Tips to make the most of your adventure travel
Nothing brings out the inner child in all of us like adventure travel. Whether it’s the first tenuous step onto a glacier, the eye-opening color palette of a remote Tibetan village, or the sudden lorry stop to allow a giraffe or two cross the road, small group excursions off the beaten tourist path provide the opportunity to engage the unfamiliar, the unexpected, and the unforgettable.
The ongoing homogenization of city life around the globe has prompted an equal and opposite thirst for exotica — the more remote the better. The Adventure Travel Trade Association, which represents more than 1,000 organizations vested in adventure tourism, trains both tour operators and emerging destinations on how to best showcase their unique experiences. For meeting planners, companies such as Overseas Adventure Travel help prepare small groups for the thrill of discovery.
Once you’re ready to lead a safari in Tanzania, a trek along the Nile, or a crisp cruise to Antarctica, here are six tips to help brace your novice adventurers for a memorable and successful journey.
Gear up. Rely on the known to enjoy the unknown. Staples of adventure travel include a backpack, a pair of comfortable boots or shoes that will go the distance, binoculars, a camera, a flashlight, sunscreen, sunglasses, a beverage sipper, and appropriate headwear and gloves.
Scale back. Fashion takes a back seat when it comes to adventure travel. Pack only essential clothing, as you’ll likely be carrying most (if not all) of it.
Stash some cash. When visiting a foreign country, be sure to pack some local currency, just in case your credit card won’t work or you find yourself miles from an ATM. Also, because wallets tend to wander, it’s a good idea to stash your bills in something you’ll carry in your backpack, such as a toiletry bag, socks, or the front pocket of spare pants.
Ditch the jewelry. As much as we all love our favorite bling, adventuring is no place for jewelry, watches, and other expensive accoutrements that may get lost or stolen. Instead, bring along — and keep close watch on — your passport and credit cards. It’s also a good idea to take pictures of these on your phone and keep a printout in a Ziploc bag, just in case.
Go local. The best way to savor a strange new setting is to do what the locals do: visit the market, meet people, eat where they eat, and immerse yourself in their culture. And return the favor by being open and courteous when they inquire about you.
Share the experience. One great way to savor your adventure is to compare notes with your fellow travelers. While their insights, interpretations, and perspectives may differ from yours, their experiences will likely deepen your own understanding and appreciation of the journey.
(Top photo by Dudarev Mikhail/Shutterstock.com)