The Easiest Guide to Planning Adventures in Steps — Nail the Destination & the Activity | Part 2

The Easiest Guide to Planning Adventures in Steps — Nail the Destination & the Activity | Part 2

The no-sweat method you can use as is.

So much goes into planning a personal adventure that it’s easy to get discouraged—location, budget, logistics, travel, gear and more.


In part I of this article, I wrote about nailing your WHY. Everyone has a reason to go on an adventure.

Your answer will help shape the trip and itinerary for a fantastic adventure experience.

I was overwhelmed when I started. Too much choice, too many variables. It is decision fatigue.

After spending freakish money and still unsatisfied, we considered what went wrong. Coming from India, we felt the pinch every time we wasted the precious few USD or Euros we could afford.

Here is a step-by-step of planning adventures, I wish I had on my first trip.

These steps result from our brainstorming and successful execution of six of our best adventure trips – all safe, within budget and memorable.

Follow these steps, and you’ll wonder why you did not try it sooner. Let’s get into the planning this adventure of yours.

Picking An Adventure Travel Destination

This crucial decision will set the tone for the rest of the plan.

A choice of too many beautiful places and experiences worldwide makes it daunting. But not if you apply some filters.

The most important considerations for a destination are:

  • ease of travel
  • the adventure activity
  • cost
  • time.

1. Ease of Travel

If it’s your first adventure trip, start near. Tick off places to explore locally.

If you feel ambitious, plan for a place you feel drawn to.

I live in a region surrounded by hills. Some of my initial adventures resulted from jumping in a car and doing day-long hikes. I was back for a shower and meal at home.

  1. Travel made easy: The world is full of places that lean towards making it easy for adventurers to go places. The visas are quick, there’s good connectivity, and transport is seamless. On the trails, you’ll find mountain huts, tent-friendly sites, and enough outdoor gear rental stores to keep an adventurer well-stocked.
  2. Travel made hard: Some destinations need effort to reach, they are too remote for easy local transport, and sometimes, they lack credible information. If you are seasoned enough, such areas may be worth the effort because of lesser crowds and pristine views.

Stick to tried and tested areas till you are at least a few adventures old. Pick the low-hanging fruit.

2a. Pick an Adventure Activity, let the destination choose itself.

If determining the location seems challenging, try defining it by the experiences you want. Let the activity dictate the place.

Chasing the northern lights, for example, will mean you must go nearer to Svalbard. Wanting to kayak can open everything from Nepal to Costa Rica for you.

If you have a specific activity in mind, your destination might choose itself. Wanting to climb peaks above 8000 will confine your travel to the Indian Subcontinent. If you want to shack up with reindeer herders, it’s Siberia or Mongolia for you.

2b. Choose a Destination, and let the activity pick itself.

You may have been keen on visiting a place for years, and the plans have finally come together. What are your activity options there?

If you find yourself in southeast Asia, kayaking is sometimes the only way to move around. In remote North India or Nepal, journeys are often by foot overland with mules.

Adventure doesn’t always have to be human-powered.

The Northeast region of India and the Baja peninsula in America are great places for driving thrills—plenty of offroading opportunities combined with natural beauty. The terrain is diverse, the hostels are cheap, and you can visit some remote places.

An unusual destination might be attractive to people passionate about active travel experiences. For example, climbing Mt Damavand in Turkey, skiing in Iraq, or trail running in Greenland.

What do you feel strongly about doing?

3. Cost of the Adventures

When planning an adventure trip, you can divide areas into three ‘cost tiers’. Decide the upper limit for your spending and go from there. You’ll have your budget laid out in no time.

  • Top Tier: Arctic, Antarctic, Western Europe, North America, Scandinavia and Australia with New Zealand.
  • Middle Tier: East Europe, China, South America, the Middle East and Central Asia.
  • Cheaper Tier: South East Asia, the Indian subcontinent, and some countries in South America.

The cost of adventure activity in these places also aligns with the cost tiers. However, niche activities like sky diving will be costly, wherever you do it.

Some countries publish a rate book of how much each activity should cost, and most operators stick to it. In other places, operators are free to charge a fee based on their service, safety standards, luxury offered, etc.

Doing things independently is often possible with advanced research, and it’ll save you money. Countries like Bhutan have a per-day tourist cost defined. Irrespective of your travel expertise, you must pay it to your operator to cover their costs.

Countries across all budgets offer plenty of choices for land, water and air-based activities. Research into specific geographies and the activities they have will guide your choices.

4. Time

Time moves differently for people in different cultures.

As such, we often think that if travel isn’t dictated by money, it’s almost certainly dictated by time.

Also, the activity decides the overall time you need for:

  1. Preparation
  2. Actual activity time
  3. Buffer time to account for challenges.

A Himalayan mountaineering expedition takes over 2.5 months due to the arduousness of the activity. It involves the movement of teams, equipment, acclimatisation and a wait to summit.

Trekking is relatively easier on the body and can be done in 21 days on most routes with less rigorous preparation.

A popular water-based activity like kayaking may require waiting for a particular season before the boats are launched. And you may need to travel to a remote location to start.

To ride a horse for more than a few hours takes practice. If you love animals and want to spend time outdoors, horse riding is a great way to do it. But a sore bum is a real pain if you ride without spending time in the saddle.

The same goes for cycling. Preparation will include putting the distance on the cycle and learning to cook, camp and clean up outdoors. And you don’t want to get lost either, so you need to have and use a navigation aid.

Planning adventures doesn’t have to be hard.

Here is a quick review of some popular activities. The criteria will help you narrow down what you want to do based on the time you have.

Once you have a match of an activity that interests you and a place you are keen on, get started on the in-depth research. A lot of online information will prove helpful – personal blogs, articles in outdoor magazines, travel forums and social media.

Live the journey

As much fun as the destination is, the journey satiates your soul. It allows you the time to pick up skills, and gather knowledge.

Crucially take time to learn this — how am I in the outdoors?

Is discomfort a friend?

Do change in plans trigger a meltdown?

Can I take care of myself if lost or stranded without panicking?

In part III of this series, we will tackle the actual steps in preparing for the adventure you just nailed.

Here is the first article for quick reference.

The Easiest Guide to Planning Adventures in Steps —Nail The Why And Go | Part 1

One Reply to “The Easiest Guide to Planning Adventures in Steps — Nail the Destination & the Activity | Part 2”

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.