Millennial Travel Habits: Beyond Stereotypes

Sarah Korach, Senior Manager, Marketing
October 30, 2018

If you were to ask me if I’d rather travel or own a great car, the answer to me is obvious: I’d pick travel every single time. As many millennials are, I’m pretty much married to my digital devices, especially my phone. I crave “unique experiences,” and even use it as my meditation mantra.

Alright, yes, as a millennial, I can confidently say the above are stereotypes, though they may have some truth to them (I did write this blog on my phone). But I was curious to explore beyond stereotypes and find out what really makes American millennial travelers tick. So, I 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 I found out.

Variety Is the Spice of the Millennial Traveler’s Life

At nearly 35 days a year, we 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, we aren’t interested in repeatedly taking the same types of trips. We want variety and a travel experience that feels quintessentially our own. Across the board, millennial travelers seek relaxation on one trip, visit family on another, and then escape on a romantic getaway for the next. Our preference for variety is great news for destinations and travel brands because we 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.

Boomers versus Millennials post pic 2

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Budget Conscious but Willing to Spend

All this variety comes at a cost. That probably helps explain why 81% of us consider budget a key factor when it comes to travel. But that doesn’t mean that we skimp on travel. It just means we 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 we can postpone it. But, dropping several thousand on a great trip to Bali (yes that's me in Bali in the picture below) doesn't seem so out of reach. So, don’t be afraid to show us your more luxurious offerings. We 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, we like consistency in quality just as much as the next generation. So, if brands can succeed in providing quality, consistent experiences at reasonable prices, we’ll likely be repeat customers. But, don’t forget that we are deal-hunters as well. After all, we use online travel agencies to book travel more than any other site (57%) because they let us 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 us say we look for the best deals and most value for our dollar when making travel plans.

I’ve only scratched the surface here of what our research has to offer. For more details, read our eBook, American Baby Boomer Versus Millennial Travelers , which gives more background to some of these statistics.

Picture of Sarah Korach, Senior Manager, Marketing
Sarah Korach
Senior Manager, Marketing
Sarah Korach oversees global brand strategy for Expedia Group Media Solutions, the digital advertising arm of Expedia Group. Her team is responsible for creating and maintaining the look and feel of Expedia Group Media Solutions brand across owned and paid channels. She has been a marketer for over twelve years, working in the medical consulting and agency world, having spent the last seven years at Expedia Group, focused on travel marketing. Sarah holds a master’s degree in international marketing from the Manchester Business School and three undergraduate degrees focused in international business, marketing and finance from the University of Hawai’i, Manoa.
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