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Millennials are the trailblazers of modern traveling, researchers say

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Recent advances in technology and transportation have made it easier than ever to pack your bags and leave. The concept of traveling is evolving, and the protagonists of this change are millennials.

As some researchers point out, millennials, now the age group that travels the most, have introduced a new approach to it. Following are the main differences that separate millennials’ traveling ways from those of previous generations.

1. Millennials travel more than last generation’s youth.

David Chapman of the World Youth Student and Educational Travel Confederation (WYSETC) said that young travelers have accounted for “at least 20 percent of international arrivals since the turn of the century” and are likely to approach 25 percent very soon.

Millennials have traveled more than any other generation overall, 4.2 times a year on average, as opposed to 2.9 only for older generations, according to a survey by HVS Global Hospitality Services.

2. What do they expect of a trip?

Gert Nieuwboer, the general director of SNP Natuurreizen, a leading company for worldwide eco-adventures in the Netherlands, and creator of the millennial travel site, said, “Standard active holidays, like walking and cycling holidays, are not their [millennials’] cup of tea — that’s what their parents do.”

Millennials prefer unique experiences with challenging activities, like hiking, climbing, floating, canoeing, surfing, enjoying nature, meeting local people and witnessing exciting events that make compelling stories to take home.

“The top motivations for millennials to travel are experiencing everyday life in a destination and increasing their knowledge,” according to Chapman and the WYSETC Millennial Traveler Survey.

Related: 5 secrets young travelers on a budget should know

3. New technology is the best way to plan a trip.

Living in the age of technology, millennials have a higher trust in fellow internet users. Reviews, opinions and social media have a strong influence on them. They also tend to use mobiles to find immediate information, book activities, change reservations and receive instant email confirmations.

“Freedom is very important to them,” Nieuwboer said. “They don’t want to book their whole trip in advance — they want the ability to decide on the spot.”

According to an Expedia survey, 49 percent of millennials use smartphones to plan a trip, 40 percent to share while abroad, and 35 percent to book trips.

4. Sharing is key.

A report by the World Travel Market has shown that millennials also differ from previous generations by looking for the best souvenirs to fill their luggages, taking unique photos and sharing their minute-by-minute moments on social media. In short, millennials seek experiences worthy of an Instagram or blog post.

Younger travelers, as Chapman said, are the trailblazers of traveling.

“Their behaviors and preferences shape the products and services that the travel industry develops, many of which are later consumed by mainstream travelers,” he said. “This is what I mean when I say that every traveler is a millennial traveler.”

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