Six Tips to Prepare for an International Outdoor Adventure

It’s a great big world, and you want to expe­ri­ence every inch of it, from South Amer­i­ca to Africa and every­where between. Here are some con­sid­er­a­tions to bear in mind when enjoy­ing an out­door adven­ture abroad.

Con­sid­er a Tour
Tack­ling unfa­mil­iar ter­rain becomes a lit­tle eas­i­er when you have resources on your side. Sign­ing on with a good tour removes the guess­work from your itin­er­ary with­out sac­ri­fic­ing the excite­ment and spon­tane­ity you crave. In fact, a well-planned tour gives you much greater free­dom than you would have as a solo vagabond. For one thing, you get to pass on the logis­ti­cal has­sles to the experts and focus exclu­sive­ly on enjoy­ing the nat­ur­al won­ders you jour­neyed so far to see. For anoth­er, many of the best climbs and hikes can be accessed only via guid­ed tour.

Learn Some Lan­guage Basics
It’s con­sid­ered a cour­tesy to learn some stan­dard phras­es in the native lan­guage of the place you’ll be explor­ing. It’s also a smart safe­ty pre­cau­tion and, some­times, a gate­way to unique experiences.

Should you become sep­a­rat­ed from your crew, you might need to com­mu­ni­cate with locals out­side the tourism sphere. Know the basic direc­tion­al phras­es of the region’s lan­guage at a min­i­mum. Bear in mind that each cul­ture express dis­tances, direc­tions, and rela­tion­al terms in its own way. And even if you are a native speak­er of the lan­guage, each country—even each town—may have its own dialect. Brush up to avoid bafflement.

The bet­ter acquaint­ed you are with the local world­view, the bet­ter off you’ll be. In addi­tion to direc­tions, make a list of those phras­es you would need in an emer­gency. Look these up on your own before trav­el­ing, and con­firm mean­ings with the tourism offi­cials you inter­act with once you arrive at your destination.

Best of all, the more you attempt to immerse your­self in the local cul­ture, the more like­ly the locals will be to help you explore off the beat­en path.

Observe Cus­toms, Show Respect
Wher­ev­er you go, you need to treat wild spaces with care; but cul­tur­al eti­quette varies with region. Some sites, while open to the pub­lic for hik­ing and explor­ing, are sacred to indige­nous cul­tures. Treat­ing these places as recre­ation zones may be con­sid­ered offen­sive, so tread carefully.

Know the prop­er deco­rum for all sit­u­a­tions you might encounter on the trail. What is the pro­to­col for emer­gency out­door pot­ty breaks? What table man­ners should you demon­strate at meal times?

Although most peo­ple who cater to inter­na­tion­al tourists will not expect you to abide by local cus­tom, attempt­ing to do so will dis­tin­guish you as a trav­el­er, not just a tourist.

Eat Care­ful­ly
You don’t want to miss out on the climb of a life­time because you were holed up with food-relat­ed ill­ness. And it’s not just food­borne pathogens that invite tum­my trou­ble. When we’re try­ing exot­ic fare for the first time, our unini­ti­at­ed diges­tive just sys­tems might not be up to the task. Try to keep a low culi­nary pro­file before head­ing out for the wilderness.

On the oth­er hand, sam­pling local del­i­ca­cies is an impor­tant aspect of trav­el. Just don’t sched­ule your din­ing adven­ture right before your back­pack­ing expedition.

Know the Wildlife
Hav­ing good envi­ron­men­tal aware­ness will improve your trip on two levels.

First, it’s eas­i­er to appre­ci­ate the flo­ra and fau­na when you’re able to iden­ti­fy it. Imag­ine the sights you could pass by unaware if you’re not informed and attentive.

Sec­ond, know­ing what you might encounter along your route will help you to be pre­pared for it. Whether ven­omous snakes or aller­gy-induc­ing plants, you’ll want to man­age these encoun­ters as safe­ly as possible.

Sched­ule Some Cul­tur­al Experiences
Nav­i­gat­ing the world’s wilder­ness is an amaz­ing pur­suit. All the more so with­in the con­text of a lit­tle cul­tur­al enrich­ment. Plan to spend a few days check­ing out the urban area before you hit the back­coun­try. From muse­ums to street fairs, from Thai­land to Mozam­bique, take every oppor­tu­ni­ty you can to become a cit­i­zen of the world.