An Ultimate Guide for Alternative Travel; Examples in Iran

Iran Nomad ToursAdventure StylesAn Ultimate Guide for Alternative Travel; Examples in Iran

Have you ever wondered to travel differently? Or travel to less touristic sites? Are you tired of the crowded touristic sites? Have you ever looked for a neverland where everything is yet untouched? Where there is no showing off and people are only living their lives.
Well, Alternative Travel is just what you are looking for. In this article, we will discuss what alternative travel is. And explain its’ examples and ideas a bit. We will provide you with the ultimate information on alternatives for mass tourism in Iran.

No More Mass Tourism!

Mass Tourism is travel by groups on pre-scheduled tours, usually under the organization of tourism professionals. The relationship between tourism companies, transportation operators and hotels is a central feature of mass tourism

Golden Age of Mass Tourism: Its History and Development, Erkan Sezgin and Medet Yolal, Anadolu University, p. 73

Due to the negative impacts of mass tourism on economy, environment, and local community; The new trend “alternative travel” just began in the early  70s. It is an alternative for the current popular mass tourism where thousands of people go to specific places in holidays! It is about no more tour package deals.

People are concerned about adding meaning to travel and not just go visit someplace nice! It is recharging your soul beside your body. People just started to be considerate about all the unsustainability, inauthenticity, and pollution that mass tourism brings. Hopefully these days people tend to like places which are more quiet, pure, untouched, and authentic.

What is Alternative Travel?

If you are looking to escape from mass tourism, alternative tourism might be a perfect choice. The passion for famous touristic places have decreased; these days, people ask for more authenticity and originality. They choose places where they can touch real lives with the pure local community; where they can taste real culture, people, nature, and food. It is saying goodbye to luxury package deals, fancy restaurants, crowded spas, and etc.

An example of the interest changing among people is the popularity of traditional guesthouses and eco-lodges in Iran. When tourists get aware of these places, they mostly choose them over fancy hotels. People want to travel differently away from all the hustle and bustle of crowded touristic places. They quest for epic places with an untouched lifestyle where tourists have not meddled in community culture and the pure culture has been stilled preserved as well.

Alternative Travellers Characteristics

These travellers are just tired of fixed programs in large groups where they are only a passive visitor. Alternative Travellers prefer to be active. They are looking for tailor-made yet flexible tours at which they can make spontaneous decisions. These travellers want to let the tour goes where it goes. It is about being not that planned and see how it goes and pause for whatever gets your attention. Alternative travellers care for the environment and also the community around them. They try their best to have the minimum ecological footprint on the earth.

Another important point about alternative travel lovers is being active, they don’t ask for services that much; they accompany the local community in their tasks. These travellers do not visit, they practice living in that community. They also travel without any hassle.

Additionally, being respectful to the locals’ values and customs is a key factor in alternative tourism principles. Beside all the educational, professional, or any other reasons people travel, they are just some of us who travel for the adventure. This is where alternative travel takes place.

Below you can see some choices that alternative travellers make. They ….

  • Want to live like a local to taste the culture in which they have access to local’s knowledge, advice, and pure lifestyle. 
  • Prefer local operators over fancy well-known agencies.
  • Travel in low season and investigate the beauties of that place in a time where nobody goes there that much.
  • Choose mostly low-density areas which are not that famous and touristic.
  • Use public transportation frequently.
  • Buy stuff like food and souvenirs from the local to help them continue their lifestyle.
  •  Ask for the services directly from the local to allocate the most income of the tourism in that area to the locals themselves, and not to have mediators that much.
  • Like to do a digital detox.

Types of Alternative Travel

Adventure Travel

It is definitely something different and new. It is about to get inspired by the unknown. In Iran, there are plenty of adventures you can find; Skiing tours in Tochal, hiking in mountains, cycling tours in the middle of nowhere and desert adventures are some to mention.

Cultural Tourism

The unique and authentic culture of different Persian tribes is definitely something so interesting for culture seekers. Its variety and purity catch every travellers attention. You can go and investigate different ceremonies and rituals in various communities in Iran. In the article on “Iranian Cultures and Traditions“, you get to know different ceremonies being held in Iran.

Cooking Courses

Food is an important reason for some of the travellers. Therefore culinary Tourism is a famous type of tourism where people go to places where they can explore different dishes and recipes. In Iran, you can take different cooking classes at which they teach you how to make local dishes. Persian Food Tour is actually one of the good operators in Iran for taking cooking courses.

Become a Freelancer

You can just be your own boss and become location independent. Just start your own business or work remotely as a freelancer and live in different areas consequently. The number of digital nomads is just increasing day by day. Writing, photographing, web design, translating, graphic design, programming, marketing, and coaching are just a few examples of what people do as freelancers. You can find different freelance jobs on online platforms.     


They are so many educational plans around the world. One of the mains is to teach language abroad. You can be an ambassador of your language and culture and teach it to kids in any part of the world. Not only will it help the kids to get a better vision of the world they are living in, but also it will be fulfilling for you to have a step in introducing your culture and language to others. It is also a great step forward in preserving various cultures and languages. Nothing is better than learning a new language with locals.

You can learn Persian in different educational programs in Iran.

House Sitting

It’s been always a concern for families with pets in the time of vacations. Finding a person to leave a dog or house to, is not always easy. They might be also other tasks in the absence of the family, like taking care of the plants. Some choose to have a mutual benefit. So they offer to live in their house for free to take care of the pets and plants. If interested in animals, house sitting can be a suitable option for you. Above all, there are different house sitting platforms where you can find a suitable house based on the place you want to visit.


Well, we all –in a corner of our mind- have the idea of making the world a better place to live. Not only it is an added-value for us, but also it is a fulfilling experience where we feel our being matters! Fortunately, there are so many organizations in any part of the world where you can join and do something useful. Volunteerism is not about the time you put without being paid, most noteworthy it is about your soul and mind with a fulfilling experience. It is about you who becomes a different person afterwards. In different projects, you will pay for the costs of your meals and accommodation within a small fee.

There is also another option for you to work and instead use free tour packages. There might be different options in Iran, you can also join nomad tours for free and instead you are offered a free accommodation and tour. For more information, please contact

WWOOFing and Green Travel

WWOOF stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. In these projects, organic farmers host the volunteers. The volunteers are committed to helping the farmers. While the farmers provide free accommodation and meal for the volunteers. They also teach organic farming to them. The tasks are mostly in the field of farming, agriculture, renovation, and painting. The remarkable point about WWOOFing is that you are only committed to 4-6 hours of work per day, as a result, the rest of the time you can enjoy nature and get in touch with people. Barzigardi is a company offering WWOOFing experiences in Iran.   

Wellness Retreats

Travelling is not limited to know other cultures and personalities anymore! It can also be about getting to know oneself and have a deeper relationship with our soul and body. Travelling can offer a unique experience where we can discover our selves, likes and dislikes, weak and strong points of our personality. So to have a better relationship with others and have a better understanding of different cultures, first things first, one needs to get to know his/her self. They are different yoga and meditation retreats around the world. Before attending any wellness tour, make sure to choose the right one depend on your preferences, goal, and interest.

There is also this another option for alternative travellers in Iran. If you are looking for travelling differently in Iran, living with Iran nomads might be what you are searching for. You can get in touch with these indigenous people in the middle of nowhere. Not only will you get to know a pure culture and lifestyle but also you will let them know that they matter and help them regain their low self-esteem. In Nomad Tours, you will be an active, responsible, and alternative traveller.

Well, there are so many alternatives for mass tourism. This was just what came to my mind. We’d be happy to hear your ideas and experiences in any corner of the world. If you have any question or comment, feel free to comment below.

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