Experiential Holidays are not new. In fact they have been around for many years, they just didn’t have a swanky name. The great news is that they are becoming more popular as we want more from our valuable holiday time. It isn’t just about sitting back and enjoying the view, where the hardest decision of the day will be which restaurant to visit.
More articles like this one entitled “Why You Should Spend Your Money on Experiences not Things” in the Huffington Post are making us think more about how the power of memories is so important for our overall happiness.Our experiences are a bigger part of ourselves than our material goods Click To Tweet
Wise words from Dr Tom Gilovich after a 20 year study about how material things don’t make us as happy as experiences.
The part of the study I liked the best was how the main difference between buying stuff and experiencing stuff was highlighted.
- When you buy stuff it can last for a while but your happiness levels reduce and don’t last so long. The problem is that this waining of happiness actually leaves you wanting more, and very frustrated when you don’t get it.
- When you experience stuff you get the ‘cream egg effect‘. The fact that the experience doesn’t last long means that you actually enjoy and appreciate it more. Interestingly, although the experience doesn’t last long, the happiness levels do and these levels are reignited every time you think of the experience.
Memories are a very powerful creator of happiness. So your ROHI (return on holiday investment) will increase exponentially over time. In fact you could say that experiential escapes are the evergreen element of holidays.
Why Experiential Is the Only Way to travel?
Experiential or Immersion Travel is a fast growing sector of tourism. Travellers focus on experiencing a country, city, place or activity by connecting to it’s people and culture. These tourists are choosing to escape the run of the mill and standardised experiences and actively seeking out the unusual and genuine.
- People want their holidays to be vibrant not vanilla; they want to participate not just observe.
- When the holiday comes to an end, experiential travellers leave having learned something about others and usually a lot about themselves.
- Experiential Holidays are all about making an emotional connection, which usually lasts much longer and goes much deeper into our senses.
What Kind of Experiential Traveller Are You?
You will probably find that you fall into more than one category here. It’s just something to think about and prioritise when you are searching for your must-do experiences. Sometimes it’s hard to work out what you want or in fact what you need from an experiential trip.
My advice is simple, when you think about experiential travel, consider how an experience is going to make you feel and you you may find that how you feel before the experience changes afterwards.
Zen Lover – at one with yourself.
Where health, well-being and nature are top of the list. In a recent survey conducted by booking.com, 2 out of 5 people booking holidays are interested in health and well-being. Also a whopping 48% intend to use their holiday to reflect and make better life choices.
Cultural Explorer – uncovering and understanding
If you love being immersed in the art, architecture and history of a place. Nothing is better for you than to be let loose in an historic place to learn, explore and marvel at the beauty of things around you.
Adventure Junky – alive and amazed
For those you want to be wowed by high adrenalin experiences and to boldly go where few have gone before, in the form of expeditions. Challenge is what excites you and the more thrilling the experience, the better.
Live like a local – delve and evolve
If you want to feel what it’s like to live in a place and soak up the atmosphere that a destination has to offer, then perhaps this is your type. You will be fascinated by people around you and have the ability to blend in whilst satisfying your curiosity.
Culinary Guru – savour the flavour
Curious about food and drink, you will be a very social creature. Wanting to learn about the food culture of a place is always your starting point. Nothing excites you more than perusing a menu and tasting dishes created using local produce.
Family Mentor – togetherness in new things
Where you aren’t afraid to take the whole family to travel and visit the unusual and inspire them to think differently. They will definitely thank you when they are older!
Where Do You Look For Experiences?
Do some research before you go on holiday. Please don’t wait for everything to drop in your lap – it won’t and before you know it, your holiday will be over and you will head back home with regrets and a feeling of having missed out.
Look at websites of local tourist boards to get an idea of what you can do whilst in a particular destination. Then why not delve deeper to see how you can do it differently.
Look for blogs written by locals or people who have already visited. You will gain a much better understanding of what experiences you can try.
There are apps such as Trip Hobo where you can view what others have scheduled into their trip to a particular destination, giving insight into what you might enjoy doing. AirBNB have been promoting their new offering of experiences in various big cities worldwide. You can search under different categories such as sports, nature, entertainment, food, social impact and arts. Even if you don’t want to book through Airbnb, it’s actually very interesting to see the kind of experiences on offer and a good source of inspiration.
Search for websites that give information to the locals – where do they find out about what’s on in their location? This can really give you a taste of something more authentic.
Some of the Best Holiday Experiences Can Be Free and Priceless
Of course, it’s always good to be able to allocate some of the holiday budget to spend on amazing experiences. However, even if you don’t have oodles of cash to splash, there are some wonderful experiences that anyone can try. Just open your mind, keep your eyes peeled, be prepared to be impulsive and say YES!
Talk to local people
The best way to understand a destination is to watch and learn from the locals themselves. Don’t be afraid to make contact and don’t say that you can’t because you don’t have a command of their language. You shouldn’t visit any country if you can’t say hello, please and thank you in their language. Of course you can always start with a smile.
I remember being in a cafe in the Basque region of Spain, where I started talking to a lady on the next table. We started with chit chat about the day, about where we were both from etc. We only spoke for 20 minutes, but I learned so much about her and how immensely proud and passionate she was of her region.
It wasn’t just what she said, it was the way she said it. That insider information gave me more of an insight into an area, I knew very little about.
Find Out What Regional Events Are Happening and Dive In
If you are not confident in striking up a conversation with a stranger, then it can be easier if you participate in an event. It could be a village fair, where you have a meal with the whole village and dance the night away to live music or it could be a game of cards, backgammon or pétanque in the local square.
Amazing Can Be Just Around The Corner
If you enjoy travel, then visiting far flung places can be the ultimate. Sometimes we can forget about what is on our doorstep – or maybe we don’t even know what’s on our doorstep!
Find out what’s new near you. If you were visiting as a tourist what would you do? Where would you go?
I remember doing this on a ski trip to an area I am very familiar with. It becomes easy to do the same runs that you know. One day my husband and I decided to only ski on runs we rarely skied or had never skied. The result was a really different day, where we felt we had been to a completely new destination!
Link to Portes du Soleil blog post
Be Open To New Things
I have two pieces of advice here, Never say Never and Just Say Yes. If you don’t do things how can you learn things? Its about being open to suggestion and to a different way of thinking.
If you allow yourself to do new things that you have never considered, the holiday journey you have embarked on is enhanced by your voyage of self discovery.
If you enjoyed reading this post, then please share it or leave a comment below. What kind of Experiential traveller are you?