Travel Tips

The Rise Of Experiential Travel — 5 Ways To Go Beyond Sightseeing With Hilton Grand Vacations

See why authentic travel experiences reign supreme

The Vacationeer
Three people enjoy the view from a hill overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California

You may have heard the expression “experiential travel” in recent years — but it’s more than just a travel industry buzz word. It’s a core principle that’s driving many of us to seek out unique vacation experiences and connect more authentically with our destinations, according to a recent global survey.

Whether it’s planning an entire trip around visiting a Michelin-starred restaurant in Las Vegas, gathering the family for a bucket-list-worthy tour of Yellowstone or attending an HGV Ultimate Access private concert with Boyz II Men, there’s no shortage of immersive experiences when you travel with Hilton Grand Vacations.  

Here are five ways to embrace experiential travel on your next trip.         

1. Follow The Music

Hilton Grand Vacations Brand Ambassador Carly Pearce sings on stage at an HGV Live event   

Music is a great escape. So is travel. That’s why Hilton Grand Vacations combines both by hosting private concerts exclusively for our Members and Guests. Our HGV Live! events bring you so close to the music, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped on stage. We’ve partnered with incredible performers, such as LeAnn Rimes, Lee Brice, Carly Pearce and Joey Fatone of *NSYNC. And we plan every detail — so you feel like the star.         

Gone are the days of waiting for your favorite band or singer to announce a show in your local area. As more musicians hit the road and amp up the number of cities on their tour list, more fans are traveling along. In fact, a recent survey suggests that concert-based trips are on the rise, with 44% of U.S. travelers saying they’re willing to fly to see their favorite artists.

There’s only one question left to ask yourself: Which artist will inspire your next adventure?

2. Raise A Glass To Local Eats

Every destination delivers its own eclectic mix of savory eats and signature sips. It’s the reason so many of us choose where we want to go based on what we want to eat. Whether we’re set on finding the city’s best restaurants or sampling all the local street eats, our inner foodie tends to lead the way. It’s no wonder that a recent travel trends report revealed that 81% of people agree that trying local foods is what they most look forward to while traveling.

A man and a woman sit at a table with food and drinks at an outdoor market   

Here are a few ways you can immerse yourself in any destination’s food culture and eat like a local wherever you go:

  • Do some pre-trip research. Familiarize yourself with the area you’re visiting and learn what foods stand out. Read food and travel blogs or listen to a destination podcast for restaurant recommendations.
  • Find a local food tour. This is a great way to try a variety of local fare and iconic dishes, while also connecting with a local guide who’s sure to give you the inside scoop.
  • Take a cooking class. There’s nothing like a hands-on culinary experience. You get the chance to eat like a local in the moment, then take home the knowledge to recreate the meal whenever you like. Imagine making pasta from scratch in Italy.
  • Plan a trip to coincide with a food festival. Look for annual tasting events, weekly markets or seasonal gatherings — like apple-picking season or a wine harvest.

3. Stay For Signature Sporting Events

You can always watch sports on TV. But seeing the action in person can be a total game changer. There’s something special about attending a live sporting event, whether you’re a lifelong fan or just love a good adventure.

An LPGA golfer swings a golf club from a tee box at the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions   

Sporting events shine a light on a destination and give you a memorable way to experience a city’s unique culture, charm and hospitality. That’s why going somewhere new to see a championship game, world-famous race or once-in-a-lifetime matchup is a bucket-list-level trip for many of us.         

Here are a few examples to help fuel your imagination:

  • Feel the rush at a Formula 1® race.
  • Sip a mint julep at the Kentucky Derby.
  • See LPGA stars putt for par at the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions.
  • Make your way to the Big Apple to catch a New York Yankees game.
  • Take your kids to visit your college alma mater for a rivalry football game.
  • Relax at the McAlpin Ocean Plaza, a Hilton Grand Vacations Club in Miami before heading to a Miami Heat or Dolphins game.
  • Add a Premier League match to your next London vacation and see iconic football clubs such as Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea or Arsenal.
  • Remember: You can also plan trips to tour sports museums, Halls of Fame and state-of-the-art sports stadiums across the country.         

4. Travel For The Mind, Body And Spirit

A woman stands in yoga tree pose overlooking a field of flowers with mountains on the horizon   

Welcome to a world of restorative travel, where self-care is the signature event. Whether you’re a spa seeker, yoga master or fitness enthusiast, a wellness-based retreat can help you unplug from daily distractions and recharge your batteries.

As more people prioritize mental and physical health, many travelers are choosing destinations that help them decompress. In fact, one report revealed that 72% of respondents are more focused on self-care than they were last year and 57% plan to take extended vacations focused on wellness.

See how one Hilton Grand Vacations Member made Aruba her very own wellness retreat: “Looking For Healthy Vacation Ideas? Here’s How I Made My Aruba Vacation A Wellness Getaway.”         

5. Find Adventure In Nature

A couple snorkeling in the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean   

Experiential travel can take you off the beaten path and into the heart of nature. There’s so much to discover when you step into the great outdoors — from otherworldly landscapes and diverse ecosystems to incredible wildlife and unparalleled opportunities for adventure.     

Consider adding these awe-inspiring ideas to your nature-travel bucket list:

For more wild travel inspiration, check out “Meet America's 3 Most-Visited National Parks.”

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The Vacationeer

The Vacationeer is a collective of Hilton Grand Vacations storytellers whose goal is to inspire travelers to go further. We're always on the lookout for new destinations to explore, useful travel tips, and unique ideas to help you plan the most memorable vacations possible.

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