Ever wondered why your parents are quite content never leaving their hotel while on holiday, when all you can think about it travelling somewhere completely off the grid for a once in a lifetime experience? Well, it may be because while travel has always been an important part of people’s lives, social, economic and psychological factors greatly impact how different generations travel.


A 20-something’s vision of the perfect holiday looks very different to that of someone in their 40s. And the same goes for a 60 year old and again changes for someone in their 80s. Here’s how.

GENERATION Z (1995 – 2012)

As one of the most budget-conscious generations ever, Gen Z is more likely to start the research and planning process of a holiday without a set destination in mind. Think Skyscanner searches to ‘Everywhere in the world’ and then sorting by price… And when they find a (small) selection of deals they can afford, how do they narrow their results down and choose a destination? With the help of social media, of course.

Not only does social media help young travellers get a glimpse of their destination before they arrive, but how their trip will look when they post photos online is also a contributing factor in booking. Although activities and experiences are high on their priority list, a once-in-a-lifetime experience, to an ‘Instagram-able’ destination, ranks higher. Come on, who’s going to know you’ve been there if you don’t post about it?

MILLENNIALS (1980 – 1994)

Millennials grew up at a time when the world was fully beginning to embrace technology. The result of being continuously connected? Millennials are more geographically aware than those older than them and knowing the world around them, and the other cultures that exist within it, they’re keen to see it for themselves. Meaning travel to them is about attaining their own authentic experiences.

Those in their 20s and 30s are likely to be still building their careers however, so – unless they’ve managed to sweet talk their boss into believing a month-long trip will be good for their productivity when they’re back – they can’t really afford to take much time off from work. This doesn’t stop millennials from travelling though, as millennials travel more frequently than any other generation. How do they do it then you ask? Well while millennials take more trips per year than other age group, their trips are the shortest in duration.

Eager to experience the culture and cuisine (apparently almost half of millennials plan their travel around food and drink) as the locals do, they are the most likely generation to opt for off the beaten track locations and activities. Unfortunately though, like with elephant sanctuaries in Thailand and natural geothermal springs in Iceland, the more travellers that visit means the more widely it’s known. And then ‘off the beaten track’ it is no more.

Millennials aren’t afraid of travel and the uncertainty that it can bring with it. If they don’t have someone to travel with, solo travel doesn’t put them off either. More and more millennials can be found backpacking alone, finding their feet, and new friends along the way.

GENERATION X (1965 – 1979)

Even though some may have children who are at the age where they can be left alone, family life shapes the travel preferences of Generation X. The timing of any trip is likely to coincide with the school calendar, and destinations are likely to be a little closer to home.

For this generation, travel destinations go one of two ways. Half tended to be beach or outdoor-oriented, providing much needed relaxation, from the stress their life as a parent involves, while others are places that can keep the whole family entertained. European cities for example mean itineraries can be jam packed full with museums, historical sites and arts and culture.

Unlike their parents the Baby Boomers, Gen X’ers were better at saving money from a younger age, meaning now they can afford more luxury travel. However, they didn’t get so good at saving money by spending it, did they? Which is why this generation likes getting the most bang for their buck. While less Gen X travellers say that budget is a primary factor than younger generations do, they still prioritise deals and look for value.

BABY BOOMERS (1946 – 1964)

With many now in, or slowly approaching, retirement Baby Boomers have the money to travel – and they do. Much more than their parents and their parents’ parents did at the same age. And with more free time on their hands – and travel ranking high among their top activities to fill it – these individuals take the longest trips, averaging at 10 and a half days away per holiday.

As a decisive generation, Boomers also know where they want to go and how they are going to book it, but more often than not seek help during planning and booking their trip.

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