4 Tips for a More Immersive Travel Experience

March 9, 20200 Comments

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Generally speaking, one of the most common desires people have when they go travelling is to experience life in a deeper and richer way, and to really immerse themselves in the experience of being somewhere new, and experiencing interesting and significant situations.

Of course, although immersion is one thing that many people want to experience when travelling, the reality is often that our travel outings simply end up matching a sort of general template mirrored in the actions of other tourists, in general.

If you feel as though you haven’t really been getting the most immersive experience out of your recent travels, but nonetheless want to switch things up so that your next outing ends up being significantly more impactful, here are a few tips for a more immersive travel experience.

  1. Go offline and relatively low-tech for the trip

One of the things that most prevents people from being “immersed” in any given experience, these days, is the ubiquity of the Internet and high-tech digital devices of all sorts.

Think about it; how often have you been somewhere with friends, only for just about everyone in the group to pull out their smartphones and get lost in social media, as opposed to actually making eye contact with one another, and engaging directly in meaningful communication?

When you’re travelling, one of the great benefits of the experience is that you get to leave your normal, everyday environment and context behind you, so that you can experience things in a new way, and can get a new perspective on life as a whole.

Suffice to say, though, you’re not exactly going to be “leaving behind” your normal setting and perspectives, if you are constantly checking your email, messaging friends, and viewing your social media profiles while on your travel excursion.

So, seriously consider going offline, and going relatively low-tech in general, for the duration of your trip. If at all possible, don’t check your email at all, or your social media profiles. Also avoid searching things up on the web beyond the point where it’s necessary in order to remain safe on your travels.

Immersing yourself in the travel experience involves actually being present for it, and not constantly returning to the same psychological territory that you normally spend so much time in.

  1. Travel in a more hands-on way

Travelling by plane, and driving from place to place in your own car, are both potentially very positive things and can be very practical, very interesting, and very uplifting in their own right.

When you want to really feel immersed in the travel experience, though, getting from place to place in a more “hands-on” way can sometimes make a significant difference.

“Hands-on” in this sense essentially means that you are “out there in the world” more directly than you would be if travelling in another way.

So, for example, that might mean going on motorcycle tours where the scenery is right in front of you – or more accurately, where you are “in” the scenery – as well as backpacking, and even potentially just using public transport (as this will often involve you navigating society in a way more like the locals would).

  1. Branch out from the main tourist traps

Almost by definition, it is likely to be difficult for you to really feel as though you’ve “immersed yourself” in a particular destination, culture, and the travel experience itself, if you stay firmly on the beaten track and end up exclusively visiting the same over-packed tourist hotspots and districts as everyone else.

Tourist traps always lack authenticity – or, at least come to a lack authenticity over time – simply due to the fact that they become overly commercialised, detached from local cultural life, and become “overexposed,” too.

If you can branch out from the main tourist traps and see something that’s off the beaten track instead, you will likely find the experience significantly more immersive and distinct.

  1. Consider going for a longer journey

When he wrote his highly acclaimed book “The 4-Hour Work Week,” Tim Ferriss described an approach to “travel” which involved him heading to different locations around the world, and spending at least several months at each one, instead of opting for weekend getaways.

According to him, this was an excellent way of making the trips more immersive and meaningful, in addition to learning the local language more effectively.

Consider going for a longer journey if possible. The more time you have to “marinade” in the culture and setting, the more immersive the trip is likely to feel.

Filed in: Travel Planning

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