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Redefining Wanderlust: Gen Z’s Shift Towards More Mindful Travel

Redefining Wanderlust: Gen Z’s Shift Towards More Mindful Travel
23 April 2024 Samantha Anderson
Student universe Redefining Wanderlust: Gen Z’s Shift Towards More Mindful Travel RoosterPR

Travel expert at StudentUniverse shares complete guide to the changing landscape of Gen Z travel as well as predictions for the future of travel.

Younger generations of travellers have traditionally been viewed as alcohol-fuelled party animals, only interested in destinations where they can enjoy a cheap holiday with sun, sea, and sand. However, a new report from StudentUniverse, the world’s largest student and youth travel agency, reveals that Gen Z are changing the game when it comes to travelling more mindfully.

Will Jones, the travel hacks guy at StudentUniverse explains: “Gen Z, whilst being hungry for travel, is more conscious than ever of the impact of travel but, instead of ditching exploration, they are simply changing the way they approach it.

“Awareness of the environmental impact of travel is a growing concern with the majority of Gen Z, 53%, opting to engage with green organisations once in-destination as a result. However, mindfulness when travelling goes further than environmental concerns. It also applies to this generation’s desire to have a more genuine experience, to positively engage with the local community, and to learn from different cultures. In fact, culture led adventures (68%) are at the heart of Gen-Z travel plans.

“With over a third of this generation prioritising travel over other disposable income desires, it’s clear that the thirst for travel shows no signs of waning. The shift simply shows intent for different, more authentic travel experiences – from where to go and what to do once there – whilst also keeping an eye on longer-term goals like employability. Gen Z is undoubtedly changing the landscape of youth travel as we know it.”

Read on for Will’s complete guide to the changing landscape of Gen Z travel as well as his predictions for the future…

Plane travel remains King

It’s undeniable that plane travel remains king, with ease, speed, and costs at the heart of its enduring popularity. Despite an overwhelming majority of Gen Z being open to air travel (87%), over half, 53%, wish to mitigate their impact by operating more eco-consciously once in destination. Such is common with backpackers across Europe and Asia, where it is common to arrive by plane, and adventure through the continent using local transport. This then supports the local infrastructure, has a lesser impact on the environment, and often is the best way to get a real feel for a destination. That, and its usually very cheap… win-win!

Language continues to be a barrier

Having a basic understanding of a language is the foundation to truly immersing yourself in another culture, which 68% of Gen Z travellers long for when abroad.

That said, Gen Z are also an extremely tech savvy generation and likely understand that learning the basics need not be a daunting task with the help of an App like Babble or Duolingo. So, there’s really no need for this generation to feel out of sorts when trying to order a coffee or locate the nearest available toilet. We expect to see far more young Brits ordering in native tongue whilst away – whether their accent is on point or not remains to be seen.


A generation undeterred from travel (58%) but conscious of its detriment to the environment, Gen Z are opting to limit their impact once away. Through engaging with eco-friendly organisations on their travels (53%), as a generation Gen Z are changing how breaks abroad look, with 79% moving away from the party-filled holidays of old to something far more considered. For example, choosing accommodation that uses renewable energy sources, foregoing environmentally impactful sporting breaks (e.g. golf and skiing), and avoiding country hopping via plane. In this way, Gen Z are truly shaping a new era of travel.

More authentic experience

Mindful travel is about more than just environmental concerns with cultural literacy also of the utmost importance for this generation. 68% of Gen Z travellers prefer to enjoy authentic experiences and immerse themselves in the local culture whilst away. Engaging with other communities informs cultural awareness, which is of paramount importance when getting to grips in a new environment, and something Gen Z won’t be caught lacking on.

A nod to employability

And it’s not just about enjoying the moment, 87% of Gen Z are also conscious that learning about new cultures is beneficial to their employability post-travels, thanks to benefits including improved communication and empathy. This awareness of employability will likely filter down to younger generations – Alpha and Beta – and undoubtedly lead to a rise in flexible working holidays which allow travellers to earn and gain crucial skills as they explore.

Fly and flop breaks are out, well-planned mindful travel is in!

For more information about StudentUniverse or to make a booking, visit:


Notes to editors:
The survey that generated the data that features throughout the report was run through the Attest consumer research platform, and went out to 18-25-year olds in full time education. There were 6,000 respondents in total, divided evenly between the four countries in which StudentUniverse operates: the US, Canada, the UK and Australia. Each data point shown in the report is averaged from those countries; if you are interested in seeing country-specific data, please contact the PR team below. For more information and to read the full report, visit:

For further press information, please contact:
Elsa Findlay | Peter Gregory
T: +44 (0)203 440 8927
E: [email protected]

About StudentUniverse:
Launched in 2000, StudentUniverse is a Boston-based tech company that operates the world’s largest student and youth travel marketplace. Through negotiations with a network of global partners, StudentUniverse offers exclusive pricing and terms for its members.

With operations in the US, UK, Australia, Canada and the Philippines, StudentUniverse empowers students and youth to travel more. Acquired in 2015, StudentUniverse is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Flight Centre Travel Group, one of the world’s largest travel companies. For more updates, follow our corporate blog and LinkedIn.

For more information about Student Universe, visit: