Everything You Need to Know About the Gen Z Traveler Soundtrack

Laura Fernandez, VP, Head of Industry for Travel + TourismOct 25, 2022

What does it sound like when Gen Z travels?

Gen Zers; to know them is to love them…and to recognize their power in nearly every industry imaginable. But one key space that their habits and trends seem to rule supreme just a bit more? The travel industry.

If brands want to continue driving engagement and sales, understanding this generation is crucial. So, what do we know about how Gen Zers travel? The answer is, thanks to SXM Media’s Q2’22 Travel Soundboard Poll, quite a bit.

Leisure Leads the Way

When it comes to the Gen Z traveler, leisurely travel is the name of the game. This generation prioritizes leisure during their trips, and it’s often the driving factor in making travel plans. In fact, nearly 6 in 10 Gen Zers between the ages of 18 and 24 traveled for leisure in the past six months—that’s a 25% increase since Q2’21. And 66% are more likely to travel for leisure than they were when COVID-19 first began, which is a 12% increase since Q2'21.

All by Myself...?

Our research found that 27% of recent travelers ages 18-24 traveled alone since Q2’21. But while Gen Zers do over-index other generations in this regard, the majority are still making memories adventuring with friends and family. According to our data, 51% of the same demographic took a trip with their extended family since Q2’21, while 44% hit the road (or airways or train tracks) with their friends.

Shopping Local in New Places

The Gen Z traveler is all about supporting small businesses and the local communities. During their trips, you’ll find them checking out local restaurants or retailers, aiming to give back to the community while they explore new places. And these activities often drive their itineraries. 51% of leisure travelers between the ages of 18 and 24 looked for shopping when planning trips, while 62% looked for dining options.

Looking Ahead

For the Gen Z leisure traveler, adventures don’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. Travel plans within the next six months abound, and the means by which Gen Z plans to get to their destinations is just as diverse as the community itself; 43% plan to hit the skys, while 12% are already taking flights. Meanwhile, 69% plan to take a car or road trip.

And once they get there, it’s all about hotels and rental homes; 54% intend to stay overnight at a hotel, while 32% plan on booking a rental home for their trip.

Meet Them Where They Are

Now that you know how and why Gen Z likes to travel, all you have to do is hit them with the right message on the channels they’re frequenting most. With 23M Gen Z listeners across streaming audio, podcasts, and satellite radio, SXM Media is your one-stop destination on the Gen Z traveler express.

Pandora and SoundCloud are the Best Destinations for Music-Loving Gen Z

For the Gen Z traveler, nothing is more important than the soundtrack of their trips; 78% of this group listens to music every day1, making it their number one interest, no matter where they are in the world. In fact, more than 50% say that they wouldn’t be able to get through their day without their tunes. 

But with so many avenues of music-listening available, what makes Pandora and SoundCloud the best options for your advertising needs? It’s simple—these two channels are where your Gen Z audience are most receptive to your brand’s message. A whopping 86% and 93% of Gen Z listeners opt in to ad listening on Pandora and SoundCloud respectively. With such a massive share of ear actively tuning in to advertisements, the opportunity for reach is endless.

Podcasts to Unleash Their Biggest Obsession

Get this: 42% of Gen Zs listen to podcasts. That’s a huge margin of earshare in your traveling audience. But what, specifically, does that spell for your brand? Ample opportunity to connect with your target audience via podcast advertising, of course. Imagine Tinx of It’s Me, Tinx conveying your message directly into the ears of your ideal customers. And when you consider that 64% of Gen Z podcast listeners say they find podcast hosts to be the most authentic media figures around, it’s clear the value this media opportunity presents.

Ready to see what we can do to connect you with your target audience? Let’s chat.


1. Edison Research, Infinite Dial, 2022

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