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Young Europeans Want to Visit The U.S. More Than Anywhere Else

Travel is back in action this year, and young Europeans are ready to hit the road. Here’s where they want to go most…


  • Young Europeans say that COVID made travel even more important to them, and the majority are interested in taking a trip this year as borders finally reopen
  • Gen Z and Millennials in Western Europe want to visit the U.S. the most, highlighting how much American culture is influencing these gens
  • As their interest in global trends and content continues to grow, young Europeans are ready to see Japan, too

YPulse has long called Gen Z and Millennials the wanderlust generation, and they’ve kept up their reputations as adventure-seekers even during the pandemic. In fact, YPulse predicted last year that quarantines would fuel their pent-up wanderlust and lead to a travel boom. And at the beginning of the year, when we asked young people about their intentions for 2022, being more adventurous was a top response. So far, they’re sticking with their plans: what has been dubbed “revenge travel” has led to a huge surge in flights across Europe—as well as some hellish airport queues. Meanwhile, young people are turning to their FYP to look for travel content, and hashtags like #TravelHacks (which has a whopping one billion views) are brimming with travel tips and dream destinations to feed their wanderlust even more.

Now, after two years spent on home soil, Gen Z and Millennials in Western Europe are gearing up to hit the open road again. Our recent WE travel report found that 68% of 13-39-year-olds in Western Europe say travel is even more important to them now than it was before COVID, and just as many say they’re interested in taking a trip this year. But where do they want to go most? We asked—and these are their top 15 wishlist destinations:

If They Could Take a Trip Anywhere in The World, Where Would They Go?
Among 13-39-year-olds in Western Europe

  1. United States
  2. Japan
  3. Maldives
  4. New York
  5. Spain
  6. Dubai
  7. Italy
  8. France
  9. Australia
  10. U.K.
  11. Canada
  12. Thailand
  13. Caribbean
  14. Mexico
  15. Florida


The U.S. is calling to young Europeans

More than anywhere else in the world, young Europeans want to see America, solidifying a trend we’ve seen developing since we launched in Western Europe: young Europeans are adopting American culture. From our brand tracker to our monthly surveys, we’ve found that the majority of young European’s favorite brands are American, as well as their favorite streaming platforms and TV shows. Meanwhile, the pop culture moments they deemed most important in 2021 were straight from the pages of American tabloids, and young Europeans are even celebrating American holidays and milestones, including Halloween and prom. With so much culture being imported from the U.S., it’s no wonder young Europeans are itching to see the New World themselves. In fact, beyond the U.S. generally, young Europeans list specific American cities and states as their dream destinations—New York is their fourth top destination while Florida takes the 15th slot, and Hawaii and California are not far behind. The U.S. is the top destination among both Gen Z and Millennials, and young Italians and Brits want to see it the most.

They want to see Japan, too

Japanese culture has long fascinated Gen Z and Millennials, and we’re seeing this interest grow even more as anime continues to trend—especially among Gen Z. This is just one more example of these gens’ love of borderless culture, which also could be influencing the fact that the majority of the destinations on their list are international. In fact, our data shows that 66% of 13-39-year-olds in Western Europe would rather travel to a faraway destination by plane than travel to one within driving distance by car, and three in ten are planning to take an international trip this year. Meanwhile, the top three things young Europeans say influence where they choose to travel are the activities they can do there, what the local culture is like, and, of course, the food. Japan is jam-packed with interesting sites and cultural practices that young Europeans likely haven’t experienced back home. Meanwhile, sushi is the top food trend they’re interested in trying and a Japanese restaurant chain is one of their favorites, underscoring how invested these young consumers already are in Japanese culture—and their growing interest in all things global.

YPulse Western Europe Business users can access the full WE Travel Report behavioral report and data here.

Don’t have a YPulse Western Europe Business account? Find out more here.