China and Japan are two destinations that prove young South Africans are inclined to experience different cultures and increasing their cultural awareness. Picture: Supplied.

Travel expert Contiki undertakes research to unveil the top 10 destinations 18-35-year-old South Africans are aspiring to travel to in 2018  

Building on their release of The No Regrets List last year, Contiki have released destination trends for 2018 as part of their wider research project, The Power of Travel, which looks into all the ways in which travel makes young people the best versions of themselves. The study surveyed thousands of 18-35 year olds around the world, including 305 South Africans, with the United States proving to be the #1 destination for young South Africans next year.

The destination findings come in at the perfect time, as 18-35 year olds start to plan their 2018 New Year’s resolutions. Contiki’s The Power of Travel research indicates the reasoning for young South Africans choosing to travel to these destinations, aligning with self-improvement New Year’s resolutions:

Europe is a key destination for South Africans: With the UK, Italy, France and Germany all making it into young South Africans bucket list must destinations, it’s clear that the demographic is seeking to explore a variety of European cultures. The various foods, languages, music and art scenes that can be explored in Europe enable an increased open mind with research stating 13% of travellers are more likely to place high value on open mindedness.

Travel helps increase awareness on global politics: The Power of Travel research findings show that 63% young travellers indicate that travel has shaped their perspective on global politics (compared to 36% non-travellers). This is most prevalent with young South Africans aspiring to travel to the United States as their #1 destination for 2018. With the current US climate, travelling to this destination is a great way to become more involved in global issues and the effects it may have on their own country, while also gaining a greater sense of citizenship.

Young South Africans push themselves out of their comfort zone: China and Japan are two destinations that prove young South Africans are inclined to experience different cultures, increasing their cultural awareness and opening their minds to learn about diverse ways of living. This is backed up by research indicating that 75% of travellers have created an awareness of other cultures that has led to increased tolerance and/or compassion (compared to 48% of non-travellers).