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A Guide to Camping Adventures Abroad

When you hear people talking about crampons, moleskin, camelbacks, and bear bags, do you start getting excited for an adventure camping trips? Or are you secretly trying to figure out if those are symptoms for some bizarre new disease? If it’s the former, then you’re in the right place. Adventure camping is an incredible way to become fully present in a new country—after all, it’s hard to waste time on the internet or watch trashy television when your living room is a windswept desert in Jordan or your ceiling is the thickly starred night sky in Madagascar. Since we’re not afraid of dirt, let’s learn alllllll the nitty gritty for group camping trips!

Locations

Guided camping tours are available in a wide range of countries around the globe. It all depends on what kind of experience you’re after and what kind of environment most appeals to you! Here’s a small sample of the countries you could choose from, but be sure to peruse the other options on this page—you may find a location you didn’t even know should be on your travel bucket list.

Brazil. The famed Amazon Rainforest has seduced explorers for centuries. This incredible hub of biodiversity has sadly been in the spotlight more recently for its rapid deforestation, but there are still over one billion acres left to enchant you while adventure camping. You’ll fall asleep to the sound of the forest coming alive as you gently sway in your hammock at night. By day, you can channel your inner Bear Grylls and learn about jungle survival techniques.

Australia & New Zealand. Australia and New Zealand are almost hallowed grounds for extreme adventure travelers; their mountains, deserts, and beaches draw adrenaline addicts from every country. Group camping trips down under could involve multi-day canoeing and backpacking trips, camping at the base of rock climbing walls, and surf camps along the coast. Additionally, it’s easy to combine your adventure camping trip with a more meaningful volunteer program—different national parks and wildlife sanctuaries have teamed up with travel programs to promote projects that give back to your host country.

Morocco. While this North African country might be famous for its velvety deserts and markets full of rugs and incense, it is also home to the soaring, snow-capped Atlas Mountains. Guided camping trips in Morocco could involve picking your way along mountain ridges in a caravan of camels and mules and learning basic trekking skills while absorbing the beauty and culture of Morocco from your Berber guides. Your time in Morocco will open you up not only to the exceptional beauty of this country, but also to the joys of adventure camping itself!

Camping Trips Abroad

Since guided camping trips abroad are so diverse, you’ll be hard pressed not to find something that fulfills your fantasies of an ideal travel experience. You’ll just need to hone in on what it really is you’re hoping to accomplish; do you want to gain specific skills in outdoor travel? Or are you hoping for scenic views mixed with cultural immersion?

Most adventure travel programs are made up of small groups, so you don’t have to worry about traipsing through peaceful mountain villages with a horde of tourists. These programs aim to instill a sense of wonder, awe, and respect for our natural world and the countries you’re visiting, so smaller group sizes help give you a more meaningful and intimate connection.

You might consider choosing between remote, backcountry group camping trips versus guided camping trips along well-worn paths and trails. Access to pristine wilderness makes the backcountry appealing, but visiting there is not without risks (emergency helicopter evacuation, anyone?!). Camping in world-renowned areas might feel “less hardcore” or “more touristy,” but there’s a reason these areas are well-trodden—they’re totally BA. Weigh the trade off’s for each adventure camping program type before you add your name to the sign up list.

The possibilities are seemingly endless, and choosing the program that’s right for you may prove more difficult than you imagined! It helps to choose an overall theme you’d like to focus your travel on, whether it’s wildlife conservation, survival skills practice, assisting with projects in rural villages, or any number of other outdoor activities. From there, you can decide if you want your camping experience abroad to be full of rugged, blister-inducing backpacking trips or if you’d prefer something more like “glamping” (glamour camping, for those new to the world of outdoor relaxation).

Tips & Advice for Guided Camping Trips

So, you’ve decided on a program, told all your friends, jumped on a plane, and arrived for your summer adventure camping program in New Zealand…only to realize, as you step off the plane into a winter wonderland, that you may have made a slight miscalculation when packing your bathing suits. 

While you hopefully wouldn’t actually make it all the way to the country of your choice without researching a basic thing like what to pack, keep weather, climates, and seasons in mind before you even decide on a program and country.

You also want to pay special attention to any packing lists or guidelines you receive and to talk with your program coordinator about what is provided and what you should bring during your program. There is no quicker way to develop a hatred for group camping trips than shivering in an inadequate sleeping bag while ice-cold wind rips through your flimsy tent!

Many programs will provide the outdoor gear needed for more extreme adventures, but it probably wouldn’t hurt to invest in a couple of basic items, like a solid coat or a sturdy bathing suit for surfing (depending on where you choose to go). Talking with reps from the guided camping tours is a great way to make sure you don’t waste money buying something that you’ll only use on your trip.

Benefits & Challenges

Clearly, if you’re interested in guided camping trips, you’re not someone who is expecting to be lounging poolside in Ibiza during your whole time overseas. The unique risks and challenges shouldn’t be downplayed, though. Camping is inherently strenuous, whether you are staying in one place or backpacking with all of your gear strapped to your back. Besides making sure you are physically fit before embarking on your journey, you should also be sure that you are prepared to handle the realities of camping—limited or no water, electricity, or internet access, close quarters with your fellow travelers, and plenty of exposure to the great outdoors.

Despite any tiredness or frustration you may be feeling, it’s pretty hard to unzip your tent to a stunning view of the Andes or the Amazon or the Alps and not feel instantly gratified. Along with giving you an incredible appreciation for the natural beauty of your chosen host country, camping abroad can make you feel more connected and less homesick while you travel. Focusing on basic survival needs allows you to realize that certain things in life aren’t as important as we sometimes make them out to be. Swoon-worthy Instagram photos of pink-hued alpine sunrises or turquoise ocean waves crashing from your new front door don’t hurt either!

Adventure camping while traveling abroad definitely isn’t for everyone, but it can be an incredibly satisfying experience for those who are prepared and willing to travel outside their comfort zones! It’s a worldly alternative for those looking to get away from the typical tourist experience. Who knows, you just might find that you are more suited to campfire s'mores and self-filtered water than crowded discotecas and overpriced city food and drinks.

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A Guide To
Camping Adventures Abroad

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