10 of the best activity and adventure holidays

Winning tip: Mountain biking, New Zealand

There is an almost infinite list of outdoor activities for any ability in Queenstown, South Island. The hills surrounding Lake Wakatipu (pictured above), which provide incredible ski runs during winter, reveal endless kilometres of mountain bike trails in summer. With a good selection of bike-hire options in the town itself, I went for Vertigo Bikes, which offers half-day/five-hour full suspension bike hire for $79 (£42). It also provides recommendations for local downhill trails and cross-country rides all within half an hour’s ride of the town centre. There is a wide range of accommodation in the town.
 vertigobikes.co.nz
James Cobb

Kayaking off Pembrokeshire

I thought walking the Pembrokeshire Coast path was awe-inspiring but my breath was truly taken while sea kayaking along the coast’s secret bays and petrified lava flow cliffs. We went with a local company, Mayberry Kayaking, over a couple of days, lunching on Skomer island and paddling past flotillas of puffins in the south and then carving through sculpted rocks and caves with dolphins feeding off the north of the county.
 Two days’ kayaking from £227, mayberrykayaking.co.uk
peppermintpattis

Hairy cycling, Bolivia

Death Road, aka the North Yungas Road, starts at 15,300 feet and leads from La Paz to the jungle city of Coroico. We cycled down the single-lane road, passing stunning views and sheer drops along the way – until we reached the tropical heat below. Originally an old highway, the route is now mostly used by tourists. It is a precarious ride and not recommended for the faint-hearted, but suitable for both confident beginners and pro-mountain bikers. We organised the bike tour through our hostel, El Solario, in La Paz. There are loads of companies to choose from and prices range according to your choice of bicycle, protective gear and tour add-ons.
Julia Stepowska

Volcano hiking, Indonesia

Never mind the frequent eruptions, volcano hiking is a big thing in Indonesia. The country’s second highest volcano is Gunung Rinjani on Lombok, Bali’s neighbour – its peak stands at 3,726 metres. It last erupted in 2016. Guided hiking tours of the volcano are popular in the drier months, despite its gruelling reputation. The three-day route is the favoured option, with a jaw-clenching, leg-burning, pre-sunrise rush for the peak on the second day. The five hours it takes to summit and return to camp in the morning accounts for less than half of the allotted hiking hours for that day. If you have any breath left by the time you’ve struggled to the top – made harder by the unstable ground, as you trigger a small avalanche of volcanic scree with every step – it will be stolen by the view.
Ellie Hattersley

Running and cruising, Norway

On a Hurtigruten cruise up the coast of Norway you can combine chilling out onboard, viewing some of the most amazing mountain scenery imaginable, with fantastic running to make the most of your time on land. We were ready in running gear as we docked and kept a close eye on the time as we ran around the remote villages and ports en route, touring the sights in Trondheim and the countryside behind Hammerfest.
 12-day Classic Round Voyage from £986pp, hurtigruten.co.uk
Joanne Welding

Canyoning in Dalat, Vietnam

Canyoning involves travelling down waterfalls using a variety of different techniques – including climbing, abseiling and just jumping – a truly terrifying but equally incredible experience. Dalat, a thriving city in Vietnam’s southern Central Highlands, is a renowned location for the activity. There are many companies in Dalat offering canyoning trips but we went with Highland Holiday Tours, which provided an exciting and safe one-day trip including lunch.
 $50pp, 9am-4.30pm, highlandholidaytours.com.vn
Ellie Swain

A 45-mile swim around Jersey

Last September, after months of training in cold water, I set off to swim 45 miles around Jersey. I swam for 11 hours, 19 minutes in 16C water without a wetsuit, helped along by Jersey’s huge tidal range and supported by a little boat. It was a day of highs and lows. Starting just before dawn meant I swam straight into the orange-tinted, completely still and utterly mesemerising waters of the sunrise. A few hours later, the wind on the north coast whipped up the waves, leading to seasickness and nausea. Just as I felt ready to give up, exhausted and fed-up, a pod of dolphins joined me, lifting my spirits, even coming back for a final hello as I swam the last few hundred metres to the finish. The funny thing is that as I look back, the elation of finishing something so big, the sheer beauty of the island and call of the ocean have almost wiped out the memory of the mental battles I went through.
 jerseyseaswims.org
Sophie Kelk

Himalayan trek, India

As part of our eight weeks in northern India, in October last year, my daughter, husband and I trekked the Himalayas in Sikkim. Overall it was nine days’ trekking and camping in a group, supported by five locals with five horses. It was hard work but we reached 4,600 metres at Goechala, our highest point. We encountered, sunshine, cold, rain, mud, saw indescribable views; ate wonderful food, all cooked on an open fire or single gas burner; enjoyed camaraderie with other trekking groups. It was booked with Mountain Tours and Treks in Sikkim (costs depend on group numbers), the five men who supported us on the trek taught us life in the mountains is totally unpredictable and utterly amazing.
katepaul

Trolltunga hike, Norway

After seeing a photo of Trolltunga, three friends and I picked it as our last expedition before some of us focused on fatherhood. A 22km hike that took us 11 hours to complete up and down. The beauty was the change in environments, starting with large stone steps that killed the thighs and changing to walking across snow-covered valleys. The end result was reaching the tongue, sticking out 700 metres above the lake. The exhaustion completely left us once we saw the view. Stunning.
cand82

Rafting, Bosnia

“We don’t want to be remembered for the war” people often say in Bosnia. Having spent the previous day carefully treading the site of the 1984 Winter Olympics to avoid any landmines that remained undetected over two decades later, this was initially easier said than done. Yet, Bosnia is a vastly underrated country; it is simply a treasure-trove of architectural and natural beauty. There is adventure to be found there. At rebuilt Stari Most (Old Bridge) in Mostar, visitors can jump 20 metres into the Neretva river. But another way to experience this beautiful river is by rafting through the deep rock valley. I opted to use the local rafting company Raft Kor. The day started from the town of Konjic. It’s a 75-minute drive from Sarajevo or Mostar but I had reserved the shuttle bus from Sarajevo during booking. All equipment was provided (wetsuits, life jackets, helmets and a waterproof bag). For the next six adrenaline-fuelled hours I encountered spectacular waterfalls, natural springs, cliff diving and swam in the rapids. This trail would be accessible to most, from more experienced rafters to beginners. It was thrilling.
 Rafting with Raft Kor, including breakfast and equipment, from 9am to 6pm,

€35, neretvarafting.com
Sarah Learmouth

Original The Guardian

Ten Mistakes Made by Solo Female Travelers

Ten Mistakes Made by Solo Female Travelers

If you are taking your first solo adventure abroad, there are a few easy mistakes you can make that can cause an inconvenience or even ruin your journey.

It’s always important to plan ahead and avoid the simple faults that can get in the way of first-time solo female travelers having the experience of their life. These oversights vary across several different areas of travel, but are completely avoidable- by being prepared and aware!

Here are ten mistakes made by solo female travelers in their journeys!

 Not Trusting Locals 

If your natural instinct is to be warm and friendly with everyone you meet, then embrace it and feel free to get to know locals when the opportunity arises.

While it is super important to be cautious, it is also important to know that not all locals are looking to scam or bother you. They might be just as interested in your culture as you are in their own culture!

 Not Being Assertive with Unwanted Attention 

Nobody wants to be rude to friendly locals, but if you are getting unwanted attention from someone, it is important that you are confident and assertive in telling them that you are not interested.

In some cases not taking this step will make men bolder in talking to you and may act as an encouragement. I’ve found it’s best to remain friendly, rather than getting visually angry, and firmly ask to be left alone.

 Not Researching Local Culture 

A major mistake that travelers can make is not researching the common customs in the destination they are visiting.

It is crucial to know the etiquette, especially when it comes to what to wear for solo female travelers, because the last thing you want to do is draw any unwanted attention to yourself or come off as offensive to the local culture.

Make sure to read up about the local customs and avoid those classic tourist errors.

 Not Sharing Travel Plans 

The freedom that comes with solo travel provides for an unparalleled experience, but it is essential to make sure that someone knows of your travel plans.

Even if you are taking a day trip out into the city and have no one else to tell, let someone behind the front desk of your hostel or hotel know your plans.

This will not only reassure your friends and family that they know where you are likely to be, but it can also be a vital lifeline if something goes wrong.

 Being Careless with your Day Bag 

When you are traveling solo, you lack an extra pair of eyes on your belongings, so it is important that you are well equipped to handle a day of wandering around unfamiliar streets. I recommend a cross body bag that zips or latches up, and that is not easily accessible to pickpockets.

 Not Being Prepared for an Emergency 

Not knowing what to do if you do find yourself in an emergency can be detrimental to yourself and your trip experience, so it is important to have local emergency numbers handy, and to know how to ask for help in the local language.

I always have a translator app handy on my phone in case I need to get a local’s help or find the nearest police station in an emergency.

 Not Getting Travel Insurance 

Travel insurance is one of the most important things that you can purchase for any international trip and, especially if traveling solo, it is something that you should never leave home without.

Travel insurance can cover everything from cancellations or trip delays, to doctor visits and emergency medical procedures. I personally use World Nomads Insurance for every trip and highly recommend them for your travels.

 Flashing Expensive Items

Theft is something that happens around the world and even cities like Amsterdam and Paris have problems with pickpockets. You can reduce the risk of being a target by keeping your valuables concealed while out and about.

Keeping expensive gadgets, like your iPhone or camera, concealed in a day bag is a great start, and not drawing attention with expensive or flashy clothing can help to reduce the chances of being a target.

 Not Trying the Local Cuisine 

This is a massive loss in many destinations, as unfamiliar cuisine can be sometimes be intimidating. In my experience, the best food in every country comes from where the locals eat!

Trying the local cuisine can give you a better insight into local culture and, while it may not always be your new favorite dish, you will hardly regret trying something new!

• Not Packing Your Confidence 

I’ve always found that friendliness and a smile can go a long way when exploring a new destination. Always be your most confident self and you’ll find that solo travel becomes an empowering and life-changing experience.

 

 

This is originally posted on The Blonde Abroad

10-Safest-Destinations-Solo-Female-Travel

10 Safe Destinations for Solo Female Travelers

The truth is, solo traveling to another country as a woman is actually not as threatening as it may seem. While there are some countries where a woman traveling alone will certainly draw more attention, in general a willingness to respect local customs and a cautious awareness of your surroundings will see you through.

Sometimes, though, it’s easier not to worry about extreme culture differences. Sometimes you just want to have fun. In these ten destinations, it’s not uncommon to see women traveling alone, so you can feel free to relax without standing out.

10 Safe Destinations for Solo Female Travelers

10 Safe Destinations for Solo Female Travelers

Wales

This country in the west of the United Kingdom has an amazing landscape and an even more amazing cultural history. If you’re interested in the King Arthur mythology, you’ll find a number of important sites from those texts. If you’re into outdoor sports, try a solo hike on the Pembrokeshire coast. Cardiff, the capitol, also offers a number of theaters (including the famous Millennium Center), museums, sports arenas, and shopping centers.

Canada

Almost all of my trips to Canada have been solo journeys and I’ve always felt extremely safe. In Quebec, you’ll find a huge cinematic and television culture like the Festival of International Short Film, as well as the famous winter Carnavale in Quebec City. Ontario houses the country’s largest city, Toronto, whose theater, music, and comedy venues are comparable in both quality and number to those in New York City.

The number of national parks, from Niagara Falls to Mount Revelstoke’s 1,000-year old forest, will give you plenty opportunities to hike, camp, ski, surf, and star-gaze. Wildlife lovers, like myself, often find Canada to be one of the best places to head out into the wilderness.

From spending the day with wild grizzly bears and getting up-close and personal with puffins to kayaking and snorkeling with whales, I’ve had some of my most magical solo (and non-solo) wildlife experiences in Canada. There’s plenty of tour operators who provide amazing outdoor experiences in this country, so you don’t need to worry about being completely alone in the wild.

Costa Rica

This country is excellent for ecotourists and those looking to learn more about sustainability — also, those looking to enjoy some aquatic fun! Watch and help sea turtles at their nesting grounds in Tortugero National Park or surf amazing waves at Playa Bonita. Costa Rica is also quickly becoming known for its large number of thermal spas, hot springs, and yoga retreats. What’s better than a solo yoga retreat?

Originally Posted on Ordinary Traveler

Solo traveller

My Best Tips for Traveling Solo

Go to the Internet to know the basics about your destination – banks, money, personal and other insurance, health, vaccinations, language, important customs, weather conditions, their police system and the law.

There is no need to know everything, just the important basics such as cheap flight to your destination. Search cheap flight with Kayak, BookOtrip, Expedia . It pays to have an idea on most things around.

Get a new email address and mail to yourself all the copies of your important papers (passports and visas, travelers’ check numbers, insurance certificates, medical info, important phone numbers and addresses, etc.) for emergency access, if needed.

The trip

Before packing anything, first make a list on what to bring. From there, you would know what’s necessary and what’s not (right clothes), what’s important (only a jewel item or two and no flashy ones) and what’s redundant (big cities have batteries).

You would know you if you overdid things. You would also know which items to leave out. Keep this list to check on your belongings when you get back home.

Bring a small amount of US dollars (legally acceptable). Most places accept them, in case things go wrong with your cards or your other “cash”. Bring a small medicine bag as your cabinet with emergency medicines (aspirins, diarrhea tablets, water purifiers, etc.) and a first aid kit.

Bring only two or three pieces of travel-size personal items such as soaps, shampoos, deodorants, toothpaste tubes, lotions and perfumes — if your stay is short. If longer, bring some more. It’s more convenient to dispose of empty mini-wrappers and tubes than bringing back big jars home.

If you are going on a nature trip or safari, arm yourself with the right medicine (malaria pills, insect repellents, etc.). A Swiss knife is very useful as is a small duct tape.

Destination

Line your backpack with chicken wire inside (deterrent for bag slashers). Buy a fake wallet and fill with fake (or expired) cards, etc for muggers. Hide your money somewhere safe with you.

Take taxis at night, even if it’s just a short trip.

If you are traveling alone, message boards in the internet list other travelers in your area. Traveler pubs and bars are the best places to meet them.

Be careful with the local food. Don’t gorge on them, no matter how delicious. Your stomach need to be used to it. Rotate eating foods you know with those of the local cuisine.

Last words

Not everything is bad in your tourist country. You traveled over there because you liked it and you want to enjoy it. This is the time to do it. This list is simply a reminder for you to be careful.

 

 

Original Content on Travel Tips and You

9-online-travel-tools-

9 Notable Online Travel Tools to save you money!

Family holidays are expensive enough without worrying that you’re being overcharged on flights. Airlines have secret squirrel type formulas designed to help them maximize revenue per aircraft, and prices can change by the minute for the exact same seat on the plane. Add in seat sales, reward point opportunities and flying time considerations, and it can be frustrating to figure out where the best deal is on any given day.

A decade ago, finding the best possible price on a flight meant hours comparing flights on clunky airline websites or working with a travel agent and hoping they were paying attention enough to jump on the best deal.

These days, many flyers choose to do the legwork themselves, and are turning to a variety of websites to source out the best deals. There are dozens and dozens of websites devoted to flight comparisons and booking, but these are our favourite online travel tools. You may still choose to spend a few hours comparing flights, but if you want to just book it and get it over with, you can be confident these sites have rock bottom pricing.

ITA Software by Google is a data clearinghouse that supplies basically all of the other players with their flight information. It’s the best of the best when it comes to finding your flight, but you will have to book your flight through the airline directly or through another service like Expedia, Kayak or Orbitz.Google Flight checker is a great online travel tool

If you’re not sure where you want to go, and just want to get out of town for a good price, Google Flights offers lots of flexibility in searching, as does Skyscanner. They both offer the ability to select large blocks of time and sometimes even whole countries or regions to see the best deals. Each site will redirect you to the airline’s website or a booking agent, like FlightHub, to book the flight directly, and will prepopulate the information from the flights you chose.

skyscanner.com - online travel tool

Hipmunk and Momondo are two new sites getting some online buzz, especially with mobile users. Momondo received the travel industry’s Travolution award in 2014 for the best price comparison site, beating out Skyscanner, which had won for the preview three years.

Expedia, Kayak and Orbitz offer the opportunity to book itineraries that pair flights on multiple airlines, but if something goes wrong with one of the legs of your journey, it can be difficult to reach a customer service agent to resolve the issue.

Expedia.ca is just one great online travel tool

If you’re super flexible with your dates and destination, there are two stealthy ways to find cheap flights. The first is through unique airlines, like western Canada’s Jump On Flyaways. Jump On is basically the Groupon of flights – they offer deep discounts using charter airline planes for convenient weekend getaways. Flights only depart (and you’re only charged) when a minimum number of seats are sold.

The second is to search out your local airfare watchdog – most major cities have someone who runs a website, blog or Facebook page that scours the web for screaming deals. In Calgary, YYC Deals finds great deals to unique destinations, and posts only the cream of the crop.

Keep in mind that when comparing flights, be sure you’re shopping in your home currency, and comparing apples to apples – baggage and seat selection fees, cancellation and rebooking policies, etc. There is no perfect airline search engine, but the ones noted above are relatively consistent in offering the best prices. Happy travels!

This Article Originally Posted on Family Fun Canada