Five tips for adventure travel in 2020

Travel | Will McGough 5 Feb 2020

The idea of "adventure travel" is a loaded concept. Sometimes it's associated with athletic activities, like hiking, biking, snorkeling and scuba diving. Other times it is used to express the idea of getting off the beaten path, like taking a safari, visiting a remote village, camping or staying with a host family. Then there are tour-operator created experiences for the adrenaline junkie, such as sky diving, zip-lining and cage-diving, to name a few.

But adventure travel doesn't have to mean athletic travel, nor does it mean you have to sleep on the ground, nor does it have to fit into a box. There are many ways to be adventurous, and all you have to do is find the mix that's right for you.

Here are five tips to help you add more adventure to your next trip.

1) Define your own idea of adventure. Adventure is not limited to things that scare you to death or make you break a sweat. The only thing required is that you get a little bit out of your comfort zone.

Otherwise, the platform is up for you to decide. For some, a remote safari is the perfect idea of an adventure; for others, it's taking a street food tour.

2) Adventure travel is a mindset, not a sum of activities. While physical exertion and limit-pushing experiences are often associated with adventure travel, don't forget about the mental side, where you interact with the destination.

Adventurers are naturally curious of their surroundings. When I'm on the road, I want to know more about where I am, and who I'm with, learn something and feel a part of it. I want to have conversations with locals and fellow travelers. I want to bridge gaps.

3) Follow recommendations for better or worse. That last part is what's important, because the fear of failure often holds us back on the road. We're told by someone about that place in the other part of town, but we don't go, because maybe it won't be that great, and there are safer bets.

Being an adventurous traveler is all about going down these unknown roads. Will each one work out to be the best thing you've never done? No, definitely not. But, more often than not, following spontaneous recommendations puts your trip on a path you didn't plan, which opens you up to new experiences.

4) Pack like a traveler instead of a vacationer. Less is sometimes more. There are obvious benefits: you're traveling lighter, you're more flexible and you're less burdened with big bags.

But there's something bigger. It might sound counterintuitive, but not having everything you need on hand can lead to unforeseen opportunities. Need fresh clothes? Who knows who you'll meet down at the local laundromat. Need an extra shirt? Find out where the locals shop. Need a haircut? Head to the local barber.

Remember, a big part of adventure travel is being comfortable with the unknown.

You don't have to prepare for every single circumstance because you feel confident enough to solve problems on the road - and you know that solving those problems can lead to unplanned adventures, learning experiences and local encounters.

5) Choose a destination that will bring out the adventurer in you. Adventure can be found anywhere on earth. So don't look for some magical place - just be realistic and pick a destination that aligns with your vision of adventure.

Destinations bring out the adventure within, they do not supply it. Once this idea is understood, you realize that adventure is not about where you travel. It's about how you travel.

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