Value-driven tourism: “back to basics”

This week Sphere Travel Club puts the emphasis on the importance of value-based tourism. The aim is to travel with one’s spirit rather than on the well-known material journey we have become so used to. 

Article by: Doriana Meunier

Nowadays, when we organise a trip the most difficult task is to choose. We have many choices to make such as the destination, the mode of transport, the activities on site or the type of accommodation. If for most of us traveling is a leisure activity, for an increasing number of travelers the main aim is to recharge our batteries, take time for ourselves and get back to the basics. The traveller 2.0 travels to live an experience and not just to visit a country. This is called “value-driven” travel. 

Ecological awareness is one of the limits to traditional travel. Indeed, the carbon footprint and its impact on the environment pushes many travelers to favor a “soft” and above all less polluting mode of transportation. Take the train rather than the plane when possible, the bus rather than the car or even the boat if you have the patience of Greta Thunberg. The objective is to take the time to move around in a “better” way to leave the least possible trace of our passage. 

Travel is the best way to get lost and find yourself at the same time” – Brenna Smith

To live a real experience, to meet the locals, to share a moment with them, is the wealth that travel gives us. There are many alternatives to classic travel. Travelling can be an opportunity to get involved in a charitable or humanitarian cause by volunteering. This enriching experience is possible in many countries around the world with local associations or NGOs, such as the European Voluntary Service, United Nations Volunteers and WorldWide Volunteering.

Another possibility is to work as a volunteer on a farm or in a youth hostel in exchange for free accommodation. These options make it possible to live like a local and to combine business with pleasure. Sites such as World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms offer such opportunities around the world. As far as hostels are concerned, it is often best to contact the owner directly to find out if they are looking for labour. 

person farming on rice field

For travelers in search of meaning we recommend meditation or yoga retreats. Cut off from the world, these retreats allow participants to recharge their batteries but also to take a break in this world that goes at all speeds. Very accessible, these “spiritual retreats” can be found in many parts of the world. Here are a few of them for the most curious: a total disconnection in the old Eremito cloister in Italy; a spiritual moment in Bali, notably at the Blooming Lotus Yoga; or a resourcing break in Thailand with the Samahïta Retreat programs. 

woman stretching on mountain top during sunrise

Travelling according to one’s desires and values is also travelling in one’s own way. The traveler 2.0 will tend to prefer to organize his own expedition. A small group of family or close friends will be preferred to large tour operator groups.

Travelling differently also means behaving differently. On the spot, favor local restaurants, markets or the seasonal products of small producers. For example, you can keep local crafts alive by buying original and unique souvenirs in the corner shop, you no longer collect shells or sand, and you avoid buying imported key fobs or magnets. At the end of the day, the most beautiful souvenir is the story that will be told and that will remain engraved in our memories.

brown clay pot

Regarding accommodation, value-driven travel will lead to the avoidance of hotel chains or other impersonal touristic places and accommodations. Prefer experiencing the real local life by sleeping in a local house for example or in local Bed & Breakfast. There, no tricks but rather homemade products for breakfast guaranteed. Alternatively, exchange your property with other owners to travel differently, like with Sphere Travel Club. Feel at home and benefit from the local addresses that the owner will give you. And why not, for the more adventurous, a night under the stars? You don’t need five stars’ hotels when you have billions of stars just above your head. 

So go ahead, listen to your heart and travel to take your mind off things and not just to see a new place. Discover the world, take your breath away and have thousands of memories because traveling really is living. 

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