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Trend: Why Millennials are Picking Destinations over Diamonds

Millennials are spending more time (and maybe money) on travel than any other generation. Many studies done on this group suggest that they prefer experiences over material things, and as a result, millennials are redefining the global travel market.

Today, old-style holidays – fly in, sightsee, shop, fly out – do not cut it anymore. Nowadays, it isn’t about the budget or convenience alone, but more about content-rich experiences.

Destinations are researched in detail, itineraries are curated carefully, and ‘experiences’ – from river rafting to building brick homes for the disadvantaged via ‘voluntourism’ – are booked well in advance.

The social media accounts and hashtags of globe-trotting Millennials don’t just feature selfies and shopping hauls – today, but are focussed on showcasing meaningful travel, local cuisines, boho music festivals, personal growth, sustainable choices, and more. From luxurious micro-cations spanning just four to five days to responsible tourism, we take a tour of what’s trending with Millennials when it comes to holidays.

1. Food Focused Trips
Foodie Millennials consider the cuisine of a destination to be the major factor when deciding where to go. Big draws include world-famous Michelin star restaurants, and authentic local food hotspots. It’s all about the ambiance around the food that attracts this category of travellers, be it the hushed dining halls of award-winning eateries, authentic bustle at street stalls or Instagram-worthy vistas of celebrity hangouts like Nobu in California. Popular cities for food loving travelers include Rome, Bangkok, Mexico City, and New York. At La Pergola, All’Oro and Acquolina in Rome, the waiting period is a few months.

Some popular restaurants that are Millennial magnets include Gaa in Bangkok, which serves up delicious Indian-Thai fusion dishes, and Bo.Lan which dishes out traditional Thai cuisine in a glamorous setting. In Mexico City, Pujol has won fans over with its contemporary Mexican cuisine, while Quintonil is all about experimental South American flavors. In New York, Junoon is a consistent favorite with its Indian fusion fare, along with Café China that offers Sichuan cuisine in a stylish setting.

DestinationsPhoto Courtesy: Thrillophilia

2. Bachelorette and Bachelor Trips
Young adults are choosing to travel to diverse destinations such as Las Vegas and Miami in the US, Berlin in Germany, Mykonos in Greece, Dubai in the UAE, Bangkok in Thailand, and Goa in India, to celebrate with their friends before they tie the knot.

Their choice of accomodations range from five-star properties to beautiful Airbnb homes. For instance, in Las Vegas, many prefer glitzy, all-inclusive resorts such as The Venetian, Wynn Las Vegas and MGM Grand. However, in countries like Greece, they prefer to book Airbnb homes that offer authentic Greek ambiance and stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea. In Goa, boutique properties such as Ahilya by the Sea, Postcard Hotels, and Casa da Graca are becoming very popular as they ensure intimate and exclusive experiences.

The agenda for a bachelor or bachelorette holiday includes partying, spa sessions, adventure sports like sky diving, dining at exclusive spots and posing at pretty places. For example, day parties in places like Goa’s Thalassa and Olive restaurants are all about chilling out with the choicest of drinks before indulging in meals at La Plage and Burger Factory.


3. Music Festivals
In 2018, music tourism emerged as a leading travel trend in India. Some of the most famous music festivals around the world include US-based ones such as Burning Man in Nevada, Ultra Music Festival in Miami and Coachella in California. Other big ticket ones include Tomorrowland in Belgium, Magnetic Fields in Rajasthan, Sunburn in Goa, and VH1 Supersonic in Pune. With their indie music cred, it’s little wonder then that Millennials are drawn to eclectic and exuberant music festivals where established and emerging artists and bands perform.

Every year, the music festival season begins with VH1 Supersonic in February, followed by Ultra Music Festival in March, and Coachella in April. Tomorrowland is one of the most popular summer festivals. The music festival season ends with Magnetic Fields in December. Music-loving Millennials usually plan their trips around these music festivals and also take time out to explore the countries they are based in. For instance, young travelers pack up their bags after Coachella in California, and head to nearby cities such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Las Vegas to explore the attractions there.

DestinationsPhotos Courtesy: Essential Music and Pinterest

4. Wellness Vacations
Millennials are very conscious about the way they look and invest a lot of effort to stay fit. Along with eating right and working out daily, young adults are also spending money on fitness and health retreats. These retreats range from meditation and yoga camps to daily food monitoring and exercise retreats. There is a camp available for any kind of fitness or health-related need. These retreats are usually located in a tranquil location amidst nature and can be very luxurious. Some of the more well-known wellness retreats in India include Jindal Naturecure Institute in Bengaluru, Hilton Shillim Estate Retreat and Spa in Shillim in Maharashtra, and Ananda In The Himalayas in Uttarakhand. Jindal Naturecure Institute in Bengaluru offers everything from weight and stress management to spiritual growth and enhancing fitness levels. At the Hilton Shillim Estate Retreat and Spa, guests can choose from a range of wellness programs such as Ayurveda Panchakarma, Sustainable Weight Management or the Art of Detox.

DestinationsPhotos Courtesy: Wedding Art and Ananda In The Himalayas

5. Exclusive and Unique Experiences
This ‘Instagram-obsessed’ generation is always looking for special, one-of-a-kind experiences such as curated menus by a celebrity chef for a date night, or a private helicopter ride on a vacation. Extravagant proposals are also common amongst Millennials. Some of the most spectacular proposals have taken place at a chalet in Switzerland, inside a palace in Rajasthan and on a private beach in Thailand. These proposals are elaborately planned and executed. In Thailand, grooms-to-be have planned extravagant proposals on private beaches or near waterfalls, complete with strewn rose petals, live musicians and fireworks.

DestinationsPhoto Courtesy: Vivek Krishnan Photography

6. Live Sporting Events
Millennials who love sports consider the money they spend on traveling to live sporting events as an investment. They can be spotted at large-scale series such as the Cricket World Cup, Tennis Grand Slam tournaments, English Premier League, UEFA Champions League, and the NBA Finals. These sports fans book their tickets months in advance and travel even during the peak travel season just to see their favorite sports heroes live. The Cricket World Cup takes place in summer, while the English Premier League and Tennis Grand Slam tournaments occur almost throughout the year. In summer this year, large groups of Millennials traveled to the UK to watch the Cricket World Cup. They also toured neighbouring areas and some even ventured to Europe to pack in a ‘sports-sightseeing’ combination vacation.

DestinationsPhoto Courtesy: Dallas Morning News

7. Adventure Activities
Many young adults are adrenaline-junkies and love participating in adventurous activities like bungee jumping, scuba diving, river rafting, zip lining, skydiving, and paragliding. They choose to travel to destinations such as New Zealand, Australia, Rishikesh, and Ladakh to take part in adventure sports in spectacular settings and surreal landscapes. New Zealand and Australia are well known for bungee jumping; and December to February is the best time to visit these countries. Closer home, Rishikesh is popular for river rafting and camping, and Ladakh lures long-distance hikers and trekkers. The summer months are best for both these activities.

DestinationsPhoto Courtesy: Nishant Bhatia and Yatika

8. Responsible Tourism
Young adults are conscious of the impact of their actions on the environment. They are choosing to travel in ways that are the least harmful to the environment. For instance, they opt for public transport, stay at local Airbnb apartments and eat at restaurants serving local produce. Additionally, Millennials are reducing their environmental footprint by purchasing carbon offsets to compensate for carbon emissions from their travel through websites such as Terrapass.

DestinationsPhoto Courtesy: Slawa Walczak

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