March 11th, 2015

8 Smart Planning Tips for Adventure Travel

By getting organized and planning ahead for your trip, you can get the most out of adventure travel and have the freedom to be spontaneous. 

You can’t be prepared everything: A bus breakdown in the middle of a sugar cane field in the Dominican Republic, or an impromptu invitation to check out a hidden locals-only beach. But part of the beauty of traveling is learning to go with the flow and trust it’ll all work out. That said, you can (and should) plan out some of the logistics. Mastering the basics will give you the freedom to take part in spontaneous escapades without having to worry about the details.

Here are 8 tips to help you prepare for anything:

1. Be Knowledgeable

It’s always a good idea to do some researchon local language, currency, customs and other information about the area you are visiting. If you overlook one of these, you may unconsciously insult someone, miss a flight, be caught someplace with no purchasing power, or have no way to communicate with the locals.

2. Master Your Travel Necessities

Taking care of all your travel must-haves before you hit the concourse will take a load off your mind. For most people, the adventure of finding a hidden waterfall is much more satisfying than the adventure of finding basic toiletries upon arrival. Cover your bases so you can focus on the fun adventures.

  • Organize all travel docs (passport, visas, IDs, copy of important documents, etc.)
  • Keep your money close at hand—and out of others’ hands (check out travel security options, such as a money belt, if you’ll be going somewhere where this is an issue)
  • Carry your toiletries in TSA approved bottles and store them in a clear pouch to make going through security a breeze

3. Enjoy the Freedom of Traveling Light

“We become what we behold. We shape our tools, and thereafter our tools shape us.” - Marshall McLuhan 

It’s pretty common to over pack for an adventure, whether it’s checking out the fall leaves of New Hampshire or traveling through southern Chile. Take a look at what you’re planning to pack. You can bring it all, but if you do, you’ll have to carry it everywhere you go. Believe it or not, it’s more than possible to visit nearby locations and faraway destinations with only a carry on. (If you want to learn more about this, check out 10 Days in a Carry On)

4. Give Yourself Room to Make Unexpected Purchases

You never know what treasures you may come across in your journeys that you may want to take home with you. Whether it’s an authentic porron in Barcelona or a pair of handmade shoes from Florence, sometimes the most memorable souvenirs aren’t super compact. Plan ahead for unexpected goodies by bringing a packable bag you can whip out if the need arises. The best part is, the extra bag won’t weigh you down. It’s a pretty risk-free investment. 

5. Prepare for Physically Challenging Adventures

Thinking of scaling the tallest mountain in North America? Venturing through Death Valley? You might want to prepare accordingly. Here are a few examples:

  • Get in shape - feeling strong and up to the challenge will help you enjoy the experience more
  • Bring the right fuel  – make sure you have enough energy bars and protein drinks to maintain stamina
  • Don’t forget about altitude –if there will be a huge change in altitude, you may need to plan to get acclimated or talk to a travel clinic about getting yourself some preventive medicine.

6. Keep in Mind What’s Needed for International Travel

If you’re going to be crossing international borders, you’ll want to make sure you’ve dotted your i’s and crossed your t’s. Here are some important reminders:

  • Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months after the date of your return flight
  • Go to projectvisa.com to find out visa and embassy information for your destinations
  • Find out what the local currency is and get some ahead of time
  • You may need to get vaccinations prior to visiting certain destinations, and if there are multiple vaccinations required, this can require planning for enough time prior to your trip to get them all done

7. Bring the Right Gear

If you’re going to invest in adventure travel, make sure you have everything you need to make it a success. Here are a few suggestions:

  • If you’re going to be backpacking it’s important to find a comfortable, lightweight backpack
  • If you’re going to take daytripsconsider a packable backpack or daypack to use so you don’t have to carry all of your stuff with you
  • If your trip involves hiking, make sure you have high quality, durable trekking boots that will last for the duration of your trip
  • If you’re going to be working out a lotyou may want to bring compression socks to keep your legs from swelling (they can also be worn on your flight)
  • If you’re going to be carrying around sweaty, dirty, or muddy gear,make sure you have something to carry it in that will keep it away from the rest of your stuff, like the Pack-It Clean Dirty Cube

8. Pack Your Bag Like a Pro

You’ve picked out your destination, planned out your activities, booked your flight, and…now you have to pack your bag.

  • Take control of your bags by finding the right bag for your trip and organizing it for maximum storage. Step one is finding the right bag, whether it’s a backpack, duffel, rolling bag, or a combination of these (Eagle Creek makes lots of convertible travel bags, knowing that your travel needs may change while on the road.)
  • Get some packing organizers so you can stay on your game throughout the trip. Use packing cubes, sacs, stuffers, garment folders, and shoe storage organizers to give everything in your bag a home. The convenience of knowing where everything is in your bag (overachievers, we know you’re going color-coded, bravo), and the ability to pack and repack in a dash, is well worth it!

Prepared for Your Trip? Now You Can Focus On the Fun Part!

As you travel to your destination, the organization and preparedness will pay off. You’ll exude confidence as you travel without the flurry and bewilderment that comes with disorganized bags, gear mishaps, and travel faux paus. When you have everything in its place and feel prepared to take on adventure, you’re able to truly enjoy the experience and focus on what you’re there for in the first place.

Your Turn! Are you an avid adventure traveler? Share your planning and preparation tips with our community of travelers in the comments below. We’d love to hear your ideas.

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