It’s all about experiences over things for today’s young people. A new study by youth adventure travel company Contiki Tours found that Canadian millennials would give up Tim Hortons, Netflix, shopping, and hockey to travel.
The survey asked what motivates them to book a trip, what they would give up for a year if given the opportunity to travel for free, their top regrets of 2018, and their dream “travel squad” of 2019 – people, dead or alive, whom they would want to travel with. Overall, it found that it’s about moments that matter, with nearly three-quarters of respondents stating they are planning to try new experiences versus spending money on things they don’t need. The biggest regret of 2018 for half of young Canadians was the trips they didn’t take, with an overwhelming majority of young Canadians reporting that they regret not travelling enough.
Three-quarters of young Canadians said they would be more than willing to stop buying new things like clothing and electronics in order to travel more. If given the opportunity to travel for free, 68 per cent would give up hockey and another 63 per cent were willing to cancel Netflix. The survey revealed that 71 per cent would forgo their regular Tim Hortons visit in exchange for an all-expense-paid trip anywhere in the world. Seventy-two per cent would give up dating apps, which makes sense considering that countless studies prove that you’re more likely to meet your soulmate travelling than at home.
These results aren’t surprising given the number of #travelgrams that dominate feeds (85 million and counting, according to Instagram) compared to shots of shiny new TVs or gadgets. Young people are so eager to travel that 61 per cent of respondents said they would even stay sober for a year to do so. Perhaps the most surprising finding was that – in contrast to the popular notion that millennials are addicted to their phones – one-quarter of young Canadians would actually give up their cell phones and internet in order to travel. Now, that’s a dedication to the wanderlust cause.
When asked reasons for travel, 40 per cent cited experiencing the local culture of the destination they’re visiting as a top booking factor, with another one-third specifically on the hunt for adventure-based activities. From Australia to Zimbabwe, 31 per cent said checking places off their bucket lists was a deciding factor. In our growing foodie culture, 31 per cent of young Canadians voted with their stomachs, with food being a top factor for 31 per cent of young Canadians in choosing a vacation.
In terms of ideal travel companions, one-quarter of those surveyed said they would have liked to have travelled with the late, great Anthony Bourdain. A young Leonardo DiCaprio (in his Titanic or The Beach days) was also a popular option.
As opposed to spending money on frivolous and fleeting things, findings overwhelmingly prove that the ‘”experience economy” trend is here to stay – especially with the rise of Instagram and millennial travellers doing it for the ‘gram. While previous generations Baby Boomers and Generation X were prone to keeping up with the Joneses by purchasing ‘stuff’ as status symbols, the younger generations have replaced living in the material world with living life and telling others about their experiences, one glossy social media post at a time.
After all, two decades ago, the memory of surfing in Hawaii or hiking in The Azores is going to mean a lot more to you than that pair of shoes that just dented your credit card.