Six top tips for a great adventure holiday:
Adventure travel is getting more and more popular. People want more from their holidays and they often want an adrenaline rush to boost their holiday experience.
However, many people think adventure travel is very risky and that that specialist skills are needed.
Don’t worry. If it is well managed and prepared, an adventure travel holiday should not involve more risk than more traditional types of travel. As for specialist skills, there are now adventure trips designed for very different levels of physical ability, so there should be something suitable for almost everybody.
However, as always when travelling, managing your safety starts before you go. Follow these top six tips to get the best out of your adventure experience:
1. Review the country(ies) you aim to visit
When visiting more remote or less-visited countries, it is vital to check foreign travel advice, as local developments might not be featured in news in the UK. Do this regularly from the moment of booking to departure, as situations can change swiftly. Please note that some areas are safer to visit with a group, and that certain countries are intolerant towards topics like soft drugs and homosexuality.
2. Check your travel insurance
For every type of travel, we strongly recommend buying travel insurance, but in the case of adventure travel you also need to check if the activities you intend to carry out are fully covered. For certain activities like diving, ballooning and even rafting you often need to arrange additional cover. Also, investigate if emergency evacuation cover is available in the area you aim to visit. A medical evacuation from the most remote areas of the world (for example mountain peaks or Antarctica) will costs six figure amounts and are often not included in a standard insurance policy.
3. Decide whether to book with a UK tour operator/travel agent or arrange locally
Booking with a reputable UK company usually gives you the security of ATOL bonding and ensures that local suppliers of activities are thoroughly assessed on their health and safety guidelines, training and insurance. In addition, you will usually enjoy the support of a knowledgeable tour leader or guide. If you organise the trip yourself with local operators, you will need to spend more time reviewing tours, evaluations, reviews and companies online. Always check if you are provided with thorough instructions and good working safety equipment, like life vests for all water activities, and helmets for all activities involving speed and heights.
4. Choose a trip that matches your skills – and take it easy!
Trips with long multiday treks through mountains are wonderful, but if you are not used to walking reasonable distances in the UK, do not involve yourself in demanding walks in challenging environments. For certain treks, like climbing Kilimanjaro, the Inca trail to Machu Picchu or Mount Everest Basecamp you need a reasonable amount of fitness. In addition, even if you are reasonable fit, altitude sickness may affect you. Altitude sickness is potentially lethal and needs to be taken very seriously. The best way is to take it easy – never book short “express” trips to the top, but give yourself time to acclimatise. And if you get sick, don’t ignore the signals and push yourself over your limits, but let your tour guide help you, even if this means giving up your attempt. See also.
5. Use the FCO checklist
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has developed a detailed and very useful checklist that will help you choosing and preparing for your Adventure Holiday, check it out.
6. Don’t forget about “regular” risks
With the focus on adrenaline activities or visiting remote nature areas, we should not forget the “regular” risks of travelling. In our experience, many accidents happen in traffic. Note that in some countries drivers are far less careful (and tolerant) of people walking next to the road, crossing roads, or biking. Also, never underestimate the risks associated with swimming and alcohol, and especially a combination of the two.
When following these tips and doing your preparation carefully, you should be able to enjoy your adventure to some of the most unique wonders of the world!