The best adventure vacations around the world await brave souls who want to put themselves through a challenge. it’s different from sticking to comfy options like sunbathing with the sounds of the waves crashing the shore or enjoying a cocktail in a fancy hotel room overlooking bustling city streets.
Not that there’s anything wrong with doing so, but, hey, life is short and the world is far too fascinating to be explored through glass windows. Before you find things to pack and go, let’s pause and read for a moment to see if an adventure vacation is what you expect it to be.
What Can You Expect From The Best Adventure Vacations Around The World?
You’ve probably seen it on social media many times - people enjoying their vacations walking with wildlife in the jungle and paddling through the streams of a waterfall.
So, what is this form of travel that seems to have taken the world by storm recently and what about it that’s so mesmerising? You ask yourself. Let us break it down for you in terms of
- What it means?
- Why is it special?
What Does “Adventure Vacation” Mean?
Immersion in nature is also a part of adventure travelling. ID: @zln77
The common definition of adventure travel is the type of niche tourism that involves a certain degree of risk. Some people often label it as “dangerous” because of how outdoorsy and stripped down to just the bare minimum it is.
It’s true that there are travellers who like to experience the extremes, but an adventure is not always about that danger factor. The core of adventure travel is that you get to step out of your comfort zone.
And to do so, you have to step away from the norms. It doesn’t have to be about putting yourself in dangerous situations. You don’t have to swim with the shark to call it “adventure”.
For example, if you fancy the beach, an adventure vacation can be a scuba-diving trip to see what lies at the bottom of the ocean. If you love to play in the sand, instead of building sandcastles and sitting on towels, you can try sand-tobogganing (it’s like surfing but on sand).
In other words, an adventure vacation is about getting your body to physically work with nature instead of enjoying nature from afar on a chaise somewhere. Adventure travel involves more “doing” and less “being” than regular travel.
What Makes Adventure Vacations Special?
Adventure vacations focus on one-of-a-kind experiences. Credit: Alexandra M
Because an adventure vacation challenges you to do more, you get to experience another side of you that you often miss daily, stuck doing routine-y passive things. This is like a break from reality for some.
Still not enough to convince you to put “adventure vacation” on your international travel checklist?
An adventure vacation also lets you see the world from a different perspective. When you travel regularly, you often get carried away with manmade things. Things you see, feel, and love on your trip tend to revolve around a product of someone else’s imagination. At the end of the day, your memories are filled with the same images as everybody else’s.
It’s a different story from adventure travel because nature does not exist because you want it to be. Nature is its own entity. It does not tell you how to feel, how to act or what to think. Every experience with nature is your own - special, unique and distinguishable from anyone else.
This is why many fall in love with adventure vacations. They get to appreciate things in a new way. That combined with adrenaline-rushing activities like skydiving, ziplining, camping, trekking or kayaking, make for a journey to remember.
Top 8 Best Adventure Vacations You Need On Your Checklist Right Now
Golden Circle Tours - Iceland
We’re starting off cold (pun intended) with the Golden Circle, but don’t let its coldness scare you out of a great adventure. The Golden Circle is one of the world’s most stunning routes.
On this route, you will find first-hand Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik. Here you can enjoy the local cuisine and be engulfed in pure bliss as you take a dip in geothermal pools. If you’re lucky, the locals can send shivers down your spine with their chilling ghost stories.
From then on, the adventure is just going to get wilder by the mile. After Reykjavik, you will arrive at Thingvellir National Park, which is a perfect spot for camping. Then comes Gullfoss Waterfall, where you can find more than one rainbow peeking out from the majestic cascade.
Many people trek the Golden Circle during the wintertime. Can you guess why? Northern lights! These are something a regular travel in the city can never give you.
Acatenango Overnight Hike - Guatemala
Reaching 4,000 metres in height, this hike is definitely not for lazy walkers, and like all volcanic terrains, it’s also steep. At the top, the whole view of Guatemala will be presented to you like a reward given to those who have challenged themselves well enough.
But that’s not the best this hike has to offer. Your real adventure only starts when you get to camp in a tent overnight by the active Fuego Volcano. Yes, you read that right. It’s an adult’s version of a sleepover with a serving side of adrenaline rush.
As exciting as it sounds, conquering the Acatenago is not easy. It requires careful preparation and planning. You might need to start muscle training in order to not fall behind on the hike and miss out on all this raw beauty.
Ta Nang Phan Dung Trekking - Vietnam
Another holiday to go along with an overnight hike in Guatemala on your travel plan is a two-day off-grid trek. It’s an adventure through the slippery grassland, mysterious jungle and whistling wind of Ta Nang.
Far away from the city streets, Ta Nang offers an experience like nowhere else in the country. You will not be able to catch a signal. It’s just going to be you, your beating heart, the local guide, and breathtaking untouched scenery.
Even though it’s not as geographically challenging as other treks, whatever you’re looking for in an adventure vacation, Ta Nang has it all. Across its 55 kilometres, you will have to walk, climb, and wade and then walk and climb and wade again. As you proceed, Ta Nang will show you exactly why it is crowded as Vietnam’s most beautiful trekking route.
Before considering Ta Nang as your next destination, be aware that this trek is not an easy one. The journey will leave you speechless with how beautiful it is, but you must put in great effort if you want to conquer it. Sounds much more novel than sipping tea on the balcony of a hotel looking out the mountain, doesn’t it?
Mt. Kilimanjaro Hike and Safari - Tanzania
Tanzania is probably a household name for avid adventure travellers around the world by now. The country is home to one of the most famous mountains, the Kilimanjaro, and a spectacular wildlife scene that inspires movies. But that doesn’t mean we should overlook it.
Adventure vacations in the region are diverse, with lots of tour types to choose from. Some routes alone on the Kilimanjaro can fill a 9-day tour. After spending some days trekking the mountain, consider taking a safari trip. You can get to see lions, elephants and wildebeests up close in Serengeti National Park or Tarangire National Park.
The charm of this adventure vacation is that it’s not only nature that you will be amazed at but also the culture of the natives. You might even get a chance to meet the people from the tribes of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Tanzania is a treasure gem of the African continent.
Fishing and Diving in Ningaloo Reef - Australia
Is it really a list of the best adventure vacations around the world without Australia? After all, Australia has been the it spot for adventure vacations because of the country’s idiosyncratic landscape for the longest time.
This part of Western Australia’s coastline which has an impressive over-200-kilometre of coral reef, is exquisite and a must-visit for sea lovers. You can join the locals as they set sail for their fishing trip.
Maybe if you’re lucky enough, you can get a photo of yourself holding a big fish for your grandchildren to see in the future. Another way to spend quality time in Ningaloo is to go snorkelling in Turquoise Bay.
If you happen to have Ningaloo on your travel bucket list in the summer, consider it your luck because it’s whale shark season! You can get to swim with the sharks.
Machu Picchu Hike - Peru
Once a forgotten wonder of the world, the stone city of Machu Picchu is now one of the most beautiful destinations for adventure travellers everywhere. It’s proof that even after that many centuries, the Inca people are still able to fascinate us with their ingenuity.
To reach Machu Picchu, the most well-known route is the Inca Trail. The Inca Trail lures you in at first with how flat it is, making you think it’s easy and a bit boring. But after a day or two, you will understand why this trail is on the travel abroad checklist of so many adventurers.
There are other ways to reach Machu Picchu as well. The Salkcantay Trek is there if you want to see one of the highest peaks of the Andes, the Nevado Salcantay. While the Lares Trail is a great way to experience the local culture.
To fully experience the nature of the area, you can visit the Sacred Valley. Here, you can enjoy a wonderful selection of adrenaline-pumping activities, such as ziplining through the forest and exploring the Incan archaeological ruins.
Hokkaido Cultural Adventure - Japan
When people think of Hokkaido, they think of sun-soaked adventures by the beach where they will break a sweat cycling up hills and around lakes. But the winter months in this corner of the land of the rising sun are just as fascinating. Even if the temperature drops below freezing, you’ll still break a sweat snowshoeing and smelt fishing in ankle-deep snow.
If it sounds like something you’d want on your international travel checklist, we recommend embarking on your adventure in early February so you can enjoy the annual Sapporo Snow Festival.
After that, you can visit the local market in Asahidake to hang out with the friendly locals and stock up on lots of warm, hearty food for upcoming adventures. You can then go snowshoeing on Mt. Asahidake, see the active volcano and take countless photos of the fantastic volcanic steam.
To put the cherry on top of an already delicious cake, you can visit Lake Kanayama to try smelt fishing. You can also catch sight of the local bears and snow dogs during your adventure.
This one is definitely for people who want to enjoy cultural activities alongside adventurous, outdoorsy stuff.
Marrakech Desert Tours - Morocco
We’ve had snow, volcanic mountains and the deep blue sea in our list of best adventure vacations around the world so far. It’s time to bring in the desert. What better place to enjoy the desert than the wonderful Morocco?
There’s something about Morroco that is just so unforgettable. Perhaps it’s the vibrancy of the culture. Perhaps it’s the enormous sand dunes that make humans feel so extremely small. As you go on an expedition to the Sahara desert and interact with the nomadic people of the area, you can see and feel that Morrocan charm for yourself.
But it’s not just sand on these tours. Enjoy freshly brewed tea while basking in the warm sunset in the Valley of Roses. Go camel trekking in Erg Chebbi, where the desert seems to be even more alive with how big the dunes are.
The experience in these Marrakech desert tours may not be as physically demanding as others on this list. But it will leave you hungry for more adventures.
What To Prepare Before Going On Your Best Adventure Vacations Around The World
You need to rethink your international travel packing list before setting your travel spirit free on an adventure vacation. This is understandable because you’re not in an air-conditioned hotel sipping champagne or watching the scenery fly by outside the cab’s window.
Your backpack will have to be light to save the energy spent dragging your stuff up and down mountains on, you know, actually climbing them.
Your amenities will be stripped down to the bare essentials only, so you can only bring exactly what you will need. There’s no space, or place, for that fancy bottle of perfume or the expensive but impractical pair of trainers.
Pack The Right Gears For Your Best Adventure Vacations Around The World
Pack only the essentials for an adventure vacation
For the adventure to be epic, you need to be equipped. Each adventure requires different gears. For example, if you go on a hike, you’ll need to bring your hiking boots and windbreaker jacket to shield you from the wind on top of a mountain. The same rule applies to a fishing trip, a trek and a snow adventure.
Before adding a destination to your travel itinerary, read up as much as possible about the terrain, the map and the itinerary. This will help you get a good grasp of what you’ll need to bring and what the backup plan should be. There are reviews from previous travellers, which are also a great source of information.
Regardless, here are a few basic things you should always have in your backpack before embarking on your best vacation adventures around the world:
- Travel documents (ID, passports, travel insurance, copies, etc.)
- Weather-appropriate clothing
- First-aid kit
- Reusable water bottles
- Light sources (headlamp, flashlight)
- Basic toiletry kit
- Sunscreen & Insect-repellent
- Electronics (cellphone, charger, camera, power bank, etc.)
- Personal belongings
- And last but not least, water-resistant bags for your items. See our recommendations here.
Get In The Right Mindset For Your Best Adventure Vacations Around The World
Prepare yourself mentally for your best adventure vacations around the world
The best adventure vacations around the world do not just need physical preparation but mental as well.
Expect The Unexpected
Because nature is full of surprises, you will stumble upon things that are not on your international travel checklist in the first place. Sometimes, those things are great; other times, it’s the opposite. Embrace them all because each of them will be a unique experience you will never have again in real life.
Get Used To Being Off-Grid
We know that announcing to your online friends that you’re chilling in a jungle is cool, but it’s not always doable when you’re adventure travelling. You will venture into some of the most rugged corners of the world that the Internet has never been heard of. So, learn to look at the “no Wi-Fi” sign on your phone with a happy smile.
Learn To Start Small
Adventure travelling is not something you can master in a day. If it’s your true calling, you need to pick the easier road to begin. For example, instead of choosing the Machu Picchu Hike for your first time, consider the Golden Circle Tours.
Remember To Have Fun
This seems obvious, but it is not always the case. Sometimes, the unexpected side of things can leave you in a worrying state. You can take a deep breath then and remind yourself that you’re travelling. You can take yourself seriously any other day of the week, but right now, you’re free.
Embarking on the World's Ultimate Adventure Journeys
We hope that these Top 8 Best Adventure Vacations Around The World will ignite a spark within you. If one of these happens to be your choice for your next great adventure, don’t forget to leave us a comment and share the article with your fellow travel mates.
Nguyen Tran Gia Khanh