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Travel now, pay later: millennials will go into debt to travel

May 23, 2019 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Millennials won’t put off travelling, even if they can’t afford it, and their ultimate dream destination is Australia – according to a revealing survey of American travellers just conducted by Ipsos, the global market research and a consulting firm with worldwide headquarters in Paris.

The research was commissioned by the homestay operation Vrbo, part of the Expedia group.

Trends in Australian travel often reflect trends in the US, though not infallibly.

“Forget what you thought about millennials travelling on a shoestring,” Karen Fuller, senior director of global market research at Vrbo, commented.

“Our results revealed that they are actually the most likely to go into debt for travel, which is consistent with the notion that millennials like to accumulate experiences, not things.” 

Among key findings:

  • People love Australia. Among all survey respondents, Australia was the top dream destination for Americans. Yet Australia was only the 18th-most-visited destination by American travellers in 2018, according to Expedia data. The disparity between dream and reality signals that barriers of time and money are the deciding factors for whether Americans will take a dream vacation. This holds true for every age group except millennials, who are the group most likely to go into debt for travel (37%) compared to Gen Xers (27%) and baby boomers (15%).
  • Internet and Wi-Fi are vital. Internet/Wi-Fi access is the single-most important accommodation amenity for American travellers of all ages, outranking traditional must- haves like TV and air-conditioning. Wi-Fi is so important that 75% said they’ll seek lodging with Internet/WiFi access, while only 59% said they expect an accommodation to have a TV. For millennials, the gap was much wider than for any other age group: 72% said they want online access, and only 41% said having a TV was important.
  • Friends and Family. American travellers are united by a common desire to travel with friends and family and to relax when traveling. All three age groups saw an increase in travellers who said they’ll travel with a group of four or more this year compared with last year, up 2%, and 52% said a family holiday is their reason for travel this year.

The millennial generation, over 75 million strong, will be America’s largest by the end of this year. Born 1981-1996, millennials are now aged between 22-37 and are poised to overtake the post-war baby boom generation sometime in 2019. Millennials make up nearly a quarter of the total US population.

As the median population age in the US (38.1 years) is similar to Australia (37.5 years), millennials will probably overtake boomers numerically this year in Australia as well. The median age is the point at which half the population are older and half are younger.

Written by Peter Needham

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