Are you something of a travel newbie, and you like the idea of an organized adventure that takes the stress out of planning? Maybe you’re a seasoned jet-setter who is looking to bond with a group of fellow travelers while learning specific skills like winemaking or snowboarding. From exploring the Amazon Forest to diving the depths of the Great Barrier Reef, anyone can gear up for an adventure tour that tickles their fancy. As long as you’ve got a passport and a desire to be the center of attention at the next family gathering after your return, joining a tour abroad will be the best decision you make all year!
The great thing about adventure travel tours? Spin a globe, close your eyes, and point — you could choose to go just about anywhere! The bad thing? You could choose to go just about anywhere...and narrowing down your options may prove tougher than you think. Here are just a few of the countless places you could adopt as a second home.
Antarctica. You could be one of the few people to set foot on the White Continent during an adventure tour in Antarctica. Witnessing firsthand the daily struggle of life on ice that you’ve seen captured in “Planet Earth” and “National Geographic” will be an experience you’ll never forget; whether you’re watching the heroic parenting of Emperor penguins or seeing a pod of orcas work together to hunt seals, you’ll leave Antarctica humbled and even more aware of the fragile state of our planet. Touring in Antarctica typically involves an environmental research component, so this option is perfect for someone looking to have a more educational experience abroad.
Botswana. A safari tour in Africa may be the quintessential adventure travel tour that comes to mind when thinking about this type of program. Sun-drenched savannahs, jostling open-air jeeps, and front-row seats to some of the most epic wildlife dramas around the globe...yes please! A tour in Botswana is the perfect way to relax with a group of like-minded people who are looking for the same eye-opening experience as you; this type of tour likely wouldn’t be as scientific or rigorous as a tour in Antarctica, but you’ll still learn incredible things and be able to watch the Big Five stress-free knowing your tour operator is taking care of all of the logistics.
Ireland. Your adventure tour could also take place in a more urban setting. What better way to make sure you hit all of the can’t-miss tourist destinations as well as lesser known stops that may never have been on your radar without a tour? Ireland is a country of both massive tourist appeal and proud local culture. From the stone-lined emerald fields to the Blarney Stone and the Cliffs of Moher, you’ll have a blast taking in the sights and rubbing off a little luck o’ the Irish for yourself. You could go from taking a Guinness tour to camping out on the island of Achill or practicing falconry in Cong — all with a group of your new BFF’s for life, your fellow travel tour mates!
Travel tour groups are almost endless. Whether you want to trek through the jungle for a month or take Bollywood dance classes, there’s a program out there for you! Before embarking on a tour, you’re going to do a lot of research to determine exactly what it is you’re hoping to get out of your time abroad. From there, it’ll be easier to zoom in on a country and activity of your choice!
For adventure travel tours that could beef up a resume or school application, you may want to consider an immersive language program. Whether it’s Spanish, Chinese, or Arabic, you’ll be able to find a tour that’s tailored to the length and intensity that you’re looking for! Language tours are a great way to truly speak like a local while still fitting in some fun sightseeing along the way.
You could also opt for a working holiday or farm-stay type tour! These options allow you to join a ski lodge, tour operation, or other type of company to work off some of your travel expenses while getting to know a country in a much deeper way than simply as a traveler passing through. These options are perfect for someone looking to spend a more extended period of time abroad while still having the comfort of a tour operator that will help make arrangements! Whether you are wrangling cattle with stockmen in Australia or working as a ski instructor in Chile, you’ll find that working abroad is a win for both your finances and your sense of adventure!
Some adventure travel companies even offer a flexible sort of “hop on, hop off” tour, where you hold the reins to customize your tour experience! In this type of tour, you can choose to stay longer in areas that are more interesting to you or bypass areas that you don’t feel are a great fit. With knowledgeable bus drivers who can give you tips and a pay-as-you go system, you’ll be able to have a bit more freedom with this type of tour when deciding what exactly you want to do during your adventure abroad.
Tour sizes can vary greatly, but most “traditional” tour programs aim to keep groups small — under 20 people. This ensures that you’ll be able to bond closely with your fellow tour members and operators and have a more connected experience. Adventure travel tours can also be larger or smaller, depending on the destination and what they are offering, so it’s important to read up on your particular tour company to know what to expect!
Tips & Advice for Adventure Tours
Adventure tours can take place almost anywhere and can involve nearly any activity — but want to hear some blanket advice that will benefit all of your future travels, including your upcoming tour? One of the most important things you can ever bring with you while traveling is an adaptable attitude and an ability to deal with any traveling Debbie Downers on your tour group. Traveling with anybody, especially with strangers, can be a taxing experience. Don’t let other people’s inability to go with the flow ruin your time abroad, too! Practice what Taylor Swift preaches and “shake, shake, shake” off any bad vibes that others may be putting out there. You didn’t spend all of your hard earned time and money to listen to people gripe about things they don’t like or what they miss from home — leave that bad energy behind and enjoy being where you are!
Speaking of your hard-earned money, another piece of advice for your adventure tour is to budget wisely. Since this is such a broad subject area and the duration of the travel tour groups could be short-term or long-term, costs are going to vary greatly. If you’re hoping to work toward your Sommelier license in Europe, for example, your tour will likely be more expensive than camping throughout Southeast Asia. The good thing about a tour is that most costs will usually be paid for upfront, so you don’t have to worry about much other than personal spending money while abroad!
There are also options to work while abroad or to pay for your own food, which can help cut down on costs by allowing you to make your own budget that you can stick to if you want to live cheaply. Even if you don’t make actual money, as is the case with some work-abroad situations, you can still often pay off your room and board, which can really add up. Utilizing your online support network can also be a great way to help get you abroad when you are feeling the financial burden of both school and travel. By setting up an account with something like FundMyTravel, you could alert friends and family that you need some assistance in embarking on your meaningful travel tour.
Benefits & Challenges
Adventure tours have a clear benefit — nearly all of them will be organized through a company that will take care of everything for you, from airport pickups to lodging to booking activities you may have never dreamed of otherwise. Letting someone else do the hard work and planning allows you to sit back, relax, and enjoy the scenery — once you do the hard work of choosing a program, of course!
That same benefit can also be a drawback for some people, however. While there are travel tour groups that offer more flexibility, it’s still going to be mainly organized by someone else. You’ll mostly be with a group of people who you may not know and participating in activities that you may not have chosen on your own. If you’re the type of person who chafes at structure and likes to be more spontaneous during your travels, then you might need to reconsider if adventure tours are right for you. There’s nothing wrong with that — as long as you realize that before you book a trip; becoming the Clark Griswold of everyone else’s vacation won’t be fun for you or them!
All in all, adventure travel tours are the *perf* way to get out, learn a new skill, see parts of the world you’ve always wanted to see, and foster your love of travel. With a plethora of reputable adventure travel companies whose entire business is giving their customers once-in-a-lifetime experiences, you can’t choose wrong!