A recent report from the Bank of America has revealed that Generation Z and millennials are traveling abroad more than older generations.

Sixty-five percent of surveyed Gen Z and 72% of millennials intend to spend more traveling than they did last year, while only 54% of Gen X and 40% of baby boomers do. Younger travelers also plan to take longer, more expensive vacations than their older counterparts.

But in an increasingly pricey, interconnected world, what is driving younger generations to spend more money to see sights they could just see online? And how are they paying for it?

According to CNBC, they’re going into debt. But they don’t really seem to mind.

Why is Gen Z so willing to go into debt to pay for their trips?

There are a whole host of reasons behind young adults’ drive to travel. And it’s not because they can afford it.

“Gen Zers (came) of age during an incredibly turbulent time,” Lindsey Roeschke, a travel and hospitality analyst at Morning Consult, a research organization, told CNBC. “This is deeply impacting their travel behaviors.”

Instead of waiting until they have savings, young travelers are willing to cut costs as much as possible. Then they pay the difference, however much that difference is.

Gen Z exhibits a different attitude toward vacations than their predecessors do. Older travelers typically like to go slowly and take time for leisure, while younger travelers get out to explore and adventure, according to Collage Group.

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Even within Generation Z, younger members of the demographic prefer adventure over relaxation. A study by Collage Group found that 67% of the younger cohort of Gen Z prioritizes excitement in their travels.

Technology also plays a huge role in motivating Gen Z to get out and travel. Though social media apps like Instagram and TikTok make the world seem like a smaller place, it also makes it a more accessible place. As a result, young adults are increasingly viewing travel as a right, not a privilege.

“This virtual access to the world, to other cultures, at such a young age, has fueled an expectation that they will be able to see and experience these places and cultures firsthand,” said Natalie Griffith, director of product and content at Collage Group. “Not only does Gen Z want to travel to various locales, but they would like to take these trips in the very immediate future.”

What are the most popular places to travel this summer?

Where does Gen Z want so badly to go? Popular destinations for Gen Z travelers this summer predominantly include Asian countries.

Hopper, an app that looks for travel deals, recently reported that younger travelers searched prices for travels to Asian countries 50% more in 2023 than they did before the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Travel and Leisure, popular countries include Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, South Korea and Japan.

Some of these countries are less expensive than others. Particularly, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines boast beautiful natural landscapes and authentic travel experiences at very affordable prices for American travelers.

“Southeast Asia is a place that alters your brain chemistry,” said Raimee Iacofono, a TikTok travel influencer, per Travel and Leisure.

Gen Z travelers are also strongly attracted to the places they see most often online, like the gorgeous views of Santorini, Greece, Copenhagen, Denmark, Tuscany, Italy, and even New York City and Vancouver, Canada, per Woke Waves.


“As this generation continues to define their travel preferences, destinations that align with their ethical values and digital connectivity will likely dominate the travel landscape,” wrote Ethan Harper, a travel journalist.

If you’re looking for a place to travel this summer, knowing where everyone else is going is helpful — either to help you dodge the crowds or to get in on the action.

But how is everyone else paying for it? How will you pay for it?

How Gen Z affords to travel — and how you can, too

Gen Z is financing their travels through various means. Not all these means include debt, though some do. Take a look at this list for safe and risky ways to pay for your vacation.

  • Credit cards: According to CNBC, travelers are increasingly willing to take out credit that they pay for over the course of multiple months. Twenty-six percent of travelers are paying for their summer trips this way.
  • Borrowing and taking loans: Per CNBC, 6% of travelers are getting help from their family and friends to travel, with promises to repay the help. Five percent are taking out loans in order to pay for their trips.
  • Travel points and apps: Airlines frequently offer miles and points that help cut travel costs. Apps like Hopper are also a popular way to track flight and hotel prices.
  • Digital nomadism: Some travelers are taking to “digital nomad” lifestyles, where they work and travel simultaneously, according to Harvard Business Review. While you’ll need a flexible schedule and boss, you can potentially take your work wherever you go. It’s not exactly a relaxing vacation, but you can make the money to afford your travels while traveling.
  • Travel influencing: Take digital nomadism one step further by becoming a travel influencer. Traveling creators can make money by posting their journeys online, according to Worldpackers.com. Beautiful photos and travel guides quickly reel in views, shares and purchases from others eager to get in on the action. Some travel influencers even host group trips, financing their own travels while also helping others out by planning their vacation for them.
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