Millennial Travel Habits: Beyond Stereotypes

Ask a millennial if they would rather travel or own an expensive car, and their preference is strongly for travel. When it comes to travel, and even just their day to day lives, millennials cultivate unique experiences and then use social media platforms to share those unique experiences for all to see.

We wanted to look beyond stereotypes and find out what really makes American millennial travelers tick. We dug through our global research on travel and tourism trends to investigate the travel habits of my generation, the one with more spending power than any other generation in history. Here’s what we found:

Variety Is the Spice of the Millennial Traveler’s Life

At nearly 35 days a year, millennials spend more total time (total time equals number of trips multiplied by vacation duration as shown in the graphs below) on vacation than any other American generation. And on these numerous vacations, they aren’t interested in repeatedly taking the same types of trips. They seek out variety and travel experiences that are quintessentially their own. Across the board, millennial travelers seek relaxation on one trip, visit family on another, and then escape on a romantic getaway on the next. Their preference for variety is great news for destinations and travel brands because they are interested in experiencing a wide range of vacation types. What’s more, it provides your destination or travel brand with an opportunity to showcase the myriad activities and experiences you have to offer.

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Budget Conscious but Willing to Spend

All this variety comes at a cost. That probably helps explain why 81% of millennials consider budget a key factor when it comes to travel. But that doesn’t mean that they skimp on travel. It just means they have different priorities. For example, many economists have noted that because millennials were hit hard by the great recession, saving for huge purchases like a house can seem futile—it’s so expensive and so they postpone it. But, dropping several thousand dollars on a great trip to Bali is attainable. So, don’t be afraid to show them your more luxurious offerings; they aren’t afraid to spend.

Brand Loyal or Dollar Loyal?

There’s a fair amount of research that suggests millennials aren’t as brand loyal as other generations. While true to an extent, they like consistency in quality just as much as the next generation. So, if brands can succeed in providing quality, consistent experiences at reasonable prices, they’ll likely be repeat customers. But, don’t forget that they are deal-hunters as well. After all, they use online travel agencies to book travel more than any other site (57%) because OTAs allow them to cross-shop and easily compare prices. And with so much travel, and a craving for so much variety, it’s not surprising that 92% of millennials report looking for the best deals and most value for their dollar when making travel plans.

We’ve only scratched the surface of what our research has to offer. For more details, read the research, which gives more background to some of these statistics.