Why are Millennials in the UAE so obsessed with traveling?

Munich might be best known for Oktoberfest, but this accessible destination holds its own on a contemporary city break throughout the year.

Smaller and friendlier than Berlin, Munich has a wealth of galleries and museums as well as plenty of high-end shops for those with deep pockets. 

Tour the fascinating buildings that survived the Second World War before tucking into your choice of culinary cultures – in part due to its close links to Italy. There is of course plenty of Bavarian kitsch culture available too – beerhalls, pretzels and so on – but there’s plenty to appeal to a cooler crowd, from vintage clothes shops to cocktail bars and clubs.

We’ll tell you what’s true. You can form your own view.

From15p€0.18$0.18USD 0.27a day, more exclusives, analysis and extras.

The Independent’s hotel reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and book, but we never allow this to affect our coverage.

What to do

Dive in

Munich is a great city for swimmers – it has the Olympic pool where Mark Spitz cleaned up in 1972 – but perhaps the best spot for water babies is Müllersche Volksbad. A gorgeous Art Nouveau building dating back to 1901, it’s mostly used by locals and has an old-fashioned charm. There are two pools to choose from – a smaller, warmer one (previously women-only) and a cooler, 31m option for getting some lengths in. There’s also a sauna and steam room available if you’re happy to go nude and native. Entry from €3.70.

Be inspired

The Pinakothek der Moderne is packed with significant modern artworks from around the world, including pieces by artists like Bacon, Picasso, Warhol, Klee and Magritte. What sets it apart – as well as its impressive collection of German artists – is the way many works are given the space to breathe, including Joseph Bueys’ The End of the Twentieth Century, an assembly of enormous basalt stones which has its own room for full impact.

Be sure to visit the free installation by Walter de Maria – Large Red Sphere – which is housed in its own building. A huge polished granite work, it is strangely absorbing thanks to the reflections of the windows around it. Look upon it and imagine the swirling cosmos. (This space is only open April to November, 11-5pm, and November to March, 12-3pm). Entry €10, under 18s go free.

Catch some waves

As unlikely as it sounds, landlocked Munich is developing a name for itself in the world of surfing. There are gnarly waves to be caught at Eisbachwelle, by the entrance to the Englischer Garten, and folk have been trying to tame them for 40 years. It’s only suitable for surfers with experience as it’s very choppy, but it’s fun to watch the pros try their luck.

Where to stay

If you’re feeling flush the celebrity-favoured Hotel Bayerischer Hof has got to be top choice – everyone from Brigitte Bardot to Ben Whishaw has stayed, and there’s a shrine outside for Michael Jackson who wanted to move in. 

Commissioned by King Ludwig I, it’s been in the same family for four generations, and has recently had a luxurious update to several interiors by Axel Vervoordt. It has a spa, theatre, nightclub, cinema and five restaurants ranging from traditional Bavarian to three Michelin-starred, so in bad weather you don’t even need to venture out. Doubles from €310, room only.

For a break with bags of quirk, try the NYX Hotel, which is decorated by local artists. There’s an open-plan restaurant, bar and dining area as well as its own burger grill. There’s an in-house nightclub too with resident DJs. Doubles from €82, room only.

Where to eat

Preysinggarten – despite being one of the city’s oldest inns – has a modern feel (including plenty for veggies to enjoy) and looks to the Mediterranean for inspiration, with hearty staples including pasta and pizza. It’s renowned for its friendly service and there’s also a play area outside for families. Mains €15-20. 

As for local delicacies, pop into any decent bakery for a slice of the decadent apricot-chocolate, seven-layered Prinzregententorte (one layer for each state of Bavaria). It was created by Prince Regent Luitpold who took the throne in 1866 but was suspected of involvement with his nephew, King Ludwig II’s, death. He decided to create a cake to boost his popularity; and while people liked the dessert just fine, it turns out a bad reputation is harder to fix…

Where to drink

For cocktails or a pre-dinner tipple, Falk’s Bar (within the Hotel Bayerischer Hof) is beautiful and, despite its delicate mirrored walls, was the only space in the hotel to remain unscathed by the war.

Cocktail aficionados will no doubt be familiar with Charles Schumann – one of the world’s most famous bartenders – so you’ll want to visit his eponymous bar. Schumann’s Bar may not be suited to the Cinderellas amongst us (it transforms from a restaurant to an evening spot at midnight) but its enormous menu and slick service is worth the late night.

In Munich, as in the rest of Germany, each bar only serves one variety of beer, so you’ll need to plan in a crawl (or come for Oktoberfest!) if you want to try all seven of the local brews. The unanimous favourite seems to be Augustiner, so look for signs advertising it outside. 

Where to shop

While the shops in the Fünf Höfe centre tend to be pricey, it’s worth popping in to see any resident artworks in the central space, or enjoy a coffee outside in view of its imposing metal sphere sculpture.

For bargain books and vintage clothing, do as the local students do and explore the Englischer Garten area.

Architectural highlight

For a city that suffered so much wartime destruction there’s a surprising amount to choose from, but one of the most eye-catching is the yellow Theatine Church of St Cajetan on the main square. Rococo and ornate, it’s the final resting place for numerous Bavarian royals. 

Nuts and bolts 

What currency do I need?


What language do they speak?


Should I tip?

10 per cent in restaurants and for taxis. In bars, round up to the nearest euro.

What’s the time difference?

One hour ahead.

What’s the average flight time from the UK?

Two hours.

Public transport

It’s small enough to get around on foot but there’s also a handy tram service.

Best view

For a quirky experience, climb up inside the Bavaria Statue – the Germanic equivalent of the Statue of Liberty! The Amazonian woman was built in 1844 and climbing the 66 steps into her crown will earn you views across the Theresienwiese, the open space where Oktoberfest is held, as well as downtown Munich.

Insider tip 

Take tea at the Glockenspiel Café at 11am, 12pm or 5pm for a prime view of the famous Neues Rathaus cuckoo clock sparking into life outside.

Dubai: “I can’t even begin to emphasize the importance and beauty of traveling. Here in Dubai, I’m me – I have my daily routine, my usual group of friends, mom’s food, dad’s rules, cliche nights out, and it’s repetitive. Good, but repetitive. When I travel… Every day is a new day, days full of options with choices waiting to be made. All of them new. It’s such a refreshing feeling waking up in a strange city with new things to see and do. It’s like living an alternative life for a few days and I think our souls really need to be reminded that there’s more to the world than just home,” said Menna Hani, an Emirati living and working in Dubai to Gulf News.

Menna’s favourite city to travel to is Seoul, South Korea. “I think the reason I love Seoul so much, is because it is such a major contrast between cultures, way of thinking, and living! It really is a whole other world that is completely different than what we as Arabs know and that is what makes me love it! Plus, skin care, great weather, and amazing food,” she tells Gulf News.

Menna is not alone with her obsession in travel. 68 per cent of UAE’s Gen Z and millennials have visited up to 10 countries until now, bear in mind that the oldest millennial is currently 35 years old. So they probably have plenty more countries to check out.

Gulf News spoke to Ahmed Adly, an avid traveler about his love for travel. “I absolutely love to travel because the idea of having a whole planet to experience, cultures to be exposed to, people to meet, food to try, history to learn and traditions to see is the only human purpose worth pursuing and literally the key to world peace. You can’t have hatred towards different people of you live their life even for a day.”

“Bali is my favorite place on earth,” Ahmed continues. “It radiates serenity from the second you land to the second you leave. Every hour your travel across Bali you experience a completely different place, I think it’s one of the most diverse places on earth and the people and their culture is one of the most welcoming and warmest I’ve ever experienced. It’s one place I can travel to every year.”

It’s clear that young people love to travel. The ones who lead the way as the most well tavelled residents of the UAE, are the Brits. Britons have taken the top spot for the highest number of international countries visited, according to the “Well Traveled Survey” commissioned by Agoda.com, a digital travel platform. The average British traveler living in the UAE has visited an average of 12 countries, closely followed by Australians who averaged 10 international destinations per person.

According to the survey findings, almost seven out of 10 people living in the UAE have visited up to 10 countries with Arab travelers from United Arab Emirates and from KSA in the lead as the top travelers.

“I love travel for so many reasons,” Shereen El Seewy, an Egyptian living in Dubai, said to Gulf News. “I feel like I get to disconnect from the busy routine work life. I get to relax, see new faces, new views. More importantly, travelling feeds my love for adventure and new experiences. I feel I learn a lot about life. Get exposed to different cultures, meet new people. I really the reason I am, who I am today is because of the exposure I had during these travels.” Shereen loves travelling so much that she has a dedicated Instagram account just highlighting her travel pictures, Sheeflies.

“My favourite destination so far was Kenya. Met people who come from completely different backgrounds and even though there’s so much that is different from the life in Dubai that I am used to, somehow that simplicity in their lives is so relaxing. Like little things made them happy. So it makes you appreciate all the things you have in life.

“I love traveling because I believe that it gives me the opportunity to discover new places and learn about different cultures and try new food,” Shahira Hosny, a university student based in Sharjah, told Gulf News. “I think that traveling allows people to be pushed out of their comfort zone, while creating new memories especially when traveling with those who matter. It really makes the trip worthwhile.

My favourite place I’ve visited so far was Greece. Everything about it was exciting; the people’s kindness, the culture, the food and most importantly the island hopping.”

The UK has the largest proportion who have traveled to more than 31 destinations (5 per cent), followed by Australia (4 per cent), Thailand (3 per cent) and the United States (2 per cent).

“Whether it’s looking to find yourself or just the need for a relaxing break in the sun after working hard throughout the year, it’s clear people everywhere – regardless of age or gender – love to travel,” says Timothy Hughes, Vice President of Corporate Development at Agoda. “And with so many ways and reasons to travel, and bustling cities, breathtaking beaches or rich arts and cultural centers to explore, it’s no wonder that the number of people visiting up to 10 countries is so high.”

“I love to travel because I feel like there is a lot of merit and perspective you gain from being in those places,” said Khalid Saleh, a Palestinian American living and working in Dubai. “You not only learn about these places, you learn about yourself. You learn about your instincts, in an environment that’s foreign to you. You learn about everything again. I love to travel because I learn new things and I learn new things about myself.”

My favourite destination, as of now, is Amsterdam, for many reasons. The first and most obvious reason, was that everyone there, spoke English. I am just going to come out and say it. Everyone was so nice. The food was excellent, the canals were beautiful. I love that I could walk. I think that’s the one thing I crave when I live in Dubai. I want to be able to walk, and we don’t have a walking culture. I enjoyed the freedom to live and let live.”

Harsh Joshi, an Indian, graphic designer living in Dubai travels regularly every year. “I love to travel because I get to see something new and different. It’s like giving a different view to your eyes and brain from what you see every day. I love the feeling of being in an airplane. One reason why I love traveling. I also get so excited to be in a place you’ve never seen before and waking up every day looking forward to explore the streets, the food, the monuments and the history. Traveling is a form of education in real time. It teaches you so much, every single minute.

Bali has already made an appearance on this story. It must be quite the popular spot. “My favorite destination from what I have traveled to till now will always be Bali. It’s the vibe that makes me love it. The beaches, the unreal views, Balinese massages and the food. People are very friendly and simple. Sometimes while traveling if the people are rude (for their personal reasons) it automatically puts you off. But yes Bali will definitely be my favorite destination.

Never traveled abroad

Meanwhile, the data also found that 18 per cent of people surveyed have never traveled to another country at all, with a surprising 13 per cent of over 55s never having traveled internationally.

Unsurprisingly, among the non-Asia Pacific markets (United Kingdom, United States, United Arab Emirates, and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia), Americans are the least traveled, with 29 per cent having never been overseas.

Countries where Gen Z and Millennials don’t travel so much

Globally, 27 per cent of 18-24 year olds have never traveled. Millennials from China, Vietnam and Indonesia are most likely to never have traveled at 49 per cent, 45 per cent and 37 per cent respectively. However, in the 25-34 age group, where the global average is 19 per cent having never traveled, Vietnam is pushed out of the bottom by the US.

By 45-54 years old, 86 per cent have traveled abroad, while 81 cent of the 25-34 years age group has already traveled to other countries.

“While it seems Gen Z and Millennials are yet to have the opportunity to travel as extensively abroad as other age groups, the gap between those who have never traveled internationally is shrinking fast. It will be exciting to see the potential cultural and socio-economic gains once those from China, Vietnam and Indonesia start traveling more,” Timothy adds.

Gender is no barrier for travel for Asia Pacific travelers

Overall, 19 per cent of women have never traveled outside their home country versus 17 per cent of men. Only the United States, Vietnam and Indonesia showed significant differences in percentages of males and females traveling – 66 per cent of females versus 76 per cent of males in the United States have traveled internationally at least once, and 67% females compared to 74 per cent of males in Vietnam. Indonesia bucks the trend with 72 per cent of women having traveled internationally before, compared to only 65 per cent of men.

Interesting highlights

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

•At 82 per cent, the largest proportion of people in the KSA have been to 1-10 countries.

•Only 1 per cent of people from the KSA have been to 21 or more countries.

•Of those aged 55 and over in the KSA, 6 per cent have been to 21 or more countries.

United Arab Emirates

•Of those who traveled, UAE showed the biggest difference in male and female travelers. 73 per cent of males have traveled up to 5 countries compared to 81 per cent of females.

•Less than 1 per cent of those aged 18-24 in the UAE have not traveled, with 96 per cent having visited up to 10 countries.

Source: Read Full Article