8 Strategies to Help Millennials Afford Their Travel Dreams
Research shows that Millennial travelers are more likely to spend discretionary income on travel and don’t really view the cost of travel as an obstacle to them traveling.
That’s all well and good, but travel still costs money – more all the time. And as we’ll see later, Millennials have other pressing financial obligations to deal with.
Given all that, how can they find the money to travel in a reasonable manner?
Ways to Travel
Millennials can use strategies like these to help them afford to take the trips they want:
- Look for ways to monetize your travel
- Group up
- Look for different transportation options
- Consider the shoulder season
Ways to monetize your travel
It’s already been proven that remote work can work – but it also can muck up a nice time getting away from it all. There needs to be some other way of making travel pay for itself at least to some extent.
Influencer marketing might be the key for many Millennial travelers.
It’s already been shown that influencers don’t have to have millions of followers to be considered influencers. Micro- and even nano-influencers have been found to be just as effective for many brands.
So here’s how this could work for your travel: Suppose 100 people like the posts you make about beer. Can you talk a domestic beer brand into supporting your travel to another country, where you make a point to post about all the places where you find this beer in your travels?
Hey, the worst they can say is no.
Millennials and Gen Zs are much more likely to use social media than they are to seek help from travel agents, according to a Morning Consult survey, and half of each group follow at least one travel influencer. So, it absolutely cannot hurt to try to make that your side hustle.
According to a 2018 survey from CWT, 58% of Millennials say they travel with others. Group travel has remained popular with Millennials, and just like two can live more cheaply than one, a group can travel more cheaply and efficiently than a solo traveler.
Traveling companions don’t have to be immediate family – and with Millennial travelers, they’re liable to be friends or even strangers, matched up through services like the 10XTravel Facebook group.
Many sites and apps have been launched that promised to be an “eHarmony for travelers.” They’ve all died. Despite that, the idea of finding a compatible traveling companion is as attractive as ever.
Look for different transportation options
Sometimes we travel differently because we have no other option; consider all the media reports of travelers in Hawaii renting U-Hauls to get around. However, if you’re serious about cutting your travel costs, applying that “college student” mentality to travel transportation might be the way to go.
Instead of a fancy cruise ship, how about traveling on a freighter or container ship? Amenities are the most basic of basics, but the cost ($100 per day and up) can’t be beat. It’s also an opportunity to really unplug and watch the world go by.
Taking the train or bus instead of flying, renting an RV, taking a bicycle trip – all these are ways to save on one of the most expensive parts of your trip – the transportation.
Consider the shoulder season
Another of the lessons taught by the pandemic was that travel isn’t just a summer thing, that there are lots of adventures to be had during the “shoulder season” – generally the spring and fall when costs are lower and destinations are less crowded.
Because Millennials tend not to be as tied to the calendar as other age groups, taking their vacations at different times of year isn’t a big deal but is instead a great way of saving money.
Another way to save money is to be flexible and take advantage of last-minute deals. While perks like free cancellations are important to Millennials, according to TripSavvy, the tradeoff with a last-minute booking is some significant cost savings on travel to some incredible destinations.
Whether it’s the shoulder season or any other time of year, flexibility is one of the keys to affordable travel – and over the years Millennials have proven to be one of the most flexible generations.
Also read: Save Big with an Off-Season Beach Week
Get your loans in order
According to Experian’s 2020 State of Credit report, the average Millennial consumer has more than $25,000 in non-mortgage debt, and Millennial homeowners have an average mortgage balance of more than $215,000.
That’s a lot of debt, and Millennials really don’t have the luxury to wait until they’re out of debt to travel.
However, Millennials should always keep an eye out for opportunities to consolidate and refinance their student and mortgage debt. It’s important to be mindful of closing costs and administrative fees, but any saving on interest can be put right into a travel fund to pay for future adventures.
Also read: 6 Secrets to a Memorable ‘Flexcation’
Do your own “rounding up”
How many times have you gone to a store or bought something online and been asked if you want to “round up” your purchase to benefit charity? Well, nothing says you and your travel can’t be your favorite charity.
Try rounding up all of your purchases to the nearest dollar or five dollars, and then put that money into a designated travel fund. You’ll be amazed at how quickly the money adds up.
Also read: How Much Does Travel Insurance Cost?
Diversify your portfolio
For all the negative publicity financial management apps like Robinhood have received, they have upended the traditional investment model and made stock trading accessible to countless Millennials and Gen Zers.
Stock trading is not something where you can just dive in and start make scads of money; as they say in the ads, investing involves risk, and doing your homework is vital. But with non-homeowning Millennials having few other alternatives to use their money to make money, it’s worth doing that homework.
Since stock trading can be as addictive as gambling, it’s best to allocate a fixed amount to investments and stick to that amount, and if your funds start to grow, consider at what point you want to deposit them in your travel fund.
Be conservative, don’t worry if you leave a little money on the table, focus on your goals and reap the travel rewards.
Make your own coffee
Sorry to hit Millennials where they live, but according to a survey by the money app Acorns, 41% of Millennials admitted to spending more on coffee in the past year than they had invested in their retirement accounts – a whopping $2,008 per year spent at coffee shops.
While it’s not true that all Millennials spend more on coffee than they invest in their retirement, Millennials do spend a lot on coffee. And for all the good things coffee may do for people, it can do those things just as easily if people brew their own.
Get some beans and a coffee grinder – and put what you don’t spend at the coffee shop into your piggybank. Two thousand bucks a year can buy a lot of travel.
However you choose to budget and pay for travel, remember to budget for travel insurance. It’s one of the best ways to help protect your travel investment and travelers.
Travel insurance is easy to buy directly from Generali. You can get a quote and choose the right coverage for you in a matter of minutes.
Good luck saving for your next adventure!