Want to augment your experiential travel experience to take it to the next level? Not sure what to look for? We’ve identified three ways you can augment your experiential travel.  Your holiday should experience will be transformative, meaningful and authentic.

What Is Experiential Travel?

Experiential travel is also known as immersion travel.  It is a form of tourism in which people focus on experiencing a country, city or particular place by actively and meaningfully engaging with its history, people, culture, food and environment. It can often be transformative.

1. Human Connection

people standing at a street vendor stall in MumbaiThe essence of experiential travel is about fostering a connection with locals.  Augment your experiential travel by building a relationship with those who make their part of the world so special. To truly understand a place, you must understand its people.  The most rewarding experiences can be borne out of a conversation with a keen resident foodie. They will be able to tell you about that restaurant that isn’t listed in any guidebook.  Or it could be visiting a local community project that’s making a big difference in their community. Connecting with the locals who are the beating heart of a community will give you a more holistic and wider perspective.

For example, one of my favourite food vloggers is Mark Wiens. He was a huge inspiration for my reason to travel around Southeast Asia.  Mark is arguably one of the best online videographers of authentic street food experiences on Youtube.  Watching him taste incredible dishes in different parts of the world gives you an insight into a culture that you can’t get from any book. His videos bring the tastes, sounds and smells to life.  In fact, his videos make you want to jump on the next plane to that very destination.

A meaningful human connection with locals is at the heart of experiential travel. During these turbulent times, we connect with the outside world mostly through our computers or phones. In time, face-to-face conversations will take on greater meaning. Imagine the moment when you are invited into someone’s home in a little village.  Or when you eat that piece of sizzling street food handed to you by the vendor. We’ve taken these interactions for granted until now.

Read More: How To Make Friends While Travelling Solo

2. Go Off The Beaten Path

The term ‘off the beaten path’ has become slightly clichéd over the years. However, the Instagram generation is still jostling to find the next hidden place to boost likes and followers. People are still on the hunt for places where no one has ever been. There’s nothing wrong with going to places so you can tick them off your bucket list, places that have hundreds of thousands or even millions of visitors a year.  But have you thought about visiting places that aren’t the most obvious for tourists? By visiting places that haven’t been overrun by tourists, you spread the benefits of tourism in areas that might not normally benefit.

Augment your experiential travel by choosing emerging destinations. This helps balance out the impact of over-tourism and you’ll likely have a more rewarding experience. What’s more, by travelling to less well-known places, locals will be more likely to appreciate your business and will often treat you like family.    Show interest in their culture and ways of life and they will show you places that are normally reserved for locals.

By travelling further afield from the major tourist hotspots, you play an active role in reducing your impact on crumbling infrastructure. It also provides much needed, sustainable growth to developing destinations.  Many high profile destinations will survive the impact of the coronavirus but by choosing to go further afield, you play an active role in ensuring the future of communities that have looked to tourism for future growth and prosperity. They may not have the marketing budgets of the larger regions, cities or islands but that does not mean you will not come back with unforgettable memories.

3. Support Local Social Enterprises

sign in cafe showing lokal logoSpending your tourist dollars on local businesses doing great things for their community is a brilliant way of giving back to your next travel destination.  Have a break from the sun lounger and join a beach clean up one afternoon.  You could even head to an organic farm to see how local farmers are providing a sustainable and healthy food basket to its population.

LOKAL in Siargao, the Philippines is a social enterprise focused on creating social impact. Its goal is to encourage farmers to plant more through regenerative principles, helping ensure food security on the island while also increasing their income. When you buy locally-grown vegetables from LOKAL Tabo’s food shop, you help these local farms maintain a sustainable cycle of production. Part of their purpose is also to promote local culture.  It could be a great opportunity to learn about the island whilst giving back. Your support could take them one step closer to achieving their vision of a self-sufficient island since profits are used to ensure a continuous supply of seeds and help finance farming activities.

Consider choosing businesses like sustainable farms to buy your groceries. Stay at properties that are socially and environmentally responsible.  Not only do you ensure locals aren’t exploited by the tourism industry, but you also do your bit to protect the future of the planet.

Want To Know More?

Suitcase Magazine is a great source of information if you want to delve deeper into what a country has to offer.  It provides insider tips on the less well-known sites authentic insights into the essence of a destination.  If you want to travel consciously this is the magazine for you. Their online city guides and longer form print magazine serve as a great starting point to find those destinations that might not have been previously on your radar.

Ready To Start Planning Your Next Holiday?

Looking for a trip that’s entrenched in fostering a connection with the local community?  Many Moons cares and believes deeply in meaningful travel. Let us show you how to travel consciously. Many Moons can assist in providing unique solutions and ideas to give you an experience that will be truly one of a kind. Contact us to start planning your next trip.