If your family is looking for something a vacation that’s a little different from Disneyland or the beach, an adventure travel might be just the thing for you. This type of trip isn’t for families with small children, but for families with older kids, the opportunities are endlessly rewarding.
How to choose a trip
The first decision you will have to make is whether you plan to go it alone and arrange everything by yourself, or choose a pre-packaged trip with a small group and guide. There are definitely benefits to both. While paying for a pre-packaged trip isn’t cheap, with costs ranging between $1000 to $10,000 per person, there are a lot of benefits – safety and security, peace of mind, ease, and reduced stress. But if you choose to put the trip together yourself, you will have total freedom to stop and go as you please, to take extra time at a place you are enjoying, or to take a break when your family has had enough.
If you decide to book a packaged trip, check out AdventureLink, G Adventures or Adventure Centre, three wonderful companies that’ll make your vacation fun and easy to plan. I have personally traveled with AdventureLink, and loved it.
Where to go
Find and compare prices from different adventure tour operators. We are the best resource for finding, comparing and booking adventure travel with help from experts that can assist you in booking the perfect trip!
Here are a few suggestions:
Visit one of the most biodiverse ecosystems in the world. Follow Charles Darwin’s path by boat through the Galapagos Islands exploring endemic species of plants and animals on the young volcanic islands. Hike barren volcanic landscapes, watch playful penguins dive into the water, and snorkel with sea lions. There is no better place to experience a stunning, natural environment.
Africa is the kind of place most people only ever dream of seeing. It’s a continent full of beauty, wonder and mystery. You will pinch yourself every once in awhile and have many “am I really seeing this?” moments….good and bad. No matter which country within Africa you choose to visit, it will never be boring, I promise you that! I recommend a pre-packaged trip for most places in Africa as road conditions, rapidly changing political situations, and general safety can sometimes be a little tricky for most travelers. While I would not let any of these things keep you away, I would book a trip with an experienced guide to help you navigate this outstanding continent in a safe and organized manner.
I like family destinations that have a lot of fauna, in case you didn’t already notice that. Costa Rica definitely falls under that category. It’s great for active families with tons of wonderful hiking and boating opportunities. And they have managed to keep their heritage perfectly in tact – there won’t be a single McDonalds in sight! They do not have a military, and you will notice that as you move through the country…it just feels different.
The reason I love Thailand for family trips is that it is pretty easy travelling. With three distinct sides to this magical country, there is a wealth of activities to do and places to see in Thailand. Visit the floating marketplaces and golden temples of Bangkok, hang with elephants and tigers in the Northern city of Chiang Mai, or explore the limestone caves and beaches of the Southern islands. You do not need a guide, and in fact, I highly recommend taking this one independently. Thai people love children, and bringing them will open up a new world to travelers with Thai men and women reaching out to talk to you about your family. Kids will love the beautiful the beaches, crystal clear water for snorkeling, the unique transportation options and the hustle and bustle of the night markets.
What to bring
The gauge on whether your children are old enough to do an adventure travel trip will lie heavily on their ability to carry their own stuff. You will likely need to carry a backpack for an adventure trip, and they can be very heavy. Especially if you plan on going on an extended trip, do a few laps of your neighborhood with the family with fully loaded backpacks and see how everyone fares. A “dry run” is a great eye opener for everyone and helps bring swift resolution to what is important to bring and what isn’t. I get asked all the time what the one thing I don’t leave home without…and it’s this: A Buff can be used as a hair cover, to cover your neck from the sun, to cover your mouth on dusty roads, to cover your eyes in planes or buses. Bring light, breathable clothing, a very comfortable pair of closed toe shoes, a pair of flip flops, a small first aid kit, the best camera you can afford, and a very light and small laptop or tablet.
Know before you go
Adventure trips generally have more considerations than other types of Adventure Travel Deals. The first thing you should do once you have your destination nailed down is look into what kind of immunizations you will require. Some of them have to be started far in advance of your trip.
Next, you may have to apply for a special visa to gain entry into certain countries. This is also something that may require a fair amount of time. Visit Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada for a look at each country alphabetically. Look for section #4 under each country information page where you will find requirements and information listed.
Finally, travel insurance for an adventure trip isn’t necessarily the same as you would buy on a beach vacation. If you are planning to do what your current insurance company stipulates as a “high risk activity” like rock climbing or bungy jumping, or any activity that would specifically exclude you from being eligible to receive medical care should something happen, ask your insurer first if there is some type of supplemental insurance you can purchase. If not, start looking into companies that provide this type of coverage. I highly recommend World Nomads . I want to state that I am in no way connected to or can benefit from this recommendation. This is simply a company I have used on several occasions, and with whom I have had to make a substantial claim with. They were wonderful every step of the way, and they are the only company I have made a claim through.