Gen Elder Z: Travel and Wellness 1998- 2004

Generation Elder Z: Travel, Health and Wellness Edition

September 21, 2021by Hiebing

Since we last visited Elder Z, the older cohort of Gen Z, COVID-19 upended the established norm and created a new standard. Instead of traveling the world, these 17- to 23-year-olds were left to dream of overseas trips and find adventure online, outdoors and closer to home and to spend time investing in healthy habits and overall wellness.

For marketers looking to reach Elder Z in the future, the following insights about this slice of Gen Z can help generate a better understanding about their views on travel, health and wellness. It’ll also provide a firm foundation for cultivating quality connections with this cohort.

Travel Here, There and Everywhere

In the years leading up to 2020, Elder Z was graduating high school, getting away and likely hatching plans for even greater escapes during their future college and summer breaks.

Like most who have the luxury of vacation time, 83% of Elder Z said they see vacation as a chance to slow down and unwind from everyday life – and back in 2019, 39% took one or two vacations while 25% took three or four. Travel seems to be in this cohort’s nature, and 48% of them consider themselves adventurous.

But despite their shared love of travel, Elder Z are quite diverse in the places they’d like to explore. When asked about their ultimate dream vacations, their lists ranged from tropical island settings like Bora Bora, Hawaii and the Bahamas to cultural powerhouse centers like Paris, Tokyo and Rome.

Whether roaming in Rome or elsewhere, they said they enjoy experiencing something new, with 81% expressing an interest in learning about other cultures as well as simple pleasures like reading a good book at a cafe, hiking, shopping, taking culinary tours, attending music festivals and visiting amusement parks (all the while playing Pokémon Go). Nearly 80% of Elder Z also said they’re on the lookout for must-try new restaurants when visiting a new city, and 74% love being near water, making waterfront restaurants likely winners with this crowd.

While they certainly look forward to a future with endless travel possibilities, a substantial portion of Elder Z, over 50%, said they’re actually very interested in exploring what’s in their own backyard versus what’s across the border or beyond the sea. When the pandemic wanes and restrictions are lifted, 55% said that they would love to travel throughout the United States – with 33% listing their home state among their go-to destinations.

They, like all generations, took greater interest in the great outdoors because of the pandemic – with 30% saying they were actively seeking out hiking and camping opportunities and 40% of Elder Z were wishing for a beach trip. With regard to eating on the road and trying new dining destinations, about one-third of them said they prioritize health and safety on the food front – with 32% limiting restaurant visitation to establishments with coronavirus protocols and 38% saying they looked forward to trying new cuisine once the pandemic is no longer a concern.

A Holistic Approach to Health and Wellness

Like many people around the world, the emergence of COVID-19 forced Elder Z to take stock of their health and wellness. About half of those surveyed said they believe that it’s very important to lead a healthy lifestyle, which they overwhelmingly agreed involves eating well and exercising regularly.

A total of 45% consider themselves as living a somewhat healthy lifestyle – with 47% drinking a lot of water and 40% making dietary choices that align with their views of a healthy lifestyle. But this group also prioritizes balance, too – i.e., drinking the water and making good choices, but also enjoying the occasional late-night pizza.

Prior to the coronavirus, 18% of Elder Z enjoyed hiking and 23% of this group were lifting weights and swimming regularly. About 36% said they opt for running and jogging. Participating in group sports became harder to be a part of in the pandemic, putting a damper on the 24% who enjoyed playing basketball pre-COVID.

Seeking medical care factors into Elder Z’s idea of a healthy lifestyle. Nearly 70% of Elder Z are insured, be it through their own plan or their parents or guardians; over 50% have dental care coverage; and more than 40% have vision insurance. Finances, however, can be a hindrance when considering preventative care. A total of 30% said they would visit the doctor or dentist more regularly if it were less expensive. And perhaps surprisingly, 76% of these digital natives are okay with the idea of having to call and schedule a medical appointment (in other words, not everything they do happens online).

Because they have a more holistic view of health than their predecessors, mental health is on Elder Z’s radar – with 33% saying they have a high level of concern when it comes to mental wellness. Also, over 40% said they agree somewhat with the idea that the decline of their mental health is a top concern for them as they age. However, while they said they’re committed to supporting mental welfare for themselves and their peers, only 11% have sought care from a mental health specialist and 13% said they are not comfortable with speaking to a mental health professional.

However, they are open to alternative medicine, with 49% of this group favoring alternative treatment methods over taking medication. When it comes to vitamins and supplements, 34% of Elder Z take them regularly – and 31% said that they like the idea of meditating. Additionally, 39% of Elder Z are open to herbalism, homeopathy and acupuncture. They also consider protein powder, diet cleanses and CBD products as means to help ease their anxiety and better their overall wellness regimen.

As Elder Z ages and gathers momentum in its impact on the marketplace, these insights offer marketers in the travel, health and wellness space a leg up on what matters most to them – and a springboard for creating and strengthening relationships with this cohort in the years ahead.

Interested in understanding how your brand can make meaningful connections with Elder Z? Email Dana at to set up a call.

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