Students are set to end their own staycation boom and dust off their passports ahead of overseas holidays in 2023, with fewer than one in four planning a domestic holiday. That is according to the new travel report* from UNiDAYS, the world’s leading Gen Z affinity network that enables students and graduates to discover savings.
The UK has enjoyed a staycation boom over the past three years, with record-breaking demand for domestic breaks thanks to Covid-related international travel restrictions. However, with restrictions lifted, students are firmly setting their sights on holidays abroad, with two-thirds planning for short-haul trips this year and another 28% saving up for long-haul flights.
Students’ mass return to foreign holidays defies the pressures of rising inflation and economic uncertainty; over four in five (84%) British students are planning to spend the same or more on travel in 2023 as they did last year.
They’re here for a good time, not a long time, with most (55%) sticking to shorter, one-week holidays to afford themselves the comfort and luxury of better accommodation, eating out at nice restaurants and more spending money. Just under a third of students are considering taking longer trips of 10 days or more. But remember: as most students (64%) will be paying for their holidays out of their own pocket, funded through their part-time (40%) or full-time (37%) jobs or savings (51%), every penny still counts!
So, even as students prepare to splurge on beach holidays (66%) and city breaks (53%), this emerging consumer group continues to have a firm eye on value. In fact, for the overwhelming majority (81%) finding value for money is still the most important factor. It is also the leading reason for students to consider domestic trips, with three in five student staycationers identifying it as a cost-effective alternative.
Safety and travel distance ranked as the second most important factor for students (44%) with great weather (39%) and the excitement of new destinations (30%) also key considerations.
The return to overseas travel coincides with increasing student confidence in international flights with nearly a third (31%) saying international travel has already returned to a sense of pre-Covid normality. This confidence is reflected in 38% of students booking ahead 3-6 months and nearly 70% booking between one to six months before they travel. But fear not, spontaneity is not completely dead. One in ten students still leave it to the last minute to book their getaway.
“Young adulthood is about getting out there and seeing the world. Over half of UK students believe international travel will return to normal by the middle of 2023 and it is encouraging to see students once again prioritising travel experiences and having the confidence to plan ahead,” says Alex Gallagher, chief strategy officer at UNiDAYS.
“As we know from over a decade’s experience, students always have their eye firmly focused on value. Yet, with the majority planning not to reduce their holiday budget compared to last year, The international travel market can take confidence in a return to normal behaviours post-pandemic. Domestic tourism brands meanwhile must act fast to understand this apex consumer, to provide value and drive affinity ahead of the peak summer months for business.”
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