Well-Being//

This is How Millennial Vacation Habits Compare to Other Generations

And why stress levels might be a factor.

Compared to their younger and older counterparts, Millennials take the most vacations at about 5.6 trips per year, according to a new survey. But they also take the shortest trips.

The survey was conducted by Northstar Research Partners and Expedia Media Solutions. They asked 1,001 Americans who’d booked a trip in the last year to answer an online survey about their vacation habits. The survey included questions about how they planned trips, where they went and the extent to which social media platforms influenced their travel decisions.

According to the results, Millennials (those between the ages of 24 and 35 years old) averaged about 5.6 trips each year. But the average length of those trips was 6.2 days, the shortest of any generation surveyed. Boomers on the other hand took fewer trips—3.5 per year—but were away for longer per trip, averaging 7.8 days away. Gen Z (18 to 23-year-olds) took about 4.4 trips per year and were away for 6.6 days per trip, while Gen X (36 to 55-year-olds) took 4.0 trips per year for around 6.4 days each.

The survey also provides some insight as to why each generation traveled. For instance, the younger age groups—Gen Z and Millennials—wanted to cross things off their bucket lists and “embrace #YOLO,” according to the survey. Millennials and Gen Z were the most interested in being outdoors and exploring. Millennials were also the most focused on relaxing: 83 percent of them somewhat or strongly agreed with the statement “I’m all about taking a nap on the beach, spa treatments and all-day relaxation,” compared to 53 percent of Boomers who said the same.

The most fascinating finding to me, a Millennial, is the idea that Millennials seek relaxation more than any other generation. While this might reinforce stereotypes that Millennials just want to laze around on the beach, it may also signal how stressed out my generation is. That’s not just anecdotal, either: the American Psychological Association’s 2015 Stress in America survey found that of all generations surveyed, stress levels for Millennials and Gen Xers was “well above average,” with Millennials being most stressed of all. As to why they don’t get away for very long, it’s hard to give a conclusive reason based on these survey results. But it could be influenced by their tendency to be “work martyrs,” as Katie Denis recently wrote about for Thrive Global. Denis explained that the “always-on” workplace of today can make Millennials feel that taking time off to rest, relax and take care of themselves means they’re weak, or may imply they don’t care enough about their job.

One thing that was common across generations? No one did a great job of unplugging while they were away. Seventy-one percent of Millennials, 72 percent of Gen X, and 70 percent of Boomers reported using their phones on vacation. Gen Z was slightly worse, with 78 percent saying they used smartphones on their trips.

While all ages reported that many of their vacations were to visit family, that reason seemed to be more important to Boomers, who might have aging parents or grandchildren to visit, than to Millennials or Gen Z, who might be traveling to get a break from their parent’s basement.

But regardless of how old you are or your reasons for getting away, taking time off is a very good thing, whether it’s a long trip or just a day spent in the park. Giving yourself time to recharge is essential to redefining success around health and happiness, not hours logged at your desk.

Read more of the survey findings here

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