To see how different generations perceive travel, online travel marketplace Priceline commissioned research firm Savanta to survey 1,503 consumers between the ages of 17 and 65. The data, which came from consumers who had traveled for vacation at least once in the past year, resulted in the Priceline Generation Travel Index.
One thing all generations agreed upon was that cost could enable or hinder one’s travel plans. However, the older respondents were, the more weight they gave that notion. Among respondents, 86% of baby boomers said cost was the most important consideration when traveling, followed by 80% of Gen Xers and 75% of millennials. In comparison, only 67% of Gen Zers were most governed by cost when making travel decisions. Gen Zers were also the generation most likely to consider themselves to be “big spenders” when on vacation.
So what were the youngest travelers most likely to spend their money on? For some, a last-minute flight may have been appealing. Gen Zers were more spontaneous than other generations with 48% reporting they plan their travel within one month of the trip and 19% admitting to planning their trips one to three weeks before they leave. In contrast, the largest percentage of travelers of all ages — 27% — spend about two to three months planning their trip before departure. Another 12% said they start planning vacations six to 12 months prior to taking their trip.
Gen Zers — and all generations — were also more likely to spend money to have enjoyable experiences during their getaway than on the travel logistics themselves.When asked what they would spend an extra $100 on while vacationing, the largest percentage of respondents — 25% — said they would spend the extra cash on “unique experiences.” Another 18% said they would spend the extra $100 on food, 7% said they’d get better hotel accommodations and 5% said they would upgrade their airfare.
Interestingly, Gen Zers tended to place an importance on creating an experience that would translate well on social media. Nearly a third of Gen Zers — 29% — said they feel “pressure” to post the “perfect” vacation photo to their social media networks.
Gen Zers also were more likely than other generations to spend money in search of a thrill. Approximately 19% of Gen Zers said their reason for traveling is to experience “new, extreme” thrills. Another 36% of Gen Zers said they look to vacations to relax, but that percentage was lower than for older generations, as 68% of boomers, and 41% of millennials travel in order to relax.
The costs of travel can be less prohibitive if you take time to plan. Not only can travel rewards programs save you money on flights and hotels, but some travel credit cards may come with other perks you can benefit from. If you know the average cost of a vacation, you can decide how many trips you want to take each year and put a little money away each month toward that goal.