Gen Z today includes those who travel and explore more, especially within domestic destinations and on a budget. We get the youth and industry experts to weigh in on the same. By Anushka Goel
According to a recent report by the firm YouGov, two in five Gen Z travellers in India would prefer planning a domestic trip instead of travelling abroad. The report adds that staying in accommodation that is three star or less and staying with friends or family while they travel are two of the top three preferences for these people. That’s not all – Gen Z is one that is increasingly looking at travel as a necessary means to unwind and rejuvenate, often planning short (and long) trips that take them deep within nature or to the most urban cities.
Back in 2020, as the world went into lockdown and offices shifted home, the concept of workcations gained popularity. Most of these workers, a large chunk belonging to Gen Z, took their offices with them as they travelled and explored the nation as internal borders started opening up. Now, as the pandemic has become the new state of normal and the world has opened up for travel, remote workers continue to comprise a large chunk of the workforce, most of them Gen Z.
Why Gen Z is shifting to budget travel
Hostels, hotel rooms, beachside cafes and mountain shacks are continuing to become their new workplace, while allowing these youngsters to travel and make the most of their time (and money). Says Pallavi Agarwal, Founder and CEO, GoStops, “The Gen Z is gaining financial independence faster and getting married later. The social construct of a milestone-based life, which was present for the millennials, is slowly changing, which is resulting in Gen Z to begin saving a lot later in life. So, they are consuming a lot more right now, and this includes travel. They are spending a lot more on themselves, and have the time to do so as well.”
What’s more, this generation is also looking to travel more within the country, and the concept of exotic foreign vacations seems to be slightly less lucrative at this point. Says Reshmi Menon, a marketing professional based in Mumbai, “Budget travel is attractive because you know the amount you’ll spend, and you can save up for the same. Further, in a set budget, say INR 40,000, you will be able to explore an entire city. For example, I explored Meghalaya in the same budget spent over a week. A majority of my funds went in flight bookings, and apart from that, I chose to commute locally, eat at small local places, stay at Airbnbs and local homestays.”
Sneha Chakraborty, a multimedia journalist and photographer based in Amsterdam, adds, “As travellers, we (the Gen Z) value what we experience, and instead of the traditional annual holiday, we travel whenever we can. We associate travel with the “why” rather than its savvy appearance on social media. Whether it’s to celebrate a friend’s success or being able to pamper a close one who can use an escape, or simply rediscover ourselves, we can do all this and more without having to plan for an extravagant holiday.”
Budget travel requires careful planning
Even though travel hotspots in India are filled with the youth exploring the unknown, this travel doesn’t happen on a whim. Reshmi says, “I read blogs about the places and do my research. Further, while I love to explore the unknown, I know what I am getting into, and always keep a safety net in case things go south. But I know that the adventure is going to be unknown, which makes me look forward to the trip. And that’s also a part of the solo travel experience – I like to visit places I have never travelled to. When you head to a new place there’s new food and new people. You might meet fellow travellers, all of it comes together as this unknown that’s adventurous and fun.”
The youth knows the amount they want to spend on their trips, and another key factor when it comes to booking their tickets or chalking out an itinerary is ensuring it doesn’t mess up their monthly expenditure. Rahul Paul, a Mumbai-based software engineer, tells us, “For me, it’s important to plan my trips so that I am able to roam around, pay my bills as well as sustain my investments.” Sneha, who does a lot of solo travel adds, “I don’t use a credit card and have a set budget. I start the day at a cafe or eatery where locals eat, as these are often cheap and serve regional fare. I try to dive right into the markets if they’re nearby and if not, I’ll check out the art scene. Mid-day is the time to eat and grab a proper meal before heading to the central area of my destination for the evening. Dinners for me are take-outs, and if I plan on visiting national parks or go hiking, I carry small eats such as sandwiches and splurge on a big breakfast the next morning.”
Nishant Pitti, CEO and Co-Founder, EaseMyTrip, adds, “Gen Z has an inherent bias toward travelling frequently. However, from what we understand, their decisions are majorly influenced by the cost factor. They are price-sensitive travellers who value the experience of visiting a new destination with their friends within a specific country.”
Budget travel is also giving a rise to affordable yet pleasant stays
A huge chunk of travel budgets often spent on hotel bookings, and the Gen Z is slowly moving away from that. Hostels and homestays that are affordable and clean are the ones that most such people prefer – not only for the amenities and comfort they provide but for their common spaces, which often become places of social interaction. Rahul tells us, “Most often, budget travel entails shared living spaces in the form of hostels, as these help one connect with people from diverse backgrounds.”
Pallavi adds, “The proficiency to pay in an Indian consumer is fairly high. When it comes to the sub-thousand category, the Indian consumer doesn’t mind paying prices as high as INR 800 or INR 900 as long as they’re getting facilities in return. And these facilities (especially in hostels) include good services, great infrastructure, good common areas, a great recreational zone, etc. Gen Z is a value-conscious traveller, and for them, hostels and other such accommodation seems like the natural choice that allows them the flexibility to travel alone and meet like-minded travellers.”
The Indian Gen Z is undoubtedly one of the most travel-friendly groups in the country. The fact that they like to spend on themselves and gain multiple experiences over the one annual trip speaks volumes of their vacation trends. This, combined with the fact that most of them can work from wherever they are, only adds to their travel buckets, as they can spend weeks in a destination, working from a comfortable bed or with the most expansive views, while spending only a small portion of their salary on their accommodation, food, and more. The rest of it goes in exploring destinations, gaining experiences and immersing themselves in local culture.
Hero and Featured Image: Courtesy of Shutterstock