UPDATE: What we can all learn from millennials about travel
By Kari Paul, MarketWatch
The 18-34 age group is spending less money but enjoying experiences more
River Tatry, a 23-year-old freelancer based in New York City who travels abroad each year, likes to volunteer with nonprofits, take classes, or stay with locals using apps like Couchsurfing and Airbnb when on the road. For Tatry, packing into a tour bus in Europe or laying on a beach at a resort isn't an appealing vacation.
"I don't travel to relax, I travel to have new and interesting experiences," Tatry said. "For me, it is much more worthwhile to integrate myself into a place, learn something new, make local friends to visit again, and build community."
Members of Generation X and baby boomers like to deride millennials for just about everything. But recent research suggests older folks could learn a lot from these young adults when it comes to traveling. "Millennials have been bored in the past by traditional tours and resort stays with their parents," said Andrew Sheivachman, analyst at travel industry site Skift said. "Now that they plan their own vacations, they want to spend on enriching experiences instead of accommodations and airfare."
Millennials are increasingly seeking out authentic travel, a new study from travel insurance company Allianz Global Assistance found, using sharing economy services to stay and learn (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/5-ways-to-make-the-world-a-better-place-while-you-travel-2017-06-09) while abroad. Just 58% of people 35 and older trust the sharing economy compared with 83% of those between 18 and 34, the Allianz study found, and 77% of millennials had actually used sharing economy services (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/after-the-fyre-festival-millennials-still-want-to-live-like-millionaires-on-the-cheap-2017-05-05) compared with just 39% of those 35 and older.
A number of tour companies have emerged catering to the demand for hyper-local travel, including Visit.org, which focuses on "social impact travel experiences" where 100% of host revenue is invested back into the local community. Online travel agency Responsible Travel focuses on eco-friendly travel (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/5-ways-to-make-the-world-a-better-place-while-you-travel-2017-06-09) in small groups that partner with local communities.
Christian Wolters, North American managing director at tour-booking website TourRadar (http://www.tourradar.com), said interest in guided tours isn't dying off, just evolving. The top three travel sites for millennials are Discovery, Adventure and In-Depth Cultural trips, he said. "They're looking for more meaning when it comes to traveling and a local experience that will offer them a chance to learn firsthand about that country," he said.