Travel is great for all ages, but there are ways that different generations like to hit the road. I’ve traveled with a number of age groups, and each one has certain way of doing things. That’s why I think it’s important to travel at a number of stages in your life—the experiences you are going to have when you are young are going to be much different than the ones you have when you are older.
Millennials have really disrupted the traditional modes of travel over the past few years. As a millennial myself, I definitely have a point of view on travel that might be slightly more lax compared to my fellow, older travelers. After spending time with others in my age group, I’ve seen some trends emerge that have greatly affected the travel industry.
Here are some ways we as millennials have “killed” travel, and how we tend to do things a little bit differently.
1. We’ll skip the nice accommodations
For my parents, they love getting away and choosing a nice place to stay while they aren’t at home. For them, travel is more of a vacation—it’s a chance to get away from the daily grind. So when they are away, it makes sense to find accommodations that are equally as nice as what you would have in your own home. Sometimes they might even be nicer as a treat since it is a well-deserved vacation!
Millennials definitely care less about where we’re staying. Daniel and I will occasionally splurge on a nice hotel when we’re traveling long term, but even then we tend to choose them in countries where the prices are already low (in India, we stayed at 4-star hotels for $30 a night). Every now and then, it’s nice to treat ourselves, but in more expensive locales we’ll tend to look into hostels or Airbnb instead.
2. We spend more money on experiences
While I’m always down for a good walking tour, I don’t mind spending a bit more cash on what I’m doing rather than where I am staying. Likewise, sitting on a beach can be lovely, but I don’t want to make that the sole focus of my travels. I’d rather go hiking, try new food, snorkel, take a dance class, etc. The money that I would spend on a nice place I’m happy to spend on doing more activities that give me a sense of where I am.
3. We choose different locations
Don’t get me wrong, I love resorts as much as the next person. However, after a day or two I find myself ready to take on something new. That might be why we as millennials tend to look for locations that can provide us a sense of adventure. I’m getting married this summer, and when people asked where I was going for my honeymoon, I mentioned Kenya, Peru, South Africa, and places that might not have been initially chosen in the past by young lovebirds.
An ideal trip for me would be one where there is plenty to do, a rich cultural heritage, and some delicious food. I love to learn while I travel (in fact, that’s the main reason I do it), so any place that encourages me to expand my horizons a bit is a place that I will enjoy. This isn’t the attitude of all millennials, but I have definitely seen that as an emerging trend over the past few years.
4. We try and make connections
Whether it’s through Airbnb, couchsurfing, a pub crawl, or some other activity, we like making friends on the road. This is true both with local people and fellow travelers. That might be part of the reason we are more okay with staying in shared rooms—it gives us a chance to connect with other people. My favorite trips are the ones where I felt as though a new friend encouraged me to think in a new way. It made my travels seem worthwhile instead of just something to do to pass the time.
5. We take more time off to travel
While it can suck coming back from a long vacation and having to catch up on work, we also know that working more doesn’t necessarily make you happier. I’ve worked remotely for years, which has allowed me to see much of the world. However, I also know when to put the computer down and go have some fun. Working as a digital nomad isn’t for everyone, and I am very glad that it is not currently my lifestyle, but it has allowed certain freedoms that former generations did not have.
We also take our vacations more than previous generations. Seeing my dad skip his vacations because of work was tough, especially since he didn’t get paid while he was away from the office. Millennials are fighting back the traditional system in many ways, though, and one of these ways is by demanding some time off to go explore the world.
What are some travel trends you’ve seen emerging over the past few years?