How millennials, and Airbnb, are transforming travel for the rest of us

How millennials, and Airbnb, are transforming travel for the rest of us
Airbnb is in more than 190 countries, including Cuba, where a tourist drinks a cup of coffee in the terrace of an Airbnb house in Havana. Airbnb began serving travelers to the island nation in April. (Yamil Lage/ AFP/Getty Images)

It's not a shocker that millennial travelers embrace the sharing economy more than any other age group, but just how much more? Sixty percent of American travelers 18 to 34 years old say they put their faith in services such as Airbnb, Home Away, Uber and Lyft, compared with 37% of all other travelers.

How much do travelers use shared economy services? Not so much.

Although more than a quarter of the 35 and younger crowd say they plan to use these non-traditional companies when planning a trip, only 17% are likely to do so this summer.

Still, Airbnb and others are changing the travel industry and the way we travel. For instance, because Airbnb allows guests to rent, say, an entire home, it's attractive for families who need space to spread out. That has spurred traditional hotels to ramp up their children's programs, which fills a need for supervised activities away from Mom and Dad that Airbnb mostly can't.

The data about the sharing economy come from a Vacation Confidence Index released Wednesday by online travel insurance company Allianz Global Assistance.

Here's how attitudes stack up about both types of travel:

(Allianz Global Assistance)

Something else to know about using Airbnb or Home Away: Cancel-for-any-reason travel insurance and other policies will cover nontraditional lodgings.

The vacation index also shows that Americans are getting thriftier with their travel budgets.

The average American will spend $1,621 on a summer vacation this year, compared with $1,895 in 2014. And as for those millennials, 40% say they'll spend less than $400 on summer travel this year.

(Allianz Global Assistance)

(A vacation is defined as going somewhere more than 100 miles from home for at least a week.)

And who doesn't love a vacation? Well, 57% of us think an annual vacation is important; 43% don't.

The index was created by polling company Ipsos Public Affairs on behalf of Allianz. It includes polling from June 5-9 of 1,000 randomly selected adults in the U.S.


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