Journeys for Explorers at Heart: Adventure-Based Travel

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Lounging In the lap of luxury isn’t for all vacationers. Some want to rough it a bit. That’s why adventure-based travel is on the rise. If that’s something you might be interested in, here are some good options.

Active travel is on the rise. Southeast Asia, the Arctic, Alaska and Morocco as well as Central and South America are destinations that appeal to Millennials on a budget, families with kids, and luxury seekers, according to adventure travel companies.

Sri LankaAustin Adventures

Sri Lanka

Southeast Asia

“One thing that might surprise folks is that travel to Southeast Asia continues to be strong,” says Dan Austin, president of Austin Adventures, a multi-sport adventure tour company for adults and families. Austin cites a slow and steady increase in interest to the region over the years.

Austin Adventures trips include: 12 day/11 night trips to Sri Lanka with a jungle safari for leopard and sloth in Wilpattu National Park and a boat safari in Gal Oya National Park to see elephants swimming between the islands. From $6,798 per person.

Geckos Adventures, a tour operator that offers economical trips for Millennials, has seen growth in interest from its 18- to 29-year-old customers. “Southeast Asia is by far our most popular destination and it continues to entice travelers, up 17 percent for the whole region in 2016,” says Leigh Barnes, North America regional director for Geckos Adventures. Barnes notes that bookings are already up 41 percent for 2017 trips.  Barnes also cites strong interest in Nepal and India.

Geckos Adventures trips include: 12 day/11 night Essential Cambodia. Explore Ho Chi Minh City, Angkor and Bangkok. Meals not included. From $895.

The Arctic

Wilderness Travel, recently named AFAR’s World’s Best Tour Operator, has witnessed increased demand for trips to Iceland, Greenland, Lapland and Norway’s fjord country. “We are proud to have pioneered some really interesting hiking trips in Norway, both in the fjord country and hiking above the Arctic Circle,” says Barbara Banks, director of marketing and new-trip development for Wilderness Travel. Wilderness Travel is known for its itineraries that feature off-the-beaten-path places and an emphasis on cultures and landscapes.

Wilderness Travel trips include: 12 day/11 night expedition to Lapland with snowshoeing in national parks, a reindeer safari through the forest, cross-country skiing and dogsledding. From $6,495 per person.

BoliviaWilderness Travel


Central and South America

For Austin Adventures’ travelers, interest in Peru continues to be strong. “Peru continues to be popular and is such an amazing destination. There’s so much more to Peru than Machu Picchu and we open up that world to our guests,” says Austin.

Austin Adventures, trips include: Peru Family, Machu Picchu: 9 days/8 nights. Visit Cusco, hike the Inca Trail, and raft the Urubamba River. From $4,998 per person.

“Central America is our fourth most popular destination overall and has shown 27 percent growth for 2017 booking from 2016,” says Barnes. “While growth increases in 2015 flattened out in 2016, due to concerns about Zika and availability around the Olympics, travelers are coming back in 2017.”

Wilderness Travel, trips include: 14 days/13 nights Bolivia. Escorted by an expert in Inca culture, explore La Paz, visit Inca ruins, meet the weavers of Tarabuco and hike nature reserves. From $5,295 per person.