After Airbnb bought Trip4Real in 2016, the travel trend began to shift from sightseeing endeavors to more intimate encounters with local landscapes and cultures. Instead of traveling to enjoy similar home commodities or cuisines in exotic places, travelers began to seek journeys that allowed them to experience life as the locals did and to reflect on their journeys afterward. This change in travel motivation is what spurred the experiential travel trend of 2018: transformational travel.

What is transformational travel?

Transformational travel is any travel experience that promotes personal change through exposure to and engagement with physical or cultural experiences. This type of travel requires a sense of openness and mindfulness that promotes mental, emotional, and/or spiritual reflection. The goal of transformational travel is to leave the experience augmented.

What are the benefits of transformational travel?

For many, transformational travel is a multidimensional experience. While it may begin as a means of disconnecting from stress within travelers’ daily lives, it can renew perspectives of self, others, and the world, leaving travelers with more purpose and passion for life. In addition to fostering the self, transformational travel can also cultivate meaningful relationships with other people and cultures.

What is needed for transformational travel?

Intention

Transformational travel requires a significant amount of intention. Travelers have to  ask themselves why they are traveling, and what they hope to gain from their time spent traveling. While travelers may find some of the answers along the way, it is valuable to begin with a purpose.

Openness

In addition to careful consideration of intention, transformational travel requires an open mind, especially when encountering foreign cultures and experiences. This openness ensures travelers are able to release any inhibitions and allow themselves the opportunity to engage purposefully, which is key for a life-changing experience.

Reflection

For travel to be transformational, it is important for the travelers to take breaks throughout the trip to reflect on the experiences they have had and the people and cultures they have encountered. Whether this reflection manifests in meditation, prayer, journal keeping, or another art form or mindfulness, it provides travelers the downtime necessary to derive lessons from their experiences. This method allows travelers the opportunity to step away from the trip with a renewed sense of identity, altered perspectives of the world, lessons learned, and cultivated relationships that will carry them further.

Application

Once the trip is over, it is essential travelers make a conscious effort to apply their experiences and lessons to their daily lives. Without this application, travelers risk losing the impact of their trip. Whether travelers apply their experiences and lessons to their own lives or share the fruits of their travels with their family, friends, and communities, this exchange of information proves valuable for contributing to greater growth and transformation.

For many, transformational travel fosters connection and transformation, leaving travelers rejuvenated and with greater senses of purpose.

Interested in exploring more about transformative travel? Consider contacting Caitlin Crowe, co-founder of Topo Pino and official partner of Tentrr, an independent and immersive camping experience.