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Gen Z: Masters of maximizing travel adventures

Learn the art of travelling from Gen Z travellers

Generation Z, born after 1997, is a different breed altogether. They’ve grown up in a world where the internet is as essential as air, where phones aren’t tethered to walls, and where technological revolutions are almost as common as the latest TikTok dance craze. But what really sets them apart is their boundless optimism and their belief that anything is possible – and they’re taking this mindset with them as they explore the world.

What the numbers reveal

A recent Bankrate survey from July 2023 revealed that Gen Z is all about the adventure. A whopping 68 percent of Gen Z respondents have their bags packed and are ready to travel for the sheer fun of it this year. Millennials, with their wanderlust still intact, aren’t far behind at 69 percent.

Now, here’s the twist – they’re not letting their wallets hold them back. Even if their finances aren’t exactly sizzling, Gen Z is still eager to jet-set. Some are tightening their belts, with 24 percent planning to spend less on travel this year due to economic concerns, according to Bankrate. And nearly half, 47 percent, of those who won’t be beachside this summer say it’s because they simply can’t afford it.

Here’s another nugget: more than half of Gen Z, that’s 52 percent, are frequent travelers, meaning they’ve taken at least three leisure trips in the past year, as reported by Morning Consult Pro. And of those hitting the road this summer, 43 percent are headed to the beach, while 32 percent are opting for a staycation.

Now, let’s talk post-pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic that began in 2023 is largely behind us, but the travel bug it ignited is still very much alive. Gen Z adults, who’ve been cooped up for what feels like forever, are chomping at the bit to explore new horizons. The majority of pandemic-related travel restrictions are history, and Gen Z is ready to make up for lost time.

Bankrate data highlights that 31 percent of Gen Z adults have already taken a leisurely overnight trip beyond their local turf in 2023. And hold onto your hats, because 49 percent plan to do the same before the year’s end. They’re so excited about travel that 30 percent of Gen Zers say they’re more pumped up about it than they were before the pandemic, leaving Millennials at 25 percent and Gen X at 18 percent in the dust.

They are smart and financially savvy

But here’s the kicker – they’re spending less while traveling more. Inflation has made a mess of budgets across the board, and Gen Z is no exception. According to Bankrate, 29 percent of summer travelers of all generations are choosing cheaper accommodations, 28 percent are going for budget-friendly activities, and 26 percent are hitting the road instead of the skies to save a few bucks.

Now, here’s where Gen Z really shows its financial savvy. Student Universe’s 2023 travel study reveals that nearly two-thirds of Gen Z travelers are hunting for the cheapest accommodations, flights, and more. Almost half, 46 percent, admit to relying on their folks for some financial backup on their trips.

But wait, there’s a twist in the tale. ICF Travel brings a plot twist, revealing that Gen Z places a premium on shared values with travel brands. They’re willing to open their wallets for experiences that align with their personal beliefs. Now, you might think they’re planning to splurge, but the numbers don’t lie. Only 21 percent of Gen Z travelers say they’ll be shelling out more for leisure travel in 2023 than they did in 2022. In comparison, 27 percent of Millennials, 29 percent of Gen X, and 33 percent of Boomers are planning to loosen their purse strings.

So, how are they funding these adventures? Well, only 8 percent of Gen Z travelers are willing to dip into their pockets or add to their existing debt for a trip. Instead, they’re cashing in on those sweet points and miles. According to eMarketer, Gen Z and Millennials are the generations most likely to use rewards to cover part of their travel expenses. They’re also pretty serious about loyalty programs, and flexibility and choice in redemptions matter a lot to them.

Now, here’s the final chapter – where are they heading? Well, it seems like Gen Z is up for more extended journeys. Morning Consult Pro found that 52 percent of frequent Gen Z travelers are looking to explore national parks in the coming year, and 55 percent are eyeing theme parks. This suggests they’re all about longer adventures, even if they’re not the priciest ones.

Gen Z is a savvy bunch, eager to explore the world, and they’re making it happen, even on a budget. If you’re part of Gen Z and wondering how to stretch your travel budget this year, remember, smart planning, deal hunting, budgeting, and considering travel credit cards can all help. Yes, travel might be a tad expensive right now, but Gen Z knows it doesn’t have to break the bank. So, go out there, explore, and make your own unique travel memories.

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