Decoding Gen Z's Travel Bucket List
Recent research from Booking.com reveals Gen Z’s travel motivations and ambitions. They may only just now be coming of age, but Gen Z is a generation that knows what it wants, with almost 70% having already mapped out their travel bucket list.
Speculation is rife on what Gen Z (those currently between the ages of 16-24) desire as they begin to travel for themselves, but what better way to understand the generation that knows what they want than by asking directly? We have conducted global research from almost 22,000 respondents across 29 markets to get key insights into the Gen Z traveler*.
Travel is high on the radar of Gen Z, so much so that it tops the list of what they plan to spend their money on over the next five years (65%), considered more important than saving for a deposit to buy their first home or property (60%). Nearly seven in ten (69%) of Gen Z have already planned their travel bucket list, however, their wanderlust must consider environmental impact, with over six in ten (63%) revealing they would contemplate avoiding a destination if they knew it was affected by over-tourism.
With their travel bucket list mapped out, Gen Z has a specific idea on what trips and experiences they want to accomplish: visiting a natural wonder (49%), a trip to a theme park (38%), a vacation that gives back to the local community (44%) and a hiking trip (21%).
Travel experiences that most attract Gen Z are: attractions (67%), one-off events (59%), adventure experiences (56%), trekking to an extreme location (52%) and volunteering while traveling (37%).
Booking.com has delved into its more than 29 million listings across over 150,000 destinations, to pair Gen Z favored trips and experiences with a variety of accommodation around the world; enabling Gen Z to tick off their travel bucket list.
River of Five Colors, Colombia
Located in the Sierra de La Macarena National Park is Mother Nature’s masterpiece, the river of five colors (known to locals as Caño Cristales). Appealing to almost half (49%) of Gen Z travelers who want to visit a natural wonder, this beauty of biodiversity is 100km (62 miles) of waterfalls, streams and rivers that burst with color from June to November. This unique natural wonder is caused by a biological phenomenon of a rare and endemic plant called the macarenia clavigera that lines the river-bed. For the majority of the year, the river is a hue of deep green but come the rainy season, the river transforms into a kaleidoscope of colors.
Where to stay: Nestled deep in the jungle is La Manigua Lodge, located in La Macarena, a small ranching community. This tranquil lodge stay provides an authentic wilderness experience surrounded by natural beauty. Relax in your stilted treehouse or observe the tropical flora and fauna above and below you on the suspended nets from your private treehouse. La Manigua Lodge is perfect for travelers wishing to see the river of five colors as it’s located a short boat ride away.
A thrilling theme park, Abu Dhabi
Almost seven in ten (67%) of Gen Z travelers are interested in an attraction travel-related experience, and 38% of Gen Z travelers are interested in an attraction such as a theme park. Located in Abu Dhabi is Ferrari World, known as the most thrilling theme park and the first Ferrari branded theme park in the world. Ride the world’s fastest rollercoaster and even experience what it’s like firsthand to train like a Ferrari driver with the Scuderia Challenge. Ferrari World is just one of the many attractions that can be booked through Booking.com Attractions, where travelers can seamlessly book and will receive instant confirmation and e-tickets for some of the best attractions around the world - ideal for Gen Z travelers who are on the go.
Where to stay: Yas Hotel features a unique design as it is set half on land and half on water. Yas Island is a great choice for travelers interested in theme parks, with Ferrari World located nearby. Yas Hotel also overlooks another popular attraction - the Formula 1 circuit. After a fun-filled day at the theme park, cool off with a dip in one of the two rooftop swimming pools and enjoy the spectacular sunset views.
Almost half (44%) of Gen Z travelers value giving back to the local community when they travel, by volunteering their time. A way to achieve this is through sustainable tourism startup, I Like Local, which was recently awarded a grant from the 2019 Booking.com Booster Program’s €2 million fund. The company aims to connect travelers with locals to discover the real world and to help make an impact to the local community, through hand-picked and off-the-beaten track travel experiences. Their top rated local experience is a Balinese cooking class in the village of Jatiluwih.
Where to stay: A short drive from the scenic rice terraces of Jatiluwih is the peaceful retreat of Sang Giri - Mountain Glamping Camp. Sang Giri provides guests with a luxury tent accommodation and features a restaurant, outdoor hot tub, yoga platform and panoramic views of the mountain and jungle. Guests looking to explore the area can take advantage of the complementary use of a map of the surrounding area, pocket binoculars, an umbrella and torch light.
Choquequirao Archaeological Park, Peru
Over one in five (21%) of Gen Z would love to embark on a hiking trip and over half (52%) are interested in trekking to an extreme location. However, Gen Z travelers are increasingly aware of the damaging effects of over-tourism and 63% would visit a lesser known destination if it meant having less of an environmental impact. The Choquequirao Archaeological Park is a great alternative to world-famous Machu Picchu and not only for environmental reasons, it’s three times the size. Gen Z will also be pleased to know that Choquequirao only draws about 20 visitors per day, ensuring the ruins are undamaged and remain quiet.
Where to stay: CasaNostra Choquequirao is a cozy guest house located in Cachora, which is the nearest town to the Choquequirao Archaeological Park. Breathe in the crisp mountain air from your balcony and after a strenuous trek, savor tasty national and international dishes served at the onsite restaurant.
Events at your fingertips, New York City
59% of Gen Z travelers would like to experience a one-off event, such as a concert, festival or sporting event, and what better place to experience once-in-a-lifetime events than in the city that never sleeps. New York City is home to world-class theater productions, iconic sports teams, comedy clubs that will have you laughing yourself silly and live music performances from intimate jazz clubs to sold-out pop concerts.
Where to stay: Located in a recently-renovated historic building and a short walk from Central Park, HI NYC Hostel is social place to stay located in Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Full of numerous common areas, such as a large outdoor patio and private green space, the hostel also hosts many activities including pub crawls, night club events and in-house variety shows, which are the perfect opportunity to meet like-minded travelers from around the world.
*Research commissioned by Booking.com and independently conducted among a sample size of 21,807 respondents aged 16 or over (25% of whom were aged 16-24) in 29 markets (including 1,000 each from Australia, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, China, Brazil, India, US, UK, Russia, Indonesia, Colombia and South Korea; and 600 each from Japan, New Zealand, Thailand, Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Hong Kong, Croatia, Taiwan, Mexico, Netherlands, Sweden, Singapore and Israel). Fieldwork was undertaken between 1-16th May 2019. The survey was carried out online. All research and recruitment, unless otherwise stated, was carried out by Vitreous World, with analysis by Ketchum Analytics.