How to book an adventure vacation

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How to book an adventure vacation

Dude and guest ranches offer an all-inclusive vacation experience like no other destination.

When you vacation at a Dude Ranchers’ Association member ranch, you can be sure of a quality vacation. Member ranches endure a rigorous inspection and approval process that ensures guests are treated to genuine western hospitality combined with the lodging industry’s highest standards.

Dude ranches offer vacation destinations perfect for every traveler, including solo travelers, multi-generational families, corporate events, and more.

Horseback riding, hiking, fishing, swimming, zip-lining, white water rafting, rodeos, cattle drives, western dancing, fine dining, and so much more await your discovery on your next dude ranch vacation.

Take a look at these select Dude and Guest ranches:

Hunewill Circle H Guest Ranch
Bridgeport, CA
www.hunewillranch.com

Hunewill Guest Ranch is located in Bridgeport, California on the eastern slope of the beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountains bordering Yosemite National Park. This historic ranch is a working cattle and guest ranch. With over a hundred well-trained horses and a vast expanse of lush green meadows and scenic mountain trails, Hunewill Guest Ranch creates memories that last a lifetime. As their guest, you can participate in the timeless traditional ranch life of the American West.
There is something for everyone at the ranch, whether you come with your family, friends, or on your own. If you want wide open spaces, great riding, great food, and lasting friendships, then Hunewill Guest Ranch has the vacation for you.

The Hideout Lodge & Guest Ranch
Shell, Wyoming
www.thehideout.com

The Hideout Lodge & Guest Ranch is all-inclusive, upscale, and focused on riding, horsemanship, and working cattle. Limited to approximately 25 riders weekly, the ranch is in the tiny hamlet of Shell, Wyoming, east of Cody and Yellowstone National Park at the foot of the little-known Big Horn Mountains and National Forest. With a backyard of 650,000 acres in an area with a tremendous diversity of scenery and altitudes ranging from 4,200 to 13,100 feet, you will seldom see the same trail twice. Since its beginnings, The Hideout has always been a clean, organized, and well-maintained guest ranch.

Klondike Ranch
Buffalo, Wyoming
www.klondikeranch.com

More than a Wyoming dude ranch, join in the activities of this historical, working cattle ranch. You’ll get to enjoy riding, working cattle, and camping out under brilliant Wyoming skies, breathing in the fresh mountain air, and taking in the vast beauty of the Bighorn Mountains.
If you like trail riding, you’ll love riding for a purpose. At Klondike, 90% of their spring, summer, and fall work is spent horseback and working cattle every day. Klondike Ranch also offers amazing Historical Tours, top-notch Fishing & experiences like you’ve never imagined. Yep, every day is a new adventure.
While you help Klondike Ranch get the job done, you also get to experience beautiful Wyoming scenery with the amenities of a guest ranch, without riding in single-file lines. Every time there is a job to do, you will be our “right-hand man”, helping gather and trail cattle.

Bar W Guest Ranch
Whitefish, Montana
www.thebarw.com

The Bar W is a small ranch that can host up to 40 guests per week. Being a smaller ranch gives Bar W the ability to tailor their riding and activities each week to the interests and skill levels of guests. Horseback riding is the main activity and with their proximity to public land, you are able to ride on close to a million acres. You’ll find a variety of terrain, from prairies and wide-open spaces to mountain trails. In addition to trail rides, you can test your horsemanship skills with barrel racing and working cows during team penning and sorting.

Bonanza Creek Guest Ranch
Martinsdale, Montana
www.bonanzacreekcountry.com

Bonanza Creek is a small guest ranch, with just 8 – 12 guests at a time. This guest ranch caters to those who love good horses, good riding, adventure, and personal attention. Bonanza Creek is best known for its riding, cattle work, life-enhancing Cowgirl Retreats, and western hospitality. The ranch features adult-only weeks, intermediate, and advanced rider weeks, as well as life coaching Retreats. “We treat you like family – – real people on a real cattle ranch. Hearty home cooking and lots of it, and cozy comfortable cabins to call home.”

C Lazy U Ranch
Granby, Colorado
www.clazyu.com

Located in the heart of Colorado’s stunning Rocky Mountains, C Lazy U Ranch is Colorado’s Premier Guest Ranch since 1919. The ranch is known for its impeccable service, luxury accommodations, gourmet dining, and limitless activities. C Lazy U is one of the few remaining places where guests can experience a luxury retreat filled with the rich traditions of the American West. The property features a collection of newly renovated luxury cabin accommodations, fine dining, a full-service Spa, and 8,500 acres of adventure. Limitless year-round activities include horseback riding, guided hiking, guided mountain biking, hatchet throwing, archery, zip line, ropes course, trap shooting, Orvis-endorsed fly fishing, ice skating, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and more.

Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch
Winston, New Mexico
www.geronimoranch.com

Friendly, family-owned New Mexico guest ranch! You’ll find Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch tucked away in southwest New Mexico, in the heart of the 3.3-million-acre Gila National Forest. Here, the mountains are boundless, and the open meadows and deep canyons with crystal clear spring-fed creeks are enough to soothe even the busiest of minds.
Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch offers a relaxed and personal atmosphere. This New Mexico dude ranch has four cabins and a capacity of 12 to 16 guests. Open from March through mid-November. With beautiful temperate weather, it is always the perfect time to pack your bags, saddle up, and experience an authentic New Mexico dude ranch.

Circle Z Ranch
Patagonia, Arizona
www.circlez.com

The crackle of a campfire. The creak of a leather saddle. Rugged vistas without end. Welcome to Circle Z Ranch, a vacation experience that will envelop you in a time and place when days were spent on horseback and nights under a blaze of stars. This historic ranch is nestled in Southern Arizona’s Sky Islands, known for its vast grasslands and vaulting mountain ranges. Guided by expert wranglers, you will explore trails across thousands of acres ­so scenic they’ve been the setting for many Western movies. Back at the ranch you can partake in other outdoor activities or join guests, fireside, in the rustic lodge. Meals are cooked from scratch using locally grown ingredients. This is ranch life at its best. An experience that keeps guests coming back time and time again.

How to book an adventure vacation

Courtesy Black Tomato

In this day and age, it’s increasingly difficult to relax on vacation—especially for millennials. According to a 2017 study from Accountemps, 62 percent of workers ages 18 to 34 check in with the office “at least once or twice a week during their vacation.” It’s easy to see why: free hotel Wi-Fi is as abundant as bad continental breakfasts, and the temptation to check in is ever-present. (Consider us guilty.)

Enter Survivor-style trips—designed to totally remove you from the outside world and your daily routine. Literally. Bushmasters, an extreme adventure travel agency, leaves you and a small group in the middle of the Arabian desert, with only a basic survival kit and minimal food and water. Or, you can brave the jungle in Guyana with nothing more than the clothes on your back, a machete, a bow and arrow, and belt kit—a very Hunger Games-esque adventure. These vacations may sound extreme (and albeit, a little frightening), but that’s the point. As Tom Marchant—co-founder of Black Tomato, a luxury travel and bespoke adventure company—explains, distraction is the new relaxation. And for that very reason, survival holidays are quickly becoming a new travel trend.

“What people find is when they’re going on a vacation that’s supposedly relaxing, they’re lying on beaches but looking at their iPhones, looking at emails coming in,” Marchant tells Traveler. “And it’s not a true sense of relaxation. [So instead] they’re looking for travel that challenges, and drives a deeper sense of connection to the place they’re in.”

These vacations may sound extreme (and albeit, a little frightening), but that’s the point.

Marchant isn’t far off. Sabine Sonnentag, a sociologist at Germany’s University of Konstanz, told TED there are four core requirements for a vacation to be an effective recovery—”relaxation, control, mastery experiences, and mental detachment from work.” Obviously, going on extreme trips will distract you from your work: Considering how demanding (mentally and physically) it is to climb a glacier, or say, raft down the Amazon, we’d say your odds of checking email are pretty low. But challenging travel also ticks off the boxes for “mastery experiences”—defined by Sonnentag and colleagues as “engaging, often challenging things you do well”—and to a degree, control, depending on what your trip entails. And, though it seems counterintuitive, Marchant argued that these Survivor-esque experiences—in which you may find yourself, say, braving desert conditions—actually help facilitate relaxation. Instead of worrying about your daily grind, you’re entirely focused on the environment around you.

With this in mind, Black Tomato in October 2017 began offering “Get Lost” trips, which are exactly what they sound like. Travelers have the option to pick a terrain they’d like to visit—polar, jungle, desert, mountain, and coastal—and specify their health and fitness details. But that’s it: Guides will take you to a mystery destination, give you survival supplies, a map with a few check-in points, and then leave you alone to make your way to a final destination. Some travelers even forgo selecting a terrain completely, choosing to “roll the dice,” however, Marchant said picking terrains is far more popular. Because the trips are bespoke and personally crafted for each individual customer, there are varying levels of difficulty. You can endure an extreme arctic trek, or sleep in a “beautiful tent” in the jungle. Either way, this isn’t your run-of-the-mill getaway.

The concept was born from a focus group Black Tomato conducted a few years ago: When they pitched “Get Lost,” more than 90 percent of respondents said it was the kind of transformative travel they were looking for. There was also strong feedback about focusing on wellness, with disconnecting and digital detox front and center, according to the company.

And while you’re not totally disconnected on a “Get Lost” trip—a safety team monitors you from afar—the journey’s challenges are yours to conquer. Afterwards, you get the bragging rights, and that’s another aspect of these trips that makes them so alluring, coined by Marchant as the “earned experience.” “It’s a reaction to this kind of immediately available life we live in, where everything is there for you on a plate or the touch of a button,” he says. “When people really work for something, like a trek, they have to use their wits to navigate through that.” The end result is an immense feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment, which Marchant says “trumps most other travel experiences that you have.” It’s what keeps Black Tomato customers coming back for more: Once they return from a trip, Marchant says many customers immediately book another “Get Lost” vacation (often, for a totally different environment.)

There are countless companies offering “survivor trips,” or even mystery destination vacations—it all just depends on how extreme you want to get.

Courtesy Black Tomato

Bushmasters and Black Tomato aren’t the only adventure operators capitalizing on these wildcard vacation trends. There are countless other companies offering “survivor trips,” or even mystery destination vacations—it all just depends on how extreme you want to get. If you’re leaning on the “Get Lost” side, check out Oceania Expeditions: you can pay them to “strand” you on Kabakon Island, near Papua New Guinea, for five days. According to the site, you’ll learn survival skills from neighboring villagers—ranging from cooking to making your own coconut milk. The ultimate goal is to “cast off the complexities of Western life.”

As far as mystery trips go, you can still get a surprise destination without being left to fend for yourself in the wild. Oprah-approved Magical Mystery Tours takes a traveler’s information (budget, likes, dislikes, dates, etc.) and books them a curated surprise journey: You get a weather report a week prior to your trip for packing purposes, but everything else is revealed day-of. And Pittsburgh-based company “Pack Up + Go” books three-day weekend trips around the U.S.—all you have to do is name your price and fill out a quick survey. By removing yourself from trip planning, you get all the enjoyment of the vacation without the hassle.

It should be noted that many of these trips aren’t cheap: Black Tomato’s trips start at a whopping $20,000, while the Guyana jungle excursion and Kabakon Island experience ring in at $2,500 and $7,500, respectively. But if you’ve got wanderlust, stress to release, and lots of cash to burn, you might want to ditch your next resort trip in favor of going (way, way) off the beaten path. Hey, science says it’s good for you, right?

How to book an adventure vacation

Courtesy Black Tomato

In this day and age, it’s increasingly difficult to relax on vacation—especially for millennials. According to a 2017 study from Accountemps, 62 percent of workers ages 18 to 34 check in with the office “at least once or twice a week during their vacation.” It’s easy to see why: free hotel Wi-Fi is as abundant as bad continental breakfasts, and the temptation to check in is ever-present. (Consider us guilty.)

Enter Survivor-style trips—designed to totally remove you from the outside world and your daily routine. Literally. Bushmasters, an extreme adventure travel agency, leaves you and a small group in the middle of the Arabian desert, with only a basic survival kit and minimal food and water. Or, you can brave the jungle in Guyana with nothing more than the clothes on your back, a machete, a bow and arrow, and belt kit—a very Hunger Games-esque adventure. These vacations may sound extreme (and albeit, a little frightening), but that’s the point. As Tom Marchant—co-founder of Black Tomato, a luxury travel and bespoke adventure company—explains, distraction is the new relaxation. And for that very reason, survival holidays are quickly becoming a new travel trend.

“What people find is when they’re going on a vacation that’s supposedly relaxing, they’re lying on beaches but looking at their iPhones, looking at emails coming in,” Marchant tells Traveler. “And it’s not a true sense of relaxation. [So instead] they’re looking for travel that challenges, and drives a deeper sense of connection to the place they’re in.”

These vacations may sound extreme (and albeit, a little frightening), but that’s the point.

Marchant isn’t far off. Sabine Sonnentag, a sociologist at Germany’s University of Konstanz, told TED there are four core requirements for a vacation to be an effective recovery—”relaxation, control, mastery experiences, and mental detachment from work.” Obviously, going on extreme trips will distract you from your work: Considering how demanding (mentally and physically) it is to climb a glacier, or say, raft down the Amazon, we’d say your odds of checking email are pretty low. But challenging travel also ticks off the boxes for “mastery experiences”—defined by Sonnentag and colleagues as “engaging, often challenging things you do well”—and to a degree, control, depending on what your trip entails. And, though it seems counterintuitive, Marchant argued that these Survivor-esque experiences—in which you may find yourself, say, braving desert conditions—actually help facilitate relaxation. Instead of worrying about your daily grind, you’re entirely focused on the environment around you.

With this in mind, Black Tomato in October 2017 began offering “Get Lost” trips, which are exactly what they sound like. Travelers have the option to pick a terrain they’d like to visit—polar, jungle, desert, mountain, and coastal—and specify their health and fitness details. But that’s it: Guides will take you to a mystery destination, give you survival supplies, a map with a few check-in points, and then leave you alone to make your way to a final destination. Some travelers even forgo selecting a terrain completely, choosing to “roll the dice,” however, Marchant said picking terrains is far more popular. Because the trips are bespoke and personally crafted for each individual customer, there are varying levels of difficulty. You can endure an extreme arctic trek, or sleep in a “beautiful tent” in the jungle. Either way, this isn’t your run-of-the-mill getaway.

The concept was born from a focus group Black Tomato conducted a few years ago: When they pitched “Get Lost,” more than 90 percent of respondents said it was the kind of transformative travel they were looking for. There was also strong feedback about focusing on wellness, with disconnecting and digital detox front and center, according to the company.

And while you’re not totally disconnected on a “Get Lost” trip—a safety team monitors you from afar—the journey’s challenges are yours to conquer. Afterwards, you get the bragging rights, and that’s another aspect of these trips that makes them so alluring, coined by Marchant as the “earned experience.” “It’s a reaction to this kind of immediately available life we live in, where everything is there for you on a plate or the touch of a button,” he says. “When people really work for something, like a trek, they have to use their wits to navigate through that.” The end result is an immense feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment, which Marchant says “trumps most other travel experiences that you have.” It’s what keeps Black Tomato customers coming back for more: Once they return from a trip, Marchant says many customers immediately book another “Get Lost” vacation (often, for a totally different environment.)

There are countless companies offering “survivor trips,” or even mystery destination vacations—it all just depends on how extreme you want to get.

Courtesy Black Tomato

Bushmasters and Black Tomato aren’t the only adventure operators capitalizing on these wildcard vacation trends. There are countless other companies offering “survivor trips,” or even mystery destination vacations—it all just depends on how extreme you want to get. If you’re leaning on the “Get Lost” side, check out Oceania Expeditions: you can pay them to “strand” you on Kabakon Island, near Papua New Guinea, for five days. According to the site, you’ll learn survival skills from neighboring villagers—ranging from cooking to making your own coconut milk. The ultimate goal is to “cast off the complexities of Western life.”

As far as mystery trips go, you can still get a surprise destination without being left to fend for yourself in the wild. Oprah-approved Magical Mystery Tours takes a traveler’s information (budget, likes, dislikes, dates, etc.) and books them a curated surprise journey: You get a weather report a week prior to your trip for packing purposes, but everything else is revealed day-of. And Pittsburgh-based company “Pack Up + Go” books three-day weekend trips around the U.S.—all you have to do is name your price and fill out a quick survey. By removing yourself from trip planning, you get all the enjoyment of the vacation without the hassle.

It should be noted that many of these trips aren’t cheap: Black Tomato’s trips start at a whopping $20,000, while the Guyana jungle excursion and Kabakon Island experience ring in at $2,500 and $7,500, respectively. But if you’ve got wanderlust, stress to release, and lots of cash to burn, you might want to ditch your next resort trip in favor of going (way, way) off the beaten path. Hey, science says it’s good for you, right?

Looking to travel with a small group? These companies have you covered!

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Let’s face it, we all love to travel but most of us prefer not to get stuck on a large tour bus with dozens of others tourists. On top of that, smaller groups are more nimble, allowing us to cover more ground in a shorter amount of time. Add in the ability to create tighter bonds with our fellow travelers and it doesn’t take long to understand why small groups are the preferred option for organized tours.

If you’re looking to travel as part of small group these tour operators and adventure travel companies do a great job of keeping the size of their departures small. Some of these companies cap the number of travelers at just 16, while others may go as high as 20 or more depending on specific itineraries. The styles of travel varies from bare bones to luxury, but among these tour operators you’ll find adventurous and active trips to every corner of the globe. You just won’t have to deal with being part of a large crowd that finds itself herded from one place to the next.

Our Top Picks

G Adventures

How to book an adventure vacation

G Adventures, offers a wide variety of imaginative trips, with several of them earning a spot on National Geographic Traveler magazine’s “Tours of a Lifetime” lists on a regular basis.

The company offers different styles of trips to meet the needs of different types of travelers. The “Basic” options are for those who want their lodging set and prefer having guides for advice, but still want lots of freedom to explore each day too. The “comfort” trips offer a higher standard of lodging and transportation, and more guiding as a group, while the “standard” level of service provides an even more upgraded level of service, lodging, and transportation.

On a G trip you can expect the group size to be capped at about 16 people, with most groups averaging around 10 or so.

Special Offers, Packages & More

How to book an adventure vacation

Disney Theme Parks

Enchantment Awaits at Walt Disney World Resort

Journey to All 4 Parks During Your Disney Vacation for Endless Fun

Imagine a place like nowhere on earth, where moments and memories have no limit.

 Magic Kingdom Park Wander through 6 captivating lands, hop on iconic Disney attractions, meet beloved Characters and catch spectacular fireworks displays and animated parades.

 Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park Behold the magic of nature and delight in wild animal encounters, high-speed thrills, nightly entertainment and Pandora – The World of Avatar.

 Disney’s Hollywood Studios Embrace the spirit of Tinseltown with a variety of attractions and entertainment inspired by movies, TV, music and theater—including Star Wars– and Toy Story-themed experiences.

 Epcot Ignite your imagination at a park brimming with innovation and global allures. Here, you can travel to outer space and stroll through 11 countries in a single day.

Mix In Water Parks, Dining Shopping and More!

Uncover excitement and leisure outside of the theme parks.

Create Your Magical Disney Vacation

Begin building your one-of-a-kind escape by choosing from over 25 Disney Resort hotels. Then, customize a package that lets you take advantage of all 4 theme parks, our 2 water parks and over 150 Walt Disney World Resort dining locations.

Happiness Awaits at Disneyland Resort

Each Park Boasts a Unique Vibe

Celebrate your love for all things Disney at the original home for never-ending fascination and glee.

 Disneyland Park Feel a dreamy nostalgia at Walt Disney’s original theme park, where you can float through 8 themed lands, meet Disney Princesses, encounter a variety of Star Wars experiences and take in mesmerizing entertainment.

 Disney California Adventure Park Make yourself at home in a world where the stories of Disney, Pixar and Marvel come to life within 7 vibrant lands.

Mix In Dining, Shopping and Local Hotspots

Unwind with family and friends in a lively promenade located in between the parks—admission is complimentary! Plus, enhance your trip by checking out nearby landmarks.

Create Your Magical Disney Vacation

Plot the perfect getaway by choosing from 3 amenity-packed Disneyland Resort hotels. Then, customize a package that lets you take advantage of both theme parks, Character Dining experiences—and conveniently add travel options like your flight, ground transportation and other popular SoCal experiences.

How to book an adventure vacation

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Somewhere around the sixth – or seventh or eighth – glass of wine, things get a bit hazy. You look down the dinner table at the other guests chatting like lifelong friends, their faces illuminated by candles and the moon. The smell of the gourmet meal mixes with the smell of red dirt and the din of oversized insects drowns out the conversation. The safari camp feels like it ought to be reserved for Hemingway, or, at the very least, European nobility, but there you are.

Thanks to the growing number of outfitters – an estimated 500 at last count– and the increased accessibility of Africa’s wildlife areas provided by Turkish Airlines flights from Istanbul to Nairobi, Kigali, and the base of Kilimanjaro, it has never been easier to actually go on safari. But the choices that make this ultimate travel experience more feasible also present a new obstacle. Booking a trip to the Serengeti, Masai Mara, or southern African reserves requires either the willingness to pay an established, reputable company like Alexander+Roberts, which runs luxury trips all over the world and can provide access to amazing lodges and camps, or a great deal of research and savvy. As Tom Yule, a seasoned expedition leader, explains, cut-rate companies are bringing cut-throat business to the plains. Choose the wrong outfitter and you may find yourself stranded on the savannah. “Your dream holiday can become an absolute nightmare,” says Yule.

The risk is largely a function of price. After paying around $7,500 for a 9-day vacation, you’re not going to be comfortable roughing it. And you shouldn’t be, especially when it’s fairly simple to differentiate between potential trips. The best way to separate the serious outfitters from the opportunists? Look at amenities . If a group is willing to shell out on hot showers, wi -fi, top-end linens, and professional chefs, you can conclude that they will also willingly pay for local guiding talent. And make no mistake, guides matter . Without someone experienced, your chances of seeing the Big Five (lion, elephant, buffalo, rhino, leopard) decline sharply and you may even find yourself in danger. The bush is, after all, hard country.

Here is how to book that safari you’ve always dreamt about while avoiding flyer’s remorse, frustration, and death by mauling.

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CONTENTS

Trip Planning

Planning a trip can be both exciting and overwhelming at the same time. My partner Tom and I have been traveling the world for almost 5 years now and as you can imagine, we’ve picked up a few tips and tricks along the way.We want to help you plan your next adventure by dishing out some of our best travel tips on how to save up for travel, what insurance to get, how to find cheap accommodation, all the way to the best adventures out there.

Our mission in Adventure in You is to help people create unforgettable memories. We do this by making sure that you have everything you need for your trip, making the entire trip planning process as easy as possible.

Flights

When planning a trip, our first starting point is finding flights. We’ve even planned entire trips based on where we can fly cheaply. To help us find the best deals, we usually start by going on Skyscanner. We use the Skyscanner App to set us flight alerts or to help us explore destinations! Take a look at some of our best articles on finding cheap flights:

Travel Insurance

As soon as we’ve booked our flights, the first thing we do is sort out our travel insurance. I have to be the first to admit that this wasn’t always the case. However, after a few travel accidents, we never leave home without it.

We personally use and recommend World Nomads simply because they have the best adventure travel coverage. There are a lot of myths regarding insurance so whatever insurance provider you choose from, just make sure that you read your policy to make sure that you are covered for the activities that you want to do.

Accommodations

As soon as we have our flights and insurance covered, we now start planning on where to stay. To be perfectly honest, when it comes to traveling around Asia, we are a lot more relaxed and prefer to book things a few days before we reach a destination.

This gives us a lot of flexibility which we love. However, after traveling to other continents, we found this to be quite difficult as places tend to be pricier. This also holds true when traveling during peak season.

For hotels, we usually scour Booking.com to help us find great deals. To help you out even more, in places that we have spent a lot of time in, we’ve compiled articles featuring the best places to stay in. This includes everything from hotels, hostels, to apartments. You can find these articles in our individual travel tips pages.

If we want to stay in a place for longer, our go-to is Airbnb. If you haven’t tried Airbnb, it’s an incredible platform which allows you to stay in apartments and homes, giving you the freedom to cook, all while exploring a less touristy side of a destination. We love it and use it all the time.

If you haven’t tried Airbnb yet, click to get a FREE $30 coupon to use when you book for the first time.

How to book an adventure vacation

Are you in a place where you feel things are closing around you, and you are drowning and you want to do something to escape it all? All you need to do is to take that one step, pick up that one book that will motivate you to set out on your journey and help you find answers that you are looking for.

Here are some books about travel, adventure, self-discovery, and healing with female protagonists who struggled with the questions and doubts that most of us have at some point in our lives. So take that first step and get started:

1) Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

The book is about the journey of a woman’s search for pleasure, devotion and balance. After her marriage breaks, she decides to do something different. She travels across Italy, India and Indonesia, where she discovers what she is looking for. She indulges in the culture and food in Italy. She finds enlightenment in India, and love and happiness in Indonesia. The book has also been made into a movie.

2) Down the Nile by Rosemary Mahoney

This one is all about sheer adventure and the thrill of it. Rosemary Mahoney was determined to take a solo trip down the Nile River in Egypt. She manages to get a skiff (a light rowing boat or sculling boat, typically for one person) and takes it down the Nile. She dressed like a fisherman and covered her hair so the locals do not recognise her as a foreigner out in the waters without a Captain to guide her. The book talks about the sights and scenes she sees along with the hurdles she faces and how she overcomes them.

3) Wild by Cheryl Strayed

The loss of her mother, and her subsequent divorce from her husband of six years propelled her to take up a 1,100 miles long hike. She hiked along the Pacific Crest Trail, a stretch of wilderness rolling from Mexico to Canada over nine mountain ranges – the Laguna to the Cascades for two months.

Cheryl published her memoir 17 years later detailing her experiences on the hike. The book speaks of how the journey of a thousand miles impacted her emotionally. A good book to tag along with, if its peace you are searching for, just like Cheryl.

4) Now is the Time to Open Your Heart by Alice Walker

The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Color Purple, and other books like Possessing the Secret of Joy, and The Temple of My Familiar, writes about a women’s spiritual journey.

Kate, the protagonist, daydreams of beautiful mountains and rivers and eventually garners the courage to take up a journey and heads to Colorado River. Kate ditches her life and the unhappiness she is living through and drives herself to take a step forward. The spiritual journey that Kate takes in her quest for self-discovery makes for an emotional and moving read.

5) Tales of a Female Nomad: Living At Large in the World by Rita Golden Gelman

“I move throughout the world without a plan, guided by instinct, connecting through trust, and constantly watching for serendipitous opportunities.” — writes Rita in the preface of this book.

After her children had grown up and her marriage had dissolved and she was at the verge of a divorce, at the age of 48 Rita decided to follow her dream. She left Los Angeles and became a nomad. She travelled across the world connecting with people across cultures.

This book is for all those women who think that they are too old to chase their dreams and follow their heart. It is a book about chasing your dreams and exploring a world that has great experiences to offer.

6) Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy by Frances Mayes

Set against the Tuscan countryside, this book is about overcoming tragedy and fear. After her nasty divorce, Frances Mayes is in the Tuscan countryside restoring her villa, something she bought on a whim in the hope that it would change her life. Living in Italian countryside, she talks about cooking, gardening, and painting – what she calls skills and not chores. The book talks about how she restored the villa and also includes recipes. This memoir of Frances Mayes was made into a movie and was titled the same as the book.

7) Without Reservations: The Travels of an Independent Woman by Alice Steinbach

This book is for all the women who think of travelling solo but don’t. It is about how Alice takes off from her life to travel solo and discover the world and herself in the process. She sends herself postcards as she discovers each city and the emotions each of these places invoke. It is a story about discovery, life, cities and the emotions connected with it.

8) Traveling with Pomegranates by Sue Monk Kidd

This is about a mother-daughter duo Sue and Ann who travel together to Turkey, France and Greece; each grappling with their own challenges. Sue is dealing with writer’s block and midlife challenges, while her daughter is struggling with heartbreak and questions about a career.

Not only do the women seek answers to their problems but also as they travel together, they build new and strong bonds. This one is for mothers and daughters!

9) The Pelee Project by Jane Christmas

This one is especially for the single mothers out there who are juggling lives, family, and careers singlehandedly. In the midst of the chaos and madness that life and responsibilities present, Jane is in the midst of a car crash.

She walks away from the crash, takes off from work for three months and moves to an island with her daughter. Pelee Island is a remote community with less than 200 people, right in the middle of Lake Erie in North America. The book is about her experiences with the community and living on the island with the community and her experiences in the new chapter of her life.

10) Forty-Something Phoenix: A Travel Memoir by Marlayna Glynn Brown

This book shares lessons from Marlayna’s journey. She travelled for six months and through 14 countries. Marlayna has been a single parent and solo traveller, and she found love and self-acceptance in the disparities and similarities in cultures and their histories.

Each of these books has something to offer – advice, tales of adventure, thrill, solo experiences, and interesting details about countries and cultures. As the world around you pulls you down, you can always seek out these books for sanctuary.