Finding Unique Travel Experiences in a World Where Travel is Increasingly Accessible
By Christina Garofalo
The search for unique experiences is a trend as old as travel itself. A generation ago, achieving this uniqueness was easy; it was not uncommon to be the only person you knew who had even left the country so it hardly mattered if your path was the same off-the-shelf experience a travel agent laid out for all her clients.
Now, as new low-cost options pop up for every aspect of travel — from budget airlines to AirBnB — overseas trips are more within reach of the average person than ever.
With the world at anyone’s fingertips, how can modern travelers carve out a unique experience?
The travelers I meet who are the most satisfied with their adventures prefer to participate rather than observe. Travel articles I read seem to recognize the trend and boast of best-kept secrets and experiences that are off the beaten path.
Now, unique experiences come from opting out of traditional sightseeing in favor of cultural experiences — by choosing a home stay over a hotel or listening to the advice of a villager rather than a guidebook.
These travelers seek exclusivity through experiences that force them out of their comfort zone and help them make meaningful connections.
For them, that unique travel experience requires much more than a beach vacation or a family retreat; it is a realization of our desires and a means by which we communicate what we’ve learned from the people whose paths we’ve crossed.
Whether it was playing cards with a motorcyclist in Southern Vietnam, a meal behind an unmarked door in an Umbrian alleyway, or a spontaneous two-hour ride to see a spiritual healer in Bali, my most memorable travel experiences have always occurred when I ditched the guidebook and ignored all the cookie-cutter advice from the web.
Today, in a world where travel is just another cheap, readily available, mass-produced good, the only thing that’s still scarce is the story.
About the author:
Christina is a writer of poetry, fiction, and all things food and travel. She is the managing editor of Adventures in Frugal, where she writes about living an adventurous life on a budget. Her work has also appeared in Paste, First We Feast, and Robb Report. When she is not traveling, you’ll find her in Brooklyn, NY, where she is most likely eating or writing… she is never not writing.
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