The digital age has revolutionized the way we travel, and nobody knows this better than Generation Z. While Baby Boomers might be content with a trusty old guidebook and a “wish you were here” postcard, Gen Z travelers are navigating the globe in an entirely different way. With the use of cutting-edge social media trends, they’ve turned travel into an entirely new experience that many Boomers find hard to keep up with. Here are eight social media trends that Gen Z is using to redefine travel.
1. TikTok Itineraries
Forget about travel agencies or bulky guidebooks; TikTok is the new travel planner for Gen Z. Short, snappy videos provide everything from hidden gems in popular cities to “life hacks” for budget travel. Gen Z’ers don’t just scroll through these 15-second travel guides for fun; they actually build entire itineraries based on TikTok recommendations. Whether it’s a secret beach in Bali or a must-try street food spot in Tokyo, TikTok has become the travel advisor for the digital age.
2. Instagram’s “Save” Feature for Virtual Scrapbooking
Instagram isn’t just for posting travel selfies anymore. Gen Z uses the platform’s “Save” feature to create virtual scrapbooks of destinations they’d like to visit. They curate folders of places, activities, and even specific restaurants, making Instagram a one-stop-shop for travel inspiration and planning. Boomers may reminisce about clipping articles from travel magazines, but Gen Z’s method is interactive, easily accessible, and always up-to-date.
3. Geo-Tagging for Hyper-Local Exploration
Gen Z travelers love to get off the beaten path, and geo-tagging on platforms like Instagram helps them do just that. By following geo-tags of lesser-known locations, they can discover spots that are beloved by locals but overlooked by traditional travel guides. Whether it’s a hidden waterfall or an under-the-radar art gallery, geo-tagging allows for a more authentic, local experience that Boomers might miss when sticking to their tried-and-true guidebooks.
4. Augmented Reality (AR) Filters for Destination “Try-Ons”
Thanks to the rise of augmented reality, Gen Z doesn’t have to wonder what they’d look like standing in front of the Eiffel Tower or snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef—they can “try on” these destinations from the comfort of their own homes. Apps like Snapchat offer AR filters that superimpose virtual backgrounds or landmarks behind users, offering a fun and engaging way to virtually explore places before physically traveling there. It’s like window shopping for travel destinations, and Boomers are often left scratching their heads at this digital wizardry.
5. Real-Time Reviews via Twitter Threads
While Boomers may rely on TripAdvisor or Yelp for reviews, Gen Z has taken to Twitter to share real-time, in-the-moment thoughts on accommodations, eateries, and attractions. These Twitter threads serve as live travel diaries that provide immediate impressions and advice, often amassing large numbers of followers who tune in for travel tips and updates. These threads can be extraordinarily detailed, offering insights and suggestions that are instantaneously more current than many online review platforms.
6. Collaborative Trip Planning on Pinterest
Pinterest isn’t just for DIY crafts and recipe ideas anymore. Gen Z uses collaborative boards to plan trips with friends or family. Each participant can pin ideas for destinations, activities, and lodging, turning trip planning into a group activity that everyone can contribute to. This interactive approach takes the chore out of planning and turns it into a fun, collaborative venture.
7. Virtual Reality (VR) Experiences Before Booking
Some members of Gen Z are taking ‘try before you buy’ to the next level by using Virtual Reality to explore potential travel destinations. Whether it’s a virtual tour of a resort or a 360-degree view of a city’s top attractions, VR offers an immersive experience that a brochure or website simply can’t match. For Boomers, the concept of “visiting” a place digitally before actually going there can be hard to grasp, but for Gen Z, it’s becoming increasingly standard.
8. Using Discord for Niche Travel Communities
Discord isn’t just for gamers; it’s also become a hub for travel communities where Gen Z can find others with similar travel interests, whether that’s backpacking, luxury travel, or something as specific as eco-friendly diving spots. These Discord communities offer a wealth of insider tips, real-time advice, and even travel deals that might not be available through traditional channels.