Voices

September 7, 2016

What Millennials Don’t Understand About Travel

Though travel has become an integral part of millennial culture, they still have a lot to learn when it comes to the rules of the road.

IFN Sept Blog

Even if you didn’t Instagram it, it still happened

The digital generation has created a massive culture of internet FOMO – “Fear of Missing Out.”. Millennials often choose destinations based on the opportunity for Instagrammable, “like”-worthy moments. While this does lead them to a lot of beautiful places, it can also prevent them from broadening their horizons, or going somewhere simply because they want to go there. Travel is such an expensive commitment, it’s important to do it for yourself, not for an audience.

 

An Airbnb is not a hotel room

Millennials love Airbnb because it offers unique experiences that give visitors a glimpse into how the locals live – and there’s nothing wrong with that! Airbnb is often an inexpensive alternative to a hotel. However, that’s exactly what it is – an alternative. It’s unfair to expect an Airbnb host – a normal person who probably has a full-time job and just happens to have some extra room, which they rent out to strangers at low prices out of the goodness of their own heart – to offer comparable service to a hotel staff made up of concierges, housekeepers, managers, and room service attendants. Those who travel to relax should probably steer clear of Airbnb, which tends to require nearly as much work from its’ visitors as it does from its’ hosts, in favor of a more traditional hotel experience.

 

Apps don’t always have the answer

With the accessibility of online reviews at our fingertips, it can be easy to turn to a rating app before making a decision. However, rating apps are often tainted by a black market of paid reviews, and sorting through 300 reviews on every hotel or hostel option can leave the reader with a serious case of analysis paralysis. Millennials have a tendency to turn to these sites and apps before turning to those they actually know, but they should start doing the opposite: when in doubt, trust the recommendations of friends and family. A traveler knows the context of these people’s lives – what they do, what they like – and can interpret their suggestions based on that. It’s not possible to apply this perspective to anonymous reviews from strangers on the internet.

 

There’s nothing wrong with the classics

Famous destinations, like Amsterdam and London, have stood the test of time and driven decades of travelers en masse. While a popular locale may feel crowded in comparison to an unknown island off the coast of India, it will probably also have the infrastructure and developments that make travel comfortable. Navigating a vacation without hotels, tours, taxis, money exchanges, SIM cards, the occasional English-speaker, menus at restaurants, and endless pop culture and social media inspiration to look to in the planning process is an uphill battle. Millennials: feel free to venture off the beaten path, but prepare to be truly on your own when you get there.

 

Learn the language

Even though we all have Google Translate at the ready and a kind stranger who speaks a little English is never too far away, millennials would do well to rely a little less on strangers and technology. Every traveler should learn at least a few useful phrases of the language before visiting a foreign country. Not only is it a respectful way to approach the locals, it’s also incredibly empowering.

 

Travel is a privilege, not a right

With the accessibility of cheaper travel options growing ever more ubiquitous, millennials are making travel an essential part of their annual budgets. Budget flight sites and dirt-cheap hostels weren’t always so available to the public. Now that travel is becoming more democratized, it’s essential that millennials remain grateful for the opportunity to expand their minds by visiting new places. It’s not fair to tweet angrily at the budget airline for not having free peanuts – they had to make the flight cheaper somehow. Why complain online about the quality of the $1 street food when there are probably many people in that country who don’t even have $1?

 

Flying cheap doesn’t mean flying better

Millennials tend to start traveling more often and earlier than older generations did, because they are willing to sacrifice quality in order to do things inexpensively. While this certainly affords more opportunities, these choices can also ruin potentially great journeys. Buying airfare from budget sites usually means excessive and overlong stopovers in multiple foreign countries. Time wasted sitting in foreign airports can obliterate several days of a short vacation. If a flight is late, the secondmust be rescheduled. Layovers also force travelers to go through the fuss of customs and security in the country of the layover – even if they never step outside the airport! The list of potential hassles never ends. Flying nonstop is worth the added cost – not only for the time savings, but for the sake of every traveler’s sanity.

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