How to Travel Off the Beaten Path

You want to use your hard-earned travel time wisely and are excited to plan a unique vacation away from the usual tourist sites. The noisy crowds and pre-arranged tours are not your scene and you are ready for a real adventure. The good news is that traveling off the beaten path is easier than ever these days. Here are some tips to help you plan.

Find a Travel Company that Specializes in Unique Travel Experiences

You might be surprised to learn that there are travel companies that focus on one of a kind vacations. One group is called Off the Beaten Path, which hopes to enrich people’s lives through remarkable, socially conscious travel experiences. They have 30 years of experience in this area and feature a large team of deeply committed guides. The trips take place in locations all over the world, spanning across North America, Central and South America, Africa and Oceania. There are many trips and styles of travel to choose from, including small group adventures, customized trips, ranch vacations and fly fishing expeditions. You have the option of signing up for a pre-planned group trip or to work with the guides to craft a custom adventure. These trips tend to take place in the great outdoors and there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy the natural world far from the hustle of cities and tourist traps. If you are adventurous and love exploring new countries and being immersed in nature, Off the Beaten Path tours might be a good option for you.

Talk to the Locals

You don’t need to voyage to some remote location to find unique travel experiences. There are ways to avoid the tourist scene even in major cities. You may be able to get some suggestions from hotel staff, but nothing beats talking to the locals to find out where to sample some authentic fare, or to visit a scenic location that is little known to tourists. It is a good idea to come prepared with the name of a regional specialty so you can ask a local for his or her recommendations. If there is a language barrier, make the effort to learn some basic conversational skills in the target language. These will come in handy if you need to ask for directions, and will allow you to better communicate with locals. There are a variety of ways you can learn these skills, such as taking a conversation class, signing up for an online course, or consulting language learning apps. Some basic language skills can go a long way in helping you communicate and connect with locals.

Volunteer with a Local Non-Profit

A great option for a unique travel opportunity is to volunteer with a local non-profit organization that focuses on giving back to the community. These experiences will allow you to avoid tourist sites if you choose and will allow plenty of opportunities to interact with local people. The most meaningful part of travel is often the connections we make with the people we meet, and traveling as a volunteer will give you many chances to get to know the community and work on projects that are beneficial to them. To arrange a volunteer trip, a helpful resource is the free app Workaway, which helps people to find various volunteer opportunities.

Download Some Helpful Apps

There are plenty of travel apps that are incredibly helpful for those looking to journey off the beaten path. By downloading some of these apps, you can better prepare for your experience and have help available if you find yourself needing to find a meal or a place to stay in a pinch. A couple of highly recommended apps are CoPilot and EatWith. CoPilot is an app that will help you navigate a new location and features global maps, traffic reports, and an option for offline navigation if Internet connectivity is an issue. EatWith provides the opportunity to connect with a participating family and to join them for an authentic meal in their home. There are also many lists available online of some of the best travel apps out there:

There are now more options than ever available for people who are eager to travel off the beaten path. With travel apps, volunteer opportunities and specialized tour groups, there are many ways that you can see the world while avoiding the tourist traps. With some careful planning and a little extra research, you can arrange a customized adventure filled with new experiences, cultural learning and the chance to forge meaningful connections with locals.

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