How to Plan Your Next Adventure — Tackling the Basics

Posted on July 28, 2015 by

This is part of the travel tips chapter from my book The Adventure Traveler’s Handbook. To read more on it, head over to my book page or to Amazon.


Have a strong urge to head out and see the world but don’t know where to start? Whether you are planning your first RTW trip or just researching for your next epic trip, it can be quite daunting. I’ve compiled some basic tips for those who are looking for adventure but are unsure where to start — these are the first steps to take when planning your trip (look out for more tips in this series).

First Question: Where to Go

Most people usually have an idea of where they want to go, but if you don’t know which destination suits you, the first step is to ask yourself a set of questions to determine what you want to get out of this experience. If you’re looking to fulfill specific goals or enjoy a particular sport, this gives you a great starting point to make your decisions.

Does a specific type of activity interest you?

Are you an experienced scuba diver or cyclist looking to find a suitable place to pursue your hobby? If you are keen on diving, consider going for a live-aboard boat trip in Thailand as a budget option, or a luxury trip on board a cruise in Fiji. For those interested in multiple-day hiking, the Camino de Santiago in Spain or Peru’s Inca Trail can be great ways to experience the countries’ back roads. Setting a goal for yourself defines a structure for your trip.

Are you looking for soft or extreme adventures?

Do you prefer 15 days of non-stop trekking at high altitudes or are you more comfortable with a one-week trip of rafting and light hiking in Costa Rica? Are you looking for a tough challenge or simply seeking an exciting way to see a new country? In either case, I would advise spacing out your schedule with a mixture of adventure and relaxation to ensure you have enough downtime to kick back and enjoy the surroundings.

Is comfort a key factor for you?

While some travelers enjoy camping in the wild, other adventure seekers may not want to compromise on comfort. In either case, there is always an option to suit you. Expedition cruises are a great way to explore less-visited corners of the world onboard luxury vessels. Wildlife buffs can also stay in luxury tented camps, and have the opportunity to sleep in the wild without sacrificing comfort.

What are your levels of experience and skill?

Consider your fitness level and try to match it with a trip that fits your interest. Those who are experienced in a particular sport, but haven’t yet tried it abroad, should familiarize themselves with the safety regulations in their destination and research the reliability of the tour operator.

Timing It Right: When to Go

In general, I recommend visiting during the shoulder season for your destination if you are flexible with time. You’ll find the best value for money, without the crowds.

While shoulder season often means lower chances of, let’s say, seeing a polar bear or the northern lights, you’ll probably be compensated by milder climate and more affordable prices on flights and accommodation. To find out when the shoulder season is for a destination or particular activity, check with your travel agent to determine the period when tours run less frequently and prices are not at their highest.

For adventure travelers, you tend to be restricted by the activity you’ll be engaging in. Seasonal sports such as ice-climbing or canyoning can only be done during a particular time of the year.

Are you planning on white water rafting in Iceland? Check when the rivers flow at their highest. Want to go trekking in Nepal? Read up to learn which time of the year has the best weather conditions. Regardless of where you want to go and what you plan to do, getting the time right can vastly enhance your experience.

Keep these factors in mind when deciding your travel dates:

• Check the best time to visit your desired destination using Best Time to Go, destination blogs, and guidebooks.

• If you only have a certain time period to travel, find out if the main activity you want to do will be affected. Will your chances of seeing wildlife be affected? Will you still be able to go paragliding? How is the weather during that time of the year?

• Are you going on a career break or a short one-week trip? Either way, deciding on the length of your trip gives you leeway to plan your budget.

Find Out Visa Requirements

Depending on your nationality, you will need a visa to enter certain countries. Many countries require a visa ahead of time (although some offer visa on arrival and even visa waivers) — it’s best to read up ahead of time about each country and its requirements.

Applying for visas can be tricky and time-consuming, especially if you are planning to travel to a few countries in a region with lots of bureaucracy. If you want to avoid the stress, opt for the services of a private visa agency, such as VisaHQ, to help you expedite the visa application process for a small fee.

Visa requirements for American citizens
Visa requirements for Canadian citizens
Visa requirements for UK citizens
Visas for Australian citizens

You can also get some information on the destination’s security at your country’s travel advisory office, but be sure to supplement its advice with additional information from locals on the ground to get a more complete view of the actual situation at your destination.

Where to find foreign offices:

United States: The U.S. Department of State
United Kingdom: UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Canada: Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada
Australia: Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Research on Vaccinations

Consulting your doctor is the best way to find out which vaccinations you should get, depending on your destination. In some countries, it is mandatory to have certain vaccines before visiting. Be sure to start early, as some vaccines, such as Hepatitis A or B, require multiple shots over a three to six-month period.

Commonly recommended vaccinations include:
• Hepatitis A
• Hepatitis B
• Typhoid
• Yellow fever
• BCG (Tuberculosis)
• Tetanus
• Meningitis

Here are some great resources for health and specifically vaccine information:

Keep reading for more tips from this series:


About Nellie Huang

Nellie Huang is a professional travel writer and blogger with a special interest in off-grid destinations and adventure travel. Her mission is to visit every country in the world. In her quest, she's climbed an active volcano in Iceland, swam with sealions in the Galapagos, built a school in Tanzania, waddled with penguins in Antarctica, crossed into North Korea and drank beer in Palestine.

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