We all know that vacations relieve stress and refresh the spirit, but studies show that active travel offers physical benefits as well. Active travel focuses on physical activity like walking or cycling. You can apply this to everyday life by ditching the car and walking to the store or riding your bike to work. Take those activities to a different locale and throw in some beautiful nature, local culture and a touch of excitement (don’t forget the luxury!) and you’ve got an active adventure vacation that is good for body and soul.
“Active travel is proven to lower health risks such as diabetes, metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure, heart disease, colon cancer, breast cancer, depression levels and more, according to the Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee.” – ForbesLife
A cycling vacation allows you to enjoy adventures like a tapas tour of Spain’s Costa Brava or exploring the wine region of Mendoza, Argentina on two wheels with the luxury of a ride-along guide and support vehicle, luggage transport and comfortable hotels. As you pedal through scenic landscapes, you’ll meet local farmers and craftsmen, taste the native flavors and really engage with the local culture. Strong riders can opt for extended routes and each day ends with a delicious meal and a soft bed.
If the challenge of mountain biking is more your speed, options include everything from attacking the world’s top stretches of singletrack with pro-rider guides to stunt riding. You can roll through Utah’s Canyonlands or tackle the high Andes of South America.
Fleet of Foot
Traveling on your own two feet is the slowest way to get somewhere, but the rewards are incredible. Much like cycling, the pace allows you an insider’s view of local lifestyles. You have time to appreciate the surrounding panoramas and the flexibility to stay a while or move on, as you please.
Walking and hiking vacations can be found for all kinds of terrain ranging from flat country lanes to cliffside paths with steep climbs. Day hikes and multi-day walking vacations are popular throughout Europe and North America, in Africa, South America, and the South Pacific. In New Zealand, they call it “tramping” and in Australia “bushwalking.”
Trekking steps up the intensity a notch by hiking over varied terrain or unmarked paths on multi-day trips. That often includes porters or pack animals to carry equipment, set up tents and cook. Trekking expeditions include hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro and trekking to Everest Base Camp.
When trekking requires technical climbing equipment like crampons and ice axes, it crosses over into mountaineering. Examples of mountaineering include glacier crossings, ascending a via ferrata and summiting Mount Everest. This level of active adventure travel requires specific skills and expertise.
If you want your active adventure travel to be on the water, there are plenty of options to wet your whistle. For whitewater adventure at all skill levels, try the 200-mile stretch of Colorado River that cuts through the stunning Grand Canyon, the New and Gauley Rivers of West Virginia and the glacier-fed Futaleufú River in Chile, or for heart-pounding thrills, the Batoka Gorge below Victoria Falls on Zimbabwe’s boiling Zambezi River.
An equally invigorating paddling experience at a more serene pace is sea kayaking. Favorite experiences include kayaking with beluga whales in Hudson Bay, Canada, gliding over Belize’s barrier reef and paddling alongside sea lions in the beautiful San Juan Islands of the Pacific Northwest.
The best thing about active adventure travel is that the options and combinations are practically limitless:
- Swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving
- Stand up paddleboarding, surfing, sailing
- Rock climbing, rappelling, caving
- Skiing, snowboarding, ice skating
- Zip lining, bungee jumping, skydiving
Movement and adventure naturally complement one another and empower you with confidence and a feeling of accomplishment. Add awe-inspiring settings, social interaction and cultural engagement and you’ve got a recipe for active adventure travel!
For help matching your favorite outdoor sport and skill level to the right active travel provider, contact the vacation specialists at Covington Travel.