UK Youth Travel To Soar By 20% In 2012

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Youth travel specialist STA Travel is predicting an unprecedented boom in student travel in 2012 as youth unemployment soars and the reality of university fees bite.

Youth travel specialist STA Travel is predicting an unprecedented boom in student travel in 2012 as youth unemployment soars and the reality of university fees bite.

Recent research estimates that 2.5 million young people in the UK will be planning a gap year trip in 2012; however, STA Travel puts this figure at nearer three million.

This is largely due to a swathe of young people who have had to make changes to their plans for 2012, either thanks to thwarted university plans or ongoing struggles to find employment in the UK.

STA Travel group managing director John Constable said: “For many young people, 2012 will be their ‘year of travel’ as they re-evaluate future plans. Young people have used travel to broaden their horizons for many years, however this avenue has become more formalised with many young people incorporating some sort of skill and CV-boosting activity while they’re away.”

Last year the average age for an STA Travel customer was 23 years’ old, however it’s expected for this to drop in 2012 as students head off after their A-levels due to the introduction of university fees, according to Constable.

The gap travel landscape has changed dramatically in the past few years with durations varying from a few months away to a full year.

Constable said: “Never before has gap travel been so meticulously planned. Traditionally gap trips were a full 12 months, however for our customers last year the average trip length was 54 days, which indicates a leaning towards a series of shorter blasts of travel - or ‘snap gaps’. Usually these mini-gap trips are for a specific reason, such as to take part in a volunteer project, go to a festival or go on a language or skill course overseas.”

STA Travel has seen the number of students heading overseas to to work, study and take part in volunteer projects rise by more than one-third in the past 12 months, as they look to alternative means of bolstering their CV and skill-set in a bid to appeal to future employers.

STA Travel has options to work in Australia or New Zealand under working holiday visa schemes, or to take part in work programmes in the USA and Canada, and these are proving tantalisingly tempting for cash-strapped young Brits looking to earn while they travel.

Constable said: “Most importantly though, travelling is there to be enjoyed and learnt from - 2012 is set to be the year of travel for millions of young people and we are here to help them make the very most of the opportunities open to them.”

To inspire people to make 2012 their Year of Travel, STA Travel has re-edited its MOVE video, which takes you around the world in 60 seconds. The first version was viewed by more than two million people globally, and this second edition has been produced specifically for the UK traveller and will be screened in cinemas all over the UK and on 4OD in February and March: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BUoYWcbDCXI

Join the conversation, follow us on twitter: @statravel_uk #yearoftravel
To in with the chance of winning an iPad2 simply tweet what your travel plans are for 2012 - everyone who tweets @statravel_uk using #yearoftravel will be entered a draw to win an iPad 2.

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Louise Prior
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