A traveler knows that the purpose of a trip is often to embark on a mission which will allow you to acquire new and unique experiences. Sometimes this means going out of your comfort zone, which can also be one of the most rewarding aspects of travel!
Here are 5 completely memorable activities you should consider trying, wherever your next trip takes you.
There's no better way to see a new country than by foot. Trekking allows you to take the time to really immerse yourself in the landscape of a new destination and surround yourself with its natural beauty. You can hike for just a day or, if you want something a bit more adventurous, you could try an overnight trip. Plus, this presents the perfect opportunity to spot wildlife up close and personal.
You'll need to make sure you have everything you need to be self-sustaining: food, water, a tent, and a sleeping bag. Or, if you're looking for a less rugged sleeping space, you could rent out a guest house along your route.
If you're new to trekking, you can hire a guide to help show you the way. If you're more confident traversing the back country, you can simply buy a map.
There are many amazing places in the world that offer beautiful hiking trails, such as the John Muir Trail in California, El Camino in Spain, the Great Walks in New Zealand, and, of course, the Annapurna in Nepal.
Check out these offline navigation apps for hiking and outdoor adventures!
No matter where your travels take you, you're likely to stumble across a body of water or two. An activity like kayaking, whether along a secluded river or off the coast of a popular beach, can provide you access to incredible sights not visible from shore.
But that's not kayaking's only benefit. It has also been proven to relieve stress, for example, and is great aerobic exercise; kayaking for just 60 minutes can help you burn up to 500 calories!
Finally, kayaking is the perfect outdoor activity, no matter who you have by your side. If you're traveling with friends, it'll give you a chance to hang out and chat while taking in the scenery. And if you're traveling solo, prepare to soak in the tranquility that only nature can provide.
3. Horseback Riding
Horseback riding is another enjoyable way to interact with the great outdoors. Perfect for animal lovers and adventurers alike, horseback riding can give you the freedom to explore the wilderness — without the sore feet that can result from a hike.
Most ranches welcome travelers of all ages and skill levels, so it likely won't matter whether you've ridden before. All you need is a desire to learn!
4. Visiting a Local Vineyard
Wine and travel make for a great pair. If you visit a vineyard, you'll get the chance to taste local flavors and learn more about the place you're visiting. Especially if you've been spending most of your time in the city, it can be nice to get out to a vineyard for some fresh air. Plus, bringing home a bottle or two will make for a great souvenir!
Beyond California's Napa Valley, there are wonderful vineyards to explore in Argentina, New Zealand, and France.
5. Taking Cooking Classes
For those who aren't inclined to spend their vacation outdoors, there are plenty of fun indoor activities as well that require no sports gear whatsoever. Cooking classes are a great lens into the local culture, as well as a fun way to meet some new people and learn a new skill.
Getting to taste the results of your hard work is definitely a perk worth mentioning. And when you get back from your trip, you'll be able to give a taste of your travels to your friends and family, which is more than any other souvenir could do!
Cooking classes in Thailand are highly reputed and the cuisine is delicious. India is another interesting place to take a class. Or you could consider trying a cooking class in France to learn how to finally master making a boeuf bourguignon la fran aise.
But Don't Forget...
An important part of planning your trip is to consider what kinds of activities you will enjoy while you're away. You don't need to plan all of your time, of course, but by integrating a few key activities into your itinerary, you can be sure to come home with some interesting memories — and maybe even a new skill!
Whatever adventure you set out on, make sure you have a travel medical insurance plan that can provide access to quality medical care and financial coverage if you become injured throughout your travels.
Amanda Gokee is a freelance writer and traveler currently living in Mexico City. She graduated from Harvard University in 2014 with a degree in Romance Language and Literature and since then she's been on the road, from the mountainous wilderness of California, to the south of France and across Mexico. She is a staff writer for the popular travel blog Goats on The Road, but you can also follow stories from her journey on her website www.inklingafar.com or on Instagram @inklingafar.