Money and Finance

Breaking the mould: Gen Z’s alcohol-free holiday revolution

StudentUniverse’s State of Student Travel Report 2024 reveals:

  • 77% of Gen Z choose holidays with no drinking involved
  • 69% are concerned with their safety abroad whilst intoxicated
  • Only 21% prioritise partying abroad

Prioritising partying has officially been replaced by sober-curious adventures, with Gen Z wanting more than a wild night out whilst away. A new report from StudentUniverse, the world’s largest student and youth travel agency, reveals that Gen Z has curbed the trend of alcohol-fuelled party holidays, with 77% instead opting for breaks that involve no alcohol at all.

Will Jones, the travel hacks guy at StudentUniverse explains: “British Gen-Z travellers may be the generation to finally shift the outdated perception of holidaying Brits as rowdy, alcohol-fuelled party animals. “Concerns for safety when intoxicated abroad (69%) coupled with the general unpleasantness of a hangover are undoubtedly why Gen Z are breaking away from traditional ideas of 18-30 holidays and nearly half (47%) are instead prioritising sightseeing and cultural experiences.

“As a result, ‘traditional’ holiday hot spots may no longer see the popularity they once did with culturally rich, fulfilling trips officially the new focus for this younger generation.” Read on for Will’s complete guide to sober curious holidaying including what this means for traditional holiday hot spots and the new must-visit destinations for young Brits…

Cultural destinations are a must

A new generation with a different mindset and arguably a much healthier relationship with alcohol means new destinations are replacing British party classics such as Magaluf, Ayia Napa and Kavos. Instead, Gen Z are using TikTok as a source of inspiration for finding their next holiday destination (84%), with half booking directly as a result of content seen online. As such, Gen Z’s craving for cultural experiences will lead to hidden gems becoming more mainstream.

With a slew of ‘dupes’ trending online, expect the likes of Constanța, Romania and El Gouna in Egypt - where beautiful beaches and rich architecture combine with affordability – to become the new go-to for this generation.

All-inclusive is not all-encompassing

The all-inclusive - much-loved by Brits – has, historically, seen hordes of tourists’ flock to beaches in Spain, Portugal and Turkey for a ‘fly-and-flop’ trip. Whilst the appeal of unlimited cocktails wains amongst Gen Z, and the desire for adventure in cultural capitals grows, where does this leave unlimited drinks at all-inclusive resorts?

For a generation concerned with the costs associated with drinking abroad (47%), the higher cost of an all-inclusive stay is fast becoming redundant.

Opting for a bed and breakfast is one of the most cost-efficient ways to holiday for Gen Z and means each meal can instead be experienced at a different local venue. Even more cost-efficient is a hostel stay, freeing up cash for indulgent meals out, excursions and gifts for loved ones.

Fewer hangovers = new experiences

Sober breaks offer endless possibilities for night-time adventures in new destinations - beyond falling into random techno-clubs that only play remixed 90s music.

Gen Z are surely taking the opportunity to see cities in a new light (literally) - evening shows, street performers, night tours, light shows, and delicious non-alcoholic drinks await those wanting to get every inch out of a city. Even after sunset.

The growing popularity of sober bars – popping up all over Europe – allows revellers to soak up the atmosphere of a traditional night out, without risking a hangover the morning after. Try Zeroliq in Berlin, a truly unique venue with over 30 craft 0% beers, and a buzzing vibe to rival any top European bar.

Alternatively, switch alcohol for coffee culture in Budapest – a big part of its nightlife, many coffee houses are open past midnight! Or foodies could save the pennies that would have been spent on booze and indulge in the Nordic food scene in Copenhagen instead. Alcohol-free holidays are opening Gen Z up to an exciting new range of travel experiences, that otherwise might be overlooked.

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