What do today's travelers really want to bring home from a trip? An amazingly epic tale.

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It’s summer 2022 and — at long last — travel is back.

But an unusual mix of pent-up demand and soaring prices has changed how we look at post-pandemic travel, and what makes it meaningful and memorable.

To gain a better understanding of what today’s travelers value most, we teamed up with VICE Media Group to study the habits, preferences, and beliefs of 500+ millennial and Gen Z travelers on a budget. What inspires them? How far are they willing to trek? Do men and women travel differently? (short answer: yes!)

The thing about the lower budget accommodations is that you get to meet people. You meet people from all around the world and you build relationships.

Millennial male

Here’s a sampling of what we discovered:

  • Pop culture is a major source of travel inspo: A kitesurfing blog. A remarkable Thai meal. An award-winning documentary. The desire to explore more of the world can come from just about anywhere.
  • Immersion is priceless: Budget travelers say having a meaningful experience has little to do with money. Most respondents (75%) felt their best trips didn’t break the bank, while 55% of Gen Z said that spending a lot may actually cause them to miss out on authentic travel experiences.
  • Men splurge more: That’s right, men are twice as likely as women to indulge on transportation, accommodations, food, and entertainment.

If you’re in the business of catering to young travelers, it’s essential to know what drives them. Instead of resort-style travel, this cohort is looking to meet locals, soak up cultures, and even struggle a little to reach their final destination. In fact, a dream trip requiring multiple flights, ferries, and footpaths excited these participants more than a direct route. (Go figure.)

For full access to “Epic Travel Experiences of the Thrifty Traveler” study, please fill out the form below:

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