, by all means.’

But despite the importance of the destination, it is not seen as decisive variable motivating her to travel, thus strengthening the assumption that destinations do not motivate people to travel in the first place. However, the author acknowledges the importance of destination features for the decision where to travel.

Code: destination no motive

I: ‘The decision that you travel, does it depend directly on it?

B3: No, not necessarily’

Next to relaxation and healthy environment, gaining insights on destinations, exploring other cultures, people and landscape, collecting new experiences (please see following code), and social interaction were mentioned as being important for travelling as well as counting as reasons for leisure travel.

Code: reason: new experiences, looking for differentiation

‘Then to collect new experiences, (…) and to get to know new possibilities,…’

Regarding the travel purpose of relaxation, the question that became more and more important refers to why it is necessary to travel to achieve this target, besides that travelling facilitates the combination of relaxing, gathering new impressions and pursuing personal interests. Interviewee #3 replied similarly to the first two participants, relating it to work and sense of duty.

Code: work prohibiting relaxation at home

‘I: Coming back to relaxation. Why do you believe, your ability to relax is higher being on holiday?

B: Because there is no work waiting for me.’

Subsequently, the topic moved on to the moment the travel urge appears. Interviewee #3 told the author that she feels the urge to travel when being stressed or not having been away for some time. The repetitive appearance of the stress factor relates the travel urge to the employment status. In the case of interviewee #3 this seems to be contradicting, as she is retired. But household work can also be stress, caused by huge workload and repetitive plights. Moreover, she did experience stress and the desire to travel before her retirement, too.

Code: fleeing from stress, disregarding destination

‘I: And why did you have to get away back then?

B3: Because I experienced a burnout, have been exploited. I needed some time for myself, so to speak.’

Consequently, travel urge is a property of the necessity to get away, through stress, and the desire to get away, through not having been away for some time.

However, the interviewee stated that, despite the travel urge being influenced by her stress level, the actual motivation to travel does not depend on her employment status.

To conclude interview #3 the topic of developing travel experience and its consequences was picked up, comparing travel behaviour at the beginning of the participants’ self-determined travel career with current travel behaviour.

Code: being away, seeing something else, doing sth else

‘I: And for what reason? If you can remember?

B3: (laughing) What was the reason with 18 years? Being on the road with my boyfriend, whom I married later.’

Code (in vivo): “I: Und welche Rolle hat da das…“

‘I: What has been the influence of the destination?

B3: We did not care! (laughing)’

Comparing these two segments with her travel preferences mentioned earlier, it can be assumed that with an increasing travel experience, not only the expected standards of travelling, from motorbike to car, and accommodation, from camping to hotels, are increasing, but the importance of the destination and its features as well. The author relates this to the concept of leisure travel as differentiation from daily life, generating a positive sensation. Having collected a lot of experiences and impressions in a variety of destinations, it becomes increasingly difficult to identify a holiday experience which is different from all the others collected before. Here the human instinct of hunting and gathering steps in, awakening the ambition to collect a variety of always more impressive experiences, thus referring to social status pressure as well as to human curiosity, which can be both allocated to these historically grounded instincts. Humans are always looking for something better and more valuable, which in the end ensured the survival of our species. And something more valuable in terms of travel behaviour is a positive travel experience distinctive from the previous. Thus demands concerning standards, destinations and possible activities do increase with an expanding travel experience.

This emerging trend had to be tested further by comparing it to respective statements of the previous interviews and using it as foundation for further questioning in the remaining interviews.

4.2.5 Interview #4

Comparing interview #4 with interview #5, not much differences can be detected. One of the most important statements, confirming the already highlighted emerging theories, refers to the interviewees travel history.

Code: getting away from home

‘The beginning of everything was to get away from home.’

The assumed relation between expectations, demand, and accumulated travel experience could also be confirmed by the participant.

Code: travel experience and higher standards

‘B4: Yes. The conditions have not been as favourable as today. We slept on straw in a hovel, for little money. And this has been the foundation for upgrading coming travel activities. Later we bought a tent, then a larger one, a caravan, until we finally spent our holidays in a hotel, respectively with good friends living in interesting destinations.’

Travel purposes confirmed already stated opinions of the previous interviewees, getting to know countries and people, pursuing his interest to gather knowledge. The outstanding aspect mentioned by interviewee #4 refers to integration. For him an essential factor of the holiday experience, a travel objective, is the integration into the local community, expressed by his desire to learn the local language and culture.

Code: integration as travel objective

‘I: How important is the integration into the local community for you in your holidays?

B4: Yes, that is actually my objective, not to stand out as German. So when we are underway as small touring company in the Tatra Mountains, or in the Lower Tatra, or in the Fatra, I do not stand out as German, but being integrated completely, from clothing to language, up to general behaviour.’

Consequently, interviewee #4 is looking to gain destination insights while travelling, stating this as being his motivation. However, according to the inferred conclusions from the previous interviews, following one’s interests can be categorised as purpose, but not as motivation.

Contradicting to the statements above, interviewee #4 later on referred to travelling as shown with the in vivo code below.

Code (in vivo): “Wir hatten aber die Chance…“

‘But we had the chance to break away.’

Thus the participant raised the question regarding the reasons why and from what he was able to break away if his travel motivation is based on his interests. The higher importance of the ‘break away’ motive was subsequently confirmed.

Code: desire to get out of the city

‘I: And this breaking away, does this only relate to the city or in general? Otherwise many people from the countryside would spend their holidays in the city to get away from the countryside. To reverse the argument.

B4: Well, this was more a desire, really a desire, to be somewhere else.’

Furthermore, interviewee #4 confirmed the impression that all participants use their leisure travel to pursue personal interests and activities one usually misses out on in daily life. In the case of interviewee #4 this was even more important as his leisure travel activities did facilitate his hobby of climbing. Due to the fact that he regarded this hobby as a mean to develop his personality, travelling facilitated this as well.

Moreover, he highlighted the importance of social interaction. With increasing age the group of acquaintances did increase as well. And he is using these contacts to select travel destinations, combining the travel purpose of visiting friends/relatives with cost-effective accommodation and the already mentioned integration. Thus destination is not seen as important as for example by interviewee #2, rather resembling the statement of interviewee #1, regarding the destination as dependent on interests and social contacts respectively. This is fortified by the in vivo code “irgendein Ziel” [‘some destination’].

However, as the other participants did, interviewee #4 pointed out the desire for flexibility and individual travelling.

Another factor he highlighted during the interview was the increasing dependency on health, like interviewee #3 did, too.

Referring to the code ‘travelling means relaxation’ (144-150) for participant #4 relaxation is not to be seen as travel motive, but as being included in the experience, resulting from pursuing personal interests. Thus the author infers that relaxation can possibly be seen not only as travel purpose but as travel consequence.

Particularly in contrast to interviewees #2 and #5, #4 revealed to the author that he does not feel a constant urge to travel.

Code: no constant travel urge

‘I: But you would not say that you are feeling a constant urge to travel away?

B4: No, no.’

This can be possibly related to his employment status, being retired, emphasizing the influence of job-related workload. But looking at a quote from him, stating that he always is on holiday (line 230), an elementary satisfaction with his life could be concluded. Referring to the earlier explained concept of life dissatisfaction triggering the motive of escaping daily life, this could be the reason for interviewee #4 being not subject to a constant travel desire. This would also fortify the emerged assumption of differentiating travel purpose and travel motive. Seeing the participants’ desire to pursue his interests as travel purpose and motive, without differentiation, a diminishing desire to travel would consequently mean diminishing importance of one’s interests. Therefore the desire to travel has to be traced back to different origins.

Furthermore, according to interviewee #4 the urge to travel is subject to general living circumstances. After the Second World War the main objective was to survive, travelling was not considered an option. This information hones the emerging theory further. Consequently, travelling is not motivated by a general desire to get away, because such a desire presumably existed after the Second World War, too, but rather by a desire to escape specific features of daily life, like repetitive plights, routines and stress, accumulating to daily routine.

4.2.6 Interview #5

Interviewee #5 revealed an impressive travel experience. He stated that he is travelling at least twice a year and prefers a combination of different holiday types and activities respectively.

Furthermore, this interview fortified the assumption of a direct dependency between travel experience and expectations. Consequently, the interviewee showed the highest demands regarding standard and destination, in accordance to extensive and varying travel experiences.

Code: change process of destination importance

‘I: So your travel experience did change your travel behaviour?

B5: It did for sure, yes. Now I am searching systematic for places I would like to go. I do not just travel according to current opportunities, but select carefully where to go. Yes, by all means.’

Like the other interviewees, #5 revealed a preference for individual and flexible travelling, but in contrast to the others also named an individual round trip as his most memorable holiday experience, combining his wish for individuality with the desire to see and experience as much as possible.

During this interview a term came up, referring to the holiday experience as “Komplettpaket” [‘complete package’], which the author picked up as in vivo code. This complete package should provide relaxation to brace the traveller against the negative impacts of daily routine.

Code: relax to gain strength for daily life

‘Well, holiday should be a kind of relaxation, to become fit again for the daily routine.’

As already pointed out, this statement provoked the author to raise the question why relaxation seems not to be possible at home.

Code: physical distance needed

‘I: When you go on holiday to relax, can’t you find relaxation and peace at home?

B5: Yes, certainly. Theoretically that would be possible. But it is not practicable, because I would fear that I am not far away enough for the daily problems to catch up with me, like for example getting called to come by.’

Thus the interviewees’ statement relates to the previously outlined necessity of creating a physical distance to enable a psychological disconnection from daily problems. That was further fortified by the following code.

Code: psychological distance through physical distance

‘Then holiday is somehow related to a switch in the head, where one says: ok, I am on holiday now, I am travelling away now, and now I will truly be able to leave that daily life behind, and I can say, okay, now I am concentrating on something else. That is why for me it is much easier to disconnect when I am standing at the airport, leaving all that behind, saying: okay, now I will fly away and will be away. This is somehow a completely different sensation.’

Besides relaxation, interviewee #5 stated the wish to see different things while travelling, complying with similar statements of other participants. Evidence of this desire for different impressions, and therefore for different destinations is the below.

Code: travel purpose: seeing new things

‘I like to see many things, I have not yet seen.’

This code fit perfectly to the theoretical thoughts illustrated under 4.2.3, relating to the differentiation of travel with respect to daily life, and 4.2.4, elaborating on the topic of gathering always new experiences.

In compliance with these thoughts, interviewee #5 highlighted the differentiating factor leisure travel implies with respect to the daily routine in statements like the in vivo code “aus dem Alltag aussteigen” [‘back out of daily life’].

Participant #5 remarked that this differentiation from daily routine is necessary because at some point ‘the batteries are depleted’ (line 65) and recovery means psychologically disconnecting from the problems of daily life. Therefore holiday travel should provide different real experiences (code: importance of real experience, interview #5, line 142), unique highlights and time for oneself.

Code: holiday as special event

‘And I want to experience something special. I want holiday to be holiday. The one, two or three highlights every year are supposed to be something special. And this is not possible here. Not that I would not feel comfortable at home, but I think it is just that way.’

To proof that relaxation is not possible in his usual environment, interviewee #5 elaborated further on the influence of employment status on the desire to travel, stating that complete relaxation is only possible away from anything related to his job.

However, interviewee #5 reassured the author that he is very content with his employment situation. Only sometimes when workload is high and problems cannot be solved immediately, ‘negative stress’ (code: travel urge stronger when experiencing negative stress, line 130) occurs, prompting him to feel an intensified travel urge. But a constant urge to travel does exist at all times, only on a minor level, originating from the ‘simmering desire to break away from the process’ (code: monotonous work facilitating travel urge, line 126).

4.2.7 Interview #6

Due to the already mentioned fact that the author recognized the first signs of saturation after interview #3, it is not surprising that interview #6 does not generate completely different findings.

Like the others, participant #6 possesses a respectable travel experience, gained by travelling with her parents, mainly camping, and later with her own family, gradually increasing the travelling standard and the travel distance.

Comparable only to #5 from the same age group, interviewee #6 stated a round trip as most memorable form of travelling, due to collecting many new impressions and combining many activities. But in contrast to everyone else, she attaches great importance to the accommodation and services in the destination, which are components of the overall holiday experience. Her travel purpose is expressed with the recurring interest in culture and people, as shown below.

Code: travel reason: destination insights

‘Because I am interested in country and people, in the history and specifics of these destinations.’

And to gain these destination insights, she complies with all the other participants, elaborating that learning from second-hand media is not sufficient. Only the actual sensation of the destination serves the purpose.

Code: searching for the real experience

‘The actual felt sensation gives distinction to the experience. This real experience is the aspect one is looking for, to experience country, people and history.’

Accordingly, interviewee #6 defines experience as being ‘positively distinctive from daily life, creating a lasting impression’ (code: experience = a positive distinction from daily life, line 77). Thus inferring that the real experience complies with distinctiveness, this would direct the focus to the previously recognized influence of the distinctiveness factor on the travel motivation.

Like interviewee #2, #6 points out the importance of social interaction for the travel experience, especially for sharing gathered experiences.

Furthermore, participant #6 points out the importance of gathering knowledge and experiences, a life ideal that is supported by travelling. Another purpose she wants to serve by travelling is to recover from daily life.

Code: psychological distance to daily life

‘I want to disconnect from daily routine, I want to gather strength for my work.’

Due to the variety of plights and tasks waiting in daily life, interviewee #6 is not able to achieve this purpose at home (code: inability to disconnect from daily plights, line 95). Moreover, she believes that new impressions encourage relaxation by distracting from banalities and sorrows of daily life (code: replacing problems with new sensations, line 95), enabling to break away from daily routine.

The destination is seen as not important, as long as the features and attributes serve her interests. The dependencies regarding this issue seem to vary.

Referring to the influence of stress on the travel urge, the interviewee stated that only negative stress, impeding work, creates an immediate travel urge. This complies with the respective view of participant #5, leading the author to assume a relation between life cycle and employment status with the occurrence of negative stress triggering leisure travel, because neither the young adults nor the retirees differentiated between positive and negative stress.

In the course of the interview, the participant confirmed the opinions gathered from the other interviewees regarding the negative attitude towards travelling with colleagues, and regarding the increasing importance of the destination in accordance to growing travel experience, supporting the theory outlined under 4.2.4 Interview #3, looking for ever new sensations.

4.3 Summary of Initial Coding

Summarizing, the author recognised an overall similarity regarding travel motives, despite the interviewees seemed not always to be aware of them, rather stating activities and purposes as travel motives. Consequently an important conclusion is the differentiation between travel purpose and travel motivation.

Travel purposes were stated as pursuing interests, such as gaining destination and cultural insights, relaxing, social interaction, or adhering to activities one usually has no time for. Together with specific properties like accommodation and destination features, a holiday experience is generated that all participants are longing for. However, differences were noted by the author regarding the varying importance and dependencies of the experience components.

After all, the interviews showed that the participants are travelling to look for new impressions, distracting them from the daily life, characterised by household plights, work-related stress or other repetitive tasks.

Moreover, an inability to relax or pursue interests at home was detected by the author. All interviewees, the retirees to a smaller degree, mentioned the necessity to create a physical distance towards their usual environment as a precondition for disconnecting psychologically.

On the other hand, an important role of habitual travel motivation could not be determined. Only interviewee #1 referred to his travel time as being a habit.

However, work-related stress seems to play a considerable role, triggering travel desire.

Finally, the influence of travel experience on travel behaviour and on the importance of travel aspects has to be highlighted. The more extensive the travel experience, the higher standards are demanded, the more and distinctive features are expected, and the more carefully destinations are chosen.

4.4 Axial & Selective Coding

The next phase of analysing the gathered data, axial coding, implies the comparison of initial codes against other initial codes. Thus relations and connections were to be detected. The author already adhered to this while outlining relations, illustrating categories and sub-categories with the help of sub-codes and umbrella-codes. In 4.2 Interviews the selected initial codes have already been discussed, therefore it is not necessary to explain detected relations between the codes further.

However, an overview about the categories and concepts, and their relations to each other seems appropriate. Therefore figure 7 shows the code tree, generated with the help of MAXQDA 2007, provided by VERBI Software (2009).

The code tree does not include initial codes as they are too numerous to be included. For the complete code tree, including also initial codes and allocated memos, please refer to appendix A3.

Figure 7 shows the categories and sub-categories the author allocated the initial codes to, outlining the emerged theory. Categories are for example limitations of travel activities, including the sub-categories costs, family, political travel limitations, time and health, and social interaction, including all codes referring to the importance of social interactions for the travel process. Together with the category travel purpose they belong to the concept “Komplettpaket” [‘complete package’], further defined by properties including statements about travel aspects which are of lower importance for the interviewees, in turn allocated to categories referring to hobbies and interests, the destination and social interaction.

The travel purpose, as property of the “Komplettpaket”, is the largest category, including travel preferences and expectations, which are built upon travel experiences made by the interviewees and do influence the purpose of travel, as well as the sub-purposes climate, curiosity, relaxation, friends and relatives, and interests and hobbies.

The “Komplettpaket”, including the features of the holiday, and the actual holiday experience together form the holiday event, the real experience, relating travel purpose, expectations, demands and the actual experience.

The categories event, habit and urge dependencies are allocated to the umbrella category of holiday travel urge. This implies that the travel urge depends on habitual travel behaviour, as stated by interviewee #1, as well as on the actual experiences already gained respectively expected, and on urge dependencies, referring to incidents generating travel urge, such as monotonous work.

The category of holiday travel urge in turn is amongst others a property of short-termed dissatisfaction with life. Statements expressing a desire for self-actualisation, which can be differentiated by the desire to collect experiences, upgrade social status, and to execute self-control over one’s own life, accumulate to a feeling of dissatisfaction and underachievement, as temporary as this feeling might be.

Other reasons for temporary dissatisfaction with one’s own life could be a sudden urge to travel, caused by the properties outlined above, or a general desire to get away from daily life and surroundings. Such temporary dissatisfaction can also be caused by a querulousness towards daily routines, creating a psychological pressure due to repetitive plights or huge workload.

The consequently provoked dissatisfaction in turn leads to the human desire to establish a psychological distance or distraction, to the aspects causing the dissatisfaction, thus escaping the negative implications, which is a natural instinct. And as highlighted within the interviews, a psychological break away is impossible without a physical distance, getting away from the usual environment entailing the disturbing factors. Thus creating a physical distance enables individuals to establish a psychological distance, a way to escape psychologically, which consequently presents the underlying travel motive, independent of the variety of different travel purposes.

Figure 7: Code Tree

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Source: Author, based on interviews, facilitated by MAXQDA 2007 provided by VERBI Software. Consult. Sozialforschung. GmbH (2009)

5.0 Literature Review II: Related Theories

Referring to 2.0 Literature Review I, the most important studies regarding travel behaviour and motivation are already outlined. Therefore this chapter briefly identifies theories directly related to the underlying travel motive as suggested by the data analysis.

5.1 Escapism

One of the most famous theories referring to escape is escapism itself. It is defined as “the tendency to escape from daily reality or routine by indulging in daydreaming, fantasy, or entertainment.” (The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 2000)

For Marx (1843), escapism is an expression of unsatisfactory social conditions, driving “creatures” away from the real endurances of society towards an illusionary satisfaction. Whereas Marx refers to religion, according to the findings of the analysis, the author would be able to relate this theory to travel behaviour, viewing leisure travel as a distraction from daily routine.

But the author cannot accept this theory completely. Leisure travel motivated by the desire for psychological escape might serve as a distraction from the unpleasant implications of a monotonous daily routine. However, referring back to the interviews, stating leisure travel as a positive highlight, the author cannot relate to it being an expression of general dissatisfaction with the society, as Marx interprets the escape towards religion. After all, today’s’ society did enable extensive leisure travel in the first place. Therefore leisure travel might be caused by a temporary dissatisfaction with one’s life and environment, but it is not the expression of it.

5.2 Man for Himself

A sociological theory partly complying with the emerged travel motivation was developed by Fromm (2009). Two of the orientations Fromm uses to describe the way individuals relate to today’s society, can be found within the theoretical scheme drawn from the interviews. Firstly there is demand for new stimuli, the exploitative orientation, reflected in leisure travel as the requirement for distinction, always trying to collect a new and more impressive travel experience. This directs the author to the second element recognizable within leisure travel, the theory of human propensity to hoarding. During this study it became apparent that this instinct, which according to Fromm is deeply enrooted and nearly omnipresent in our society, does also apply to leisure travel. As the holiday experience is the main outcome of this activity, travellers are collecting experiences, the more distinctive the better. As the authors’ theoretical concept defines the collection of experiences as a property of the self-actualisation effort, it is directly influencing the satisfaction of the traveler, thus directly related to the psychological escape motive.

5.3 Functionalism vs. Phenomenology

Holden (2006) suggests that tourist motivation is not a matter of individual preference but lies within the behavioural structures and norms of society. Due to the variety of societies it would be impossible to determine one general motivation. Contradicting to this functionalistic approach, the phenomenological approach, particularly influenced by Schutz (Holden, 2006), views tourism as an act of meaningful behaviour for each individual. Therefore it would be essential to understand the personal definition of tourism for each individual, revealing goals the tourist strives for, finally detecting personal motivation. However, the author of this work believes the goals stated by the individual tourist would rather reflect travel purposes, referring to personal interests and preferences, therefore not capture the underlying motives. Moreover, it is likely that the individual traveller is not aware of his true behavioural motives, as the author experienced during data collection. Furthermore, the author believes, these underlying motives might indeed depend on society structures, as these structures are dictating the living environment, where in turn the elements of the underlying motivation originate.

5.4 Reference to Literature Review I: Conceptual Grounding

Referring back to the most important studies on tourist motivation, as displayed in figure 3, the author cannot relate to Lundbergs’ (1971) and Cohens’ (1974/79) approaches. The motives described by them are seen by the author of this work as complying with the travel purposes which were identified, travelling because of educational or pleasure reasons, thus pursuing personal preferences and interests, which could potentially be adhered to at home.

According to Dann (1977) and Crompton (1979), the interplay of push and pull factors determines travel motivation. Especially Danns’ view on the topic, travellers experiencing an internal “push” before being drawn (“pull”) to certain destinations, fits the approach emerged from the authors’ analysis, including psychological escape as motive (comparable to “push”) and travel purposes, which are closely related to destination features, possibly even influenced by respective marketing measures attracting travellers to certain destinations (comparable to “pull”). But Dann does not answer the question what exactly the push factor is or what it causes. The resulting approach of this work goes one step deeper, stating what is assumed to be the exact motive, creating a psychological escape, which can only be facilitated by creating a physical distance to the influences causing a temporary state of dissatisfaction and thus the urge to disconnect. Also the concepts Dann relates his factors to, ego-enhancement and anomie, are included in the theory. A lack in social recognition would, according to the authors’ opinion, lead to the state of dissatisfaction, causing the individual to feel the urge to get away from this state of dissatisfaction. Moreover, despite social interaction being not as important within the approach as social recognition, it nevertheless is an essential element of the travel experience.

5.5 Simmels’ Autonomy

A further theoretical approach to travel behaviour shows similarities to the findings of this work. According to Holden (2006), Simmel (1903) referred to tourism as a way for the individual to preserve his autonomy within the “complexity” and “over-stimulation” (Holden, 2006) of the urban environment society is increasingly facing since the industrial revolution. By freeing himself from his home environment and daily routine, the individual is offered time free from external control and pressure. Simmels’ observations and conclusions do fit the aspects emerged from the data, stating the importance of individualism and flexibility while travelling.

Of course, there are more interesting theoretical approaches to the topic of travel motivation and related fields of research, but at this point the author believes to have illustrated the most important of them, and showed the relations to the theory which emerged during the analytical stage of this work.

6.0 The Theoretical Model

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Summarizing, the theoretical approach to the field of travel motivation which emerged from the raw interview data seems to connect many apparently not related approaches to the topic, generating not only a rich description of travel behaviour and motivation, but creating a theory combining the most important elements of other theoretical schemes, but deeply grounded in the data.

Source: Author, based on the analysis of interview data

Figure 8: Theoretical Concept (Hypothetical) – Motivation Escape Circle

illustration not visible in this excerpt

For a detailed explanation of the relations detected within the data, please refer to 4.4 Axial and Selective Coding. Figure 8 illustrates the most important aspects and relations with regard to travel behaviour and motivation. As already explained, the activity of travelling is caused by the underlying travel motivation, the desire to escape psychologically. But at the same time it is the precondition enabling a psychological disconnection. The desire to disconnect is caused by a temporary state of dissatisfaction a traveller experiences. This state of dissatisfaction is caused by different inputs. For example by the monotony of daily routine, including daily plights, repetitive tasks and the amount of workload, possibly generating negative stress, therefore the employment status influences this category. Other sub-categories of the state of dissatisfaction are the weariness towards the home environment, potentially caused by a desire to differentiation, as well as a lack in self-actualisation, possibly caused by a sensation of too little autonomy, or by doubts regarding one’s social status, consequently using leisure travel as status symbol as does Dann propose. Moreover, comparable to Fromm, an element of self-actualisation is the gathering of new impressions and experiences.

The most interesting influence on the state of dissatisfaction is the travel desire, because the properties of this category are not only habitual travelling behaviour, but most importantly the travel package. This category is influenced by limitations such as health, age, financial or political restrictions, as well as by a variety of social interaction, for example visiting or travelling with friends. Moreover, as most important element of the travel package can be viewed the travel purpose, because this category contains the leisure travel features some refer to as being the motives. The destination and its features as well as interests and activities, preferences, and expectations form the travel purpose, for example gaining destination insights and relaxing.

On this part of the theory, the travel experience bears a huge influence. Originating from the actual travelling activity, it determines the expectations and preferences as well as the importance of the choice of destination. The more the travel experience grows, or referring to Pearce (1988), the higher a traveller has climbed on the leisure ladder of the travel career, the higher are his expectations and demanded standards, leading to an increasing importance of the factor destination within the travel purpose, adding additional weight to the whole concept of travel desire and its impact on the process.

The concept of travel desire leads to a state of general dissatisfaction if the desire grows, which is influenced by the external “pull” factors, the destination and its features, as well by internal factors like expectation.

In the end, the most important and distinguishing feature of the theory is the differentiation between purpose and motivation.

However, it needs to be noted that this model is a theoretical approach that is not tested yet. Therefore the relations and dependencies explained are only hypotheses, demanding further tests for validity.

The author likes to conclude this chapter with a quote by Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894): “I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for the travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” Precisely meeting the authors’ impression, after analysing the data and working out the theoretical scheme. Destination and travel reasons are less important than commonly believed; it is about getting away, escaping.

7.0 Limitations & Further Research

7.1 Limitations

This work is subject to limitations that put restrictions on the validity and further usage of the findings, in this case particularly referring to the developed theory. Consequently, a number of potential limitations to this work need to be acknowledged.

The methodology of grounded theory contains risks of unintentionally influencing the findings of the work. Firstly it is proposed to take an open and unbiased approach to the topic of research. But due to already possessing some knowledge in the area of research, this has been impossible from the beginning.

Secondly, the restricted sample size for the data collection, due to time constraints, and the lack of representativeness a generalisation of the emerged theoretical findings is not valid until being tested and researched further. The sample was limited to six people from more or less similar social backgrounds, further limiting the validity of the study. Undertaking the research with different nationalities and cultures might have generated different findings.

Moreover, referring to the data collection, subjective interviewer reflexion and bias are great risks, potentially having influenced the author to interpret statements incorrectly.

Further limitations to the validity of this study are the limited interviewing skills and inexperience of the interviewer. Additionally, the process of transcribing and translating interview statements entailed further risks for misunderstandings and mistakes.

Another risk the author faced trying to investigate into the guiding research topic has been the partially unawareness regarding the minor differences, thus confirming Mill and Morrisons fear “that tourists themselves may be unaware of the true reasons behind their travel behaviour” (1985, p.2).

The analysis of the raw data and subsequently interpretation has also been subject to personal mistakes.

As the author acknowledges the outlined limitations to this work, it becomes obvious that generated data, the interpretation of the data and the produced subsequent results should be treated with caution. Nevertheless, these limitations do propose possibilities for further research.

7.2 Further Research

As already stated above, the sample has not been representative at all. A similar study should be undertaken, including a broader spectrum of social and cultural backgrounds.

Most importantly, this study served to develop a theory, not to proof it. Therefore to get a valid theory, the findings of this work should be tested with a larger study.

Moreover, the developed theory needs to be examined for its usability. What are for example the implications for tourism marketing? Should tour operators cease their marketing efforts regarding different destinations and their respective features, and rather invest in the marketing of the escape theme, like online operators such as ‘’, ‘’ or ‘’ ? Maybe this would persuade more potential customers to travel?

Further interesting points of research appeared throughout working at the work. For example the role of travel experience with regard to age and social status could be explored more in-depth. Or if there are different motivational aspects with regard to short breaks. Would a two-day break proof as relaxing as two weeks?

Another interesting field to explore will be the sensation of needing to relax after having been on holiday, referring to interview #3, stating that travelling can be stress.

A topic the author could only direct a small amount of attention to, is the influence of historical developments and instincts on travel behaviour.

But maybe the most important question arising from this topic would be, if the detected motives do really cause certain behaviour.

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Escape - The Real Motivation for Leisure Travel
Applying Grounded Theory Methods on the Topic of Leisure Travel Motivation and Behaviour
University of Applied Sciences Bremerhaven
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ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
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3394 KB
grounded theory, leisure travel, motivated behaviour, psychological escape, tourism motivation, travel behaviour, travel motivation
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Jens Kaulbars (Author), 2009, Escape - The Real Motivation for Leisure Travel, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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