The Changing Shape of Trip Duration

‘Micro-tripping’. ‘Set-jetting’. ‘Gig-tripping’. These all refer to trips of up to 4 nights built around a specific event. Ben Phillips tells us that in his role as Group Strategy Director at Mekanism in New York, he’s noticed this trend gaining strength. “We’ve seen people taking shorter day or weekend trips – or getting a super early train out and a super late train back.”

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Gen Z owns this trend. Many have taken three or more leisure trips in the past year, according to data research company Morning Consult. The greater the number of destinations, the more content for social media, which boosts engagement and brings them closer to influencer status.

Judikaela Auffredou, VP Strategy at Cossette, tells us that “Younger Generations are more into the binge and graze lifestyle. They 'll spend the year taking short hops.” As The Guardian writes: “They have been deemed ‘generation sensible’ for their focus on social issues, healthy living and drinking less alcohol.”

We’re also seeing the trend for Micro-Jetting play out across other generations. “In Q3 2023, 52.3% of North American residents mentioned their intention to embark on mini-breaks/long weekends for domestic vacations in the next 12 months. This reflects an increase of 6.8% compared to the reported 45.5% in 2022.” Families are ditching the traditional two-week break for 2-3 mini holidays instead.” 

In contrast, other travelers are taking fewer trips for longer periods of time, a trend driven by Baby Boomers with more time and disposable income. A global YouGov poll in 2023 found that 10% of people are taking longer trips (a trend set to increase by 10% year on year), and research by Evolve states that travelers over 40 are nearly 5x as likely to book trips for longer than two weeks than younger travelers. 

Boomers are expressing an increased interest in cultural immersion – staying longer in places to have a more authentic experience. They are also aware of the effects of over-tourism, and are keen to have a positive impact on the places they visit. The opportunities for slower means of travel – train, bike, and hike – bring into focus the journey as being part of the experience, rather than purely a means to an end.

Take train travel. It’s great for those looking to reduce their carbon footprint without sacrificing their wanderlust. Erin Georgieff, Managing Partner at Citizen Relations, and her team are seeing this through their work with Rocky Mountaineer – a luxury train service in the Canadian Rockies. 

Slowness is also aligned with wellness. This year will see people choosing health-promoting options, from Ayahuasca retreats to Ayurvedic workshops. Then there’s sleep. In the Hilton Travel Trends report for 2024, sleeping tops the board of UK travelers’ main activities for their next holiday. Hilton has entire teams focused on matching the right mattress, pillow and bedding to create the most comfortable experience possible for every guest. 

If ‘Bleisure’ is about tagging a little leisure time onto a short business trip, what about the growing Digital Nomad movement, in which workers can achieve their travel dreams by working remotely and traveling simultaneously? By 2035, the Digital Nomad movement is expected to reach 1 billion. There are now 58 countries (an increase of 37 in only three years) offering a Digital Nomad visa or equivalent. 

As more people blend work and travel, it paves the way for co-living spaces which provide homey lodging, communities and networks for people on a short- or long-term basis. Selina, one of the larger players in the co-living space, uses its “in-depth local knowledge to create thousands of authentic activities and experiences in over 110 destinations worldwide.” 

If these opposing trends persist, which part of the travel and tourism industry will need to reinvent itself to stay relevant? Could the two-week holiday become the sole domain of the young family bound by school holidays? Will travel become more evenly distributed throughout the year, as micro-jetters and slow travelers take advantage of cost savings and less crowded destinations? We’ll be watching.

1 Guardian article: ‘Generation sensible’ risk missing out on life experiences, therapists warn, 2023

2 Skyscanner Horizons: The outlook in 2023 as travelers redefine value

3 EHL Insights





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