Experiential Travel is THE New Trend: Here's Why You Should Try It!

Experiential Travel is THE New Travel Trend: Here’s Why You Should Try It Too!

Gone are the days of simply ticking off landmarks!

Travel as we know it has changed in more ways than one. These days, rather than passively admiring iconic landmarks or snapping generic selfies at overly crowded mainstream locations, avid travellers are looking for deeper connections and more memorable experiences, leading to the booming popularity of experiential travel. 

For those not in the know, this new travel trend is all about ditching the tried-and-tested “touristy activities” and embracing authentic, immersive experiences that connect you with the heart and soul of a destination. Imagine learning to cook traditional dishes from a local family, mastering a new skill like pottery, or volunteering with a community project while on holiday. Essentially, experiential travel is about creating memories that stay with you long after your post-travel nostalgia fades. 

Ready to trade in “been there, done that” for “felt that, lived that”? Read on and discover why, for your next trip, you should give experiential travel a try! 

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Why is experiential travel perfect for your next adventure?

1. It allows you to forge deeper connections

experiential travel

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One of the main reasons why experiential travel is on the rise is because it allows travellers to forge deeper connections while on their travels. Rather than the usual, fleeting exchanges with fellow tourists on a bus tour, experiential travel promotes memorable connections with the locals of the place you’re visiting. 

Since this travel trend often champions less touristy destinations, it allows you to truly immerse yourself in the local culture, interacting with those who call your holiday destination “home”. Picture yourself being welcomed warmly by the locals as you learn about the traditions and cultures of the place from the very people who practise them! 

What is more, you may even meet like-minded travellers who are also in search of similar connections as they travel to these lesser-known destinations — picture yourself conquering a challenging hike with newfound friends, witnessing a vibrant cultural festival firsthand, or learning to cook a local dish alongside a family – these are the experiences and connections that that you’ll treasure forever.

2. You’ll be able to unlock hidden gems and experiences

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One of the benefits of getting close to the locals or like-minded travellers in a particular location is that it often leads to you discovering hidden attractions or experiences you otherwise wouldn’t have known about. After all, if the locals warm up to you, they’ll surely want to show you their favourite spots too! 

In essence, experiential travel allows you to become an explorer, unearthing unique experiences that most tourists miss. Before you know it, you’ll discover ancient ruins tucked away off the beaten path, savour culinary delights at hole-in-the-wall family-run restaurants, picking up artisanal crafts at near-unknown stalls, and more!

3. You can craft authentic memories and learn new skills

experiential travel

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Experiential travel isn’t just about mingling with the locals, it’s also an immersive travel experience where your itineraries are filled with authentic, sometimes hands-on, activities instead of run-of-the-mill tours filled with generic stops at iconic landmarks and staged experiences.

In Japan, for example, in addition to admiring the scenery, you could also head to a dojo in Machida, Tokyo, where you can learn how to wield a Japanese samurai sword, which is surely far more memorable than learning about the history of the samurai through museum exhibits. Meanwhile, in Venice, apart from cruising along on the city’s popular canals, you could sign up for a lace-making workshop to create your own Venitian fan. You could also join a pottery class in Tuscany; learn to weave vibrant tapestries in Peru; or master the art of cooking fragrant curries in Thailand. The possibilities are endless. 

Simply put, experiential travel offers more than a few photographs to show off on social media. It not only allows you to create unforgettable memories that remind you of a place (sometimes literally, as you can craft unique souvenirs to bring home) but also encourages you to step outside your comfort zone to a new skill!  

4. It promotes sustainable and meaningful travel

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Given that experiential travel (and tourism) focuses on immersive experiences, it’s inevitable that it also goes hand-in-hand with sustainability. Whether its supporting local businesses by staying at locally-owned homestays instead of large hotel chains and purchasing (or making) handmade crafts, or biking around lesser-known locations instead of hailing a taxi, you’re leaving a positive footprint whilst you enjoy your adventures. 

What is more, an increasingly popular form of experiential travel involves volunteering at a destination, be it contributing to wildlife conservation efforts, or supporting local communities through outreach programs, or simply helping out in an eco-tourism project. Now that’s a meaningful and guilt-free way to travel. 

5. Your cultural horizons will expand

experiential travel

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Travellers who like visiting different countries to experience the local culture will naturally warm up to the idea of experiential travel. After all, what this travel trend does is help you to go beyond the surface-level sightseeing and delve into the heart of a culture. 

Instead of reading about cultural experiences through museum exhibits or observing from afar, immersive travel means being a part of the activity itself — imagine attending a vibrant Holi festival in India, participating in a traditional tea ceremony in Japan, or witnessing a captivating Maasai dance in Kenya. Essentially, for culture vultures, experiential travel fosters deeper cultural engagement, helping you gain a deeper appreciation for different ways of life, challenge your own cultural biases, and return home with a broader perspective on the world.

6. It promotes digital detox and mindfulness

experiential travel

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If you’re looking for some much-needed time away from your screens, then embarking on an experiential trip is just what you need. Since you’ll be spending more time doing things rather than tweeting about them, you’ll naturally find yourself spending less time on your phone, allowing you to enjoy a digital detox. 

What’s more, as you trek through the silent beauty of natural havens, meditate or relax on sun-kissed beaches, or explore beautiful underwater worlds, you’ll be able to take a refreshing break from your daily routines and enjoy the simplicity of the present moment. Trust us, it’ll leave you fully recharged when you return home and with a renewed sense of mindfulness! 

7. You can truly travel however you want with a personalised itinerary

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The best part about experiential travel (and what makes it so appealing to modern travellers) is that the trend celebrates you for doing the things you love. Unlike rigid tour schedules where everything is planned for you to a tee, experiential and immersive travel is all about doing the things you like. 

Whether you want to learn a new language by travelling in Europe, master the art of calligraphy in China, or simply treat your taste buds to exotic cuisine in locations not often promoted by conventional travel planners, you most certainly can! Essentially, this new travel trend is all about those personalised itineraries that empower you to become the architect of your own journey and create an adventure that ignites your passion for travel and discovery.

8. Experiential travel promotes personal growth

experiential travel

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Most importantly, one of the main reasons you should try experiential travel is that it helps you to grow as a person. 

Imagine yourself pushing your limits by volunteering in a challenging environment, learning a new language that expands your communication skills, or participating in an adventure activity that tests your physical and mental capabilities.

Experiential travel is a catalyst for personal growth, nudging you to step outside your comfort zone as you embark on your journey and allowing you to discover hidden talents, overcome fears, and return home with a renewed sense of confidence and a broader perspective.

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About Author

Darren Yeoh
Darren Yeoh

Darren enjoys the finer things in life and loves exploring unfamiliar places on foot, guided with nothing but instinct and a good-old fashioned map. He enjoys cultural experiences and exciting adventures and is not a stranger to travelling alone. When he's not putting his travel experiences into words, he's probably sitting behind his laptop, planning his upcoming adventure.