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Crisis or opportunity? Working holidays and international youth travel
WYSE News | April 25, 2024

We asked young travellers how the cost-of-living crisis was impacting their international travel plans and discovered that the youngest travellers seem very willing to consider working holiday options in order to offset the costs of travel. In fact, for travellers up to age 22 it was the second most desirable option behind looking for cheaper international destinations, beating out asking family for financial support and delaying travel.

These findings come from WYSE Travel Confederation’s New Horizons 5 survey and include respondents who indicated work experience as an extremely important purpose for their last international trip.


Are we poised for new demand for working holidays? Is it time to innovate on the traditional work and travel experience?

Working holidays, or work experience trips, combine travel, skills development and cultural exchange for young people. The small amount of money earned while abroad helps young travellers to offset the costs of the trip.

New Horizons, a global study of youth and student travel conducted by WYSE Travel Confederation, asks young travellers across the world ‘Where? Why? and How much?’ questions to get a better understanding of international travel trends in the under-30 marketplace.

Globally, the average total trip spend for a work experience traveller or working holidaymaker is estimated by WYSE Travel Confederation to be around EUR, 3,921. This figure decreased slightly between 2017 and 2023, according to WYSE Travel Confederation’s New Horizons survey data. Although work experience trips on average have become shorter after the pandemic, the average daily expenditure increased modestly due to the shorter stays.

Four for 2024 | WYSE News | New Horizons |

The youth work experience traveller and working holidaymaker tend to stay longer and spend more on average than the global youth traveller whose total trip length and trip spend on average total 41 days and EUR 2,914.

Four for 2024 | WYSE Travel Confederation research |

WYSE Travel Confederation’s New Horizons data continue to suggest that the amount spent in the destination by work experience travellers and working holidaymakers far outweighs the money that is earned while in the destination. Excluding purchases that are typically paid for before a trip in the home destination, such as air or rail travel to the destination, insurance and vaccinations, our most recent data suggest that working holidaymakers and work experience travellers on average spent EUR 2,548 in the destination while they earned on average EUR 881 in destination. This is fairly similar to New Horizons findings in 2017.

Average total trip spend tended to be higher for youth travellers who booked a work experience programme vs those who did not book a programme. This pattern was similar in 2017 New Horizons data.

Four for 2024 | WYSE Travel Confederation research |

The main travel funding sources for work experience travellers were own income and savings, followed by parents and family.

Four for 2024 | WYSE Travel Confederation research |

This pattern is similar to that identified in the New Horizons survey of 2017. This also suggests that money earned by youth while travelling is largely invested in experiencing the destination and enhancing the educational and skill-development aspects of the trip.

Interested in more youth travel insights? Join the global network of youth and student travel specialists to gain access to research publications and other resources.