Millennials are pioneering the 'micro-cations' trend among travelers. The 2 key reasons why point to where their priorities lie when it comes to work-life balance.

Millennials are pioneering the 'micro-cations' trend among travelers. The 2 key reasons why point to where their priorities lie when it comes to work-life balance.
millennial women traveling

Tom Merton/Getty Images


Millennials aren't cutting out vacation entirely - they're just shortening it.

  • Preferred Hotels, a collection of more than 750 independent hotels and resorts around the world, released its 2020 travel trend report.
  • Shorter vacations are on the rise, according to their findings. Millennials, in particular, are credited with popularizing these "micro-cations."
  • Millennials are most likely leaning into the trend for two reasons: They can fit "micro-vacations" into their work-focused lifestyles, and they can experience a greater number of destinations by taking multiple "micro-vacations" instead of a single long one.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

From tiny homes to mini-retirements, it seems like millennials love just about anything miniature.

Now, they're downsizing something else: vacations.

As the age group willing to spend the most on travel, they are trendsetters for the travel industry at large. In addition to pioneering sustainability-conscious travel and transformational travel, millennials are also leading the charge on taking shorter vacations, according to Preferred Hotels.


The global collection of over 750 independent hotels and resorts just released its 2020 travel trend report, which found that "time-poor millennial executives ... are replacing longer, more traditional vacations with shorter getaways."

Dubbed "micro-cations," Preferred Hotels defines these shorter getaways as leisure trips "consisting of less than four nights."

This year's Allianz Vacation Confidence Index found that 57% of Americans did not take a vacation for longer than four nights last year. Moreover, nearly three-quarters of millenials took at least one "micro-cation," with just over a quarter of millenials taking three "micro-cations" in the same year long period. Here's why.

Quick weekend vacations make sense for the millennial work ethic

A July survey of 1,000 millennial working professionals conducted by Business Insider and LinkedIn found that one-third of respondents feel burned out directly before taking a vacation. It also found that one-quarter feel burned out when their colleagues are on vacation.

That burnout points to millennials overworking themselves. A separate LinkedIn study found that nearly half of employees who get paid time off don't use all of their allotted days, and more than half are actively available on work email even while they're technically "away."


Short, weekend-based "micro-cations" align with the millennial mentality to prioritize work when considering work-life balance. That doesn't mean they aren't interested in travel, though: Business Insider's Liz Knueven previously reported that "millennials are motivated to work in order to pay for basic necessities and to earn money to travel, more so than making money to pay off debt or save for retirement."

Multiple "micro-cations" allow millennials to explore different locales and maximize experience

If millennials are limiting their vacation time, they need to make the most of it.

"Micro-cations" allow millennials the possibility to take multiple short vacations and experience a number of travel destinations. Industry leaders believe experience is the ultimate luxury right now - and having more experiences is possible without taking a longer, potentially more expensive "transformational travel" trip, like an African Wilderness Safari, for instance.

Christophe Thomas, the general manager of the SLS Beverly Hills, which was just named the top-rated hotel in the world by travelers in Condé Nast Traveler Readers' Choice Awards, told Business Insider the hotel is so beloved because "... We are more than just a hotel. We are an experience." The LA hotel is focused on guest feedback and has a red carpet lining the walk into its lobby, elaborate design, and experiential opportunities at its Michelin-star restaurant and bar.

Ian Schrager, the legendary hotelier credited with creating the boutique hotel, has expressed sentiments similar to Thomas' experience-centric efforts. He told Business Insider's Katie Warren that his new hotel, the Times Square EDITION, is "about how it makes somebody feel when they're in here. That they feel good, that they've been treated respectfully and with courtesy ... You actually feel comfortable and warm being here."


Gen Z probably isn't far behind

While millennials were singled out in Preferred Hotels' study, Gen Z will most likely prioritize "micro-cations" for similar reasons once more of them come of age into adulthood.

Business Insider previously reported that even though millennials are willing to spend more on vacation, Gen Z is already spending 25% of their overall budget on flights. Additionally, a recent Priceline national survey also found that Gen Z has the worst work-life balance, as nearly a quarter of Gen Z respondents said they feel guilty taking any time off work.

Generation Z from Business Insider Intelligence

NOW WATCH: Nintendo Switch is the fastest-selling console of the current generation - here's why Nintendo is dominating video games