According to a study released on Nov. 9, 2016, conducted by GfK with Airbnb, millennials value travel so much that the majority of them in the United States, the United Kingdom and China would prioritize travel over buying a home or paying off debt. Millennials, ages 18-35, also feel like travel is a part of their identity. "Over 70 percent of millennials surveyed in each country said 'travel is an important part of who I am as a person,' and over 65 percent of millennials said that 'regular travel is an important part of my life'," the study says. A quick scan of my social media page and the accounts I follow basically reinforces this. Through our page bios, curated images and accounts we interact with, we're shown that we are, indeed, travelers.
After the recent economic crisis and real estate market crash, perhaps we've learned from our parents that material goods are fleeting. We're skeptical in investing our money in something that might be taken away from us. We'd rather have experiences to make us feel rich.
Another interesting highlight from the report is that over 80 percent of millennials seek unique travel experiences, meaning they're ditching packaged tours and building their own itineraries. They also say that the best way to learn about a place is to live like the locals do (I guess that's where Airbnb comes in). Over the past few years there seems to have been a shift from being a tourist to being a traveler as people want the genuine experience. They seem to want to show what they're doing isn't like everyone else, it's more authentic or special.
Airbnb isn't the only brand to research how millennials invest. Millennials and their relationship with travel is why Chase created its Sapphire Reserve card, with its 3x points on travel and dining worldwide.
Keeping up with the Joneses is no longer about buying a bigger house, now it's outdoing each other on "once-in-a-lifetime" experiences. And instead of just looking down the block at your neighbor's yard, you're scrolling through social media. According to AdWeek, 76 percent of travelers post vacation photos on Facebook and 52 percent of Facebook users said their friends' travel photos have influenced their own plans. Just a quick search on Instagram shows that #travel has been used 133,507,155 times on public posts. People are showing off, and people are looking. We're showing off not just cool views of the Eiffel Tower, but also unique eating experiences and thrilling action shots. We're hoping to both inspire and, to be honest, invoke some jealousy.
Some people might think it's a bit frivolous to spend their money on travel as opposed to "investing in their future" via a home or car, but after seeing so much lost in recent years due to the economic crisis, maybe there really isn't a correct way to invest. You'll have those memories of skydiving in Interlaken, exploring Pompeii or swimming through the Mediterranean forever.