Much has been written about what millennials want, how they differ from the baby boomer generation, and how they are changing workplace culture. Most millennials want a life they can build for themselves, and allows them a more flexibility. Andy Steves is one of those millennials- he has built the business and the life that he wants. As the founder and “Head Backpacker” of his company, Weekend StudentAdventures, and the author of travel book, “Andy Steves’ Europe” he is teaching millennials (who list traveling as a main reason they work) how to be savvy travelers.
Steves started traveling young. He spent most of his childhood summers in Europe with his family, watching his father work and research (he is the son of travel guru Rick Steves). In 2005 he went on his first independent European adventure with his best friend from high school, when he did a tour through Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, the French Riviera, Cinque Terre, the Swiss Alps, Palermo and concluding in Florence and Rome. He worked for his father as an assistant tour guide while he was in college, then not being able to stay away returned to Europe in 2008 for his own study abroad experience in Rome.
It was in Rome where Steves saw the need for organized student travel experiences. He traveled 13 of his 17 weekends while he was studying abroad, organizing all sorts of trips and excursions for him and his friends. He created over 20 weekend itineraries to popular cities across Europe. He began giving travel workshops at universities like NotreDame, Brigham Young University and University of Michigan. He vetted his business plan by entering it in Notre Dame’s annual business plan competition in 2009 and 2010,and took home the top prize in 2010. He did not see the growing need for travel resources for young people in the market, especially a condensed, straightforward guide for students who do not the time or attention span for extensive research.
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