June 19th, 2017

Immersion Travel: Is It Right for You?

Immersion Travel: Is It Right for You?

Are you looking for a seriously transformative travel experience? Here’s how immersion travel could change your next vacation.

 

One of the beauties of travel is that there are plenty of styles to fit each traveler’s preference. While some people enjoy checking off as many countries as they can on one trip, or visiting every “must-see” location in a destination, others prefer to stay in a single place for a week or longer, wandering at will and settling into the city. If you’re part of the latter group, immersion travel could be the next travel trend for you to explore.

What is Immersion Travel?

Immersion travel allows you the chance to experience a locale like a local by embedding yourself in the culture of a destination, rather than simply viewing it from a comfortable distance. It often includes getting to know the people who live there, sharing meals, learning the language, or perhaps lending a hand at a farm.

An immersive travel experience can range from an afternoon activity with locals to a fully immersed trip, such as a homestay. Homestays, which are available around the world, allow you to meet and stay with local residents, giving you a look at real life in locations from the floating islands in Peru’s Lake Titicaca to the villages of Nepal.

Finding Your Immersive Experience

There are many different ways to discover an immersive experience, the simplest being online research. Start by searching your destination with the term “local experience.” You may find a vineyard tour in Tuscany where you help pick grapes during harvest, or perhaps a street art tour with an artist in San Francisco. Next, delve into social media to search destinations and find inspiration. Instagram is one of my favorite sites for finding activities to explore on my upcoming trips.

If you’ve already booked your accommodations, your hostel, hotel, or rental property can serve as a great resource. The folks who work at hostels and hotels usually have the inside scoop on what’s happening in their areas, and many hotel websites include information on tours and experiences that are available nearby. Renting? AirBnB has an “Experiences” section on its website. Scroll through the options and you’ll find opportunities to explore Venice Beach with a renowned skateboard photographer, learn traditional Japanese dance in Tokyo, paint a public mural with a local Toronto artist, and more.

There are also apps that help you immerse yourself in new cultures. Withlocals serves as a marketplace for travelers to connect with locals who offer experiences in their hometown: Learn to bargain like a local in Bangkok or carve fruit with a Balinese artist. Eat With is an app that gives you the chance to enjoy a home-cooked meal with a local host—after all, one way to truly get to know a new place is through its food. With this app, not only do you get to try local fare, but you also get to see how people live and hopefully make a few friends through the experience.

The Benefits of Immersion Travel

Immersing yourself in a culture can mean taking part in experiences that last well beyond your return flight home. You can make new friends, learn new skills, or perhaps discover a passion that was, until now, untapped. You’ll also return from your trip with a deeper knowledge of a place and its culture, and a wealth of recommendations to share with other travelers. If you’re interested in delving more deeply into a destination, consider adding an immersive element to your next trip. Whether it’s for a few hours or a few weeks, living like a local on your vacation can be an eye opening experience.

Have you experienced immersive travel? What’s your favorite memory? Share in the comments below!

While Eagle Creek is here to provide tips and insights on travel, we cannot accept any responsibility for any potential consequences arising from the use of this information.  Always conduct your own research and use your best judgment.

Related links (from Eagle Creek blog):

5 Things to Know Before Booking a Peer-to-Peer Rental

3 Educational Trips the Family Will Actually Enjoy

Insider Knowledge: How to Meet Locals on a Solo Trip

by Katie Coakley

Katie Coakley is a Denver-based freelance writer who writes about travel, craft beer, and outdoor adventures. She’s just as happy sleeping on a ledge as in a five-star hotel. You can follow her journeys on Instagram.

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