Millennials may go on shorter vacations and spend less money while doing so (their smaller paychecks would explain the reason behind that), but this generation of young travelers is still impacting the present and future of the travel industry.

Allianz Global Assistance USA completed a study of Americans’ travel expectations for the 2017 peak season in order to compare “Those Millennials,” ages 18 to 34, to “The Oldies,” age 35 and over. The Vacation Confidence Index study highlights some of the stark differences between Millennial travelers and their older counterparts, and could also be an indication of up-and-coming trends in the travel industry.

“By surveying Millennials about their travel plans, we’ve captured a glimpse of what the future of travel may look like for all of us,” said Daniel Durazo, director of communications at Allianz Global Assistance USA, in press materials.

According to the 2017 Vacation Confidence Index, the average household income of Millennials is more than $10,000 less than those over the age of 35 who, on average, rake in $83,200 annually. With Millennials earning an average $72,400 per year, it comes as no surprise that they also spend less on their vacations in comparison to older adults: $1,373 versus $2,308. Meanwhile, both “Those Millennials” and “The Oldies,” as the Index refers to them, fall in line with the overall trend of Americans not using all of their vacation days. On average, Millennials receive 12 paid vacation days and only use 8.4, while those 35 and over receive 15 paid vacation days and only use 12.

With less time and money on their hands, more Millennials are turning to services in the sharing economy like Airbnb and Uber to maximize their limited resources and create unique and authentic travel memories. Millennials are more likely to trust sharing platforms—83 percent versus 58 percent of older travelers—and are also more likely to use them—77 percent versus 39 percent. Better value and more authentic, connected local experiences are the reasons Millennials cited most for their use of these sharing platforms.

When it comes to their customer service preferences, Millennials can’t seem to come to a consensus, with 34 percent preferring real, face-to-face human interaction, 27 percent preferring help lines or call centers, and 24 percent favoring online and instant messaging customer service. The emerging ChatBots powered by Artificial Intelligence are the preference of only 11 percent of Millennials.

Millennial travelers are looking for a deeper connection with the places they travel to.
Millennial travelers are looking for a deeper connection with the places they travel to.

The Vacation Confidence Index also points to Millennials leading the way as it relates to future travel methods. A reported 72 percent of Millennials are interested in experiencing self-driving cars, while 80 percent report they are confident in the future safety of that technology. When it comes to travel methods seemingly in the more distant future, such as flying cars, supersonic jets, Hyperloop rail, and space travel, 72 percent of Millennials are interested in experiencing the technology, while 72 percent of them also trust in the safety of these methods. This is in comparison to 45 percent of “The Oldies” reporting interest and 51 percent reporting confidence in the safety of these future travel methods.

“While Millennials are more open-minded than other age groups about new developments—like the sharing economy and future travel methods—they also spend less and take fewer vacation days,” said Durazo also in press materials. “How travel brands address these habits will make a significant impact on the travel industry as a whole.”

With brands such as ContikiG Adventures, and U by Uniworld already catering to Millennial travelers with shorter and more affordable itineraries, it is clear that many in the industry are taking note of this younger cohort of potential clients.

For more information about Allianz Global Assistance, visit