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What is Experiential Travel

Morocco-ScarvesIt seems that these days you can’t read an article about travel trends without coming across the terms authentic and local experiential or immersion travel. Everything about travel right now is about experiences, which is baffling. What’s baffling is that it comes as news that travel is about experiences.

The idea behind experiential travel is that travellers are not just tourists, but instead immerse themselves into the culture, history and lives of the people in any particular destination. They can do this by staying in locally owned and operated accommodations, eating at restaurants frequented by the locals, having local guides, attending a regional festival and more.

Because there is so much attention on local immersion travel, just about every company around is trying to figure out how they can take a slice out of the pie. This is great news for travellers, as long as the company isn’t all talk and no action. Having provided local travel experiences since we started 20 years ago, we have been told time and again how much our guests love real, non-fabricated experiences over made-for-tourist ones.

Vietnam-Homestay-Meal2The question now becomes what is authentic and real? For example, do luxury accommodations or gourmet meals mean something is not genuine? Do you have to rough it or eat simple meals for an experience to be authentic? So far, this seems to be a matter of personal opinion, which makes it very important to confirm that any company you are considering has the same definition of authentic as you do.

Sound off below with what you believe is authentic, experiential travel.

A Revealing Photo Tour of Panama

There has been a lot of attention on Panama this year with the 100th Anniversary of the opening of the Panama Canal. While most travellers to Panama don’t venture very far from Panama City and the Canal, there is so much more to the country than the engineering marvel.

The following is a brief photo tour of Panama capturing some of the different elements that you can find around the country.

Panama Canal

Panama-Canal

Wildlife

Panama-Animals-Monkey

Food

Panama-Food

Historical Forts

Panama-Fort

Locals

Panama-Locals

Beaches

Panama-Scenery-Beach

An Adventure Bucket List for Shark Week

Belize-SharkWith Sharknado 2 having just aired and Discovery Channels’s “Shark Week” set to begin next week, all the world’s attention is on one of the world’s most feared fish. While most people are happy to watch the infamous predators from the comfort of their couch, there are others who want to get up close and personal with them. If your buckle list includes swimming with sharks, the following are five sharks you’ll want to see and five places to see them.

 

Whale Sharks in Koh Samui, Thailand

A veritable gentle giant, whale sharks are the largest known fish in the world .

Nurse Sharks in Ambergris Caye, Belize

Calm and slow moving, nurse sharks are bottom-dwellers that typically live in shallow waters.

Hammerhead Sharks in Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Hammerheads are aggressive hunters, but rarely attack humans unless provoked, possibly because of their strangely small mouths.

Basking Shark in Rhodes, Greece

The second largest fish in the world, basking sharks are largely harmless and fairly skittish, though young ones are often more curious.

Great White Shark in South Africa

The most infamous shark on the list, the great white shark is the world’s largest predatory fish, and the one shark on the list you’ll want to see from a cage.

How to Protect Your Bike From Being Stolen

With summer in full swing, there are more people than ever out on their bikes. Unfortunately that also means that there are more temptations than ever for bike thieves. Granville Island, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Vancouver, even has a Bike Valet where tourists and locals can leave their bikes safely under supervision while checking out the island.

Even if there is no supervised place to leave your bike for any length of time, there are ways you can reduce your risk of returning to find it gone. The following are a few tips on how to protect your bike from being stolen.Bike-not-locked

  • Lock your bike in a well-lit location with lots of people and video surveillance.
  • Don’t lock your bike in the same location every day.
  • Lock your bike next to other bikes instead of on its own.
  • Don’t lock your bike with a cheap lock, which are easy for thieves to remove.
  • Lock your bike frame to something solid that cannot be broken, cut or removed.
  • Don’t lock your bike to anything it can be lifted off.
  • Take any unsecured parts with you, like tires or the seat.
  • Make sure your lock doesn’t touch the ground, which will make it easier for a thief to use a sledgehammer on it.
  • Leave as little space as possible between the lock and the bike so thieves can’t break the lock using leverage.
  • Take your bike with you if you notice a punctured tire since it may be a tactic used by a thief to get you to leave it unprotected for longer.

How to Pack a Backpack for Easy Access

If you have ever taken a backpack on a trip, I’m sure you’ve experienced a situation where you need to access something quickly and it just happens to be at the very bottom. It is inevitable that this will happen again, but the following are five tips on how to reduce the chances of always having to dig to the bottom for that one item you’re looking for.

Organize gear

Sort your gear with stuff sacks of different sizes and colours

Least used at bottom

Pack the items you use least at the bottom of the pack

Commonly used at top

Put items like raincoats and gloves at the top for easy access in case the weather changes

Emergency items on outside

Keep small emergency items in the outside pockets for quick access

Fill in the space

Fill the empty spaces by putting smaller items inside larger related ones, utensils inside cups or socks inside shoes