*This millennial travel post is a collaboration with Shepherds Friendly

Before we start, let me just say how much I hate the term “Millennial”. But I love talking about both finance and travel – so saving for millennial travel is something I’m really passionate about. These have been hot topics for me lately and I was pretty excited when Shepherds Friendly contacted me with the results of their survey on the topic. It’s well-timed and if you’ve been following me on social media – you’ll already know why! This week I made two very exciting announcements. The first is that I’m going backpacking again! As of December, I will be flying to Mexico and starting an epic 6+ months of travel across Central and South America solo. It’s the trip I’ve been wanting to do for the last five years but have never had the chance until now and I can’t wait to share it with you.

My other bit of very exciting new is that I have launched a brand new FREE GUIDE to SAVING UP TO £10k FOR TRAVEL. It’s designed to help you guys find realistic ways to save large amounts of money without becoming a hermit. It’s focused on small lifestyle changes that can help you save for anything your heart desires. It doesn’t have to be travel, it could be a wedding, a baby, a house, or even a new handbag. The point is – this will help you easily put away a potentially huge chunk of savings each year by making tiny changes. I have been using all of these tips to help me save enough to long-term travel and backpack all over the globe for five years. To download, click the banner above and subscribe, then check your emails.

Absolutely Lucy, Street art, Bucharest, Romania

Are we prioritising millennial travel? Why?

I remember when I first started travelling, how crazy and wild it seemed. My blog was providing inspiration to those who believed they could never do this for themselves. But over the last few years, there’s been a real shift from those living vicariously through me, to those wanting to know how they can make this their reality. Whether it’s long-term backpacking or just a short trip – millennials are clearly passionate about seeing the world. But it’s not just holidays, there has been a real shift towards authentic travel experiences and adventure travel. It’s a clear contrast to the package deals the previous generation favoured.

I was fascinated by the results of the survey by Shepherds Friendly, who spoke to 2,097 UK adults to find out more about millennial saving habits. It turns out 33% of millennials are currently saving for a holiday, with 30% of Generation X having the same short-term goal. Linking well with my previous blog post – perhaps we are a generation of people choosing experiences over things. In the UK, where most are struggling to save for their own home and wonder how they could ever afford to get married. It looks like our short-term savings are more travel-focused than ever. Is it possible that our values are shifting and we are starting to treasure making memories over material possessions?

Live within your means and travel becomes easily accessible:

Travel has been my raison d’être since I was a teenager. My entire life has been built around travel for many years. When I was younger I would work several jobs just to save up to get to the next destination. I barely owned anything much to the bemusement of my peers. They racked up possessions and I kept racking up the miles.

I am now 35, married and own a house and travel is still the most important thing to me. In order to make travel a priority we had a super budget wedding, we live in a very affordable house with a low mortgage and I have an old car that I own outright. Not chasing a luxury lifestyle or piling up debt trying to attain it, means that my husband and I can afford to travel. We are always saving for more travel. Unlike a lot of people our age, we aren’t looking to endlessly upgrade our house/car/furniture. We just want to go on as many adventures together as possible.

The problem I sometimes see is that people say they want to travel but are already living far above their means. Cut back, budget and stop endlessly consuming unnecessary things. If you really want to chase those travel dreams, choose experiences and adventure over things.

Pip, 35, of Pip and the City, saving for a camping trip in Canada

Absolutely Lucy, Street art, Bucharest, Romania

What are we really like at saving for millennial travel?

The good thing for us is that apparently millennials are among the best savers in the UK with 59% saving at least once a month. The biggest difference is that millennials are more likely to be saving for a home. While generation X are more focused on saving for retirement in the longer term. But given the state of the world at the moment – is it any wonder that we’re seeking stability? Sorry, that was a bit bleak. For generation X, housing was significantly cheaper and more attainable meaning they were able to focus on saving for retirement earlier. The housing market has changed drastically in the last few years and for those who want to own their own homes, it’s now a real struggle.

Saving isn’t as easy as it sounds:

I’ve been trying to save to move abroad with my partner for a couple of years, but we still haven’t got anywhere with it! Both of us having periods of unemployment a few years back led to us getting quite behind on our bills. Now we’re earning more between us but are still paying off bills from a couple of houses ago, and it still doesn’t feel like the end is in sight.

It’s not just us, either – my day job is to help young people into employment and it’s scary just how many of them are barely scraping by. Often getting themselves into debt just to retain their rental property or feed themselves. Generally the issue seems to be around employment . A sudden lack of jobs, being made redundant, or jobs requiring qualifications and/or experience that is difficult to get.

Hannah, of Pages, Places and Plates, 26, saving to move abroad.

Absolutely Lucy, Street art, Bucharest, Romania

Despite this, it turns out the majority of you guys are budgeting bunnies and actively focus on your finances which is great. However, there are still a whopping 35% who are not doing this and are probably scrabbling towards payday each month. Another big difference between millennials and generation X is where we choose to save our money – with 58% of millennials choosing to use an ordinary savings account. While the older generation were also likely to choose the same, they were also a whopping 75% more likely to use an investment ISA which is better suited to long-term saving goals. Is it harder for millennials to commit to long-term savings having grown up through the recession and housing market shifts? Or are we just not properly educated about what options are available?

Lack of financial education could be causing problems:

I honestly think that millennials aren’t taught about what kinds of savings we can have. Although we have the internet now to research, there is so much info out there that it can make making the right decision so tough! Often, I wonder if it was easier for Generation X to walk into a high street bank. They could get proper information rather than wading through all the info online.

I put my first £1,000 into premium bonds but recently withdrew because I could earn more interest with it in my savings as I’d only won £50 over about 20 years! I do think that if more information was out there, or types of savings were taught at school far more millennials would have ISAs.

Haydy, of SquibbVicious, 29, saving for a house and has just saved for a new car

Absolutely Lucy, Street art, Bucharest, Romania

But how do these results apply to real people?

It was really interesting to hear from you guys about your own saving habits. It seems that even within the millennial bracket, there are vast chasms between the 22-28’s and the 29-37’s. Perhaps even within these results there are differing priorities depending on what stage we are at in our lives. I know that I have several friends who are just starting to get engaged and talk about weddings. While others are settled with children. Some others are entirely focused on their careers or buying a house.

All these people are the same “generation”, and yet we’ve all chosen different paths and priorities. It doesn’t mean that anyone has made the wrong choice – it just means that we’re all different. Just as I know my life of millennial travel wouldn’t work for my friends who love their lives as parents and homeowners – their lives wouldn’t work for me.

I’m 28 now and think I would have given very different answers 5 years ago. I still travel, but much slower and more focused. I’ve always been saving, but now I am trying to save towards somewhere to live (or at least keep a few books).

Katie Featherstone, of Feathery Travels, 28, saving for a house

Check out my blog posts on saving money & budgeting:

Absolutely Lucy, Street art, Bucharest, Romania

But what does it all mean?

I don’t pretend to have all the answers. When it comes to finance and choosing your priorities – it’s something only you can do. But it’s something we all have to take responsibility for. If you don’t make any effort to get your finances in order – you can’t expect your bank balance to increase. While I’ve always been good at saving money, I’ll be honest and say it was only this year that I really started to educate myself and make the most of my money. But in just a few months I’ve managed to save a small fortune, have completely reorganised my finances and feel confident making banking decisions. If you set your mind to it, you could easily do the same.

The most important thing I want to stress – is that no-one has it all figured out. We’re all doing the best we can and we need to stop being intimidated by financial conversations. If you want to stop being scared of money – start making an effort to learn. It’s amazing how much less scary things are when you have a tiny bit of knowledge and know what questions to ask. Start talking among your friends – talk about savings accounts, credit cards, ISAs and tax – discuss your working rates openly. I don’t know where this British thing of “do not discuss money” came from but it’s ridiculous! Talk about money, ask questions, read articles, listen to podcasts. Take charge and don’t feel bad if you’re not yet saving, or don’t have it all figured out. Instead, see it as an opportunity to learn.

Want to learn more about finance? Check out these great resources:

  • Millennial Money  – Personal Finance, Investing, and Entrepreneurship community
  • Millennial Money Matters – chatty, easy to understand Adulting podcast with Kalpana Fitzpatrick
  • SavvyWoman – The UK’s leading money website for women
  • Boring Money – ISAs, Pensions – Money & Investment Advice that won’t bore you silly
  • The Fairer Cents – A podcast on money from a feminist perspective

What do you think about Millennial travel and saving? Do you find it hard to save money? What are your long and short-term savings goals?

Absolutely Lucy sign off