Adventure Travel on a Shoestring

Adventure travel is booming. Travellers are eschewing luxury hotel vacations for getting out, working up a sweat, and interacting with the locals. If you are seeking more of a cultural and outdoorsy experience in your travel, adventure travel is for you.

Contrary to what you might think, having those up-close-and-personal adventure travel experiences can cost you a pretty penny, often the same or more than you would pay to book that luxury vacation.  But there are ways to do it on the cheap. Here’s how:

Look in Your Own Backyard

The U.S. has an incredible national parks system that is currently celebrating its centennial, and you can see much of it by investing in some decent camping equipment. Camping is one of the least expensive and most adventurous ways to see the country, by automatically cutting out the hotel bill. National parks often offer a wealth of exploring programs, many at a low price or free. In addition to the national parks, there are also state park systems, as well as county and town parks that can be just as beautiful without the crowds and rules. If you are travelling with a pet, you will find that state and local parks are much more lenient about letting in your four-legged friends. No need to book an international flight and get your passport in order, unless you are trying to fill up your national parks passport. Just tie on your hiking boots, throw your camping gear in the car, and hit the road.

Book it Yourself

If you want to lop off a sizable percentage of the bottom line of your travel budget, there is no better way to do adventure travel than to book the trip yourself, rather than going with a package deal. You can choose the best airfares -- try Matrix ITA and Skyscanner -- and for a multi-leg journey, go with one-way tickets, rather than round trip.  Eat on the cheap, hire local guides, pay day trip entrance fees to parks, and stay in budget accommodations. By putting the trip together yourself, you have more control over where you want to save and where you want to splurge. Also, consider less expensive countries for travel. European destinations are generally more costly than Mexico and Central America, for instance, while travelling domestically is usually the most affordable, with the added benefit of no language barrier or currency exchanges.

Book a Budget Tour

If you are new to adventure travel or just too busy to plan your own trip, the best alternative may be to go with one of the budget travel tour groups. There are many adventure travel companies that cater to the solo traveller, and do not require the single supplement that travellers are usually required to pay when hoofing it alone. To determine whether the tour company is a better value than travelling on your own, do a little research and compare what you estimate your costs would be versus theirs. There’s a lot to be said for having someone to smooth the way for you, particularly in a foreign country, and that peace of mind could be priceless.

Be Flexible

Whether you choose to travel alone or with a group, you will find the best savings if you can be flexible in your travel. There are significant discounts to be had on last-minute travel -- for airfares, hotels, or complete package tours. If you can keep your travel dates flexible or change plans quickly while on the road, you will also uncover transportation and accommodations for less. As long as you are willing to do the legwork, adventure travel is out there to be had for anyone.

The joy in adventure travel can be as much in the anticipation and planning, as it is the actual journey. Be ready to not know exactly what is around the corner, get outdoors in a strange country, and get to know the locals as they live away from the usual tourist areas. The experience of a lifetime awaits you!

For more information and tips on adventure travel, visit the Smart Voyager website.