360 Blog

Millennials, Money Matters and Wanderlust

Angela Hassassian
Angela Hassassian

Aug 28, 2018 - 7 min read

Millennials, Money Matters and Wanderlust

We know that Millennials are traveling (a lot) and that they aren’t necessarily being thrifty about it either, because they spend (a lot).  A survey conducted by Expedia found that millennials travel for leisure more than any other generational group. They understand what makes a good travel experience, have high expectations, and are willing to voice their opinions and complaints loudly when they find that their expectations are not met.

Every year the number of trips Millennials take increase, to the point where the average Millennial takes nearly nine trips a year! This includes a combination of business and leisure trips (bleisure), short road trips to nearby destinations and extravagant getaways. And the stereotype of Millennials traveling on a budget doesn’t always stand.

This is actually a common misconception, because while they certainly are a generation that ought to be concerned with their finances, they spend on average “$2,600 per person before flights, and chooses trips that are 8 to 10 days in length.” Thirty-four percent of Millennials plan to spend over $5,000 on upcoming vacations, which is more than any other generational age group surveyed.

But these numbers are slightly counterintuitive, considering that this generation is one that is in so much debt! Millennials have taken on at least 300% more student debt than previous generations. Millennials are less likely to own homes as a young adult compared to adults in 1975 and are more likely to live in poverty.  Many Millennials will not be able to retire until they are 75 years old! Needless to say, Millennials are facing the scariest financial future of any generation since the Great Depression.

So this begs the question, why do they travel as much as they do, and given their financial situation, how?

Turns out, it’s not a question so much about how much money they spend or save, rather about what they CHOOSE to spend their money on. Wages aren’t too hot, rents are skyrocketing, student debt is at an all-time high, and the future of job stability is under threat by probable automation. It’s really no wonder why Millennials are feeling pessimistic about their future, and really focus their lives on living in the moment, in the here and the now.  They’ve become the YOLO (you only live once) generation, chasing opportunities for experiences today, when saving for the future seems like an uphill battle.

It’s almost like an act of desperation, but today’s youth feels that, with the odds stacked up against them, with the likelihood of getting housing being so low, they might as well enrich their lives with something else that’s valuable to them, in other words, travel. Living in the moment, Millennials really value life experiences over material things, a topic we’ve discussed before. This means saving money for a concert, event, or trip instead of a car or a house.  The process of learning new things during travels, getting into the shoes of locals, and sharing these experiences with friends online is part of the whole traveling package.

360Stories understands full well the importance that this generation places on authentic experiences and the stories that come with them.

Moreover, traveling has become not a privilege or a luxury for Millennials, rather a necessity. It is very high up on their list of priorities, as they are more willing to get married, buy homes and have children later on in life but to travel while they are young. According to a survey conducted by Realty Mogul, 47% of people aged 18-34 would rather spend their money on traveling than buying a house. This is a stark contrast to the 26% of those aged 45 and older who would do the same.

Similarly, a 2014 Eventbrite poll shows that 78% of Millennials prefer spending money on a desirable event than a desirable purchase, and 55% say that they are spending more on experiences than anything else. These experiences are a form of self-development, education, invigoration. It’s simply a higher financial priority than buying a home, paying off debt or investing in a car.

Well, on the bright side, traveling has become a lot more affordable in recent years. Many affordable destinations are being discovered, destinations which were never really options in the past. Millennials also have a few tricks up their sleeves. For example, it’s a common practice to attach personal days to business trips in order to create what is now called a “bleisure” trip.

And contrary to popular belief, Millennials actually do work hard. The fact that they are unable to afford to buy a house, has simply created a shift in their spending priorities. No matter how much overtime they work, they won’t be able to pay off that student loan or get an apartment, but by putting in an extra 30 hours of work a month, they might be able to earn enough extra money to spend on a new and exciting travel experience.

That doesn’t mean that they don’t try to get resourceful with their finances. Millennials know the value of being flexible, not setting their mind on specific destinations, but for waiting for the right deal to come along and letting the destinations choose them. They know how to budget accordingly and take on what is called “side hustles,” or means for making some extra change.

Some people combine work with travel taking on a variety of jobs during their stay, earning money as they travel. A trend on the rise is long-term traveling, which allows for this kind of approach. Other people simply have the sort of skills that allow them to work remotely, all they need is a laptop and internet and they are set no matter where in the world they are.

There is no magic to it, The answer to the ever pressing question, “where do they get the money to travel?” is quite simple. You have the money too, it’s simply about prioritizing how you want to use it. It may sound bleak but if you can’t save up enough money for something large-scale like setting up a house, why bother saving at all. This live-in-the-moment mentality is what makes it possible for Millennials to travel as much as they do.

Understanding the mindset of this generation, 360Stories provides a platform for everyone to not only share their own experiences and travel stories but to learn from the experiences and stories of others. It gives potential travelers a chance to explore and customize their upcoming trips according to their tastes and values. It allows them to really get immersed in a destination's culture and atmosphere. This is why 360Stories plays such a valuable role in the travel industry!