The millennial multi-country tripper
Young travellers planning multi-country trips are valuable visitors for destinations to attract since they tend to travel longer and spend more in destination than other types of tourists. Based on data from WYSE Travel Confederation’s New Horizons Survey of youth and student travellers, the total average spend for young people on multi-country trips was EUR 2,650, almost double the spend of single country travellers.
Itineraries that combine the attractions and events of several countries also make it possible to draw long-distance visitors into lesser known areas of a country and spread tourism. Young country-hopping travellers are not just on holiday either. Although vacation is a popular reason to travel for those on a multi-country trip, language learning and study were also important trip purposes.
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Multi-modal when it comes to transportation
The main world regions where multiple countries are visited as part of one trip are Western Europe, Southern/Mediterranean Europe and North America, which together accounted for over 50% of all multi-country trips taken by youth and recorded by WYSE Travel Confederation’s New Horizons IV Survey.
Bus, rail and low-cost carriers were the most-used modes of transportation for multi-country trips, though scheduled airlines, boats and even car-sharing rounded out the multi-modal approach of those on multi-country itineraries.
Transport modes used by single and multi-country travellers (multiple responses possible)
The mixed-mode picture is also true for multi-country travellers when it comes to accommodation. Of note is the popularity of Hostelling International hostels for multi-country travellers, compared to single-country travellers. This seems to suggest that an extensive international network of hostels with cultural programming is a clear draw for those on country-hopping trips.
Also, a greater percentage of multi-country trippers made accommodation bookings via mobile device, which may suggest that these travellers have flexible itineraries and are willing to book while on the road or take advantage of last-minute deals.
For single-country trips, hotels are more often the top choice.
It could be argued that a trip including more than one country can be more sustainable than taking several trips to single destinations because the travel between adjoining countries is usually done with ground transportation. There is some evidence to suggest that youth on multi-country trips may be more open to sustainable travel and helping people in the destinations they visit. Even so, just 35% of multi-country travellers thought it was extremely or very important to support sustainable travel initiatives, suggesting that there is still a need for travel providers to educate young travellers and mitigate the negative impacts of travel.
Supporting sustainable travel initiatives as a motivation for travel
To read more about the youngest travel generations, check out our other publications on youth and student travel.