Nothing is more exhilarating than adventure travel. Whether you’re interested in mountain climbing, diving, caving, whitewater rafting, or simply exploring off the beaten path, adventure travel can be an exciting, fulfilling experience that pushes you out of your comfort zone and helps you grow as a person. No matter where your travels take you, you will return home with a new perspective and amazing memories.
Ambitious travels abroad require extensive planning. Taking off without a plan sounds daring and spontaneous, but you’re better off doing research before it’s time to head to the airport. You don’t want to end up stranded in a foreign country with no idea of where to turn for help when something goes wrong. Thankfully, you can take a few simple steps beforehand to ensure that your trip goes smoothly, even if you do hit a few bumps in the road.
Research your destination in advance.
Too many people step off the plane with no idea of what they’re going to do next. Researching your destination in advance might seem like it takes a bit of the magic out of discovering a new place, but showing up with a flexible itinerary will ensure that you really get the most out of your trip without wasting any time. If you’re hopping on a flight with your board to surf Hawaii, you’ll want to spend some time finding out the best surf spots near your accommodation so you can hit the beach as soon as you arrive. If you want to spend some time exploring Florida’s beaches, you may want to look up places to see on Florida’s Gulf Coast.
Aside from looking up things to do at your planned destination, it also pays to figure out how you’re getting around. Will you take public transport, rent a car or bike, or simply explore on foot?
If you’re not clear about local laws, make sure you have clarity on the details in advance. For instance, medical marijuana laws can vary state by state in the US, and looking up lawyers for medical marijuana can help you figure out where each state stands on this issue. Knowing all of this important information before you even print your boarding pass will help you avoid stressful situations once your trip begins.
Make a flexible budget.
You don’t want to spend your whole trip pinching pennies, and you don’t want to miss out on any special activities. If you show up at your destination without taking stock of how much money you have to spend, or how much things will cost, you can easily come home with an empty bank account. Budgeting before leaving for a trip is important, and having a realistic, flexible budget can make or break your vacation.
Many adventure travel activities can be expensive — so you will want to save some money where you can. Make a budget that includes the cost of your accommodation, food, transportation, and any other miscellaneous needs. Be honest with yourself about what you can afford, and prioritize what really matters to you. That week-long group hiking expedition with a local guide might be pricy, but if you can save in other areas, you can pull off the bigger excursions.
Maybe you’ve seen one of those young backpackers get on a transatlantic flight with nothing but a carry-on and wondered how they pulled it off. Packing light is a useful skill for adventure travel. You don’t want to be walking around an unfamiliar place lugging around a huge suitcase. Wouldn’t it be easier to just cut down your packing list to the things you really need and take a backpack instead?
Packing light does not have to mean leaving behind the things you really need. Instead, spend some time thinking about what you’ll be doing at your destination to decide what you should take along. If you’ll be on the beach every day and don’t plan on dining out at any nice restaurants, you probably won’t need fancy outfits or dress shoes. You can also use space bags to compress your clothing and pack it neatly into your backpack. It won’t make your backpack weigh any less, but it will definitely save you some space.
The one thing you don’t want to leave behind? Your important travel documents. The night before you leave for your trip, double-check your backpack to make sure that your boarding pass, passport, credit cards, and any visa paperwork you might need are all stashed away in a place where you can easily access it.
Have a contingency plan.
No matter how much time you spend planning and preparing, anyone can run into obstacles while traveling. But you can minimize the impact of the little emergencies that pop up on the road by having a contingency plan in mind before you go. No one likes to think that they’ll face problems on their vacation, but it’s better to be realistic and figure out what you would do if something goes wrong. For example, if you’re passing through Queensland, Australia, on a road trip, it might be beneficial to prepare for towing in Springfield Lakes, Queensland, before you kick off your adventure. You don’t want to be caught off-guard in an emergency situation.
Before you head out for your trip, learn the emergency number at your destination and add it to your contacts. If you’re going abroad, look up the location of your country’s embassy so you know where to go if you should lose an important document or run into legal trouble. Write down the address of a tourist medical clinic or hospital near your destination. Contact your phone service provider and find out whether you will have coverage in your destination. Give a copy of your itinerary to one of your loved ones back home so they will know where to reach you if you need them.
Know what to do when things fail.
When it comes to dealing with emergencies on the road, you need a contingency plan. But when something actually does go wrong, it’s important to stay calm. Take a deep breath, ask a local for help, and don’t get down on yourself. Even the most experienced travelers make mistakes and end up in sticky situations. If you already have your list of important contacts with you, you should have no problem getting in touch with someone who can give you a hand.
When one of your plans falls through, remember that no vacation goes off without a hitch. Even if you have the perfect itinerary planned out, little things can always go wrong. It’s easy to get caught up in the mindset that everything has to go as planned, but you don’t want to hold yourself to an unrealistic standard. Getting lost, oversleeping, missing your bus, or even booking the wrong flight are all common mistakes. These challenges are all part of what makes travel such an adventure.