– By Susie Donald

The prospect of traversing thousands of miles of breathtaking landscape is one which appeals to every adventurer, whether it is kayaking down the furious rapids of a canyon or cycling through the picturesque wilderness of an island paradise. Grabbing your favourite pair of hiking boots, perusing treasured maps and gathering your GPS and camera equipment together are just of the few of the painstaking yet anticipatory tasks which spur on the excitement of an upcoming expedition or adventure getaway, alongside the more monotonous logistics. Here are a few tips – both pleasurable and mundane – to take into consideration before racing full-force into the sweep of another outdoor adventure. Though they may seem fairly straightforward, spur-of-the-moment enthusiasts especially don’t always pay them heed – but as with any project, preparation is half the battle to ensuring a stress-free, fun-filled venture where you can focus on the excitement at hand because you’ve already done your homework.




Check Your Coverage

Weekend jaunts might seem fairly harmless, and sometimes it’s easy to feel that there is paperwork overload for the slightest event in this day and age; the Globe and Mail reports that an alarming number of Canadians don’t purchase travel insurance when they should. But even casual trips can go wrong, and nothing is more disruptive than finding that you’re in another province, state, or country without any medical or baggage loss coverage. What might appear to be a hassle in ensuring this beforehand is minimal to the stress and potential financial loss it could cause in the case of an accident or a misplaced item.




Thanks to the tourism industry becoming increasingly versatile as well as more accessible in recent years, there are now more options available to choose from; financial specialists Quotezone.uk point out that buyers can select “from single-trip policies or annual cover” which provide various forms of coverage, so that travellers can gain protection within their budget. With these options, it’s critical to check the small print – providers are especially picky when it comes to details, such as skiing off-piste or hiking above the 2,000 metre altitude point which affects the coverage stating that “overlooking them when taking out your policy could be the difference between you forking out for a hefty hospital bill and being covered.” In short, do your research, read the small print, and get covered.



Know Your Domain

Understanding where you will be going and what you will be doing goes beyond reading the brochures and watching the occasional TV travel show. It’s important to understand exactly what kind of place you are venturing into – even if you have visited before, there are certain areas of the globe which are highly tenuous when it comes to political, social, or even environmental unrest. Being educated and informed means not only having an awareness of the region socially, but being open-minded as well – several places with stigma attached or are simply underrated turn out to be some of the most magnificent destinations on the map. Alongside this comes learning basic cultural etiquette and adopting an open and free attitude towards others. “Our values, assumptions, biases, and communication styles are some of the things that turn up in our cultural baggage,” observes Culture Crossing, a handy online guide which provides quick lists of essential things to remember while travelling. Learning to accept differences and remembering that a tourist is a guest in another person’s home is key.

Equally important, understanding the environmental climate of the region is a must and this is especially one aspect of the preparation process which most enthusiasts throw themselves into. Great explorers and outdoor sports lovers, while preferring to travel as light as possible, throw themselves into packing for every kind of weather. But it’s also advisable to know your own limits – a trek up the mountain in autumn won’t be nearly as dehydrating and demanding as the blazing heat waves of summer, just as a winter snowfall can become easily treacherous. Section Hiker recommends to “Never hike alone in winter,” and to venture into wintery territory already having acquired the essential survival skills, remembering that a team is only as strong as its weakest link.



Tuning Up Fitness Levels

Following the previous advice, know what your body will be able to do. Long-term plans definitely help to build-up endurance and acclimatize the body to extremes and maintaining a regular regime helps for those spontaneous weekend trips where you’re suddenly in the middle of a gruelling hill-climb. For that pivotal excursion to pay off, making sure that you also exercise the right body parts is crucial. For example, cyclists often neglect their core. “Although a cyclist’s legs provide the most tangible source of power, the abs and lower back are the vital foundation from which all movement, including the pedal stroke, stems” states Bicycling.com. It’s not just about keeping up the cardio, but preventing muscle strain by preparing properly will make the difference not only in the performance but the overall enjoyment of the trip.

Most importantly, try to get as much as possible done ahead of time. Once the less desirable tasks are out of the way, you can enjoy packing and getting ready for the next adventure of a lifetime.