If you consider yourself more of a traveller than a tourist, then you probably enjoy the experiences that travelling offers. You love the sights, but you also crave an authentic connection with the country you’re visiting. Sometimes it’s good to look beyond the itinerary and follow your heart’s desire – instead of lining up to take a picture with the Eiffel Tower, why not head to a Parisian café and enjoy a croissant and coffee with your travel companions. Here are 8 travel experiences we recommend having at least once…
Have a snowball fight
If you don’t live somewhere that gets cold enough for snow, you may not know the joys of a snowball fight. Snowball fights are just one of the many ways to have fun in the cold season (and they’re a good way to warm up too). If you’re tired of skiing or hiking through the mountains but not quite ready to go inside, a quick snowball fight might just be a perfect way to end your day in the snow. Canada has claimed to be the host of the “largest snowball fight” with over 7,681 people taking part in 2016. Now, you might be wondering; what makes a good snowball fight? Soft fluffy snow that you can pack into a ball the size of a baseball, a good team and plenty of energy!
Walk on water
Hop aboard an Ice Explorer and make your way across the spectacular Athabasca Glacier in the Canadian Rockies, watching the glistening ice all around you. This incredible glacier is 6-kilometres squared in area and 90-300 metres deep — in other words the ice is as thick as the height of the Eiffel Tower!
As you step out onto the glacier you can take in the views, experience the ice underfoot and take photos of the surrounding landscapes. The ice walk on Athabasca Glacier does not involve trekking, making it one of the most accessible ice walks in the world.
Watch a sled dog race
The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race is one of Alaska’s iconic winter events, beginning on the first Saturday of March every year. On the day you will get to watch the mushers as they prepare for their journey on the 1,000 mile trail to Nome. The atmosphere at Iditarod is what makes it a special experience – under the backdrop of the spectacular Canadian Rockies, crowds gather around in support and appreciation of the mushers and their dogs. This is an old tradition and a must-see for anyone travelling up north.
Do a food tour
No matter what kind of food you’re into, one of the best things about travelling is trying the local cuisine. If you want to learn more about a culture, try their food – the easiest way is to book a food tour with a local expert who can show you what foods are popular, how meals are prepared and the history behind the most popular dishes. And the best part is, you get to sample everything!
Eat an Italian pizza in Italy
Since we’re on the topic of food, let’s talk pizza. Chicago may have taken ownership of the glorious deep-dish pizza (and we love a good deep-dish pizza) but the origin of one of our favourite doughy dishes is of course, Italy. The main difference between what we know of as pizza, and what Italians in Italy call pizza is the sauce. An authentic Italian pizza uses a base of olive oil, herbs and tomato that is infused in the crust.
After one slice, you’ll become a connoisseur overnight!
Go on a safari
Safaris offer an authentic experience of seeing wild animals in their natural habitat. Unlike zoos, the animals are free to roam the land, and you are a guest in their territory. If you’re an animal lover, a safari is a great way to see these wild animals from a safe distance knowing that you’re not causing them any harm.
Take a dance class
Even if you have never stepped foot on a dance floor, taking a dance class in a foreign country is a fun way to break the ice. Dance classes tend to welcome diversity, and people are always excited to share something about their culture with visitors. You’ll meet locals and travellers alike, all connected through their love of dance. If you’re someone who needs physical exercise, it can be difficult to find the time to exercise when you’re travelling – which is where a dance class can come in handy. You can work up a sweat while still enjoying the social and cultural experience of being in another country. So if you need a break from tourist activities, take a dance class — you may even enjoy yourself!
Get on the rails
Sometimes the journey matters more than the destination. Why not swap your plane ticket for a train ticket? A rail journey offers you some quiet time to yourself to read or reflect on your travels, while enjoying scenic views of the changing landscape and a generous meal all to yourself. Often, a train trip will be the most budget-friendly option for travellers looking to spend less, but that doesn’t mean it’s uncomfortable. In fact, if it’s a long-haul trip sleeping is much more comfortable on a train than on a flight! It’s also one of the more sustainable ways to travel if you’re trying to lessen your impact on the environment.
How many of these experiences have you had? Remember, every travel experience is an opportunity to create unique memories. So instead of seeing the world, get out there and experience it!