Objections, Features of Soft, Factor, and Hard-Core Adventure Trips
Adventure travel tours include guided hikes and catered meals or full-out challenge and hair-raising adventure. Here’s how to pick the proper adventure vacation.
Today’s guided adventure travel trips leave no corner of the world unexplored. From hiking the English moors to rafting the Amazon, from climbing un-named peaks to tracking gorillas in Uganda or tigers in India, adventure travel trips
But not every guided adventure tour is suitable for every traveler: One person’s forest romp is another Everest. Loosely, adventure travel is classified into three sections: Effortless adventure, medium adventure, and Difficulte adventure. While there is some overlap between the categories, here’s how to evaluate the three types of experience to determine which is most appropriate for a group.
Soft Adventure Travel Packages
Soft adventure travel tours are appropriate for anyone who is reasonably fit. Indeed, some so-called gentle adventure tours involve only a few hours of easy walking every day and may even be suitable for more sedentary folks. Most suppliers determine their trips in terms of complexity. Examples of soft adventure include day-hiking, cycling, or riding horses over moderate terrain, from inn to inn or town to town, or trips based in an experience or eco-lodge, with different activities planned for each day. Soft adventure trips are often a good choice for groups of mixed levels of ability and fitness.
- Lodgings: Travelers may be out adventuring during the day, but they sleep between clean sheets at night.
- Meals: All meals are catered and prepared.
- Porters. Porters will carry virtually all supplies and equipment.
- Risk: There is a tiny element of risk beyond any risk generally associated with the activity.
- An Opt-Out Option. On a bike trip, there might be a “sag-wagon,” which carries equipment and food supplies and which offers participants the chance to sit out a day, or part of a day, if they are sore or tired.
Medium Adventure Travel Tours
Medium adventure travel tours require an element of fitness. They may involve a combination of adventure elements:
Resting out in the range.
- Acquiring specific skills.
- Being able to handle challenges such as high altitudes or cold.
A medium adventure travel tour might include a multi-day hike on the Colorado Trail, a commercial rafting trip on the Colorado River, or a sea-kayaking adventure in Baja.
These trips involve more challenge and “roughing it” than soft-adventure, but they are within the capacity of the average fit person. Mid-level adventure travel doesn’t require special skills, and while an element of risk may be present, the chances are such that guides have dealt with them before and generally apprehend what to anticipate and how to manage it.
- Lodging: Lodgings may be in rustic refuges, high country huts, or tents. Tents will generally be erected for the guests.
- Meals: Porters usually cater to banquets.
- Porters: Porters may carry all or most equipment, leaving guests to take only personal items.
- Risk: The element of risk is not extreme, although guests should be willing to learn new skills and follow directions.
- An Opt-Out Option: There may not be an easy opt-out option.
Hard-Core Adventure Trips
The short description of hard-core adventure is that it goes beyond fun and vacationing. Hard-core adventures are more about the challenge and overcoming obstacles, and sometimes, about “bragging rights” adventures. An exceptional level of ability is required. Specific skills such as ice climbing may be necessary, although in some cases, training might be part of the tour package.
Examples include guided climbs of mountains that would otherwise be too dangerous for a less experienced person to climb without guidance (Mt. Rainier, Denali), paddling Class 5 rapids, or attempting to climb a previously unclimbed peak. Indeed, guided hard-core adventures include every type of challenge up to and including climbing Mt. Everest (although at a price-tag of some $60,000).
- Lodging. Lodgings are primitive in tents, sheds, or shacks.
- Meals: Depending on the location, local porters may prepare meals, but this is not always the case.
- Porters: There may be porters, but participants may also be required to haul heavy loads and assist in camp chores.
- Risk: There is no guarantee of success. On hard-core adventure tours, guides may also be at risk.
- An Opt-Out Option: Climbers may opt out of continuing up and choose to stay in a lower camp. But short of a full-fledged rescue, there may be no other way to leave the trip than by hiking in and out. Whether or other factors may require the group to abandon the objective.
If in doubt, spend time on the phone with the tour operator, ask to talk to a guide or a previous client, and read up on the adventure. A little planning and knowing what challenges, level of fitness, preparation, and skills the trip will involve will help make the right match between adventure traveler and adventure travel guide.