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Gen Z vs. Gen X - Generational Differences in Travel
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Gen Z vs. Gen X - Generational Differences in Travel

It shouldn’t be too surprising that there are some generational differences when it comes to travel. For one, Gen Z students may have a completely different way of describing a trip. If they say, “Bro, we were lowkey excited about going to Costa Rica, and ONG it slapped.” Then you know all is well.

But what about other differences? Generally across generations, travel has been on the rise over the last several decades. In fact, there’s been a stunning rise. Back in 1950 the United Nations World Tourism Organization estimated there were about 25 million international arrivals around the world per year. By 2018 that number had risen to 1.4 billion.

As seen in the chart, travels to Asia and Pacific have particularly increased over this time period, taking a larger chunk of the share. Europe has long been a popular destination.

If things keep going the way they are, these expansions could keep happening since people of all ages love to travel these days. Still there are some generational differences. Here are a few of them:

General Trends

Across the generations, people are looking for interesting activities and once-in-a-lifetime experiences when they travel. There’s much more of a focus on what you may do while traveling than other factors like accommodations.

However, when it comes to certain particulars, an older person may make different choices than someone much younger. Gen Z is more likely to travel internationally. Young adventurers are most interested in going to far flung destinations.

Copyright: © 2015 Rustic Pathways

Partially because of family responsibilities, Generation X takes the fewest international trips. Meanwhile, baby boomers who are mainly retired take the longest trips, and millennials take shorter trips but travel the most days each year. Millennials also like to have a good degree of rest and relaxation when they go, taking a break from their hectic jobs.

Generation X tends to spend the most money, but that is partly because they often are paying for other family members when traveling. Because of this factor, Generation X is more likely to seek out deals.

Picking a Destination

Not shockingly, your average Gen Z person relies quite a bit on social media to look into possible destinations. An amazing 90% say social media plays a role in their travel decisions.

Their parents’ generation is far less likely to use social media for destination inquiries. Meanwhile, baby boomers are the least likely to do destination research. Many in this generation are decisive about their travel location and don’t need help picking a place. However, they’ll use technology for particulars, such as transportation.

Types of Trips

It’s a little more difficult to pin more specific travel preferences to a generation, but there are several tidbits of interest when it comes to generational differences.

Expedia research has found that 70 percent of people in Generation X say they enjoy museums, historical sites, and arts and culture. Nearly half of baby boomers plan their trips around food and drink and interestingly that increases to 67 percent for Chinese and Mexican baby boomers.

Since millennials travel the most days, they tend to have a wider variety of trips, including visiting family, seeing well-known sightseeing destinations, and traveling to spots that are off the beaten track.

Generation Z often likes unique, interactive, and social experiences when traveling. People in Gen Z score above average in their love of the ocean. This generation is also twice as likely as other generations to stay in alternative accommodations, such as glamping instead of staying in a hotel.

Students camping

Camp in tents under the majestic milky way and get to know your fellow travelers around a bonfire. Copyright: © 2015 Rustic Pathways

Regardless of generational differences, travel is looking up for 2023. AAA says the interest in international travel is high with a big boost expected in international vacations. One variation may be location. In 2023 less-crowded destinations are expected to be most desirable. So maybe it’s time to book a program in countries like Mongolia, Nepal, or Cambodia. Take a look at all the options here.

About the Author

Mary Rogelstad

Content Writer