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Hostage, Vacationer, Explorer – Free Icebreaker

Duration: 10 - 15 minutes

Intended for:

This free icebreaker allows participants to highlight why they are at the training session or intervention prior to starting a training session or event in the hope that the underlying issues do not crop up during the intervention. It also provides the trainer with a method of gauging the likely audience involvement and the chance to improve it.

Training course contents:

A set of instructions for the icebreaker, ‘Hostage, Vacationer, Explorer’ can be downloaded in Word format from the link at the bottom of this page. Alternatively, you can use the notes below.

At the start of your session, write the three words ‘Hostage, Vacationer and Explorer’ on a flipchart.

You will start the icebreaker by asking the participants which category they think they fall into regarding the session you are about to take.

Here is a description of each of these types…

The Hostages are those people who have no other choice but to be in training. They’ve been told they have to attend. They are only there to put in the time and get out.

Then there are the Vacationers, those people who aren’t there to learn anything, they are simply there so they don’t have to be at work. They will enjoy the ride that the training provides them, but are unlikely to take much away with them.

Last, there are the Explorers. They are the ones who WANT to be there. They want to investigate. They want to LEARN. They are the ones who ask the most questions. They are the ones who do the hard work because they know it will give them something useful.


By using this icebreaker, you allow the participants to air their grievances and also give yourself an opportunity of understanding the thinking of the individuals within the group.

You are also provided with an opportunity to highlight to the participants that although they may have come to the session in one frame of mind, they will get much more out of the session if they can think like an explorer. Who knows? They might even learn something!

Hostage, Vacationer, Explorer – Free Icebreaker


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