Want to add incredible adventure activities to your next trip? It can be hard to know where to begin, but we promise you, the effort is all worth it in the end. Get started by grabbing our 17 tips below for adding more outdoor adventures into your travels — and your life.
This post was created in collaboration with 57Hours. All great adventure tips are our own!
What’s in our guide to adventure activities?
2. Planning and Packing for Adventure
3. Staying Safe in the Great Outdoors
You know those friends you have — the ones who go away and come back with all sorts of crazy stories about what they did on their travels?
Or worse, their Instagram feed is packed with epic pictures of them bagging mountain peaks, leaping into waterfalls, or kayaking pristine glass lakes?
It’s annoying, right?
But what if I told you that you can be one of those annoying people?
Or, as we prefer to think of it…
You could be one of those adventurous people!
You too can be someone who:
- Thrives in the great outdoors.
- Visits the most incredible places on the planet.
- Experiences the best Mother Nature has to offer.
You can be one of those people who comes home from vacation with a magical glow, like the sun is shining from inside your heart!
Adventure travel is not just for special people. It’s within reach for almost anyone and it’s not hard to get started. All it takes is a little preparation and a little practice.
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17 Tips for Adding Adventure Activities into Your Next Trip
How to Find the Best Adventure Activities
1. Book an Adventure Tour
You might think that tours are less adventurous than going places on your own. But honestly, we love taking tours with local guides.
A guide can help you find the secret spots that only locals know about. If you’re craving extreme adventures, a knowledgable guide will lead you through safely and make sure you have the best possible experience.
Plus, a guide can provide any technical equipment you need and tell you exactly what you should bring to stay warm, dry, and comfortable for the whole trip. If you’re on a family adventure, hiring a guide will help you make sure your plans are suitable for kids (and any reticent adults in your party).
We prefer to deal with a small personable adventure company like 57Hours, who help you access the best human-powered outdoor adventures around the globe.
They personally review each experience they offer to make sure it’s fun and safe — but also environmentally responsible and sustainable. All you need to do is to choose your adventure tour and show up on time!
2. Ask Locals Before You Go
The internet has transformed the way we travel. No longer do we have to rely on out-of-date guide books that send everyone to the exact same handful of sights, restaurants, and hotels.
Instead, you can get personal recommendations about what to do and see from the experts — people who live there.
To find the adventurers at your destination, hop onto Facebook and search for local groups dedicated to hiking, climbing, mountain biking, or whatever kind of adventure you want to have.
Once you find them, pop in and start asking questions. People love the chance to show off their home towns, so don’t be shy! If you’re lucky, someone will invite you along their next outdoor adventure.
You can also use Instagram hashtags to accomplish the same thing. Just search a hashtag and when you find a photo you like, message the person who posted it asking how you can go there too.
Of course, you’ll want to stay away from the most popular Instagram spots, where everyone is there just to get the shot and get out!
3. Plan Ahead with Pinterest
People often think that adventure can only arise spontaneously — and sometimes that’s true. But more often, the best adventure travel is the result of lots of research and careful planning.
If you have a vacation destination in mind, start by researching the outdoor adventures available in the region. Or, if you have a particular adventure activity in mind, research the best places to do that activity.
If you don’t plan ahead, you might get lucky and end up having a great adventure. Then again, you might just miss out on some of the best experiences!
We like using Pinterest for travel planning. It is a visual search engine — and no, it’s not just a place to find recipes and crafting projects.
Top travel bloggers (like us!) share their best posts there, and you’ll find articles about secret places and amazing destinations you might never find on Google or in a guide book. Start by searching for “adventure holidays” or “adventure trips” to get inspired.
4. Get the Right Apps
From trail-finding, to mapping, to star-gazing, the right apps can make outdoor travel a little safer and a lot more fun.
We like Alltrails and Viewranger for help finding (and not losing) hiking trails. To find great adventure guides in your area, try out the 57Hours app, where you can find rock climbing, mountain biking, hiking, backcountry skiing tours and more.
Maps.me is our favourite offline map which can help you find your way even if you lose cell service. Peakvisor and Spyglass help you know exactly what mountains and stars you’re gazing at, while First Aid by the American Red Cross can be a literal life saver!
(Related: If you’re going to be hiking, discover the best hiking apps in this post by Atlas and Boots) →
Planning and Packing for Adventure
5. Less Travel Means More Adventure
When you book a trip, it’s tempting to constantly move around from place to place — one night here, the next night somewhere else, and so on. This is the absolute best way to kill any chance of adventure. You’ll spend most of your time in the most boring places on the planet — like hotels, train stations, and airports. Ugh.
Instead of moving all over the place, slow down!
Adventure tourism does not have to be a frenetic experience.
Instead, base yourself in a single place for a week or two. That’ll give you lots of time to explore, discover, and actually enjoy yourself. Plus, slow travel is much better for the environment… so we all win!
6. Be Open to Last-Minute Opportunities
I know I said earlier that you should plan your trip carefully before you go but a key part of planning adventure vacations is to plan lots of free time. I like to schedule must-do adventure activities early on in my itinerary and then leave later days open for unexpected opportunities.
If you pack your itinerary full from the minute you leave home until the minute you get back, you’ll shut down any chance of spontaneous adventure. It’s amazing how many times locals recommend things that sound just incredible and it’s a huge bummer when we have to say “no” because we just don’t have time.
Plus, if nothing comes up, you’ll get to relax — which is part of the point of travel, no?
7. Save on Accommodation, Spend on Fun
Here’s a secret that the luxury travel industry doesn’t want you to know.
You don’t need to spend a huge amount of money on hotels in order to have a great time. Instead of opting for five-star hotels (where adventure goes to die) or chain hotels (the McDonalds of accommodation), stay in a small family run B&B, a hostel (yes, even adults are welcome), or try camping.
By avoiding corporate accommodation, you’ll get to meet local people and your travel dollars will go straight into their pockets. Plus, you’ll save stacks of cash that you can spend on outdoor adventure activities!
8. Get in Shape Before You Go
This one is not a deal breaker but it can really help you have more fun on active vacations. Even if you don’t plan on climbing a mountain or going sea kayaking, getting used to using your body will greatly increase your enjoyment of almost any travel.
If you’re desk-bound by day, try to get out every day during lunch or after work for a brisk walk. On weekends, get outside or to the gym to get your body working. You can even book a weekend adventure to prep for a longer adventure while on vacation.
We also highly recommend learning a few yoga postures which, if practiced regularly, can help reduce muscle soreness, shorten recovery time, and prevent injuries.
Check out our guide to Yoga for Hikers to get started.
9. Pack the Essentials
Once you have an idea of what adventure activities you want to do, it’s time to pack the right gear. Now, don’t get me wrong. I do not advise loading up your suitcase with all the things.
But there are a few basics that no adventurer should not leave home without:
Comfortable hiking shoes. Shoes are the foundation of any adventure. If your foundation falls apart, your whole trip will crumble; if you get blisters or don’t have enough support in your shoes, the rest of your body will quickly start complaining, too.
If you’re going to spend a lot of time on your feet, get your hiking shoes early and wear them a lot before you leave home. That way, there are no surprises when you finally hit the trail.
A great rain jacket. Rain can really put a damper on things (ha ha!). But, as people from my extremely wet hometown of Vancouver will tell you, if you have the right rain jacket, a downpour can be downright fun.
I have hiked and biked through some of the craziest storms you can imagine. The amount I enjoyed these experiences directly correlated to how waterproof my jacket was that day.
You will never regret investing in a great breathable rain jacket.
Women’s intimate adventure gear. Ladies, let’s get real here for a minute. Women have a harder time in the outdoors because of our sometimes inconvenient biology. There are two pieces of equipment that have revolutionized my enjoyment of wilderness adventures.
The first is a menstrual cup which allows so much more freedom (and is way better for the environment) than traditional period solutions. I like the Lunette Cup but there are tons out there to choose from.
The second is the female urination device — sounds sciencey but it’s really just a funnel that helps ladies pee standing up! No more baring your butt to bears and bugs while in the great outdoors.
A few more essentials. Add a versatile pair of travel pants, some extra cushiony socks, and a sun hat or warm hat for extra comfort.
10. Rent Gear for Short Trips
Most people know that you can rent sports gear, like bikes and skis, all around the world. But did you know you can often rent camping equipment, hiking gear, bike touring bags, and climbing gear too?
If you just want to spend a couple of active days as part of a longer trip, plan on renting instead of packing gear from home. That way you can still pack light and enjoy one or more different adventures while you’re away.
Of course, booking a tour will accomplish the same thing with less hassle — your guide should provide all the technical equipment you need.
11. Always Be Eco-Friendly
The great thing about outdoor adventures is that many of them are naturally eco-friendly. Spending a few days hiking, biking, or kayaking is far better for the environment than a speedboat tour or sipping cocktails at a luxury resort.
However, before you book any activity, make sure to check the eco-credibility of the tour company. Are they aware of the impacts of tourism? Do they have an eco-protection policy or contribute to any local environmental organizations? If they don’t have it on their website, make sure you ask before you book.
(Don’t miss: Our post on how to be a green tourist has lots of tips to help you be eco-aware as you travel) →
Staying Safe in the Great Outdoors
12. Invest in Protection
If you ignore everything else on this list, at least do these two things before you leave home:
Get vaccinated. Research travel vaccines for your destination and, if they are needed, head to a travel clinic early! Some vaccines need multiple courses to take effect, so you need to plan ahead. We’ve had enough tropical diseases (say “hello” to our good friends malaria and dengue) to know that you can’t mess around when it comes to vaccines.
Find the right travel insurance. Not all travel insurance covers adventure sports, so when you’re buying, make sure you’re covered for whatever adventurous activities you’re planning. If you need to be airlifted off a mountain somewhere, you don’t want to be worrying about how much it’ll cost!
World Nomads provides reliable travel insurance that covers lots of adventure sports. SafetyWing offers simple month-to-month coverage, and also covers plenty of adventures.
Some adventure tours include insurance, so make sure to ask what is covered before you book.
13. Make Like a Boy Scout and Be Prepared
At My Five Acres, we pack as light as possible. But one thing we never leave behind is our mini first aid kit. It has all the necessary items we need for small accidents, blisters, slivers, and the like.
However, if you’re going on a bigger adventure, a bigger, more comprehensive first aid kit might be in order. At the very least, make sure that one person in your party is carrying a kit with all the bells and whistles — and that at least two people know how to use it.
When our friend spilled a pot of boiling water on her foot in Canada’s Broken Islands, more than an hour’s kayak from the nearest road, we were sure glad that my brother knew exactly what to do, and had all the equipment to do it! Not only did it save our friend from huge amounts of pain and a long recovery time, but it saved our entire trip!
14. Be Realistic About Your Limitations
It can be tempting to book the most awesome, epic, hard-core adventure possible but, unless you are an expert, just… don’t do it.
Instead, be realistic. If you spend all week at a desk and all weekend doing chores around the house, chances are your body won’t perform as well as you might like.
You can still have an amazing time doing a moderate, or even easy, activity! Plus, you won’t spend the rest of your trip moaning about your sore knees or the massive blisters you got.
At the same time, make sure you’re not wimping out just because you’re afraid to push yourself. It’s a fine balance between edging out of your comfort zone and jumping off a cliff.
15. Stay Hydrated
Many an adventurous day has been ruined by lack of hydration. Every outdoor adventure activity, whether it’s in the snow or the blazing sun, requires that you drink plenty of water.
We always bring our own refillable water bottles and drink tap water (unless it is non-potable, of course). If we’re taking an adventure tour, we check that our guide can provide us water refills that don’t come from small plastic water bottles.
The last thing we want to do is add more single-use plastic to an already overloaded world.
16. Respect the Wildlife
Remember that wild animals are wild animals. They are not cute little kitties or puppies, waiting to be patted, photographed, and admired by humans.
Anything from tiny mosquitos to big ol’ grizzly bears can ruin your adventure and — let’s be honest — outright kill you. Before you head outside, do a little research about your destination.
What are the potential hazards from wildlife and how should you avoid them?
It might be as simple as packing a powerful insect repellent, or you might need to bring the right equipment to avoid attracting hungry animals to your campsite.
Do your research and be prepared so you know what to do when confronted by wild animals.
17. Solo Travellers Should Have a Home Buddy
I do a lot of day hikes alone when Stephen is off teaching yoga. Before I leave, I always text my hiking plan to him and tell him what time I should be back. If he hasn’t heard from me by then, he knows it’s time to take action. So far, he’s never had to send out a rescue party but he would if the need ever arose.
If you’re going solo, always have a buddy who will remember to worry about you and take action if you don’t check in.
And please, if you’re not experienced in the outdoors and you want to have a big adventure, hire a guide! They will make sure you have the most amazing time while also staying safe.
The world is big, wild, and wonderful — but it can also be deadly if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Getting out into the great outdoors is the perfect way to turn an ordinary vacation into a transformational trip. Challenging your mind and body can teach you more about yourself and just how much you are really capable of doing. So before you head out on your next trip, use our tips to make sure you have an amazing, safe, and adventurous time.
We hope our tips for adding more adventure activities into your travels has been helpful! If you have any questions, feel free to email us.
♥ Happy transformational travels, Jane & Stephen
We’re not going to lie, it takes a LOT of work to create travel guides like this. But it’s easy to help us out! If you book or buy something using one of our personal links in this post, we’ll earn a small fee at no extra cost to you. Of course, we would never recommend anything we didn’t 100% believe in! Huge thanks in advance! –S&J
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