A new report released by StudentUniverse reveals travel trends among travelers ages 18-25. The annual State of Student & Youth Travel Report, which surveyed 4,000 students in full time education in the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and Australia, covers what’s driving Gen Z travelers today. A focus on mental health, concern for the environment and inspirational travel platforms are top trends among this age group.
Will Jones, Brand Manager at StudentUniverse said in a statement, “This is the second year that we’ve prepared this report and it’s interesting to see how year-over-year the difference in this generation’s travel sentiment shows significant shifts with regards to how they find travel inspiration and what concerns them most.”
Focusing on traveling to improve one’s mental health and well-being is one of the biggest factors driving Gen Z travel. Ninety-three percent of respondents agreed that travel experiences can positively impact their mental health. Eighty-nine percent reported that returning from a vacation leaves them feeling less anxious and more positive. Gen Z travelers are also interested in “dry vacations”—alcohol-free travel—rather than the raucous, booze-filled getaways favored by previous generations.
The environmental impact of travel is another growing concern, as 13 percent of respondents indicated they will no longer travel by plane due to emissions, and 21 percent say they know someone who will not travel by air. Twenty-three percent indicated a willingness to pay an optional carbon offset fee when booking air travel, and 50 percent indicated they will prioritize booking through a platform with strong green credentials.
Gen Z travelers are embracing new technologies when it comes to planning a trip. TikTok is driving travel, with 60 percent of respondents looking to the platform as their primary source of inspiration—40 percent report they’ve booked a vacation as a direct result of TikTok content. AI is becoming a source as well, with 51 percent reporting they trust travel itineraries generated by an AI and 21 percent reporting they’ve used chatbots to build an itinerary. However, 92 percent of the respondents still would prefer to speak to a real person in case of an issue.
The survey also reveals where this age group is headed for vacation. For American Gen Z travelers, Italy, Japan, Greece, United Kingdom, France, Spain, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Brazil are the most popular destinations.
Read the full report here.