5 Mar 20200 Comments
Travelers want their experiences to be memorable and life changing. They want to reconnect with nature, family and immerse themselves in the destination. They want to engage, grow and learn with the world. That is the essence of experiential travel.
What we’re seeing today is movement away from the regimented tourist itineraries to more customized journeys, jointly designed by the travel advisor and travelers.
These experiential trips place the emphasis on what you do rather than what you see. Some experiences include wine tasting in France, pasta making in Italy, weaving classes in Peru or swimming with the dolphins in the Caribbean. Culinary travel is a growing trend as food is a universally social and emotional experience.
One of my own most memorable travel experiences was a family lunch we had in the Tuscany region of Italy. We dined on a terrace with a bird’s eye view of the magnificent vineyard, sampling the local cheese, prosciutto, and olives. Along with the local delicacies, we tasted a few wines produced by the vineyard. That lunch created lifetime memories and a deeper connection with our family, and will remain with us for the rest of our lives.
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Some of the industry leaders in experiential travel include National Geographic, Abercrombie & Kent, Tauck, Insight Luxury Gold, and Hurtigruten Cruises. They offer unique and interesting itineraries to destinations including Africa, Iceland, Hong Kong, Greenland, Thailand, and Antarctica. There are also smaller travel operators such as the Learning Journeys, Trails of Indochina and T.O.A.S.T. Sicily, which specialize in certain areas of the globe. Itineraries can be customized to your preferred interests and activities.
More and more travelers are choosing to book outdoor activities. A recent survey indicated a 67 percent increase in outdoor travel last year. The activities included hiking, biking, and scuba diving. Classes in cooking, painting, and wellness activities (yoga, meditation, Reiki) are also in high demand as people travel the globe.
Social media, such as Instagram and Facebook, has popularized experiential travel as travelers post and share their cultural, culinary, historical and lifestyle experiences – with posts sometimes going viral on the internet.
So, the next time you are planning a trip, keep in mind your lifetime learning goals and create an experience that enables you to truly participate in your destination.