In this blog, I share how I embraced micro tourism as a practical and fulfilling family travel experience. Read through to understand the benefits of micro-tourism for a family that I discovered through my experience and for my tips for planning your own micro-adventures.
I love travel, but typically, when I say “travel” I mean visiting far-off places, exploring destinations, clicking photos in front of landmarks, and most importantly, making memories and returning with tons of experiences. Prior to the actual trip, the planning and anticipation keeps me excited for weeks, while after the trip, sharing the pictures and narratives with family and friends leaves me exhilarated for days.
Then, covid happened. Travel was off-limits. Uncertainty loomed large. And for people like me who relied on travel to hit the life’s refresh button, covid brought a haze that made it impossible to see ahead. Soon, after losing close to two years of travel opportunities, armed with vaccine shots, masks, and sanitizer, I felt an urge to be compensated, to travel with a vengeance towards covid. This is how I discovered micro tourism!
What is Micro-Tourism?
Micro-tourism, also known as micro-travel or micro-adventures, refers to short, local travel experiences that allow travelers to explore new destinations in a more sustainable and responsible way. It is becoming increasingly popular among travelers who are looking for more meaningful and authentic travel experiences.
These trips are often focused on local destinations and activities, such as hiking, ecotourism, biking, or exploring a nearby city. For a family, micro-tourism is a very practical and fulfilling travel experience without burning a hole in the pocket.
Micro-tourism is not the same as a picnic or a general weekend getaway. At a picnic, you focus on interacting with your group in a different and relaxed setting. In a weekend getaway, you travel to a known tourist destination closer to home and explore. Micro tourism is a trip in search of a specific experience to a lesser-known location.
Benefits of Micro Tourism for a Family Travel
There are many benefits to micro tourism making it an ideal choice for families.
Hardly Any Planning Required
You don’t need to book any flight or train ticket. Most likely, you won’t need to book hotels. You won’t even need your suitcase! All you need to do is find a destination that can be reached in a couple of hours and explore it.
While planning a trip can be an exciting journey in itself, most people are not up to it as their work and personal commitments weigh them down. Most often, the demand for travel planning becomes the very reason we put off a trip indefinitely. Micro-tourism demands significantly less time to plan and execute making it an ideal choice for families in particular.
In micro-tourism, as the destination is close by, all you need is a car or bike and light packing, even if you are staying overnight. The best part is, you can just wake up one day and decide to have your micro-adventure. This flexibility makes micro-tourism the carpe diem for adventure seekers and family travelers.
The obvious benefit of travel is its cost-effectiveness. The expense of an entire micro-travel will be significantly less than the estimated per-person expense to a far-off destination. This means, instead of one or two long-awaited long-distance trips, you can have many micro-travels throughout the year.
I discovered from my experience that micro-tourism is so cheap, I don’t even need to give up a long-distance trip. I now have a couple of long-distance trips and many micro-adventures on my annual calendar.
Micro-tourism benefits local enterprises. There are many small-scale ecotourism spots or adventure spots around you. They rely on local tourists for their sustenance and to maintain their business. By adopting micro-tourism, you can help their business stay afloat.
When I do micro-tourism, I look for experiences that bring me closer to nature. Wildlife sanctuaries, ecotourism, national parks, and science parks are what I look for in my micro-adventure. I like to go hiking and explore nature.
As family trips to far-off destinations are often rushed to pack more into a limited time frame, you may lose the essence of the trip. Micro tourism lets you take it slow. Even if it is a one or two-day trip, you are focusing on a specific experience. This makes the trip more meaningful. And what better to do on such trips than connect with nature?
There is another reason why I like micro tourism. You can go to the Taj Mahal or Eiffel Tower to check off your bucket list, but if you have a young child, micro tourism is what you need to do to make your child’s time meaningful and wholesome on the trip. Walking through a jungle, seeing animals for real that they have only seen on the screen, and trying a hand at fishing and dozing off while still holding the fishing rod is what your young child will value over a historical landmark that makes no sense to them at that age.
Another important benefit of micro tourism is the authenticity it adds to your trip. When traveling as a family to a farther destination, even though you are on vacation, you still have a lot going on in your mind over the entire trip. That is not the case with micro tourism. You are genuinely relaxed. This encourages you to try local restaurants and interact with the local community, making your trip more authentic.
When we take such trips, I find my preschooler son trying to interact with natives and completely at ease with his surroundings. There is less tantrums and more active participation from him, making the trip more joyful for us, his parents.
When we take up micro-travels, if we need to stay overnight, I always go for homestays that follow sustainable practices. This gives me another opportunity to stay connected with the locality. As the destination is closer to home, when I stay at a homestay, it feels like I am staying with an extended family. Noah (my son) definitely thinks they are family.
If you love adventure trips, then micro tourism is definitely a great choice. You seek out a micro tourism destination for a specific experience and when you get it that gives you a sense of fulfillment from your trip. For example, if you go to a beach particularly to explore water sports, you will definitely be engaging in water sports on your journey. This seldom happens in a family trip to a far-off destination with time and budget constraints.
On a long-distance trip, would you be on the move all the time or do you get the time to explore a particular experience? When you travel to a far-off destination, most often, you plan out on ten things but come back home managing to achieve just five or six.
Tips for Planning a Micro-Adventure
If you’re interested in trying microtourism for yourself, here are my tips to get you started:
Choose a Local Destination
Look for destinations that are close to home and can be reached by public transportation or car. Consider small towns, national parks, or nearby cities that you’ve never explored before. What I do is open Google Maps and zoom into the greener spots.
I almost always find an unexplored lesser-known destination. Another easy way is to follow social media influencers who explore local lesser-known destination. You will be amazed to find so many options offering unique experiences, such as vineyard tourism, sunflower farms, and aqua tourism near you.
Pick a Unique Activity
Choose an activity that you’ve always wanted to try but haven’t had the chance to, such as kayaking, hiking, horseback riding, or adventure sports. Research local tour operators or tourist establishments near you that offer the activity and thus plan your micro-travel around the activity.
Support Local Businesses
Covid hit us badly, but it hit the businesses surrounding local tourism worse. Choose a farm or tourism center offered locally. Look for opportunities to support other local businesses, such as eating at a local restaurant or buying souvenirs from a small shop. This can help to support the local economy and create a more authentic travel experience.
Follow responsible and sustainable tourism practices, carry your own water bottles, refill your bottles at your stay, and do not leave your trash at the destination. Remember, the local destinations may not have the resources to practice large-scale waste management and your irresponsible acts could leave a negative impact on their business.
Document Your Trip
Share your micro-adventure with others by taking photos or videos and sharing them on social media. This can inspire others to try microtourism for themselves.
In conclusion, micro tourism is a growing trend among millennials that offers many benefits for you and destinations alike. By choosing shorter, more local travel experiences, you can reduce your environmental impact, support local communities, and have more authentic and meaningful travel experiences. So why not try planning your own micro-adventure today?
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