Could Microgapping Be The Next Trend Amongst UK Millennials?

Tue, 07/08/2018 - 09:00

• Impact on career progression and financial constraints are preventing ‘Generation Y’ from embarking on a career break or gap year

• The growing trend for flexible working encourages UK millennials to travel more

• Millennials are looking to make a difference – nearly 40% have considered volunteering on a short break or holiday in the UK

• Could ‘microgapping’, a short break that offers gap year style experiences, be the answer?


As school leavers look towards the next stage in their lives, new research commissioned by VisitEngland suggests that UK millennials are being held back from taking a gap year or career break.

The survey revealed that four in five (82%) 18-34 year olds would consider taking a career break to travel in the next three years, lured by the prospect of life enriching experiences such as discovering new cultures (59%), ticking off bucket list experiences (34%) and volunteering or supporting good causes (25%).

However, only 8% of millennials in full-time employment said they were very likely to take a career break to travel in the next three years. Financial constraints (75%) and impact on job progression (41%) were two of the biggest barriers – with similar factors putting them off a gap year.

The research also suggests that the traditional “nine til’ five” is being replaced with flexible working arrangements – two fifths (40%) of 18-34 year olds in the UK said their employers offer flexible working hours and 16% have the opportunity to work remotely.

Due to this shift in modern attitudes to work, nearly four in five (79%) millennials said that flexible working arrangements already do, or would make them likely to travel more.

The idea of taking a short break at home, rather than a gap year or career break, also holds appeal for ‘Gen Y’– more than half (58%) said that being able to maintain their employment was one of the biggest benefits, whilst more than one in ten (13%) cited the chance to tick off destinations at home.

With greater flexibility in their work:life and an appetite for exploring what’s on their doorstep, VisitEngland is predicting the emergence of ‘microgapping’ amongst millennials defined as the act of taking short breaks that offer the same self-development opportunities of a typical gap year or career break.

When it comes to taking a short break, the research also suggests that millennials want similar experiences to those usually  offered  on a gap year – including relaxation and well-being (50%), seeing iconic landmarks (41%), trying local food and drink (33%), learning new skills (16%) and supporting good causes (13%).

Of those surveyed nearly two thirds (64%) said they found the idea of ‘microgapping’ in the UK appealing and more than half (57%) said they were likely to go microgapping in the next three years


VisitEngland Director, Andrew Stokes said:

Flexible working arrangements are giving UK millennials a greater opportunity to discover what’s on their doorstep. Whether that’s taking a digital detox in a sustainable treehouse in Cornwall, learning to cook foraged ingredients, swimming through Durdle Door or simply discovering local stories in a new city; England is bursting with the enriching experiences that people want from a gap year or career break.”


With increased awareness of environmental issues around the world, the poll also revealed that four in five (83%) millennials believe it is important to take actions to protect or improve the environment and local communities, and almost two fifths have considered volunteering on a short break or holiday in the UK.

Initiatives such as #PlasticPatrol – the campaign to rid England’s inland waterways of plastic pollution – are proving popular with millennials, with clean-up events taking place across the country this summer. Volunteers can try out paddle-boarding for free, while collecting litter and logging it on the #PlasticPatrol app.


Lizzie Carr, founder of #PlasticPatrol and blogger, says the majority of volunteers are under the age of 35, with events booking up within hours of appearing on the website.  

“We’ve noticed that some people are travelling from miles around to take part in our events, with some even staying overnight”, Carr says.

“The events are a great opportunity to meet new people – whether you’re new to paddle-boarding or a pro – volunteers really enjoy the challenge and opportunity to be part of something bigger. People want more from a short break – they’re seeking adventure with a purpose.”




Survey of 2,000 18-34 year olds in the UK conducted by Markettiers on behalf of VisitEngland (July 2018).

For further press information and images please contact:
Sophie Dinsdale / Evelina Andrews
VisitEngland Press Office 
Tel: 07972 369637 / 07500 008 737

Notes to Editors:

  • 16-34 year olds took 11.5 million domestic holiday trips in England in 2017, spending £2.6 billion.
  • Tourism in England is worth £106 billion, and supports 2.6 million jobs.
  • Our work is underpinned by robust research and customer insights. You can access the latest in-depth market intelligence and statistics on

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