How to choose the right adventure holiday for you
Many people prefer to be active on holiday, rather than spending the entire time sunbathing by the pool. But how do you know what is the right trip for you? There are so many to choose from including guided and self-guided vacations and across a wealth of activities including walking, cycling, horse riding, skiing, snow shoeing, swimming, diving, safaris, river boats and more.
Here I suggest my tips for choosing the perfect adventure holiday.
A guided or self-guided tour
You will know yourself, whether you prefer to head off for an adventure where you guide yourself from notes and maps provided or you like to be shown the way.
There are advantages to both choices. For example, if you are an independent person, self-guiding will allow you to go at the speed you like and visit what you fancy en route. You might find a guided trip a bit constraining.
For other people, a guided tour allows them to relax and enjoy being shown where to go and the best attractions to visit. It’s a case of each to their own.
Fitness and experience
There is a wide range of adventure holidays to choose from but if you are new to the holiday activity make sure you pick an adventure to suit.
Most adventure holiday companies will grade their trips according to levels, from beginner through to advanced. If you choose a trip that is above your fitness and experience levels you will only end up being miserable.
Choosing the holiday to suit your fitness and experience will ensure you enjoy the full holiday in your comfort zone and be keen to try another adventure sports trip next time.
Learn something new
If you are keen to take up a new sport, such as kayaking, golf, sailing or diving, you should choose a holiday that is aimed at new-comers. An adventure holiday can be the perfect way to learn a new sport, such as learning to dive.
I learned how to sail on a land-based RYA sailing instruction holiday in Greece and then joined a flotilla sailing holiday the following year.
Home or abroad?
This will usually be a weather related decision. An adventure holiday is normally improved if the weather is right. This doesn’t mean the conditions have to be warm and sunny, because each sport will demand different conditions, such as the perfect ice for ice climbing, fresh snow for a ski touring trip, warm but not too hot for a horse riding safari etc.
You could even get lucky on a home-based trip with the perfect weather on a hike of Scotland’s famous West Highland Way or enjoy warm sunshine and seas in the summer months in Cornwall. But if you want more guaranteed good weather you might need to head overseas.
Beware, however, of the hottest months in various countries when sports such as running or cycling might be unbearable if temperatures soar.
Also, a holiday at home is likely to be more budget and time-friendly so don’t rule out an adventure trip. How about doing the three highest peaks in England, Wales and Scotland in one long weekend, for example? Or you could join a cycle ride from Land’s End to John o’ Groats and tick off a superb bucket list must-do.
Who will you go with?
If you plan to travel solo there are plenty of options for joining group adventure trips. You’ll meet like-minded people and make new friends without the worry of being on your own.
Couples should make sure they both want the same from a holiday if they plan to book it together. You should discuss the various options for the right activities for each of you so that you both enjoy the adventure.
It could be that there will be a holiday that suits people with different abilities and aspirations, such as a cycling trip where there are different groups to suit different fitness levels. Or choose a sports centre such as Club La Santa in the Canaries that offers a wide range of sports activities for all types of people.
For family activity holidays, it is important to consider the ages of your kids and also think about what sort of holiday will suit everyone in the family. Why not select a few family adventure trips and sit down with your children to ask them which one they like the best. Then have a vote. This way they will feel included in the decision making process.
Look at your bucket list
Many people keep a bucket list of places to visit and things to do, such as hiking to the top of Kilimanjaro, visiting the Grand Canyon or cycling the famous cols of the Pyrenees.
When you are choosing your adventure holiday you could think about ticking off an idea on your bucket list. For example, I dream of visiting Patagonia so that would be top of my bucket list adventure holiday.
Mix it up
You might fancy some adventure but also mixed in with a bit of culture. Why not add a famous city on to the start of end of your adventure holiday so you can enjoy some of the city highlights of the country that you are adventuring in?
Alternatively, how about a cycling tour that visits wineries or breweries along the way? Now that would surely appeal to many people who like to be active and enjoy a glass or two of alcohol.
Ask the adventure company what cultural attractions can be visited while you are on your adventure holiday so that you feel like you are enjoying the best of both worlds; culture and adventure.
Build on it
You could start with a mini adventure break, such as a weekend of ski touring in Sweden or Iceland and if you enjoy that you could then try a ski touring holiday in British Columbia or Utah. The same is true of all kinds of sports and adventures. There are steps you can take to build up from less experienced to more experienced.
Choose the country… then the adventure
If you have always wanted to visit Canada or Chile or Iceland or Africa, why not find out if there is an adventure holiday that you can enjoy as part of the trip to this country?
If you are enjoying an adventure you are likely to become more absorbed in the environment and culture of the country.
Think about being greener
When booking an adventure holiday you might want to look at the environmental and ecological impact of your chosen trip. Many people prefer to “adventure kindly” in new countries.
Go with quality
Check reviews and book a reputable company that will make sure you enjoy you adventure holiday. As with everything, you will find there are charlatans and it is usually best to book a holiday that has been recommended or gains very good reviews.