Christian Stan, at 27 Jan. 20, in News, Travel Specials

A new global study “Generation Travel” from has uncovered the “Intrepid Improver,” a new type of millennial traveler shunning sun, sea and all-inclusives for vacations that promise to deliver better versions of themselves. These self-improvement-seeking travelers make up 75 percent of U.S. millennial explorers, who claim they now travel to enrich their mental or physical health, broaden their horizons or learn new skills.

Generation self-entitled? More like generation self-improvement. Intrepid Improvers are more interested in learning-based holidays and mental health and well-being improvement retreats (42%) than their boomer counterparts (24%). One-third (31%) state these types of getaways are now their main trip of the year, while one in five say they make a last-minute trip when they need it most.

This desire to improve is serious business. Nearly two-thirds (63%) would pay more for a holiday that they feel benefits them mentally, physically or emotionally and seven in 10 (71%) are willing to fork out up to 50 percent more. Furthermore, a whopping 36 percent are prepared to give up the internet, makeup or grooming (34%), social media (28%) and alcohol (27%) in order to reap the rewards of a self-improvement trip.

What’s driving the Intrepid Improver?

For almost a quarter of these travelers, the quest for self-betterment is about maintaining or improving their mental health (24%). For others, it’s about improving themselves (32%), staying healthy (27%) or gaining inspiration (23%). Just 7 percent are in it for social media bragging rights.

See ya, Cupid — more 20- to 30-somethings also say they would like to improve mental health (30%), learn a new skill (29%) or get fitter (24%) than find love (12%) in 2020. Additionally, four in 10 say that, when returning home from any holiday, they would be more likely to boast about a new understanding of another culture or an enriching experience (32%), than about a vacation romance (26%).
For those already partnered up, the study shows that when it comes to travel buddies, bae is best. Intrepid Improvers favor sharing the experience of bettering themselves abroad with a partner (37%), over family (20%), friends (20%) or going it alone (4%) — and more than one-third (36%) are considering a relationship retreat for their next trip.

The Intrepid Improver’s wish list

Millennials’ eagerness to experience new things is set to bring more unconventional forms of vacations and retreats into the mainstream. While dancing (33%), language courses (31%), photography pursuits (30%) and cooking trips (28%) all ranked highest overall, Intrepid Improvers are also exploring more unusual routes to enhancement.

Young travelers are exploring mindful sexuality retreats (28%) and taking their rehydration game to the next level by embracing the healing powers of water, sinking into Onsen therapy (16%), which involves soaking in hot springs or mineral baths to boost blood flow, circulation and metabolism.

Even more nature-inspired activities top the “yes, I’d try that” list, including forest bathing (25%) — an activity involving getting up close and personal with, you got it, the forest — and activities that tap into your inner self, like primal scream therapy (23%) and crying therapy (18%).

Others also list life-coaching retreats (36%), laughter camps (25%) or color therapy (22%) as options to finding their better selves.

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