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Millennials Going to USA for More Than Bright Lights and Big Cities

June 13, 2018 Tour Operator No Comments Email Email

Home to global hubs like New York, Miami, Los Angeles and San Francisco, the USA has long appealed to young travellers looking to explore the cities that feature on screen. However research by youth travel experts Contiki indicate a connection with the great outdoors as a key factor motivating millennial travel behaviours, with research studies in 2016 and 2017 demonstrating a trend towards travel to areas of natural beauty, and the relevance of the USA as a top destination for young people.

Contiki’s annual research study on the behaviours of millennial travellers revealed in 2016 the top 20 things 18-35 year olds from around the world wanted to experience in 2017, half of which were centred around nature and the outdoors. In the same study 48% of Generation Y and 54% of Generation Z indicated a key motivator for travel was ‘to appreciate natural beauty’. In the following years’ study, the USA ranked in in the top three most desired destinations for travel in 2018 for young travellers globally.

Outdoor experiences in nature provide travellers with a necessary opportunity to disconnect, to remain active while travelling and develop a greater appreciation for the environment.

“It’s an emerging trend,” says Vanessa Stavrou, Marketing Director. “Where previous generations were attracted to the US by Hollywood and cosmopolitan meccas, Gen Y, and even more so Gen Z, are seeking out more active and adventurous experiences. We think a trip can do both, offering diversity in experience that’s reflective of the country itself.”

Contiki places outdoor experiences at the centre of their trips in the USA. While covering the iconic south and notorious big cities, trips are developed with the belief these are best complemented by the destination’s unbeatable national parks.

  • 43% of Contiki trips visit the Grand Canyon, where travellers can take in the epic views and add-on biking or helicopter rides for some added adventure
  • 21% of Contiki trips visit the ‘Wild West’ landscapes of Monument Valley
  • 18% of Contiki trips visit the Mojave Desert, home to infamous Joshua Tree
  • 13% of Contiki trips visit Bass Lake, where groups stay in a lakeside lodge
  • 10% of Contiki trips visit Yosemite to see the impressive Redwoods and Sequoias
  • 8% of Contiki trips visit Yellowstone, home of the mighty ‘Old Faithful’ geyser

In Bass Lake, Contiki travellers are treated to one of the brands Special Stays. Special Stays are a  range of unique accommodation experiences offered by Contiki, often allowing travellers the opportunity to connect with their surroundings in a way not offered travelling in another manner. Located on the shores of Bass Lake, the Pines Resort serves up true All-American summer camp vibes, with cute cabins tucked away into the pine forest, and watersports and campfires (with s’mores, of course) taking place shoreside. It’s these type of local experiences that, while not necessarily iconic, prove unforgettable and distinctly American.

Further afield, on the Hawaii Unplugged trip travellers are offered a wide range of activities to take in the natural playground the destination offers. Experiences on this trip include sunset sailing, surfing, snorkeling with Manta Rays and rappelling down waterfalls, for the ultimate thrill seeker.

Contiki trips in the USA and Canada include a range of accommodation, including Special Stays in Bass Lake and Banff, as well as centrally located hotels (like two blocks from Grand Central in NYC, the heart of South Beach in Miami and downtown LA). Breakfast is included on almost every day of each trip, as well as delicious included food experiences like a Cuban feast in Miami or a brewery tour in Milwaukee. Trips are full of included experiences, such as the must-do Hornblower Cruise in Niagara Falls, plus plenty of Free Time Add-ons, handpicked to take a trip to the next level, like Hot Air Ballooning over New Mexico. All of this is pulled together by a passionate, experienced and fun team of Trip Managers, Drivers and Local Guides committed to bringing this vibrant destination to life.

Trips to the USA and Canada are on sale now, with savings of up to $1315. For more Contiki trips to the USA & Canada visit

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