Photo courtesy of New Zealand Tourism (100% NZ)
I've always been active, and enjoy some form of activity when I travel. Not "uber" active, extreme sport active, mind you. It is vacation after all. I'm more of the soft adventure active. I love exploring areas I visit, whether its a walk through town, a short hike, eating at local cafes, getting away from the crowds, seeing wildlife, just experiencing the more authentic side of things. Of course starting and ending my day at nice accommodations makes the experience that much better. Based on recent travel trends, I'm not alone.
60 is the new 50 these days, right?
Trips that include hiking, biking, kayaking, paddle boarding, snorkeling or getting out on a skiff matched with cultural immersions and learning opportunities are growing in popularity, especially with the boomer population. But not just this group - families and multi-generational groups are onboard as well. Nothing like fun activities to bring family groups together!
Some companies have been in the active travel space for quite some time; other companies are getting ahead of the trend (or jumping on board) by adding active options to their existing itineraries. I for one am excited to see this. While I enjoy creating my own adventures, when I look at these trips, I would be hard pressed to create the same experiences.
Read on to explore some of my favorite active vacation options.
Have you heard about the Great Walks of Australia and New Zealand? Have you been dreaming about hiking in the Alps, Bavaria, the Cotswolds or maybe exploring Norway or Iceland? How about experiencing a section of the Camino de Santiago? All of these destinations have a number of things in common: guided walking/hiking tours that immerse you into the local, natural environment combined with accommodations that range from "glamping" stays to premium inns and luxury lodges. One can certainly do all of this on your own, but experiencing an area with a guide that knows the region along with a small group of like minded walkers/hikers and starting/ending the day with a comfortable bed, a hot shower and good meal may be the best deal around. Check out Backroads - they have been doing this since 1979 and provide a wide array of itineraries.
Photo courtesy of Australia (Tasmania) Tourism
River cruising is no longer a "quiet and sedate" trip. It can be, I suppose, but most if not all of the cruise lines have walking tours included, ranging from "slow" to "fast". A number of cruise lines also have bicycles on board, giving passengers the opportunity to explore an area on their own (with GPS) or with a guide from the ship.
Want something more active? Several cruise lines have gone even bigger, partnering with bike touring specialists, offering back country biking (or hiking) options and other active excursions combined with the luxury of the river cruise. Check out my article:
RIVER CRUISING - AS ACTIVE OR RELAXING AS YOU WANT
Photo courtesy of AmaWaterways
BIKING / MULT-SPORT
Love to bike? A number of companies offer cycling tours in Europe, North and South America and even Asia. Cycling is a great way to see the countryside, meet locals and explore the roads less travelled. Some itineraries have stopping at a small winery for lunch and a private tasting. Now that would b fun! Prefer to mountain bike? That too is available.
Why settle for one type of activity when you have multiple with a multi-sport vacation. Cycling, mountain biking, river rafting, horseback riding, hiking, kayaking, even zip lining! Maybe throw in a winery tour or cooking experience into the mix. True adventures. Itineraries all taken care for you - all you need to do is show up and have fun! Check out Austin Adventures - small group adventures on all 7 continents!
Photo courtesy of Austin Adventures
Small ship adventure cruising has always been on top of my bucket list. These small ships offer kayaking, hiking, paddle boarding, snorkeling, skiff excursions, yoga, the opportunity to see wildlife up close, totally unplug. Participate in all or choose the ones that pique your interest - either way these cruises are ready for action. No set schedule allows the captain to follow mother nature. These trips are perfect for adventure seeking couples, families and groups. Check out Alaskan Dream Cruise or Uncruise - both exceptional experiences offering trips of a lifetime.
Photos courtesy of Uncruise
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Come discover the roads and waters less travelled.
Laurie Marschall - Owner and Founder