By: Bailey Gaffney

Before getting into the different types and ways to participate in heritage tourism/travel, it’s important to know what it is! According to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Heritage Tourism is “traveling to experience the places, artifacts and activities that authentically represent the stories and people of the past and present.” Now that you have an idea of what heritage travel/tourism is, let’s take a look at different ways that you can participate in it, and some of the benefits that come with this type of travel!

Common ways to patriciate in Heritage Travel:

Study Abroad or Intern Abroad

Studying abroad through UW-W or through a third-party program is the most popular way people heritage travel. By participating in these types of programs, you are given the chance to live in the country of your choosing and experience life the way the locals do. These types of programs tend to last a few months, giving you a lot of time to fully immerse yourself into the culture of the country that you are in! 

Tour Groups

Like studying abroad, these types of programs are great for those looking to immerse themselves in the culture of the country they are in.  These trips are usually a week or two long, but are packed with tons of sight-seeing, one-of-a-kind experiences and chances to understand the history of these countries. A few companies that offer these types of trips are EF Tours and World Heritage Tours!

Volunteering Abroad

Another great way to be able to immerse yourself in a country and get to know the locals is to volunteer aboard. A lot of these programs will provide housing and food, all of which is authentic to the country itself. If you are interested in volunteering aboard, I recommend looking into GVI’s program.

Personal Trips

If you are not really looking to committee to a program such as studying, taking an internship aboard, or volunteering; you can always take a personal trip with your family or friends. Since came out in 1983, heritage travel has become more and more popular among families and friends. These trips will usually take people to the place of their ancestors and allows you to see the way they lived! If you are new to the idea of heritage travel, I highly suggest taking a trip first to see if it’s something you like!

Benefits of Heritage Travel:

There are many benefits to heritage travel, as it is a more sustainable way to travel. This type of travel is all about experiencing the culture of where you are going. Here are the top four benefits of heritage travel!

  • Strengthens the local economy
  • Increase of knowledge
  • Better understanding of life in that country
  • Chance to connect with the people

Ways to participate through UW-W programs:

Thinking that you want to participate in heritage travel? Whitewater has a ton of opportunities for those looking to travel abroad, or even within the country. These programs are ones like internships aboard, study abroad, exchange programs and faculty lead travel. This is a great place to start, so I highly suggest taking a look at what UW-W has to offer!

Overall, heritage travel is a great way to see the world. Whether it is aboard, or right here in the USA, by participating in this style of travel, you are not only going to experience the culture of where you are, but you’ll be taking the time to increase your knowledge and connect with the locals. I highly suggest that if you haven’t already, to take the time to research the places you want to go, and see what experiences you can gain from heritage travel.

It is important to note that before planning any trips to continue to follow the CDC guidelines on traveling during COVID-19 and to research any necessary measures that would need to be taken to travel out of the country.