Alaska is the most popular spot for male travelers
Sometimes dudes just want to be with themselves.
And they’re increasingly headed to Alaska to do so. According to a recent survey conducted by ManTripping.com, the 49th state is the most popular destination for so-called “mancations,” or holidays that men take either by themselves or with their male pals. Going on a land and sea tour in what’s often called the “coldest state” was the preferred choice of 26.4% of respondents, ahead of a golf vacation in Florida (18.3%) and hitting Kentucky’s Bourbon Trail (16.8%.)
The term mancation has been used since at least the mid-aughts, when it was popularized as an antithesis of a “girls’ trip” in the 2006 movie “The Break-Up.” The concept faded away when the Great Recession struck and travel budgets were cut, but seems to have returned. The spa at the Four Seasons hotel in Las Vegas, for instance, is promoting gentlemen collection packages, while the D Hotel in Sin City plugs its convention halls as a “man cave party space.”
“It’s often portrayed as guys behaving badly with strippers,” James Hills of ManTripping tells Moneyish. The 40-year-old goes on four to five mancations a year and says he commissioned the survey in part to show that male holidays appeal to more than fratty bros heading to Vegas on bachelor trips. “Now there’s space for positive stuff like going to a golf club and enjoying a spa there, or enjoying craft beers and maybe even buying a suit.”
That said, mancations may be the exception to the broader trend of women being more frequent travelers who are also more willing to splash the cash. Females made up 51% of all visitors to Alaska last year, state travel statistics show— the first time in years they were a majority. And per a study from MMGY, a travel consultancy, they consist of 54% of so-called affluent travelers with annual incomes of $250,000 and up. That’s a sharp increase from 42% in 2010.
Advocates of mancations say that they’re fun way to let off steam that “allows guys to be guys.” Every year for over a decade, Patrick Vincler has camped for a weekend in Southern California with a group of male friends that now includes co-workers and in-laws. “We hunker down, face the elements together and enjoy the camaraderie,” he says. While many of his buddies are married, the 43-year-old who works in marketing is single and dates a lot. “I might catch them up a little on my life and sometimes they live vicariously through me,” he says. “That’s probably not something I would share if someone’s wife is there.”
Hills, who is going on a mancation next month in Palm Desert to ride off-road trucks with his friends, also sees intergenerational vacations as a way for millennial men to trade tips and learn skills from their older counterparts. “We’ve moved away in the last 30 years from the traditional family, so this is an opportunity for younger men to learn stuff they may not have from their biological dads,” he says, adding that this can include everything from making the perfect steak to tying knots.
If the idea of sullen men slinking away to be by themselves sounds a little retrograde, it doesn’t bother Alaskan tourism operators. “Alaska has this iconic adventure image and the experiences to back it up,” says Sarah Leonard, president of the Alaska Travel Industry Association. While her organization doesn’t market to specific genders, she notes that among the most popular tourist activities there are the stereotypically male endeavors of sports fishing and watching wildlife. About 1.86 million visitors went to Alaska in the summer of 2016, up 4% from the previous year.
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