5 benefits to luxury adventure travel


Take an average vacation, upgrade the hotels and restaurants, add in some extra time in nature and a local guide to show you the way, remove the usual tourist spots, and don’t forget good walking shoes, and you’ve got a luxury adventure travel experience that is good for your mind, body, and soul. While luxury can certainly be found amidst high thread-count sheets and Michelin-starred restaurants, it can also be about having an expert local guide by your side who speaks the language and knows you the hidden gems, and the time you can afford to slow down and delve deeply into one area instead of cramming so much into your holiday that you return home more exhausted than when you left.

You’ll be able to visit places not accessible by vehicles

Thankfully, there are still places that remain inaccessible by vehicle, only reachable on foot, bike, boat, or pack animal—remote monasteries, ancient glaciers, untouched rainforests, and Sherpa villages, to name a few. While it takes some additional time and energy to make it to these beautiful locations, they are more special because of it. Medieval hilltop villages in Italy, uninhabited islands in Palau, a little-known clearing with epic views—it’s always worth the extra effort. When you’re hiking over Alpine passes or snorkeling among pristine reefs, you’ll have 360-degrees of splendor all around you. It’s hard to get that from the window of a bus. Sure, pull out your camera, but the memories will always be more vivid. Each day brings another jaw-dropping vista.

You’ll meet more locals

Strolling through old-world villages or walking past farmers, you’ll encounter real people. You might not speak the same language (your guide will be happy to translate for you), but there’s something new to learn with every interaction such as what a culture values and how your livelihood differs from theirs. Being on foot means that it’s much easier to meet and interact with local people, from visiting an artist’s studio to watching shepherds herd their flocks. These moments are much more authentic than showing up to a “tourist trap” for an experience that’s been massaged for crowds and marketing. You never know who you might meet—nod your head to an accordion player at a mountain hut, join some school children for a quick football match, or marvel at a mural being painted by a local artist.

You’ll notice the details

There’s nothing like being in nature to make you appreciate the little things. Perhaps a vibrant wildflower or a gecko skittering across your path, or you stop to listen to birdsong or the creaking of tree limbs swaying in the forest. Maybe you’re captivated by an unusual rock formation. The details stay with you long after you’ve returned. This is only possible when you’re in the landscape, up-close to the flora and fauna. Top guides will be able to identify what you see and point out things you don’t. Traveling at a slower pace means you’re taking your time to relish in your entire travel experience, both the activities and sites you visit as well as the time and journey in between.

You’ll have some pretty unique experiences

There are certain things that you just cannot do unless you put boots to the ground. The meaning behind completing even just a portion of the historic Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route is all but lost if you simply drive to Santiago de Compostela. The thrill of sharing the ground with incredible wildlife on a guided walking safari in Africa is incomparable to being in the safari vehicle. Trekking to the base of a mountain believed to be sacred by locals is pretty powerful for both the accomplishment and the spiritual atmosphere. And there’s nothing like seeing Machu Picchu from the back, a perspective only seen by those who hike the lesser-known Salkantay Inca Trail.

You’ll stay fit and healthy!

We all know how important physical activity is for our health – both our mental state and our bodies. Active travel can help keep you fit and mobile, so you can see more, do more, and have many more future adventures. Fresh air and time in nature are shown to reduce stress and help with relaxation. After all, the healthier you are, the longer you can continue to travel, even if it’s just exploring your own region. Not sure you’re up for a week-long trek? Not a problem, there are many other active adventures to be had that are not quite that intense. Walking in Italy’s Puglia region, exploring the incredible winter landscape of Iceland, and kayaking in Costa Rica are just a few destinations where you can have an active experience without committing to something strenuous. Even if you incorporate one or two active components into your standard holiday, that’s a huge start, and you may enjoy it so much, you’ll want to expand on it the next time!

Matt Holmes is the Founder & President of Boundless Journeys. Boundless Journeys is an award-winning tour operator that goes off the beaten path for immersive and authentic travel experiences.

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Comments (11)

  1. Dave Ruddock says:

    For me meeting more locals is a big pull. Even the way they dress tells you about the local way of life. At the end of the day it is the people who make a place. The real dream is to talk to them in their own language if you can. During lockdown one of my friends spent an hour a day learning Spanish online as it is so widely spoken and she’s now keen to go to places where she can talk to the locals.

    • Matt Holmes says:

      The people definitely make the place. After all, culture, language, and cuisine are influenced by the terrain and geography of where a group lives, from what they can grow to building materials, to isolation vs trade routes. Even learning a few words in the language of your destination is appreciated by the locals.

    • Bryan Myers says:

      As I traveled, I noticed the people who were living in other countries that had adapted and spoke the language of the locals. That was mostly evident in Bali. People there are so friendly and their Bahasa language isn’t too difficult to pick up on if you speak English.

  2. Chris M says:

    Lots of great reasons to think luxury adventure travels. I think I particularly like the difference between the standard stuff you can see and do, and the way that more customised travel can get you closer to the culture, like you said with meeting more locals. The path less travelled, kind of thing. I like the thought of that as it makes a trip more authentic and meaningful if you can really get a feel for the place and the people.

    • Matt Holmes says:

      It’s often the people that you come across that make the most vibrant memories. Even when you don’t share a language. They are happy to welcome you to their country or cafe or farm. I remember an older many was sitting at a mountain hut in Slovenia playing the accordion for tips. He was talented and played traditional folk songs. One of the best memories of that trip.

  3. Geoffrey says:

    That opening paragraph is at the heart of a fantastic business model. It certainly sums up what I want from travel. I’ve had enough of selfie-taking tourists getting under my feet and spoiling the views. And at my time of life I want to be doing it in luxury. My back-packing days are long gone! Sounds like a winning formula to me.

    • Matt Holmes says:

      Our guests feel exactly the same way. Backpacking and “roughing it” is certainly fun for a while when you’re young, but the novelty wears thin after a few years! And with the means to upgrade your travel style, it allows for a completely different experience!

    • Ashley says:

      This is absolutely true. I can tell you from experience that backpacking is child’s play. However, you may run into people who haven’t figured that out yet. Reading this website helps me to remember that fact. You can enjoy traveling much more when you travel comfortably — and luxuriously. It takes some time to realize that for sure.

  4. Jeff G says:

    One thing is for sure, we will certainly see some new definitions of luxury coming into play in the travel industry. The last 6 months have taught us to value our personal space and also to put a greater premium on being fit and health – ready to resist and fight disease. We’ve also slowed down and come to appreciate time as a luxury to enjoy the world around us. Interesting that this post is looking at those luxuries.

    • Matt Holmes says:

      You’re definitely right. The pandemic has shifted focus within the travel industry and for avid travelers. Lucky for us, this has always been our focus, so we only need to make some minor adjustments to our operations and not have to rethink our entire business model as many companies must do right now.

  5. Sascha says:

    Indeed traveling to lesser known destinations with an expert guide to show you the way (saves you from getting lost and getting in danger in unfamiliar situations and places) is a luxury. I see it as paying for a unique experience instead of the usual travel luxuries as mentioned in this post. Personally, I have been doing all the planning and itineraries whenever my family goes on holiday. I just love being able to schedule what I want to do each day. However, it can become very stressful and time consuming. For adventure travels though, I would be more comfortable with hiring a friendly tour guide to show me the best spots that might not be in travel books or articles.

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