Millennials, those intrepid, energetic, internet-savvy travelers prefer partying over cultural pursuits when traveling -- right? They're on social media whenever possible, and grab KFC whenever they can, wherever they may be, yes?
Well, maybe not.
Topdeck Travel, popular provider of group travel for 18-30 somethings, surveyed 31,000 people from 134 different countries: 88 percent of them traveled overseas between one and three times a year; 94 percent were between 18-30; 30 percent traveled solo; and the majority traveled in Europe, North America and Australia/New Zealand.
A sampling of the surprising survey results are below, along with my comments:
Reflecting peer-influence at that young stage of life, in choosing where they travel next, 76 percent said that friends' recommendations were a main factor, and what's on sale, and social media also came far ahead of travel-agent advice (18%).
The survey revealed that this younger generation is no longer seeking a party-animal atmosphere when traveling, and instead wants to fully immerse themselves into new cultures, and feast on local cuisine. In fact, of the group surveyed, experiencing a new culture (86%) and eating local foods (69%) were listed as common determining factors for motivating people aged 18 to 24 to travel -- ahead of partying (44%) and shopping (28%).
Keeping fit was a priority for 14 percent of millennial travelers (that may be that they are young and fit to begin with) while only 11 percent responded that they didn't exercise at all while traveling. (My guess is that they walk alot and "exercise" for its own sake is unnecessary.)
Almost three-quarters of those surveyed do their own travel planning and reservations, and half book their trips six to 12 months ahead. About half travel independently, but book some tours when they arrive at their destination.
Other interesting findings from the survey debunked some myths. Despite the notion that millennials are selfie and social-media obsessed, about 10 percent don't update their social media accounts while traveling, and over half of young travelers only update their social media accounts a few times per week. Most popular apps used when traveling are Facebook (94%), Instagram (71%), Trip Advisor, WhatsApp; and far behind at 14 percent, Twitter.
Not only are millennials posting less often, but wifi access was also rated far less important than expected when traveling. As for photos, 39 percent used a smartphone and only two percent did not take photos. (Smartphones and compact digital cameras have made photography so much easier and higher quality than even 10 years ago.)
More specifically, 98 percent of younger generations ranked 'eating local cuisine' as something that was very important (more than 5 out of 10) when they traveled. In fact, 37 percent of millennials avoid junk food when traveling.
Millennials' most popular bucket-list destination was Europe at 33 percent, with the United States and Australia/New Zealand tied at 13 percent. When asked about places they wanted to visit in Asia, they ranked Thailand tops at 83 percent, with Vietnam, Malaysia, Cambodia and Indonesia not far behind. Super-power China was far down on the list (43%), and just a bit ahead of emerging Myanmar (41%).
Oh, and those seemingly ubiquitous selfie-sticks: Thirty-five percent of millennials would consider using them, 24 percent are annoyed by them -- and four percent never heard of them!