Anthropology travel entails travelling to study or get more information on humanity. This includes different aspects of social and cultural lives of communities. Anthropology is a science that studies humanity. This science studies traditions, language, beliefs, kinships, values, social, tools, techniques, art, beauty, economic mechanisms and social institutions of communities. All these aspects point to the fact that anthropology studies the impacts of one human community on another.
Travelling to learn more about other communities creates several questions in one's mind such as; how do other communities behave?, what influences their cultural setting, what is the variation from other communities, how are they organized socially? amongst others. Aspects of anthropology travel can be classified depending on what they are aimed at, such as; physical or biological anthropology, linguistics, social or cultural, and ethnology.
Physical anthropology travel is a form of tourism that includes study of anatomy and biology. It focuses on studying human populations through evolution. This would include race, gender and adaptation of different people. It tries to explain why humans are classified into different geographical variations and race. Many people get interested in learning more about the biology and physical development of others over specified periods of time. This could either be for general information or for educational purposes.
Anthropological travel that is aimed in knowing more about other peoples' language and historical relationships is known as linguistics. It tends to give more understanding on human communications, variations in language over time and space, language uses and relationship between a community's language and its culture.
Travelling can also be with the aim of knowing about cultures of others. This is known as ethnology, or socio-cultural anthropology. Ethnology thus entails comparing different cultures, either through participatory or observatory means. This means a foreigner or tourist would be involved in the community to learn more about their system or he would observe and see how their culture is. This will also involve reading books or travelling to local museums and historical sites for information about a certain culture of interest. Here one will learn more on other communities' myths, music, folklore, geography and their passage in time. Cultural anthropology travel will also give one insight of kinship and other social organizations of a community. Further this will involve economic and political organizations, conflict resolution, law, infrastructure, technology transfer, sport and recreation, nutrition, festivals, etiquette and values amongst others.
The history of anthropology indicates that it arose from two frameworks; a) the interest to compare people over space, and b) the interest in the long term human processes. These interests have led to people travelling, developing disciplines and engaging themselves in study of ancient, modern and cultural systems of humanity. Travelling to study other areas and people has been in existence for years and has advanced to modern levels that are different from the ancient ways. Ancient anthropologists for example engaged in observation where they learnt other people's language, religion and culture by living with them. They then were able to compare cross-cultural differences between the communities. In modern times, anthropological travel involves some feature of the ancient anthropology but highly advanced. For example, languages can be learnt without visiting or living with the native people. Other aspects of a community can be known by visiting museums and learning them in institutions set for that purpose.
Anthropology of travel and tourism
Anthropology of travel or tourism has also been referred to as travel for leisure. Sometimes tours can be conducted where those willing to travel for leisure accompany scholarly scientists who are doing their studies or research on certain aspects of humanity. Tourism is often seen as blurring local traditions, culture and social boundaries and hence creating hybrid forms. In this regard it can be said to alter cultures through influence. However, this would take a long time since people's culture is imbedded in their day to day life and not everyday are tourists present in their lives. Worldwide tourist or travel destinations are however maintaining their distinctiveness as much as they adopt new ways, as a means of attracting more people interested in anthropological travel. This is so because millions of cash is exchanged to the local currency through tourism. The local communities are able to exchange their products which would otherwise find no way to the international market except through tourism. In exchange they get some income as well as also experience a new culture and exposure by interacting with the tourists.