What Millennial Travelers Actually Do on Vacation

In a society consumed with bucket lists and an ongoing competition of best photos on a person’s social media accounts, a survey conducted earlier this year by Topdeck Travel revealed millennials are actually more interested in traveling for experiences than they are bar hopping. Don’t get me wrong, a party vacation is a great one indeed, but when just one more trip to Vegas sounds like too much, know that there are options.

According to the World Tourism Organization, “International tourist arrivals grew by 4.4% in 2015 to reach a total of 1,184 million in 2015, according to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. Some 50 million more tourists (overnight visitors) traveled to international destinations around the world last year as compared to 2014.” Furthermore, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates the millennial generation to have $200 billion in purchasing power, so it’s not a surprise that this group holds some serious power when it comes to the travel industry.

In research conducted by Resonance Consultancy, millennial travelers were found to be much different than millennials as a whole, including the often contradictory stereotypes of travelers ages 18 to 34. In Topdeck Travel’s survey, of the 31,811 people surveyed, 74% were 18 to 24, 20% were 25 to 30, and 3% were 31 to 34. When asked what made them most excited about travel, these motivators topped the list.

1. Experience new cultures — 86%

traveler, travel, beach, nature, sunset

Everyone wants to experience something new | iStock.com

There’s nothing quite like going to a new place and being totally immersed in the culture. For those who are looking for a truly authentic trip that serves as much of an educational experience as it does a vacation, adventure tours and expertly guided trips that reveal insight into the secret local spots are the way to go.

2. Tick places off their bucket list — 75%

young man on cruise ship, boat, travel

Millennials want to go to a lot of locales | iStock.com

Bucket lists have become a popular thing — a way for young travelers to turn our ability to travel anywhere in the globe into a sport. A modern day rat-race, checking different parts of the world off a person’s bucket list has become an accomplishment in and of itself. Furthermore, when asked where their next big bucket list destination would be, survey participants’ answers were across the board:

  • Europe — 33%
  • South America — 16%
  • USA & Canada — 13%
  • Australia & New Zealand — 13%
  • Asia — 13%
  • Africa — 7%
  • Middle East — 4%

3. Eating, eating, and eating — 67%

dinner with friends

Dinner with friends | iStock.com

Local fare is not just something that people talk about at your city’s favorite farm-to-table restaurant. As mentioned, a fully immersive travel experience tops the chart, and one wouldn’t be complete without mowing down on some good ol’ authentic cuisine. From hole-in-the-wall secret spots to big city markets, finding the best local grub is no longer just for self-proclaimed foodies.

4. Make new friends — 66%

friends toasting at a bar

Toasting | iStock.com

Solo travel has become quite popular, meaning either going at it totally alone — just you, a pack, and your trusty map — or going sans friends and meeting up with a brand new group of like-minded traveling companions on a tour. Whether you have to rely on others out in the wilderness or you’re paired up in a group setting, creating lifelong bonds while traveling is inevitable.

5. Party — 44%

young people partying

Young people dancing on a beach | iStock.com

OK, sometimes there’s just no substitute for a good ol’ fashioned, party-filled vacation. Even though there are those who only consider trips on which they’re able to bag peaks and count countries, there will forever remain a market for all those Las Vegas travel agents out there.

6. Shop ‘til they drop — 25%

women with paper bags walking in the mall

Women walking in the mall | iStock.com/shironosov

While we don’t recommend spending your days at the mall running in and out of stores overrun with consumerism, shopping can offer some down time and insight into a place’s culture. And besides, grabbing some local artifacts counts as being part of a fully immersive trip too, right?

More from Culture Cheat Sheet: