generation z hiking Gen Z research unpacked

 | Save recently published its global research on the next generation of travellers. Here, industry experts share their views on the revealed trends, along with their own observations

Ambitious Adventurers Gen Z - those aged 16-24 - is a daring bunch with 56% wanting an adventure experience from their travels, such as paragliding or bungee jumping and 52% planning on visiting or trekking to an extreme location.

Brian Young, Managing Director at G Adventures, says: We’ve definitely seen an increase in young travellers seeking adventure experiences through our 18-to-thirtysomethings travel style. This is a generation that is socially savvy and highly engaged with our travel. The term ‘adventure’ also means something different to every traveller. It doesn’t always refer to high adrenaline activities or physically challenging hikes. While G Adventures does offer these, what we are seeing increasingly is young people wanting a taste of more traditional ‘adventure’, such as a couple of days spent hiking or kayaking, balanced with local experiences, food and the opportunity to enjoy time with like-minded travellers, creating a ‘travel tribe’ environment.

Iconic treks, such as the Inca Trail, continue to be the most popular trip for the Gen Z demographic, with 24% opting to hike the famous route to Machu Picchu. Everest Basecamp follows as the second most popular trek, showing the younger demographic are opting for these far-flung bucket list treks when booking their active travels.

Travel vs. Life Goals Six in ten (60%) Gen Zers think that travel is always worth investing in. And when it comes to prioritisation, ‘travel and seeing the world’ ranked as most important to this generation when thinking about how they spend their money (65%).

David Chapman, Director General at WYSE Travel Confederation, says: Young travellers, in general, are usually trying to get as much out of a trip as possible. What mainstream tourism has often missed about the youth travel market is that these travellers are off on more than a holiday; they are travelling as exchange students, au pairs, volunteers, language learners, interns, working holiday-makers or gappers (taking a gap year). Young travellers are most likely to splurge on experiences rather than what you might consider to be traditional travel upgrades. So, food and drink experiences or festivals over perks in the plane or hotel.

Accommodation providers should be looking to partner with activity providers (and visa versa) to offer young travellers unique ways to experience the destination, learn about the local culture, and have the chance to meet other young people.

generation z group friends
56% of Gen Z want an adventure experience from their travels. Photo: credit to Helena Lopes, Unsplash


Skill Enhancers Gen Z is the generation most likely to enhance their skills by learning something new while travelling in the next ten years (33%). And it’s not just new skills they’ll be looking to learn, for 55% of Gen Z travelling in their own country helps them to learn and discover more about themselves.

Leigh Barnes, Chief Purpose Officer at Intrepid Group, says: In our experience, our Gen Z travellers aren’t focused on honing a specific skill in a formalised way, more so they’re seeking to transform their understanding of the world through experiencing a different way of life. We firmly believe that travel - whether international or domestic - is the most powerful tool for self-discovery, if done properly. Any experience outside of your norm is a chance to learn something new; if you’re immersing yourself in this new experience it’ll transform the way you see the world and your place in it.

Out of Office: on 54% of Gen Z say the opportunity to travel for work is important when selecting a job and nearly six in ten (57%) say a job where they get to experience other cultures is attractive to them.”

Jonah Stillman, Gen Z expert at Gen Z Guru, says: Gen Z has only known a world with smart technology and will look at many workplace situations with the goal to streamline. Because of their comfort level with nearly every tech device or service, they will likely be the most efficient working generation in history. We know the generation loves experiences. When looking at the opportunity to travel on a job, they will likely view this as an opportunity to not only gain professional experience, but also a recreational one. Experiencing other cultures is becoming more of an expectation to Gen Z. They will expect our business leaders to provide opportunities where they’re immersed in other cultures. Gen Z is putting an emphasis on diversity and inclusion and that absolutely includes being included in other cultures.

Ready to go Solo Independence is a priority for Gen Z. Over the next ten years, a third of Gen Z (34%) plan to have travelled on their own at least once.

Eliza Filby, keynote speaker and generation expert, says: Gen Z view travel as a core part of independence and a way to demonstrate their self-reliance. They are independent in terms of where they look and who they buy with, but they also want freedom from their parents because they are products of helicopter parenting. I expect they will kick back against too much parental interference in their lives, particularly when it comes to their leisure time because they’ve had that surveillance most of their lives.


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Hero image: credit to Galen Crout, Unsplash
  • 56% of Gen Zers want an adventure experience from their travels
  • Six in ten Gen Zers think that travel is always worth investing in
  • The generation is the most likely to enhance their skills by learning something new
  • 54% of Gen Z say the opportunity to travel for work is important when selecting a job