Life experiences a priority for travelling youth, says study
New research into travel behaviours has revealed that life experiences and cultural enrichment are the new priority for travelling youth.
This is despite what critics say about the generation of today being selfie-obsessed and expecting quick success,
Topdeck's 2015 Global Youth Travel Survey saw more than 31,000 people from 134 countries respond to 26 travel-related questions.
The study showed young people want more from their holiday than just a hotel room to plug-in their hair straightener.
The global travel survey highlighted that only 2% of the so-called Gen Y and Z would be happy to pay extra to sleep in a five-star hotel, compared with 46% who actually liked the social atmosphere of basic hostels and shared spaces.
Experiencing a new culture (86%) and eating the local foods (69%) were listed as common determining factors for motivating people, aged 18 to 24, to travel ahead of partying (44%) and shopping (28%).
Topdeck Travel general manager Sarah Clark said young people travelling today definitely had higher expectations than those traveling with the travel company during the 1970s, although it didn't mean they were spoilt.
"Connectivity, comfort, accessibility and a social atmosphere are what they look for," Ms Clark said.
"Travel is so much more accessible these days, youth travellers have grown up in a globally connected community where anything is possible or attainable."
Ms Clark said the needs of youth travellers were changing and many properties in Europe were catering to the demand by opening modern base-line hotels and hostels in accessible locations, with a focus on social spaces and contemporary comforts.
"Our passengers love this type of accommodation because it allows them to interact easily with the group in a safe environment," she said.
"There has also been a shift in young travellers seeking out local cuisines when they're overseas, foregoing fast food for more authentic street eats."
The results illustrated this, with more than 98% of young people ranking "eating local cuisine" as something that was very important (more than five out of 10) when they travelled.
When it comes to bucket list destinations, Europe is still the No.1 destination for Australian youth travel, with 39% of travellers planning to go there next, while the US and Canada are close behind (21%).
Topdeck has additionally seen a noticeable increase in the demand for innovative itineraries, which not only travel through Europe's popular locations, but also feature more rustic experiences in Eastern Europe.
"This year, our Camping range has seen a 22% growth, indicating that travellers are still looking for quality budget-style trips to ensure their dollar goes further," Ms Clark said.
"Young professionals are loving our Explorer trip range, which has a twist of adventure and mid-range regional hotel accommodation.
"They don't just want to travel to see places. They travel to grow as individuals, experience new cultures and return home with a better understanding of the world."