As interesting as it was experiencing a vacation without having my phone with me, I’ll gladly admit that I will never travel in that manner again, not if I can help it. And perhaps I’m an inadvertent statistic to the debate regarding the amount of flak that millennials receive these days when it comes to travel and technology.
Namely, how technology distracts us from truly experiencing the moment; how we’re too busy trying to get the best selfie angle as we attempt to capture the beautiful landscape behind our heads. How we spend too much time thinking about the perfect caption and choosing the best filter for our photos – how the need to document our travel down to the seconds makes us somehow unappreciative of the time, money, and effort we have put into our getaways.
Perhaps there is some truth to the words above, as upsetting as they may be. A quarter of my time in my travels is spent trying to capture the best, most aesthetically pleasing photo to complement my Instagram feed, and Instagram Stories and Snapchat are willing witnesses to many of my own adventures and mishaps while travelling.
However, can I just say, that as a millennial myself, nothing has helped to ease my travel experiences more than the capacity that technology is able to offer me in this day and age?
I had my first taste of planning a solo trip a few years ago, to the chaotic, hilly streets of San Francisco. As a foreigner, pretty much all of the information I had was gleaned from the Internet. I lost count of the amount of sites I perused in order to get ready for the trip, and this was for a mere three days! While it was rather overwhelming at first, to wade through pages upon pages of reviews and tips from locals and travelers alike, I also can’t imagine the thought of leaving for such an unfamiliar place without being prepared to face the crowds I knew would swarm Fisherman’s Wharf during lunch time.
After a few years of regularly travelling a few times a year, I’ve had my fair share of hostel and Airbnb experiences as well. Gone are the days when I’d travel with my family and they would splurge on hotel rooms that were always too cold at three in the morning. Personally, I’d learn to find the sweet spot between comfort and affordability in terms of my travel accommodations, but that spot differs for everyone, and that’s fair. Nevertheless, there’s also a slight misconception that surrounds millennial travelers and the issue of their expenditure.
We might be spending less and cutting a couple of corners when it comes to accommodation and perhaps even transportation, opting to use the bus to the city instead of hiring a cab, for instance, but we’ll definitely be willing to pay more for unique experiences and activities, if we think it’s worth it. And how do I decide if that’s the case for me?
Hashtags of the names of the locations I plan to visit at my travel destination.
Social media has so conveniently categorized these hashtags into top posts and latest posts, giving you a quick overview of what people have had to say about these places. With more of the world freely sharing their experiences, it’s that easy to see if you’re willing to shell out for that island-hopping trip or that volcanic tour you’ve been unsure about.
This year alone, I’ve already clocked about 20 days of travel, and that number is bound to increase by the end of this year. I’ve been unashamedly bitten by the wanderlust bug, and I’m not willing to wait for my retirement years to start enjoying the wonders this world has to offer. Everyone’s got to have some sort of obsession; mine just happens to be trawling through airfare comparison sites and bookmarking gorgeous Airbnb apartments, ready for my next getaway.
There has been an immense amount of research surrounding the travel trends of millennials, and some of it is undeniably true. We travel a lot more than the previous generation did, and perhaps we do it at the expense of our savings and the chance for a better-paying job in exchange for one that’s more flexible and will allow us the opportunity to travel as much as we’d like.
I don’t think I would give it all up for a glass tower, if it meant not being able to explore the far, far away lands, beyond what my eyes can see and where the sun is the only familiar thing in my many escapades.