Millennials Are Now Boarding the Group Tours Bus Too

Group tours

Too old for shots poured by a guide on a bus with a microphone, and too young for a tour bus driving straight to a tourist attraction where you hop out for 10 minutes before jumping back in. It’s no wonder Australian travellers in their 30s and 40s, now millennials and Gen X-ers, weren’t interested in group tours. There were none that catered to them.

But in the last decade, all that’s changed, with more and more group tours targeted at travellers in their 30s and 40s — and millennials and Gen X-ers who are booking them. Aside from there being better tour options for them, the interest can be attributed to a few other reasons.

“We’ve seen a shift in mindset as millennials seek to prioritise their happiness and wellbeing,” says Brett Mitchell, Managing Director ANZ at Intrepid Travel.

“The loneliness epidemic has created a desire for people to build meaningful connections and meet like-minded people. Rather than adhering to the conventional 9-5 work routine, they’re taking advantage of their annual leave entitlements to combat these growing issues and enrich their lives.”

Another factor Mitchell says he’s seeing is the growing number of people choosing not to have children, which is prompting them to seek alternative companionship. He says the desire for safety and convenience of leaving trip planning in someone else’s hands is also appealing.

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“The ‘Revenge Travel’ concept has sparked a collective yearning to enhance their overall wellbeing rather than take more traditional paths,” says Mitchell. “It motivates millennials to embrace group travel to enhance their overall wellbeing rather than take more traditional paths. Overall, this generation prioritises experiences over material possessions.”

Another factor is that during the pandemic, many younger millennials missed out on group travel, which can be a rite of passage for young Australians. The silver lining of this, says Toni Ambler, Managing Director of Contiki, is that many millennials used the time to stockpile their annual leave and save more to ensure they have the trip of a lifetime.

And finally, one of the main reasons for the boom in group tours among millennials is due to the general changing way of travelling. Sustainability and addressing overtourism issues have become top priorities for Contiki and its travellers, says Ambler.

“New research has revealed 60% of Australians want more than just a ‘flop and drop’ beach holiday,” says Ambler. “They’re looking for experiences that support local culture, people, and businesses – and nearly half of Australians (48%) want to visit hotels, operators and restaurants that aim to reduce waste.”

Next year, Contiki will launch a trip series for 27 to 37-year-olds in Europe. While Intrepid doesn’t have dedicated tours for millennials and Gen X-ers, Mitchell says the two generations are mostly booking the same styles of tours.

“Over half of the 30 to 40-year-olds (60%) that partake in Intrepid tours opt for our original style trips, which consists of tourist class hotels, along with a mix of some meal inclusions, activities and free time,” says Mitchell.

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Coming in second is the basix range (19%), which involves simple accommodation, local transport and lots of free time, and lastly, 13% are booking the comfort range, where travellers have budget, but comfortable accommodation, many meals and activities included and a relaxed travel pace.

Flash Pack is a tour company designed entirely for travellers in their 30s and 40s. The company now offers tours all over the world, in all kinds of styles, including ‘Wellness’, ‘Escape The Crowds’ and ‘For First-Timers’. It was co-founded by keen traveller Radha Vyas who wanted to see the world and decided to look for immersive, high-end group tours with like-minded people her age.

“The result of her search?” reads the ‘Our Story’ section on Flash Pack’s site. “Nothing. Only off-the-shelf, lower-budget tours for people in their 20s or a jump up to the 50+ age range, seemed to exist. But what about people like her, in their 30s, looking for something a little different? Something truly adventurous, but with a touch of luxury? And so, the idea for Flash Pack was born.”

Group tours are a way to discover the best of the world while learning a little more about yourself along the way, says Ambler. They’re curated by travel experts and made to ensure travellers make the most of every single moment.

“Experiences are enhanced by sharing them with others, and the beauty of group travel is that whether you’re travelling solo or with the whole group chat, your trip comes with a bunch of new mates for you to make those core memories with you,” she says.

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