What is the most important thing for millennials? If “this is where I want to be seen” is not the first priority, it is certainly at the top of the pyramid for the young crowd always in search of “what’s new/fun/trendy”. The millennial generation is known for placing emphasis on being unique while discovering new things, and a major part of that can be achieved during travel.
Millennials travel differently than any generation that came before them. Their peregrinations involve more adventure and a desire for a more “customized” experience. They prefer the small independently owned hotel to the larger impersonal hotel-chains; and they also prefer to rent a car and explore a destination verses the traditional group excursion. They will try the pop up restaurant or coffee shop in the middle of nowhere and drive miles to see this secluded beach they saw on Instagram. Even if they love going back, again and again, to some “cool” perennially fashionable classics (New York, Las Vegas, Chicago, etc.) the millennial generation also loves to create the trend and embrace the hype of new destinations that will soon be topping the list of places to visit in 2018. Here are 5 destinations they are loving these days.
Portugal is a small country that is often neglected in favor of its larger neighbor, Spain. But, Portugal has a lot to offer and is definitely one of the newer go-to European destination. Its seven regions alone indicate that there is a lot to visit and get to know. Portugal’s history and culture, gastronomy and wines are among the main attractions. The food scene in the capital and within the wine regions, Porto and Douro, are incredible as we see more and more Portuguese wines, restaurants and chefs booming all over the world. Lisbon, the capital, is interesting because of its accessibility, and because it allows the visitors time to venture through the country and see many regions in during a single visit. You can go from the centre of Lisbon to Cascais, the small rural coastal town only 45 minutes away by train. There you will find amazing beaches and design-hotels such as the Farol Hotel and Intercontinental Estoril that offer amazing views of the coastline. A Food and Chef-Oriented Market opened up in the capital (Times Out Market Lisboa), where you will also find vibrant neighborhoods, classic restaurants and newcomers in a happy mixture of history and modernity. Apart from the food scene, let’s not forget to mention the beaches, surfing, music festivals, golf courses, the varied landscapes and, above all, the Portuguese people, who are seen as fashionable, open-minded and welcoming. The recent award from the World Travel Awards, which considered Portugal the World’s Best Destination has just confirmed the current trend, also acknowledged by many guides, travel writers, bloggers and media from around the world. And now you know why Portugal’s capital is on everyone’s lips right now.
Palm Springs, California (USA)
This small Californian city is the exact definition of cool. Located in the middle of the desert of Sonora, Palm Springs used to be seen as a destination for retirees, where next to nothing was ever happening. But things have changed, and in a big way. New hip boutique hotels opened their doors while design and art are taking over this now very instagrammable city. Independent shops, restaurants, coffee shops and hotels are setting the tone for a trip that is now “so much cooler” than Las Vegas or Los Angeles – the famous cities located on either side of Palm Springs. With its new dynamic downtown and stylish hotels, such as the very hype Miramonte, new chef-driven restaurants like Citrus & Palm, chic shops and boutiques, superb wellness centers and spas; Palm Springs is, without a doubt, the new Capital of Cool. Millennials can explore the heart of downtown while sipping a gourmet “Nicaragua Maracaturra Coffee Latte” at the beautiful and airy Starbucks Reserve, or take the free BUZZ – a multicolored trolley – to get around town. Now known throughout the world as the mecca of modernism, Palm Springs enthusiastically embraces and celebrates the mid-century modern design aesthetic. With its 365 days of sun-kissed weather and drop-dead gorgeous scenery, it’s no wonder Palm Springs is like no place else and serves as Hollywood’s playground with a growing nightlife, burgeoning art scene and edgy vibe. Get your camera ready and head to Palm Springs.
Tulum is becoming the new “millennial” paradise of Mexico. Secluded but also just enough developed, Tulum is located approximately an hour away from busy and now nearly overcrowded Playa Del Carmen. It was even declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and is one of the most important sites in Tulum is its Mayan ruins that are located on a cliff facing the Caribbean Sea. With warm starry nights and clear turquoise waters, there lies the only archaeological site that sits on the seashore. It is the most photogenic site in the region, offering a great mix of jungle and picture-perfect sandy beaches. But, other than its heritage site and beautiful crystal clear beaches, Tulum as a whole is one of the most instagrammable destinations in the world. The chic boho city picked up in the last years, with the opening of independent and original boutique hotels, such as Habitas and Be Tulum, and not so much mega all-inclusive resorts on sight. Pop up restaurants by celebrity chefs also caught our attention in the last years when Noma’s team opened a pop up at La Zebra and New York restaurateurs opened the now overly popular Hartwood restaurant. Now, millennials from around the world are driving to Tulum to get away from the crowd and stay in deluxe tents while doing yoga and meditation on the beach before eating a smoothie bowl. Why is Tulum becoming so trendy? Because it has it all: wellness, yoga, spas, plant-based food and Instagram-worthy shops are exactly what this generation is craving these days.
Toronto has, for a long time, been the underdog destination for travels. People were seeing the Queen City as a “small New York” where you just go in and out for a quick meeting, as the majority of head offices are located in the most American city of Canada. It’s been a few years now that Toronto has been associated more and more with the words “cool”, and even “trendy”. The restaurant scene is booming and new and hip hotels keep on opening. We only have to think about the design-oriented boutique hotel everyone is talking about: Bisha, which opened during the 2017 TIFF, or the Broadview Hotel that just opened in a neighborhood that was underserved for a long time. Luxury brands Nobu and St. Regis are even planning on opening establishments in Toronto in the years to come. What more do you need to convince you that Toronto is the new place to be? With its dynamic shopping district, its incredible food and hotel scene and its impeccable public transportation system, forget the business traveler focus and go explore Toronto for a few days, just for fun. The hyper cool Christmas Market in season and the urban-summer Sugar Beach have convinced millennials that Toronto has everything you need for a great time and it’s much less expensive than its American sister town, New York.
Iceland’s biggest city, Reykjavik, bears the distinction of being the world’s northernmost capital and for visitors; it serves as a destination in itself… or as a gateway to the rugged adventure options beyond. Reykjavik has forever been Iceland’s cultural hub. These days, that culture includes a hip and internationally recognized music and art scene, not to mention a notoriously wild nightlife. With its abundance of mountains, volcanoes, glaciers, rivers, lakes, caves and otherwise rough terrain waiting to be tackled, Iceland is truly an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise. But, it is also a warm and welcoming place for the rest of us. And why are we talking about Iceland so much these days? Well, the fact that low-cost company WOW Air is now offering direct affordable flights from Canada and the US to Iceland’s capital is certainly no stranger to the new desire of millennials and travelers from around the world to take a plunge into the Blue Lagoon or visit the wild horses in the mountains. Iceland is cooler than ever and, most importantly, affordable and accessible.