With more people travelling than ever before, an increasing number of us are looking for fresh and authentic experiences. Traditional holidays and weekend vacations are not the only thing on the menu any more, as technology makes the world that much smaller and work opportunities open up both online and around the world. Post-tourism is one name given to this new trend, describing people who choose unconventional accommodation, combine work with travel, participate rather than observe, and stay much longer than traditional tourists.
In many ways, the experience of post-tourism lies somewhere between being a tourist and being a resident. Instead of visiting a destination and observing the local sights as an outsider, this new breed of traveller aims to participate in local culture and fully immerse themselves in their adopted environment. While they might only stay in each destination for a month or two, post-tourists, or modern day nomads if you will, seek an entirely different kind of travelling experience. Enjoyed mostly by the young, post-tourism is the perfect example of the incredible shrinking planet.
Post-tourism would not be possible without technology, with the Internet being the one essential ingredient necessary for this new and exciting way of life. Whether it's working online, looking for accommodation, or even organising a taxi fare from the airport without breaking the bank, the Internet has allowed modern day nomads to pull off a lifestyle that wouldn't have been possible 20 years ago. While you hear it all the time, the Internet really has made the world a smaller place, creating a virtual space that is incredibly diverse and unconfined by the limitations of geography.
While many post-tourists pick up casual work wherever they go, an increasing number of nomads are involved in some form of remote work over the Internet. Whether it involves telecommuting, freelancing, or conducting an online business, the laptop has become the number one tool for the post-tourist lifestyle.
Websites such as Airbnb and Couchsurfing have helped enable this new form of travelling, with some post-tourists also using house swap websites for up to six months at a time. Online transportation services like Uber also play a big role, with travellers able to save money on taxi fares and connect directly with locals.
Berlin is often heralded as the post-tourist capital of the world, with tourism accounting for around 7 percent of GDP. While the German capital still attracts traditional tourists who flock to see the Berlin Wall and Brandenburg Gate, hip young travellers continue to move in by their thousands. Attracted by the artistic and affordable lifestyle, this new breed of nomad works from a laptop and stays for months instead of days. By working remotely and staying in apartments instead of hotels, young nomads can stretch both their itineraries and their budgets. Eastern European cities like Prague also attract young nomads, as do the affordable locations of South America and South East Asia.
Similar to buying in bulk, staying for longer is a cheaper way to travel, as long as you don't mind the lack of variety. While traditional tourists may struggle with boredom when staying in one place longer than a week, post-tourists don't expect the traditional jam-packed holiday experience. If conventional vacations are about time-out from regular life, this new form of travelling is very much about extension, breaking free from the constraints and stresses of modern life into new and novel territory.