Age is just a number, but it’s hard to escape when your travel habits reveal your generation. How you travel reflects many things about you – your upbringing, values, and personality. How you pack, where you go, and how you document your trip draws from the era you grew up in. Here are some of the most obvious ways your travel habits can reveal your generation.
Traveling With Physical Maps
Can you imagine a time when Google Maps wasn’t at our fingertips, guiding us through every twist and turn of our travels? For the younger crowd, it’s hard to fathom a world without it. However, those born before the 90s are known for using physical maps on trips. These maps were not only helpful tools for navigating unfamiliar roads but also served as souvenirs. Today, they might seem like ancient artifacts, but for the older generation, they bring back memories of epic road trips.
Fun Fact: The world’s largest atlas is the Earth Platinum, which measures 6×4.5 feet and weighs over 440 pounds!
The Way You Pack
The difference in packing style between generations is noticeable. Imagine you’re about to go on a trip, and you’re faced with a critical decision – how to pack your belongings. If you find yourself lugging around enormous, bulky suitcases and adamantly refusing to check any luggage, then you might just be channeling your inner Kevin McCallister from “Home Alone.” You know, the kid who packed everything but the kitchen sink for his solo adventure.
However, millennials prefer lightweight and compact luggage and might forgo traditional bags for more high-tech and practical options like travel backpacks.
Fun Fact: The average woman packs 91 items for a week-long trip but will only use half of them.
Your Destination Choices
Different generations naturally gravitate towards different travel destinations depending on what was popular during their time. Baby boomers might choose exotic locations that were barely known to the masses and considered expensive, such as Fiji, Bali, or Cancun. While other generations may be jetting off to exotic destinations, you’ll find Gen Xers donning their hiking boots and venturing into the breathtaking national parks.
From hiking the trails of Yosemite National Park and marveling at the grandeur of the Grand Canyon to exploring the rugged beauty of Glacier National Park, Gen Xers have a deep appreciation for natural wonders. Millennials and Gen Z tend to gravitate more towards budget-friendly options and experience-driven trips rather than luxury travel.
Fun Fact: France is the most visited country in the world, with over 89 million tourists annually.
How You Document Your Trips
Candid, unfiltered travel photography is rapidly becoming a thing of the past, and your travel habits might reveal your generation. Baby boomers prefer photo albums filled with printed photographs that tell a complete story of one’s travel experience. Millennials and Generation Z favor social media apps like Facebook or Instagram to share with their followers immediately, tag their friends, and garner reactions.
Whether it’s a stunning sunset at a tropical beach or a mouthwatering meal at a trendy cafe, these tech-savvy travelers know how to curate their feeds to elicit envy and garner those coveted likes and comments.
Fun Fact: Over 95 million photos are uploaded on Instagram every day, many of them being travel photos.
You Still Buy Traveler’s Checks
If you find yourself holding onto traveler’s checks like a relic from the past, you might just be one of the old-school adventurers. Back in the day, these pieces of paper were considered a convenient way to avoid pesky credit card fees while traveling. But times have changed, and now they’ve been relegated to the annals of travel history.
Today’s millennials and Gen Zers have ditched the traveler’s checks and embraced the plastic revolution. Armed with their trusty credit and debit cards, they glide through their travel experiences with ease, tapping, swiping, and making transactions with a flick of the wrist.
Fun Fact: The first traveler’s checks, known as circular notes, were issued by American Express in 1874.
Being Brand Loyal
While many millennials and Gen Z travelers focus on experiences and adventures, the older generations generally have a different loyalty. They are more invested in brand loyalty, preferring to stick to what they know and like. They might still be checking out the deals on Expedia, but a recent survey showed that baby boomers are the most loyal customers of hotel chains, and are much more likely to stay in the same hotel multiple times than younger generations.
Fun Fact: According to a study, 75% of baby boomers belong to a hotel loyalty program.
Booking Your Trip
The way you book your trip can also reveal your generation. Older generations might prefer to use a travel agent or book directly through the airline or hotel, while younger generations are more likely to use online travel agencies or booking apps. Millennials and Gen Z are also more likely to use price comparison websites to ensure they get the best deal.
Fun Fact: The first online travel agency, Travelocity, was founded in 1996.
Older generations are more likely to purchase travel insurance, valuing the peace of mind it provides. They understand that unexpected events can occur, and having insurance can save a lot of trouble and money. On the other hand, younger generations, particularly millennials and Gen Z, often skip travel insurance, either to save money or because they feel it’s unnecessary.
Fun Fact: The first travel insurance policies were issued in the late 19th century and covered death, not medical expenses or trip cancellations.
Sustainable travel is a concept that has gained popularity with younger generations. Millennials and Gen Z are more likely to consider the environmental impact of their travels and make efforts to reduce it. This could include choosing eco-friendly accommodation, offsetting their carbon emissions, or choosing to travel locally rather than internationally.
Older generations, while they may also value sustainability, are less likely to let it influence their travel decisions.
Fun Fact: Costa Rica is considered one of the greenest countries in the world and aims to be carbon neutral by 2021.
Use of Technology
The use of technology during travel is another habit that can reveal your generation. Younger generations are more likely to use technology to enhance their travel experience. This could include using apps to translate languages, navigate new cities, or find the best local restaurants.
While they may also use technology, older generations are less likely to rely on it and may prefer traditional methods such as guidebooks or asking locals for recommendations.
Fun Fact: There are over 2 million apps available for download on the Apple App Store, many of them designed to enhance your travel experience.
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This article was produced by Our Woven Journey. Featured Image Credit: pixelshot | Canva
Demi Michele is a seasoned traveler, turned freelance writer. Having explored most states and ventured internationally, her love for outdoor cafes, new cuisines, and cultural immersion shines through her wide range of articles. Based in Texas with her family and two Scottish Terriers, Demi turns her adventures into captivating travel narratives to share with readers.