It’s that time when people’s Instagram feeds start looking like a “what-I-did-for-summer” slide show. Holiday travel season is here and more Americans are planning trips this year, according to new, global research from Ipsos. Nearly 70% of Americans say they plan to travel this summer, up slightly from 2017. The average travel budgets, however, dip slightly to $2,600.
Increasingly, American travelers between 18 and 35 are skipping the hotel resorts and relying more on local, peer-to-peer accommodations. Millennials are leading other travelers to experiences like camping and staying in cabins in nature, and booking home and room rentals and exchanges, according to the study. In several cases, their penchant to use these travel options are double that of the average American.
“We don’t really do hotels anymore,” says Christine Rietveld, 32, who lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband Douglas. “Usually we’re camping in a tent but if it’s some place where we can’t camp, we use Airbnb.” Still, she prefers to sleep outside. On a recent visit to her sister’s home, she set up a tent in the backyard. Their next big trip is 10 days in Machu Picchu.
The couple saves money by renting a room in someone’s house. “We were really freaked out the first time we did it but then it was kind of cool,” she says. It’s no wonder that home accommodations led by Airbnb are booming. The decade-old company recently rolled out luxury options for home rentals and trips.
“People of all ages are exploring more and different things and activities on vacation. Many major marketers are responding from Marriott offering vacation experiences to Booking.com diving into the home rental business in a big way to compete with Airbnb,” says Michael Baer, senior vice president and team lead of U.S. Ipsos Affluent Intelligence.
Millennial women are driving travel trends
Ipsos will soon release another study of affluent tourists with a June 11 webinar that reinforces how millennials are shaping the travel industry around experiences collection and diverse activities.
“Millennial women are really the absolute pioneers and drivers of the travel category,” says Baer. “They’re the ones who want to stay where no one else has stayed before. They want active, structured time the entire time and are comfortable going someplace that they know no one else has been.” Women are so much above average in these behaviors that “it drives the entire generation,” Baer adds.
The Ipsos affluent survey also identified six travel archetypes. They include people who seek pampering or physical challenges to wisdom hunters and indulgent gourmands. “No surprise, millennials lead in all of them,” says Baer.
Millennials make up 51% of people who use gift registry web site Honeyfund, followed by GenXers, according to CEO Sara Margulis. She says the company processes about $100 million in financial gifts, mainly for honeymooners.
“What we’re seeing is a lot more ambitious trips with couples traveling around the world and taking much longer vacations for honeymoons,” says Margulis. “We’re seeing that more couples are taking their honeymoon well after their wedding to find time for their work schedules to match up with vacations.”
Conversely, the Rietvelds plan much of their travel on short notice. “We’re very ‘fly by seat of our pants,’” says Rietveld. “If we have extra money, we go on more trips. If not, we go on less.”