Traveling Outside the Box: Alternative Experiences for Your Next Trip

Looking for something a little different the next time you travel? Traditional travel has stolen my heart, but there’s always room to think outside the box and see the world in a different way. If you’re seeking a new perspective on travel, hoping to revitalize your idea of tourism, or just eager to try something new, give these seven alternative travel ideas a try.

Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica raccoons

Caring for raccoons as a volunteer in Costa Rica: definitely a new take on travel for me

7 Alternative Travel Ideas

A Better Way to Road Trip

What’s better than an epic road trip? An epic road trip you get paid to take! Companies like Roadie and Auto Driveaway match drivers up with car owners who need their vehicles shipped long-distance, all while covering drivers’ gas costs or even paying cash for your services. Just make sure to get from point A to point B by your deadline, and the rest of the itinerary is up to you!

Some of the planet’s most fascinating destinations are best seen by road tripping, and the possibilities are endless. I’ve experienced some truly amazing road trips in the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Europe, and South America that enabled me to discover places I never would have seen otherwise. Thinking about hitting the road in the United States? Be sure to check out my guide to unforgettable U.S. road trip destinations.

Grand Canyon

Road tripping to the Grand Canyon

Enjoy Rest & Relaxation on a Health Retreat

When life gives you lemons, hop on a plane and get away from it all. If you’re looking for the ultimate way to relax while seeing the world, escape from the pressures of life, or improve your well-being, consider a health retreat. Plenty of destinations in regions like the Mediterranean, Southeast Asia, and the Caribbean offer a variety of organized wellness escapes.

Whether your particular brand of bliss involves spa treatments, classes, yoga, healthy eating, meditation, or breathtaking views, these alternative travel experiences can leave you completely rejuvenated and ready to take on the world. Head to Bali for spa treatments and fitness classes, journey to Morocco for surfing and beachside yoga, or visit Costa Rica to detox with organic farming and wildlife hiking.

Alternative travel ideas: Panviman Chiang Mai, Thailand

Living a life of luxury in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Find Your Inner Farmer with WWOOFing

WWOOF, or World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, enables travelers to live and work on a farm for a period of time. Gain experience in a new field while promoting sustainability and discovering a new part of the planet. There are WWOOFing opportunities all over the globe: choose between making wine in Italy, planting trees in Tanzania, cultivating crops in Australia, or hundreds of other opportunities.

WWOOFers work 4-6 hours per day, and although they aren’t given money for their services, they are compensated with food and accommodation. Stays can range anywhere from several days to six months. Tasks vary from farm to farm and day to day, but each offers a unique experience you likely won’t find again in your lifetime. And who knows? Maybe you’ll find out that you were always destined to be a beet farmer or beekeeper.

Hunter Valley, Australia wine tasting

Perhaps you’ll end up calling Australia’s Hunter Valley home for a spell!

Learn a New Language Abroad

Being able to speak to local people in their native language really takes travel to the next level. Plus, who doesn’t love learning something new while globetrotting? If there’s a language you’ve always wanted to learn or a culture you’ve always wanted to experience to the fullest, plan your next trip around a language class. I owe 95% of my wanderlust today to the amazing experience I had at a language school in Granada, Spain when I was 17.

Regardless of which language or country interests you most, you should be able to find a class that suits you. Or take things up a notch and stay with a host family to fully immerse yourself in the language. And if you’re still in high school or college, you can always spend a summer, semester, or full school-year studying abroad and getting credit for the classes you take overseas.

Granada, Spain

The Granada neighborhood where I took Spanish classes in 2006

Give Back with Voluntourism

It’s difficult to say this without sounding trite, but the more you see of the world, the more you realize just how fortunate you are. Those of us who are able to travel overseas enjoy a privilege that much of the world’s population will never experience. Why not turn that privilege into something bigger than ourselves? “Voluntourism” opportunities can be found all over the globe and may involve anything from teaching children to building structures to working with animals.

There’s no shortage of volunteer opportunities out there, but before jumping in head first, do your research. Some organizations and opportunities do more harm than they do good, and the concept of “white tourist’s burden” can be problematic. This blog post, however, provides a few tips on how to find an ethical organization. The right experience can be an amazing way to familiarize yourself with a destination, learn new skills, and make a positive impact on the world.

Raccoon, Jaguar Rescue Center, Costa Rica

Rehabilitating raccoons when I volunteered at the Jaguar Rescue Center in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

Save Money by Housesitting

Accommodation costs can quickly add up when you’re traveling, even if you’re saving money by staying in hostels. Couchsurfing is one alternative travel idea if you’re looking to save money, but if you’re looking for something with a bit more comfort, consider housesitting. Plenty of homeowners around the world need someone to take care of their house, plants, or pets while they’re away, providing you with free accommodation in exchange for just a bit of upkeep.

There are tons of housesitting platforms that connect travelers with homeowners: check out this guide to the most popular ones. Many of these platforms charge for membership, but you’ll quickly recoup the costs by saving on lodging. Finding the best gigs may require a bit of perseverance, as you’ll need to build up your profile and reviews, but a little patience will go a long way when it comes to housesitting.

Uki, Australia

Housesit with views like this! (Okay, I cheated, this was a view from an Airbnb house in Uki, Australia, but close enough.)

Become a Local on a Working Holiday

If a few days or weeks in one destination just isn’t enough for you, perhaps your next step is to move abroad for an extended period of time. Visas and finances undoubtedly complicate this dream, but many countries have options for extended stays. One of the best ways to live overseas without cutting into your finances is to embark on a working holiday.

Dozens of countries offer “working holiday visas,” which enable travelers to legally live and work there for several months or years. Restrictions vary from country to country: some only provide this option to recent grads, others have an age limit, and most have a set list of nationalities they accept. Australia’s working holiday program is one of the most popular—and spending two and a half years there myself on a working holiday visa turned full work visa, I can personally attest to what a great opportunity it is to experience another country!

Sydney, Australia working holiday

Exploring Sydney Harbour during my Australian working holiday

Travel can be whatever you make of it, so the next time you explore a new destination, try putting your own spin on things. Tried any of these alternative travel ideas or have suggestions of your own? Let me know! I’d love to hear about your experiences!

Disclaimer: This post may contain compensated links, but all opinions are entirely my own, as always.

12 Responses

  1. Adekola says:

    Great idea. With this, traveling will be fun. i love learning new language a lot.

  2. cebu safari says:

    Learning a new language is a good thing and also, volunteering is a wise decision too! I love how you explain things in a very detailed manner and I also love how interesting it is to read your post even though is has lots of content and most of them are very informative too!


  3. vidhan says:

    Thank you for this helpful post.
    It is an amazing way to live in a country and to become a part of the local community.

  4. What a great write up! Thanks for this guide!

  5. Aparna Verma says:

    Great article.
    I love learning new things, It is so important to learn local language while traveling it helps you to understand local culture in a good way.

  6. You have explained everything very openly and i have learn so many ideas from you.. Yeap you are right that learning local language makes extra fun in your trip but i am not that much good in it. But i always try to learn some words on my trips.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *