Generation Z ditch boozy breaks in favour of educational experiences
Almost half of UK adults believe job prospects are enhanced by combining learning with travel. Source: Philipp Kämmerer/Unsplash

It’s a tense time for UK students as A-level results day approaches. On August 15, aspiring minds across the nation will sit down with parents to discuss their most viable future option; is the best route to continue their studies, or should they branch out and explore some of the world’s most exotic locations?

But a gap year also means an empty void in your CV, and many fear how this can impact their future employment prospects. But here’s the good news – research commissioned by London Stansted Airport and YouGov has revealed that almost half (44 percent) of young adults believe job prospects are enhanced by combining learning with travel.

While “Eat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat” was once the popular mantra for holiday-bound young people, only one in four of today’s 16-24 year olds (24 percent) are enticed by the prospect of a party vacation – a stark contrast to the 67 percent of 25-54 year olds who are keen for sun and sangria.

Would you ditch sun and sangria for more enriching experiences? Source: Giphy

Instead, young Brits are seeking wholesome, enriching experiences when they venture overseas, with 73 percent favouring visits to cultural or historical sights, 56 percent stating they love to visit nature or see wildlife, and 35 percent claiming they’d rather experience local communities.

On top of this, 42 percent of 16-24 year of olds are now spending most of their holiday money on Instagram-worthy accommodation, with the same number choosing either self-catered apartments or Airbnb, preferring a more personalised trip. It’s all for the ‘Gram, darling!

Top 10 things 16-24 year olds like to do on holiday
1.       Visit cultural or historical sights (73 percent)
2.       Eat local food (61 percent)
3.       Relax on the beach (58 percent)
4.       Visit nature/wildlife (56 percent)
5.       Experiencing local communities (35 percent)
6.       Sports or adventure activities (24 percent)
7.       Go out partying (24 percent)
8.       Self-discovery (20 percent)
9.       Volunteering (8 percent)
10.   Visit a wellness centre (7 percent)

But rather than splashing out on lengthy holidays, students are now opting for shorter, more frequent trips abroad. About 77 percent of 16-24 year olds choose to go on a trip for between three to eight nights at a time, compared to only 3 percent of the same age group who head overseas for between 13 and 14 nights at a time.

And it also seems like young people are bidding adieu to the ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’, with 58 percent stating they could never borrow money from their parents, thus footing the holiday bill themselves.

With 33 percent of young Brits aged 16-24 and a further 35 percent of adults 25-39 believing travel is important for growth and maturity, it’s no surprise that almost a third (28 percent) of all adults surveyed admitted to spending most of their money on holidays.

In a graduate market that’s increasingly competitive, a gap year shouldn’t really equate to a gaping hole in you CV. That being said, the same study revealed that 44 percent of UK adults think young people’s job prospects are significantly improved when they combine travel with some form of skills programme.

“It’s interesting to see that young people are shifting away from party holidays in favour of trips that allow self-development and enhance their minds,” said Lois Robertson, Brand and Marketing Manager at London Stansted Airport.

“The focus on self-improvement follows with gap year experiences that allow Millennials and Gen Z to hone their passions and develop skills that they put towards getting their foot on the career ladder,” she explained.

So as August 15 draws near, it’s time for UK students to seriously consider their next move. Note that further study will further specialise your skills and demonstrate dedication that will impress potential employers. But travel offers something different; unique cultural experiences that develop our inherently human qualities – and this is something recruiters greatly value now, and will long into the future!

If a gap year isn’t for you, why not consider an overseas summer a adventure? Paired with a skills programme, it would be a great thing to add to your CV and real feather in your cap!

But the decision is yours, and yours alone. It’s your future. Take time to consider every possible avenue – and remember that only you know what’s best for you.

Liked this? Then you’ll love…

The three best travel destinations for international students in 2019

Are you an introvert? Here are some tactics for surviving group travel