These days, travel is all about experiences. Adventure, discovering something new, one-upping your friends and making sure the world knows about it via Instagram. The Resident takes a look at how wealthy millennials are driving the new trends in travel…  

In recent years, the way people think about travel has changed. Wealthy millennials – with the distinct tastes of their generation and the spending power to facilitate them – are shaping what’s new in the travel market.

Millennials often define the quality of their lives by how fully they feel they are living it, and with this the idea of experiential travel is becoming ever more important. The search for freedom, authenticity and ‘real’ experiences is transforming mainstream holidays, along with other millennial concerns such as sustainability and the Fear of Missing Out. But how did we arrive at this point?

The Influence of Social Media

Perhaps the biggest difference for the millennial generation from those who have travelled before it is the interconnected nature of the modern world, and the dominance of social media. Young people now, to a certain extent, play out their lives to an audience.

The rise of online influencers, such as instagrammers @michaelchristopherbrown and @kirstenalana, have given people an intimate insight into the travel experiences that they want to emulate.

The highly curated and very well photographed narrative created by online influencers provides plenty of inspiration, and people want to lead this kind of ‘Instagrammable’ life. Millennials want to immerse themselves in an experience – of a different culture, adventure and authentic cuisine – partially for their own pleasure but partially because this creates the best story to share online.

A photo posted by Kirsten Alana (@kirstenalana) on Sep 24, 2016 at 2:03am PDT

Freedom, Adventure and Global Citizenship

One thing that millennials value highly is a sense of freedom. While previous generations quickly settled down, many millennials don’t feel hugely attached to one particular place, seeing themselves more as global citizens.

The wealthy young people who are choosing a location-independent life are a testament to this, with individuals eschewing a nine-to-five job and home ownership in order to constantly country-hop instead. Services are even cropping up which allow people to use international luxury property on a casual basis with no need for ownership, something wealthy millennials may see as tying them down.

The discovery and freedom that comes with a nomadic lifestyle is far more attractive to wealthy millennials that material acquisition

The discovery and freedom that comes with a nomadic lifestyle is far more attractive to wealthy millennials that material acquisition, and their taste for adventure has been even more influential to the wider travel market. The super-rich are spending huge sums on adventure travel, hoping to experience something more ‘real’ than another expensive holiday in a resort with a private butler.

Millennials don’t feel the need to settle down

Fear of Missing Out  

Fear of Missing Out, or FOMO, is a particularly millennial phenomenon, and is described as ‘anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on a social media website’. This, it could be argued, has prompted the trend for Last Chance to See It travel.

Defined by holidays that include an experience which may not be available in the near future, it includes travel such as northern lights holidays, seeing Havana and visiting Mauritius. The northern lights take place on an 11 year cycle and 2016 may be the last year for a decade to see them in all their glory, many feel the atmosphere of Cuba will change forever as it becomes more open, and Mauritius is in danger from rising sea levels.

Millennials don’t want to miss out on these experiences, but they’re also deeply concerned with the environmental issues that put places such as Mauritius in danger. According to study by Nielsen, one in three millennials are willing to pay more for goods and services that are sustainable, outlining another millennial travel trend for environmentally conscious hotels and travel services.

Young people are transforming travel, making it more focused on experience, adventure and authenticity – but their focus on sustainability is also ensuring that this transformation has a moral core.


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