Experiential Travel - your next immersive holiday experience
June 23, 2020
The world has never been so accessible. In just over a day you can be almost anywhere in the world, whether that’s on a tropical island in the Maldives or gorilla trekking in the forests of Rwanda. Whilst travel has literally opened up a new world of possibilities over the past decades, there has been something of a shift in what guests are looking for from their future holidays.
Increasingly we are finding that guests want to create experiences, see more of the world and learn more about local cultures whilst away. There will always be the iconic beach and ski or villa holidays, however enjoying new experiences is at the forefront of travel for 2021. The meaning of experiential travel is to experience, to be involved and to learn. If this all sounds slightly academic, it really doesn’t have to be. Many guests enjoy holidays like this without even realising. Experiential travel is about the experiences, this might be through culture, history, cuisine, learning or reflection.
Some examples of experiential travel are:
A self-drive honeymoon in Namibia. Where you and your new husband or wife create your own experiences and take charge of your holiday, whilst seeing an incredible African destination.
A stay on the tropical island of Mauritius where yes, the white sand beaches are waiting, but guests can also learn new crafts from a local, get islander insider tips for excursions, take a Sega dance class or even share skills with the locals.
A restful retreat in the Swiss Alps focussing on health, wellbeing, a digital detox, self-healing or indulgent pampering as you hit the recharge switch.
A 5* safari holiday to South Africa spending time on the plains of the Madikwe Game Reserve or Kruger National Park before doubling up on experiences in Cape Town with a foodie’s tour of the city or meeting the penguins on Boulders Beach.
Perfect curry cookery skills and learn to expertly blend Maldivian, Sri Lankan or Indian spices at a Maldives island resort as well as exploring the island’s kitchen garden.
A family holiday at one of our incredible &Beyond lodges where the ‘WILDChild’ program will introduce children to new adventures such as tracking, fishing and learning new crafts.
A relaxed holiday to Italy where days are spent sipping on glasses of Italian red wines at vineyard tours or wandering cobbled back streets and appreciating the coastal scenery and architecture.
See below for further details on each of the above ideas and let us help you to create a holiday experience unlike any other…
A self-drive honeymoon in Namibia:
There is no better way to experience the popular Southern African destination of Namibia than under your own steam. Namibia is a country which lends itself to being explored by 4×4 vehicles, with few roads to cause confusion, navigating with the help of a GPS is easy. There is no better way to immerse yourself than to explore Namibia with a tailor-made self-drive itinerary with room for any ad hoc additions that you might feel like adding as you travel around this beautiful country.
Namibia is a vast country with so much to see including the red sand dunes of the Sossusvlei, the ancient looking Dead Vlei, the seals of the Skeleton Coast and the wildlife of the Etosha National Park. For a honeymoon with a difference why not spend two weeks experiencing something completely new and different. Nearly all drives are somewhere between two to six hours and provide plenty of incredible scenery en route.
Climb the ‘Big Daddy’ dune, spot desert elephants or kayak with seals, a 4×4 adventure is just the start of your experience. For further ideas and inspiration, take a look at our sample itinerary: ’14 days exploring Namibia’.
New experiences on the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius:
This is something which has proven exceptionally popular thanks to the introduction of the delightful SALT of Palmar Hotel. The resort opened in 2019 and aimed to provide something completely different on the island. The hotel employs lots of innovative ideas for a holiday with a difference, from growing fruit and vegetables in a soil free way to reusable water bottles to save on plastic, this resort is forward thinking.
Each day at the hotel is different and guests can choose what they would like to take part in. There is a skill swap where guests can not only learn a local skill like pottery in a local studio, or basket weaving, and so take a new skill home with them, but it also gives guests the chance to teach a local a skill which they might have. SALT of Palmar is not just about learning, guests can relax on the gorgeous beach or visit the ice cream parlour too. For those looking to explore, there are visits to a local farm to find out about the agriculture of the island, alternatively don some dancing shoes and take a Sega dance class or re-balance body and mind with the in-house wellness concepts.
A restful retreat in the Swiss Alps
Those in the know have been coming to the Swiss Alps in search of serenity for years. This goes back hundreds of years where the clear mountain air and pure waters were known for their restorative properties. The mountains can be just as healing now as they have ever been, and nowhere does this better than Switzerland, where absolute precision yields the very best results.
At Badrutt’s Palace in the chic ski resort of St. Moritz many guests come to stay at the hotel, not just for a luxurious break but in search of a boost in health, wellbeing, self-healing. There is a spectacular spa offering pampering, massage and beauty treatments. Connect and enrich during a week or two’s stay at the Barutt’s Palace and this could alter your outlook moving forwards, helping to rebalance life, readdress goals or(to create a new appreciation for taking a little ‘me time’.
The spa has a wellness adviser on hand to help guests on their journey, offering ever evolving and cutting edge concepts alongside a wide range of treatments. Bookable therapies and treatments include massage and beauty treatments, reflexology, exfoliation, detoxification, yoga, sleep therapy, guided meditation and personal training.
Safari and city in South Africa
No safari holiday is the same, so inevitably from its very start this is going to be a holiday of new experiences. South Africa is an incredible safari destination, the Kruger National Park is probably the most famous safari destination in the world, meanwhile lesser known spots such as the Madikwe Game Reserve in the north of South Africa provide an equally rich safari experience. What better way to spend a holiday than out in the African bush on a game drive or walking safari whilst staying in a 5* luxury lodge like the Lion Sands Ivory Lodge?
South African safari holidays also pair perfectly with time spent in Cape Town. A unique city, Cape Town is sandwiched between the iconic Table Mountain and the coast. The city is fast becoming one of the foodie hotspots on the world, it is full to the brim with diverse culture, amazing art in areas such as Woodstock and so much to see and do. We can tailor trips in Cape Town to what each guest might like to see or do. Choose from an active day of climbing Table Mountain and a walking tour of the city, a family-friendly coastal cycle and treasure hunting day of fun, or a day of discovering the hidden side of the city. Embrace the journey and see South Africa from a different perspective.
Hone your cookery skills whilst staying in paradise in the Maldives
At the incredible Maldivian resort of Jumeirah Vittaveli, just one of the many ways in which you can experience something new, in addition to the incredible surroundings and beautiful villas, is through a cookery class. Enrol in a class whilst staying here and learn how to cook the perfect curry and infuse the flavours of the Maldives, Sri Lanka or India into your cooking.
The Jumeirah Vittaveli is a stunning resort and one of the finest in the Maldives. It runs programs to increase awareness of environmental impacts and sustainability including a weekly marine talk by the resident marine biologist. This is the place for a once in a lifetime holiday, some of the facilities include an ice rink, super yacht and award-winning spa alongside coconut masterclasses and fish food golf balls (practice your swing by driving ‘golf balls’ into the lagoon which then dissolve to become fish food!)
A ‘WILDChild’ family holiday
We work with many of &Beyond’s amazing lodges in Africa, they are some of the best places to stay in Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Tanzania. They include the &Beyond Sandibe Okavango Safari Lodge in Botswana, the &Beyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge in Namibia and the iconic &Beyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge in Tanzania.
&Beyond provides not only a safari experience for adults but also welcomes children and families to the overwhelming majority of their lodges and camps in Africa. This is unusual and will start children off on a journey of discovery that might open a door of curiosity that lasts a lifetime!
The WILDChild programme which &Beyond run at many of their lodges fosters relationships not only within families, but also between children and the land, the wildlife and the local people. With exhilarating programs filled with new experiences, children will develop a love for Africa and the outdoors like never before. Activities can include tracking, fishing, crafting, kitchen fun, stargazing, Bushman games or bow and arrow making. Many of these memories will be recorded in each child’s scrapbook with notes, drawings and stickers and a special WILDChild backpack.
Photo credit &Beyond.
Vineyard or village tours in Italy
You don’t always have to travel long-haul to experience something new, stay closer to home and in just a few hours you could be in the Tuscan hills or the magical Cinque Terre region of Italy. Something as relaxing as spending a week touring the vineyards of Chianti could mean that you return from your holiday equipped with new found knowledge of Italian wines. It could mean that you savour a new skill every time it comes to choosing a bottle of wine from a restaurant’s wine menu or picking which one to enjoy at home on a Friday night. Find out more with our blog: ‘Exploring Tuscany through the vineyards.’
Meanwhile others might prefer to travel between the five villages of the Cinque Terre with their iconic colourful buildings balanced precariously on the Italian Coastline. Wander cobbled streets, seek out those hidden cafés and locals favourite restaurants and find yourself immersed in Italian culture aplenty.
Each of the aforementioned experiential travel ideas above is just a suggestion, there are so many places to discover in the world and we would love to help you get there. If you do have something particular in mind that you want to do then get in touch for a tailor-made holiday just for you.