For some people the thought of “adventure travel” can be frightening as hell. Does this mean that I have to wear the same clothes for two months? Do I have to sleep at a terrible hostel or go camping in the wilderness with no shower in sight? Do I have to spend a fortune on getting some exotic location in the middle of nowhere? Will I have to endure 36-hour train rides to qualify as an adventure traveler? We debunk the 7 most persistent myths about adventure travel.
Photo By: Matthias Ripp
No, adventure travel does not have to be dangerous. You don’t have to be going to the tribal regions of Pakistan or taking the next flight to Syria to be an adventure traveler. Adventure travel is a highly personal thing and it goes without saying that one person’s adventure is another person’s been-there-done-that. So step out of your comfort zone and tailor the adventure holiday that expands your boundaries. It’s worth saying right up front that adventure travel is not a competition, so you don’t need to compare your life’s adventures with anyone else’s. In terms of dangerous locales, sure these can be adventurous destinations particularly if you might even go to a “dangerous” spot if you’re prepared and know what you’re in for in terms of understanding the local situation and so forth. Also what is dangerous? This is a scale too – for example, some might consider Southeast Asia a more dangerous destination than say France, while for others Asia is a perfectly safe holiday hotspot. The moral of the story is, always check up-to-date travel warnings and try to speak to others who have been to your destination recently about what problems might arise. Adventure travel does not mean having to go to a war-torn country with security problems.
You Have to Go Somewhere “Random”
Want to climb Mount Everest? Or go kayaking in the Arctic Ocean? Or see the plains of Mongolia? Fine! But adventure travel doesn’t have to involve going to a difficult to reach place (although it absolutely can). You might be surprised how much adventure travel there can be in your own country and even your own state! Just pick something you wouldn’t usually do, perhaps somewhere you’ve never been before and you’re well on your way to adventure travel!
It Has to Be Rough
You don’t have to have survived a 36 hour train ride, gotten food poisoning, slept in a dingy hostel, and not washed your clothes in a month to be an adventure traveller. Adventure Travel doesn’t necessarily mean you’re roughing it (although sometimes it does). Who’s to say that you can’t go on an adventure holiday while staying in a lovely hotel? Of course you can! Having said that those 36 hour train rides and dingy hostel stays can also double as great experiences that you’ll never forget, and that you can tell stories about for years to come!
You Have to Love Extreme Sports
We love extreme sports because for us it’s a part of adding adventure to life, but loads of adventure holidays don’t include any extreme sports at all. No one would say that traveling along the Trans-Siberian Railway isn’t adventure travel, even though there are no sports involved at all! You could experience the Northern Lights without leaving the 5 star comforts of a glass igloo in Finland, or get to and from Everest Base Camp via helicopter. There’s no definitive definition of what adventure travel is, so choose your own adventure!
You Have to Be Fit
Of course if your ambition is to climb Mount Everest, go on a 10 day gruelling trek in the Andes, or go backcountry skiing then you will have to be fit. But not all adventure travel includes extreme sports, and not all extreme sports require extreme fitness. For example, adventure travel could involve discovering a new culture, a different way of life, stepping foot on a continent you’ve never visited before, experiencing different weather conditions to where you’re from, or seeing a historic site. None of this requires that you be a health nut, but you’re definitely adventure travelling!
If you do want to try some extreme sports, but your fitness isn’t at its best, then there are usually different levels of most sports. For instance instead of going on a 7 day scuba diving safari, you can start with a few shore dives and work your way up. Or if you love skiing but you’re not yet up for heli-skiing or cross country skiing, then go to a ski resort with great green, blue and red runs to practice more first.
The same goes for respecting your limits. Love sky diving but terrified at the thought of bungee jumping? Totally fine! Want to try rock climbing, but definitely not free climbing? No one’s judging! Choose the adventure and the sports that suit your needs and fitness level.
While some adventure holidays are expensive (for example climbing Mount Everest will set you back tens of thousands of dollars), not all adventure travel has to be expensive. Really there’s something for all budgets, and there’ll be plenty of adventure travel accessible in your own country too! Thankfully many great adventure travel locations aren’t too expensive in terms of day to day costs, and flights might be the most expensive part of the holiday. Also, pick a length of time that you can afford, and if you’d like to stay for longer but don’t have the budget consider volunteer sites like HelpX and Wwoof where you do some volunteer work in exchange for a room and food.
It Has To Be On A Tight-Budget
Yep, what we said earlier about it not having to be expensive is true, but neither does it have to be on a super tight budget either if that’s not your thing. It’s a myth of adventure travel that if you wan to be a “true” adventure traveller you have to camp or stay in the cheapest of cheap hostels, and wear grubby clothes and scrimp on any pleasures. If you want: stay in a beautiful hostel, eat at expensive restaurants, have cocktails at a trendy local bar, there’s no reason that you should have to do adventure travel a certain way. As long as you’re open to the adventure aspect of your travel, there’s no reason why you can’t sleep on the freshly pressed sheets of a luxury hotel.