It’s amazing, yet not, how different demographics of people have varying priorities when it comes to traveling. For example:
- Last fall, when COVID was still a major threat, it was discovered that people who were not vaccinated were going to different places than the vaccinated did
- On the whole, liberals travel differently from conservatives
- Even people who live in different states have different tastes in how and where they travel.
So I guess it really shouldn’t be a surprise that people who identify as Generation X, Millennials and Generation Z are all quite different in their plans for travel.
As a quick review, the definition for each group varies. But they’re approximately:
- Generation X (Gen Xers) – The generation born between 1965 and 1980
- Millennials – born between 1981 and 1996
- Generation Z (Gen Zers, Zoomers) – born between 1997 and 2012
GetYourGuide is a Berlin-based online travel agency and online marketplace for tour guides and excursions. Founded in Switzerland, it’s accessible via website and mobile app for both iOS and Android. They sell tours, excursions, and tickets to a variety of tourist attractions. Frankly, the don’t get stellar reviews on TripAdvisor (2 out of 5 stars) or Yelp (also 2 out of 5 stars).
Poor reviews notwithstanding, GetYourGuide did a study last year where they surveyed 1,000 Americans between the ages of 16 and 56 and evaluated the preferences of the three generations in terms of travel. Here’s some of the information they culled out:
Gen Z seems to be the most adventurous
51% of the Zoomers were interested in booking international trips, especially Paris, Dubai, Puerto Rico (*cough* that’s not international *cough*) and Greece.
The experiences they were looking into were also adventurous by nature – bioluminescent bay boating in San Juan, desert safaris in Dubai, volcanic islands cruises in Cyclades, Greece and “meet-the-locals” activities (i.e. a baking classes in France).
Older groups were more interested in domestic travel
Unlike the Zoomers, 48% of Millennials and 61% of Gen Xers were making plans for domestic travel. Only 35% of Millennials and 20% of Gen Xers were looking to travel abroad at the time of the survey.
Domestically, Millennials were also a bit more open to traveling outside their own city than Gen Xers, who were tending to stay closer to home with staycations and the like.
New York City, Miami and San Diego were popular choices for all three groups, Millennials and Generation Z looked more at Los Angeles, while Generation X considered Washington, D.C. more than the other two groups.
Millennials planned to spend more on travel
Regardless of where each group planned to go, 64% of millennials were more willing than the other groups to pay to have a travel agent plan their excursions for them (I wonder if they read our post about “Do you need a travel agent to plan your trip?”).
Millennials also seemed to have larger budgets for excursions on their trips. However all three groups said that having unique experiences was the most impactful element of their favorite vacations (Gen Z: 38%, Millennials: 48%, Gen Xers: 43%).
However all three generations agreed on one thing: budgeting for vacations to be “the most annoying aspect of travel planning.”
Safety & flexibility were priorities
When the survey was being conducted, the Delta variant was still everywhere. So it’s not surprising that just over half of each age group cited COVID as their top concern in travel planning: 57% of Gen Zers, 54% of Millennials and 55% of Gen Xers.
All three generations also ranked flexibility in terms of cancellations as one of their top concerns.
Generational travel studies in the past
Of course, GetYourGuide’s study isn’t the first to measure the differences in travel trends between the generations. Here are some others:
- American Multi-Generational Travel Trends (Expedia Media Solutions, 2017) (click here for PDF of the raw data)
- New Study Finds Travel Priorities Shift As We Age (Priceline Generation Travel Index, 2019)
- Travel statistics – by demographic (Luggage Hero, 2020)
- Travel Insights: Motivations by Generation (BVK, 2021)
It would be interesting to see if and how these trends change, if and when COVID becomes endemic and simply a part of everyone’s everyday lives.
Want to comment on this post? Great! Read this first to help ensure it gets approved.
Want to sponsor a post, write something for Your Mileage May Vary or put ads on our site? Click here for more info.
Like this post? Please share it! We have plenty more just like it and would love it if you decided to hang around and sign up to get emailed notifications of when we post.
Whether you’ve read our articles before or this is the first time you’re stopping by, we’re really glad you’re here and hope you come back to visit again!
This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary
Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.
Noting these differences without controlling for children and the age of those children seems like a very silly oversight. I would love to go to Greece. But I’m Gen X with a Gen Z, school-aged kid. I couldn’t risk a two week quarantine on a two week vacation.. Surprise, Gen X and older Millennials were taking their kids to DC and Orlando because they didn’t want the drama.
Same with doing this study in a covid year with Gen X and Millenials and elder care. We’re just less willing to risk infection being brought home to folks at high risk/more likely to have those who are dependent on us in a pandemic. Meaningless study regarding actual preferences.
Pretty sure gen Z term pre-dates “zoom”.
Hubby and I are Gen x and rarely travel domestically. We do several overseas trips a year.
Joe and I are also Gen X and do more domestic than international (we’ll do international once every 1-3 years). Everyone’s different 🙂
Gen Z are the youngest with least responsibility tying them down! By the time you’re in your middle age, you’ve seen and done your adventuring and moved to a different phase – and when you do ‘adventure’ it’s in a different form.
On the other hand, Gen Z. also may not have the funds to do the things considered more “adventurous.” Also, some people don’t get “brave” until they get older. My first shot at canyoneering down a 200 foot ravine happened when I was 40, and I didn’t go spelunking (which I’ve done several times since) until I was 42. Everyone is different. As the good blog says, Your Mileage May Vary. 😉
Travelling has become a pain since COVID and those of us who remember how much fun it used to be, don’t want to bother with the hassle.
I’m GenX and had a trip to South America booked in 2020 that was cancelled. After two years of uncertainty, I am ok with exploring closer to home for now because I already ticked many places off my bucket list before covid.
But people in their 20s haven’t seen much so it makes sense they want to get out there, regardless of endless restrictions.