With the growing popularity of adventure travel, more and more people are taking their vacations to the extreme. An adventure trip can be anything from a hike to a sailing trip or a biking tour; but most importantly, it’s about exploring and enjoying the natural beauty of the planet. Adventure travel can be an extremely fulfilling and transformative experience, but no adventure trip is the same and there is a lot you need to consider before you book.
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What type of climate are you most comfortable in?
There’s no accounting for bad weather, but you can do a lot to make sure that you’re getting the best experience out of your trip. By researching the climates of different destinations, you can save yourself a lot of grief. For instance, if you hate hiking and humidity, a village-to-village trek in Thailand might not be for you. Maybe instead you could try a quad-biking safari on the beaches of New Zealand.
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What is your fitness level?
You won’t be gaining any weight from the buffet on this vacation, because an adventure trip is a very active and physical form of travel. However, there is a difference between “real” and “soft” adventure travel. More intense adventure trips are physically demanding, but the payoff can be incredible, provided you love where you are and what you’re doing. Easier-going trips will still get you into the great outdoors, but usually with a lower impact. Before you book, know what you’re getting into and be honest with yourself about whether you are physically up for it.
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Are you comfortable being on your own?
If the idea of setting off into the wilderness alone without cellphone reception or anyone to talk to keeps you up at night, a solo trek might not be for you. Instead, consider booking a guided trip with a small group. Bonus: If you don’t speak the language, a local guide can be a huge asset if you run into any problems.
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How many guides will you be traveling with?
If you decide to go with a group tour, it’s best to book one with at least two guides. This way, you won’t have to walk faster or slower than your normal pace because the group can split into two each day. An extra guide also becomes an extremely valuable asset if someone in your group gets injured.
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Will you need a special visa?
Adventure travel draws a lot of people to countries with complicated visa requirements, so you will need to thoroughly research this before you go. The company you book with can help steer you in the right direction.
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What medical requirements will you need before going?
Will you need any immunizations before you travel? If so, check to see if the tour company has any recommendations or checklists to follow. However, it’s up to you to make all the preparations so you will be ready to go.
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Are you willing to pay more for luxury?
Different tour companies differ in price based on how much work is done for you versus how much you do for yourself. For example, would you prefer to have someone transport your luggage from hut to hut if you are hiking, or would you rather carry it yourself and save some money? Little things like staying in hotels along the way or having your food prepared for you will cost extra.
More from Smarter Travel
- Tourist Free Adventure Destinations
- Five Ways to Find an Adventure Travel Bargain
- Patagonia and Torres del Paine: Hiking at the Edge of the World
Jamie Ditaranto is a writer and photographer who is always looking for her next adventure. Follow her on Twitter @jamieditaranto.
(Photo: Magalie L’abbe via flickr/CC Attribution)