If you’re looking for a more genuine travel experience than fanny packs and tourist traps you’re in the right place. In this article we’ll explore adventurous holiday accommodation options. We’ll also share some easy tips to help you experience life like a local on your holidays.
Explore alternative holiday accommodation
Hotels and motels can look, feel and even smell the same whether you’re in South East Asia or Tamworth. Exploring alternative holiday accommodation is one of the closest ways to experience life as a local.
Find a home away from home with Airbnb
With everything from holiday rentals and apartments to yurts, tree houses, castles and caves Airbnb have alternative accommodation covered. The Airbnb website is where people list their home or property for others to book as short-term or long-term accommodation. The site has more than 2 million listings to discover, so check it out: Airbnb Australia. If you’re looking for holiday accommodation overseas visit: Airbnb.
Get your boots muddy at a farm stay
Live out your McLeod’s Daughters dreams of gorgeous rural landscapes, horseback riding and friendly animals with a farm stay. For something close to home, Visit NSW’s website has a huge range of properties to choose from. Visit NSW – Farm Stays; or Stayz Farm Stays if you’re domestic bound. If you’re heading overseas, try booking.com > Farm Holidays.
Go for a unique experience
Big tourist attractions are popular for a reason, but a unique travel experience will get you in touch with the local culture.
Volunteer with a local program
Depending on your interests and skills there are plenty of volunteer options to explore. Examples of volunteer programs include:
- working with rescue elephants in Thailand
- teaching school children English in Peru
- staying on a kibbutz in Israel; or,
- joining a nomad project in Mongolia.
Some volunteer agencies, like Project Abroad, tailor programs for older travellers and are looking for skilled volunteers who want to apply their knowledge and experience in a new setting, browse their programs here: Project Abroad.
Choose your holiday accommodation and stay put
Setting limits on your adventure might seem counter-intuitive. Yet, the smaller the area you travel and the longer you stay, the deeper your experience will be. Establishing a routine, slowing down and immersing yourself in the day-to-day lives of the locals will help you gain a genuine insight into how they live. The simple choice of eating where the locals eat and shopping where they shop will shape a richer travel experience.
Easy travel tips
Booking a tour can take the stress out of travel planning and can be a cost-effective option. However, it can mean travelling to an exotic destination only to find yourself learning more about Barbara from Bonnie Doon than the local culture. Here are some easy things you can do, even if you are on tour, to help you have a more authentic experience.
- Read the paper. Possibly the laziest way to learn about what’s happening in the region you’re travelling is to pick up the local paper and read the news. It’s easy, cheap and you’ll get an insight into the current events affecting the locals.
- Learn a few key phrases. If you’re travelling somewhere where English isn’t the native language, learning a few key phrases will help you feel more connected to the country and the people. Knowing how to say “hello,” “goodbye,” “how are you?”, “I am good,” “what’s your name” and “my name is” will get you further than you think. And even if you sound terrible, most locals will appreciate the effort.
- Strike up a conversation (with someone other than Barbara). Forget what your Mum used to say about talking to strangers, striking up a conversation with business owners, staff and even people on the street, is an excellent way to get an insight into their day-to-day lives. They can also be a good source for tips on what to see and where to eat and shop – and much more up to date than whatever guidebook you’re using. Play your cards right and you might even be invited home for dinner.
- Don’t be scared of street food. Food is an important part of any travel adventure, but to get a truly local culinary experience you might need to go outside your comfort zone. Sometimes street stalls and the less glitzy establishments have the most authentic fare. Look for places that are packed with locals, ask the staff what they recommend, and don’t be afraid to spark up a conversation while you’re there.
- If all else fails, go nude (respectfully) with fellow naturists. Nothing will get you in touch and intimate with both locals and fellow travellers quicker than joining a naturist holiday group. An ethical and respectful naturist travel group will offer holiday accommodation tailored for ditching of clothing. It may not be the holiday experience you’ll want to tell the grandkids about, but if it is your thing, it is your thing! If you want to try out a nudist holiday in Australia first, check out: Naturist Directory