Today’s millennial is confident and extremely savvy. The pervasiveness of technology and the internet has only catapulted their access to information – giving them greater agency to do things their way. The gradual paradigm shift in their aspirations compared to Gen X comes from a greater need for personalisation and seeking experiences –which is driven by their quest for a deeper meaning through their travels. No longer is travelling a luxury- it is now a medium for self-discovery and inner growth. While the previous generation associated travelling with prosperity and vacationing, for millennials, it has become a necessity to connect with the world and nurture tangible moments. Research shows that 62 per cent of millennials between the ages of 18 and 35 vacations two to five times a year, often solo, while the need to leave for summer holidays stands at 59 per cent.
These millennials are unfettered by inhibitions – their concerns about saving for more are not as deeply embedded as their parents –The Millennial Aspiration Index indicates that personal growth through travel is a priority for 63 per cent of millennials. Rather than focusing on luxury hotels, an increasing number of this trend-setting generation are choosing trekking, backpacking and local home-stay, to maximise cultural immersion.
An interesting juxtaposition that has been noticed is that even though the omnipresent, almost addictive nature of social media has made staying away from technology even on holiday very challenging, a rising number of millennials are treating travel as a detox from social media to separate themselves from the frantic, ubiquitous need to stay connected and capture every moment for their followers. There is a polarising dichotomy between these youngsters – while one section’s itinerary is shaped by its popularity on social media; another chooses less-trodden locations for rejuvenation and peace in our overly connected world.
This earnest need to experience the journey rather than the destination has fuelled their desire to take travel loans to finance these trips. Several digital lending companies seem to be a better option that maximising their credit cards on a holiday – which can turn out to be quite an expensive affair. Data from CASHe, revealed that over 10 per cent of their customers avail loans for travel; these are the millennials who would have most likely been deprived of credit from the lending institutions. The industry in general has seen a growth of 50-60 per cent in travel loans in the past two years.
The self-actualised millennial even feels that taking personal loans inculcates a sense of financial discipline that creates an impetus to manage their funds better. It also prepares them for the unlikeliest of situations.
The need to travel is nothing new – what has changed is the way Indian millennials are serving as trailblazers to change the way travel is viewed- they are unwilling to let finances hold them back, and are leaving no stone unturned to integrate travelling as a part of their identity.
The author is CEO, CASHe