You may have heard millennials referred to as ‘generation travel’, and there’s no doubt that for our generation the world is more accessible than ever before. Travel is a fantastic opportunity, but it can take so many different forms, and it’s really important to find the right kind of experience for you. There can sometimes be a sense of pressure that as a millennial, your duty is simply to go travelling in the ‘traditional’ sense (i.e. backpacking) – but there are many options to consider.
Whether you’re new to travelling and don’t really know where to begin, or are often gripped by wanderlust but aren’t sure which travel options would suit you most, here are a few tips to get you started:
Make lists. Lots and lots of lists.
Lists are amazing. They help you organise your thoughts, prioritise, and discover what really matters to you when you’re struggling to pin it down. If you’re trying to figure out the right travel experience for you, getting the ball rolling by making some lists is a great idea.
Start vague. List every type of travel-related activity you can think of – backpacking, hiking, safaris, adventure holidays, relaxing spa breaks, package trips – and every country, city or location you can name. Anything you think of, add it to the list, even if it doesn’t really appeal to you.
After your lists are a good length, go back through them with a fine-tooth comb; highlight the places and things that most appeal, and cross out things you don’t like the sound of.
Organising your ideas in this way really helps clarify what matters most to you. You might realise, for instance, that active or adventure-based options don’t really pique your interest, but more philanthropic excursions like volunteering or teaching abroad really inspire you.
Be realistic about your options
Inevitably, what you can actually do will be limited by practicality: namely your budget, how much time you have, and your location.
It’s never fun to have to strike off an option because you can’t afford it, but sadly joining a luxury property club and travelling the globe may simply be dream-life territory for many of us – although sometimes you’ll be surprised by how affordable certain options are (for example, a round-the-world plane ticket).
The main thing is to be honest with yourself about how much time and money you have to spare. It’s not worth cramming in something you’d like to do into a short space of time, and ending up not enjoying yourself.
Go back through your lists, and cross off anything that isn’t an option for now, but keep hold of the thought – you never know how your situation might change in the future, and something you can’t do now might be a possibility later.
Seek some advice
One of the best ideas is to simply seek some advice from people with first-hand experience. Many of us will know, either closely or through our network, people who have already tried the travel experiences we’re considering.
Often, you need only ask and people will be willing to give you an account of their adventures, highs and lows included. This can be a great way to get the most accurate impression of what different types of travelling are really like, and could help you put aside the rose-tinted glasses, or even open your eyes to things you might not have considered at all.
Another great to place to seek advice is the Internet – just be prepared to take some of what you read with a pinch of salt. Stick to forums and sites with good reputations (like Miss Millennia), and be mindful of reviews on sites like Tripadvisor – remember, these are only personal opinion, and we’re all different. Just because one person couldn’t stand camel riding in the desert, doesn’t mean it isn’t for you!
Touch base with what really matters to you
As millennials, a lot of the pressure we can feel comes from other people’s expectations of us – and our generation. It’s important to remember that you’re travelling for you, not anyone else. When considering different travel ideas, try your best not to drift towards things you feel are expected of you.
Take some time to really connect with what matters to you. Do you love adventure and exploration, or delight in discovering and learning about new cultures? Maybe backpacking would suit you. Do you have a passion for something niche, like history or music? You could visit an ancient city, or attend a summer music festival. Or are you simply a little burned out, and looking for a relaxing escape? A week on a sun-soaked beach could be the solution.
The key is being mindful of your own personality, tastes, and interests. Don’t feel boxed in to simply repeating the adventures of your peers; travel can give you so much, and you deserve to get something out of it that’s truly valuable to you as an individual.
Travel for you and no one else
The purpose of all of this, remember, is to determine the right travel experience for you. The implication is that there is a travel experience for everyone, which, in my humble opinion, is true. It’s all too easy, as millennials, to get a sense that if we haven’t been travelling ‘properly’ (i.e journeying for weeks around numerous countries and locations) we’ve somehow missed out.
This simply isn’t the case. When I, like many other millennials, chose to take a gap year, I found myself feeling almost obliged to go backpacking – but I didn’t really want to. I wanted to travel, sure, but I wanted to visit a few specific places, and get to know them really well. I spent a month in Paris, which was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, and I can’t help but feel that if I’d rushed into a decision and made the city just one stop on a long list of destinations, I wouldn’t have gotten anywhere near as much from the experience as I did.
As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, ‘Life is a journey, not a destination’. The most important thing is to never lose sight of why you want to travel, whether it’s to immerse yourself in unknown culture or simply to have as much fun as you can. We all travel for different reasons, there are no right or wrongs, and there is so much to be gained.
Just remember, the journey doesn’t only start once you board the plane – it starts from the very moment you get that tingle of wanderlust and start planning. Enjoy every moment of it.