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Travel now, pay later: Millennials are going into debt for vacation

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Vrbo® today revealed findings from a survey of American travelers conducted by Ipsos, which showed the stage of life we’re in significantly impacts the reasons we travel, what we’ll sacrifice to get away, and what we look for when we get there. To wit, Vrbo found that millennials won’t put off traveling, even if they can’t afford it.

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

The full report on Vrbo’s US Traveler Survey is available here: https://www.vrbo.com/vacation-ideas/travel-trends/vrbo-traveler-survey-2019.

Key findings include:

  • Dream Destinations Among all survey respondents, Australia was the top dream destination. However, the country was only the 18th-most-visited destination by American travelers 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%). 

  • Why We Travel 
    • Millennials: 45% said they’ll travel purely for exploration in 2019. 

    • Gen Xers: 20% of 35-to-54-year-olds said they’ll travel for a special occasion in 2019. Of those, 44% said the special occasion is a milestone event, such as an anniversary or a birthday. 

    • Baby boomers: the least likely group to be traveling for a hobby or activity, like surfing, hiking, or skiing (6%), a 17% difference from millennials.
  • Preferences and Amenities Internet/WiFi access is the single-most important accommodation amenity for American travelers of all ages, outranking traditional must-haves like TV and air-conditioning. WiFi 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 41% said having a TV was important. 

  • Friends and Family Travel American travelers 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 travelers 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 vacation is their reason for travel this year.

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