Industry Toolkit

Youth Travel Toolkit Section 3: Travel Activities


  1. Key Youth Travel Activities
  2. Youth Traveller Motivations for Loch Lomond
  3. Tap into the Collaborative Economy

Which Activities Attract Youth Travellers?

A clear trend in the youth travel market has been a shift from leisure travel towards purpose-driven travel, such as work and study abroad, volunteer travel and language learning travel.

These more active, purposeful forms of travel are geared towards personal development, and can also have positive impacts on the destination. Understanding more about youth travellers' motivations when choosing activities can help businesses tailor products and services more appropriately, meeting youth travellers' needs.

The Loch Lomond area appears to be particularly attractive to younger overseas travellers for outdoor adventures, eco-tourism and activities which allow the traveller to make an impact, learn or try something new, or engage with locals. Volunteering is also an activity which appeals.

Header image: Paul Saunders. Footer image: In Your Element

1. Key Youth Travel Activities

Rather than one entire segment, international youth travel breaks down into a range of categories, which are important to recognise, in order for businesses to engage with them in the most appropriate ways. 

  • Language Travel – language learning whilst also aiming to experience local culture and communities – this is a popular and mature market in Scotland’s cities such as Edinburgh, Glasgow and Stirling and other destinations such as St.Andrews.
  • Higher Education – Scotland attracts a significant number of overseas students (and visiting friends and relatives!)
  • Working & Travelling Abroad - a popular way to experience and explore a new destination.
  • Volunteer Travel – often with a focus on nature, wildlife, sustainable impacts, such as nature reserves or working farms.
  • School/Group Trips – these can be niche, such as specialist for music, science, geography, cultural.
  • Backpackers – tapping into Scotland’s Hostelling network and getting off the beaten track.
  • Adventure/Activity Travel – Scotland’s diverse scenery, terrain and landscape offers a huge range of activities from surfing and wakeboarding to sea kayaking, mountain biking, trekking and climbing, wild camping, ski-ing and snowboarding.

Top Tip

If you're an accommodation provider, why not partner up with another local business to create new experiences for youth travellers, such as wildlife watching, watersports or photography tours?

2. Youth Traveller Motivations for Loch Lomond

For the Loch Lomond area, the key interests motivating youth travellers, emerging from research outcomes are:

  • Eco-tourism
  • Wildlife and nature
  • Retreat/getting away from it all
  • Hiking, walking and cycling with defined trails
  • Experiencing local food and drink
  • Festivals and events
  • Outdoors experiences
  • Activities with the potential to make a lasting impact, for example sustainable/green travel and/or volunteering

Top Tip

If you engage with youth travellers, are your website and digital channels effectively promoting what you offer? Is it time for a review?

3. Tap into the Collaborative Economy

Can your business can tap into the growing impact of the collaborative, or "sharing economy"? This is driving new product development in tourism and hospitality, particularly in the areas of food, drink, tours and activities and showing plenty of potential for development in Scotland.

According to VisitScotland, the sharing economy is a very popular concept with Millennials and other youth travellers for its features such as connection with local communities, creation of authentic local experiences, and value for money.

Think about the increase in AirBnB Experiences, the growing number of offers to "live like a local" and experience local food, food tours, pop-ups, shared eating experiences in people’s homes, Instagram photo tours, and alternative types of tour experiences. Get Guided and Experience Scotland’s Wild are just two great examples.

When considering how to enhance authentic experiences and engage with younger travellers, could your business tap into any of these trends?

Top Tip

Twitter and Instagram are great sources of information for new tours, food and drink and visitor experiences in your area and around the world - are you connected?

Further information and resources

Find out more about the Collaborative Economy and how to tap into trends.

More Inspiration

Related Resources

Youth Travel Toolkit Section 2: Who is the Youth Traveller?

Youth Travel Toolkit Section 4: Scotland, Glasgow & Loch Lomond