5 Alternative Vacation Ideas for Travelers Who Want to Step Outside of their Comfort Zone

You can learn a lot about a culture by wandering cobbled streets or sipping espresso at chic cafes, and there’s something to be said for Old Masters appreciated in temperature-controlled comfort. But if you want more from your vacation than the Insta-envy of everyone at home, check out these 5 alternative vacation ideas to step outside of your comfort zone.

Sailing with Nautilus Sailing 

Nautilus Sailing
Who:                Nautilus Sailing 
What:               Live the yachting life for a week while earning your sailing certification!
Where:             Sea of Cortez, Mexico; Grenadines, Caribbean; Exumas, Bahamas; Tahiti, South Pacific; Mallorca, Spain; Split, Croatia
How Much:       Approximately $5,500-6,500 for 7 days
Nautilus Sailing’s website asks if you’ve always wanted to “live the life of adventure” and their weeklong, live aboard sailing immersion courses really do let you live the dream. With six spectacular locations to choose from, Nautilus Sailing offers guests an array of land and sea activities to enjoy while learning the skills needed to earn formal American Sailing Association (ASA) certification.
The cutting-edge curricula combine the luxury of yachting with the intensive hands-on experience needed to be confident, careful, and capable sailors. Every day aboard their fleet of modern and well-appointed catamarans and monohulls, you’ll learn terminology, safety, navigation and other crucial sailing skills.
Nautilus Sailing
And, when not hitting the books, you’ll be exploring the nightlife and food culture of Mallorca or Split, snorkeling through underwater sculpture gardens in Grenada, or wandering white sand beaches in Tahiti. Book your course now and get ready to live your life of adventure!

Language volunteering in Spain 

Mallorca, Spain
Who:                VaughanTown – Language Volunteering
What:               Help Spanish professionals improve their English
Where:             Five unique locations to choose from in Spain; Barco de Ávila, Álcazar de San Juan, Jaraba, Belmonte, or Aranjuez
How Much:       There is no fee to volunteer and meals and accommodation during the program are covered by the company
If you’re looking for an affordable cultural experience and you have the gift of gab, check out the VaughnTown language immersion programs.
Set in five of Spain’s most charming destinations, these programs pair native English speakers with Spanish professionals over a 1-, 5- or 6-day curriculum designed to improve English fluency in the work environment. In exchange for your language skills,
VaughanTown covers all meals and your accommodations in some of the best luxury hotels in the Spanish countryside – think former palaces and royal estates. You’ll be enjoying your daily siesta in rooms fit for kings without spending a dime. Put your lingua franca to work for you by contacting VaughanTown today!

Wellness journey in Italy

Italy hotels
Who:                Terra & Tu Wellness Journeys
What:               A serene wellness journey including yoga, meditation, wine tours and culinary experiences.  
Where:             Tuscany, Italy 
How Much:       $5,800-6,300 depending on room type
Whether you’re flowing through your daily chaturangas in an historic Tuscan villa, learning traditional winemaking techniques at famous vineyards, or being guided through meditations at the edge of a 3,000-year-old mineral hot spring, Terra & Tu takes guests on an 8-day mindfulness journey for an alternative vacation idea.
Every morning starts with a guided yoga practice, before venturing from your luxury accommodations to explore Tuscan culture and countryside. You’ll take in views of picturesque Crete Senesi while dining poolside, visit secluded trattorias for private cooking lessons, and soak in the therapeutic waters of an ancient Roman spa.
Each day is comprised of carefully curated vignettes that will delight your soul – book now to reserve your wellness experience!

Exploring tango in Buenos Aires

Who:                Responsible Travel – Buenos Aires Tango Holiday
What:               Learn the art of tango while exploring the culture and charm of Buenos Aires  
Where:             the Almagro district of Buenos Aires, Argentina   
How Much:       $1,508 for 7 days
For an alternative vacation idea, what could be more authentic than studying the world’s most sensual dance in the neighborhoods where it was born. 
Responsible Travel has put together a uniquely Argentine holiday that includes bespoke accommodations at a boutique hotel in the vibrant heart of Buenos Aires, intensive, daily classes with tango maestros, and tours of the city that beats at the heart of the dance.
Discover the mystique for yourself – contact Responsible Travel to reserve your spot at the milonga

SUP, hike and camp through the Grand Canyon

Who:                OARS Adventures – Canyonlands by SUP
What:               Stand-up paddle, hike and camp through some of the most breathtaking scenery in the Grand Canyon 
Where:             Start from Moab, Utah, USA
How Much:       $1,899 for 6 days
For an alternative vacation idea, the Grand Canyon really puts the ‘awe’ in awesome and hosts millions of visitors every year. But if you want to do more than just peer over the edge, contact OARS Adventure Travel for a truly epic experience.
Over six days you’ll paddle through 96 miles of Canyonlands National Park’s rapids and flatwater, taking time out to hike, camp and even catch a glimpse of the Milky Way (the park is recognized as an International Dark Sky Park) from the banks of the prehistoric Colorado River.
OARS’ renowned guides will lead you through five days of active paddling, and a motorized support boat will be there to scoop you up if you need a quick break and for the final day motoring through the scenic Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. Take the ride of a lifetime – click here to reserve your SUP! 

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Jimmy Im has traveled to 113 countries, stayed in over 600 hotels and has flown a million airmiles. He lives in New York City.

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