12 unusual types of tourism


What is caravanning and Jailoo tourism, where to become a farmer for a week or a movie star for an hour, and how to fly to Mars for free. Choose what’s closer to you, or offer your own options.

Rural Tourism

Rural tourism goes back to basics. Instead of an alarm clock, there are roosters, a cow to milk instead of a coffee machine in the office, and fresh produce straight from the garden instead of rubber vegetables from the supermarket. You can arrange a rural tour yourself, find a local guide, or trust agencies that specialize in agritourism. Some companies focus on specific regions, others arrange adventures for all tastes in all corners of the world.

Jailoo tourism

In Kyrgyz, “jailoo” translates to “mountain pasture.” Jailoo-tourists travel through untouched corners of the planet: mountains and steppes of Asia, forests of Siberia and North America, Amazon jungles and African reserves in order to forget about civilization boons for a while. You can start with the birthplace of this type of tourism – Kyrgyzstan, but do not choose extreme routes, if you have no experience in hiking in the mountains. It is safer to find a local guide, who will lead you to the high mountain pastures between the lakes Issyk-Kul and Son-Kul. The best time to travel is from May to September, although warm clothes will come in handy even in summer.

You can combine Jailoo tourism with ethnic tourism – stay overnight in a herdsman yurt in the Mongolian steppe, stay in a thatched hut in a remote Indonesian village or stay with the kindly tribe of Barabaig in northern Tanzania. The traveler, “adopted into the family,” lives the daily life of the indigenous population, following local traditions and rituals and adopts skills such as herding cattle, making pottery or make fire from a lighter.

Film Tourism

Movie tourists yearn to become, even briefly, characters from their favorite movie, and there are two ways to do that. You can follow in the footsteps of Sherlock Holmes in the UK or rent a red Chevrolet Impala and take a ride in yellow glasses along the route of the characters in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Or you can find yourself right in the scenery of your favorite movie. For example, explore every corner of Tolkien’s Middle-earth in New Zealand, see the alien landscapes of “Star Wars” in the Tunisian Tatavin, Matmat and Tauzar. And fans of Woody Allen can arrange a whole “staircase tour” through Europe and sit first on the very stairs at the church of St. Etienne du Mon, where the hero of “Midnight in Paris” was transported to the 1920s, and then on the Spanish Steps from “Roman Adventures”.

Festival tourism

Music lovers practice another type of tourism – festival tourism. And in Europe, in one vacation you can visit several concerts. Many festivals last three days, so camping sites and parking lots for trailers are built near the scene. Highlights include Spain’s Primavera (end of May – beginning of June), Britain’s Glastonbury (end of June) and Hungary’s Sziget in August. You can find a festival to your liking on the Festicket website.

To some extent, festival tourism also includes going to great events such as the Brazilian and Venetian carnivals, Pamplona Encierro, Oktoberfest or Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Gastronomy tourism

There are cooking courses and ethnic restaurants everywhere, but it is more interesting to get acquainted with the recipes of national cuisine in their homeland. Perhaps, it is a matter of environment and perception, but whichever way you look at it, the massaman curry tastes better in Krabi and khinkali – in Kazbegi. And for a recipe for the right pizza is worth a trip to the south of Italy and try to beg the owners of family-run restaurants to arrange a master class (though, without the basic Italian in this case will not do).

A trip to France is certainly worth diversifying the acquaintance with cheeses and wines. Normandy, the birthplace of Camembert, and Burgundy, where Napoleon’s favorite cheese, epoise, was created, are considered “cheese” regions. The perfect pairing with the soft flavored cheeses will be the wines of Burgundy, Bordeaux and Champagne. And to learn to understand tea, go to the Chinese province of Fujian, famous for its oolong and red teas, the birthplace of Yunnan puerh or trekking through Sichuan with its green and yellow teas.


Adherents of this type of tourism are spiritually enriched by communicating with nature alone. Typically, an eco-tourist’s hotel is a hut in a national wildlife refuge and wild animals are his neighbors. The goal is to contemplate from a safe distance and do no harm. There is even an international community of eco-tourists who want to benefit the environment during their vacation.

However, ecotourism can be very extreme. Take for example the so-called “shark tours”, when you are immersed in a special cage into the sea, where predators already carnivorous grin in all three rows of teeth – an entertainment not for the faint-hearted!


Caravans are called mobile homes, and it is very convenient to be a homebody and a traveler at the same time. This way of organizing life was invented by American settlers in the 1930s. Moving from place to place, they carried folding furniture and household items in covered wagons. Gradually, special campsites for caravaners began to appear, sort of like small communes. And to this day in the U.S. and Europe there are many who are not ready to trade in their trailer for a regular apartment or house.

If you are easy on the rise and always wanted to start a road trip without stopping at hotels, this is what you need. This type of tourism is also good in that it gives complete independence from the schedule of transport, and you can bring everything you need, including bicycles, surfboards or skis.

Spiritual tourism

The goal of spiritual tourism is not so much a change of scenery as it is a change of self. It is an ascetic type of travel for those who want to find inner harmony and get their thoughts in order. Such tourists go to countries with mild climates – usually India, Thailand or Indonesia – to practice yoga and spiritual practices in a peaceful environment.

Industrial tourism

Who in their childhood hasn’t climbed into half-burned-out houses and empty construction sites? Urbex (from urban exploration) – a type of tourism based on urban exploration – is designed to revive those reverent feelings. Industrial tourists are diggers, who explore the subway and underground utilities, roofwalkers, and stalkers, who penetrate into abandoned sites, and not only industrial ones. For example, a stalker can go to the ghost town of Kadykchan in the Magadan region, or in a prototype of Silent Hill – the town of Centralia in Pennsylvania, where an underground fire blazes for over half a century.

Those who are interested in religious sites that have lost their sacred significance have their own tourist movement: post-palgrims find and explore forgotten temples. A separate subspecies of industrial tourism is atomic tourism. Fans of the atomic age go to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, the abandoned Pripyat, and slowly begin to penetrate into the prefecture of Fukushima.

Dark Tourism

It is also called “dark”, “black” or dark tourism. The point is to travel to places associated with death, destruction, mysticism, and tragedy. “Gloomy tourists” are impressed by walking through cemeteries and battlefields; they are attracted to everything sinister and supernatural.

Among the attractions of dark tourism are the former death camp of Auschwitz 60 kilometers from Krakow, the French ghost town of Oradour-sur-Glan, destroyed during the Second World War, the place of mass executions Choeng Ek and other Champs de la Mort in Cambodia. In the U.S., popular tours to Alcatraz prison, where Al Capone was imprisoned. And in Romania, “dark tourists” wander through the ruins of Poenari fortress: historians consider it, not Bran, Dracula’s real castle.

Backpacking tourism

The goal of backpacking is to travel as economically as possible. A backpacker can be identified from afar by the backpack behind his back (and often even on his chest) and the Lonely Planet guidebook in his hands. Backpackers hitchhike or take public transportation, and stay overnight in hostels, tents, or with each other – there are special services for this, like coaching. In developed countries there is a traditional time for such tourism – the gap year, the “gap year” between the end of school and the beginning of the career. But it is never too late to become a backpacker: put your backpack on your shoulders and off you go!

Space tourism

In contrast to the backpacking trips traveling in space is the most expensive kind of tourism, just like the name, it costs just space money. The first space tourist in the world, Dennis Tito, in 2001 paid for a flight to the ISS $ 20 million. Now state space monopolies are a thing of the past, private companies are building their own spaceports and spaceplanes, and some are already selling tickets for future suborbital flights. Virgin offers 2.5 hours in space for $250,000, XCOR Aerospace for $95,000.

Another curious endeavor is the Mars One project, whose participants can go to Mars for free without a return ticket to establish the first Martian settlement. The first crew of four will fly to Mars as early as 2024, and flights will become regular once every two years thereafter.

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