What to know before you sign up.
What to know before you sign up for an adventure trip?
Imagine pedalling along scenic coastlines or walking from one charming medieval village to the next. What could be more idyllic than joining a walking or cycling tour, whether here or abroad? Ah, but the best laid plans… We’ve all heard stories from friends or relatives who thought their bike trip in the South of France, for instance, would be leisurely, cycling from village to village while nibbling on baguettes and cheese and stopping at atmospheric cafes along the way, only to find that the journey was more like an exhausting Tour de France. Here are some things to consider before you sign up for an active vacation, to ensure that it doesn’t resemble an episode of ‘Survivor.’
What is the trip’s activity level?
Each tour company has its own classification or ranking system indicating whether a trip is meant for beginners, moderate walkers/ cyclists, or more serious athletes. Among the components considered in the ranking are the miles travelled each day and the gain in elevation. Some trips are designed for people at any level. Ultimately, though, there is a lot of subjectivity as to how the trip is classified. You can ask the tour operator if the trip you are considering is a good fit for you, but a better bet perhaps is to consult previous travellers, if the company provides contact information. Keep in mind that if you want a physical and mental challenge, signing up for a more advanced trip may sound good in theory, but if your pace is slow, it may cause problematic group dynamics or make it difficult for you to arrive at your accommodation before dark. Worse yet, it could result in physical strain and injuries – and ultimately less enjoyment for you.
What is the terrain?
Is it flat or rolling? Does it include mountain passes? What is the altitude? A flat, 30-mile bicycle ride may be a piece of cake for you, but 30 miles of cycling that includes a 2,000-foot mountain may be way too difficult. If the tour is described as having undulating terrain, that means you will be climbing and descending mile after mile,