5 Trends Gen Z Travelers Won’t Budge On

Written by: ARCC Staff

Generation Z (Gen Z) —the name given to those born between 1997 and 2012— is itching to travel after two years of mostly remaining in place.

In fact, Gen Z plans to spend more money on travel plans than any other generation in 2022, with 72% planning on spending the same, or more, than they did before Covid-19.

With the oldest of Gen Z travelers being 25, this young group of travelers will begin traveling outside of family vacations, hoping to see more of the world. But, travel may not be up to their parents’ standards, because Gen Z sticks to their values when it comes to travel plans.

In this post, you’ll learn about 5 Gen Z travel trends including, sustainability, giving back, experiential travel, enrichment activities, and unique accommodations.

Trend 1. Sustainability

It’s no surprise that Gen Z cares about the environment, including the impact travel has on the Earth. For their entire lives, this population has learned about climate change, sustainable practices, and eco-friendliness.

Take a look at these Gen Z travel statistics from YouGov:

  • 34% search for sustainable travel offers
  • 38% would stay in eco-friendly or green accommodations
  • 21% prioritize booking a flight with lower CO2 emissions

The kids are alright! Gen Z will be putting their money to good use in 2022, including intertwining sustainable practices into travel, more than their older counterparts. Not only does Gen Z care about the environment, they also care about their impact once they arrive at their destination.

Trend 2. Giving Back

For Gen Z travelers the impacts of Covid-19 are unforgettable, and this is swaying their opinions of what responsible travel means.

Gen Z is less likely to book “all inclusive” vacations, supporting the local economy is important to them while traveling. According to YouGov’s Travel and Tourism Report 2022, 37% of Gen Z prioritize spending money with local businesses or on local produce. Additionally, 45% seek authentic experiences that are representative of the local culture.

They are more likely to be interested in traveling with a purpose, such as volunteering and eco-tourism, moved by a desire to do something meaningful and give back to the community.
Gen Z doesn’t only have spending ties to the communities they visit, they also want to be immersed in the culture.

Trend 3. Experiential Travel

The types of vacations Gen Z wants are ones that allow them to connect deeply to a place through its local people, environment, and culture, not just through the lens of an outsider. This type of travel is called experiential travel.

Gen Z has “a strong interest in localism and the authentic cultural experience that individual countries can offer,” according to YouGov’s report. The top vacations Gen Z would choose are volunteering and eco-tourism, performing/visual arts festivals, and adventure based.

Learning goes hand-and-hand with experiential travel, as travelers discover the different ways people around the world live differently. Naturally, Gen Z travelers prioritize enrichment opportunities.

Trend 4. Desire Enrichment

This Gen Z trend may not be surprising, since studying abroad is a popular trip term for high schoolers and college students. The usual draw of studying abroad is the ability to simultaneously travel to a new amazing place while learning new things.

As Gen Zers plan their next big trip, they have a strong desire for personal development and enrichment. The responses of Gen Z travelers illustrates their learning needs in YouGov’s report:

  • 30% wish to broaden their horizons
  • 22% seek traveling for educational purposes
  • 18% want to learn or develop new skills or practice a hobby
  • 22% hope to learn a new language or improve on one their currently learning


The separation of learning and travel for this generation is slim. Better yet, for these determined travelers there’s no stopping them from experiencing new places, even if that means taking advantage of different accommodations.

Trend 5. Open to Unique Accommodations

Five-star hotels aren’t on Gen Z’s travel must-haves list, because of their heightened awareness of the cost of accommodations.

Now that many of them are traveling without the financial help of parents, this strongly influences consideration for more unique places to stay. Some of the accommodations Gen Zers wouldn’t mind lying their heads down at include:

  • Hostels
  • Campsites
  • Rented apartments/houses
  • Family and friends’ homes
  • Rented room in other people’s home (homestay)


Not only does this make sense for budget-friendly alternatives, but it makes sense to fulfill the unique experiences Gen Z’s hope to get from travel. Staying at a place other than a hotel is going to open more doors for this generation to participate in the local culture and community.


Gen Z is a population that isn’t messing around when it comes to sticking to their values. 

When you check out our ARCC programs, you’ll quickly see our trips check all the boxes for Gen Z in terms of providing programs that fully align with their values. We offer unique and unforgettable experiences, rich educational programming, and community-driven projects. 

ARCC Programs, which consist of both international and domestic travel options, have been offered to students for over 40 years. Find a Gap semester program or a summer program today on our website, or contact us for more information.