Firstly, CONGRATS!! If you’re reading this you’ve already cleared the first major hurdle … deciding to go on a trip! Now’s the fun part – planning it … okay, of course, the really fun part is actually going but, you know, one step at a time.
When it comes to planning a great adventure trip there are almost limitless variations on what you’ll want to do. But there are some questions you can ask yourself that apply to everyone and will help you map out a great experience.
Whether you love winging it and making decisions on the fly or you’re famed among friends and family as the Queen or King of Planning keep reading for some really useful tips and tricks.
Ultimately, great adventures need a reasonable does of the ‘unknown’ but for a less stressful (and often less expensive) trip we think a bit of planning can go a long way.
Here’s co-founder of Another World Adventures Tori busy mapping out details for a trip to Greenland to explore the Arctic Circle region.
There are FIVE main tips to consider for how to plan an adventure trip.
1 – What do you want to get out of your trip?
If you’ve found us, you’re likely to be an adventurous soul so spending a couple of weeks lying on a beach is probably not what you’re looking for.
In which case, you’re in the right place.
Figuring out what you want out of a trip is a really big factor on deciding where to go and your broader destination choice. Do you want to relax or be super active? Get a sweat on and physically challenge yourself or go deep in cultural immersion? Are you looking for friends to say “you did WHAT?!”, to meet like-minded people or for self-reflection and self-development? Looking to learn new skills or brush up on rusty ones? Perhaps it’s a combination of reasons. Ask yourself how you’d like to feel while you’re away and when you get back – the sense of achievement, or rejuvenation should help to map out the style of trip you need.
2 – Understanding your MOTIVATIONS
This ties in more or less with the first point but think back to what’s motivating you to take the trip in the first place.
If you’ve been gifted some time off work but it’s limited then perhaps you don’t want to travel so far to get to the start of your adventure. Or maybe the journey itself is the real adventure and you’ve got the time to make it epic? Did you read a book that’s inspired an idea? See a film? Do you just want to get away from it all? Digital detox anyone? If you can reflect on your motivations it will really help to shape the kind of trip and itinerary you need for an amazing experience.
3- Choosing your DESTINATION
Unless you’ve won the lottery cost will be a factor in your adventure planning. And where you go will be heavily influenced by that.
When working out how to plan an adventure trip you can class countries into three ‘cost tiers’.
China, Eastern Europe, many countries on continental Africa , South Korea, Singapore, Russia, and the southern countries of South America (Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay), Central Asia, Middle East. You can expect that these places will have a mix of high cost and lower cost elements for your trip, such as meals or lodging but otherwise the cost of travel can be high.
This broadly includes the rest of the developing world and South East Asia, Indian subcontinent, much of Central America, and the other countries in South America all of which are going to be a friendly welcome to your travel budget if you’re on a back packer spend limit.
Remember, if you’ve got a short amount of time to travel you might find staying closer to home – even if it means higher costs on the ground – actually works out better on the overall budget than the real cost of travelling to a far flung destination. Plus, in wealthy nations you can also expect to find plenty of perks for travellers by way of free attractions such as museums etc.
When thinking about how to plan an adventure trip and considering the price on safety and confidence – ultimately, there isn’t one!
So ask yourself how you feel about travelling somewhere if you don’t speak the language? And what about a place that’s known to have challenging security issues? In both these cases a small group experience with a trusted and experienced operator like our partner network is probably the best option.
4 – Choosing your ACTIVITY
This point and point 3 can be flipped around in order. Sometimes we hear from people who just want to sail across the Atlantic. They don’t care where they start or finish as it’s the activity of ocean sailing that’s really appealing to them. For others it’s to ‘see the Northern Lights’ and again, there are a few places to go for that. If you have a key activity in mind then your destination might choose itself.
We’re passionate about active travel experiences and you might find an activity based trip in an unusual destination. For example … skiing in Iraq, or trail running in Greenland.
Getting off the beaten track or exploring in an alternative way (bike Safari in Tanzania anyone?) is a really unusual and exciting way to travel.
Some activities you might like to think about include:
If you’re hoping to use your trip as a way to try out a few different activities then the mixed activity adventures might really work for you.
5 – TIME it right
Picture this – your dream is to sail across the Atlantic Ocean. You’ve been reading and mentally preparing for it for months. You’d like to go from Europe towards the Americas. Work have given you a month off. You’ve hit your savings goal. You’re ready to go … but it’s July. And the only person we’ve supported setting sail westbound across the Atlantic in the middle of the summer is Greta Thunberg because she really had no other choice and, well, you’ve seen the media reports.
Like it or not, we can’t control the weather. Actually, our favourite saying is “you can’t control the wind but you can adjust the sails”. Just like some countries have monsoon seasons, winter seasons and summer seasons that make travel good, bad or just plain ugly so to do the oceans if you’re travelling under sail and need to follow the trade winds.
As such, we often think that if travel isn’t dictated by money, it’s almost certainly dictated by time.
Things to keep in mind:
- squeeze 4 South American countries into two weeks and you’ll be both knackered and none-the-experience-richer for it. Conversely, two weeks in a major city might give you itchy feet to hit the road.
- South Pacific during cyclone season – not so fun / a Muslim country during Ramadan = might be hard to find food during the day
- Countries with unstable political systems might not be insurable close to election times for example
- Travelling during ‘school holidays’ is always more expensive for transportation and accommodation so if you can travel outside those windows you’re already saving money
Top Tip from Larissa Clark co-founder of Another World Adventures
“If you’re going to do a bit of independent travel around a group trip you’re planning to join then check out whether there are any exciting events in the country taking place before or after the tour. Often our local hosts and providers put on special tour dates to coincide which are always worth looking out for but if you’re going alone then research music festivals, cultural events, world days, public holidays, celebrations, sport events to add some really unforgettable experiences to your trip”