fran_penguinsEach adventure has its own specific requirements. But all adventure travel has one common goal, you need to be prepared and only do activities that meet your fitness level. What good is doing an adventure that’s going to give you a heart attack? It’s hard to tell a story if you don’t live to tell it.
So with that in mind, I’ve made up a list of ten tips for the travel adventurer:

1) Find a reputable outfit to travel with. It’s best to get personal recommendations, but if not, at least make sure the place has been in business longer than it took the paint to dry on their shingle. Do some research. You want to have fun and be safe at the same time. BTW just because a company has a website, it does not make them reputable.

2) Find out the fitness level that is required to do the adventure. For example if you are embarking on a 100-mile bike tour, you should have at least done half that amount recently, (not the year you went to the prom.)

3) Find out if any personal gear is required. For example, on a scuba diving trip, even for beginners they usually require your own mask, fins and snorkel. (Unless you are going to a resort). On a hiking trip you’d need a good set of broken in hiking boots. (Do not buy new boots and hike in them the very next day.) On a tandem skydive you would need clothes that allow you freedom of movement. On a kayaking trip you don’t want to wear anything cotton, etc.

4) Find out the hidden costs. My son and I climbed Kilimanjaro. Besides the cost of the trip, there was special gear we had to purchase ($1500), immunization shots ($400), Visa’s ($50 each) etc.

5) If you are going to a foreign country, call the consulate to find out what shots if any you should take, not just what you need. Africa only REQUIRES a yellow fever shot, but it is recommended you also take Hep A, tetanus, Malaria tablets, Diamox for altitude sickness, etc. Also keep up on the news to make sure the country you are traveling too is not in political unrest. Now would not be a good time to go to Egypt for example.

6) Bring a first aid kit. I used to laugh at my boyfriend when he brought a first aid kit with us. But there have been a few times that it has come in handy, even just on day outings. (Think of the movie 127 when a rock climber is forced to amputate his own arm after a rock falls on it.) On that note also tell someone where you are going. This way if you are not back within 24 hours or at your appointed time they can call a search party.

7) If you are a single parent of a minor, make sure you have your government stamped custody papers with you if you have sole custody or a permission note from the other parent if you have joint.  I have witnessed people not be able to get on a plane with their children because they don not have the papers. (This is mainly for foreign travel like Mexico.)

8) If you are doing a high adrenaline adventure don’t bring excess baggage – where are you going to keep it? Think, will my camera get wet? Do I have a waterproof camera? Do I need to bring a baggie to keep papers, money etc. dry? Find out the little details of the trip to make it easier in terms of luggage. For example while running the NYC marathon, I was told to bring a garbage bad to wear to keep me warm the first mile I ran, then I could shed the garbage bag as I warmed up and would have to worry about losing it or carrying it later, like I would have to had I worn a sweatshirt.

9) Ask the “what if’s”. What if someone’s parachute doesn’t open? What if someone doesn’t make it up the mountain? Do they just leave you there and continue on? What if I get lost in the cave? What if I get hypothermia during the polar bear plunge? What if there is an actual polar bear during the plunge? What if I get seasick on a boat ride? Now I’m not saying this to be a pessimist, I’m saying to follow the scout honor and be prepared. Know what you are supposed to do in case of emergency. Better safe than sorry.

10) Find out if pictures can be taken safely during the adventure.  For example if you are driving a race car at 100 mph, you probably don’t want to be snapping pictures of yourself at the same time. But on the other hand, I did use my flip camera during a zip line. Find out in advance if they have a professional photographer at the facility that can take pictures of you during your daring adventure and how much it will cost. Most places have one. But if they don’t find out if you can bring a friend, or a photographer to take the photos.

The bottom line is you want to experience new things in life and have fun. A lot of times new challenges are scary, but you can do it. Stay within your experience level. Listen to the trained instructors. Take only calculated risks, but challenge yourself far enough to grow. Focus on what you are doing, and learn from the adventure. You will find out that you can overcome most things in life if you just believe in yourself and take action. ENJOY!

Fran Capo aka Travel Adventure mom is a stand up comic, motivational speaker, adventurer, and host of the award winning TV show; Live it Up! She’s also a 5-time world record holder, most known as the Guinness Book of World Records fastest talking female, and puts out a daily humorous motivational vlog called, “Cuppa Capo.” As a 15 time author, Fran book “Adrenaline Adventures; Dream it, Read it, do it!” is filled with funny stories, motivational quotes, and great adventure ideas for the daredevil soul. You can learn more about Fran or check out her books at francapo.com