As Venuelusters, we’re all about off-the-beaten-path people, places, and experiences. There’s just something so special about packing your bags and opting to take the road less traveled— it’s what Venuelust was founded on. Today, then, we wanted to break down the top benefits of off the beaten path travel. So, break out your passport and cancel your trip to that chain hotel—you’ll be ready to explore unchartered waters like a pro as soon as you’re done reading.
1. More Bang for Your Buck
Perhaps one of the top benefits of off the beaten path travel is the fact you often get more for your money. Popular tourist destinations and chain hotels markup nearly every item or service they offer (by extremely high percentages) simply because they can. It’s basic supply and demand: when there’s a huge demand for a certain destination or locale, prices skyrocket. This is especially the case when a property has a monopoly on an area—if they’re the only hotel, restaurant or store for miles, they can charge inflated prices because they know you have no other options. Think about how pricey the food is at a ski resort—that’s because it’s the only place around to fuel up.
On the other hand, locations that aren’t chock-full of tourists charge more reasonable prices simply because there isn’t as high of a demand at those locales. They’re often more high end, better kept and offer better service, yet they cost so much less.
Our favorite example of getting more bang for your buck with off the beaten path travel?
Alma Del Pacifico Beach Hotel at Playa Esterillos Este in Costa Rica. If you book Alma Del Pacifico during the right time, you can get 4-5 nights in a private 900-square-foot beachfront bungalow (complete with its own pool, pictured above) for under $800. It’s a beautiful, secluded, open-air beachfront resort that’s prettier than any chain hotel we’ve ever visited, for less than half of the price.
2. Better Service
Many high-end chain hotels claim to offer five-star service but, when a property is packed with guests during the busy season, it can be nearly impossible to deliver on that promise. Locales that see tons of tourists day in and day out are often short-staffed—it’s simply the nature of the beast. And, when staffers are guaranteed tips from hundreds of tourists each day, they don’t have to work as hard to earn a living. Whereas, at properties that see less foot traffic, staffers have fewer guests to serve (and fewer opportunities for gratuity) and, as such, typically offer better, more thoughtful, more personalized service.
Our favorite example of better service with off the beaten path travel?
Cavas Wine Lodge in the Mendoza Province of Argentina (pictured above)—you’re truly treated like family at this one-of-a-kind picturesque wine lodge nestled at the foothills of the Andes.
This one may be a little vain of us, but you have to admit, there’s something pretty special about being able to post a photo of a place none of your followers or friends have been before. The photo opportunities at off-the-beaten-path locales are a dime a dozen. You don’t have to worry about waiting for tons of tourists to clear out of the way to get that perfect sunset shot, nor do you have to worry about traffic interrupting that shot of wild animals you’re seeking. Don’t believe us? Ask our favorite Instagrammers—their accounts are chock-full of pretty pictures of settings you simply can’t find at common tourist-trap locales.
Our favorite example of Insta-envy with off the beaten path travel?
Anything snapped at Il San Pietro Di Positano. Just check out the above images, all from Il San Pietro's Instagram account. From handmade ceramic tiles boasting an array of saturated hues, to a tennis court that sits close enough to the Med to be spritzed with salty sea water, to lemon trees boasting lemons the size of most American grapefruits, you’d be hard pressed to take a bad photo at this hidden boutique hotel tucked away on the Amalfi Coast.
One of our absolute favorite parts of off the beaten path travel is the truly authentic experience you get. Popular tourist destinations often tend to “Americanize” the experience they offer to make it more accessible and enjoyable for the masses. But, when you head off the beaten path, you’ll find that locales tend to stay true to their innate culture. Fewer tourists mean fewer chances for their heritage to get lost in the shuffle—and we couldn’t be more grateful for that.
Our favorite example of authenticity with off the beaten path travel?
Castello Di Vicarello in Grosseto, Italy. Few venues in Italy offer a truly Italian experience like this stunning stone castle in Italy’s Tuscan region. It’s food is authentic as any—and it produces both wine and olive oil on site, so you can be sure you’re getting a taste of the real thing when staying at Castello Di Vicarello.
5. The Gift that Keeps On Giving
Our all-time favorite reason to try out off the beaten path travel for your next trip is that you’ll never know what other experiences it leads to. By talking to locals at unique venues and locations, we’ve found out about so many other unique venues and locations we would have never otherwise known about. That’s not something you’ll often find at a chain resort or typical tourist destination. When you’re one of only a few tourists in a small town, you tend to make friends with local shop owners and hotel staffers--and they tend to share the area’s best-kept secrets with you.
Our favorite example of "The Gift that Keeps On Giving" with off the beaten path travel?
When staying at the Punta Tragara boutique hotel in Capri, Italy, we made friends with the local pool staff and were suddenly given tons of local tips and tricks. They started making us famous Italian off-the-menu cocktails and sent us to one of the best restaurants we’ve ever eaten at in our lives. Though Capri can often be pretty packed with tourists, we managed to avoid the crowds once we knew the ins and outs of all of the hidden-gem local favorite spots.
Have any off-the-beaten-path places or experiences worth sharing? Tell us all about them in the comment section below. We'd love to hear from you.