How to Travel Like a Millennial (Because They Do It Better)

 Millennials are called a lot of things—entitled, distracted, irresponsible—but if there is one thing they’re good at, it’s traveling. Two recent studies, one by travel agency Topdeck and another by Amercian Express Travel, found that Millennials place a greater emphasis on vacations than previous generations. According to American Express, a whopping 89 percent of the generation have summer travel plans (that’s 9 percent more than the general population), and 78 percent were responsible enough to put aside money ahead of time for those trips. Seems like we could all learn a few lessons from them—here’s how they’re doing it.

  • 01 of 05

    Treat Travel as Your Right

    Man diving off of rock into swimming hole with friends nearby.
    Thomas Barwick/Getty Images

    In some ways, Millennials consider it a right, not a privilege, to travel. After all, they’ve grown up going on childhood family vacations, many studied abroad in college, and now they want to continue exploring. But don’t call them entitled. Most Millennials will happily cut back in other areas of life to afford their trips, said Claire Bennett, EVP of American Express Travel. “Our travelers, especially the millennial sector, are inherently curious with an increased desire to invest in experiences over material items,” she said. “This continued quest to explore versus acquire helps explain why Millennials place such great importance on travel in comparison to other generations.”  

     

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    Ditch Takeout

    The number one luxury millennials give up in order to travel? Takeout food. According to the Topdeck survey, a full 60 percent of those surveyed would sacrifice delivery and takeout food to save up for a trip. That was closely followed by going out with friends (51 percent) and purchasing coffee (46 percent). American Express data echoed those numbers, with 38 percent reducing restaurant meals, 32 percent spending less on clothes, and 31 percent cutting back on going out with friends. 

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    Stay Domestic

     Domestic travel is up nearly 17 percent since last year, according to American Express booking data, and millennials are a big part of that shift. “Millennials are more about doing than seeing, but are also supremely focused on budget—making domestic travel particularly compelling this summer,” Bennett said. Case in point: 72 percent of millennials plan to take a weekend trip this summer, compared to 66 percent of the general population 

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    Score Free Things

    Millennials aren’t traditionally known as brand loyal consumers, but they are taking advantage of the perks rewards programs provide. “We’ve noticed this demo progressively participating in reward programs, with nearly half planning to reap the benefits,” Bennett said. “The data also indicates that among all benefits offered, complimentary amenities—such as spa or dining credit and free Wi-Fi —and the ability to earn free night’s stay are most appealing.” 

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    Use Facebook

    It’s easy to make fun of millennials’ screen addictions, but they might just be planning their next vacations while staring at those phones. More than half of millennial travelers (62 percent) use Facebook to book vacations, while a third use Instagram to nail down travel plans. Also of note? Cell phone service is one of the few areas travelers wouldn’t cut back on to save for travel, according to the TopDeck survey. No surprises there.