You are seeking adventure travel that will inspire your adventurous spirit and take you out of your comfort zone. That is wonderful! There are a few things that you need to think about before plunging straight in.
What kind of adventure holiday are you seeking? trekking in the Himalayas, white water rafting in Borneo, elephant riding in Sri Lanka, exploring remote villages in the Andes mountains of Peru? The world is an adventure seekers paradise, so to discover your limitless options, invest in a relevant guidebook or magazine subscription, or visit an adventure travel agent or tour operator.
An adventure trip needs a bit more thought than a beach break. You will need to be fit for the trip. Sport-specific training is key: mountain biking and trekking require leg and cardiovascular strength while kayaking and rafting rely on a strong, upper body. Check with the tour operator, or do your own homework, to find out what preparation exercises are great for the chosen style of adventure. Being fit can – and often does – make a difference between having an amazing holiday or not.
Different activities and sports make specific demands on your body, so it pays to know which muscles you are going to need and how to make them stronger long before you leave home.
If you have booked a new experience – rock climbing, surfing, scuba diving, or horse riding, for example – it pays to get an introduction to the sport before you leave. A taster session will give you an idea of the muscles you need to prepare, the clothes and equipment you need to pack, and the skills you may want to hone before travel.
If your chosen holidays involve trekking, then the best preparation is to get out and start walking. Go for long weekend walks in hilly areas and gradually increase your pace. It is a great idea to walk with a backpack of a similar weight that you could be carrying on the trekking trip.
Many adventure travel companies have their treks graded from easy that involves about 4 to 6 hours walking per day, through moderate with the occasional steep path to expedition grade. Most tour companies use several terms.
Make sure that you take only what you need, but pack what is advised. Technical clothing, geared to the adventure, will enhance comfort and enjoyment, so is worth your investment. A rash vest or wetsuit will be necessary for water-based activities, padded cycling shorts are a must for mountain biking, and tried-and-tested hiking boots are essential for trekking, for example. Trip organizers should give you a checklist of compulsory items of clothing and equipment; pack them all to avoid regret.
It is amazing how much space you can save in your bag by rolling your clothes instead of folding them. I have been rolling for years, clothes pack easier and creaseless.
When traveling with your spouse, partner, or best friend, split the contents of each travel bag/backpack so that you have some of their items and they have some of yours. Then, if one of your bags goes missing, you will have enough clothing to get by.
It is easier to travel light and take only one piece of hand luggage. But always bring a spare fold-up travel bag for additional purchases. On the trip home, check-in the spare bag with clothes and take the treasured items onboard the plane. If your luggage is lost, the memorable souvenirs are still safe.
Zippered mesh inserts for the bags make packing and sorting easier. They come in several sizes and are suitable for a range of clothes including underwear, T-shirts and so on. Keeping groups of clothes separate is great if you’re traveling through a range of seasons or temperatures. They make packing and unpacking very easy and keep you organized on the road, minimizing travel stress.
The way you dress can affect your safety. It can affect your social interactions. It can make or break your travel adventure. (And, if you pack too much, carrying your bags can make you very tired, very cranky, and very vulnerable!)
Don’t forget that you’re a guest wherever you go so dress like one. Be modest, elegant, and comfortable. The locals have had generations to develop a typical dress that suits the climate and the culture of their country. Take your cue from them. A smile and an open mind should be your constant accessories.
Even if the weather calls for clear skies and warm temperatures ensure to bring at least an extra layer, usually including wind or/and rain gear. Weather can change fast, especially in mountain areas.
The practicality of T-shirts and pants made from quick-dry material outweighs fashion in my traveler’s wardrobe.
When traveling abroad, always pack a very long oblong chiffon scarf. It is the most versatile item. It can dress up a simple black dress draped backward around the neck for the evening; it is useful as a head covering for visiting shrines and temples and being appropriately respectful, even if you’re not quite sure of the local protocols and traditions; in a pinch, it can be an evening wrap and it takes up no space in a bag.
Ladies, always take a sarong on trips, in your carry-on. It could be used as a sheet, towel, dress, headdress, beach coverup, curtain, just about anything. You can use your imagination!
Here are some tips to help you fit hiking boots:
Now that you’ve shelled out money for your new boots, you want to make sure they’ll support you for countless miles on and off the trail. Below are some steps you can take to help your boots last longer.
Periodically treat boots with a waterproofing treatment (like NikWax) appropriate to the boot’s materials (full-grain leather, Nubuck leather, suede, fabric, etc.) and according to the boot manufacturer’s recommendations and instructions.
Dry your boots between hikes. Don’t try to rush the drying process though. Close contact or proximity with heat sources, like a fire, radiator, or hairdryer, can permanently damage boots.
Keep them clean. Yes, we know you’re going to take your boots outside and through rocks, mud, and streams. That’s part of the fun. But after every hike, brush that abrasive dirt and debris off the boots, preferably when dry. If your boots are otherwise in good condition, but need minor repairs or to be resolved, consider the value of getting them repaired rather than replaced. Check the warranty and repair services offered by the boots’ manufacturer, or head to an experienced cobbler.
Sunglasses, sunscreen, and appropriate clothing is important for sun protection year-round but is especially essential when on water, ice, snow, and at higher altitudes. The higher you go the more ultraviolet rays you’re exposed to, increasing the risk of serious sunburn and skin damage.
Sunglasses protect your corneas from ultraviolet light year-round. Sunglasses, glacier glasses, and goggles also can help prevent snow blindness from sunlight reflecting off the snow.
Sunscreen should be at least 20 SPF (though 30 is preferable), block UVA and UVB rays, and be applied anytime you go outside, even on cloudy days. Reapply frequently, such as lips, especially if you’re sweaty or wet.
Clothes supply varying degrees of sun protection depending on the material, weave, color, and moisture content (a wet, cotton T-shirt is practically useless). Many clothes are treated to absorb more UV radiation and come with specific UPF ratings, which could be helpful on desert hikes and different sunny treks.
Hats are a must. A wide-brimmed hat or at least a peaked cap for protection of your face from the sun.
First aid kits vary from the basic, very suitable to treating blisters and minor cuts on the day hike, to expedition-worthy kits geared toward extended travel and groups. You can make your own or buy a pre-packaged one, but at a bare minimum, you’ll want: bandages in various sizes, gauze pads, disinfectant, over-the-counter pain medication, blister treatment, and any prescription medications.
Any first aid kit is useless without knowing how to use it. Consider taking a first aid course and periodically brush up on your skills. Even if you’ve already passed a course, a small first aid guide inside your kit will help you deal appropriately with medical emergencies.
Personalize your first aid kit to your individual medical needs. Include a pencil and paper. Store all first-aid supplies in a pouch or a waterproof container.
Many adventure travelers consider pillows a luxury, one usually left behind to save weight and space. But a good night’s sleep can be worth a little space. So, if you, and your neck, want to move beyond that rolled up fleece or stuff sack pillow, take a look at the range of backpacking and camping pillows available
Backpacking pillows come in 2 primary varieties: compressible and inflatable, and many that combine the two.
Compressible pillows are filled with down, synthetic fibers, foam, or a combination, and come in a variety of outer fabrics, including fleece, cotton, and nylon. Just like in sleeping bags, down and synthetic fills each have their merits.
Synthetic fills are firmer, bulkier, and more affordable. Hybrids, that use both down and synthetic fill, aim to combine the attributes of each. Inflatable pillows offer the advantages of weight and space savings for a relatively large surface area, and their firmness can be adjusted. Both compressible and inflatable pillows are available in a variety of sizes and shapes.
Backpackers, hikers, and climbers have always relied on reusable water bottles. As the general public becomes more aware of the negative environmental impacts of commercially bottled water, they’re turning to reusable bottles too.
Like most outdoor gear, choosing a backpack depends on what you plan on doing with it primarily. Consider how long you will be gone on trips (a day, overnight, a week?), how much gear you’ll need, or want, to bring along.
Answering these questions will help you determine the first factor in selecting a backpack.
Pack sizes range between manufacturers and capacity needs depend on the individual. However, in general, the following ranges are a good starting point: 30-40 liters – for hiking trips with a daypack 50-80 liters – for overnight and multi-day backpacking trips up to a week 80 liters and more – for trips longer than a week or winter overnights
Select a backpack that will fit the greatest amount of gear you’ll need to bring. That said, don’t buy a pack that’s bigger than you need. You’ll be tempted to carry more than necessary or will end up with a floppy, half-filled pack. Depending on your range of activities you may need more than one backpack. Perhaps a large pack for multi-day backpacking trips and a small daypack for day hikes.
You can choose a pack with the right design, size, and features for the activities, but if it doesn’t fit comfortably, you’ll regret your buy in the long run. Most importantly, your pack should be adjustable to fine-tune the fit to your individual body.
While nothing beats the expertise of a knowledgeable pack fitter, here are some tips to help you select the backpack that fits you well.
It was supposed to be a short day hike with you at home before dinner, but somehow you found yourself out after dark. A torch or headlamp can make the difference between an inconvenient nighttime walkout and an emergency.
Headlamps are extremely useful for their hands-free design, compact size, and lightweight. Even on short day hikes, a light should be carried; small emergency ones can be easily stashed in a pack. Always carry spare bulbs and batteries that fit the model of light.
A small net computer is extremely useful when traveling, it is light and fits into your daypack comfortably. With a wireless Lan connection, it is possible to connect to the internet in many hotels and hot spots. It also comes in handy as a word processor to take notes of your travels while the memory is still fresh in your mind.
Public email services with large storage capacities, such as Gmail, are a useful resource. Mail yourself copies of all your travel documents and plans – that way you can access them from anywhere in the world from any internet-linked computer.
Pack a USB thumb drive. It’s good for backing up digital information and you can take it to an internet café and post home some photos.
Conveniently forget to pack some necessary clothing – that way you’ll not need an excuse to buy it when you reach your destination. It then becomes a necessity. It eliminates any guilt feelings. A bit abstract, but it works for me!