Experiential Travel

Destinations: Barcelona, London, Rome, Paris, Tokyo, New Orleans, New York City

Activities: Cooking Classes

Tourists tend to zip through a place, adding a notch to their “been there, seen that” list of cities and countries. They may even boast that they made it through seven countries in seven days after a week in Europe. Others know better.

Travelers tend to experience a place from the inside rather than view it as an outsider. They prefer to linger in one place and savor the local culture, knowing that a closer encounter with a location allows people to learn more about cuisine, customs and history than a one-day jaunt through a city can provide.

Take a language class, stay in local homes, rent an apartment, take a cooking class—even spend your vacation volunteering to help build homes, preserve nature or teach local children. All opportunities allow you to meet and talk with people who you may not encounter as a regular tourist.

Articles About Experiential Travel

B.A: European City of South America

Buenos Aires has beautiful architecture, great dining and wines, friendly people, big parks … what are you waiting for?

Feel the Love With Bahamas’ Host Program

The Bahamas’ People-to-People program pairs visitors with volunteer hosts for authentic, insider island experiences.

Zen and the Art of Travel in China

TravelMuse writers offer tips to help travelers stay balanced when facing potential cultural challenges on a first visit to China.

Family Adventure in the Middle Kingdom

If you think that travel in China isn’t family-friendly, think again. Just remember that you need a little bit of cultural understanding.

Costa Rica’s Monteverde Cloud Forest Adventure

Walk in the clouds and volunteer at a nature school in Costa Rica’s tropical rainforests.

Leatherback Turtle Ecotourism Adventure in Costa Rica

Volunteer to help leatherback turtles on your next Costa Rican vacation with EcoTeach.

Eco Vacation Trend: Farm Stay Vacations

Farm stays are a growing trend: feed chickens, milk cows and get back to the quiet life on your next family vacation.

Family Voluntourism Strengthens Bonds and Local Communities

Give back to local communities by participating in voluntouring projects on your next family vacation.

Language School Learning Vacations

While you play, send your kids away on a confidence-building and interactive learning vacation they’ll love.

Mother and Daughter Sailing Lessons

Jibe, tack and turn hard a-starboard on an unforgettable sailing vacation in Fort Myers Beach, Florida.

Where the Wild Things Are

Learn how you can get personal with alligators, prairie dogs and falcons while on vacation.

Customized Luxury Travel Made Easy

Time-starved travelers look to professional planners to find off the beaten path and authentic experiences.

Flowers for the Dead

Take a Lake Pátzcuaro candlelit boat procession to an island cemetery celebration of the dead.

Volcanic Mud Baths of El Totumo

Our editor gets covered in mud during a cultural spa experience to the El Totumo volcano near Cartagena, Colombia.

Uganda: The Pearl of Africa

Visit Uganda, one of the most beautiful, safe and biologically diverse countries in Africa.

Fine Wining and Dining in Mendoza, Argentina

Learn where to go—and where not to—based on the author’s recent four-day exploration of Mendoza.

Dancing With Rabbits

A teen takes part in Visitor Week at Dancing Rabbit, an intentional community in Missouri, and brings home a new way of living.

If I Had a Hammer

Read about this teenage author’s two volunteer trips to build homes for people in Tijuana, Mexico.

Become a Marine Research Volunteer on St. John

Learn about marine life and help conduct sea studies through a volunteer program at VIERS, a research facility in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Educational Travel for Kids

Take your little ones on smarty-pants trips that are close to home.

360 Degrees Longitude: A Yearlong Family Adventure

Follow John Higham and his family as they travel around the world for a year in this new book that also gives helpful tips for how to plan your own long-term travel adventure.

A Travel Guide With a Conscience

This guide, written by former Peace Corps members, will show you how you what you need to know to plan a volunteer vacation.

Let the Beijing Games Begin

Old meets new, East meets West in this ancient city that has been transforming itself for the XXIX Olympiad, just a week away.