By Dave & Deb Bouskill, on October 30, 2014

How to turn vacations into adventures

Most people think of a Caribbean vacation as a time to relax, unwind and escape. While a vacation should be a time to recharge and enjoy your time away from the daily stresses of life, it is also a great opportunity to step out of your comfort zone and have a great adventure. When we first started traveling, we didn’t want to do anything on vacation but work on our tans, relax on the beach, and maybe read a book in a comfortable lounge chair. It wasn’t long before we grew tired of relaxing, and we yearned for more active outings.

Since then, a lot of people have asked us how they can turn their vacations into adventures. Isn’t it scary doing what we do? What if they don’t have all the time in the world like we do? How can they turn a one-week vacation into an adventure travel holiday? We always answer, “It’s easy!” The truth is that you can take a family vacation or a romantic getaway and weave adventure travel into your trip. The keys are to have fun and relax, and not to try too hard.

Take it one day at a time

If you are new to adventure travel, chances are you don’t want your entire vacation to be filled with activities. Adding one or two days of adventure into your usual vacation will be enough to satisfy your adventurous side while still fulfilling your need to relax. You never should feel that you have to spend every single day exploring, but if you take a day to try something new (such as, say a canopy tour over a rainforest or a sailing trip to a neighboring island), you’ll have a well-balanced vacation. There are many different ways to have a day of fun.

Take baby steps

You don’t have to climb an active volcano or plunge into the Great Blue Hole of Belize to make travel more of an adventure. If you haven’t done a lot of adventure travel, start with something easy. Many resorts offer snorkeling and kayak rentals. Those types of activities are a great start, but why not try something different? Stand-up paddle-boarding is becoming popular and is an excellent way to explore interior rivers or calm shores. Other options include swimming with whale sharks in Mexico or nurse sharks in the Bahamas. If you know how to swim, these are pastimes that will take the adventure to another level!

Take a course

Taking a course or a few lessons can be a great way to introduce adventure into your vacation. Many resorts offer courses to help you enjoy more fun in the sun. If you are in a place such as Costa Rica, sign up for a surfing lesson. If you’ve always wanted to SCUBA, try a discovery experience where you can get a taste of diving (or you can sign up for a complete PADI course and go home with a new skill). We loved trying kite-surfing, and went out with an instructor for a day to face the wind and waves. The possibilities are endless. Think of what you’ve always wanted to try, and go for it.

Viewfinder Tip: Make sure to check with your hotel concierge about what areas are safe for tourists to travel.

Get off the resort 

Immersing in the local culture can be a great adventure. When on vacation, take a day to rent a car, hire a taxi, or hop on a bus and visit the local villages. When you get out of the tourist area, you’ll have a more authentic experience and a chance to interact with the locals. Resorts are great for offering activities and entertainment, but when you go to a local village, you can listen to local music, shop at local markets, and eat at local restaurants. It’s a completely different experience than staying on the resort, and you’ll come away with great stories to tell about your day of adventure on an exotic island.

Connect with nature

We have experienced some of our favorite adventures while hiking through jungles to see waterfalls high mountain views. It feels so good to walk through a rainforest and get up-close-and-personal with the local flora and fauna. It’s exciting to hear the noises of the jungle, and maybe spot a monkey or rare bird sitting in a tree. When you finally get to your destination, you’ll achieve a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction.

There are so many easy ways to turn your vacation into an adventure. Instead of staying up late at the disco, turn in early and head out at dawn. There are hundreds of fun activities just waiting to be experienced.

What are your favorite ways to add adventure into your travels?