Are you a Social Traveller?

When you travel abroad, how much do you actually experience? We all come back with pictures of ourselves in front of world famous sites and buildings, but we often see little beyond the tourist clichés and samey hotel rooms. Now a new trend, social travelling, is changing all of this.

Are you a Social Traveller?
Photo: Francisco Antunes

Social travel is about staying at other people’s places, meeting new people from all over the world and experiencing a destination in a much more authentic and local way. It helps you ditch the standard hotel rooms and the crowds gathered like lemmings around the same landmarks. A new wave of travellers have emerged, a younger generation, full of energy and excitement and they have brought their technology with them.

Social travel is the name that has been given to travellers who like to keep the world updated through the social networks, like Facebook and Twitter, posting pictures and updates as they go and have taken the idea of travel blogging to the next level. But it is not just high tech cameras and smartphones that make a social traveller – it’s about staying at other people’s places, meeting new people from all over the world and experiencing a destination in a much more authentic and local way and has been identified as the travel trend of 2012.

But what is wrong with the way people travel normally? The real problem is that so many of are missing out of authentic experiences. The majority of people stay in the hotels with their tour group, speak to other tourists, eat food they have tried before – the only thing that is different is their surroundings. Cast your mind back to the last place you visited and ask yourself what you actually experienced. Travellers and backpackers reading this will say, “of course I have experiences”, and that will undoubtedly be true, but it was a bonus left for the ‘round the worlders’.

Now, that type of travelling can be done by your everyday person who may only be visiting for the weekend and it is very simple to pull off. All you need to do is try and stay away from the obvious. Sure you can take a picture of the Eiffel tower, everyone does, but you should also be looking to mix with the locals, get off the beaten track and find a gem hidden away behind the tourist guides.

You don’t have to go to Africa and live with a tribe to experience local life in a different country. There are many websites out there that offer local apartments and rooms you can rent out, for very flexible amounts of time. Staying with a local host in a private room or even a whole apartment can allow you to see a city from their point of view. Dig a little deeper and they are sure to offer their help and advice and how to best spend your time there.

This infographic, funded by Wimdu, highlights the differences between social travellers and normal travellers and explains the theory behind the phenomenon. Social travelling is not for everyone: you need to be outgoing, confident and sure of yourself to travel this way. But if you think you can then the rewards could well be worth it. Even starting out slowly with a simple local restaurant and a tweet here and there will get you well on your way. Would you consider travelling more ‘socially’ or does the simplicity of a hotel still come out on top?

* If you prefer to make your booking in swedish language, is also avaliable.

Article sponsored by Wimdu.