2019 Contiki Tour Group

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It's official: the next generation of travellers is booking holidays of their own and these holidays have evolved from the trips taken by the previous generations. To best understand how Millennials - now in their 20s and 30s - and even Gen Z are travelling the world, we spoke with Katrina Barry, Managing Director of Contiki

What are some of the most important factors for Millennials when they choose a holiday?

What young people want has changed vastly since Contiki started in 1962. The importance of foodie experiences when travelling has increased over generations, with 35% of Gen Z now prioritising food experiences when they travel. The importance of food experiences is so great that less than 6% of Generation Z don’t research where to eat beforehand! We have more foodie offerings than before with street food tours, the opportunity to dine in a local’s home and even cooking classes. This is then followed 27% wanting to go sightseeing and 17% craving cultural experiences.

How are Millennials choosing to travel – is it with their families? Or friends? Or going joining a group to make new friends?

Millennials are definitely happy to go it alone with 50% of Contiki travellers booking solo. They’re really at an age where they’re craving more freedom and looking to have experiences that speak to them as individuals, which might not be quiet aligned with what your family has in mind for a getaway. While many love to travel with friends, because we’re all taking so many more holidays, it can be hard to get schedules or travel plans lined up with our travel buddies, which is why Contiki is the ideal option for guests who don’t have a travel partner but still want to travel with a group and make new friends in the process.  

The way Millennials like to travel and stay has changed too. We used to just run camping trips where travellers would happily eat chicken and chips after ticking off bucket list sites. Now our guests want to have unique experiences, eat at the authentic local restaurants and get some rest in a comfy hotel or hostel before waking refreshed the next day to continue exploring. Our product has evolved to deliver on this with unique Special Stays (we have a chateau in France, for example) and must-stay hostels and hotels in the heart of the city, as well as even more free time and experiences to add to your trip so every trip is one of a kind.

Munich with Contiki

What destinations are calling to this group of travellers in 2019 and what destinations continue to be enticing?

When it comes to destinations, Europe is still very enticing. The classics like France and Greece will always be desirable, but we’re also seeing demand for places like Portugal that weren’t as well known a few years ago. With so many bucket list countries within hours of each other, Europe really is the perfect trip to pack in as much as possible in a short amount of time and experience a variety of food, history and culture, which you just can’t get at home. More far-flung destinations like Colombia, Patagonia and Jordan are emerging in popularity with Millennial travellers.

With 79% of them first travelling overseas before the age of 16, we are seeing a generation that is better travelled than ever before and, therefore, they crave lesser-travelled destinations that their parents may have only dreamed about. They want to feel as though they’re amongst the first of their peers to ‘discover’ unique experiences.

When it comes to length of stay, what's the trending duration of a trip?

Typically, we see that unlike the big overseas trip that young people used to take, they are now booking much shorter trips, generally one to two weeks. Some of this is driven by the US, where they only get two weeks annual leave, but it’s also driven by flights being cheaper than ever. Millennials are now more likely to be able to afford two or more overseas trips every year.