Betty Jo Currie was a community volunteer and mom of two when she and her husband realized their life was missing something: adventure. So they booked a rafting trip down a river that was about to be transformed by the construction of a new dam.
“We weren’t particularly interested in the great hotels of the world,” Currie says. “We were more interested in what’s going to change.”
Currie began exploring other less-traveled destinations that were undergoing change and started helping friends and clients plan life-changing adventures of their own, eventually launching her own travel company: Currie & Co. Travels Unlimited.
More and more people are looking for adventure when they plan a vacation. According to a recent survey by Guardian, 2/3 of travelers are looking for adventure when they plan a vacation, and 1 in 10 travelers are only interested in adventure travel.[i]
“I think life has become far more intense, and travel becomes the respite from that daily life,” Currie says. “To some, respite means not just a really pretty room and a chance to sit by the pool and decompress. It means: ‘Change my perspective. Change the people I’m talking to. Make my adrenaline flow.’”
But to get the adrenaline flowing, many adventure travelers turn to activities like skiing, mountain climbing, and scuba diving, all of which come with a risk of injury. Accidents happen, after all. The same Guardian survey found that 34% of travelers have been injured on vacation or know someone who has, and 68% of adventure travelers worry about unexpected events, including injuries, while traveling.
For travelers who want to plan their own adventure, here are five ways to make your trip as safe and worry-free as possible, so you can enjoy your own respite from ordinary life.
- Know your limits
When planning a physically demanding trip, it’s important to be honest with yourself about what you’re capable of. If you’ve never been rock-climbing before, climbing the High Sierras might be too challenging. A hiking trip could scratch the same itch without putting you in danger. When working with a travel advisor or tour operator, let them know your limitations so they can design a trip that will challenge you within your limits.
- Learn about your destination
Make sure you understand the environment you’re about to explore so you can plan. You may need to get immunizations before travelling to some regions. And knowing the area can help you pack and avoid any missteps that could put you at risk, like accidentally eating foods you’re allergic too or drinking unsafe water.
- Pack smart
Depending on your destination, what you bring with you can have an impact on the quality of your experience and your safety while traveling. For example, bringing warm enough clothing for a cold destination can help prevent hypothermia. And packing mosquito nets for a tropical locale could limit your risk of contracting mosquito-borne illnesses. You may even want to pack medication to treat common health problems like altitude sickness or an upset stomach. Your travel agent or tour operator will be able to give you advice about what and how much to pack for your journey. Follow those instructions so you don’t end up underprepared for your trip.
- Choose the right providers
When you’re planning an adventure vacation, you want to be sure you’re in good hands. Researching providers online and gathering feedback from other travelers can help you determine which companies are most reliable. But nothing beats a personal relationship, according to Currie. Working with a professional you know and trust can help ensure you’ll be safe on your trip.
- Protect yourself
The most popular adventure travel activities like hiking, scuba diving, and rafting come with a risk of injury. Make sure you have adequate insurance to cover any medical treatment and expenses that could result from an injury. Currie insists that all travelers she works with be covered by insurance on their travels.
An accident insurance policy can also help cover additional injury-related expenses health insurance doesn’t, like x-rays, ambulance services, deductibles, and even things like rent or groceries if your injury prevents you from working. And knowing you’re covered if you are injured can make it that much easier to enjoy your trip.ii
If you’re seeking your own adventure, prepare for every possible outcome so you can experience a new culture or a new physical challenge knowing you’re prepared for the unexpected.