Ask Skift: What Are Gen Z’s Travel Habits?

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Skift Take

Members of Gen Z are hitting the road in large numbers, and here’s a look at some noteworthy trends in Gen Z travel.

Generation Z — people born between 1997 and 2012 — is a large market in the travel industry. Skift Research revealed in a January report that 75% of Gen Z travelers in the U.S., U.K., and Germany had taken two or more trips during the previous 12 months.

So what are Gen Z’s travel habits?

We put the question to Ask Skift, our artificial intelligence chatbot. Ask Skift used information that appeared in our past news coverage, and we did additional reporting on the matter.

What Ask Skift said:

Generation Z travelers are showing significant impact on the travel industry. Here are some key habits observed in Gen Z travelers:

High Spending on Travel: Gen Z travelers are spending significantly on travel, especially hotels, with brands like Generator and Freehand, which target guests aged 18 to 28, seeing a revenue increase of 15% in 2023 from the previous year and a 40% increase in bookings in markets such as Miami, Madrid, and New York.

Prioritizing Travel over Other Expenditures: Many Gen Z travelers are willing to cut spending in other areas of their lives to maintain their travel budgets. More than half prefer to cut dining out, shopping, and coffee over reducing their trips.

Value Flexibility, Unique Experiences, and Accessible Destinations: Gen Z travelers value flexible travel planning, unique experiences, and accessible destinations. Seventy-five percent of Gen Z took two or more trips in the past year.

Preference for Experiences over Luxury Goods: Gen Z travelers prioritize experiences over luxury goods. According to the 2023 Global Travel Trends Report by American Express Travel, 79% of Gen Z and millennial respondents believe that leisure travel is a vital part of their budget allocation, with 84% preferring a dream vacation over acquiring a new luxury item.

Openness to Long-Haul, Low-Cost Travel: Notwithstanding their overall enthusiasm for travel, only a limited percentage of Gen Z travelers seem open to long-haul flights on low-cost carriers. According to Skift Research, only 31% of U.S. Gen Z travelers are willing to fly more than six hours on a budget carrier.

These habits show that Gen Z travelers are an important demographic for the travel industry, particularly for businesses that can offer unique experiences, flexibility, and affordable options.


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What else you need to know:

TikTok has emerged as an important trip-planning tool for Gen Z travelers. A survey appearing in StudentUniverse’s 2024 State of Student & Youth Travel Report revealed that 89% of 18- to 25-year olds in the U.S., the UK, Canada, and Australia have found new destinations through TikTok.

The report also found a large number of younger travelers are looking to avoid alcohol. About 83% of young travelers would consider not drinking alcohol on vacation to avoid unsafe situations.

“Unlike younger generations in the past, Gen Z is steering away from the typical young travel of partying,” StudentUniverse Brand Manager Will Jones told USA Today. “They would rather experience a new culture and go sightseeing.”

As for where they’re interested in traveling to, Gen Z and millennial travelers checked prices to destinations in Asia 50% more often last year than they did pre-Covid, according to online travel agency Hopper. Jones cited Italy and Japan as the most popular destinations among Gen Z travelers, two countries he described as “more cultural places than the traditional party places.”

Finally, Gen Z travelers are placing a greater emphasis on sustainable travel. Half of respondents said in StudentUniverse’s survey on Gen Z travel they’re prioritizing booking with companies that have “strong green credentials. Meanwhile, 13% said they will no longer travel by plane due to emissions.

In addition, Skift Research reported earlier this year that 29% of Gen Z members are willing to pay more than $100 for vacation experiences “certified as environmentally and socially responsible” while 17% said they would pay what was needed for the most sustainable option.


Ask Skift Is the AI Chatbot for the Travel Industry

Go deeper into the business of travel with Skift’s new AI chatbot.

Ask Skift Your Questions

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