DESPITE what critics say about the generation of today being #selfie obsessed and expecting quick success, new research into travel behaviours has revealed that life experiences and cultural enrichment are the new priority for travelling youth.
According to Topdeck’s 2015 Global Youth Travel Survey, which saw more than 31,000 people from 134 countries respond to 26 travel-related questions, young people want more from their holiday than just a hotel room to plug-in their hair straightener.
The global travel survey highlighted that only 2% of the so called ‘Gen Y & Z’ would be happy to pay extra to sleep in a 5-star hotel, compared to 46% who actually liked the social atmosphere of basic hostels and shared spaces.
Experiencing a new culture (86%) and eating the local foods (69%) were listed as common determining factors for motivating people, aged 18 to 24, to travel ahead of partying (44%) and shopping (28%).
Topdeck Travel’s general manager, Sarah Clark, said young people travelling today definitely had higher expectations than those traveling with the travel company during the 1970s, although it didn’t mean they were spoilt.
“Connectivity, comfort, accessibility and a social atmosphere are what they look for,” said Ms Clark.
“Travel is so much more accessible these days, youth travellers have grown up in a globally connected community where anything is possible or attainable,” she said.
Ms Clark said the needs of youth travellers were changing and many properties in Europe were catering to the demand by opening modern base-line hotels and hostels in accessible locations, with a focus on social spaces and contemporary comforts.
“Our passengers love this type of accommodation because it allows them to interact easily with the group in a safe environment,” she said.
“There has also been a shift in young travellers seeking out local cuisines when they’re overseas, foregoing fast food for more authentic street eats.”
The results illustrated this, with more than 98% of young people ranking ‘eating local cuisine’ as something that was very important (more than 5 out of 10) when they travelled.
When it comes to bucket list destinations, Europe is still the number one destination for Australian youth travel, with 39% of travellers planning to go there next, while the USA & Canada are close behind (21%).
Topdeck has additionally seen a noticeable increase in the demand for innovative itineraries, which not only travel through Europe’s popular locations, but also feature more rustic experiences in Eastern Europe.
“This year, our ‘Camping’ range has seen a 22% growth, indicating that travellers are still looking for quality budget style trips to ensure their dollar goes further,” said Ms Clark.
“Young professionals are loving our ‘Explorer’ trip range, which has a twist of adventure and mid-range regional hotel accommodation.”
“They don’t just want to travel to see places; they travel to grow as individuals, experience new cultures and return home with a better understanding of the world.”
For more information on these travel findings or to obtain other data, please contact Deana Tynan at The Press Garage on 0403 040 461.