Most Millennials Put Travel Above Buying a Home or Paying Off Debt

By Talia Avakian |

©Dougal Waters/Getty Images

This piece originally appeared on Travel + Leisure.

In a study looking at the priorities of millennials, travel came out as a higher priority than buying a home or car, or even paying off debt. Travel also gave savings and retirement funds a run for millennials' money.

The study, which surveyed about 1,000 people aged 18 to 35 in the U.S., U.K. and China, asked millennials about their priorities for the next five years. Airbnb and market research institute Gfk conducted the study to determine the importance millennials place on travel, and what drives their travel decisions most.

For U.S. respondents, savings and investment funds ranked highest, followed by travel and purchasing a car, which tied in priority. Traveling was also a higher priority than buying a home for U.S. respondents.

In the U.K., traveling and savings were almost equal, and both were more highly prioritized than buying a home.

In China, travel was the highest priority by a wide margin. Purchasing a car was next, followed by purchasing a home.

Travel was growing in priority across the board: Fifty-five percent of respondents in the U.K., 56 percent in the U.S., and 83 percent in China are spending more on travel this year than last year.

More than half of respondents in each country said they preferred to stay in local neighborhoods rather than tourist hubs, despite their distance from popular attractions. That finding is convenient for Airbnb, which promotes “living like a local” as opposed to “tourism.”

Food ranked as the most memorable travel experience across the board, winning over a destination's nightlife, history, and tourist attractions. Three quarters of respondents across the board said they preferred to create their own itineraries, rather than have one planned by a tour operator.

The study also looked at how millennials choose their trip destinations, finding that for three fourths of all participants, social media had the greatest influence, above getting recommendations from work colleagues, tourism website, or news websites.

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