It 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.
The 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.