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As much as I love lying on a chair by a pool, reading a good book and sipping a cocktail, I enjoy it even more after a sweaty outdoor run, gym session or bootcamp. In fact, nowadays I seek out more action on a vacation than a pre-breakfast workout, opting to climb Kilimanjaro, complete half and full marathons around the world, and hike the National Parks in Utah in the past few years.
And it seems I’m not the only one, with the popularity of active vacations increasing year on year. If you’re after something a little more than rest and relaxation on your vacation then follow these steps to plan your first/next active vacation.
Define ‘ Active Vacation ’
First things first—what would you describe as active? Is that running an ultra-marathon on your holiday, or is it simply adding in a daily workout on your trip? Establish the level of activity you (and your fellow travelers) are up for and start researching.
Group or Solo?
Decide whether you’re going to organize the active vacation yourself, go with a group or travel through an agency. If you’re going to be doing something that requires specialist equipment or permits, often a travel agent or tour operator will be the easier option, especially if language barriers are an issue. However, you can often organize activities on the ground when you get to your destination, or just head out on your own!
Think outside the box
A vacation is the perfect opportunity to try something new like canyoneering or coasteering, mountain biking or kite surfing. It could be a one hour lesson, a full day or a week long camp but learning something new is a core need for psychological wellbeing. “Learning can help us build confidence and a sense of self-efficacy,” notes positive psychology expert, Vanessa King. “It can also be a way of connecting with others too.”
Chicken or the egg?
Which came first, the activity or the destination? Establish which one is the more important to your active vacation, then plan accordingly. If it’s the activity, then find out where the best locations are, for example, Moab, Utah is awesome for mountain biking. If it’s the destination that interests you, then research the activities available in the area. While planning a holiday, I’ll always check out the local fitness scene, hotel gym, plus as many outdoor options as possible.
Hit the Shops
There’s nothing worse than being out in the field without the right gear, so make sure you pack everything on the suggested kit list, as well as anything that other might recommend. The best piece of gear I brought with my up Kilimanjaro was a metal water bottle to use as a hot water bottle at night, and to ensure my water didn’t freeze on summit night.
If you’re hoping to hike Kilimanjaro, cycle part of the Tour de France route, run an international marathon or undertake another big adventure on your bucket list, you’ll enjoy it far more if you train properly before you leave. Speak to others that have tackled the challenge, your tour operator, and read up about the trip, and get out there!