Adventure travel can be an incredibly rewarding way to get outside of your comfort zone and into some of the most jaw dropping and amazing places in the world. Whether you’re looking to summit a great peak, trek to ancient ruins or raft down one of the most famous rivers in the world, there are adventures waiting for all types of travelers.
What is Adventure Travel?
Adventure travel is a type of travel involving exploration and discovery, generally in nature or off the beaten path, that will likely require a level of mental and physical exertion. Adventure travel could include a trek through Peru to Macchu Pichu, an Everest summit, or a rafting trip through the Grand Canyon. These are some of the most popular trips for adventure travelers, but there are endless possibilities. Thru hikes, camping, backpacking, rafting, ascents, and more could all be considered adventure travel.
So Why Should I be Interested in Adventure Travel?
If you love awe-inspiring views, one of a kind experiences, incredible insights into culture and history, and the comradery and companionship that can only be built through time and shared struggle then adventure travel is the perfect recipe. There is something incredibly empowering and fulfilling in reaching your ultimate destination under your own power or providing for yourself through shelter or food. Not to mention, some of the most amazing destinations just cannot be accessed by road, train or plane. If you have to hike, boat or dive to a destination you’re sure to experience something that many others will opt to ignore.
If you’re used to resort life, experiencing one of these physically and mentally demanding adventures can leave you ditching the all-inclusive for the fulfillment of a new adventure. We all love to be pampered, and catching the train or staying in a swanky hotel can be great. But seeking out challenging adventures is an amazing way to experience a new destination or even your own backyard.
One of the Best Things to Do During Covid
Adventure travel is always a great way to experience something new, but this style of travel is becoming particularly popular in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Most of the world is focusing on staying away from others and/or spending as much time as possible outdoors. Adventure travel can provide an outdoor and (very) socially distanced travel experience. Although it might not be the perfect time to dive into overseas adventure travel, it’s the perfect time to backpack some of the best hikes in the US or take on a multi-day rafting trip with a small group, especially if you can drive to your starting point.
Challenges to Planning Adventure Travel
Now that you’re sold on tackling your own adventure we need to make sure to create a thorough plan. Some of these activities can be inherently dangerous and it’s imperative that you’re fully prepared BEFORE you begin your next expedition. If you’ve never attempted a thru hiking trip or rafting expedition, no amount of research can prepare you for your first couple of experiences. Even worse, if you’re looking to tackle something local or lesser known, there can be a serious lack of resources online to refer to.
Given the inherent risk and complications of adventure travel, it is often best to work with a planning agency or consult an adventure travel expert to help you plan your trip. Someone like Chris Denu at The Bold Nomad can help plan the logistics of a thru hike, offer up guidance and direction on planning international trekking trips, peak bagging objectives, as well as a wealth of knowledge on travel hacks, tips and tricks. As an expert in the field, and someone who has done a dozen expeditions and helped others plan their own adventures, Chris has a unique perspective into the challenges. Here’s Chris’ advice and first hand experience.
Planning Adventure Travel with The Bold Nomad
One of the greatest challenges you’ll face when planning an adventure travel trip is literally just getting started. Where to start? What to research first? Do I look into flights? Travel logistics? What to do when I get there? Who do I contact? How much does it cost? The daunting list of questions goes on and on. There is so much to consider it can paralyze you from actually taking the leap into what could be a life changing trip.
Photo: Eli Scarborough
The somewhat obvious first step is deciding on where you want to go, and what you want to do. This can be a very fun and fluid process. You alone know your passions, interests, and travel dreams. Make this process fun by not limiting yourself, dream big! Write it all down, mind map it, create vision boards of it, literally have dreams about it. I personally keep a Notes folder in my phone of amazing places and trip ideas that I may come across while browsing Instagram, talking to other adventurous people, and while watching adventure films and shorts on YouTube.
Choose Your Adventure
Choosing an adventure to go on is a very personalized thing. Each individual has their own interests, goals, and ability levels. Here is where you must be a bit more honest and true to yourself. Are you just starting to get into adventure travel? Are you a seasoned pro? What’s your experience and level of ability for the adventure you’re looking to do? What is your physical fitness level? Can you realistically hike 10 miles a day at altitude? If something does go wrong, do you have survival skills training? What about climbing or avalanche certifications?
These are questions to honestly answer for yourself. The answers to these questions can determine if you have an awesome and fun trip or a less than optimal experience.
Outline, Plan, & Prepare
Once you’ve done your brainstorming and have chosen the adventure you’d like to chase, sit down and take some time to just write down all the items that come to mind when you think about your trip (do this with whoever you may be traveling with, if not going solo). Things that may come to mind:
- Travel logistics (ie: flights, rental cars, public transportation)
- Required gear
- Time off from work, etc.
- Required permits
- Visa’s/travel documents
- Specific training you may need
- Will you need a guide?
Be sure to write down your concerns and worries as well. It really helps to be organized well ahead of your trip. This is the most important part of getting ready for your trip and you don’t want to miss any steps or necessary documents/gear. If you’re not an expert it can really help to reach out to a professional at this point. Even if you are an expert, sometimes it’s nice to just verbalize your concerns, worries, and frustrations. Don’t be afraid to reach out, if this trip is important to you, don’t let your frustrations halt it from happening. You got this!
This can actually be a very fun part of the whole experience. Spending your weekends, or evenings preparing for a trip really adds to the excitement and anticipation. During this phase you also really get to see progress of the dream becoming a reality. In this phase start to think about booking travel accommodations, since in most cases the earlier you book, the cheaper the costs. Also think about gear you may need that you don’t currently have.
You may find that during the above phases you still feel lost, unorganized, daunted, and maybe even dejected and off put. This is where getting help comes in, hope is not lost! There are amazing resources to be found online, but if information overload is a concern, think about reaching out to an expert to help.
Final Prep & Setting Off
Once you’ve gotten the information and help you need, set your plans in motion, and have things organized, it’s time to put on those finishing touches that will make things go as smoothly as possible. An exciting step in this phase is to start packing! Start setting aside the gear, clothing, and other items that are going to assist you in a successful trip. Get your paperwork and documents in order: boarding passes, reservations, cash, passport, etc.
The Complications Can Really Be Worth It
Back in 2016, out of the blue I signed up to join a group on a trek to Everest Base Camp in Nepal. I had never met any of the people I was going to be trekking with, but the opportunity presented itself, and I boldly pulled the trigger. Though there would be hardships and setbacks ahead, I am very glad I made this trip, and the memories of it will stay with me forever.
One of the difficulties faced with planning a trip like this is the coordination effort. Everyone was coming from different locations, and all the questions, plans, etc had to be communicated over email. For me this slowed the process down getting gear, travel, visas, rendezvous, etc. all sorted out. We created a Facebook group to help with this and to make introductions since most of us didn’t know each other. Even after all the email exchanges I had still missed an important piece of information, I needed cash (US currency) to pay for my Nepal visa, and I didn’t have the amount I needed when standing in the Kathmandu Airport! Luckily another American trekker was kind enough to give me the cash I needed and it all worked out.
Once on the trip, there were more challenges including flight cancellations. The first leg of my trip was a flight from Denver to Miami, just at the time when a hurricane was due to hit Miami head on. All flights there were cancelled. Thus began the hours on the phone with the airlines, and after a headache or two, I managed to get refunded and booked on a new flight that would work, but it set me back two days.
Despite the complications planning and getting to our adventure, the trip was an amazing experience and success. We all made it, saw amazing sights, and made memories we won’t soon forget. I still have friends from that trip that I stay in touch with, it always makes for a good story, and I have a huge desire to travel back to that area and explore more of the amazing scenes, the good people who live there, and the joys of new adventure. Adventure happens everyday!
Get Out and Explore!
Now that you’re hyped to go on your own expedition, start planning! Whether it’s a thru hike, a summit trip or something completely different, get out and find your own unique adventure. If you want some professional help planning your trip, check out The Bold Nomad. He can help you decide what’s right for you, based on what you’re looking for, your experience level and more. And check out our adventure gear collection to supplement what you’ll need on your next adventure.
About the Author
|Chris Denu is the founder and creator of The Bold Nomad, an outdoor and adventure travel website that aims to inspire and help others chase their adventure dreams and goals. Chris offers one on one consulting whether you’re looking to do your first backpacking trip, thru hike, or international trip. He’s thru hiked the Continental Divide Trail, trekked in New Zealand and the Himalaya, and has summited numerous peaks in 48 states. Find him at TheBoldNomad.com or on social media @TheBoldNomad.