Why Millennial Travelers Are Seeking More Authentic Experiences

Kacey Mya
January 16, 2024

If you know a millennial — or are one yourself — then you know how important travel is to this generation. 

Research has shown that today’s 20-somethings are spending more on travel than they are traditional investments - like down payments on homes. For them, life is all about the experiences.

As they travel more, millennials seek specific experiences they want to curate for themselves - not just general vacations.

Gone are the days of all-inclusive vacations where you never leave the resort. Millennials are seeking off-the-beaten path adventures that are authentic and unforgettable (and Instagram-worthy, too).

There’s a lot more to their reasoning, of course. Here’s why millennials want to take the most unique vacations possible — and why you should too.

1. They Want to Be a Part of the Culture


Millennial travelers aren’t heading to Europe, Southeast Asia and South America to party anymore. Instead, their trips are all about authenticity...and cultural immersion is the best way to achieve that goal.

Recent studies have shown the main goal for millennials when traveling is to experience a new culture. They also ranked sampling the local cuisine as an important part of their travels, too, which is arguably a big part of a country or city’s culture.

2. They Want to Find Themselves


Many millennials are traveling at a time in which self-discovery is vital. 

They may still be in college or just graduated -or perhaps even working in their first or second professional positions. However, they’re still at the beginning of their professional lives and they know a travel experience can open their eyes to what they really want.

Traveling to different places in the world has the power to help people find themselves more capable than they ever thought possible - which can fuel their pursuit of dreams and goals in their everyday lives too. 

They might even find the courage to set out on a new career or pursuit because of traveling, which can change the course of their young lives -and sometimes, that’s exactly what they want from a trip.

3. They Want to Set Themselves Apart


Millennials want to blaze their own trails and see the unexpected so they're not exactly looking to go to Cancun and never leave the resort.

In order to do this, they often travel a bit differently than their older or more traditional counterparts.

Rather than jet from location to location to location, millennials hop on local buses and trains to see more of the local landscape of a place and experience it fully. 

They do the same with boat travel, which allows them to stop at small ports that they might not otherwise see.

4. They Want to Stay Active


At one time, bus travel was the peak of tourism. Large groups of people would hop onto a bus, hop off at big tourist sites and then hop back on the bus, barely moving their legs before traveling to the next destination.

This won’t fly for millennials, who like to stay fit — and that’s a great number of them, according to Bloomberg. The number of obese adults has decreased in this population; 20-somethings also have no problem spending big bucks on workout clothes or classes. So it probably comes as no surprise that they enjoy active vacations, too.

This can mean everything from walking a city top to bottom (while wearing a step counter, of course), to partaking in active activities while exploring a new place. 

Everything from stand-up paddle boarding, to snorkeling, to hiking could be on a millennial’s to-do list. This type of active exploring certainly makes a trip more authentic, since they get to see more on foot and experience more that a landscape has to offer than just its tourist sites.

5. They Want to Repeat What They See on Social Media


Social media has undoubtedly added fuel to the millennial travel craze. Seeing friends head off to far-flung destinations makes other 20-somethings want to book tickets, too. And, since their friends aren’t going to the expected vacation spots, they don’t want to either.

Even millennials whose friends aren’t jetting off can still use social media for travel inspiration. They log onto sites like Pinterest and Instagram to find the places they want to see and experience on their own; often times, they’re smaller, more unique destinations that get lots of likes and shares because they’re so special.

Whether or not you are a millennial, you can learn from their traveling style: sometimes, it’s best not to stick to the road more often traveled. 

Instead, hit the road and find a unique adventure: the authenticity of your experience will be something that shapes who you are now and who you will be for the rest of your life.  


Are you a millennial traveler looking to travel more? Check out Under30Experiences' CEO Matt Wilson's bestselling book The Millennial Travel Guidebook: Escape More, Spend Less, & Make Travel a Priority in Your Life.

Kacey Mya
Kacey is a lifestyle blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations and cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts. Follow Kacey on Twitter and subscribe to her blog to keep up with her travels and inspiring posts!


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