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The 20 Places Gen Z & Millennials Want to Travel To Most

Where in the world do these travel-hungry (and influential) generations want to visit? We asked 1000 13-36-year-olds…

When we asked Gen Z and Millennials about their plans for 2019, they had travel in their sights. Travel ranked second on the list of things they were looking forward to this year, third in the list of things they predicted happening this year, and in the top ten list of things they planned to buy. We’ve long kept track of their passion for seeing the world, diving deep on the subject in our trend Generation Wanderlust, and they continue to impact the travel industry, from how they’re planning to where they’re deciding to visit.

According to Uproxx, Millennial travelers are going straight to influencers and friends on social media for recommendations. They’re skipping city-centric hotels for out-of-the-way Airbnbs and other local rentals, and thanks to language and map apps, hitting locals-only spots that may have been too difficult to navigate to in the past. Their desire to visit less-trafficked destinations is influencing airlines, with Skift reporting that airlines are expanding their routes to lesser-known locations. Singapore Airlines has seen rising demand for connections to far-flung locales, while United has recently connected some major U.S. cities with Cape Town, South America; Papeete, Tahiti; Tel Aviv, Israel; and Auckland, New Zealand. According to their VP of International Planning, Millennials “are looking to have different travel experiences than [their] parents,” and the older end of the demo is willing to spend more on travel experiences like Preferred Economy flights.

Their travel preferences clearly hold power, which is why we’ve continuously kept tabs on the places in the world they want to visit most. For example, we weren’t surprised when travel app Hopper reported that Bora Bora had seen a 24% spike in popularity this year—the idyllic locale made our own top 20 list of dream destinations for Gen Z and Millennials in 2018. So, with reports that they’re seeking out more and more unique travel experiences in mind, we’ve once again checked in with young consumers to find out where in the world they really want to travel. In our recent survey on travel preference and behavior, we asked 1000 13-36-year-olds, “If you could take a trip anywhere in the world, where would you go?”* Here are their top 20 responses:

If They Could Take a Trip Anywhere in The World, Where Would They Go?
1. Japan
2. France
3. Italy
4. U.K.
5. Australia
6. Hawaii
7. Europe
8. Ireland
9. New Zealand
10. Greece
11. Spain
12. Disney
13. Indonesia
14. Bora Bora
15. Iceland
16. California
17. Africa
18. Bahamas
19. Mexico
20. South Korea

*This was an open-end response question to allow us to capture the full range of places in the world that 13-36-year-olds want to visit—without our preconceived ideas shaping their responses. As with any qualitative question, the responses include those that are top of mind and those that are most concerning. The list is ordered according to number of responses received, and alphabetically when ties occurred.

Japan has held the top spot on the ranking since 2016, and continues to be the most popular dream destination for young consumers overall. But when we look at Gen Z teens’ responses alone, France is the most common response, followed by Japan. Gen Z and Millennials’ perception of Japan as a unique culture and destination is helping drive its popularity. One 19-year-old female told us she wants to visit because “It seems amazing and unique,” and a 29-year-old male explained, “I’ve always been interested in Japanese culture. It’s far away and exotic and a unique location to travel to.” For those who are already well-travelled, Japan seems to remain a goal destination because of the cultural differences they might experience there. According to a 32-year-old male, “I have traveled to Europe twice, and I would like to experience a [culture] that is very different than my own.” Food, beautiful scenery, and tech were other popular mentions among those who dream of traveling to Japan.

Looking beyond the top spot, France (particularly Paris), Italy, and the U.K. (particularly London) remain popular dream destinations for young consumers. We should mention this year we coded Disney as its own destination, because so many young consumers list it as the place they would want to visit most. With Disney World (in Florida and elsewhere) and Disneyland mentions combined, the happiest theme park ranked at number 12 on the list—showing once again that the brand has an impressive hold on these generations.

To download the PDF version of this insight article, click here.