We’ve all heard the phrase “adventure travel”…it has become all the rage in the recent years. But what exactly is adventure travel? A quick search on Google tells us it is essentially “travelling to a remote or exotic place to partake in physically challenging activities that require specialized skills”. Okay, so that sounds far more intimidating than exciting, but we promise you that adventure travel is actually quite exciting. We just need to tweak those words a bit.

To us, adventure travel is all about going somewhere new to you and exploring the great outdoors when you get there. Usually this involves doing something self-propelled such as hiking or biking or kayaking. See, that’s exciting. It is all about you and what you want to do with your free time in the wilderness!

You get to decide just how remote the location is and what level of physical ability and skills are required. Your travel is ultimately about you and what you’re comfortable with. Don’t get stuck letting someone else define what sort of adventure travel you’ll be doing.

Now that we’ve admitted that the real definition of “adventure travel” is quite fluid, let’s jump right into how you can add a bit of adventure to your travels.


Hiking is essentially walking, but with the added perking of getting out into the wilderness. With a little planning and creativity you can find a place to hike nearly anywhere in the world. Yes, even when you’re traveling to cities…you just might have to settle for views of the concrete jungle or a hike along a paved path but don’t let cities stop your adventure!

Physical Activity // The trail you choose to hike along will dictate the amount of physical exertion required. If you’re not quite ready to take on a mountainside or a route with no access to civilization you may want to seek out a greenway, bike path, or park near town. Planning ahead will allow for time to do a bit of research on the best areas to hike based upon location an season.

Specialized Skills // Broadly speaking, the only real skill required with hiking is the ability to walk…however, for the sake of safety there are a few other thing you’ll want to be aware of. Know the area you’re hiking in and get familiar with the possible risks of that area. For example; weather changes dramatically and without much warning in the mountains, the ocean tide comes in quickly, and water cannot be depended upon in a desert climate. To be sure you have filled your day-pack properly review the Ten Essentials that are recommended for each hike. Adjust this checklist according to the area you’re hiking in.

adventure travel - hiking


Similar to hiking, the physical and skill requirements for biking can be very minimal…or quite hardcore, depending upon what you prefer. If you’re comfortable on a bike you’ll simply need to find a trail to ride along. Well, you’ll also need a bike and helmet, but those are available for rent all over the world if you don’t want to pack along your own.

Physical Activity // The amount of physical activity required for a bike ride will depend entirely upon what sort of bike riding you plan to be doing. A leisurely ride on a paved bike path is the most laid back option. If you’re looking to chase that adrenaline rush check out downhill mountain biking [just be sure you rent all the proper safety gear!]. Other options that fall on the scale somewhere between a paved path and a steep mountainside include cross-country biking, road biking, and mountain biking.

Specialized Skills // Ultimately, you do need to know how to ride a bike. Any skills above and beyond staying upright will help make your ride less nerve wracking, but isn’t necessarily required for the easier bike trails. If you are venturing out onto the single track trails you should know that green = easy, blue = intermediate, and black = extreme. Choose your route accordingly! If you’re opting for ride along a roadway be sure to follow all traffic laws [you are considered a vehicle], wear visible colors/lights, and use hand signals to make others aware of your intent.

adventure travel - biking


This simplest way to think of camping is to see it as the act of sleeping outside, ideally with the protection of a tent or something similar. There are many ways to go about sleeping under the stars and a multitude of places to do it. You can sleep in a tent, a hammock, a yurt, a camper, or directly under the sky just to name a few options. This can happen in your backyard, at a campground, on national forest/BLM/public land, or in a Walmart parking lot. Obviously some of those options are far more exciting than others…but they’re all options!

Physical Activity // As usual, there are many levels of physical activity that can be required with this adventure. If you’re backing a camper into an establish campsite the physical exertion is minimal. If you prefer to hike your tent into the backcountry you’ll need to do a bit [lot!] more work. Other variations of camping fall somewhere in the middle with various amounts of effort required. Like with all other forms of adventure travel — you get to decide what sounds fun to you and roll with it.

Specialized Skills // When it comes to camping the most important skill to have is the ability to use your gear. Whether you’re hooking that camper up to the campground electricity/water or pitching a tent you’ll want to know how to do it *before* you get to camp. The same goes for starting up your camp stove, building a campfire, working your headlamp, and so much more. Before you head out on this adventure make a point to try everything out at home…where you have access to internet searches or friends to help!

adventure travel - camping

Kayaking or Canoeing

The general concept of kayaking and/or canoeing is pretty straightforward…paddle a floating boat-like device across the surface of a body of water. The precise way you go about doing this can vary and the level of skill required increases the more challenging you make this part of your adventure. Kayaks come in different styles, varied by their intended use on lakes, oceans, streams, or rivers. Canoes are quite basic and meant for calm waters. You also have the option of using paddle boats, river rafts, or stand up paddle boards to get out on the water. In most cases you’ll want to rent your equipment when you arrive for the ease of travel — just make sure life jackets are included!

Physical Activity // Taking a kayak or canoe out onto a calm lake can actually be a pretty relaxing adventure, although your arms and shoulders will definitely feel the effort required to paddle. If you have some experience on the water and want to up the ante check out river kayaking or whitewater rafting…just bring along a little extra endurance!

Specialized Skills // Having some past experience propelling your boat across water will make this adventure a bit more fun, but it’s not required, especially if you’re headed out onto calm lakes. If you’re unsure of your skill seek out a rental company that is able to offer advice or even guided tours. If you’re looking for an adrenaline driven adventure on the water, such as whitewater rafting or river kayaking, you’ll definitely need some skills, including the knowledge and confidence required to roll your kayak and recover. This can all be learned through on-river training before you head out on your adventure.

adventure travel - kayaking

These adventurous ways to explore the world around you are just the beginning of all the ways you can create your own version of “adventure travel”. The examples provided here are just the tip of the ice berg…a little something to get you stoked on a self-propelled adventure of your own. You can mix and match all sorts of outdoor activities into your own perfect adventure.

Whatever adventure intrigues you…please remember to live by the Leave No Trace principles. These seven guidelines have been created to keep the wilderness wild and free.

Does adventure travel still seem a bit intimidating? You’re not alone and that is exactly why we are here! We want to make your next adventure fun, not stressful. Sometimes the chore of just packing your car or catching a flight is an adventure in and of itself…but not the sort of adventure you want. That is where we come to the rescue. Here at Adventure Feet First we take the stress out of the planning process and help you execute the perfect adventure…however you want to define adventure travel. Simply tell us what you like doing and where you want to do it, we will work out all the details. Interested in more information on how we can help you? Contact us!

Heidi Berghammer

Heidi is the founder of Adventure Feet First and the Creator of Experiences. She is the brains and legs behind all of the adventures created here at Adventure Feet First. This means she thinks up the itineraries and when they're even remotely close to home she is the one out there scouting the routes, campsites and local businesses. As a trail running, bikepacker and overall adventure seeker Heidi is definitely the person you want creating your adventures!


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