Expedia recently released a study of the Millennial generation (defined as people born between 1982 and 1999), with the aim of gaining insight towards the future of the travel industry. In the study, they asked 1000 people between ages 18 and 64, from a range of different countries around the world.
The results of the study unsurprisingly emphasized Millennials’ relationship to social media and other online travel resources, finding that 56% of Millennials post videos and/or photos of their vacations on social media.
Interestingly, this study also reveals a hesitance on the part of Millennial travelers, in regard to their safety. 63% of American Millennials surveyed stated that they worry about their safety on holidays abroad more than they do on holidays in the US. But this is not exclusive to American Millennials. 50% of Australian Millennials and up to 68% of Chinese Millennials believed the same of their own countries.
In addition, of the Millennials surveyed, almost half (43%) stated that the thought of traveling alone intimidated them.
At this point it only makes sense to point out a correlation between Millennials’ relationship with online media and their fear of travel.
As part of the Millennial generation myself, it seems that each time I log into my Facebook or check my Twitter account, I am bombarded by images and stories of natural disasters, vacations-gone-wrong, and the odd abduction or murder of a traveler.
And I understand why these are so prominent on our news feeds. These kinds of stories get our hearts pumping. These kinds of stories sell.
But at the same time, these stories influence our perception of the world. If I’m constantly reading about the earthquake rumbles in Ecuador, that is going to influence my decision to travel there. It may even make me fearful of that destination.
The more we read about backpackers- traveling solo or otherwise- in Southeast Asia being ripped off, getting lost or stolen from, the less we are inclined to want to travel there.
Perhaps Non-Millennials are less worried about their safety when traveling because their eyes aren’t glued to horrific stories and images from abroad.
This is where I (and other travel bloggers) come in. As contributors to online media, it is up to us travel writers to continue to promote destinations and shed light on the real safety of travel- not just those negative stories that get clicks.
We need to encourage travel within the Millennial generation. After all, we all know how travel can shape you as a person and Millennials are at the prime time in their lives to have impactful travel experiences.
And now, to you Millennials reading this: there is more to the world than you can see from your Facebook feed. The tragic images and stories from abroad are extreme, yes. But they are shared because the companies behind them know they will get attention.
Get out there and travel. It’s okay to have fear, but don’t let that fear lock you inside- let it drive you to prove it wrong.