How to Travel More Adventurously
How to Travel More Adventurously

How to Travel More Adventurously

The unreal sense of adventure that traveling creates inside of us is pretty much the reason why we all do it, right? But for each person, different styles of travel will evoke this feeling. It could be journeying to a far-flung corner of the world, or it could be a long-weekend city break. For me, adventure travel is all about getting out of your comfort zone and trying to reach those less-traveled-to destinations — more often than not places of beautiful natural scenery that, sometimes, aren’t easy to get to. In this guide, I’ll give you my best advice based on my years of traveling to help you travel more adventurously.

Tips to travel more adventurously

Here are my best adventure travel ideas to make your trips more exciting.

Plan your adventures

Taking a moment to put a travel plan together is a great way to get more adventurous with your travel ideas. By researching a little and finding out about what’s to see and do in the countries you want to visit, you may discover things that you normally wouldn’t do.

This can be really helpful, especially for people who are the 100% ‘go with the flow’ kind. I don’t recommend planning to a T, though. This almost never works out — I never do it — plus it’s always good to leave some room for spontaneity.

Find an adventurous friend

Sometimes, reaching out to others is the best way to gain ideas to travel more adventurously. If you have a friend or simply know someone who likes adventure traveling, then shoot them a message.

They can give you destination and activity recommendations, and these can also spark your own trip ideas. You never know, the person you reach out to might even be up for a trip with you.

If you’re keen to go adventure traveling with someone, but don’t have mates that are into that kind of travel, there are apps that can help. GAFFL and Backpackr are two of the better-known apps for meeting likeminded travelers and there are also others.

A picture of Alan Palazon, the author, snowboarding, which is a great activity to travel more adventurously.
Riding some powder snow in Chamonix.

Reach out to adventure travel bloggers and photographers on Instagram

We’ve all got our favourite travelers on Instagram whose photography inspires us. Why not shoot them a message? There’s no guarantee they’ll reply, but if they do, they’re bound to share some pretty adventurous ideas.

Use work exchange sites

There are a few popular work exchange websites that can help you find short-term work stints. You’ll work in exchange for some sort of accommodation and sometimes host throw in meals. 

Doing a work exchange is a good way to try something adventurous, but without going all out. You’ll be staying with a host and there might be other people doing a work exchange there as well. This means you’ll at least have one person around for support if you need it. Staying with a host for a few weeks will give you the chance to explore and do adventurous things outside of the work too.

Workaway and WWOOF and two of the most popular sites for finding work exchanges. WWOOF is for farm work, but on Workaway you can find almost anything. I’ve seen hosts in remote Scandinavia needing help looking after sled huskies, for example. I used Workaway to find hostel work and English teaching. The English teaching was in northern Vietnam and I was able to explore some really cool places like Cuc Phuong National Park.

Work exchanges are also a really, really good way to make your money go further when traveling. Just make sure to always chat with host beforehand. Ask all the questions you need to, be clear on expectations and check reviews.

Read travel books or books by people who’ve lived adventurous lives

Find inspiration in the pages of books written by people who’ve lived adventurous lives. There are countless people who have done extraordinary things and written memoirs about it.

I read The Motorcycle Diaries by Che Guevara. That guy lived a truly extraordinary life and his earlier days recounted in the book gave me ideas for places to visit in South America.

A view of Volcan de Fuego and Volcan Acatenango.
Volcan de Fuego and Volcan Acatenango, Guatemala.

Throw a dart at a world map

Yes, I’m serious. This is the old school way of doing some adventive traveling and, admittedly, I’ve never done it. However, no matter where the dart lands, you sure to end up with somewhere that has some really cool adventures to offer. Going to a country based on where your dart landed itself is adventurous, regardless of what you do there.

Test your comfort zone

Just by going outside of your comfort zone you’ll be traveling more adventurously. This could be switching the city break trip for a weekend of hiking. You don’t even have to leave your own country for something like this.

Maybe you’re already an adventurous traveler, in which case, you’ll need to test yourself. You could go all out and do something like a few months of backpacking in countries where you don’t speak the language.

As long as you’re getting out of your comfort zone, your traveling will feel more adventurous.

Talk to locals

Local people can be your best source of adventure when traveling. The locals know the best places to get off the beaten track, the best viewpoints, the best hikes, you name it.

Asking a local even a couple of questions can help you find adventurous places that other travelers won’t. Chat to them long enough and you might even befriend them. Then you’ll have a local buddy to go on the adventure with. This is why learning the local language if you’re staying long-term in a country is essential.

And learning a language itself is pretty adventurous. It’s a big challenge that’ll take you far out of your comfort zone and it’s also a huge confidence booster.

Try outdoor activities

I can’t think of a better way to travel more adventurously than including outdoor activities in your trip. They get the adrenaline pumping and help you to connect more with nature.

Activities such as hiking, trail running, skiing, snowboarding, surfing, cycling and rock climbing are, in my opinion, among the best. Granted, some of these can be expensive, but there are ways to do them on the cheap. For example, you could work a ski season and some skydive companies let you cover the cost of the jump with funds raised if you raise over a certain amount for charity.

Another adventurous aspect of outdoor activities is the community. In my experience, people who are into them usually have a zest for life and are in general fun to be around.

Just remember to keep your fitness levels mind. Don’t go hiking in the Andes if you can’t run a mile – build up the adventures.

Sunset on Mont Blanc as seen from Les Arcs, France.
Sunset on Mt Blanc

Take public transport

You’d be surprised by how adventurous taking public transport can feel when traveling; especially when you don’t speak the local language. Navigating buses and hoping trains when you have little to no idea whether you’re taking the right ones can add a lot of fun to the trip.

Public transport is also a great way to slow down your travels a bit and take more in. This is particularly nice when passing through places with crazy landscapes.

The added challenge of using public transport can be tiring and straight up frustrating at times, but the benefits make it worthwhile. I took lots of public transport during my early backpacking days in Central America and had some really good encounters.

On a bus heading to León, Nicaragua I got chatting with a local woman. She was really friendly and we got to know each other a little. Before she got off, she handed me her number on piece of paper saying that if I ever needed help in León, I could call her. I never needed to call her, but I’d never have made that contact had I not taken that bus.

Travel solo

This is one of the ultimate ways to travel more adventurously. Your completely self-reliant and the places you visit are entirely your choice. I do a lot of my traveling solo and I love the freedom.

It’s called ‘solo traveling’, but you’re never alone. You’ll meet many others doing the same along the way and friendly locals in almost all the places you visit.

Long-term solo traveling has been the best education I’ve ever had. You grow a lot as a person and come to appreciate the value of connecting with people from all walks of life.

Alan traveling adventurously at El Chiflon waterfall in Chiapas, Mexico.
One of Chiapas’ many stunning waterfalls, Mexico.

Bikepack

Switch up the feet, planes and trains for a bicycle. Sounds pretty adventures, right? To me it definitely does. Although I haven’t done this yet and so can’t share any personal experiences, bikepacking is firmly near the top of my travel plans. In the meantime, here’s a link to a beginner’s bikepacking guide.

How to travel more adventurously and safely

Adventure travel, at least in the way I’m talking about, is all about calculated risk. Use your judgement and get travel insurance that covers any activities you plan to do. You do not want to be forking out for medical bills in a country like the USA.

Find more travel content on my blog

You can find all my travel content on the A World Over blog. Make sure to check it out for more travel inspiration.

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