Travel has taken on a new level of impotence for the Millennial generation. It is more than the occasional short drive or a quick flight to the other side of a country. Even group tours to Europe won’t satisfy the wanderlust of Millenials.
With social media and a far more connected world, places that were once thought of as inaccessible are now, not only available options but sought-after destinations. Destinations with multiple travel blogs and numerous Instagram posts sharing details of a trip allow others to already have an idea of what to do and what to expect.
This connected world has also led to an increased desire of Millenials to understand cultures from around the world and to partake in their customs. It’s hard to do this in a group tour of forty. What it means to travel has changed. Millennials look at traveling differently. Here’s what they are looking for.
Millennials Around the World
Millennials are the generation that came to age in the new millennia. They are the first generation to be intimately connected with members of the same generation around the world. Gen Z can also claim this level of connection, perhaps deeper, but not any that came before.
At this point, they have had social media and smartphones for at least half their lives. They have played online games, joined discord channels, written and followed blogs, and watch YouTube daily amongst a million other outlets. At this point, finding a millennial that hasn’t engaged with a person from another country would be nearly impossible.
The result of this connection is a world of shared trends, discussions, and ideas. And, one thing shared by millennials across the world is a love of Travel.
- Millennial Birth Range - 1981 to 1996
- Age Range in 2022 - 26-41 years old
Mention a bus tour to an experienced millennial traveler and you will likely see them cringe. The same can be said about all-inclusive resort stays where you never leave the premise. No, Millennials want to be immersed in their destination. They want to see how it truly is.
This means foot to pavement, struggling with the local public transit, buying something slightly unknown to eat, and interacting with the locals. These are things you can’t do with a crowd of forty or while locked into your resort. That’s not how millennials travel.
Knowing One's Self
“There are three things extremely hard: steel, a diamond, and to know one's self.” - Benjamin Franklin
Self-search isn’t a concept exclusive to millennials. However, they have made travel their tool to do so. Whether it is a wise choice or not, an immersive travel experience has a way of opening a mind to new ideas and points of view. It also often induces levels of stress, and anxiety, and tests one’s resourcefulness and mental fortitude. When you stray from the cleared path, things can go wrong, but that’s part of the adventure.
Travel is a way for millennials to truly put themselves out into the world to see how they respond. And, doing this does reveal quite a bit about one’s self.
Being Unique While Echoing Social Media
The struggle of the millennial generation is how to stand out from the rest. Most are not born with trust funds, or able to live the influencer lifestyle, flaunting themselves from one extravagant destination to the next. However, the desire is still there to do so.
One of the greatest conflicts of the millennial traveler is balancing the desire to echo the popular shots done by influencers while also standing out as unique. Do you wake up at 4:30 am to catch the sunrise photo over Angkor Wat, so you can catch the reflection of the pond at just the right moment? Don’t worry, five hundred other people will be there trying to get the same shot. And five hundred thousand people have probably already posted about it. But do you do it anyway?
Uniqueness is a concept that is nearly impossible to grasp, but millennials continue to try to do so. Traveling to a lesser-known destination, even if it is on the heels of a favorite travel blogger, and returning with evidence of the adventure is the one way that millennials attempt to seek their uniqueness.
Top Travel Locations for Millennials:
- Rome, Italy
- Lake Tahoe, California
- Valencia, Spain
- Whistler, BC, Canada
- Dubrovnik, Croatia
- Bali, Indonesia
- New York, USA
- Dublin, Ireland
- Seattle, USA
- Saint Petersburg, Russia
An Active Lifestyle
More so than in past generations, the concept of living an active, adventurous, and fit lifestyle appeals to millennials. For American millennials perhaps it was experiencing the height of the obesity pandemic before mass lifestyle change led to its decline. Perhaps it is simply the knowledge that there is so much out there that you will never experience from your living room that drives millennials to this desire. You won’t find many viral posts from millennials about a vacation day spent on a couch.
Favorite Millenial Travel Activities:
- Experiencing a New Culture
- Photography of Cultural Destinations
- Ticking Off the Bucket List
- Eating Out/Food Blogging
- Meeting New Friends