Many of us believe that the stereotypical holiday is the one where we are sitting in a beach chair under the sun in a tropical location, sipping on a fruity cocktail without a care in the world. And while there’s certainly nothing wrong with that idea, more and more people are choosing a holiday with a little more substance.

Doing something good for a community or trying something a little more adventurous can be much more fulfilling for many holidaymakers, such as going on popular cruises to remote locations or trekking through the forest.


When it comes to alternative holiday ideas, the fastest-growing activity is volunteer tourism. This is a type of holiday where travellers visit foreign lands that are in need of volunteers to help with construction, social and other economic projects.

It has been shown by NPR that as far as only a few years ago, over 1.6 million tourists each year would spend time on volunteer holidays. These trips generally consist of people travelling to impoverished areas to help out by working with animals and the local people, as well as assisting with building projects.

Trips such as this involve assisting in the rebuilding efforts that take place after a natural disaster has occurred. Often, volunteers will help to rebuild communities. Post-disaster volunteering might be closer to home, depending on where you live, but it could also involve international travel.

There are many organised voluntourism trips organised by religious organisations or service clubs. These types of trips can also be facilitated by dedicated volunteer travel organisations, depending on the type of project you want to help with and your chosen destination.

Voluntourism is most effective when the traveller gets to spend an extended amount of time on a project that is providing a real benefit to the community. If you only have a limited amount of time, however, you might want to try something else as an alternative to your traditional holiday, such as a staycation.


A staycation is similar to a holiday but in your own city. Staycations involve taking time off in your own home, even if it’s just a week away from work to try and relax. Some people who love to take staycations want to receive the best of both worlds by staying in a hotel in their own home town. Both options come with their own benefits and offer a different take on an alternative holiday idea.

If you’re opting for a staycation in your own home, try to make the atmosphere as close to a real holiday as possible, rather than just a day off work. That means don’t check your work email or even your mobile phone if it’s a contact away from you having a nice relaxing time. You should try and eat at a new restaurant that you’ve never experienced before. Any chores you have to finish around the house should also be left for another time. Remember, you’re on holiday!

For some people, it’s much easier to have a staycation in a hotel in their hometown than stay at home. A new environment can remove all the stresses and headaches of life, enabling you to truly unwind and find a new perspective. Take it as easy as you can, go to the spa and order room service.

Staycations aren’t exclusively aimed at relaxation; you could also use this time to improve your health. Just because you’re on holiday, it doesn’t mean that you get to be lazy all the time! Your free time can be used to try out a new fitness regime, removing the distractions that come with work. The sweet feeling of self-improvement can sometimes be the best type of holiday.

Whether you’re at home, at a hotel or at an Airbnb, make sure you plan your staycation to make as much of it as you can. If you want to take your staycation to an entirely new level, why not organise it with a friend? You can both relax and unwind together or try to kick-start your new healthy lifestyle. Motivation is much easier with someone by your side to encourage you!

Adventure holidays

If a traditional holiday is one where you do as little as possible, an adventure holiday is the complete opposite. Adventure tourism has seen a huge boom in recent times. It involves travelling to beautiful, and sometimes remote, locations in a bid to experience exciting, high-octane adventures and activities. If you’re someone who is only used to relaxation holidays then an adventure trip is sure to push your boundaries and take you out of your comfort zone.

The great thing about adventure holidays is you’re rarely alone. Grab some of your closest friends for the experience of a lifetime. Most of these trips are created by specialised adventure travel agencies that can give you all the information required to get you started. They can also inform you of any specialist equipment you may need and whether you are required to bring it along, or if it will be provided for you. Your trip will be combined with other like-minded adventure-seekers, along with guides to take you on your journey.

It is always a good tip to discuss with your travel agent the goals you have for yourself on your adventure trip, along with the level of experience and skill you have with this type of trip. You wouldn’t want to embark on a 10-day rainforest expedition if you have never even been camping in a field before or embark on a hike up a mountain if you’ve never done anything more strenuous than a leisurely walk in a nature reserve.

No matter if you’re a seasoned adventure traveller, or someone who is looking for something a little different from the usual relaxing beach trip, an adventure holiday is a unique way to spend your free time.