Millennials Travel Because They Can’t Afford This


What is it to be young and financially insecure? According to industry experts, millennials are splurging on travel because they know they’re unlikely to get into the housing game.

The trend of younger people spending money on travel is not a new observation, with the 2014 World Youth Student and Educational (WYSE) Travel Confederation’s Millennial Travel Report and Expedia’s recent research both noting that millennials and Gen Z travellers are on the rise.

But Contiki Tours, a company specialising in millennial travel, saw a rise of 10 per cent in the average spend of their clients aged 18 to 35. Donna Jeavons, Sales and Marketing Director for Contiki, says that this extra spending power may be due to younger people’s realisation that they have no chance of saving for a house anytime soon. So they’re choosing to spend their money on travel instead.

“I think the urgency for buying a house is no longer there,” she told The Independent. “We’re seeing many millennials investing in experiences over bricks and mortar.”

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A study from Airbnb also strengthens this idea, revealing that millennials are more interested in spending their money on experiences rather than big purchases (think: houses that they have to take out a loan to afford and later resent).

But that is not to say that millennials are more frivolous than the previous generations. Jeavons adds that the subject is a matter of perspective, “Travel has become much more affordable over the past few years, and opened up destinations which were never previously accessible.”

It’s a fast-growing sector too, with companies gunning straight for the spending power of the younger generation, launching over-the-top services like Instagram Butlers and taking Instagrammability of rooms and restaurants to the next level. Airlines have also taken a shine to millennial travel, launching lifestyle-focused airlines and experience-focused cruise lines.


With the inflation of the property market and student loan debts, it’s no wonder the prospect of buying houses has lost out to what’s seen as a long-term investment by millenials: travel. Beyond doing it for the #FOMO and the ‘gram, millennials clearly value wanderlust more than previous generations. And Jeavons says it’s because seeing the world before settling down has become more of an acceptable practice today, “In fact, it’s very much encouraged as it helps you develop a lot of life and work skills.”

Now, with millennials being arguably the most stressed generation, coupled with the uncertainty about the future and a discontent with work, is there even a question as to why young‘uns are more compelled to get out there and see the world? What we’re wondering is this: with the shift of more affordable and accessible travel options and the proven long-term investment that is travel, why is it that the more millennials follow the traditional advice of stopping to smell the roses, the more frequently they’re accused of being entitled?

Now that’s a research topic we’d love to explore.

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Sue May
Whiskey drinker. Whimsy finder. Word writer. Sue May is a fan of big words and arcane definitions. Fascinated with stories, this honorary Geordie enjoys stumbling down well-trodden paths, roads less travelled by, and meeting new people. (Sometimes she writes about them.)