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Best Family Vacations: Experiential Family Travel

experiential family travel

Do you long for travel experiences that resonate on a deeper emotional level? Do you wish for vacations that are more personalized, more adventurous, and more attuned to local culture? If you believe that seeing the world is a path to self-discovery, and experiential family travel is the best classroom your kids can have, you’re in the right place.

But what does experiential travel look like?

Experiential family travel emphasizes present, meaningful, immersive interactions with a country’s traditions, cultures, and values. They are truly transformative experiences that change how we see and interact with the world.

When you work with the right supplier, you’ll enjoy experiences that transform the way you think about a vacation with your kids. Not only will these experiences provide you with the opportunity to disconnect from the outside world, but you’ll also enjoy abundant chances to connect with your children while gaining personalized insight into the local communities you visit.

What Typifies Experiential Travel

What makes travel experiential? Asking this question is essential to finding and booking trips that satisfy on deeper levels. After all, the term “experiential travel” has become a veritable travel industry buzzword. Unfortunately, some companies throw the label around in pamphlets and websites. But not all experiential travel is created equal.

Above all else, authentic experiential travel must honor three themes:

  • Inspiration
  • Personalization
  • A path toward self-discovery

Why these three themes? Because the best experiential travel stokes and fuels inspiration. It both pushes and permits travelers to explore new worldviews and concepts. It encourages travelers to learn about a new destination through the eyes of its residents.

The best travel opportunities challenge preconceived ideas about ethnicity, culture, and religion. They compel travelers of all ages to become better-informed global citizens through lived experiences. And these immersive journeys are wholly personalized, a vital pathway to self-discovery.

Culturally-Immersive Experiences

What do experiential family travels look like in practice? They include activities and opportunities that draw you into local culture and lifeways. From hands-on experiences to authentic homestays, they renew and enlighten your family while providing chances to engage with locals in meaningful, transformative ways.

Let’s take a look at a few examples across the globe.

Hands-On Experiences

Whether you take a cooking class in Italy, train with a former sumo wrestler in Japan’s unique national sport, or try a pottery class in Mexico, hands-on activities are the best way to experience a culture.

This is true for adults, but especially important for kids, as these activities encourage them to use all their senses, piquing their curiosity and sense of wonder. There’s no better way to learn than through experiences that engage your senses and allow you to interact with others and the world around you. Don’t settle for anything less when it comes to family vacations.

Remote Destinations

Experiences that transport us to a different time or way of life are experiential by nature.

Our river cruise in the Rio Negro is a classic example. Enveloped in the Amazon rainforest’s emerald majesty, families relish floating atop the placid river, a mirror reflection of sky. The adventure is punctuated by visits from local wildlife, rainforest hikes where families learn about their surroundings and kids brush up on their survival skills, and stops at river communities where impromptu soccer games are always a possibility.

It’s safe to say, every single family that has traveled with us to the Amazon has been touched and will never see the world the same way again.

“I’ve taken my kids to 59 countries. Our journey with Our Whole Village through Brazil’s Amazon rainforest remains my favorite trip. It was perfectly organized and absolutely magical. The reflections of the Rio Negro tributary (going to the rapids), swimming, fishing for piranhas, and the Mirante do Gavião lodge were a few of our highlights. I loved everything. My 8-year-old daughter loved everything. I’d return in a heartbeat and do the same trip again, and travel anywhere else with Our Whole Village as well.” You can read Eric’s full review here.

© Eric Stoen

Authentic Homestays

For the more intrepid and interested in showing our kids how other people live firsthand, a homestay can be a special and truly unforgettable experience.

Adding a night in the Sacred Valley while visiting Peru and spending time with local artisans, for instance, can be eye-opening and life-changing.

In the words of Rodrigo from the Jetsetting family:

“I can confidently say that our day in Huilloc, Peru, was one that we will not be forgetting anytime soon. Our children were able to not only play with the local kids there, but take part in meaningful and educational experiences alongside us. Thank you to Patty and the Our Whole Village team for arranging an amazing experience for our family!”

Located an hour from Ollantaytambo, Huilloc’s residents welcomed and integrated Rod, Jess, and their children into Peruvian indigenous lifeways. They tried new foods and participated in communal activities, like weaving and farming. They came away with a sense of what it is to “live” in the Sacred Valley. The family will never forget this inspiring and magical experience. One that most visitors to Peru never get to witness.

Find out more about the Jetsetting Family’s incredible Peruvian experiences.

educational travel adventures
© The Jetsetting Family

Reboot Your Worldview with Experiential Travel

Experiential travel focuses on how we experience places viscerally. It also places a focus on how the things that we do in new destinations impact us. After all, the best family travel should elicit epiphanies. It should challenge us to understand the world in new ways, to think outside of our cultural box.

Many travel companies now use the term “experiential travel” to loosely define their approach to seeing the world. But don’t be fooled by the terminology.

Experiential family travel should feel personalized and unique. It should inspire you and take you on a path of self-discovery. Experiential travel needs to be transformative and meaningful. It must include adventures that positively impact the globe. And it should expand your worldview. After all, family vacations represent an investment of time, money, and energy. Don’t settle for anything less.

Since 2014, Our Whole Village has specialized in providing families with immersive, local, authentic adventures. Our personalized family vacations are designed to inspire while leading families on journeys of self-discovery.

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