Millennials: The Travel Generation

travelling-millennials

Traveling has never been easier.

According to the BBC, every year there are nearly 700 million trips abroad. Everywhere from third-world countries to popular cities are becoming popular tourist destinations. These destinations are creating a tourist industry to help boost national earnings and create jobs.

The United Nations estimates that 20 percent of all international tourists, or approximately 200 million travellers, are the generation considered to be millennials. Millennial travellers, according to American Express Business Insights, are the fastest-growing age segment in terms of how money is spent on traveling.

The millennial generation is continuing to travel regardless of their economic certainty. Many millennials have decided that while they may not be financially stable, it is important for them to spend time exploring the world.

The World Youth Students and Educational (WYSE) Travel Confederation recently surveyed 34,000 people from over 137 and found that millennial travellers are not interested in “the traditional sun, sea and sand holidays” as older generations. Instead, young travellers are spending less time in “gateway cities” and instead are exploring more remote cities and countries and opting to stay in hostels instead of hotels. It is also becoming increasingly common for young travellers to travel for long period of times instead of typical two-week vacations. The study shows that the average young traveller is traveling for about 58 days instead of the two-week vacation in hope they immerse themselves in the culture.

WYSE goes on to explain that the average young traveller spends approximately 50 pounds a day when traveling for long periods of time. With the rise of Air BnB, HostelWorld, SkyScanner and Easy Jet, young travellers are finding that planning trips are no longer as expensive as they once thought.

Other generations, such as Generation X and Baby Boomers, have been known not to travel as much as millennials. Generation X is considered the ‘family’ generation as their vacations are more family oriented and the destinations are closer to home. According to the BBC, the average amount spent by Generation X is 650 pounds. Baby Boomers have the money to travel and they do. Travel ranks among their top interest and they spend around 550 pounds a day.

Baby Boomers and millennials are the closest in mind when coming to traveling. They spend their money on experiences instead of things and choose to travel far with the idea that there may not be enough time to travel in the future. Millennials have that mindset due to funds and job hunting while Baby Boomers have the thoughts because of their age. Both generations spend their time advertising their adventures on social media to announce to their friends and family that they are living in the moment. However, it is still the millennials that count for the majority of travel industry.

Social media only assists the want to travel. Accord to The G Brief, an online magazine that focuses on the millennial lifestyle, half of millennial travellers’ search for travel information on their smartphones and 97 percent of millennials use social media. 75% of travellers’ post on social media at least once a day when traveling. Their peers see how successful their social media account is becoming due to amount of ‘likes’ or ‘favourites’ the pictures may be getting and want to be that popular as well.

Articles spread online through social media accounts, such as Facebook and Twitter, are directing themselves more towards the millennial traveller over any other generation. Articles reading “Top 20 Millennial Travel Experiences” and “Cheapest Cities to Travel When You’re a Millennial” are catering to the travel experience that all millennials crave. The majority of millennials are persuaded to travel, and do anything, when they see what their friends are sharing. Social media creates the ‘FOMO’ affect, or the ‘fear of missing out’, therefore making those who are not living exciting experiences craving the change.

Websites such as College Tourist and Buzzfeed create articles to help those who want to travel. There are tips on where to travel, how to travel and what to bring. What makes these articles desirable for millennials to read is that the articles are written by individuals around their age. The writing style is easy to understand and relatable. With online websites and magazines such as this it is evident that social media, and the internet in general, is persuading the younger generation to travel.

Mobile devices are becoming increasingly more popular to help with travel. While most older generations cannot operate smartphones as well as millennials it is becoming more common for travel companies and flight companies to have easy understanding apps. 77 percent of millennial travellers would make an airport-related purchase on their mobile device, according to NCR Travel Experience.

What is also helping with travel is that many recent graduates are finding that there are other successful careers that involve traveling. Recent American graduate Amelia Hall decided that instead of going into a job in Biology she wanted to teach English and biology in Thailand.

“I wasn’t ready work in an office and I’d rather spend my time giving back to a community,” Hall said “I’ve always loved travelling. Living in Thailand gives me an opportunity to explore Thailand and surrounding countries while making money to support my passion.”

Hall spent a semester in Denmark and has frequently travelled to third-world countries with her church group to help communities in need. “I feel like I’m making more of a difference to these kids and community then I’d be doing if I stayed back in the States” Hall continued “I’m doing what I love while making money. There’s nothing real better than that.”

Not only are people teaching second languages abroad but there’s also ways to give back to others. With charities such as Habitat for Humanity and the Peace Corps, recent graduates and millennials can spend time traveling and giving back before entering the workforce.

Samantha Keane is spending the next two years after graduation working with the Peace Corps. Currently stationed in Ukraine, Keane is learning about cultures she never thought possible and making connections with “amazing individuals who want to make the world a better place like myself.”

“Being part of the Peace Corps means I’m making a difference while traveling. I’m going to places I never dreamed of, living with families and understanding their routines while helping communities become stronger. I couldn’t ask for anything better.” Keane said.

While there are many work opportunities for the millennial generation there is also struggle to travel, especially travellers in the UK. What makes young travellers nervous in the UK is the recent decision to leave the European Union. The Telegraph wrote an article discussing how traveling for millennials and other generations will change once Brexit is officially underway.

The two biggest concerns facing travellers once Brexit is underway is the reality that healthcare may no longer be covered between countries.

Right now, the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) allows all UK citizens too free or reduced-cost treatment in all EU counties according to The Telegraph. Once renegotiations between the EU and the UK begin there is no doubt that UK citizens will no longer have health care throughout other European countries.

In 1999, the UK gained the right to bring “virtually unlimited amounts of duty paid goods from EU countries” which means that in some situations travellers could make a profit when returning home. An example is how those who bring wine back from France could profit because the duty on wine in France is 23p per 750ml compared to 2.08 in the UK. The Telegraph explains that this means the UK will have to revert to the agreement which is currently in place with other countries. There will be bigger taxes on what is being brought into the country.

As The Guardian also points out, travel between the UK and EU counties could also rise in expense, creating issues for young and old generations. Andrew Swaffield, chief executive of the budget airline Monarch, told The Guardian that “an exit would most likely lead to higher air fares and fewer scheduled flights between the EU and the UK”. Immediate impact of flight costs is unlikely but the UK and the EU will have to spend time negotiating the regulations between travels.

Hugo Nilsson, a Swedish student currently enrolled at Kings College in London, admits that he’s afraid Brexit will ruin future travel plans between Sweden and the UK. “I’m afraid that over the next couple of years it’s going to get expensive to fly between Sweden and the UK. I’m a student, I can’t afford expensive flights. I just hope flights, and schooling prices for that matter, don’t get too high.”

While Brexit will have no immediate effect on travel it still causes for concern regarding the travel industry in the UK and beyond. However, according to Travel Weekly, World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) announced that “travel and tourism continue to grow faster than the global economy and most other industries”.

It is unclear whether millennials will continue to travel in the future. What is clear is that millennials have the determination to travel and will find the means necessary, whether that is funding their own trips or entering a field that requires travel. Brexit will affect traveling but it will not destroy the determination millennials have to pursue their goals.

Article By: Alea Gilhuly-Mandel

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