Thinking about adding some adventure travel to your life? Before you do, there are five important factors to consider that will help make your trip a successful one.
Adventure travel runs the gamut of experiences, depending on the limits you want to be pushing—be they physical, mental, or both. Everyone’s comfort zone has different boundaries, and adventure travel can be a satisfying way to stretch those limits. No matter what defines “adventure” for you, though, there are a few things to keep in mind before you dive off the proverbial cliff.
It’s Okay to Say No (or Reset Your Boundaries)
A big part of having a satisfying adventure travel experience is making sure it’s right for you. That might sound overly simple, but it comes down to what you’re ready for, both mentally and physically. You don’t want to give in to nerves or lack of self-trust, but you also don’t want to ignore something your gut is telling you. Once your bags are packed and nerves arise, there’s a difference between “This is outside my comfort zone” and “This just doesn’t feel right.” Take some time before booking a flight to visualize yourself in the activities you have planned. Do you feel excited (if a bit jittery), or do you feel dread? Depending on your feelings, continue mentally preparing for your trip or plan another adventure if the one you had in mind is too daunting for this time around.
Pushing boundaries of any kind can be nerve-wracking, but don’t let the nerves distract you from being in the moment. Sometimes we get so focused on completing the task that we forget to enjoy the lead up. That happened to me recently during an ATV ride in a winery in South Africa—there were times I was so intent on getting the tougher parts over with that I forget to appreciate the epic scenery I was riding through. So, take a minute to give yourself props for the process and enjoy it.
Do Your Research Before Diving in
One of the most important aspects of adventure travel—whether you’re planning to tackle an Annapurna trek, or go scuba diving in Japan—is to do your research. Look into tour operators who are reputable and then dig even deeper. What are people saying about their experiences? Do they have suggestions for what could have been improved? Get answers to your questions to ensure that you are completely comfortable with what awaits you on your adventure. Read up on where you’re going so you know what to expect and even what kind of travel bag best suits your needs. Being armed with information can only improve your experience.
Let Yourself Learn from the Experience
Travel can teach us some of the best life lessons and offer tremendous insight into who we are and where we can improve—if we let it. Rather than simply making the accomplishment the main event, absorb all of your thoughts and feelings as you go, whether you’re still at the bag-packing stage, or right in the thick of things. When are you most anxious and why? When are you hitting mental or physical walls? Making time to mediate on and answer these types of questions about your experience can teach you a lot. Maybe you’ll learn that you have more patience, mental strength, or self-trust than you ever thought. Or maybe you’ll learn where you want to improve. Either way, allow the learning to be a part of whatever adventure you embark on.
Always Put Safety First
Much like taking the time to do your research, putting safety first is an essential step when it comes to adventure travel. If something doesn’t feel right, ask questions. If no one else seems to care about wearing a helmet, ask for one. Not sure about some information provided in a briefing or safety demo? Ask for clarification. There’s nothing wrong with asking questions if they are going to help you be confident and safe.
Find more adventure travel inspiration at Find Your Unknown.
Global Companion 40L W
Wayfinder Backpack 40L
Morphus International Carry-On
Related links (from Eagle Creek blog):
Unknown Found: How Scuba Diving in Japan Turned Me into an Environmentalist
Unknown Found: Broken and Rebuilt on the Trek to Annapurna
Adventure Travel Bucket List: 5 Reasons to Visit South Africa