Why Millennials are Seeking Travel Experiences, and their Top Destinations in 2018

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This year the millennial travel bucket-list is featuring experiences, not destinations. Social media feeds have for years been saturated with photos in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris and that “holding up the leaning tower of Pisa” photo or variations of it, so now young travellers are seeking experiences off the beaten track so to speak. Less famous travel destinations also happen to be cheaper, so it’s a win-win for millennials with a tight budget and nothing but a smartphone camera. This, combined with the ease of mobility we are now experiencing due to pioneers like Airbnb, seems to have millennials travelling more than ever, and of course sharing their best travel snaps via social media.

So without any further ado, these are the trending Top 5 Travel Destinations for Millennials in 2018:

1.     Iceland

2.     Costa Rica

3.     India

4.     Canada

5.     South Africa

Why?

Where in the past we would have gone to our local travel agent to peruse brochures on travel destinations, millennials are turning to Pinterest, Instagram, Airbnb and other online platforms to get their travel inspo. The industry has been transformed by social media - travel bloggers are getting sponsored to travel and post about it on Instagram to their 100k+ followers. Glossy images depicting a relaxing soak in the Blue Lagoon in Iceland, the spiritual ashrams on the banks of the river Ganges in Rishikesh or a camel ride near Marrakesh will inspire younger travellers to pack and go. It has never been easier to book a trip with many free online tools available, driven by AI and machine learning to provide personalised options.

You can look at millennial travel trends and not be surprised that they reflect the values millennials increasingly have. Ecotourism is becoming increasingly popular with millennials. “Travelers are more sensitive than ever to their carbon footprint, especially when visiting more remote locations,” Swapnil Shinde, Co-founder and CEO of the personal travel concierge app, Mezi, has found. “Travelers will practice low-impact, sustainable travel options in an effort to provide a more positive experience for both themselves as visitors and for their hosts.” Top ecotourism experiences for those environmentally conscious are Costa Rica, for its well-protected natural beauty and numerous eco-friendly accommodation options, Iceland for its clean energy consumption and outdoor-focussed lifestyle and Kenya for its biodiversity and respect for its ecosystem, to name a few.

Another travel trend among millennials is driven by a desire to be a part of a humanitarian cause and contribute to developing communities. Hence, “Voluntourism” has become a popular way to travel. The global network of WWOOF (Willing Workers On Organic Farms) connects people with farms or community projects with would-be WWOOFers who can volunteer their time and effort in exchange for a room and board. Aside from WWOOFing, there is a plethora of volunteer projects to join in countries such as India, Tanzania, South Africa, Nepal and Thailand – all increasingly popular destinations with millennials for this reason.

Aside from these travel experiences, millennials are also taking the opportunity to connect with locals in any travel destinations via Airbnb’s new Experiences platform, where locals can offer not only their homes but a cultural experience such as a paella cooking class on a rooftop terrace in Barcelona or a bicycle tour through Vancouver. It’s no longer about where you go, but what you do there and who you connect with.

Mark MacSmith