Getting outside in your backyard is fun, but taking that adventure overseas is an experience of a lifetime. With a few handy travel hacks, you’ll be armed with the know-how to take your outdoor adventures beyond your borders.
I’ve traveled to well over 35 countries, many of them involved a wide array of outdoor adventures from trekking the high peaks of the Himalaya to SCUBA diving in the clear blue waters of South East Asia. I’m giving you the inside scoop on planning the perfect outdoor getaway.
Select a Destination Based on Activity and Landscape
The first step to planning your outdoor getaway is to decide where you want to go. This can be a daunting task, with so many different places and spaces, it is almost impossible to choose. Write down the activity you would like to focus on, then the landscape. You’d be amazed at where you can do certain things. Did you know that Colombia has some excellent trekking? Or that Thailand has some excellent rock walls?
Save Money by Considering Alternative Destinations
If budget is a concern, and it often is, think of alternative destinations. For example, the Alps are an iconic place to trek, but the currency exchange might not work in your favor. Select a destination with a favorable currency exchange rate. You can often go further than you think. Nepal is an extremely budget-friendly country, despite being on the direct opposite end of the globe from the United States.
Guided or Un-Guided? That is the Question
Decide if you need or want to hire a guide. In some countries, it is considered highly offensive to go on an unguided trip. Other destinations require you to have a guide for entry into parks. Certain circumstances may dictate the use of a guide for safety and to ensure you have access to the best spots.
If you do choose to go on a guided trip, search for a locally-based company. This saves you money because you aren’t paying to send a guide from your home country overseas. Furthermore, it ensures that your dollar is given directly to the local communities.
Build in Extra Days
When you are in the outdoors, things do not always go as planned. The same holds true for overseas outdoor adventures. The difference being, when you are at home, you do not have to worry about catching an international flight. Build a few down days into your trip. This gives you a time buffer in case something goes wrong, and it allows you to rest after being out and about in the wild.
After a particularly tough outdoor excursion, consider treating yourself by staying in a nice hotel. After living in a van for several weeks in New Zealand’s South Island, I reveled in a little bit of a luxury at a nicer hotel afterward.
Outdoor travel overseas involves a little more than putting a bathing suit in your pack and hitting the beach. You’ll likely need special equipment, permits, vaccinations, or all of the above. Create a document that keeps track of all of the unique things required for your trip. Add important information such as tipping, stopovers, any in-country flights, and accommodation.
A packing list is also helpful, you’ll find you may need certain equipment that you cannot bring with you on an airplane, such as fuel for your stove, so be sure to note any items you’ll need to rent or buy after your arrival.
Do as the Locals Do
When traveling, try not to stand out too much with a little local know-how. Read up on any cultural etiquette and act accordingly. It may be different than you are used to, but it shows you are respectful of the local culture. If you don’t know, ask.
Also, never leave home without knowing a few basic phrases. Even if you completely butcher the attempt at communicating, it is better to try than to look ignorant. A few helpful words to know are:
- Please/Thank you
- Numbers from one to ten
- What is your name?
- How are you?
- Where is…?
- How much is….?
There are several language apps like Babbel or Duolingo that can help you get started with a new language.
With these handy tips, you’re ready to get rolling with your ultimate outdoor getaway. Enjoy experiencing nature in another country and make memories that will last a lifetime.