This Immersive Type Of Travel May Take Off In 2024. Here's What You Need To Know About It.

When it comes to travel, everyone has a different idea of what makes a trip unforgettable. The expectations and approach may vary, but the one thing travelers can seemingly all agree on right now is that getting out and exploring is more appealing and important than ever. According to a recent Skift U.S. Travel Highlights report, traveler numbers were up an impressive 65% and climbing toward the end of 2023.

As 2024 gets underway, there are many travel styles for explorers to enjoy. Traditional leisure trips like beach getaways to Los Cabos, ski journeys to Aspen, or romantic escapes to Paris continue to delight. However, alternative forms of travel are gaining traction with many travelers choosing to focus on eco-friendly vacations and sustainable tourism instead. A notable and quickly emerging form of travel that seems to be piquing interest across the map is experiential travel.

Sometimes referred to as slow travel, experiential trips focus on the inclusion of authentic and immersive moments. These trips aren't designed for travelers to merely check items off an itinerary. Instead, they're trips that work to create deep connections with the destination of choice through purposeful experiences along the way. The ultimate goal is to return home with an enriched view of the world that goes well beyond the souvenirs traditionally used to commemorate a stay.

Different types of experiential travel to consider

Travelers looking for opportunities to engage more authentically with the destination they've chosen will likely love experiential travel. It's an approach that emphasizes cultural participation over observation. This hands-on approach to culture and travel is meant to elevate a trip beyond a vacation and turn it into a meaningful life experience that can change the very way you see the world.

Experiential travel is even more appealing because it can be tailored to preferences. Some travelers choose to focus on culinary immersion and discover the destination and culture through food appreciation. Others select adventure-based experiential trips where thrills are found in natural settings and often include meaningful encounters with local wildlife. Beyond these opportunities, experiential trips can also emphasize artistic immersion, cultural activities like local festivals, or spiritual immersion with a focus on exploring local religions and spiritual practices.

Many are drawn to these experiential trips because they're designed to benefit the traveler and locals alike. As you invest your time in family-owned eateries, small businesses, and local tours, you'll get a deeper understanding of the culture you're encountering while simultaneously boosting the local economy. Immersing yourself in local community services paves a path toward purposeful and in-depth conversations with residents. The opportunity to spend quality time with those who call the destination home inevitably provides a clearer understanding of their feelings about the lives they live as well as the area's history and impactful traditions.

A versatile way to experience the world

Travelers may be increasingly drawn to experiential trips in 2024 thanks to their versatility. This type of trip can be as simple as taking public transportation once you reach your final destination to see what it's like to get around like a local. Your efforts might also extend to dining exclusively in locally owned restaurants. Add-on experiences like a tortilla-making class in Mexico or a Samurai sword-wielding lesson in Japan can infuse authenticity into the journey.

If you're looking to enjoy a completely immersive trip, there are companies that specialize in experiential travel. Other Way Round offers group trips for solo travelers between the ages of 25 and 45 heading to destinations like Colombia, Brazil, Mexico, and Peru. Cohica Travel caters to adventure seekers looking to connect with destinations through culture, nature, food, and drink. Ker & Downey curates experiential itineraries with plenty of luxury included. Whether you're meeting with local coffee farmers, exploring street art, or sailing through the Amazon, these trips are sure to impact you long after you've returned home.

If you do book an experiential trip, it's a good idea to review your travel insurance policy before you head out. Many policies are drawn up to cover traditional travel experiences exclusively and may not be adequate for excursions with a focus on thrill-seeking adventures in other countries. Once you know you're ready to go, you can count on making some meaningful connections as you travel your way through 2024.