Instead of going home to see Mom and Dad this holiday season, many people in their 20s and 30s will be traveling elsewhere. We're trading Black Friday sale items for airline ticket deals and Airbnb reservations, and we'd rather spend the time it would take to trek home visiting someplace new.
In 2015, millennials took an average of 3.4 trips, more than any other age group, according to the MMGY Global 2015 Portrait of American Travelers survey. This group accounts for 20% of all international tourism, about 200 million travelers, according to the United Nations. The World Youth Student and Educational Travel Confederation predicts that by 2020, younger travelers will take 320 million international trips.
"Millennials are looking for experiences over accumulating more things," Anna Blount, market research manager at MMGY Global, told Mic. "They want to make memories. Almost half of millennials prefer to spend their money on acquiring experiences over material things."
While many of us aren't making six figures before the age of 30, if ever, or holding onto weeks of paid time off, there are ways to make travel a part of any lifestyle if it's a priority.
"The truth is that when the going gets tough, the young keep on traveling," Laura Daly of the World Youth Student and Educational Travel Confederation told the Telegraph.
So much travel, so little money. Even though we're traveling more than anyone else, the money isn't there — but it's not a complete roadblock. Despite the fact that our generation has the least in savings on record and the fewest retirement plans, trips take priority over other expenses.
As the holidays quickly approach, we'll soon have long lists of gifts to buy, alcohol to purchase for holiday parties and dinners out with friends. But even cutting a fraction of those expenses would make it easier to afford one of the trips we'd rather take anyway.
"Many of us feel like there's little reason to wait until our golden years to see the world," Amanda Machado writes in the Atlantic.
If you're retiring when you're 75, why put money away now when you could take a quick trip with your friends to the beach for the weekend? Many prefer the immediate experience over stashing pennies for a retirement that they feel may never come.
Less vacation, shorter trips. In the United States, people work all the time, but small trips on the side can break up the monotony. "Staycations," or vacations within a 50-mile radius of home, are extremely popular. Over half of millennials took at least one staycation during the past 12 months, according to MMGY Global.
Shorter weekend trips are also much easier to plan last-minute. Even though traditionally, airline and lodging deals go up during holidays, when many people are traveling, the online tools that we're using to navigate, like Yelp and TripAdvisor, make it easier to plan trips on a budget.
No one is a bigger proponent of the sharing economy while traveling than our generation. We don't mind staying in someone else's house, in fact, we prefer it. The most frequently cited reason for staying in a shared accommodation while traveling is because we "enjoy vacationing at a home away from home," Blount said.
Traveling is more about experiencing new things for us. Staying in someone else's place through Airbrnb feels like a more immersive experience. Sharing costs with friends at an apartment, even cooking meals together instead of eating out every night, can make the trip more affordable as well.
Taking trips during the holidays is easier and more accessible for us than ever before. Anyone can pull out their phone, download a host of apps, start driving and be on a small vacation away from their normal lives. All it requires is an Internet connection and a desire to get out of the routine.