Demand for travel at a higher heart rate has reached critical mass. In addition to achieving a physical challenge, active travel venues are among the most beautiful places to visit. Being active means being engaged at ground level. Whether you’re biking through the vineyards of Tuscany and Provence, canoeing the Rhine or hiking trails in the Alps or New Zealand, you’re moving slower and getting closer in ways that allow much greater appreciation of both locales and the locals. You’re gaining a most vivid experience.
It’s easier than ever to bring active travel experiences into a custom itinerary. Creating the perfect balance for you and yours.
Here are a few sources to bring to “engagement” to your active vacation:
→ToursByLocals is a Canadian-based, international private tour provider. The company connects 400,000 clients a year with over 2700 private tour guides in 159 countries. Just jump on their website, enter your destination and you’ll find anything from city tours and shore excursions to zip line or scuba adventures. You’ll connect directly with certified guides able to work with you or your advisor to customize your excursion based on your interests. You’ll find that they’ve developed new and exciting ways to experience the sites you’ve had on your must-see list (i.e. Have you considered a city tour of Budapest from a kayak?)
→A new company growing in popularity is Eatwith. They’ve assembled the largest community for authentic and luxury culinary experiences with locals in 130+ countries. They’ve found the people who love to cook, and they’ve made certain they’re good at it. Through Eatwith travelers experience life as a local with everything from a dinner party in an elegant Paris home to a gourmet cooking class in Tokyo. Eatwith has over 25,000 hosts eager to serve anyone from solo travelers, couples, families and groups. You’ll feel like a local and share a dinner conversation you’ll remember for years to come.
→River cruises (once a choice for people wanting to watch the world go by) have responded to travelers looking for active and authentic experiences. You’ll find healthier dining options and more onboard amenities like spas, gyms, fitness instructors and personal trainers. AmaWaterways equips its river ships with more than two dozen bikes for guests’ free use and will arrange for a guide at no extra charge. If you want something more aggressive, they’ve partnered with travel outfitter Backroads for either day-long excursions or routes that meet up with the ship at the next port.
Active travelers have more thrilling options than ever. But for those who want to get in some activities while still spending time sampling food, wine and the everyday life of new places, a well-crafted itinerary will put you in good company.
Contributed by Mark Murray, a travel advisor at Newmark Travel, an Edina based affiliate of Pique Travel and member of the Virtuoso Travel Network