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What is Experiential Luxury Adventure Travel?

September 1, 2018
- By Edge of Wonder Travels Unlimited

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“Experiential Luxury [Adventure] Travel”

You may have heard the phrase before. News articles on the topic of experiential travel have been appearing over the last few years to discuss how it’s “on the rise”. It’s my specialty, so I see that and think, “Cool!” but what does it mean? And when you add “adventure” into that mix, what does it look like?

I’ve been thinking a lot about this recently and how to explain it and here’s what I came up with:

What Is Experiential Adventure Travel?

It’s about immersion, not tourism. It’s about identifying with other cultures, locations, and nature. It’s about sustainability (green travel) and being responsible to the destinations – giving back, paying forward, and always aiming to leave a place better than you found it. It’s also about luxury, but by your definition – so it’s not necessarily about thread count, but what counts. It about collecting stories to tell and moments to remember.

It’s about finding unique ways to immerse yourself in your travel dreams…and more than anything I want to help my clients realize their dreams, experience the world, and “access the extraordinary.”

This type of travel is, at its core, sustainable and green as well as personally luxurious.

Sustainability in travel and ecotourism are things I’m pretty passionate about. I’ve been working on a Professional Certificate in Sustainable Tourism Management, so I love that we’re seeing more and more properties, tour operators, and other suppliers adopting green, sustainable practices. It warms my heart even more to see that green travel is trending in the traveler world as well. People are realizing that their desire to see the world can actually mean local jobs or support of wildlife efforts and sustainability practices for entire regions (rather than the opposite).

Luxury generally is thought of as extravagance and high-levels of comfort and pampering. While this certainly is part of what luxury travel encompasses, and if you’re on a luxury adventure trip, creature comforts and the finer things may very well be included in this, there’s a personal aspect to luxury that goes deeper.

There are certainly some items that universally translate as “luxury,” I look at luxury adventure travel based on how my clients’ define luxury for themselves. For example, going on an polar bear safari that transforms the typical vacation into the ultimate adventure. What if you could go deep and experience arctic wildlife in its natural habitat – discovering and observing polar bears and other unique characteristics of the Arctic…but without sacrificing any other part of your experience. Having an itinerary focused on delivering that experience in exceptional depth – smaller groups (no crowds) and unforgettable intimacy with the environment. Sure, you may have to forego a 5-star hotel since those are just not an option in Churchill Canada on the edge of Hudson Bay, but the wildlife encounters, relationships forged, and intimate way you’ll connect with the surroundings are all luxury of a different – but no less valuable – kind. “Luxury” occasionally may be all about thread count, but with experiences like this – it’s more about what counts.

It’s one of the things I love about being a member of the Adventure Travel Trade Association is that it makes it even easier to connect my clients looking for their version of experiential luxury adventure travel with suppliers and trips that will match their vision.

What’s on your bucket list that might fall into this category of travel? Where do you want to experience? What do you want your next story to be?

Just for fun, here’s a little more about ecotourism (aka green travel) and why it’s awesome…

The International Ecotourism Society published a great article entitled What Does Luxury Mean for Eco-Tourists which covers the basic concept of how luxury and green travel can, not only coexist, but actually complement each other.

The International Ecotourism Society (TIES) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting ecotourism. Founded in 1990, TIES has been on the forefront of the development of ecotourism, providing guidelines and standards, training, technical assistance, and educational resources. TIES’ global network of ecotourism professionals and travelers is leading the efforts to make tourism a viable tool for conservation, protection of bio-cultural diversity, and sustainable community development.” 
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