Look back on the vacations you have taken over the last twenty years. For how many of them can you still remember every day with vivid clarity? Or do they all merge into one blurry mix of half-memories? If any of your vacations stand out, the chances are that you were doing something really different from your normal routine. So for your next vacation, why not take an adventure?

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What is Adventure Travel?

According to the Adventure Travel Trade Association based in Seattle, there are three main ingredients that make for an adventure trip: the need for physical exertion, the opening of cultural interaction, and the encounter with nature.

That gives a huge range of possibilities. The physical element could be walking, biking, kayaking, or climbing; the cultural experience could take be anywhere in the world, including your own country; the encounter with nature could be with mountains, rivers, forests, glaciers, or oceans. There are enough adventure vacations to keep you going for the rest of your life.

Advantages of Adventure Travel

Some of the advantages are self-evident. Physical activity makes you fitter, cultural exchanges broaden your mind, and nature enables you to breathe unpolluted air.

There are also knock-on benefits:

  • Learning to cope with unpredictable and risky situations builds up your self-reliance and resourcefulness.
  • Adventures help us to be more reflective. We learn to focus on the things that are really important, in an age when life is absorbed by the ephemeral.
  • Adventure travelers can pass on to their children a spirit of curiosity and independence.

Prepare for Your First Adventure Vacation

If you are going to take part in an organized expedition, then much of the preparation will be recommended for you. Before your book, be sure that you understand the physical demands that might be involved and the sort of company you will be keeping.

If you are making at least some of the arrangements yourself, focus on:

  • What you can afford. Set a budget and stick to it.
  • How you will travel. If you already own a car like the Jeep Wrangler you can get to just about anywhere, but if not you may need to plan your starting point carefully.
  • What equipment you will take. You want to carry the minimum amount, so take only those things you will definitely want or probably need.
  • What your fitness level is. It’s easy to take on too much in your enthusiasm.
  • What other people say about your destination. Check out the travel forums, but be prepared for surprises.

Bring Back Memories

Once you have launched into your adventure, travel with an open mind and appreciate all your experiences—even the disasters will make good stories. Open your heart as well as your eyes to the wonders of the world, and when you get home, tell others to inspire them and to keep your memories alive.

Adam Singh traveled the world extensively on solo trips when he was younger. Now with a family he still loves to travel but has to make it family-friendly. He writes about his travel experiences, past and present, for a selection of travel blogs.