What percentage of travelers are backpackers?

to travel

How do young people prefer to travel?

Young people travel a lot. According to the basic study on child and youth tourism in Germany (2014), three quarters of the surveyed participants between the ages of three and 26 have been on at least one overnight trip without parents or grandparents within a year; the number is even increasing among 14 to 26 year olds up to 90 percent. A quarter of overnight trips are “arranged” trips, i.e. school trips or kindergarten trips.

What does the young people's vacation look like?

45 percent of 14 to 26-year-olds decide on their own trip, only for 16 percent the parents decide. Mainly the youngsters want to have fun on vacation and “be somewhere different”, experience something new, be with their peers and get to know new friends. This happens most often during rest and bathing holidays or on adventure trips or city trips, which are the most popular types of holiday for young people. Beach holidays go to Spain for 21 percent, Italy for 12 percent and Turkey for 11 percent; Well-known European cities such as London, Paris and Amsterdam are trendy when it comes to city trips. When asked about the travel destination of their choice, young people aged 12 to 27 in the Young Traveler Compass (2016) named the USA as the most popular destination with 23.3 percent, followed by Australia (8.4 percent), the Maldives (7 percent) and Western Europe (5.3 percent) and New Zealand (4.2 percent).

Who accompanies the young people?

Many of the young people go on vacation without their parents. According to the Young Traveler Compass, 39.6 percent of young people said they were traveling with their parents or grandparents, while 61.6 percent travel with friends and 41 percent with their partner. Very few travel alone (8.9 percent). In the group discussion of the basic study with 47 participants, the young people reported that their parents welcome traveling, as the young people learn to be more independent.

If young people travel with organizations, there are many different providers who specialize in group travel for young people. Even non-commercial organizers offer youth camps every year. The three most popular organizers here are sports clubs, churches and youth fire brigades.

Language trips - learn on vacation?

In the survey conducted as part of the Young Traveler Compass, adolescents stated that they were least interested in learning languages ​​while traveling, but 58 percent of annual language students in 2017 were adolescents. The most popular is an English language course, which 93 percent of young language students take. The most popular country is Great Britain with 65 percent, followed by Malta with 14 percent. Malta in particular has gained popularity in recent years, not least because of the island's good climate.

Vacation and work - work and travel

In addition to language trips, more and more young people are now opting for a “work and travel” stay after graduating from high school or training in Australia, New Zealand or Canada, but also in Europe, Asia or South America. Here, young people aged 18 and over have the opportunity to travel to the country for a maximum of one year and to supplement their travel budget through temporary jobs in the respective country. Another option, which is mostly used by girls, is the au pair stay abroad, during which the children of a host family are looked after and the family provides board, lodging and pocket money in return.

In addition to websites that provide information to young people, there are several tour operators who organize work and travel stays for young people. Depending on the tariff chosen, these organizers usually take on the booking of the flight, the application for the visa, the booking of the first accommodation, the introductory event and help with the job search on site. Au-pair stays are also organized by these organizers.

The classic - the exchange year in the USA

If the students want to stay abroad longer and learn the language more intensively, they often opt for a student exchange. The USA is by far the most popular destination for a student exchange: In the 2016/2017 school year, 5,730 students took part in a student exchange in the United States through an organization. Two-thirds of US exchange students are girls. The second most popular country this school year was Canada with 1,991 exchange students. Other popular English-speaking countries are New Zealand (1,242), United Kingdom (870), Australia (770), and Ireland (585). In other languages, Costa Rica was ahead (167) in 2016/17, followed by France (159), Spain (122), Argentina (121) and Japan (96).

In Germany there are around 100 organizations that arrange student exchanges, the three largest being YFU, Rotary and AFS. But despite all these numbers, a negative development can also be noted: Over the past few years, the number of exchange students in the USA has steadily decreased, mainly because of the very high costs, which have risen rapidly over the years and are now to around 10,000 € for an exchange year (in comparison, the costs in 1999 amounted to the equivalent of around 5,500 €). Not every family can afford this and some students who dream of a student exchange are denied it. A scholarship, for example, could help. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research, for example, offers a list of the various scholarships that cover the costs of a student exchange on its “Scholarship Guide” page.

Katja Hanke

See the world and do good in the process

The “weltwärts” program sends young Germans all over the world as volunteers. 19-year-old Svenja from Karlsruhe works for six months in South India in a school for mentally handicapped children.