Why Gen Z and Millennials Value Experiences over Things

You would think that having physical possessions that you bought with your own money would mean more to you than some trip to an art museum. Wait, does that sentence not resonate with you? Yeah – me either! Apparently, Gen Z and Millennials value experiences over things and are now spending their money more so on experiences rather than material possessions.

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We would rather go to music festivals, countries we have never been to, or take a spontaneous road trip down to the beach than stand in line for the newest gadget lately.

And honestly, I’m not surprised at all!

Why Gen Z and Millennials Value Experiences over Things

This is all because of something called hedonic adaptation – this means that all the excitement we get when we get a new car, phone, or something physical will fade as we adapt to the new presence around us. We get used to it and especially being Gen Z and Millennials; we tend to get bored quicker than generations before us. So, physical products don’t bring us the same kind of fulfillment that we would get if we were to go off and actually experience something of our liking.

One thing that helps define our willingness to go out into the world to do things we love is that these possessions don’t give us meaning in our relationships. More times than not, we either travel with someone or we interact with others when we are experiencing something. Being around other like-minded friends or having human connection in general brings fulfillment in a way no collector’s item ever could.

Creating Memories

When we go out to create these memories, they also bring purpose to us. They fuel our passions and brings to light all of the things we are interested in. Going to one music festival and having the time of our life there could lead us to travel the whole globe to attend other ones that you may have never even thought of going to! But that’s a great thing because it helps enhance your love of music, you get to see the world, and you will be introduced to so many incredible people and even new musicians!

Although we tend to get a lot of flack about taking pictures or videos of things, these moments in life are things we want to capture and remember forever. If you are at an event and want to digitally capture that exact moment – DO IT. Who cares what others think at that moment. It is your moment! It will now last forever and it is something you’ll get to share with your future family and remember fondly.

Experience of a Lifetime

Nothing can substitute an experience of a lifetime. You will never find yourself regretting not buying the new smart watch. But you will always regret not taking your friend up on that offer of going to spring break in Florida. This is the core belief of Gen Z and Millennials that value experiences over things.

We have figured out that feeling good is a ton better than looking good. Though we may still value high-quality clothing items, we would happily trade in those new Jimmy Choo’s for a dream trip to Europe.

No, there’s no guarantee that every time we take a trip it will be even better than the last. But going on them will guarantee that we at least tried and went out and experienced it for ourselves rather than wondering “what if?”

Core Values

One of the biggest ideas that us Gen Z and Millennials mostly share is our values. We would rather get out into this world, explore it, and learn more about it. We have this sense of urgency and need to go out and see what we can do to make this planet better from when we left it. What better way to do that than mission and volunteer trips or backpacking through countries in need? And that is exactly what our generation is doing! There is a love of taking care of Earth and getting out there is our way of discovering on how to help it. Buying things and keeping junk in the closet wouldn’t bring us meaning like helping the world would.

A special thank you to Brendan Williams for joining me on this trek on Mont Blanc and taking photos. I am glad that you value experiences over things, too!

Redefing Success

We are a generation who has redefined the word “success.” No longer does it mean that whoever has the biggest house, the newest car, and the most high-tech appliances is the one “winning” or has the most success. Now, we see it as those who are happy and have the freedom to do what makes them happy. Like jobs that have similar values to us and allow us flexible schedules or just the freedom in our everyday lives to have the opportunity to not live each day in the same rut.

Our generations have made a whole new career sphere out of those who have the freedom to travel as their full-time job which is why this resonates so loudly with me. I feel blessed that I have a job that allows me to see the world and inspire others to do the same.

Who is to say what this next generation will bring when it comes to their idea of success and what makes them fulfilled. I’m just happy to be part of one that is happier not with the things they have, but find purpose around their friends (new and old!) and the ways they spend their time outside of the office.

Do you also feel that millennials and Gen Z value experiences over things?

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Bella Bucchiotti

Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella is a storyteller, food lover, dog mom and adventure seeker living on the Pacific coast. She shares her passion for recipes, dogs, sustainability, adventures, travel and philanthropy, in hopes of encouraging followers to run the extra mile, try new recipes, visit unfamiliar places and stand for a cause. Bella lives with Type 1 Diabetes and Celiac Disease.

Bella Bucchiotti is a freelance food, travel, and lifestyle writer for MSN and the Associated Press Wire.

Welcome to xoxoBella! I am Bella Bucchiotti and I am a recipe developer, content creator and writer. Here you will find delicious recipes, travel inspiration, crafts, pet tips and more.

Leave a Comment

  1. Yanna wrote:

    First of all, your body is goals! Secondly, you look like you are living your best life. I def love experiences over tangible things. That is why I am happy I am traveling more.

    Posted 8.5.19 Reply
  2. Sarah wrote:

    I would so much rather go on a trip and create memories rather than get a tangible gift!

    Posted 8.5.19 Reply
  3. Vicky Perreault wrote:

    What an breathtaking trip! So happy you are out there experiencing all life has to offer rather than being worried about possessions.

    Posted 8.5.19 Reply
  4. Maria wrote:

    So agree, I am a Millennial with a little one and even on a small scale we try to place experiences over things.

    Posted 8.5.19 Reply
  5. Shayla wrote:

    I’m not a gen z or millennial but traveling and experiences are more fun for sure!

    Posted 8.6.19 Reply
  6. Katie wrote:

    These pictures are so stunning! Experiences, whether big or small, are so important!


    Posted 8.7.19 Reply
  7. Amen! I remember all of my trips (Switzerland being one of them) but definitely hardly anything I’ve purchased this year. Great post, Bella!

    Posted 8.7.19 Reply
  8. Alix Maza wrote:

    Yes! I would rather have great memories than things! Gorgeous pictures.

    Posted 8.8.19 Reply
  9. “If you are at an event and want to digitally capture that exact moment – DO IT.” I struggle with this so much, but definitely need to get it together. There’s too many good memories to miss out on capturing!

    Posted 8.8.19 Reply
  10. Azanique wrote:

    Girl, this is spot on! I definitely have that urgency of wanting to be out in the world trying to make it better before I leave. There’s so much to see and do and learn and know and I, as a proud millennial, truly value that over having tons of things!

    -xo, Azanique | https://www.lotsofsass.com

    Posted 8.9.19 Reply
  11. This is so true! All of my best memories are of things I’ve done, not things I’ve owned. Experiences are so much more important and worthwhile.
    -Emily | norepeatsorhesitations.com

    Posted 8.9.19 Reply
  12. Tiffany Khyla wrote:

    I’ve always said I’d rather spend money on experiences than on things. The apartment my boyfriend and I live in is pretty modest, and we have a super small TV that I’ve had since high school. When people come over and wonder why we don’t at least upgrade our TV, we always tell them that even though we have the money to, we’d rather save up for travel.

    Posted 8.12.19 Reply
  13. Currently planning a trip to Maui and i’m SO excited to explore!

    Posted 8.16.19 Reply