Thursday, January 14, 2010

Adventure Traveling

Lots of magazines and TV shows talk about adventure travel these days. But what do they mean by that? I mean, almost any time you travel it can be an adventure. But to say it that way.... adventure travel.... it sounds pretty exciting, doesn't it?

People travel for all different reasons. Some people like to go every year to the same place... maybe a beach where they can just sit and relax with no worries. Get away from work. Sort of recharge their souls.

Other people are happier and recharge better when they are active and doing something exciting and new.

And there are real adventurers who like to climb mountains or explore wilderness areas where few others have gone.

I've read that adventurers need that adrenaline rush that comes with risk. Is that what it is?

Sometimes people say we are real adventure travelers, but I don't necessarily think so.

We love to go to new places. Just arriving in a new city without reservations can leave you a little anxious, but that kind of risk doesn't give you an adrenaline rush. A very close encounter with a Mountain Gorilla... now THAT will give you an adrenaline rush!

Adventure can be different things to different people. In the travel business, they usually mean some sort of travel that involves exploration or travel to remote or exotic areas... someplace "new" where not all that many tourists go yet. These adventures will probably get you a little outside of your normal comfort zone.

Travel agents will say that this kind of travel includes some physical activity such as trekking or rafting or cycling. You may be out in a natural setting... even camping some of the time. You may be interacting with other cultures... traveling over remote roads or through jungles. You might even stay with some of the local people.

You don't necessarily need to be camping out or backpacking to have an adventure. You might be staying in very comfortable accommodations, but spend the day trekking looking for jaguars. You might go on a walking safari instead of riding along in a land rover.

So you see, adventure travel probably has you doing more than just sitting on a beach. If you're going to sign up for an adventure tour, you will need to get the tour operator's definition of adventure... Ask questions like how far will you be trekking every day. Will you be camping out? Will you have to carry your own gear? How experienced are the guides in handling problems?

And... What is the "difficulty level"? A hike we took in the Tsingy in Madagascar came as close to rock climbing as I ever want to get... it was hard, but worth the effort. You have to make that decision for yourself on every adventure. So make sure the tour operator's definition fits with your own.... and that you're not getting more adventure than you're counting on.

Don't get all caught up in definitions. If the destination you're looking at seems like an adventure to you.... then it is adventure travel. Go for it.