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New Horizons 5 survey
Giant inflatable flamingo or portable disco ball?
WYSE News | June 9, 2023
If you could pack one of those non-essential items for your next trip, which would it be? Or maybe one is essential to your next trip?*

We’ll discover this and many other (more practical) youth travel insights with data that members are currently collecting through WYSE Travel Confederation’s New Horizons 5 survey.

The New Horizons survey is the longest-running and most extensive global survey of youth and student travel. Since its first iteration in 2002, members of WYSE Travel Confederation have helped New Horizons to expand in scope and scale, but keep clear focus on the key characteristics of the under-30 international travel market:

  • Who travels where, why and how?
  • How are international trips planned and booked by young people?
  • How much is spent on a trip?
  • What are the purposes, motivations and activities of young travellers?

The survey’s global coverage and longevity lend insight to trends and regional differences that provide specialists in youth and student travel with important market intelligence. After data is collected by members from around the world, WYSE Travel Confederation analyses the data and publishes insights and trends in reports. New Horizons reports are a benefit of membership with WYSE Travel Confederation.

If you offer products and services tailored to young international travellers, New Horizons is a must-have resource.

The last time you used a phone booth or postcard

Do you even remember what a phone booth is? Well, in 2002 the New Horizons survey discovered that 44% of young travellers reported using a phone booth more than once a month! Also, more than 50% of young travellers told us they were sending postcards and letters in 2002. By 2012 it was just 15% of young travellers sending them.

Although we’ve stopped asking young travellers about things like postcards and phone booths, there is always plenty new to ask about.

In the 2017 iteration of the survey, known as New Horizons IV, we started asking young travellers about booking platforms or “OTAs” like We also asked young people to rate various aspects of cities they’d visited. We discovered how young people experienced culture, night life, safety, public transportation and overall value for money in various world cities.

We also asked about travel ‘splurges’ and happiness while travelling. It turned out that festivals and food + drink experiences were the most popular travel splurges for young people.

The 2017 edition of New Horizons was the first to analyse the ‘digital nomad’ – we discovered there were about 1.8 million of them globally at that time and that they were among the most active young travellers.

What’s new in 2023 with New Horizons 5

The New Horizons 5 survey, which members are currently using to collect data from young travellers worldwide, continues to enquire how young people rate cities. However, it includes two new aspects to get at a city’s vibe: its friendliness and if it’s a place worth returning to.

The digital nomad identity and travel splurges continue to be explored by New Horizons 5. We’ve added some new splurge categories like carbon offsets, eco-friendly products, wellness activities and ‘skip-the-line’ VIP access to attractions. Alongside of splurges, we’re asking young travellers how a (potential) cost of living increase could impact their international travel plans.

We’re also asking young people about how they book guided tours, attractions and other in-destination activities and whether they’ve done any ‘glamping’ or car sharing while travelling abroad. The obstacles faced in acquiring travel visas is also something we’re asking young people to report on in the 2023 version of the New Horizons survey.

Do you work with young customers who would provide valuable insights to our collective knowledge of youth and student travel? Ask them to participate in the New Horizons 5 survey. We’ve put together information, some promotional materials and incentives to help you join the project.

*if a giant inflatable flamingo or a portable disco ball is essential for your travel, we’d love to have you on a future episode of the WYSE Ask Us Anything podcast. Get in touch!