Dec 14 2018
Located in Central Europe, the alpine country of Switzerland, with its crystal lakes, quaint villages and mountain peaks, provides a plethora of choices for adventurers. Switzerland is more than cuckoo clocks and yodelling. From skiing to hiking, paragliding to parachuting, adventure abounds with outdoor activities.
With 13,000’ peaks and year round skiing, Switzerland’s Alps have become known as one of the world’s top alpine ski destinations. Favorite resorts include St. Moritz as well as the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise. Summer skiing at the Matterhorn offers 13 miles of runs!
Adventure in Switzerland is not limited to skiing. Interlaken has become known as Switzerland’s adventure capital. Along with hiking and biking, canyoning, bungee jumping, white-water rafting, heli-skiing, paragliding, parachuting, rappelling and jet boating are all popular in this Swiss town. Local tour operators help with all levels so that even first timers can experience these thrills.
For James Bond fans, bungee jumping from the 220 meter Valle Verzasca or Contra Dam is a favorite destination. The opening scene in the film Goldeneye shows a stuntman jumping this bridge. This bungee jumping experience will thrill all 007 adrenaline seekers.
The Swiss National Park offers 107 square miles of lush mountains and idyllic valleys. With trails marked in five languages (including English), and with levels ranging from beginner to advanced, hikers and bikers will have much to explore.
From the Rhine Falls, which is Europe’s biggest and Switzerland’s top natural attraction, to Lauterbrunnen, also called King of the Swiss Cascades, waterfall destinations are many. Several authors including JRR Tolkien and poet Goethe have been inspired by the towering peaks and falls.
Travelling in Switzerland is easy by rail, but with 2,800 miles of mountain bike paths, biking is another option. The Heart Route climbs Lake Geneva and travels through scenic countryside and vineyards. For those who want to skip the challenge of the climbs, Ebikes are a popular choice. Swiss Trails provide luggage services for those journeying overnight.
With skiing, boating, hiking and biking, the breathtaking country of Switzerland provides outdoor adventure for all travellers. Offering extraordinary, once-in-a-lifetime experiences, Switzerland is a must-do for all adventurers.
Nov 30 2018
Your life is your story. Write well. Edit often.” –Susan Statham
What is your story? We create stories every day. Why not stop to consider what you are writing? Are you taking charge as the author or are you letting each day slide by? Sometimes we need reminders that tomorrow is not promised. We must choose to live with passion and purpose. Our life journey, our story, must be cultivated to have meaning.
Consider your story. What are you writing? What changes can you make to embrace life? You can certainly begin with kindness, compassion and service to others. Be thankful and strive to be better. At the top of the list, with all of life’s obligations, remember the importance of making time for yourself. Make time for that vacation you’ve been dreaming about. Create that adventure.
Be sure that your story is one to be shared.
Nov 15 2018
Adventuring by Backpack? Whether you’re going to Peru, Thailand, Nepal or the Grand Canyon, destinations by backpack may be the best way to experience our world–to see nature at its best. Packing that pack the right way though, may make all the difference in comfort during your trip.
The key to comfort for multi-day packing is with organized balance and keeping your essentials to a bare minimum. We all know the concept of balancing needs vs. wants. Packing your pack is similar in that we need to choose what we bring with focus: essentials vs accessories. You will find that careful selection of what to pack and where to place it in your pack will keep unwanted aches and pains at bay, thus making your trip so much more enjoyable.
Once you’ve narrowed down your trip and know the climate and terrain, you will have a good idea of what is needed. Take all the gear you think you will need, and spread it out all across your room. Arrange everything in piles of essentials vs accessories. Place the accessories to the side and group the essential gear by category and weight: cooking, sleeping, clothing, toiletries and so on. Don’t overpack, and try to save some room for trail souvenirs.
When packing your pack, think first in, last out–meaning your sleeping bag should be the first item to pack because it will be the last out. Also, your base layers such as long underwear and shoes should go in the bottom of the pack. Lighter gear should also be placed in the bottom. Most importantly, be sure to choose a pack with solid back support.
Helpful tip: Use an extra large, heavy duty garbage/leaf bag to layer the inside of your pack to protect from moisture.
Remember the importance of center of gravity in keeping balance. For men, it is usually a bit higher than for women, so you may need to personalize by placing items at different heights to see what feels best. Even so, generally you will want to pack your heaviest items centered between the shoulder blades and closest to your back. Heavy items will be your bear canister (filled with food), cooking equipment, pots (stuffed with food or other), and the water bladder (fill first and then pack).
After the heavy items are well centered, carefully fill in the empty spaces and pack to the corners. Clothing should be rolled to be long and thin to maximize space and minimize wrinkles.
Helpful tip: If packing cooking fuel, place it upwards and under your food in case of leaks.
The top of the pack should be saved for items needing quick access such as first aid or for a bulky coat. Raingear or an extra layer should be accessible. Organize your side pockets so that you know where everything can be found. Compass and trail map, flashlight, sunglasses, lip balm, sunscreen, bug spray, snacks, swiss army knife, toilet supplies and cash should all have easy access.
Consider separating your tent from poles. Use the body of the tent to wrap clothes or to create support by filling in empty spaces in the pack. Poles can be removed and tied to the center or sides of the pack.
Helpful tip: Leave a trip itinerary with family or friends.
Suggested Items to Pack for Multi-day Backpacking
- Tent or camping hammock
- Sleeping bag
- Sleeping pad
- Compass and trail map
- Stove and fuel
- Matches or lighter
- Cookware, dinnerware, utensils
- Dishwashing kit with biodegradable soap
- Dry bag for electronics
- Backpack cover for rain
- Freeze dried food and snacks
- Water bladder
- Water treatment
- Clothing with quick dry fabric
- Cushion socks
- Fleece, beanie and gloves
- Rain jacket and pants
- Hiking boots
- Bear canister
- Headlamp, flashlight with spare batteries
- Multi-tool (Swiss Army Knife or Leatherman)
- Expandable Towel
- Insect repellant
- Ziplock bags
- Journal and pen
- cash/credit card
- camera/phone/portable charger
First Aid Kit suggestions:
Bandages, safety pins, tweezers, wipes, antiseptic, antidiarrheal, antacid, ibuprofen, oral rehydration sachets, etc.
To get the most out of your trip, be sure to pack smart. Be organized, keep weight distributed and remember to have fun. Enjoy the adventure!
Nov 08 2018
Travel Insurance: To buy or not to buy? That is the question.
Think about Travel insurance as a safety net to catch you if you need it, just like belaying in climbing.
Once you’ve narrowed down your travel adventure, there’s the last question about purchasing travel insurance. Is it really necessary? Well, that depends on your comfort level. For some, just having the insurance takes that edge of stress away from the journey. While most travelers never need that insurance, for those few cases with emergencies, having it in place makes all the difference.
When considering travel insurance, be sure to choose the right plan for your needs. Policies differ for families, single travelers or thrill seekers. For adventure travelers, special policies may need to be purchased. Often bungee jumping, caving or other extreme adventure sports may not be covered under medical, so be sure to inquire and to read all fine print.
The insurance company should include how they will help in an emergency. Are they available 24/7? Will they help with finding a flight if you miss a connection? In a medical emergency, can you go to any doctor or do they have a network? Are cell phones covered if lost? Make sure you know how they will help before you travel.
Another consideration may be to check with your homeowner’s insurance and credit card companies. Often these policies cover lost or stolen luggage (check deductibles though). You’d be paying double with travel insurance if you’re already covered. Also consider your primary health coverage. Will you need a high medical insurance? Modifying to a higher deductible should lower the travel insurance. Be wary of expensive upgrades.
Choosing the right insurance can be confusing. The fine print varies from one company to the next, and defining what is covered or not needs to be clarified before you travel. Comparison websites help distinguish cost and coverage differences, but even with all the reviews available, your best resource may just be your adventure advisor or adventure agency.
Oct 24 2018
If you look back in time, the railroad was once the main source of transportation, but time has brought much change. Replaced with planes, cars, and buses, the railroad has since become more associated with moving freight than people. Most may be unaware though, but traveling by railroad is still a great mode of transportation, and actually, it is one of the best ways to see the country.
There are many railroads that are specifically designed for explorers to experience scenery that is otherwise inaccessible. Traveling by train allows a totally new perspective, providing views that those who choose cars, buses, or planes will never get to experience. Keep your options of travel open, and consider taking your next adventure by train.
Fall is here, and what better way could there be to take in all the foliage. Any time of the year though, the railroad offers once in a lifetime experiences. From sea to shining sea, coast to coast, the options are many. Spectacular views will take your breath away whether in West Virginia, the Smoky Mountains, the Rocky Mountains, Banff, America’s Heartland, the Colorado River Valley, the Grand Canyon, Mt. Rushmore or Niagara Falls. There is even a Polar Express in Ontario.
Contact your adventure agent to help narrow down and personalize your railroad experience. Book early for the best dates. You will be able to experience pristine forests, untamed rivers, and snow-capped mountains. Having so many route options, it sure makes it a hard choice, but the railroad is considered to be one of the best ways to soak it all in. Make sure you get the chance to do so.
Oct 17 2018
This weekend the USNWC kicks off its Outdoor Market! With so much to do at this great facility, it can be overwhelming to choose where to start. When the USNWC puts on an event, you can be ready sure there will be tons of activities for you to join. Luckily for you, they have everything scheduled so you can participate in a bit of everything! If you like adventure, this is the place for you. You’ve gotta come hang out with us and check out all the festivities!
Friday October 19: 2:30 PM – 8:30 PM
Saturday October 20: 8:00 AM – 9:00 PM
Sunday October 21: 9:30 AM – 5:00 PM
Outdoor Market offers a unique setting for guests to get hands-on experience with gear from top brands in the outdoor industry. Over three days, this festival offers guests the opportunity to demo bikes, trail running shoes, kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, climbing gear and more throughout the 1,300 acre facility at the U.S. National Whitewater Center. During the festival, guests can also participate in group rides, runs, and paddles, as well as yoga practices and educational, participatory, and tech clinics. Opportunities to unwind from the festival’s active nature include live music, craft beer, food, and outdoor films.
As with all USNWC Festivals, Outdoor Market is open to the public and does not require tickets. Majority of the clinics and workshops are free to participate in, however, a select few have spatial limitations or registration requirements. See each activity for specific details.
Outdoor Market provides you with a unique opportunity to demo the latest and greatest outdoor gear. Exhibitors will be set up throughout the facility ready for you to give a good taste of their newest products on the market. Whether you want to try out a new mountain bike, pair of climbing shoes, trail runners, kayak, or stand-up paddleboard… it can all be done at the Outdoor Market. These opportunities are available to entry level enthusiasts and experts alike. Exhibitors include industry leaders such as Specialized, Niner, Black Diamond, Liquidlogic, Salomon, Inov-8, Strider, Hala Gear, La Sportiva, and more.
Oct 05 2018
Press 1, now press 2, 3, 4… now remain on hold. No one likes to wait on hold, especially when you are already stressed trying to set up your vacation and researching for what feels like forever. There has been much debate lately about whether or not to use a travel agent. With the internet and all the available Apps, do you really need a travel agent? Here are some reasons why all travelers should consider one.
When you work with an agent, you are working with a real person, NOT a robot. Travel agents specialize in travel, so they know the best locations, guides, resorts, and they have the connections to arrange it with ease. They are here for you when you need them.
They are able to find the best deals and customize your vacation around you. When you book a trip with a travel agent, most of the time you also get added benefits such as spa credit, car rental discounts, upgraded rooms, and more. Believe it or not, travel agents often come back at a better rate than the public, and they find the best deal without the hassle of dealing with it yourself.
Travel agents choose to help people with their travel because they love it! When you work with an agent, they are with you every step of the way, before, during and after your trip. They want to make sure you and your crew are building memories that will last a lifetime. The goal of an agent is to make your trip with them the best you’ve ever had.
Are travel agents for everyone?
If you are going for a weekend getaway to the beach, sure, google the best hotel/motel at the beach, and it’s a done deal. But if you are going for a 12 day vacation in South Africa and want to go on a safari, hike to the Lone Creek Falls, and also go mountain biking, you’re going to want to call a travel expert.
When planning a trip like this, it is simply not worth your time or risk of booking something you thought was what you wanted. The best part of this is that you don’t have to do anything other than to say what you want to do and where you want to go, and the travel agent will handle the rest, and more than likely, at a more affordable rate than you will find online.
Isn’t it expensive to use a travel agent?
Actually, on the contrary, more times than not, travel agents will save you money and deliver more value. Travel advisors have connections and suppliers all over the world. This means that they get some of the best rates available which are not available to the public. Most of the time booking with a travel agent is actually more affordable than it would be to do it yourself.
Forget the stress and save time.
Obviously, these travel agents do this for a living. They know who to call, who to book with, where the best deals are, and the most suitable destination for your dream vacation. You hear about it all the time! Vacationers will spend hours and hours researching before they even begin the booking process, but then they wait on hold, only to realize that they want a different destination. At that point they start the process all over again. Once you’re paid and booked, cross your fingers because there’s no turning back. Changing a booked itinerary can be very difficult online.
If you choose a travel agent to book your trip, all you would have to do is contact your agent, tell him what you want, and he or she will handle it from there — at no extra fee. They are invested in the satisfaction, happiness, and overall success of your trip. You will be treated as a friend, not just a number. You get to talk with a person, not a search engine or an anonymous voice. When you work with a travel agent, you are also building a relationship of trust that should last a lifetime for many more vacations to come.
Sep 27 2018
Inclusive Excursions’ Top 5 Adventure Travel Destinations
With so much to explore on our beautiful planet, deciding where to go and what to do can be difficult. It was hard to select just a few but lucky for you, we’ve narrowed it down to what we think are the top five destinations for Adventure Travel. This will give you food for thought when planning your next trip!
#5 – Colorado
Colorado has been building in popularity and has become quite a haven for adventure travelers. Colorado offers a bit of everything, except, of course, the ocean. A landlocked state, Colorado is basically dead smack right in the center of the United States. This, however, does not stop the adventurers from flocking to this great state year after year! With stunning scenery and activities year round, who could blame them? Colorado and the surrounding states are home to some of the gnarliest and tallest mountains in the country. Mount Elbert is the tallest mountain in Colorado, coming in at 14,440 feet! That’s high! From summer to winter, if you like to adventure, this is your state!
What to do in Colorado?
- Whitewater rafting – The Colorado River will give you a good thrill as you battle its rapids or take a more soothing ride through some of the more mellow rivers in the state.
- Skiing/Snowboarding/Snowmobiling – With many favorite ski resorts, each one bigger and badder than the next, Colorado has some of the best skiing and snowboarding in the country. Heavy snowfall and breathtaking scenery make a perfect combination for winter fun.
- Fly Fishing – Colorado offers year ‘round fly fishing that will be sure to intrigue the avid fisherman. Some of the biggest trout are pulled out of the rivers of Colorado.
- Horseback riding – Colorado has some beautiful trails for horseback. If you are riding via horse, there is no need to worry about passer-bys startling your steed. The people of Colorado welcome riders. Plan an overnight adventure or ride for an afternoon, horseback riding in Colorado will be a one-of-a-kind experience.
- Mountain biking – Colorado is known for its mountain bike trails, BMX jumps, and downhill bike parks at ski resorts.
- Trekking/Backpacking – Colorado is known for its vast amount of backpacking trails. Here, you can go into your local coffee shop, ask someone where to hike, and you will surely get some informative details on where to go. For best results, see your favorite adventure agent for maps or guides.
…and there is so much more!
#4 – Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park is located in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains. It has been said that you can see more here in one day than anywhere else in the world. Take a day hike up the massive granite face of Half Dome, and experience spectacular panoramic views! The views are well worth the climb. Yosemite offers some of the most breathtaking day hikes and most awe-inspiring waterfalls in the world! It’s certainly one of the most amazing places on the planet and will be one to remember, as long as you plan ahead. If you visit outside the popular summer months, you’ll likely avoid the crowds. If you do visit during the summer season, make sure to get out bright and early to avoid them. Yosemite’s beauty makes it a destination all adventurers should experience at least once in their lifetime.
What to do in Yosemite?
- Day hikes – Hike to the top of Vernal and Nevada Falls via the Mist Trail or summit Half Dome.
- Camping – The camping here is spectacular. If you are a beginner camper, you might enjoy glamping. This is camping with resort-style amenities. Campground reservations are strongly suggested because they book up fast, so planning ahead is recommended.
- Biking – Yosemite offers over 12 miles of paved bike trails, which is great for beginners.
#3 – Swiss Alps, Switzerland
The Swiss Alps or “The Alpine Region of Switzerland” is made up of the most monumental mountains in the country, complimenting the Swiss Plateau and the Swiss portion of the Jura Mountains. The Swiss Alps bring many adventurers each and every year. People travel here from all parts of the world. A group of friends who traveled here to paraglide are seen living their dreams. This is an amazing place, and for sure, it is one of our favorites! Everything is on a large scale here. The skiing, mountain biking, backpacking…it is all 10x as good here! This destination is a must for every adventurers’ bucket list.
What to do in the Swiss Alps?
- Skiing – the skiing in the Alps are hard to beat. Really, picture jagged mountain peaks all around covered in layers and layers of that poofy pow! It is a truly life changing experience.
- Mountain Biking – The trails here are incredible. Picture yourself on top of a beautiful mountain, and then racing down it with your friends…Exhilarating!
- Swiss Rail Tour – Explore the Alps on a first class rail on the legendary rail of Switzerland. Experience scenery you couldn’t experience any other way!
- Trekking/Backpacking – Some of the most memorable and best stories are from the Alps. Ask anyone who has hiked here and they will say, “pack your bags!”
This is just a few of many adventures in the Alps. There are many, many more.
#2 – Patagonia / Chile
- Patagonia is located at the southern tip of Chile South America; it is often referred to as “the edge of the world.” Patagonia slopes down from the Andes towards Antarctica. It is sometimes considered the last frontier of South America covering the sparsely inhabited southern regions of both Chile and Argentina. While you explore through the legendary beauty of Patagonia, get ready to feel like an ant in a city. In Patagonia, Mother Nature runs the show. You will experience the massive volcanoes, towering glaciers, and beautiful floating blue/white icebergs. The green Steppe plains and blue mountain lakes make for yet another reason for beauty in Patagonia. The mountains are white-capped and poke through the clouds to create a dream-like panoramic view. Although called “the edge of the Earth,” Patagonia is now easier than ever to travel to because of its increased access in and out of Santiago, Chile.
- Tourists can set out on a road trip or explore the far corners via cruise ship to get even closer to the beauties of Patagonia. On the Argentinian side, San Carlos de Bariloche is a popular mountain resort and town that offers all the facilities and outdoor pursuits of the Swiss Alps, without the price. Make sure to check out the town of El Chalten – Argentina ’s trekking capital in the Southern Andes. With beautiful waterfalls, immense volcanoes, mountains, and glaciers, and so much more to offer, we had to put Patagonia up at the top of our list.
What to do in Patagonia?
- Make friends with penguins – Chillin’ with penguins in Punta Tombo Argentina should most definitely be on your list of to-dos!
- Kayak – float in one of the blue glacial lakes with floating icebergs, or take it to a more adrenaline pumping river.
- White Water Rafting – Raft down the Futaleufu River with raging rapids, lush green forests, and jagged mountain peaks.
- Mountain biking – MTB through the trails by the mountains, lakes and volcanoes.
- Killer whale watching – experience some of the most amazing creatures in the world up close and personal.
- Skiing – Skiing/snowboarding in Patagonia is life changing…(along with almost everything else here.) The snow, the culture, the mountains, and the terrain all make it for a must do!
- Horseback riding – Ride through the mountain trails are like nowhere else on Earth.
- …and much more
#1 – New Zealand
This is a remote island paradise and home to only 4.5 million people who call themselves Kiwis. Kiwi is also the name of the country’s national symbol which is a flightless bird. From its active volcanoes, deep glacial lakes, unique wildlife, and towering mountains, this place is like another dimension!
Although there are about six hundred smaller islands, New Zealand is actually two main landmasses; the north island and the south island. If your favorite animal so happens to be sheep, this will be your favorite place! (fun fact) There are more sheep here than any other country in the world. New Zealand is also known for its world class hiking trails. Some of the best hiking is done in Fiordland National Park. Four of the major tracks are Milford, Kepler, Routeburn, and Hollyford with forested valleys, diverse birdlife, turquoise lakes, and truly spectacular sceneries.
For Lord of the Rings fans, a visit to Tongariro National Park is a must. The Lord of the Rings was filmed entirely in New Zealand because it truly does feel like another world. While you are here, if the weather cooperates, you will be able to see the view of Mt. Ngauruhoe. If you and your crew are up for a good trek, hiking the Alpine Crossing trail takes about seven hours on average, and it’s 19.4 kilometers. It includes lava field, meadows, and geothermal neon turquoise Emerald Lakes.
New Zealand also has a hike along some of the most beautiful beaches. Along the Otago Coast, you can find some Moeraki Boulders formed from ancient sea sediments. This hike is along the Abel Tasman Coast Track on the south island. Over 40 KM of golden sand beaches and granite cliffs, clear waters, and frolicking fur seals basking in the sun. To top it off with extra adventure, this hike needs to be timed for low tide or the trail will turn into the ocean, so plan accordingly.
What to do in New Zealand?
- Cave diving – rappelling down and ziplining through the hidden abyss of Waitomo Caves in the North Island offers amazing views.
- Jetboat Rides – jetboating through Queenstown Shotover River is one of the most exhilarating ways to experience the scenery of Queenstown.
- Whitewater Rafting – Raft off of Tutea Falls, the highest commercially rafted waterfall in the world, and experience the ride of a lifetime.
- Bungee jumping – Queenstown New Zealand is home to the very first commercial bungee jump by A.J. Hackett, so you can say they know how to do it right.
- Skiing – With so much to offer, it only gets better with skiing & snowboarding. Ski or board at Queenstown, Coronet Peak, and The Remarkables, all within 30 minutes of downtown.
- Surfing – catch the surf at The Bay of Plenty, Whangamata, or the untouched beaches of Gisborne.
It was a hard decision, yet it is still pretty clear to us that New Zealand takes the number one spot for the battle of the top five destinations for Adventure Travel!
Sep 06 2018
Adventure travel has been booming these past few years!
According to Russell Walters, regional director for the ATTA, Adventure Travel Trade Association, adventure travel has been steadily growing. In 2009, it was an $89 billion industry, and in 2017, it was a $683 billion industry (Travel Weekly June 2018). People are only beginning to tap into all the unexplored destinations. What’s stopping you?
Adventure travel is a specialty and a niche market. With adventure taking over the market, many travel agents are hopping on the train. This is a red flag because the agent might not specialize in Adventure Travel, but still try to sell it. Not every travel agent can go out and say they are an Adventure Travel Expert. Sure, they might get you there, and they might send you on an adventure, but it most likely isn’t going to be the adventure that you would want. It’s like a plumber saying he can pave your driveway. Maybe he can do it, but will it be the best driveway you’ve ever seen? Probably not. This is why you want to use an adventure specialist or expert to send you on the adventure every enthusiast is chasing after.
A good adventure expert knows all the ins and outs all over the world. Rather than trying to find the guides yourself or using a basic travel site, it makes it easier for the consumer. When booking your trip, it’s important that your agent gets to know your hobbies, skill set, and destination. A good agent will customize and tailor your trip to suit your individual style.
What do you enjoy doing? Do you enjoy skiing, snowboarding, hiking, camping, climbing, whitewater rafting/kayaking, or a combination? Whatever your idea of adventure may be, you should consult with an Adventure Agent to see what destination is right for you. If you are a client looking to learn, or if you are an experienced client who has climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro or even Everest, odds are an adventure expert can still supply you with a new way to find that adrenaline pumping thrill that the adventure traveler seeks.
Adventure is limited only to the individual. The most important consideration is how YOU describe adventure. Adventure Travel may be a cultural exchange, interaction with nature, physical activity, risk or thrill. Whether it’s off-roading through the desert in Utah, splashing down rivers in Patagonia, Mountain biking in Peru, taking a cruise through Alaska, taking a safari ride through South Africa, or everything in between; Adventure Travel is in. People like to have fun, and this is the most exhilarating way to do so. Experience the new way of travel.