Gen Zers travel frequently even though they technically can’t afford it. A new survey from Morning Consult revealed that more than half of Gen Z respondents ages 18 to 26 have taken over three leisure trips in the past year. These travel habits are on par with millennials and surpass Gen X and Boomers.

Perhaps one could say that millennial Instagrammers paved the way for Gen Z to catch the travel bug. “They’re being raised in a society where travel is more prioritized than it was for past generations,” Lindsey Roeschke, travel and hospitality analyst at Morning Consult, told CNBC.

Paying for trips with credit cards

Exploring the world requires money though – and some of the math doesn’t add up for Gen Z. The Morning Consult study revealed that out of the Gen Z travelers who’ve taken over three trips yearly, 61% are making less than $50,000 a year, and only 11% are pulling in six figures.

In other words, it’s likely that not all those trips are getting paid off in full immediately. According to a CreditKarma survey two in five Americans (42%) have gone into debt to fund summer travel, with younger generations leading the charge: About half of millennial and Gen Z respondents have gone into debt to fund summer travel. Here’s the kicker: They experienced little feelings of regret.

Gen Z finance influencer Queenie Tan (@investwithqueenie) told The Post that this trend concerns her but sadly doesn’t surprise her: “I actually have a few friends that did something similar.” According to her, you can blame it on good-old FOMO.“On Instagram, I’m looking through and it seems like everyone’s in Europe,” she said. “But you don’t think that maybe some of them are funding it through credit cards and that sort of thing.”


FOMO is alive and real

From spring break to Coachella and Euro trips, there’s always an occasion to feel tempted to pull out your credit card in an attempt to keep up with everyone else. To give you an idea of the impact of social media on decisions like getting into debt to travel, consider the following fact. Coachella has been nicknamed the “Influencer Olympics.” According to Luxus Plus, in 2023, TikTok star Alix Earle’s Coachella content for the Guess brand generated 119 million views on TikTok.

That campaign alone is enough to generate widespread FOMO among the flocks of Gen Zers that the festival attracts. Meanwhile, most entry-level passes start at $549 without the actual travel involved. Not to mention booking a trendy hotel in Palm Springs during Coachella – or going on a shopping spree to get perfect outfit shots.

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Bottom line

At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that not everything you see on social media is an accurate representation of reality. There can be a dark side to dreamy travel content– going into debt to keep up with others. Travel can be so rewarding, of course, but there are ways to finance trips without jeopardizing your financial future.