Sign Up for Our Monthly Explorer Newsletter
During TravelAge West’s recent takeover of #TWChats, participants discussed how to find exceptional under-the-radar destinations with adventurous opportunities. The one-hour Twitter chat began at noon PST on Oct. 3 and reached nearly 1.5 million viewers.
The conversation was led by Valerie Chen, Senior Editor for TravelAge West; Emma Weissmann, Associate Editor for TravelAge West; and Rebecca Tobin, Managing Editor for Travel Weekly. Co-hosts of the chat included Abercrombie & Kent (A&K); Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA); Allianz Travel Insurance; AmaWaterways; Christina Turrini, leisure travel agent for Frosch; Austin Adventures; Direct Travel Vacations; GLP Films; Holland America Line; Paul Gauguin Cruises; Royal Caribbean International; Travel Alaska; Travel Leaders Group; and Valerie Wilson Travel.
TravelAge West kicked off the chat by asking participants to share their favorite best practices for sustainable adventure travel.
“Be flexible. If you plan out every moment of your itinerary, you won’t have the freedom to support small businesses you find along the way or interact with locals,” Travel Leaders replied.
Meanwhile, many participants reminded travelers to leave no trace. In other words: “What you pack in, you pack out,” Alaska Travel tweeted.
The second question asked how to avoid contributing to challenges such as overtourism.
Many chimed in with the advice to travel during the off-season, while others proposed seeking lesser-known destinations.
“Get back to the roots of true adventure and try a destination that sees fewer travelers. Dispersing travel means less impact on popular areas and more money to local economies. For example, try the Salkantay route to Machu Picchu instead of the Inca Trail,” GLP Films said.
AmaWaterways, Holland America Line and Seabourn Cruise Line reminded folks that a cruise trip is the perfect means of travel for clients who seek to avoid crowded destinations.
The chat zeroed in on the issue of plastic pollution by asking how to avoid using plastic while traveling. Many hopped on the #BYOB (bring your own bottle) train. Travel Leaders Destinations Unlimited advised packing reusable products, such as refillable water bottles with built-in filtration systems and metal straws.
The conversation then inquired about the most under-the-radar UNESCO World Heritage sites. Leisure travel agent Christina Turrini of Frosch expressed her desire to visit Marae Taputapuatea, which is the first UNESCO World Heritage Site in French Polynesia.
The fifth question asked folks about their go-to response when it comes to finding the best off-the-beaten-path destination while traveling. The obvious answer? Travel agents, of course.
On the other hand, others suggested utilizing social media as a means of research. Royal Caribbean pointed to its inspirational Pinterest boards, while Seabourn Cruise Line highlighted its Instagram account.
Next, participants were asked to share the best place for experiencing action-packed travel within the U.S.
“From exploring glaciers to gold rush discoveries, Alaska is one of the best destinations offering action-packed travel within the U.S.,” Crystal Cruises tweeted.
ATTA praised the High Sierra region in California for Sequoia National Park and Yosemite National Park, while Allianz Travel pitched the Grand Canyon National Park for its adrenaline-pumping activities.
The next question expanded on the previous one, inquiring about favorite destination properties and activities available there.
TravelAge West’s Chen recommended Aspen Meadows.
“It’s where the Future Leaders in Travel Retreat was held last month. With free WeCycle bikes, a campus-style setting that immerses you in nature and gorgeous views, it is truly our favorite!” Chen said.
Question No. 8 asked participants to suggest a destination for travelers looking to avoid heavily visited tourist hot spots.
Several folks recommended less-visited destinations in Europe. Royal Caribbean proposed a cruise through Norway, and Costa Cruises advised travelers to visit Savona, a small port city in Italy.
Next, #TWChats asked folks to name their dream expedition or small-ship cruise.
Antarctica was a popular destination response, and many suggested Paul Gaugin Cruises and UnCruise Adventures as their operators of choice.
The following question inquired about the last adventure that participants went on.
“Iceland,” replied travel agent Jayne Bliss of Tzell Travel. “I spent five glorious days exploring the island’s famous sand beaches, soaking in the Blue Lagoon and horseback riding.”
#TWchats’ final question asked everyone to weigh in on their idea of an ultra-luxurious and adventurous trip.
Several users proposed luxury cruising, and Direct Travel Vacations suggested sailing to the Galapagos Islands with Silversea Cruises.
Alaska Travel tweeted, “Take a private helicopter ride to the Sheldon Chalet, located just 10 miles from the summit of Denali in Denali National Park and Preserve. The luxury lodge offers fine dining with grand accommodations, and guests can trek on a glacier during the day.”