Savvy Travel Planning: Unlocking Authentic Experiences Through Activities

When it comes to crafting the perfect holiday, savvy travel planning extends beyond just flights and accommodations—it’s about immersing yourself in the local culture through unique activities and experiences. While I always advocate for booking directly with the source to capture the essence of each destination, my recent 6-month journey across Mexico, Peru, and beyond taught me that it’s not always straightforward.

In this second installment of our savvy travel planning series, we delve into the essence of your journey: the activities. If you’re catching up, our first part discussed blending traditional travel wisdom with modern tools for itinerary planning, which you can find here.

The Quest for Authenticity

Authentic travel experiences are the cornerstone of memorable journeys, offering a window into the culture and essence of each destination. This is the essence of Let’s Eat the World’s culinary holidays – I’m always looking for ways to bring myself and others closer to authenticity. But in a sea of commercialized tours, finding these genuine moments requires a discerning eye – yours or your travel agents 😉.

Savvy Travel Planning_ Unlocking Authentic Experiences Through Activities

Direct Bookings vs. Third-Party Platforms

I champion direct bookings with local operators for the most authentic experiences, though this path isn’t always straightforward. On a recent 6-month exploration, the challenge wasn’t just finding activities but connecting with the souls behind them. Third-party platforms like Get Your Guide and Airbnb Experiences often bridge this gap, providing a platform for unique activities that might otherwise remain hidden gems.

The Role of Third-Party Platforms

While these platforms are indispensable for uncovering activities, it’s crucial to recognize the commission they charge businesses. We’re talking about 25% to upwards of 30% commission. Despite this, they’re often a lifeline for smaller operators to gain visibility. My approach always leans towards supporting these small businesses, valuing the personal stories and human touch they bring to their services. So I’m one of those people who if the business has been smart enough to include their names somewhere, I will take that extra time to search for them and if they don’t make booking directly with them a nightmare, I’ll do it. Sometimes the ease of booking outweighs my efforts to be supportive o fellow business owners.

Making Authentic Connections

My journey has always been about more than just places; it’s about the people and their stories. From Haku Tours in Peru to Impulse Travel in Colombia, the connections we’ve made have deeply enriched our travel experiences and not to mention our future collaborations – stay tuned. Companies like Cook’n With Class in France, easily accessible for direct booking, exemplify the type of businesses I love to support—those with a backstory, a face, and a passion for what they do. No “headless hydras” for me; I seek out businesses that are as much about their people as their product.

Haku Tours
Haku Tours

The Value of the Human Touch

The human touch transforms travel planning from a transaction to an interaction. It’s about supporting local economies and choosing operators that bring a personal touch to their work. This philosophy not only guides my choices but also ensures that our travels are filled with authentic, unforgettable moments.

So What kind of Savvy Travel Planner are you?

As we navigate the world of savvy travel planning, let’s prioritize those authentic experiences that come from engaging with businesses that have a story to tell. Whether through direct bookings or thoughtful selection on third-party platforms, our aim is to support the small businesses that are the heartbeat of genuine travel experiences.

Here’s your chance to support a local business. Tell us about the companies you’ve encountered in your travels, be sure to provide the location so we too can show our support. And thank you for reading our blog.

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