It’s a fact: millennials, those born between 1981 and 1996, are traveling a lot. Another fact: Baby boomers, those born in 1946-1964, aren’t traveling quite so much. This might sound counterintuitive. Millennials are between 22 and 37 years old right now and theoretically would be at the beginning and middle of their careers, while boomers are 54-72 and looking at, if not already in, retirement.
Why, then, are millennials traveling more than baby boomers?
Whether you look at the rise of short-term peer-to-peer lodging platforms or other alternative lodging options or the rise of tools to help find cheap flights, it’s clear that millennials have the travel bug. They put in long hours at their jobs to turn around and spend an allocated amount of their earnings on a dream vacation year after year.
The digital revolution, AKA the rise of the internet, is probably the main reason millennials are taking more trips than baby boomers. The world appears much smaller to millennials than it did to baby boomers when they were 22-37. Social media can connect people across the world. And millennials can see pictures of, read stories about, or otherwise discover places in the world that baby boomers might never have thought of researching or visiting.
The Internet has also made it easier for millennials to make plans to travel. New apps and websites are frequently being released to make planning trips large and small, easier every day. Millennials can compare pricing of lodging online, set an alert to find the best flights, and then quickly and easily make the decision to purchase.
And the travel inspiration and benefits that come from living in a digital connected world aren’t a fad limited to a single generation, but will likely continue on after the millennial generation. A high schooler today can befriend a foreign exchange student and then continue to keep in contact via Snapchat or other social media sites; instilling a love of foreign travel and a sense of curiosity of the world before they’re even old enough to book their own flight.
How Do Millennials Find So Much Time to Travel?
As mentioned above, millennials should theoretically be at the beginning of their careers. One would think that they wouldn’t have lots of vacation time accumulated. The internet comes into play here as well.
Millennials, unlike baby boomers, have a better chance at becoming digital nomads. That wasn’t even a term when boomers were younger. Digital nomads can work from anywhere there is an internet connection. Whether they are entrepreneurs, freelancers, or just have a great remote-work plan set up with their company, millennials can take their work with them.
Now, that’s not to say that there are not some baby boomers out there that travel and work at the same time. In fact, some younger boomers who are getting close to retirement age but aren’t quite there yet have caught on to this trend and they are choosing to do the same thing. Whether they want to escape the cold during the winter and travel to Florida, or if they want to go visit their grandchildren in another state for a few weeks, some baby boomers are taking advantage of the Internet and traveling with their work as well.
How Do Millennials Find the Money to Travel?
You might be wondering how millennials are able to afford all of this traveling, especially with all of the information online about how much student debt they carry with them. That certainly is a concern for some millennials, but not for everyone. Unlike many boomers, millennials tend to factor travel into their budget, whether that’s finding cheap flights, setting aside a special travel savings account, or finding innovative ways to spend less ahead of their travels.
Another option for millennials is to work while abroad, although not in a career-minded vein. There are programs and online platforms that allow people to travel to a new city or country where they are hosted by families, entrepreneurs, and organizations. In exchange for a place to live while abroad, that person offers their time and service. You could, for example, visit Scotland for a while, in exchange for caring for and riding horses a few hours per day. There are a wide range of things they can do while abroad, including helping with the housework, assisting on a farm, or working as a barista in a coffee shop. Many millennials are drawn to these kinds of opportunities because they don’t just travel but they also immerse themselves into other cultures.
Baby Boomers Travel, Too!
Baby boomer travel has been increasing in recent years. As many boomers are reaching retirement age and have more time to travel, they’re beginning to see their kids jet setting around the world and the travel bug is biting them as well.
Unlike baby boomers, just because millennials are traveling more doesn’t mean they’re vacationing more. Whether they are traveling to expand their knowledge or bringing their work with them, many of them are not laying around on beaches all day. Baby boomers on the other hand typically travel in order to unplug and put their feet up.
Why else do you think millennials are traveling more than baby boomers? Do you have ideas we hadn’t thought of? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!