A recent study conducted by trip-planning website TripIt reveals that pop culture-inspired travel is set to double in the coming year, with younger generations leading the trend. When we talk of pop culture trips, that might encompass anything from traveling to attend a concert in another city or country to taking a “set-jetting” trip to see the overseas filming locations of a favorite movie or TV series.

In a survey of a representative group of 1,000 Americans, TripIt found that twice as many participants are planning on taking pop culture trips in 2024 than did in 2023 (40% vs. 22%), underscoring a growing trend among U.S. travelers.

Younger generations are at the forefront of this shift, with 41% of Gen Zers and 32% of Millennials having taken a pop culture-related trip over the past year, while only 17% of Gen Xers and 7% of Boomers said the same. And those figures are continuing to rise, with 59% of Gen Zers and 58% of Millennials planning a pop culture trip within the coming year, while Gen Xers trail at 35% and Boomers at 19%.

The research also uncovered a correlation between income levels and the likelihood that people will embark on pop culture escapades. Respondents who earn less than $50K per year were found to be more than twice as likely to plan a pop culture trip, while higher-income individuals ($100K+) are only 1.5 times more inclined to do so.

This inclination towards pop culture travel isn't just a solitary pursuit; it's a social experience. Approximately 86% of respondents expressed a desire to share their pop culture travel experiences with friends or family, highlighting the communal aspect of these journeys. The survey further revealed that having a companion — whether a friend or family member (41%) or romantic partner (16%) — significantly impacts the decision to embark on a pop culture-inspired getaway, with nearly half (48%) of participants emphasizing the importance of shared experiences that money can't buy.

Interestingly, music emerges as a prime motivator for pop culture travel. Concerts and music festivals top the list of pop culture activities, attracting 66% of those who have taken pop culture trips in the past year. And more than half of survey respondents (56%) plan on traveling to attend a music event in the near future.

Beyond concert and music festival events, pop culture trips are largely being taken to experience sporting events (43%); locations from a movie, TV show or book (28%); and viral social media locations (16%).

Taylor Swift's Eras Tour is proving to be a key driver for travel plans in 2024, garnering interest from 39% of respondents who said they would travel to see one of her shows this year. Festivals like Coachella and Lollapalooza also hold significant appeal, particularly among Gen Zers (56%) and Millennials (60%), although Gen Xers (35%) and Boomers (21%) are also tempted to a lesser degree.

Notably, nearly all travelers (94%) who took pop culture trips last year said that the memories they made during their travels lived up to the hype. This may not be as wholesome a sentiment as it initially sounds, though, since their reasons for saying so are less personal than prompted by perceived social standing.

Asked about the reasons that these trips lived up to their expectations, nearly half of Gen Zers and Millennials (45%) said it was because their friends were envious, compared to 26% of Gen Xers and Boomers who said the same. Even more (57%) Gen Zers and Millennials cited getting great content for their social media streams as the primary reason why their trips didn’t disappoint, while 26% of Gen Xers and Boomers said the same. And 71% of those younger generations thought that acquiring awesome merchandise during their trip was the clincher, while 55% of the older generations felt the same.


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