What if your next vacation was something extraordinary?

14 May 2017 by National Bank
What if your next vacation was something extraordinary?

Say goodbye to organized vacations, crowded buses and tightly scheduled sightseeing tours… This year, do something extraordinary and take a trip you’ll always remember!

From experiential tourism to themed holidays, there are new ways to see the world. And you’re not alone in wanting to explore new horizons in an original way. According to Booking.com, 45% of travelers want to be bolder in their choice of travel destinations, and 47% are interested in going somewhere their friends have never been.

Planning your next trip? To give you a little inspiration before you start your search, we asked bloggers to share their favourite spots, as well as ideas for original destinations.

1. Experiential tourism


While some see vacations as a chance to relax, they can also be opportunities to get out of your comfort zone and experience new things. Cultural immersions are a great way to do that, and this type of travel can be combined with a sun vacation. Blogger Jennifer Doré Dallas spent two days among the Emberas, an indigenous group living in an isolated area of Panama, accessible only by pirogue.

She considers it ones of her best experiences because of the connections she made with this community living on threatened land. “A family made me feel welcome in their home, a house built on stilts. There, everything is connected to the land and respects nature: eating, sleeping, play,” explains the author of the blog Moi, mes souliers. The trip costs about $300 US, and a percentage goes back to the community. A lovely way to thank them for their hospitality.

2. Culinary tourism


We often experience the world through our taste buds. And there are plenty of tourism agencies offering culinary journeys all over the world, for all budgets. You could spend 10 days in Tuscany eating at the best restaurants and vineyards, or immerse yourself in the flavours of Peru with chef-guides who will introduce you to the culture, history and food of this South American country. Travel to Greece and experience Cretan cuisine, a celebrated regime that leads to healthier living, or visit Scotland and follow the whiskey trail. Tastings, workshops… The table is set to learn about a country’s culture though its cuisine!

Agencies like Atypika and Passion Terre will take you on a journey to rediscover a taste for the good things in life, and experience the flavours of far off places.

3. Follow in the footsteps of your favourite shows


What better way to see the world than through the eyes of your favourite TV stars? For fans of Downton Abbey, Brit Movie Tours organises visits to Highclere Castle and the Oxfordshire village where the show is filmed. You can also follow in the footsteps of the Stark family from Game of Thrones while visiting 12 locations in Ireland.

The options are endless, from a Breaking Bad bus tour through Albuquerque in New Mexico, to a zombie tour of Atlanta on the trail of The Walking Dead.

If you’re nostalgic for the Sopranos, why not take a trip through Mafioso Tony Soprano’s New York? From Pizza Land to the parish of Father Phil, not to mention a stop at the Holsten (the restaurant where the final scene was filmed).

4. Specialized cruises


Cruises for families, seniors, singles, young adults: the cruise industry is booming! There’s a cruise for every taste, from dance to science to yoga.

Blogger Lydiane was blown away by an intimate cruise she took down the Amazon river that took her through Peruvian communities and allowed her to explore the flora and fauna of the river. “The boat holds a maximum of 10 passengers. You can even book a whole boat for a single family, for as many days as you want,” she explains. “The rooms were comfortable, and the chefs made us typical Peruvian meals.”

5. Event tourism


Love festivals, music, dance and circuses? Memorable events are happening all over the world, and it can be well worthwhile to take a trip to experience one. You’ll be able to say “I was there!” Seeking out major events is a very popular travel trend right now, says Maïthé Levasseur, Associate Director and Analyst at the Réseau de veille en tourisme of the Transat Chair in Tourism of ESG UQAM.

Blogger Lydiane planned a trip to Columbia to coincide with the Carnival of Barrandquilla, the third most important in the world, inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity since 2008. Whether it’s Rock in Rio in Brazil, the Avignon theatre festival in France, or the Carnival of Venice in Italy… You won’t suffer from lack of options!

6. Adventure tourism


Taking off in search of adventure is a form of travel that’s becoming more and more popular. “My partner and I took a boat to the middle of the ocean for three days to dive in Thailand,” remarks Jennifer Ethier, contributor to the Yulair blog.

“It’s a complete experience: you go diving, then get back on the boat and try dishes prepared by a Thai mother.” Animal lovers will find something to suit their fancy among the many safaris offered in South Africa, as well as Sri Lanka, a country overflowing with these types of activities.

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