Late modernity in developed nations is characterized by changing social and psychological conditions, including individualization, processes of competition and loneliness. Remaining socially connected is becoming increasingly important.
In this situation, travel provides meaning through physical encounters, inclusion in traveller Gemeinschaft based on shared norms, beliefs and interests, and social status in societies increasingly defined by mobilities. As relationships are forged and found in mobility, travel is no longer an option, rather a necessity for sociality, identity construction, affirmation or alteration. Social contexts and the underlying motivations for tourism have changed fundamentally in late modernity: non-tourism has become a threat to self-conceptions.
By integrating social and psychological perspectives, this paper expands and deepens existing travel and mobilities discussions to advance the understanding of tourism as a mechanism of social connectedness, and points to implications for future tourism research.