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Exploring the World with TikTok, Gen Z's Innovative Travel Planning Tool

Platforms like Reddit, TikTok, and YouTube have transformed how people plan and experience their trips.
Cover Image Source: Unsplash | Photo by Annie Spratt
Cover Image Source: Unsplash | Photo by Annie Spratt

With over one billion active users, TikTok offers a variety of content, with one of its most intriguing topics being traveling. For Generation Z, in particular, the platform has become an indispensable tool for discovering unique destinations, hidden gems, and insider tips, revolutionizing the traditional approach to holiday planning.

Create Content With Friends. Pexels | By Askar Abayev
Image Source: Pexels | Photo by Askar Abayev

Over the past decade, social media has become a dominant force in shaping travel trends. Platforms like Reddit, TikTok, and YouTube have transformed how people plan and experience their trips. While Reddit has been a longstanding source for practical travel advice, TikTok has emerged as a powerful influencer, offering quick and engaging travel tips.

YouTube travel influencers now embark on trips with their followers, while Instagram has become synonymous with visually stunning destinations, sparking the trend of "Instagram travel" where users seek out picturesque spots for their feeds.

Airplane Window while Travelling | Unsplash | Photo by Eva Darron
Image Source: Unsplash | Photo by Eva Darron

Gone are the days of sifting through extensive guidebooks or scouring travel articles for recommendations. Instead, young travelers now turn to social media, where a few simple searches can yield a wealth of personalized suggestions and itineraries in minutes.

Gilleesa Gillen, a 24-year-old social media manager, describes TikTok as her "travel best friend," citing its effectiveness in uncovering authentic recommendations beyond sponsored ads. Her experiences reflect a growing trend among young travelers who rely on TikTok to discover unique dining spots, hidden bars, local events, and off-the-beaten-path attractions.

Getty Images | Matt Cardy
Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Matt Cardy

A survey conducted by Adobe revealed that a significant portion of TikTok users treat the platform as a search engine, particularly for travel-related inquiries. "You can use it as a search engine with all your criteria and narrow down your destinations. It's given me two-day itineraries and niche content that's been tried and tested. On the other hand, if you search for these things on Google, it'll give you a web page of like 25 results," said Serena, a travel enthusiast.

Stuart Flint, Head of Global Business Solutions for Europe at TikTok, emphasizes the platform's role in inspiring travel and driving engagement. "With a majority of European TikTok users actively seeking travel content, the platform has become a catalyst for exploration and discovery," he said.

Unlike traditional travel platforms, TikTok offers a more authentic and unfiltered perspective, showcasing both the highlights and challenges of travel experiences. This transparency resonates with users and enhances their confidence in exploring new destinations.

A man with his bag during Travel | Unsplash | Photo by Mantas Hesthaven
Image Source: Unsplash | Photo by Mantas Hesthaven

So, how exactly can TikTok be used to plan a holiday? According to Gillen, the process is simple yet effective. By combining keywords like "travel" or "itinerary" with specific destinations or activities, users can uncover a treasure trove of relevant content.

Whether it's searching for thrift shops in New York or exploring the countryside in Turkey, the platform offers many videos curated by fellow travelers. For budget-conscious travelers, searching for "free things to do" in a particular destination can provide valuable insights without breaking the bank.

"Consider the number of times a video has been saved as an indicator of its popularity and relevance. Conduct supplementary research through Google reviews or other reliable sources to ensure the quality and credibility of recommended activities or establishments," Gillen advises.