It’s no secret that millennials are doing things a bit differently these days. In fact, it’s borderline ridiculous to even type out a sentence like that, because business blogs and morning talk shows shove the “Me Me Me” Generation narrative down our throats daily. We’re killing every industry, from napkins to home improvement. Strangely enough, though, there seems to be one industry immune to our ruthless murder streak: tourism.
Millennials travel more than any other generation. Not only that, but we tend to value travel more than different generations as well. That might have something to do with the fact that we travel so differently; perhaps we’re doing it the right way?
Experience Over Accommodations
Of course, we don’t want to sleep on a bedbug-infested mattress or eat next to a landfill, but we’re more willing to compromise when it comes to accommodations than older generations. That’s because we’re more interested in “authentic travel” — that is, experiencing as much of the local flavor as possible.
Apparently, locals do not stay at five-star bed and breakfasts. And with services like Airbnb, you can stay in a local’s home for a much lower price than a hotel. Similarly, millennials don’t want to be led around like a third-grade class to all the typical tourist hot spots. Instead, they’re carving their path, moving from fabled attraction to hole-in-the-wall with ease. We can change plans on the fly, picking whatever ridesharing service works best for us at the time. In this way, we’re getting more out of the trip. We don’t return home with a list of facts from a museum, but with insights, stories, and maybe even a different perspective.
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We might be frugal for a practical reason too, but our focus on experience comes from a genuine place.Maybe young people are just more likely to value experiences because we don’t have as many as older generations. But I think it’s because diversity defines our generation. We’ve seen how understanding diversity can lead to extended empathy and a fuller life. We want to connect with different people, and we can’t do that unless we have unique experiences.
We Care About Ethical Tourism
Millennials are willing to go out of their way to support ethical businesses. We avoid stores that have a terrible reputation and reward those that pay a living wage to their employees. And that same concept goes for travel too. 73 percent of millennials are willing to pay more for ethical tourism.
So even though we are more likely to seek out unconventional travel locales, we also are more likely to support local businesses and avoid interfering with the precarious wildlife situation in places like the Galapagos or the Amazon. We understand that seeing these rare sights comes at a cost and that making sure that it continues to be there for future generations is also important. This means supporting a local economy and their environment.
This probably has something to do with the fact that millennials have grown up in a world that is continuously connected. We have never really experienced anything besides globalism, and knowing what is happening in the world is only a click away. It is easier to empathize with others when you can communicate with them so quickly. We are aware of the impact that we make when we travel to different places because we are aware that we are all implicitly connected.
We Go Out of Our Way to Travel
Everyone wants to travel. Heck, retired people travel all the time, and they are usually not millennials. However, millennials value put more emphasis on travel than any other generation. We rank it as the most important thing to accomplish in the next five years, above marriage, kids, or even owning a home.
Lots of millennials want the picturesque white picket fence life, but they want to see the world before they settle down. However, there are also plenty of millennials who are willing to give up everything to travel the world. We sacrifice some relationships, some job opportunities, and indeed some stability to travel consistently. This applies more to those who travel the globe rather than the state but seeing as more millennials are opting for one-way tickets to another continent, this sacrifice is becoming more relevant as well.
So maybe it’s not surprising that, despite our fewer vacation days than older generations, we still travel more even when we do have steady jobs. We might not be able to go on as long of trips as others, but we don’t need to when we are looking for local experiences instead of pre-scheduled tours. We also make less money, but guess what? We use the internet, find the best deals, pay a minimum for accommodations, and we make it work.
When we get old, we’re not going to think, “I wish I had seen the world.” We’ll think, “What’s next?”