Why Twentysomethings and Gen Y Travel Abroad

Date Created: 17.02.2014

In a 2013 article on Forbes called  “Enter the First Globals” a poll found that more than 1/3 of Gen Y thought they would live and work in a foreign country and call it “home” at some point in their lives.


So that begs the question – why are 20 somethings more adventurous than ever, and why do they travel abroad?

In part, this is all because of an entire shift in society and this new generation. The baby boomer generation was encouraged to go out and seek the safe secure jobs, settle down, get married, and live "normal" lives with the white picket fence as the “Joneses.”

The problem was that this lifestyle was based on security, which mostly existed at the time.

20 something Americans for example, now have the highest education costs, the most national debt, one of the worst job markets in US history, and dramatically fewer options than the generations before them.

Because of this, they want a few key things in particular.

#1 Adventure, excitement

Millenials see this messy situation, and you know what they see? No desire to get involved.

They’ve watched people work at a job for 30, 40, or 50 years, and then get laid off to be replaced by someone working for almost free as an intern.

Whereas people have traditionally followed the conventional life path of get educated, get a job, get married, get a family, 20 somethings are looking to live more unconventionally.

They figure, “Hey, look, the traditional route that was ‘safe’ before, isn’t really safe at all anymore. There is no security in the traditional life route anymore, so I might as well do all the things I want to be doing.”

20 somethings want to seize the day, more than ever perhaps, because of the fact that they see “no guarantees” in the future.

“What’s the rush? If we’re jumping into one of the worst economies ever, and we’re looking at a lifetime of slavery, what’s the rush to get started?”

#2 Passion, and a job they love

Another interesting phenomenon is that many milennials want jobs they love – passion is often a priority over a pay check. They would rather take less pay and have more vacation, or work on a project they love, before they start aching for a six-figure salary. You also see much more job hopping.

Why the change? Why the shift from baby boomers dutifully, faithfully working for a business or establishment for decades and then retiring, to 20 somethings that hardly stick with a job for more than a year?

For starters, many 20 somethings are unemployed, or underemployed. Jobs they can swing are often unrelated to their major, what they studied, or are totally uninteresting and are simply a means to an end.

So we have an epidemic of 20 somethings working jobs they actively dislike just to pay their bills. They figure, “If I’m going to be stuck doing this for a while, I might as well be doing something I enjoy.”

Money is a priority, but fulfilment is even more so.

#3 A meaningful life, and a great story

Gen Y craves adventure – they want to feel like they’re living a life that matters, and is filled with things that they want to be doing. They want to be living in an epic story that is unfolding.

Many want the exact opposite of the safe secure 9-5, they want travels, stories and experiences before they want stuff or a cushy corporate salary.

Like all people when times are tough, 20 somethings often wonder “What am I here for? What’s my purpose? What am I supposed to be doing? Isn’t there more to life than this?”
Sitting unemployed, underemployed, or working a job just to pay the bills – it’s not surprising that 20 somethings will do just about anything to find more meaning in life, or to do something that feels like it contributes to a cause greater than oneself.

At the end of the day, most milennials want to enjoy life and relax more than the previous generation – they figure why not enjoy life? If the future doesn’t look too good, why not celebrate and have fun now?