Understanding Millennial Travel & Spending Habits vs. Baby Boomers


At the end of last year, my father and I agreed to take a trip to Europe. After choosing London as the first stop, I immediately turned to the web for inspiration.

For the next couple of months, I spent hours in front of my computer, inspired to research for our upcoming vacation. My dad tried to remind me that our trip was six months away, but it fell on deaf ears. I’m part of the 89% of Millennial travelers who choose to begin booking activities immediately, despite how far away the trip is.

While researching, I took into account the price of every activity, but I refused to restrict what I booked based on price. This is typical of my generation. Even though Millennials look for high value/low cost activities in their day-to-day, when it comes to travel we want to splurge! We want to make the most out of our time away from our busy lives and financial concerns are not a priority—the experiences we’ll have and memories we’ll make are.

Millennial Travel Spending Trends in 2016


In 2016, 23% of Millennials said they spent more on vacations than they have in prior years, compared with a 21% average (and up from 14% in 2013).1

After days of sending my dad nonstop trip-related emails, he agreed to leave the planning to me, a Millennial.

Putting My Millennial Shopping Habits to Use

My father was right in delegating the task of planning our Euro-trip to me. Online travel booking is the most preferred method for research and planning among Millennials1, and I have more experience than him in searching the web for discounts, reviews, and ideas.

To plan, I poured over reviews for hotels and activities on TripAdvisor and Expedia. My father was not familiar with the sites, but my friends all were. This is because 49% of all Millennials use review sites when planning and researching trips, compared to only 38% of Baby Boomers using them.2

Millennials are adept at utilizing social media to plan high value travel vacations


Social media was also one of the largest drivers behind activities I ended up booking. I was inspired by posts from friends who had visited London earlier that month, and also by expertly targeted ads I was served while scrolling through Facebook. Compared to my dad’s generation—only 14% of Baby Boomers are influenced by social media for trip activities—social media has a larger influence on Millennials (33%).2


As I was planning my trip to Europe, my mother, meanwhile, was planning a separate trip to Greece. When comparing our planning experience, I found she was using a travel agent. She didn’t feel comfortable determining what information she could rely on from the internet, and she didn’t have time to set aside for planning. This attitude is typical of Baby Boomers, but less common among Millennials. In 2016, 31,000 Millennials from 134 different countries were surveyed about their attitudes regarding travel planning. Only 18% said they used a travel agent when booking their trips.3

For the majority of travelers (83%), regardless of generation, it’s important to have new experiences on their vacations.1 This means different things to different travelers, but to my dad and me, it meant exploring until our feet ached, trying new foods, taking goofy photos in front of monuments, and some quality father-daughter bonding. And I documented all of this on my social media accounts, with a specific hashtag related to our trip.


Before we left for Europe, I rented a small device that allowed me to have Wi-Fi access for the entire trip.
This device provided me with the opportunity to always post images online, and my friends weren’t expecting anything less. 97% of Millennial travelers post on social networks and share experiences while traveling. And I fell under the 73% of Millennials who posted once a day.4

76% of Baby Boomers5 connect to the internet while traveling, though for different reasons than Millennials.
While I was focused on connecting with my friends, my father’s priority was answering work emails. After checking his messages in the morning, he turned his phone off for the rest of the day. He had little to no interest in sharing pictures on his social media accounts (he does have Facebook). His priority was making sure I took enough photos to add to an actual trip scrapbook.

Millennial travel trends are providing a boost
to the travel industry, one booked trip at a time

The importance of travel to Millennials and their need to collect experiences will fuel growth of both the U.S. leisure travel and international travel industries1. Including the trip I took with my dad, I plan on taking two more trips in 2017—one with my boyfriend and another with my best friend. Last year, I did the same thing: took one family vacation and two trips with close friends. While I greatly enjoyed the quality time with my family, there’s nothing like experiencing new places with like-minded travelers, A.K.A. other Millennials.

The U.S. vacation and tourism market was estimated at $232.9 billion in 2015, and is expected to grow 22% by 20201, with Millennials poised to overtake the Baby Boomer generation in travel spending (hi, Dad!). This is again partly due to the priorities of my generation. My friend just booked herself a spontaneous trip to Las Vegas this weekend because she realized she needed time away from her busy life. She also attributed the posts she saw from my trip as a contributing factor to her travel plans. I can relate; after seeing posts on social media, and experiencing firsthand amazing trips, I have officially been bitten by the travel bug.

Interested in reaching consumers who are looking to plan their next vacation? MNI Targeted Media Inc. can get your message in front of Millennials like me, who are constantly inspired by social media posts and review sites while we are looking to satisfy our wanderlust.

Read more about Millennial spending habits here, and more about media consumption by age here.



1. “Millennial Travelers”, Mintel 2016.

2. AARP, “Travel Research: 2017 Travel Trends,” Nov 1, 2016.

3. https://www.forbes.com/sites/lealane/2016/01/15/are-millennial-travel-trends-shifting-in-2016-youll-be-surprised/#18150ee236a8

4. https://www.curalate.com/blog/millennials-travel-industry/

5. Intel Security “Digital Detox: Unplugging on Summer Vacation,” June 21, 2016.