How to Plan an Adventure

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It’s one thing to have that itch to go on an adventure but working out what it is that you want to do and everything you need to plan to make it happen can be incredibly daunting, not to mention stressful. Because we believe adventure can and should be simple, we’ve put together this guide for planning an adventure to help you become more confident. We use the steps below to plan all our adventures, and after a while, these questions become second nature – meaning you can spend more time getting excited about your trip! 

What is it that I want to do?

This might seem obvious, but sometimes, working out what it is you actually want to do can be overwhelming in its own right. If you’ve got a craving for adventure but don’t know what, use these questions to help you make some clear ideas of what it is that interests you. 

1.    What interests me right now? 
It could be a few days hiking, climbing or a road trip. Maybe its paddle boarding the Fjords of Norway or a guided expedition to a peak. It’s important at this stage to not let fear get in the way of your decision making – what are you really being called to do? 

2.    Where interests me? Have I seen any inspiration from friends/family/online that has really caught my attention? 
We love to put together folders of images we see on the likes of Instagram and Pinterest of places we’d like to visit so that we can go through at a later date. 

 

When do I want to go? What season is it at the time of year I want to go?

This is going to be really important when deciding where and what it is you want to do. If you need to work around holiday time from your day job, you may be limited in the time of year you can go. If this is the case think carefully about your plans. For example, you might want to go to Austria in February to go hiking, but because of the amount of snow, you will need some fairly competent skills in winter trekking to be comfortable doing the kind of routes you might do in summer which much more ease. You may want to head to the desert in Nevada, but the only time you can go is in the summer when the heat will be unmanageable. It’s important when looking into this to really think about these points when deciding when you’ll head off.

 

Do I have the skills I need for this adventure? 

If you’re prepared for your adventure with confidence and all the skills you need, you are going to have a much more enjoyable time, not to mention safer. It’s important to think about what it is you are going to be doing. If you’re planning a mountain adventure in the summer months over a period of days, it’s worth looking at what is involved in the route. Is there scrambling? Do you need to carry a heavy pack, and do you have the confidence in the areas that you’ll be relying on? Are you planning a winter hiking adventure? Do you know how to snowshoe, assess snow packs and stop your own fall? Any adventure will push you out of your comfort zone, but preparation is key to you enjoying it, succeeding, and being safe. If there are some skills you will need for your adventure, it’s worth thinking how you could start learning those skills closer to home in the time before you leave. Adventures are great like this because they can quite often lead you on other adventures. 

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Who will I go with? 

What is it that you crave from this experience? The feeling of knowing you can do this on your own whilst you spend two weeks trekking alone? The connection you’ll develop with a friend or partner or a bigger group environment? It’s important to think about what it is you want and need from your experience and if you can see yourself travelling with who you want to travel with. 

 

Do I need a guide? 

Depending on where you are going and what you’re doing, having a guide might range from being a nice addition to being absolutely a non-negotiable. A guide can sometimes be an incredibly wise decision and it can sometimes be overkill. Really think about your skill level here, but also do some research online to see what other people are saying about your particular adventure. As much as you might want to do the whole adventure by yourself, it might be impossible to get access to the area you want to visit without a guide. When choosing a guide, it is highly important to work with a company who you get on with, if you have any kind of bad feeling about them don’t work with them. Make sure you do your research to see what other people are saying. For anything hiking, trekking and climbing related, we would really recommend 360 Expeditions, who we recently worked with in the Pyrenees. They run treks, adventures and expeditions as well as personalised adventures around the world with carefully picked and vetted, highly experienced guides. 

 

How much will it cost and how much do I need? 

A very important consideration is how much the entire adventure will cost and what it is exactly that you need to buy. Will you be hiring a car? Will you be camping? Do you need to fly? How much money do you need whilst there? If you’re embarking on a road trip, needing to stay in a motel every night and stop off for dinner will give you a very different experience from a thru hike where you’ll be camping every night. Make sure you budget for some unforeseen expenses as well so that you’re covered.

 

What equipment do I need? 

If you’ve decided to work with a guide, they should provide you a packing list of items you’ll need to bring with you, and if you’re trekking for the first time, try to buy items such as your backpack in as much advance as possible. This will give you time to get used to it, so it doesn’t feel completely new and stiff when you head off, the same goes for your boots. If you’re not working with a guide, think about what it is that you’re doing and make a list of all of the things you need for each day whether you have it already or not. Once you have your list, check off the things you have (making sure they’re still good for the job) and fill in whatever else it is you need. Don’t forget to include specialist things like camera equipment on your list if this is one of the main reasons you’ll be going – you might find that you need to look at renting lightweight equipment or buy a new lens for example. Do you need a battery pack to charge your phone? Or is it better for you to take a bigger bank to charge any other devices you need? We particularly like PowerTraveller for their rugged and weather resistant products.

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What route will I take? 

Whether you’re planning a road trip or a multi-day trek, you’ll need to plan your route. Finding out how many hours you’ll need to drive a day to make it work in your time frame will allow you to add in some eventualities for changes. Finding out how many miles you’ll need to cover a day on foot and what the elevation profile is will help you to assess what is realistic in the time that you have (and train accordingly).  We use View Ranger to plan all of routes, and also Cicerone guides can be invaluable too. 

 

Do I need any vaccinations or specialist insurance? 

Make sure you do your research on if any vaccinations are required and how much in advance you need to have them before you set off on your trip. If you have general travel insurance its worth seeing if your insurer covers you for medical treatment based on the activity you’ll be doing (for example, if it’s a high-altitude trek, you will potentially need cover that will back you up for altitude). It’s also important to make sure that your standard travel insurance covers you for the country you’ll be visiting. If you prefer to book single trip travel insurance, then it’s important to note that if you’re going on a more extreme adventure that most regular insurers don’t cover adventure as standard and you will likely need to look for a more specialised insurance. If you’re travelling within Europe, you should also travel with an EHIC card for state healthcare throughout Europe, which you can find information about online. Here are some of the better tailored insurers who cater for adventure travel. 

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Do I need a permit for this? 

There are a lot of hiking routes out there that require you to get a permit before setting off. Particularly in America, it is not uncommon to apply for a permit for popular trails, especially those in National Parks. Make sure you apply in plenty of advance, as some of the permits are issued via lottery system. If you’re visiting a National Park, it’s worth trying to find out if you are allowed to visit on your own or whether you need to go as part of a tour. 

Keep your goal in sight

Last but by no means least, it can be easy to let doubts and niggles about your abilities or nervousness relating to the adventure you’ve decided you’re going on get to you. If this happens, try to remember what it was that made you decide to do this in the first place. If it’s a big mountain trek that is going to push you harder than you’ve ever been pushed, it’s important to keep your head on the payoff, but also on the amazing journey you’ll experience. It isn’t just about the summit of a mountain it’s about all of the things you’ll learn along the way, including your preparation. The chances are that most of your worries are just limiting beliefs and you’ll soon be proving to yourself that you are much stronger than you think. Travel is a really good way to get out of your comfort zone, and whatever it is you’re doing, you’ll most likely be thrown some curveballs along the way but think about how amazing you’ll feel when you prove your brain wrong! 

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