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Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Vacation time: Indulge in Exciting and Thrilling Adventure Trips

Around four years ago, Katy Colins, a former public relations officer at Manchester Airport, had a nice house, an amazing car and a loving fiancée with whom she was planning to get married soon. Suddenly, her life took a 360-degree turn when her fiancée dumped her three months before their grand wedding. Like any other normal girl, the entire incident left her devastated. But unlike any other heartbroken person, she found a new way to come out of the situation— a way that goes on to become a benchmark for various reasons. As reported by the Independent UK, she quit her job and set off on a trip to South-east Asia. As she said, “My ex’s decision, although devastating at the time, was the wake-up call I needed. I had a good job, a lovely house and lived a comfortable lifestyle but it lacked adventure, something I hoped travelling halfway around the world on my own would give me, and luckily it paid off.”

Now globally known as the “Jilted Bride,” she took the decision of selling “anything that wouldn't fit into a large backpack,” before starting her adventure trip. Now her entire journey itself becomes an adventure for others!

Though you may think I am talking about any Bollywood film, this is a true story of a girl, for whom, the adventure means travelling solo. In fact, over the recent years, the term ‘adventure’ has broadened. Gone are those days when adventure trips were purely the domain of backpackers or adrenaline junkies looking to tick off activities like diving with sharks, river rafting, bungee jumping, etc.

It’s summer in most parts of the world right now and monsoon season in India, and while you might be thinking to lazing around to escape the heat or the rain, there’s much better options available to keep yourself keyed in and active— adventure trips. Now, there are a variety of adventure trip options available in the market to fulfil the escapade cravings.

As Marty Rubin, the author of books like The Boiled Frog Syndrome, said, “Travel doesn’t become adventure until you leave yourself behind.” For adventure buffs, there is a series of activities that can be taken up, like trekking, biking, driving, etc. Whether it is revisiting your old destination or discovering something new and adventure, travelling is an enriching experience.

Adventure Holiday Destinations across the world

Boom of adventure tourism in India

A few days ago, I came to know about ‘Appooppanthaadi,' women travel group, whose members are high on wanderlust. The brave members of the group, bitten by the travel bug, always trek the road less travelled. For a country like India, brought up on a staple of package tours, the opportunity to try something unique or adventure is being grabbed with both hands. Though not everyone is going as far as members of Appooppanthaadi, some people are taking baby steps with a three or four day trip from Delhi to Rishikesh or Mcleodganj and throwing in some adventure sports, like river rafting, mountaineering, etc. into the mix. From skiing vacations in Bregenzerwald, Australia to adventurous four wheels road expeditions to Malaysia or Paris, others are following the whole hog.

Gone are those days when our parents used to take us to any hill stations during school break. Now people are bored of going to hill stations or staying in hotels in Mussoorie and watching the great Himalayas from the window of their room. There has been a rise in the popularity of experimental adventure tours, even if it is a two or three days. The most amazing thing is that it is the families who are showing more interest towards adventure trips.

In the last few years, there have been some significant changes in the travel industry. The most important shift has been the willingness of Indians to look beyond their mundane holiday destinations to experience something new. This has further gained momentum with the improvement in the tourist infrastructure, especially in places likes Ladakh and Rishikesh. Even the Union Ministry of Tourism has launched a campaign “777 Days of Indian Himalayas’ to bolster the tourism potential of the Himalayas. There is an emergence of hard-core outbound travellers, who are always hungry for edge-of-the-seat-adventures, across deep jungles of Africa or anywhere where they can get their adrenaline fix.

The adventure space has become more thrilling with the entry of the Mahindra Group, which is best known for its rugged utility vehicles. The Mahindra Group had started a programme called ‘Great Escape’ in 1996 to give all its Mahindra owners a taste of off-roading with their vehicles. Now, to own the entire adventure space, the company has decided to offer a fleet of its utility vehicles to adventure seekers. Earlier, it was launched with 30 to 40 SUVs, which has now increased to over 80 vehicles. Known as India’s one of the most thrilling off-road events, this event tests the limits of both man and machine to the extreme.

An emergence of Military tourism in India


Maharashtra ex-servicemen’s body has launched ‘Veer Yatra’, to spice up your vacation. To start with, there are nine packages, varying between two to eight days. On offer is a wide range of activities to take tourists to real battlefields, military training academics, high- altitude points, mountain passes like Nathu La and Zoji La or border posts. Also, there are high-adrenaline adventure trips that include white-water rafting, military games, crocodile sightings and campfire in British-era guesthouses.

Tips for a great adventure holiday


As said by Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, “If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend six sharpening my axe.” Before you embark on a new activity, it is essential to completely prepare yourself. Every individual has its idea of adventure and by definition, there are risks involved in it. Last year, my husband, with his friends, had gone for a river rafting trip in Rishikesh when suddenly their boat flipped, and they almost drowned. Luckily, lifeguards jumped in to save all of them.

Such trips involve exploration and therefore, involve risks. Nevertheless, by taking some precautionary measures, you can have a successful trip with all the elements of fun and adventure. To up the ante for adventure trips, here are some points to consider.

1. Prepare yourself: A crisis comes unannounced, and if not handled properly, it could lead to major disaster. Life is a race and taking time off from your routine work is not a simple task. However, adventure holidays are not merely gateways. Activities like rock climbing, mountaineering, etc.; may involve travelling to high altitudes where oxygen levels are low. Being fit both mentally and physically is the basic requirement of these trips. Take out some time from your daily routine and try to increase your fitness quotient. You should increase the intensity as your travel date approaches near. Consistency is necessary to build up your stamina. At last, pay attention towards your dietary needs.

2. Do your homework: Make sure to book your adventure trip in advance to avoid any last-minute rush. Also, advance booking will help to save money. Get complete details of your travel itinerary. Check out climatic conditions and do your packing accordingly. Dramatic weather conditions are usually observed on mountains. So, pack some warm and waterproof clothes to handle all kinds of weather conditions.

Also, before you travel, research the current situation in your chosen area to ensure there is no outbreak of disease, political unrest, and natural disasters. Mainly, the prime locations of adventure trips are situated within regions that are prone to such issues. Therefore, being aware of these facts is the key to a secured and memorable trip.

3. Travel light: You have done your homework properly by creating a list of items to be packed. However, your baggage can go out of control with all accessories and clothes in your list. Adventure trips are tricky in that sense. While packing it is important to be detail-oriented, it is also necessary to keep both the weight and volume of your bag under control. However, maintaining that balance is tricky. To achieve it, you can use some smart packing tips, like choosing dual purpose clothes and rolling bag. In short, you should go with all the ‘must-haves’ and leave all the ‘good to haves’ behind.

4. Buy proper insurance policies: An idea of getting lost in the beauty of nature can be enticing so much that you can forget to buy a travel insurance policy. But we are here to remind you about the various benefits of travel insurance policies. A comprehensive travel insurance policy takes care of various unforeseen circumstances like trip cancellation, medical emergencies abroad, loss of passport, bags or any other documents. Some insurers pay travelling and lodging & boarding expenses for a family member of the insured in case of insured’s hospitalization.

Besides this, it is imperative to buy a health insurance policy that safeguards you against hefty medical expenses. If you already have a health insurance policy, make sure it offers worldwide coverage.

Once you pack your bag by keeping the above points in consideration, give a quick look at Do’s and Don’ts before heading out onto the trail.

Do's Don'ts
Do medical checkup before travelling Don't walk empty stomach
Inform someone in your family about your itinerary so that in the case of mishap, they can come for help Don't litter anywhere. Leave nothing but your footsteps
Carry waterproof, sturdy shoes Don't smoke or consume liquor
Carry enough water and snacks Don't wear tight fitted clothes
Bring along first aid kit Don't click photos where photography is prohibited
In addition to geographical maps, bring a compass or GPS Avoid excessive sweating
Pack sunscreen, lip balm and shades Don't carry a large amount of money
Choose a reputed adventure trip organizer who has been in business for many years Don't be afraid to ask questions while travelling with trip organizers
Do ensure that you possess all necessary documents such as cash, travel insurance copy, and credit cards Don't do anything crazy during your trip
Wear bug sprays while outdoors to avoid mosquitoes and other insects Don't blare loud music or talk loudly (unless of course you encounter a wild animal!)
Wear protective gear and follow all safety instructions of your adventure guides Don't try to feed or exploit wildlife
Do prepare a checklist so that you don't miss out on important items Don't travel if weather conditions are adverse
Carry a comfortable and waterproof backpack for keeping all the above items Don't pack more than what you can carry


Take the Plunge

Tintin was the first person— the adventure freak—who opened my eyes to the wonders of travel. Working as a reporter, he was a young character of a comic album that travelled around the globe with his dog Snowy.

The first adventure I did was skydiving in Dubai. Travel is both challenging and joyful. It is the only thing that you buy and which makes you richer. Breaking up the monotony for a while is a great way to curtail stress and rejuvenate your senses.

People who love adventure always try to come out of their comfort zones and explore untapped territories. Do you fancy a trip with a real difference? Something more edgy than a beach vacation! How about talking to sharks in South Africa, zip wiring across the river Tyne in North East England or mountain biking in the Pindari Glacier, India? Push yourself that further this time and go for an adventure trip. After all, if adventure is dangerous, try doing routine work, it is fatal.

As rightly said by Mark Twain, an American author and humorist, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

Let’s go on an adventure!

About the Author:
Elaine Valerie is a travel lover and an adventurer at heart. When she is not traveling or indulging in exciting adventure trips, she is busy with her marketing job.



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