An insider’s guide to Gen Z travel – Kiwi.com

We’ve been looking at the data, and these are the top 10 destinations that Gen Z travelers are visiting in 2023. Discover the places most popular with budget travelers and how Gen Z’s travel habits are shaping the industry

What are the best destinations for Gen Z travelers? Our data for passengers born between 1997 and 2005 reveal the favorite countries and cities from our countless thousands of flight bookings. Bookers from the UK, Spain, Italy, Poland, France, the Czech Republic and further afield show 2023’s top travel trends, so if you’d like to join them, this is where you should go.

The top five countries to travel to according to Gen Z

Italy

With many more low-cost airlines now flying to lesser-known cities such as Catania, Bari, Cagliari, Perugia, Trieste, and Ancona on top of big hitters like Rome, Milan and Naples, Italy is the number one destination for our Gen Z travelers. Combining cultural highlights with fabulous food and drink, a lust for life, and stunning cities and scenery, Italy ticks pretty much all the boxes for 18- to 26-year-olds (see below for more details on the conclusions we can draw).

Spain

Zoomers in Germany, the UK and France all have Spain as their most-booked country in 2023. Each region of Spain is different, so you might be visiting the less-touristy north coast with its surfing and crashing Atlantic waves, the elegance of Madrid or Seville, the tourist hotspot of Barcelona, or simply one of the islands to spend two weeks on the beach doing very little. Whatever type of holiday you’re after, it’s no wonder Spain is currently so popular.

UK

A young woman on a boat is looking at Tower bridge and the London skylineLondon is a bucket-list classic, and the rest of the UK shouldn’t be missed, either — Shutterstock

The UK has always been a popular destination and, despite the impact of the B-word, it remains as popular as ever. You can find good value flights into London from pretty much anywhere, and even regional airports are serving more and more destinations. You can use the likes of Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow, Leeds and other cities (which are exciting destinations in and of themselves) to explore the UK, simply by jumping on a plane.

Portugal

Kiwi.com has seen a massive increase in searches and bookings for flights to Portugal over the last few years. Lisbon and Porto remain the big draws, but cheap deals to places like Faro, Funchal, and further afield to the beautiful Azores mean you can see every side of Portugal for less than you’d expect. Cities, forests, mountains and dramatic coastal scenery are tempting people, particularly from Northern and Central Europe, to explore Portugal in 2023.

Thailand

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The top non-European destination according to our data, there are great value deals to Thailand from pretty much every European capital city as well as cities across the US and beyond. Many travelers use Thailand as their gateway to Southeast Asia, but even staying in the country means huge cities, rugged mountains, idyllic beaches, great food and, once you’re there, a generally low-cost destination to explore.

Honorable mentions

France, Greece, Germany and the US don’t quite break the top five, although they’re all clearly very popular as well. Turkey and Morocco also proved popular, as well as more far-flung destinations like the Philippines, Indonesia, and Vietnam.

The top five cities to travel to according to Gen Z

London

London is the most-booked single destination for Gen Z travelers. It’s little wonder as well — it’s still one of the world’s great cities, a cosmopolitan place that can be all things to all people. Culture, music, food and drink, sport, film, history… whatever floats your boat, you’ll find it in London. With its six airports, it also serves as the first point of contact for people who don’t even have London as their final destination, so it’s no surprise that it ranks number one on this list.

Barcelona

More of a straightforward destination than London (which we can assume a number of travelers simply use as the cheapest gateway to the UK), Barcelona is a city-break paradise. Great weather, fantastic food, beaches, nightlife, and much, much more mean Barcelona is as popular as ever. Almost 12 million people visit the city every year; it’s the most-booked destination from France, with travelers from the UK making it their second favorite, plus thousands of bookings from Germany and Hungary.

Milan

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A fine city though Milan is, it’s also a major European air transport hub, so while some visitors may be coming to sample the wonderful food and high culture, many will also be simply traveling through. The city’s low-cost hub, Milan Bergamo, for example, offers flights to the southern part of Italy as well as to destinations around the coast of the Iberian peninsula, the north coast of Africa, and resorts along the eastern side of the Adriatic. After all, if you can pair your trip with a day’s stopover in Milan, then why not?

Bangkok

Woman taking a photo of the Wat Arun temple in Bangkok — ShutterstockBangkok has long been a popular destination with backpackers eager to experience the sights, sounds, and smells of Southeast Asia — Shutterstock

With Thailand being one of the most-booked countries in the previous list, it’s no surprise to see the capital, Bangkok, on this list. For travelers with an appetite for a more adventurous holiday, Bangkok serves as both a relatively cheap destination in Southeast Asia and a thrilling city in and of itself. It’s a place to get over your culture shock before setting out on a backpacking trip around the region, and is also one of those places that have an almost magnetic draw, with many examples of people simply never choosing to leave.

Rome

After London, Rome is the most popular destination for travelers from Spain, and after Barcelona is the second choice for French tourists. A similar vibe but a different country? We reckon so. Despite its many glories being well-documented, Rome is always worth returning to, either to see the ancient sights or to simply bask in the sun and eat gelato until it gets dark.

Other popular destination cities

Budapest is clearly a popular city break destination, and for an island getaway, Malta is the clear favorite. One huge outlier, however, is that the most-booked destination from Germany is Palma in Spain. Oddly, this doesn’t appear on any other list aside from just scraping the top 10 destinations booked from France and the Czech Republic. A couple of weeks on a sunny Spanish beach is clearly what a German Gen Z-er really wants! Also, while much of Europe is booking flights to London, the top city break from the UK is just across the Irish Sea in Dublin.

What can we learn from Gen Z’s travel habits?

It seems that travel is now one of the most important things that members of Gen Z spend their money on, with experiences seemingly more valuable than physical objects. Indeed, a recent survey from the student finance site Student Beans shows that from 2021 to 2022, Gen Zs’ average spending per purchase dropped for fashion (7%), tech (6%) and food (12%), while their travel purchases flew up by 60%.

Experiences also marry into this generation’s recognition of the intangibles in life. As well as stating that they travel for relaxation and to spend time with friends or family (something that hasn’t changed across generations), these reasons were also broken down into recognizing that looking after their mental health and widening their cultural horizons were essential factors in wanting to travel.

Gen Z also seem to be less interested in visiting places they’ve already been to, and are always on the lookout for flexible deals. Partying and nightlife has dropped in importance as a reason to travel as well, with almost 70% of respondents stating that learning about another culture was their main motivation, as was trying new food and drink. Other factors that may not have been seen as considerations for older generations include 82% of those surveyed saying that a country’s attitude to LGBTQ+ rights would affect their decision to travel there.

The ability to get great travel prices on the go to places you might not think of, as well as flexibility as to how you travel and which travel hacks you use to make your trip even cheaper, means Kiwi.com is at the forefront of Gen Z travel. See what deals you can find on Kiwi.com today to get out there and see more of the world for yourself!

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