This past year has been difficult for many, for varying reasons. In particular, it impacted travel and group outings. Outdoor adventures such as hiking and camping have grown in popularity as a result.
The year 2020 brought with it a new illness that spread around the globe, unprecedented in living memory, and left huge sections of the world in a state of shock, many of us losing loved ones in the process.
As the illness appears to wane, many of us are itching to get out of our homes and back into the world. After all, there are only so many hours you can spend watching Netflix series, tidying your attic, and arranging zoom-based activities with your friends, however inventive they may be.
Now, with this strange year finally over and a breakthrough in healthcare on the horizon, many of us will, at last, be daring to make travel plans. We have had months to populate our bucket lists, endless hours with nothing more to do than ponder far-flung destinations we can eventually visit when some semblance of normality resumes. It is this excited fantasizing that has got us through the winter months.
However, the unfortunate reality is that many of the things we associate with normal, things we had previously taken for granted, will remain blocked off for the foreseeable future. Going bar hopping on a European city break, packing into a coach for a mountain excursion, going to an international music festival — all of these activities will be subject to restrictions, varying from country to country.
For those who simply cannot wait to get away, an outdoor holiday might be the best option. It will give you the chance to stretch your legs, breathe some fresh air, and satisfy your urge to get as far away from your daily routine as humanly possible.
Best of all, you are likely to face fewer restrictions than you would on a conventional holiday, so your trip will remain free and unrestricted. But these trips are more self-directed so you will need to make an effective plan before setting off into the wild.
Here are some things to bear in mind as you plan your outdoor adventures!
Planning Outdoor Adventures: What You Need to Know
Get the Right Gadgets
When we think of outdoor adventures, we tend to build a mental image of survivalists like Bear Grylls or Ray Mears, complete with skinning deer, makeshift wooden bivouacs, and drinking one’s own urine. Yet modern outdoor trips are very different.
While reconnecting with nature is undoubtedly the main motivation behind any countryside retreat, city dwellers often find it hard to leave their creature comforts behind. Luckily, there is a multitude of products available for those who need a little taste of home to really get the most out of their trip into the wild.
Whether you pack a blow-up mattress to sleep soundly, a portable solar charger to keep your GPS device powered up, or a fold-up toaster to put over a camping stove, you can give any tent or teepee the feel of a luxury hotel. Who said camping out in the woods had to be uncomfortable?
Timing is Everything
Just as important as the “where” of your trip is the “when.” Obviously, different destinations are more popular at different times of the year, so unless you don’t mind getting swept away in a tide of other tourists, it might be best to schedule during the off-season.
Fortunately, this year might be different to most others as the tourists are leaving their homes very tentatively—if at all—so even the hottest spots will be expecting far fewer visitors than they would under normal circumstances.
It will be important, instead, to keep a close eye on the border restrictions different countries or even individual states are putting up to determine when you book your trip.
Outdoor activities like camping, glamping, and mountain trekking are far safer in terms of health risks than conventional city breaks or hotel stays, so you are likely to encounter fewer restrictions. However, you will be at the mercy of the weather.
Weather conditions can be the difference between the serene rustic holiday you had always dreamed of and a drenched, windswept, muddy nightmare that no amount of stoicism can overcome.
Most of us do not have the luxury of short notice to suddenly plan a weeklong getaway, so it is advisable to choose a destination with great weather to depend on, or consult the internet, to find out the most tranquil, sunny part of the season to go.
This should go without saying but when we venture out into the countryside, all of us bear a burden of responsibility to take care of the natural environment as we travel. We are guests in Mother Nature’s house when all is said and done. So do not even think about disposing of your plastic bottles, foil food wrappers, or cans en route unless there are clearly demarcated bins to put them in.
Parents: you are responsible for making sure your children do the same. Conservation areas tend to be littered with signs giving information about local wildlife and how best to respect it. These signs are there for a reason, so follow their advice so as not to disrupt vulnerable species that depend on the habitats you are stomping through.
As a general rule, it is preferable to remain on or at least fairly close to the main footpaths. Not only will this limit human incursion into habitats, but it will help you avoid getting lost as well.
I was not joking when I mentioned that outdoor adventures are more self-directed than your standard holiday, and this applies to your luggage! Unless you are rich enough to hire a team of sherpas to carry your bags around, you should always aim to pack as light as possible.
While your enormous hiking rucksack might seem bearable when you initially fling it over your shoulders, six hours of trekking up and down a mountain might change that. So if you have to sacrifice a couple of home comforts, it will save you and your partner lots of backaches!
Lose yourself in the great outdoors in 2021. Many of the world’s most beautiful (and popular) natural spots are there for you to access in their empty serenity before hordes of tourists return, as current conditions de-intensify. The time you put into planning your outdoor adventures will pay off when you are halfway up a mountain, I can assure you.