This is How Millennials Are Travelling

This is How Millennials Are Travelling

Gone are the days of standard vacations and run-of-the-mill holiday packages. Millennial travellers tap on technology, sway to social media influences and seek richer experiences – among others.

The sentiments of “Make voyages. Attempt them. There’s nothing else.” from Tennessee Williams’ 1953 play Camino Real has never rang truer than in the mindsets of the millennial generation. In a time when spontaneous travel and off-the-beaten-path adventures are the global norm, the quote embodies the spirit of reverie, dauntlessness, and carpe diem attitudes steep in the ethos of millennials’ minds.

The millennials, also known as Generation Y or the echo boomers, are the people born between 1980 and 1999. They constitute almost a quarter of the world’s population today. Appropriately, this generation makes up a large proportion of travellers and undoubtedly shifts the canon of the tourism industry. Gone are the days of standard vacations and run-of-the-mill holiday packages – millennials are choosing extended experiences to explore the authentic local cultures of their travel destinations.

Technology is king

Growing up in this day and age, millennials are the most tech-savvy group of individuals, and many have certainly used their connectivity and skills in thronging the interwebs to inform their travel decisions. A 2016 survey by Topdeck Travel revealed that social media and peer-influence are top factors influencing millennials’ next travel destination. What this indicates is that social media feeds – with the likes of viral news, the bombardment of #wanderlust photos, stories, and recommendations of far-reaching countries – invariably impacts the perceptions of millennials. From pre-trip planning, technology also enables them to search for places before committing to the location, and discover the best things to do and best places to visit in that country.

Do it for the ‘gram

During the actual trip, this generation seeks a certain motif of travel that fits their tech-savvy needs. Despite being more adventurous and intrepid in their travel choices than their parents, a report by market research firm YouGov suggests that millennials are likely to opt for destinations with WiFi and internet access in order to remain connected. And with the surging popularity of photo-sharing apps like Instagram and VSCO, they’re perhaps even more compelled to share their travel experiences with their peers online as soon as they can.

“Doing it for the ‘gram” isn’t just a laughable semi-ironic catchphrase, it’s actually at the forefront of how millennials travel.

Nonetheless, technology also fuels the valued traits of millennials today: independence and individualism. Increased connectivity to sites and apps such as Airbnb and Uber has allowed travellers greater freedom to customise their holidays to suit their personal tastes. They don’t have to stick to conventional accommodations in overrated parts of the city, neither are they limited to visit attractions that are categorically accessible by common modes of transport. Unfortunately, studies have also shown that this might be at the expense of tour operators who arguably offer fewer choices and variety for millennials, as their fixed package holidays may not wholly match with individual preferences. Nevertheless, it is unquestionable that this tech-savvy generation is harnessing the wonders of technology to enhance the ways in which they are travelling.

Unfortunately, studies have also shown that this might be at the expense of tour operators who arguably offer fewer choices and variety for millennials, as their fixed package holidays may not wholly match with individual preferences. Nevertheless, it is unquestionable that this tech-savvy generation is harnessing the wonders of technology to enhance the ways in which they are travelling.

Not all those who wander are lost

Besides prizing their independence, millennials are also travelling to more unconventional countries and unlikely remote destinations. A survey by the World Youth Student and Educational Travel Confederation discovered that the millennial generation prefers going off the beaten path over traditional holidays typical of Generation X. Such alternative, perhaps even brazen, travel choices is also reflective of their curiosity, which is in turn sustained by the seemingly endless array of opportunities presented before them in this present age. The millennial generation’s spontaneity further cements their impetus to try new experiences and go out of their comfort zones.

Additionally, millennials show a keen interest in learning local cultures, unique to their country of travel. It isn’t uncommon to hear of millennials daringly having a shot at the most authentic local cuisine like the balut of Philippines and the traditional Fijian kava drink, or even journeying out the way to really live like a local in a mountain village or fish farm. Since the millennial generation believes that such genuine experiences cannot be replaced by mere second-hand knowledge, it is no wonder that they also consider travel as even more integral to their lives than the previous generation, deeming – what was once just a relaxing break overseas – to be a whole new learning experience to complement their formal education and work.

Stretch the dollar 

In terms of millennials budget for travelling, they fall in a wide spectrum of habits. With the increase in travels per year, as well as increase length of each vacation, it would seem that millennials are spending more on travelling. However, the same survey by World Youth Student and Educational Travel Confederation showed that millennials are also choosing more wallet-friendly options like hostels over hotels, and backpacking trips over luxurious holidays. No matter the case, it is certain that this generation makes the most out of whatever budget they set aside for their travel adventures, securing the best deals they can find. As a generation that experienced recessions and economic downturns at a young age, they recognise that something need not be costly and expensive to be fulfilling all the same.

The millennials are a generation that grew up as the world’s developments erupted in such a rapid timeframe. Ultimately, these changes have forced them to adapt the incumbent way of travelling to better suit their individual preferences, as well as make the best out of their experiences. Whatever the case, the opportunity of travelling has gradually integrated itself as the zeitgeist of this generation, meaningfully widening their horizons as risk-taking, shrewd, and definitely adventurous global citizens.

About Author

Stephanie Lauw
Stephanie Lauw

Stephanie is an English literature and film student who has succumbed to the occupational hazard of over-analysing her favourite TV shows. She enjoys theatre and music, and dabbles with both by writing bad plays and experimenting with her band. Her current dream is to island hop the filming locations of all 34 seasons of Survivor.

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