Alternative Travel

Updated: 2017-12-13.

Alternative travel is travel or tourism that is not conventional in nature; it can be a niche kind of tourism, such as going on a coffee plantation tour of Colombia, or it can be travel for people of “alternative lifestyles,” such as thrill-seekers.

Also called alt-travel, it can be somewhat hard to define. Often, it is a journey where the person becomes a bit more involved with the destination.

Alt-travel can mean different things to different people, as it is quite the troublesome term. Some think of alt-travel as travel that focuses on a certain theme or experience, such as gay travel, religious pilgrimages, or touring only breweries in Brussels. However, I think this is merely conventional travel with a priority, with a specific agenda. Just because it is still common for many to consider a gay lifestyle to be an “alternative lifestyle,” does not mean that one’s sexual orientation should determine the travel term used.

A group of LGBT couples which organizes a trip to Paris together to view the common attractions are not, in my opinion, engaging in alternative travel; they are not alternative tourists. Likewise, fans of baseball who want to drive all over North America to check each professional ballpark off their lists are not traveling much differently than enthusiasts of a city’s architecture.

See also: adventure travel definition, doom tourism definition.

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