A Guide To Trekking Adventures Abroad
Get ready to join the ranks of Christopher McCandless, Cheryl Strayed, or that photographer you follow on Instagram — you’re about to lose sight of the beaten path and see only the extraordinary. From Europe’s medieval cobblestone passages to the robust jungle trails in Southeast Asia, every step of adventure travel trekking offers a chance to experience a new country, culture, or landscape with the utmost authenticity and raw splendor that cannot be found anywhere else. Sorry, Marriott! So place your faith in a backpack, double knot those boots, and stretch those hammies because your adventure travel trekking starts now.
As if backpacking wasn’t already the pinnacle of adventure travel, trekking abroad takes it one step further. Only the world’s most sublime treasures are reachable by foot, allowing you to skip the crowds and walk right up to the action! You can trek anywhere you can travel. Iceland? Of course! Antarctica? See for yourself.
Europe’s abundance of scenery and cultures offer the chance to explore many worlds all on the same continent while rocking the trekking travel life. You can retrace the footsteps of your ancestors in countries like Italy, Spain, or Greece as you trek through ancient cities or breathtaking countrysides. Europe’s network of kempt trails ensures you’re always on the right track whereas the gelato, chocolate, and coffee will keep you energized.
The tropics of Southeast Asia have been transformed into a haven for today’s trekking travelers. Here you can explore the lush rainforests of Malaysia, the beachy passes of Thailand, the hidden temples in Cambodia, and SO much more! Need to rest your legs? Then take a break in the world’s best region for scuba diving, surfing, or martial arts. Every trail loops around adventure and you’ll find yourself eating, praying, and lovin’ life no matter what route you take!
Now before you start shoving oat n’ honey granola bars in your Jansport, take a quick minute to consider the often overlooked region of South America for trekking adventure tours. This continent is full of geographically diverse natural environments and its ancient ruins are simply legendary. Discover the windswept wonderland of Patagonia (NOT the clothing company) by saying hola to Chile or Argentina. You can also take a step back in time on Peru’s mythic Inca Trail leading to the one and only Machu Picchu. Your bucket list will thank you.
One of the best things about an adventure trekking tour is the variety of travel programs offered worldwide. Whether you want to walk 500 miles (or maybe even 500 more), there’s a trekking tour with the size, itinerary, and experience perfect for your adventure travel needs.
If you’re looking for something greater than a walk in the park but still want to remember what a hot shower feels like, then a short-term trek is your best bet. It’s the perfect excursion for all experience levels and typically includes a structured itinerary including accommodation and transportation. Yay, less planning! These treks last anywhere from one to eight weeks, and you can expect 10 to 20 fellow adventurers traveling within your group. You’ll probably gain more than just incredible calve muscles as you make a few lifelong friendships along the way.
For those seeking something more long-term or individualized, be sure to check out programs that offer flexible itineraries. These programs allow you to stay in a place for as long as you want and then move on to the next location when you’re ready for your next adventure. Many of these trekking adventure tours include work opportunities to earn some extra cash too. Cha-ching! Although these programs are suited more for backpackers than trekkers, you can utilize the resources and destinations provided by these programs to ensure your trek is safe and structured. If you decide to take a bus, your secret is safe with us!
The beauty of adventure travel trekking is that you can do it anytime during the year; however, it is crucial to consider the season and climate of your preferred location(s) before buying that airplane ticket. Countries along the tropics stay consistently warm year-round but be weary of the variability of rainy seasons. If you thought walking around with wet socks in the house was cringe-worthy, just imagine the jungle. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to trek successfully, but you should prepare and research your trip like one.
Keeping an eye on the footpath is just the beginning. It’s inevitable that you will encounter the many valleys of no cell service and even the infamous false summit of “we’re almost there” during your trek. Follow these tips to make the road less traveled a bit less treacherous.
Train like you mean it. Trekking for travel is not your average adventure activity as it requires both mental and physical endurance to hike five to seven hours a day for multiple days at a time. It’s never too early to dedicate time and energy to condition your body. Practice walking and hiking in your gear and shoes to ensure comfortability and target leg muscles at the gym to gradually build strength. This will make the physical adjustment to the demands of the trek more enjoyable and will decrease your risk for injury.
Pack practically. Every experienced traveler will tell you how easy it is to overpack. It’s easy to imagine situations for nearly every article of clothing you own, but unless it's going to directly benefit your trek, tell em’ to take a hike. Pack in layers and prioritize comfort over style. Your followers will understand. Your backpack should be organized (check out packing cubes) and keeping it as lightweight as possible without skipping over the essentials is a must.
Budget carefully. You should do some thorough research prior to trekking tours regarding costs. Verify with your program provider what expenses will be covered including everything from accommodation, transportation, food, and travel insurance. You may also need to invest in a variety of equipment including shoes, poles, and backpacks if you do not already own them. Lastly, bring a little more than estimated, as you may incur some costs or want to buy a few more souvenirs than expected.
Adventure travel trekking has a variety of life lessons that make even the coldest, steepest mountaintop worth the climb. You will gain a new appreciation for the world around you and your willingness and determination to experience it WILL surprise you. No AirBnb can teach you that! Additionally, you will be traveling with a large group and/or meet tons of people along the way that will undoubtedly become great friends.
That being said, trekking is no easy feat. Although this is largely part of its charm, trekking will likely be exhausting, challenging, and will test your patience and stamina in a variety of situations. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it, right? Although you’ll be seeing and doing a lot, programs that quickly trek through many locations may detract from a deeper understanding of a specific place or culture.
You’ve always been told that it is the journey, not the destination. Turns out it’s far from a cliche. Trekking turns this journey into the non-stop, magnificent thrill ride every adventurer craves, and it offers a world that only few get a glimpse of. You’ll not only earn the destination but enjoy the many unexpected “wows” along the way.