GPS Tracking of Travel Routes of Wanderers and Planners

J. Adam Beeco, Wei-Jue Huang, Jeffrey C. Hallo, William C. Norman, Nancy G. McGehee, John McGee, Cari Goetcheus

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


Some of the most basic but vital data on recreation and travel behavior at tourism destinations consists of the places people visit, their travel routes, and the amount of time spent at each location. Despite that travel patterns are a fundamental aspect of the tourism phenomenon, little attention has been given to spatial and temporal tourist behaviors. Furthermore, although tourist typologies have identified some differences in visitor behaviors, little is known of how these typologies are related to actual travel patterns. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine if people with different travel styles differ in their actual movement patterns by combining spatial movement data with non-spatial visitor characteristics. This study used GPS to track tourists' use of an area and surveys to measure different activity styles based on a typology of 'wanderers' and 'planners.' The 'wanderer-planner' typology was validated through confirmatory factor analysis. Factor composite scores were used to separate participants into four groups: Traditional Wanderers, Traditional Planners, Ambivalent Travelers, and Planned Wanderers. GPS data were used to identify spatial and temporal travel patterns and distribution of visitors. Time spent on primary roads, secondary roads, and stopping locations were treated as dependent variables used to identify actual travel pattern differences between 'wanderers' and 'planners.' Results showed that there were no significant differences between any of the groups on these three variables. Findings revealed that travel style had no significant effect on actual travel patterns. Practical, theoretical, and methodical implications are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)551-573
Number of pages23
JournalTourism Geographies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • GPS
  • human tracking
  • mobility
  • planners
  • tourist typology
  • Travel style
  • wanderers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management

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