Birders represent an important part of the tourism sector in many countries and a growing tourism segment worldwide. Nature Travel Network surveyed birders to find out about their traveling habits and preferences.
Seventy-five birders from 16 countries responded to our Nature Travel Network survey on travel. This article offers tips and techniques for the traveling birder, drawing on the results of the survey, and is interspersed with comments and opinions from some of the respondents (modified only for clarity). Who participated in the survey? Most of those surveyed travel just for fun, though a few respondents were professional bird guides. Most of the respondents like to travel independently (with a partner or friend) or on group tours, and a small percentage enjoy traveling solo. Most of the travelers surveyed travel within the United States and Canada, and about a third of them travel internationally. How much do birders spend on travel every year? “I try not to think about that!” joked a respondent from Vienna, Austria.
The survey uncovered a range of spending from as little as a few hundred dollars to more than $75,000 per year—all to satisfy intense cravings for time spent with birds in nature. Astoundingly, this small sample of birders collectively pumps a half a million dollars into the S world’s birding travel economy every year! We asked individuals how they deal with some of the most stressful decisions in travel: How do you decide on a tour company? How do you pack and manage all your gear? What goes in your carry-on? We also asked respondents to give advice for people who want to travel for birds but don’t have a partner. Finally, we wrap up with ideas for how to travel sustainably