It’s the case with many popular destinations that most visitors experience them in the same way. Book a hotel, find the most popular attractions in the area and plod along. Much as this can be entertaining and fun, you might be after something a little bit different. Not sure quite what that looks like yet?
Here are some ideas of other ways to enjoy your destination:
Volunteer and give back
Although gap year students may spring to mind, this is something people of all ages can enjoy. Why not make this a group effort and take some friends or family members with you?
Conservation projects can be very enriching. You could track endangered animals in Africa, help at an orangutan rehabilitation centre in Borneo or research dolphin behaviour in Greece.
In return for free accommodation, you could also help with farming efforts and school-building.
At the more luxurious end of the spectrum, a cruise trip could be a very rewarding way to see multiple countries at once. Your accommodation will essentially be a floating resort, meaning you’re enjoying the novelty of high-end lodgings and amenities at sea while exploring new places.
International cruise lines like Royal Caribbean Cruises can take you to almost any part of the globe that you fancy, so it’s worth researching your options.
Cultural immersion homestays
Love visiting new countries but feel like you never have the chance to get to know the locals?
It’s certainly not a holiday type you hear about much outside the student world, but spending some time in a homestay can be a wonderful way to immerse yourself in the culture. Many come with volunteering projects as part of the package.
Ecotourism is a specific way to travel that involves visiting natural areas and enjoying them in an environmentally friendly way. These areas are often quite remote.
You’ll make your own travel arrangements and most of your activities will keep you very close to nature. Hiking, cycling, birdwatching and swimming in areas where it’s safe to do so could be a large part of it.
There are a few caveats to this though. It takes a bit of research to ensure that you don’t accidentally go to an area that is already environmentally fragile. You need to ensure you’re not doing more harm than good, so try to avoid breeding and nesting or hatching seasons.
There is a time and place in life for different types of travel. Whether your goal is to dip in and out of countries from the convenience of a cruise ship or get your hands dirty with some rewarding altruistic endeavours, you’re sure to get more out of travelling when you think outside the box.