Gone are the days of the backpacker. No longer are Australia’s youth strapping a pack to their back and setting off for an overseas adventure on a budget. Forget shared dorm rooms and communal bathrooms, it seems a new variety of Australian tourist has emerged. These young flashpackers are typically aged between 18 and 24 with plenty of disposable income and little to no big household expenditures. With no mortgage tying them down, it seems young Aussie travellers would rather spend big on holidays than homes.
According to a recent Australia-wide survey conducted by Nielsen and commissioned by peak industry group Tourism and Transport Forum Australia (TTF), young people in Australia are increasingly choosing to invest their money in experiences like travel rather than more tangible assets such as car or home ownership.
“The days of young people travelling with little more than the shirts on their back are well and truly over. What we are seeing is the rise of the flashpacker — young travellers who are seeing Australia and the world in a way their parents might not have. More and more young people look to be choosing to postpone a long-term savings plan. They are opting to take more extensive and adventurous holidays and to increasingly look to gain life experiences such as exploring different cultures, learning languages and gaining work experience through travel,” Tourism and Transport Forum chief executive Margy Osmond said.
The results of the survey show that Aussie Millennials spend more on their holidays than any other age bracket. In fact almost one quarter (21 per cent) of Australians aged 18 to 24 intend to spend anywhere between $2000 to $5000 on their summer holiday, while 11 per cent plan on spending even more than that.
When consulted about their holiday spending, one survey respondent explained that experiencing different places and cultures was a higher priority than buying a house, as a financial commitment that large would consume all of their savings. Survey respondents cited a lack of responsibilities such as children as a motivation for travelling now, with a view to settle down with kids and a mortgage later in their future.
In fact, many see these holidays as an investment in their future, believing that the experiences they gain while travelling will push them out of their comfort zone to meet new people and experience new cultures, helping to shape their perception of the world and gain valuable life experience.
Some may argue that the backpacking experience presents far more opportunities to develop problem solving abilities as well as the ability to make the best out of every situation. Whichever way you look at it and whatever budget you’re working with it seems that it’s still as important as ever to get out there and see the world, even from a young age.