Once upon a time, the idea of a vacation was all about lounging beside a pool with a Cosmo in hand; but now as we are becoming more aware of the world around us and the importance of socially responsible tourism, we are leaning more towards an ethos of experiential and transformative travel. The landscape has shifted hugely and all-inclusive beach breaks are being replaced with sweat lodge excursions in Peru. Beyond the buzzword, there’s a bounty of benefits of embracing transformative travel and here are just a few themes we are loving…
One of the most important transformative travel trends showing up on our list is committing to being a more environmentally friendly traveller. The world is groaning beneath our weight and it's important that we all do our bit to lighten the load. From choosing to explore by bicycle to booking sustainable hotels, every little counts when it comes to reducing our carbon footprint across the world.
Small Scale Bookings
Boutique is the new buzzword and we are loving it. Swap those grand scale cookie-cutter hotel stays for something smaller and more intimate. Staying in small localized hotels means that you are helping to directly contribute to supporting local businesses. Skip the fast-food joints and Starbucks fro local businesses too, and rather than book tours through a big multinational company, why not look for well-versed independent businesses offering the same thing?
The Allure of Local Life
Another amazing transformative travel trend is the desire to spend more time with local communities. It used to be that holidaymakers would hide away behind resort walls rather than interact with the local community. Now there are tons of opportunities to get involved, whether its taking neighbourhood tours or indulging in local wine tasting, visiting with local artisans or walking with tribes. Make sure you do a little research to ensure that you are choosing interactive experiences that are run ethically, as trips like orphanage and school visits can be problematic.
Spring break spirit is getting swept under the carpet in favour of health and wellness inspired adventures. From all-girls surf camps to yoga retreats and fab fitness vacations where you can indulge in healthy delicious food and exercise against a backdrop of sheer beauty – travellers are starting to see the merit in self-care holidays that don’t leave you feeling horribly hungover, sun-scorched and burnt out on fatty foods and high levels of hedonism. Well-being also comes in the guise of meditation and silent retreats are on the rise as travellers realize that pushing their boundaries and expanding outside their comfort zone is amazing for personal growth.
While it may come under the term dark tourism at times, there is something to be said about visiting a place and taking steps to understand the complexity of its history and culture. From the Killing Fields of Cambodia to homestays in the hills of Vietnam, weaving in activities and side trips that encourage a deeper cultural understanding of a place leaves you richer in knowledge and experience. It’s vital to have an immersive understanding of a place as it makes you a more ethically minded and balanced traveller.
What steps are you taking to be a more conscious traveller? Share your fave transformative travel trends in the comments.