Adventure Travel 101

AdventureFinder's Kate Tucker and Linda Long answer our burning questions about the tao of adventure travel
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adventure travel
Climbing, kayaking, camping—what does adventure mean to you?  (Eyewire)

Adventure travel is a relative term. For some, it means summiting K2. For others, it's taking the family camping for the weekend. But regardless of your definition, adventure should be fun. So, to help you plan your next big adventure, we asked GORPTravel experts Kate Tucker and Linda Long to weigh in on a few adventure-travel particulars. Collectively, these two have logged 23 years in the travel industry and have visited more than 40 countries—in short, they're the perfect resource for advising about must-take trips, giving pointers on how to choose an outfitter (and on if you need one or not), and divulging a surprising travel-etiquette faux pas.

Does the activity trump the destination?
Kate and Linda agree that both the destination and the activity are equally important in adventure travel. "It's about going beyond ordinary, day-to-day life and surroundings," says Linda, "where the new, unknown, different, and sometimes risky play a big role in experience and enjoyment." Adventure travel essentially takes you on a new journey. That might mean anything from going to a new state or country, to trying new activities, to meeting interesting new people along the way, says Kate. "It should enrich your life and test your boundaries both physically and mentally, and even culturally."

So many activities, how will you ever choose? Simple: Don't.
Don't feel the need to narrow your adventure options. At home and abroad, people are jumping (no pun intended) at the chance to take multi-sport adventure trips. And it's not just those wild and crazy single folk. Families are getting a piece of the action, too, says Kate. "Eco-friendly adventure resorts are great places for families to experience a plethora of outdoor-adventure options such as hiking, biking, sea kayaking, snorkeling, and sailing." We're talking about some serious family bonding here. And a variety of activities will likely keep little ones (with even littler attention spans) more engaged.

Have weekend, need adventure.
Taking an adventure-oriented trip need not mean an exotic locale, or even an overnight's stay. Mountain biking in Vermont, rafting on the Green River in Utah, or even horseback riding and hiking at a ranch, you probably live closer to real adventure than you'd realized. "You can have a great adventure in an afternoon," says Linda. "There's no time limit, you just have to get out there and do it. Amazing adventures can be found in a state park just down the road or along a river in your backyard—you just have to be creative." When it comes to discovering these close-to-home gems, let you fingers do the walking via the 'net. GORP.com (a partner of GORPTravel and Away.com) is a great place to research adventure-travel destinations. Trails.com is an excellent resource for hikers, though it requires a paid membership, and the International Mountain Bicycling Association's website (www.imba.com) lists loads of ideas for mountain bikers.

"Of course, if a climbing expedition in Alaska is your idea of a great adventure trip, then you probably need about a week to ten days," says Linda. Another obvious perk to having a few extra days to play with? "The more time you have for an adventure trip, the more destinations you will have as a possibility for travel," says Kate. You can think big, like a two-week trip to Peru, three-week African safari, or even a month-long trek through parts of South America or Thailand.

Their best advice: Whatever you do, make the most of it.

Published: 27 Jul 2006 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
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