Young people in England display unwavering wanderlust in the face of economic uncertainty and budget constraints as they gear up to splurge on travel. Olivia Palamountain reports

A survey of 800 English 18-to-35-year-olds by youth-centric travel agency Kilroy has revealed that 26 per cent of them are planning to spend between £2,000 to £4,000 on a big trip abroad this year. (Globetrender refers to this demographic as Zillennials – younger Millennials and older Gen Zs.)

Flicking two fingers to the cost-of-living crisis are a further 13 per cent, which have budgeted a chunky £4,000 to £6,000 to spend on a foreign trip this year.

The study also suggests a shift in destination preference among Zillennials, with Europe topping the list of most popular regions for travel; 41 per cent of 18-to-35-year-olds are considering a trip within the continent this year.

The second-most popular destination is North America (27 per cent ), while South East Asia came in third with 20 per cent of respondents planning a visit this year.

It’s not only young Brits looking to take flight. As reported by Canvas8, American Gen Zers are travelling more than ever as they seek new experiences and connectivity from travel – despite relatively low incomes.

These findings are supported by a study from Morning Consult, which shows more than half of Gen Z adults are frequent leisure travellers. Notably, they’re traveling more than Boomers and Gen Xers, and are now on par with their Gen Y counterparts.

Unlike previous generations, Zers aren’t holding off their travel plans until they obtain lucrative jobs or build up ample savings, says the Morning Consult study, with 61 per cent of Gen Zers who travel frequently say they earn less than US$50,000 per year.

“Pre-Covid, older travellers were typically the biggest spenders on holidays and trips abroad,” said Hollie Youlden, Head of UK Marketing at Kilroy. “So, it’s refreshing to see younger travellers driving tourism recovery post-pandemic. Whether it’s a trip to celebrate a milestone birthday, an overdue getaway, or a more profound need to make the most of life, many young people are not letting the current economic situation get in their way of exploring the world.”

This unwavering wanderlust doesn’t mean that Gen Zers aren’t at all concerned about travel expenses – they’re just finding savvy ways to fit their travel plans into their current budgets, instead of waiting until they’re financially buoyant.

Indeed, in a survey of 4,000 full-time students aged 18-25, nearly two-thirds said they look for the cheapest options when traveling.

Many are also tightening their belts elsewhere to afford vacations. Between 2021 and 2022, Gen Z’s average spending decreased for fashion (7 per cent), tech (6 per cent) and food (12 per cent), while their travel purchases surged by 60 per cent.

With remote working now an established way of life, the desire to travel for longer periods of time also was found to be strong among this segment of traveller, with 15 per cent of respondents to the Kilroy survey considering a trip of between one to six months in duration.

This presents an opportunity for travel agents to provide a heightened level of consultancy to a significant group of travellers, says Kilroy.

However, the study also suggested roadblocks travel agents face in attracting young travellers; 33 per cent of respondents are concerned that travel agents will only recommend touristy activities and destinations, and 22 per cent were worried that by organising their trip through a travel agent, they wouldn’t be able to customise their trip to their needs.

So what exactly does motivate Gen Z to travel? Data shows that adventure, mental health, and cultural experiences are pique the interests of this generation far more than their older relatives, so there’s an opportunity for brands to repackage their offerings to meet these demands.

For example, One Trip Over the Moon connects Zillennials with nature through one-day retreats, while Wowtrip and Journee tap desires for adventure on a budget.