Millennials are defined as “members of the generation born between 1981 and 1996” (Wikipedia). I fall into that category. I want to talk about millenials and how we are changing travel.
Millennials Aren’t Waiting for Retirement to Travel
Life is short. We won’t wait until we’re 65 years old to travel. You spend most of your life working. Not everyone is even healthy enough to travel after they retire. All because they kill themselves slowly, working stressful jobs and never taking any vacation days.
Millennials use our vacation days. A Washington Post article stated that 55% of people in the U.S. did not use all of their paid vacation days. “Paid” vacation days. Get paid without going to work. I realize not all jobs offer paid vacation days. Most in the U.S. do not, compared with many other wealthy countries. If you do have them, use them. Now is the time to travel while you are able to. We know tomorrow isn’t guaranteed.
We Need Work-Life Balance
Traveling is difficult without work- life balance. Guilt causes many people to waste their paid vacation days. Companies that offer good work-life balance take the guilt out of going on vacation. Work-life balance is vital for millennials. Many forgo other work benefits for a flexible work environment. This flexibility lends itself to more time spent traveling.
Millennials Want More Authenticity
Take a picture, then go home. That’s not what traveling is about. Be a traveler, not a tourist. Millennials aim to be travelers and not tourists. You can’t become immersed in a country without spending time with people from the country. Taking pictures and buying a few souvenirs teaches you nothing about a people. It just doesn’t work that way.
The best way is to chat with locals. Maybe it’s awkward as you both butcher each other’s language. Maybe there is zero verbal communication. Just smile. Waive. Small talk is more common in some countries than others. That’s fine. Just avoid spending time only with the other people that look like you and speak the same language as you. At the very least, go to non-tourist places.
We Know What We Want
Do people still use travel agents? I guess. Millennials? Not so much. Booking travel is so easy online. We can can filter out our every need or desire. How much do we want to spend? How many layovers do we want? Is this a good airline? What reviews does this hotel have? Everything is at our fingertips. We know what we want. We will do research to find exactly what we want.
What can we learn about travel from millennials? Don’t wait until retirement to travel. Do focus on work-life balance. Seek out authentic experiences wherever you travel. Know what you want and get it. Millennials are transforming travel as we know it. The cutest thing is that now even my mom knows how to use Google Flights.