The “M” Word: A Twenty-Something’s Guide to Being a Millennial



While I would normally delve into what we’re doing wrong and what we’re doing right, when it comes to travel and relocating, millennials are just doing whatever they can.

Staying Home


With crushing student loan debt and an unforgiving housing market, many recent graduates have chosen to stay with their families and hope for local work. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the student loan debt for borrowers under 30 reached $322 billion by the end of the 2012 fiscal year with similar figures for millennials in their thirties. This means the millennial student loan debt accounts for roughly 64% of the overall trillion dollar debt.

Millennials’ student debt crisis is second only to the mortgage crisis facing most of our parents. In many cases, the combined debt strengthens families as they try to work through it together. We’re working at jobs we’re overqualified for because we can’t afford to make only a little bit more an hour in order to funnel our paychecks into maintaining studio apartments.

The recent slowdown is really an interaction of demographics and a continued housing- and labor-market freeze. Millennials are mired down, very cautious about buying a home or moving to new areas.

 William Frey, a specialist in migration issues and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington

Flying the Coop



Those who are managing to save money are fleeing to cities with affordable housing like Detroit, Mich., and job-friendly places like St. Louis, Mo.  These previously underrated metropolitan areas are gradually becoming meccas for the young and downtrodden.

Flashier millennials take their post-graduate time to travel internationally, sometimes on their parents dime, but more typically on their own. Many take this as an opportunity to see the world before settling down into the workforce while others are finding work in other countries or taking advantage of volunteer opportunities.

Millennials make up 84% of current Peace Corps volunteers, working on projects dedicated to improving the welfare of people in other countries. Don’t jump ship on your bachelor’s degree though; the overwhelming majority of volunteer organizations require their applicants to possess a four year degree.

Changing the Face of Travel

While many of us cannot afford consistent, leisurely travel with our present financial circumstances, companies are busy creating a jet-setting millennial’s wet dream through customized loyalty programs, updated amenities, and brand new hotel lines.

Next year will see the arrival of Moxy (Marriott), Tommie (Commune Hotels) and Radisson Red, plus the expansion of already established hipster brands, like Aloft (Starwood), Andaz (Hyatt), CitizenM and Hotel Indigo (InterContinental Hotels)…In order to appeal to a segment of traveler that is swiftly on the rise and soon expected to surpass Baby Boomers in their spending, hotels are having to majorly rethink their strategies and offerings.

-Daisy Carrington for CNN

So, yeah, we’re poor right now, but apparently we’ll soon be able to enjoy free wifi at a Hotel Indigo or CitizenM…somewhere.


Whether you want to dig in your heels at home, adventure across the country, or experience other nations entirely, there’s no wrong way to be a millennial in this category. Whatever your situation dictates amid your crushing debt, you get to decide where you go next, if anywhere. But, when you’re ready to travel, beware of “hipster brands” and what real adults think that means.




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