unsplash.comBook­ing over­seas flights can be chal­leng­ing, but if you know when to hold and when to fold, in the long run you’ll return a hap­pi­er traveler.

The most impor­tant thing to keep in mind is that cheap isn’t the same as suc­cess­ful. With that in mind, here are 5 ways to smooth out your ride:

Go Easy on the OTAs
(Online Trav­el Agen­cies). Third par­ty book­ers like Expe­dia, Orb­itz, and Kayak are an awe­some way to score a good deal on domes­tic tickets—most of the time. There’s also a lev­el of con­ve­nience using them to search across a vari­ety of fares and air­lines. And when you’re ready to book, you can feel pret­ty good know­ing you’re get­ting the same price as you would on an air­line’s website.

But when it comes to inter­na­tion­al trav­el, the OTA book­ing con­ve­nience has its trade-offs: unless you are expe­ri­enced with workarounds for com­pli­cat­ed flight hic­cups, it can actu­al­ly be risky. In fact, one of the pit­falls of book­ing either domes­tic or inter­na­tion­al through an OTA is what hap­pens when you run into prob­lems (flight can­cel­la­tions, delays and reroutes).

The unmit­i­gat­ed has­sle of being in the mid­dle of the air­line and the online agency will most cer­tain­ly negate any con­ve­nience. Fre­quent fliers note that air­line reps and gate agents put third-par­ty tick­ets at the bot­tom of their “con­cern” list, and are unlike­ly to help you sort out issues like they will for loy­al­ty pro­gram fliers who book direct­ly with their airline.

How do they know you didn’t book direct? The cod­ing on your tick­et spells out your book­ing method.

The bot­tom line for over­seas trav­el is that it’s best to use the OTAs to com­pare prices among air­lines and then go book direct­ly at the airline’s web­site for a bet­ter chance at get­ting help, should you need it.

Get a Human
The more com­pli­cat­ed your itinerary—flying to mul­ti­ple coun­tries through mul­ti­ple cities and hubs on mul­ti­ple code­share flights, group tick­et­ing, or spe­cial pric­ing in con­junc­tion with a hotel or cruise deal—the more it makes sense to seek out a tra­di­tion­al trav­el agent. When it comes to flight tick­et­ing only (no oth­er trav­el arrang­ing like hotels or cars), the aver­age markup is around $60, accord­ing to a quick sur­vey of trav­el agen­cies. When it comes to prob­lem res­o­lu­tion, espe­cial­ly if you have a sol­id rela­tion­ship with your human agent, the $40 to $80 you pay them will like­ly bring a faster res­o­lu­tion of your issue than if you’re fend­ing for your­self. They know the ropes—and they’re paid to have your back.

To check out well-vet­ted lists of local agents, or ones who spe­cial­ize in the type of trav­el or des­ti­na­tion you’re inter­est­ed in, vis­it the Amer­i­can Soci­ety of Trav­el Agents.

When OTA is the Only Way
If your bud­get dic­tates OTAs as your best option, then be pre­pared. Error on the side of cau­tion and make sure you have the third-par­ty agency as well as the cus­tomer ser­vice num­ber for the air­line you’re fly­ing in your phone. That way you can call and try to get any issues resolved while you’re stand­ing in line wait­ing to speak to a human agent at the airline’s cus­tomer ser­vice counter about a re-accommodation.

Be aware that most of the cus­tomer ser­vice reps for OTAs are out­sourced, which can often make it hard­er to get the answers you need. In the end, they still have no pow­er to help rebook you if your flight gets can­celed or rerout­ed. So it’s incum­bent upon you to know what your rights are with the air­line you’re using. Bone up here.

When Things Don’t Go As Planned
What to do if you’re using an OTA and every­thing goes haywire?

Call the air­line or OTAs cus­tomer ser­vice num­ber. Make sure you have your air­line record loca­tor num­ber (on your board­ing pass, usu­al­ly in caps and in bold). Note the date, time, and length of call (do your­self a favor ahead of time and learn how to record the call using a cell phone app). Also, don’t for­get to ask for and note the name of the rep­re­sen­ta­tive or their employ­ee num­ber. Then as one expe­ri­enced fre­quent fli­er advis­es, keep it sim­ple. Do not get into a com­pli­cat­ed dis­cus­sion or an angry whine fest. Tell them you booked through the OTA, then state your name, your record loca­tor num­ber, the flight date and time of flight, and the problem—“my flight from A to B got can­celed, and I need to rebook pron­to.” Leave it at that.

You’re lucky if they fix your prob­lem, but if not and you’re mid-flight and they don’t or won’t assist you, be pre­pared to pay for an alter­nate flight. If you haven’t yet start­ed the trip, you may have oth­er options and it’s worth being more per­sis­tent, stay­ing on the phone and mak­ing mul­ti­ple calls as need­ed. But you also may be sim­ply spin­ning your wheels and wast­ing valu­able time try­ing to make them help you.

If They Don’t Want to Help You
What if you have to buy an extra tick­et to com­plete your flight? Once you call the OTA rep, you have met your legal oblig­a­tion to make a rea­son­able effort to avoid a breach of con­tract. Beyond that, you don’t have to com­pel them to do their job nor do you need to stay on hold for a spec­i­fied peri­od of time. Nor are you required to make mul­ti­ple attempts at con­tact. So if they don’t help you, the onus is on them. Your legal oblig­a­tion to the OTA and the air­line end­ed when you made a con­cert­ed effort to seek redress.

Once you’re back from your trip, file a claim direct­ly with the OTA, and if need be take them to small claims court (or the court of social media) where the bur­den of proof will be on them once you pro­vide the details you not­ed at the start of this has­sle. The judg­ment will be in your favor. Col­lect­ing on it, how­ev­er, could be anoth­er hassle.

Get Trav­el Insurance
You could avoid a lot of this if you pur­chase trav­el insur­ance. It’s designed to help you recoup your mon­ey and even time in the event of a missed flight, trip delay, or can­cel­la­tion caused by bad weath­er, an air­line mechan­i­cal break­down, sud­den ill­ness onset, or even a car acci­dent en route to the air­port. Don’t expect to rely on your cred­it card to cov­er flight delays or can­cel­la­tions, or for that mat­ter, emer­gency med­ical cov­er­age over­seas. Often when there is cov­er­age, the ben­e­fits are high­ly limited.

Know­ing that you’ll get reim­bursed for a last-minute tick­et or a rebook can help take the stress out of the chaos that typ­i­cal­ly ensues in these sit­u­a­tions. But always thor­ough­ly research the cov­er­age and the insur­er (check online reviews) to make sure you’re ful­ly protected.

A trav­el agent can walk you through cov­er­age options, or you can vis­it World Nomads to find appro­pri­ate insur­ance to fit your par­tic­u­lar needs.

Final­ly tak­ing that long-dis­tance trekking trip? Here are some tips on essen­tial items you might need to pack for a mul­ti-day trek.

HitTheTrail_02

Your Pack: Adven­ture-wor­thy packs must be tough enough to sur­vive more than beat­ings from air­port con­vey­or belts; it should thwart the ele­ments atop rusty bus­es, endure inad­ver­tent stomp­ings by curi­ous locals, and wel­come myr­iad abus­es by fare-hun­gry cabbies—all while keep­ing your pre­cious belong­ings safe and sound. For a trekking trip, you’ll prob­a­bly want one sol­id back­pack­ing bag, one tough enough so that you can trust it any sit­u­a­tion, but also one that will be light­weight. No one wants to trek the 12 days to Ever­est Base Camp with an unnec­es­sar­i­ly heavy pack.

Clothes: Today’s trav­el and expe­di­tion clothes are not just pieces of tough mate­r­ial: your clothes are sun­screen, bug repel­lant, and a cool­er for your core. They should have mois­ture wick­ing prop­er­ties and be able to be worn to din­ner, the office, or on a steam­ing jun­gle trek. No trav­el kit is com­plete with­out light­weight clothes. It’s high­ly rec­om­mend­ed for long-dis­tance treks that you pack a small num­ber of clothes that can be worn across mul­ti­ple days. Qual­i­ty over quantity!

nQZcA7PRTyuduZPSZQ88_wanderlust

Footwear:  The footwear you bring on trekking trips should be durable and com­fort­able, prefer­ably high-top hik­ing boots that can be worn for long-dis­tances. In recent years, how­ev­er, many long-dis­tance hik­ing afi­ciona­dos have tak­en to more pared down footwear. It’s not an uncom­mon sight to see some­one hik­ing the PCT in a pair of per­for­mance hik­ing shoes that don’t go any high­er than their ankle. What­ev­er you choose, make sure you’ll feel com­fort­able trekking many miles over mul­ti­ple days with your cho­sen footwear. Pro-tip: Pack mole­skin pads and duct tape. These will save your life if blis­ters start to arise. 

Sleep­ing: These are often high­ly trip spe­cif­ic, but chances are if you’re going on a mul­ti-day trek, you’ll be doing it in the warmer months. This means you’ll want to bring a light­weight sleep­ing bag and sleep­ing pad, and depend­ing on if you’re on a guid­ed adven­ture or not, a tent. It’s impor­tant that these items pack down tight­ly. You don’t want to lug around that huge hand-me-down sleep­ing bag you use for car camp­ing on a long-dis­tance trek.

Acces­sories: Many of these will often be spe­cif­ic to your trip, but the essen­tial trekking acces­sories range from bear spray to band-aids. What­ev­er your trip may be, we rec­om­mend you thor­ough­ly research what exact­ly you’ll need on the trek. More often than not, you’ll want a head­lamp, a water bot­tle, and a pock­et knife. As far as extra­ne­ous acces­sories, you might want to bring a book or Kin­dle: no one likes being tent bound for a day with noth­ing to do but twid­dle your thumbs.

a816dbd7


 


Why Greece?
Stun­ning coast­lines, sun-bleached ancient ruins, incred­i­ble food, and warm hos­pi­tal­i­ty drew me to explore the Greek Islands. Pri­or to the trip, I had nev­er spent an after­noon on a sailboat–let alone an entire week–but that was­n’t about to stop me from sail­ing to five dif­fer­ent islands in the Cyclades archipelago.

Pack­ing Essentials
The tem­per­a­ture fluc­tu­at­ed quite a bit while sail­ing, so it helped to dress in lay­ers. A bat­tery pack also came in handy to charge cam­era bat­ter­ies and oth­er elec­tron­ics at times when we were not docked at a port.

Tell us about Bear­ing True South
From the moment I arrived in Athens, Bear­ing True South greet­ed me with open arms. This trip felt less like a tour and more like a sail­ing trip with friends. Our fear­less cap­tain, Andreas, and guide Stravos, showed us their favorite places on the islands and served up an authen­tic, once-in-a-life­time experience.

Some High­lights?
I quick­ly set­tled into the dai­ly rou­tine of fred­do cap­puc­ci­nos and savory pas­tries dur­ing our morn­ing sail. After­noons were spent swim­ming in the translu­cent, turquoise waters of the Aegean and explor­ing new towns and islands. Get­ting off the tourist cir­cuit, dis­cov­er­ing the less­er-known islands in the area, and con­nect­ing with the local peo­ple made this trip real­ly special.

Where do you want to go next?
I still have my sights set on sum­mit­ing Kil­i­man­jaro one day, but I might opt for hik­ing the John Muir trail this sum­mer and snow­board­ing in Japan next winter.


For more infor­ma­tion on book­ing a sail­ing trip with Bear­ing True South, check out our Clymb Adven­tures page here. 


The Clymb: What was the inspi­ra­tion for this trip?
Samuel Rose: One of my clos­est friends passed away sud­den­ly two weeks before I was set to study abroad in New Zealand. I was crushed by the loss and since then I use him as moti­va­tion to live life to the fullest. Hence the idea for this trip was born. 

Why these adven­tures specifically?
This trip will be about 10 months long and I plan to vis­it over 30 coun­tries. I bought a round the world plan tick­et with Star Alliance. The Clymb pro­vid­ed me with a way to go see Africa, Egypt, Kil­i­man­jaro, and Ever­est Base Camp–places I felt uncom­fort­able doing on my own or pre­ferred in a group set­ting. The main theme was to keep me busy and to push my body and mind as much as pos­si­ble. Trav­el­ing is a beau­ti­ful puz­zle and the pieces are fun to put together.

What were some highlights?
Egypt was my favorite non-moun­tain­ous area. The coun­try gave off such an amaz­ing vibe. Kil­i­man­jaro was insane and the peo­ple there were tru­ly incred­i­ble, our porters could not have been bet­ter. Ever­est Base Camp was the best thing on this entire journey. 

It was the jour­ney of a life­time with­in the jour­ney of a lifetime. 

What made this trip special?
The peo­ple I have met along the way. The friends I have got­ten to trav­el with and the places I have got­ten to go. I am so thank­ful and blessed and I won’t be able to ful­ly com­pre­hend what I have done for some time. 

How has this trip impact­ed the way you live now?
The con­stant chang­ing of plans forces you to be flex­i­ble and deal with adver­si­ty. There have been no bad days on this trip, only bet­ter days.

Where do you want to go next? 
After trav­el­ing nomad­i­cal­ly for near­ly 10 months, I am mov­ing to Israel to teach Eng­lish in Beit She’an, an impov­er­ished com­mu­ni­ty in the north.


For more infor­ma­tion on tak­ing a Clymb Adven­ture, check out our page here. 

trip planning

trip planningWin­ter is the time when we dream about big trips for the upcom­ing warmer sea­sons. The New Year spawns res­o­lu­tions, and almost every­one says they want to trav­el more.

What are the trips you dream about? Raft­ing the Grand Canyon? Trekking in the Andes? Pad­dling among Alaskan glac­i­ers? A month-long road trip of California’s pre­mier surf spots? What­ev­er your dream, here’s the way to make it go from a dream, to the actu­al trip.

Plan­ning Is Fun
Big trips take a lot of plan­ning: research, fig­ur­ing out who should (and shouldn’t) be in the group, find­ing climb­ing route and riv­er rapid beta, what vac­ci­na­tions you need, how to nego­ti­ate shut­tles, small plane flights (poten­tial­ly in dif­fer­ent lan­guages), and how to be sure you get the expe­ri­ence you want when invest­ing a lot of time and mon­ey. Plan­ning is work, but the first step is to decide that it’s also fun. It’s a trea­sure hunt, a puz­zle, and a jour­ney in and of itself. I love pour­ing over maps of dis­tant coast­lines and moun­tains or read­ing guide­books to far­away places, even if I may not get there for years.

Write It Down
Keep a list of trips you want to do, from quick week-long and cheap get­aways to vast expe­di­tions on the oth­er side of the world. Don’t be too spe­cif­ic and don’t wor­ry about whether or not you know much about the place at all. This list is to keep the juices flowing.

Do Basic Research
Pick the spot on top of your list and start the research. Get guide­books from the library. Have a beer with friends who have been there and look at their pho­tos. Surf the web. Start to fig­ure out the basics. What time of year? What sub­re­gion of big places like Prince William Sound or the Scot­tish high­lands? What’s the main appeal of that place to you and your pals?

Ear­ly Adopters
Even­tu­al­ly, you’ll find some­one you like adven­tur­ing with who will say “yes” in a seri­ous way. Now you’ve got a co-con­spir­a­tor. There may be obsta­cles that pop up lat­er, but for now, you’re plung­ing into the jour­ney of plan­ning the trip togeth­er. Split up things to research—transportation, routes, risks, per­mits, and get back togeth­er. Talk about what the group should look like: size, skills, and personalities.

trip planning
Find the Local Knowledge
Get beyond the guide­books: talk to locals or peo­ple who have done sim­i­lar things in the same place. They can tell you what it’s real­ly like, and you can learn from their mis­takes. Not every­one likes to give up their secrets, so expect it to take some friend­ly cajol­ing and rec­i­p­ro­cal shar­ing when the time comes. Spread out the maps, talk spe­cif­ic routes, out­fit­ters, or cul­tur­al, tech­ni­cal or logis­ti­cal challenges.

Trust…But Ver­i­fy
Don’t take all the info at face val­ue. Not every trip has the same goals, con­di­tions change, and for many remote places, logis­ti­cal info is spot­ty. A friend found that a guide­book under-record­ed the length of a stretch of the Arc­tic by a whop­ping 100 miles. Anoth­er friend sea kayaked in an island chain the charts were last sur­veyed in 1912. And land­scapes change. New rapids form, trails wash out, glacial land­scapes in Alas­ka are still ris­ing as they rebound from the last ice age, cre­at­ing new islands.

Time and Money
Trips are expen­sive and take time. Have an open con­ver­sa­tion about cost, what peo­ple can afford, and what you’re will­ing to sac­ri­fice if costs come high­er along the way. This saves a lot of stress and pre­vents inter-group ten­sion down the road.

Talk About Goals
Be overt about what you want your trip to be like. Are you dri­ven to climb the peak? Will you be con­tent if the weath­er turns your trip from a sum­mit push to a high-alpine trekking cir­cuit? Do peo­ple want to do long miles, and are they will­ing to train for it before­hand? When you have this con­ver­sa­tion, some peo­ple will drop out. It might feel like your trip is falling apart, but this is actu­al­ly a good thing. It’s bet­ter to have this hap­pen now than lat­er in the game.

Iden­ti­fy the Crux
Most trips have some sort of crux move: a high-ele­va­tion a pass to get over before the weath­er turns or a big rapid. Oth­ers have logis­ti­cal cruxes—how to get kayaks to a remote set of islands, or how to arrange a food drop and what to do if the weath­er pre­vents small air­craft from fly­ing. Then plan the rest of your trip around that crux.

To Flex or Not to Flex
Beyond the crux, decide how much of the itin­er­ary should be planned and nailed down in advance. Some will depend on the destination—permits, out­fit­ter reser­va­tions, etc. In some places, great deals are avail­able when you sim­ply go there and take advan­tage of unre­served spots on trans­port and trav­el at the last minute—but you’ll need to be flex­i­ble if this doesn’t hap­pen. Every group lives on a spec­trum between plan­ning every­thing and mak­ing it up as they go. Decide where on that spec­trum you want to be.

group trip
Reform The Group
By now, sev­er­al mem­bers of your group may have dropped out because they can’t afford it, can’t take the time off, or don’t have the same goals. This may a good thing. Big trips require an almost intu­itive trust and you’ll have to get along well when things aren’t going as planned. This is the time that your group reforms. Then you’ll take the plunge: buy­ing a tick­et, mak­ing the core reser­va­tion with an out­fit­ter, and lock­ing in the dates on the calendar.

Micro-Plans
On big trips, micro-plans can mat­ter as much as the big idea. The next step is to cre­ate them. I like to have a list of things I’d like to do while I’m there, as well as big objec­tives. This gives me ideas I can work with quick­ly when things change. They can be as sim­ple as a great side hike if I have time or a set of con­tact num­bers of out­fit­ters that can pro­vide a diver­sion if I sud­den­ly have two extra days to kill.

No New Gear
Don’t bring new gear. Even if it’s great, you don’t know it well, and on big trips, you want to be able to set up your tent blind­fold­ed. If you have new gear, give it a sol­id shake­down trip first. And remem­ber, prep always takes more time than you think: plan­ning menus, dehy­drat­ing food, repair­ing gear, and training.

Not All Dreams Come True
A lot of big trips won’t hap­pen. Think of your dream trips like base­ball players—many don’t make it to the major leagues, and some take a few years to blos­som. But these trips def­i­nite­ly won’t hap­pen if you don’t plan them. And like dreams, often it’s the dream­ing that mat­ters. It sparks the imag­i­na­tion and sense of pos­si­bil­i­ty. As Vin­cent Van Gogh said, “I dream of paint­ing, and then I paint my dream.”


Ready to take your dream adven­ture? Check out The Clymb Adven­tures page for an epic selec­tion of unfor­get­table trips.

 


 

San Luis Obispo County’s (SLO CAL) stunning scenery is best taken in slowly. Whether you prefer to take in the sights on foot or in the saddle, SLO CAL has no shortage of opportunities for every experience level.

 

SLO CAL’s abun­dant hik­ing trails pro­vide end­less oppor­tu­ni­ty for expe­ri­enc­ing the land­scape up close. The rolling hills are a vibrant green in spring, and turn to gold in the sum­mer. A chain of vol­canic peaks, known as the 9 sis­ters, tran­sect SLO CAL’s most promi­nent val­ley and paint a strik­ing land­scape from San Luis Obis­po to Mor­ro Bay. Many of them have well-kept trails and we high­ly rec­om­mend you take advan­tage of the bird’s eye view! 

For south-coun­ty hik­ers that want to gain some ele­va­tion and ocean views, you can’t beat the Avi­la Ridge trail or the new­ly-opened Pis­mo Pre­serve. Avi­la Ridge starts in Shell Beach and climbs the tow­er­ing oak-filled hill­side that sep­a­rates the small beach towns. For those will­ing to make the trip to the peak, the tree swing at the top will make you feel like you’re swing­ing on the edge of the world. The Pis­mo Pre­serve to the south offers hikes that will take you through some of the most pris­tine coastal hill­sides. While it’s cur­rent­ly only acces­si­ble with a guide, the expe­ri­ence  is well worth it and expect­ed to be open-access in the near future.

If moun­tain bik­ing is more your style, you’re in luck. SLO CAL is home of some of the most awe-inspir­ing sea-side moun­tain bik­ing trails in the coun­try. Take a dri­ve just south of Los Osos & Bay­wood Park to Mon­taña de Oro State Park and you’ll find your­self climb­ing hills of sage and descend­ing with sweep­ing views of dra­mat­ic seas. The mel­low bluff-top trails pro­vide great options for begin­ners and those seek­ing an up-close view of the crash­ing tides below. Pack a lunch, you’ll have a hard time tear­ing your­self away from this dreamy single-track.

Adja­cent to Mon­taña de Oro is Mor­ro Bay’s South Jet­ty. The long sand­spit is home to oth­er-world­ly dunes and is a must-see if you’ve nev­er had the expe­ri­ence. Sev­er­al trails wind between the bay and the sea and are acces­si­ble only by foot or kayak. This human-pow­ered expe­ri­ence is one you won’t for­get any­time soon.

Of course there are more than enough impromp­tu-oppor­tu­ni­ties to stretch your legs and enjoy the SLO CAL beau­ty. The north coast of High­way One is flush with all-access board­walks. Pull off near the famous Piedra Blan­cas Light Sta­tion and take a walk around the 19th cen­tu­ry grounds, or make a stop just north of Cam­bria at the Fis­call­i­ni Ranch Pre­serve. The untouched bluffs and drift­wood sculp­tures offer a unique view of the entire coastline.

Wher­ev­er the trail takes you, from the hill­tops to the sea, we’re sure you’ll find what you’re look­ing for. 

 

G e t t i n g    T h e r e
Now with direct flights from Den­ver, San Fran­cis­co, Seat­tle, Los Ange­les and Phoenix, get­ting to SLO CAL is eas­i­er than ever. Come stay and hang out, we dare you to get bored in this explorer’s paradise.


You may have come to San Luis Obispo County (SLO CAL) for the adventure, but you’ll want to stay for the moments in between. With plenty of room to wander, the seemingly-endless possibilities will make for an unforgettable experience.

F r e e   T o   R o a m
Along­side all of the adven­ture offer­ings, this area is also a bustling hub for food, cul­ture, and much more. We’ve put togeth­er an insid­er guide for those moments in between your morn­ing hike and your sun­set surf.

Start your day in the town of San Luis Obis­po by bik­ing to one of the many local cof­fee shops. Grab a lat­te, hang out, or walk through SLO’s his­toric down­town before head­ing out for the day’s adven­ture, you’ll leave know­ing why this town was recent­ly named one of “America’s Hap­pi­est Cities.”

The 240-year-old creek­side  Mis­sion San Luis Obis­po de Tolosa that SLO is built around is a promi­nent land­mark, and seeps cul­ture into the sur­round­ing area. The span­ish-style white-washed build­ings and tow­er­ing cam­phor trees that line the road­ways make for a pic­turesque scene in the his­toric streets. 


The same great weath­er is large­ly respon­si­ble for the coun­ty’s live­ly food scene. The deep agri­cul­tur­al roots are evi­dent in the vast open spaces with graz­ing cat­tle, road-side farms, and award-win­ning winer­ies that blan­ket the region. Start your tour up in Paso Rob­les – the coun­ty’s bur­geon­ing wine hub which rivaled Napa Val­ley in wine pro­duc­tion last year –and spend your day ram­bling down the 101.

From there, cruise on down to Tem­ple­ton, where his­toric store­fronts are brim­ming with fresh cui­sine and local liba­tions. Keep mov­ing south to the Avi­la Val­ley Barn, a region­al hotspot. Their farm­stand offers a boun­ty of fruits and veg­eta­bles grown on the prop­er­ty and there is always a line for their fresh-baked pies. After you’ve eat­en your fill, head out for a stroll at the near-by Bob Jones Trail, which runs through the val­ley to the coast, mak­ing for a relax­ing jaunt any­time of the day.

The Vil­lage of Arroyo Grande is a must-see if you find your­self roam­ing a lit­tle fur­ther south. With roost­ers wan­der­ing the streets that are lined with local­ly owned shops and restau­rants, you’ll find your­self steeped in small-town charm. No mat­ter where the road takes you, there’s almost cer­tain­ly some­thing fresh await­ing your arrival. Take it from us, you won’t want to miss your chance to take advan­tage of the local flavors.

We can’t think of a bet­ter way to end a day of adven­tur­ing than with a stop by the Madon­na Inn. The flashy inte­ri­or and sig­na­ture pink is a sight worth see­ing. Grab a piece of their famous cake and spend the evening plan­ning tomorrow’s escapades.

G e
t ti n g    T h e r e
Now with direct flights from Den­ver, San Fran­cis­co, Seat­tle, and more, get­ting to SLO CAL is eas­i­er than ever. Come stay and hang out, we dare you to get bored in this explorer’s paradise.



We’re partnering with SLO CAL to bring you insider knowledge on this off the beaten path adventure destination. We’ll make sure you know exactly 
what to do and where to go once you get there.

 

Locat­ed in the heart of California’s Cen­tral Coast, SLO CAL is a hid­den gem on California’s coast­line just wait­ing to be dis­cov­ered. From pris­tine beach­es with pump­ing surf to oak-strewn hill­sides, SLO CAL has some­thing for the adven­tur­er in all of us.

G o    C o a s t a l 
These rugged shores are dot­ted with end­less coves, full of oppor­tu­ni­ties to explore. From Ragged Point to Pis­mo Beach, each unique town is ripe with its own local fla­vor. May the surf­ing, pad­dle board­ing, and kayak­ing commence.


Start your jour­ney of SLO CAL on the intre­pid North Coast. At the south end of the Big Sur coast­line, Ragged Point looms large above the Pacif­ic Ocean, offer­ing sweep­ing vis­tas and incred­i­ble panora­mas of California’s Cen­tral Coast. Sip a cap­puc­ci­no from the cliff-side cof­fee shop while admir­ing the lush gar­dens and some of Cal­i­for­ni­a’s most strik­ing scenery. 

Head south down to San Sime­on on the icon­ic High­way 1 Dis­cov­ery Route, which spans miles of gor­geous coun­try through­out the area. Turn your sites to the many sandy beach coves along the way as this region is pop­u­lar with the local ele­phant seals sun­bathing along the coastal area known as Piedras Blan­cas. If you’re feel­ing ambi­tious, head out for a kitesurf if the wind is right. 


As you wind your way down the coast, you’ll find the famous Hearst Cas­tle, a
lux­u­ri­ous hill­top man­sion that looks out over the Pacif­ic and boasts a gold gild­ed swim­ming pool and a herd of zebras. Stop for a tour or keep head­ing down to Cayu­cos, a small town with authen­tic local fla­vor, and the per­fect spot to grab some fresh-caught seafood and hang near the beach. 


Mor­ro Bay
is a great stop on your jour­ney and the per­fect place to take part in some beach-side escapades. A seafarer’s won­der­land, you won’t want to miss the oppor­tu­ni­ty for some stand-up pad­dle board­ing with amaz­ing views of the awe-inspir­ing Mor­ro Rock or take a jaunt on one of the many board­walks.

After a full day of coastal activ­i­ties, we can’t think of a bet­ter place to spend the gold­en hour than over­look­ing the ocean. Take a kayak trip around Shell Beach through the tow­er­ing Dinosaur Caves or take advan­tage of the sea­son­al swells and head down to Pis­mo Beach for a sun­set surf ses­sion at the pier. If you’re feel­ing a lit­tle more leisure­ly, set sail on an evening tour of Port San Luis from Avi­la Beach. The area is as rich in local his­to­ry as it is in whales and oth­er marine life.

Either way, make sure you don’t miss the spec­tac­u­lar sun­sets that spoil the area year round. We promise, after spend­ing the day tak­ing in the small arti­san towns and charm­ing sea­side vil­lages, you’ll end your day wish­ing you’d nev­er have to leave.

G e t t i n g    T h e r e
Now with direct flights from Den­ver, San Fran­cis­co, Seat­tle, and more, get­ting to SLO CAL is eas­i­er than ever. Come stay and hang out, we dare you to get bored in this explorer’s paradise.



Why Anna­pur­na Base Camp?
It’s no secret that the Himalayas are the most icon­ic moun­tains in the world. The rich his­to­ry of these moun­tains has always been a huge pull for me and final­ly see­ing them was like com­plet­ing a life­long dream. We chose Anna­pur­na Base Camp as an alter­na­tive to Ever­est because we want­ed some­thing a lit­tle more off the beat­en path. In the end it did not disappoint.

Pack­ing Essentials
Obvi­ous­ly, you’re going to want a real­ly sol­id pair of hik­ing boots or shoes. These will be your go-to footwear for essen­tial­ly the entire trek so they should be com­fort­able and durable. Beyond that, the usu­al hik­ing neces­si­ties and a healthy amount of snacks should get the job done.

Tell us about Ace the Himalaya
I’m kind of a skep­tic when it comes to guid­ed trips, but Ace the Himalaya is no joke. Our guide San­tosh was one of a kind, a true man of the moun­tains who was born and bred in the Himalayas. His com­mand of the region and the his­to­ry made our expe­ri­ence all the better.

Some High­lights?
The sim­ple act of wak­ing up know­ing that all I had to do that day was hike to the next place I was going to sleep, that was some­thing I could get used to. The small inter­ac­tions we had with locals–how friend­ly they were, and how excit­ed they were to share this place with us–were real­ly some­thing special.

What made the trip so special?
I went into this trip think­ing it would be an amaz­ing way to expe­ri­ence nature like I nev­er had, walk­ing amongst the largest moun­tains in the world. Stand­ing in the basin of the Anna­pur­na Sanctuary–which sits at almost the same ele­va­tion as the high­est point in the con­ti­nen­tal US–only to have moun­tains ris­ing up all around you, was absolute­ly aston­ish­ing. But, what I did­n’t real­ize was how much of a cul­tur­al oppor­tu­ni­ty this trip would be; the Nepalese peo­ple were so friend­ly and wel­com­ing, it made our expe­ri­ence all the more worthwhile.

Where do you want to go next?
Japan, I can’t wait to get a taste of some of that amaz­ing pow­der. Plus the sushi sounds pret­ty good.


For more infor­ma­tion on book­ing a trek to Anna­pur­na Base Camp, check out our Clymb Adven­tures page here. 

Of all the things that can make us grumpy, like a morn­ing with­out cof­fee or being stuck in traf­fic, there’s one, in par­tic­u­lar, that’s tough to shake: the down­fall­en feel­ing that can over­come you when a trip ends.

Tran­si­tion­ing Back is Tough
Trips should renew our spir­its, but some­times the pos­i­tive effects can feel short-lived. When a trip ends, our brains strug­gle to absorb the ben­e­fits when we start think­ing about email, work and which day the recy­cling needs to be out on the curb.

Why It’s So Hard
In the most fun­da­men­tal way, what we do in the wild makes sense. When we’re back­pack­ing, we’re mov­ing across the land­scape as small rov­ing bands of nomads, pay­ing close atten­tion to wildlife, water sources, and weath­er. We’ve replaced hunt­ing and gath­er­ing with freeze-dried food, but we’re basi­cal­ly doing exact­ly we did back in Oldu­vai Gorge a mil­lion years ago. No won­der it feels right. It should be hard to come back. If it wasn’t, we didn’t have much of a re-set expe­ri­ence. No pain, no gain.

And then we’re thrust back into a world of peo­ple who didn’t share our expe­ri­ence. The cul­tur­al divide between out­door adven­tur­ers and the teem­ing mass­es of “reg­u­lar peo­ple” is at its most stark after a trip. Like George Mal­lo­ry and his famous “because it’s there” line, we mum­ble inar­tic­u­late­ly about why sleep­ing on the ground, not show­er­ing, and strug­gling up steep ridges is great. No won­der out­doors folks are so clan­nish: we seek out oth­ers who “get” why these trips aren’t just fun, but are hard-wired into who we are.

The longer the adven­ture, the hard­er the re-entry. After expe­di­tions, we real­ize that our friends have sim­ply got­ten on with their lives. Matthew Strum, a snow sci­en­tist who spent entire sea­sons out of touch in the high arc­tic, returned to find that his place in his fam­i­ly and friends’ lives had sim­ply been filled, “as smooth water in a pond”. In strong if not macabre terms, he said it was a win­dow to how life would move on with­out him if he died. He learned to adjust, but it wasn’t easy.

What to Do About It
One option is the choice of the addict: sim­ply chase the next fix and plan anoth­er trip. Pio­neer­ing expe­di­tion kayak­er Paul Caffyn used the pur­pose­less­ness he felt after a long jour­ney to plan his next adven­ture. Even if you’re not cir­cum­nav­i­gat­ing con­ti­nents, the Sun­day evening rest­less­ness can be used to lay plans for next Friday.

Anoth­er option is to hang onto trip rit­u­als in the urban world. Sit­ting on my front porch drink­ing cof­fee regard­less of the weath­er reminds me of morn­ing cof­fee in front of my tent in any num­ber of places. After long trips, I whip out a tool from the pre-iPad world: an actu­al paper note­book. I jot down notes about sounds and smells from the trip, try­ing to lock them into mem­o­ry before I get caught up in the return to laun­dry and restock­ing groceries.

Re-entry will nev­er be easy. And we can’t avoid it unless we either ditch our jobs and become Ker­ouack­ian vagabonds, or strike it rich quick, retire, and spend all our time play­ing out­side. Nei­ther is like­ly. So let’s prac­tice hang­ing on to our short trips longer. And remem­ber: the post-adven­ture hang­over is a sign that we did it right.

group adventure

group adventure

Your 20’s and 30’s are some of the best years of your life, explor­ing your own self and the world around you.

Bud­get Backpacking
In Europe the “Gap Year” is king. Tak­ing one year off from school after grad­u­at­ing high school to trav­el and fig­ure out what you’re all about before you com­mit to a four-year col­lege and career path. Twen­ty-some­things are seen back­pack­ing all around the world. They’re easy to spot, a huge back­pack paired with a small day pack worn on the chest. They’re usu­al­ly wear­ing ath­let­ic clothes and/or a ban­dana, com­plet­ing the look with trail run­ners or hik­ing boots.

They’re look­ing for the ulti­mate expe­ri­ence for the min­i­mum price! Twen­ty-some­things will sleep in ham­mocks, on floors, couch surf, and par­ty until the sun comes up or the new moon is brought in. They look at extreme bud­get trav­el as a chal­lenge, an adven­ture, one wor­thy of a mer­it badge. Thai­land is a huge des­ti­na­tion for this age group because food and accom­mo­da­tion costs next to noth­ing and hos­tel par­ties, beach raves, and dance clubs are plentiful.

Then the gap year/extended trip ends. Their Face­book feed is no longer the envy of their friends. Instead, they study their butt off for four years and strap on the hefty ball and chain of tens of thou­sands of dol­lars in stu­dent loans.

The rest of their 20s are spent work­ing hard to pay down debt and advance in their new career. They even opened a sav­ings account! That’s cause for cel­e­bra­tion. They’ve usu­al­ly embarked on a few short bud­get trips after grad­u­a­tion but haven’t had much vaca­tion time. As their 30th birth­day approach­es, stu­dent loans final­ly paid off, and with mon­ey in the bank, it’s time to celebrate!

 

Thir­ty-some­things seek the per­fect diver­gence of com­fort, unique expe­ri­ences, and con­nec­tion with loved ones. Many folks in this stage in the game have part­ners and are think­ing about, or have already start­ed, hav­ing kids. You’ll rec­og­nize a thir­ty-some­thing by the unique expe­ri­ences and accom­mo­da­tions they choose. Take, for exam­ple, a jun­gle tree house, exot­ic can­vas tree huts, a paraglid­ing or white water raft­ing expe­ri­ence, rap­pelling down a water­fall, soak in a hot spring, or cliff div­ing. Thir­ty-some­things wor­ry more about trip insur­ance for their adren­a­line rid­dled activ­i­ties than they do about the drug car­tel at a sketchy bus ter­mi­nal on a dan­ger­ous bor­der cross­ing. Yes, crea­ture com­forts have been dis­cov­ered and gen­tly loved by this age group. While there are back­pack­ers in their 30s who opt to stay in hos­tels, most pre­fer at least a pri­vate room and a hot shower.

Camp­ing
In your twen­ties sleep­ing on the ground is no big thing. Sure, it’s not as cozy as your bed at home, but camp­ing is the best! As your body ages, and as you become accus­tomed to more, in your 30s sleep­ing on the ground becomes less and less appeal­ing. The love for the out­doors, how­ev­er, is unwa­ver­ing with age.

In order to resolve this, many avid campers pur­chase trav­el­ing trail­ers or pop up tent trail­ers. This way they can bring some of the mod­ern com­forts they don’t want to give up into a nat­ur­al set­ting like a glac­i­er lake. They wake up from a great night of sleep in a cli­mate-con­trolled trail­er and mem­o­ry foam bed to a spec­tac­u­lar dis­play of lights over the water each morn­ing. Then make their cup of joe and sit out by the lake, go fish­ing, hik­ing, or take a show­er! They also have fun toys like kayaks and stand up pad­dle boards they can throw in the truck. Twen­ty-some­things often miss out on out­door toys due to apart­ment stor­age chal­lenges and bud­get pri­or­i­ti­za­tion. Instead, they usu­al­ly opt for an inflat­able inter-tube and a six-er to enjoy on the lake.

Regard­less of your age or pre­ferred method, trav­el is always a worth­while way to treat your­self, and learn more about the ever-evolv­ing world we share.

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.

Royal Trail (El Caminito del Rey)

Nature is very beau­ti­ful, but it can also be very dan­ger­ous. In fact, some­times the most beau­ti­ful parts of nature are the most dan­ger­ous, which has result­ed in some exhil­a­rat­ing and daunt­ing hik­ing routes.

This may not fit in with the pop­u­lar view that hik­ing is a relax­ing sport, but it is true. While some hik­ing paths are relax­ing and sim­ple, there are oth­er hik­ing routes that are seri­ous­ly terrifying.

If you like the idea of a wild hike that is filled with dan­ger, from over­whelm­ing heat to unsta­ble routes, here are five of the most ter­ri­fy­ing hikes in the world. Though we feel the need to warn you, hike at your own risk.

The MazeThe Maze, Utah
The Maze is in one of the most remote sec­tions of Utah’s Canyon­lands Nation­al Park, and it receives only around 2,000 vis­i­tors each year. This isn’t because the place isn’t worth vis­it­ing; the rocky area is breath­tak­ing­ly beau­ti­ful, but it is dif­fi­cult to reach and even hard­er to nav­i­gate due to the amount of dead ends. There is also the risk of flash floods and rock fall, which are both poten­tial­ly life threatening.

If you decide to vis­it The Maze you should go with a detailed itin­er­ary and map, as well as lots of water and a ful­ly charged phone. You should also be an expert hik­er, rather than a beginner!

KalalauKalalau, Hawaii
The Kalalau trail is one of the most beau­ti­ful trails in the world, fea­tur­ing iso­lat­ed lush jun­gle, vol­ca­noes and an untouched beach at the end. How­ev­er the 22 mile trip is no walk in the park, as there is a risk of flood­ing and falling rock through­out the trail. There is also a dan­ger­ous area called Crawler’s Ledge, which is an open ledge that is par­tic­u­lar­ly risky when raining.

Maroon BellsMaroon Bells South Ridge, Colorado
The Maroon Bells is a wide area with a few dif­fer­ent hik­ing routes, and the most dan­ger­ous is the Maroon Bells South Ridge. This 12 mile hike is a tip to the sum­mit of the South Ridge, and on the way hik­ers encounter steep paths, risky gul­lies, loose rock fields and the pos­si­bil­i­ty of get­ting lost in the vast terrain.

If you vis­it you will see a sign from the U.S. For­est Ser­vice that reads; “The beau­ti­ful Maroon Bells have claimed many lives in the past few years. They are not extreme tech­ni­cal climbs, but they are unbe­liev­ably decep­tive. The rock is down slop­ing, rot­ten, loose, and unsta­ble. It kills with­out warn­ing. The snow­fields are treach­er­ous, poor­ly con­sol­i­dat­ed, and no place for a novice climber. Expert climbers who did not know the prop­er routes have died on these peaks.” Def­i­nite­ly one of the most ter­ri­fy­ing hikes out there!

Royal Trail (El Caminito del Rey)El Camini­to Del Rey, Spain
El Camini­to Del Ray (which is also known as the King’s Lit­tle Path­way) is a 1,200 meter long trail that cov­ers the steep walls of the El Chor­ro gorge in Mala­ga. The trail was ini­tial­ly built to help work­ers build near­by hydro­elec­tric plants, and although the route is closed now every year hik­ers risk the route using climb­ing gear and har­ness­es. There is even an Indi­ana Jones-esque part of the tail that fea­tures a rick­ety, old wood­en plank bridge and dam­aged steel rails!

Huayna PicchuHuay­na Pic­chu, Peru
The Inca Trail in Peru is one of the most famous trails in the world. This is because the scenic trail is home to a few casu­al­ties every year, but the sec­tion known as Huay­na Pic­chu (or the “Hike of Death”) is unques­tion­ably the most dan­ger­ous part. The ancient stair­case climbs over 1,000 feet in under a mile, and the rocks are rot­ted and crum­bling. This can be very dan­ger­ous, espe­cial­ly when you fac­tor clouds and mist into the equa­tion. The route back down can be even worse due to the steep­ness of the steps; many hik­ers have to sit down when they look down at the view! This is cer­tain­ly one of the most ter­ri­fy­ing hikes when it comes to the view.

Suzie Gotis
A free­lance pho­tog­ra­ph­er based out of Port­land, OR, I am always out on the road explor­ing new loca­tions, climb­ing, hik­ing, or camp­ing. I have a pas­sion for all things out­doors, and doing things that make a pos­i­tive impact on oth­ers and the envi­ron­ment. See her work. 

Why Spain?
The amaz­ing red wine that costs next to noth­ing, the fresh olive oil that will make you drool, and most of all, the laid-back lifestyle that’s per­fect for climbers.

I didn’t know too much about Spain before the trip, oth­er than that it was Chris Sharma’s stomp­ing ground and that there’s great climb­ing. I didn’t real­ize the extent of the vari­ety and styles of climb­ing that exist with­in the coun­try. I fell in love with Spain’s land­scapes, end­less climb­ing options, and most of all the culture.

Some High­lights?
I start­ed with the inten­tion of only doing one climb­ing trip, the Siu­rana Sport Climb­ing Trip. Although after hav­ing such a fun week of climb­ing, and hav­ing Pablo as a guide I knew I need­ed to take advan­tage of climb­ing more with Rock­busters while in Spain.

A major high­light was dur­ing the mul­ti-pitch course. I had nev­er climbed trad, and had only done a few mul­ti-pitch climbs before. Hav­ing the oppor­tu­ni­ty to tack­le both of them at the same time, and push myself while feel­ing com­fort­able and trust­ing my guide was huge. There’s noth­ing quite like being six pitch­es up and 700 feet off the ground!

What Were Your Pack­ing Essentials
You real­ly only need climb­ing shoes, a har­ness, a belay device, and basic hik­ing essen­tials. Rock­busters pro­vides the rest of the gear. Which is nice, espe­cial­ly if you have trav­el­ing plans before/after the climb­ing trip, so you don’t need to wor­ry about lug­ging around heavy climb­ing gear.

Tell us about Rockbusters
I’ve nev­er done a guid­ed climb­ing trip before, so I didn’t know what to expect. Climb­ing with Rock­busters was amaz­ing, and so much more than I could’ve asked for. I was able to quick­ly trust my guide Pablo, his sense of humor and empha­sis on safe­ty real­ly allowed me to let go, climb hard, and enjoy the areas we were climbing.

What made the trip so special?
Aside from all the beau­ti­ful land­scapes and amaz­ing climb­ing, I made some great rela­tion­ships along the way. Also dis­cov­er­ing how incred­i­ble Spain is and how there’s so much more of the coun­try I’d like to explore.

Where do you want to go next?
South Amer­i­ca is next! It’s been on the top of my list for years. So you’ll find me in either Argenti­na, Chile, or Bolivia with­in the next year.


For more infor­ma­tion on book­ing a trip to Spain, check out our Clymb Adven­tures page here. 

hiking food

hiking foodIt doesn’t mat­ter if you are going on a day hike or a week-long back­pack­ing trip; you will need to pack food and water to take with you.

Don’t put your­self in a sit­u­a­tion where you might end up dehy­drat­ed or hun­gry in the wilder­ness. Here are six things you should con­sid­er to make sure you pack nour­ish­ing, healthy food that will keep you safe on your next hike.

How Much Food Should You Pack?
How much food you need to pack will depend on a few fac­tors, such as how long you are going for, how old you are, how many peo­ple are going, and the cli­mate (if the weath­er is cold­er you will eat more). A good guide is to pack three meals and two snacks per per­son per day, which should be between 0.9kg and 1kg of food.

When Should You Eat?
Hik­ers should try to snack reg­u­lar­ly instead of just eat­ing three big meals. Big meals might make you feel sleepy and uncom­fort­able, which defeats the pur­pose of your whole excur­sion. Small, reg­u­lar snacks every two hours will help to keep your ener­gy lev­els up, and it is bet­ter for your diges­tive sys­tem as you are doing a stren­u­ous phys­i­cal activ­i­ty as you eat.

To make reg­u­lar snack­ing easy, remem­ber to put your food at the top of your bag so it is easy to access.

How Much Water Should You Bring?
Water is the most impor­tant thing you will bring with you on a hike. You should try to pack around two cups of water for each hour of hik­ing, so if you are hik­ing for five hours you should pack around 10 cups of water. It is also use­ful to drink a few cups of water before you set off so that you are hydrat­ed when you start.

What Kind Of Food Should You Pack?
To keep your ener­gy lev­els up you will need to eat a mix­ture of pro­teins, fats, and car­bo­hy­drates. Your food should be well-bal­anced; around 50% should be car­bo­hy­drates, 35% should be fats and 15% should be protein.

Pack­ing Food For A Day Trip
If you’re pack­ing food for a day trip you can bring per­ish­able foods like sand­wich­es and pas­tries, but you may need to bring an icepack along to keep them cold—especially if you are hik­ing in sum­mer. Before hik­ing, it is best to pack light-weight food that con­tains lots of nutri­ents, such as trail mix, ener­gy bars, gra­nola bars, nuts, seeds, dried fruits, tuna sal­ads, meat jerky, and tortillas.

Pack­ing Food For A Mul­ti-day Trip
If your hik­ing trip will last a few days, you need to spend more time think­ing about what food you should pack. You can bring per­ish­able foods for the first day, but after that, you will need to have a meal plan for each day. Pack food that doesn’t need to be kept cool, such as ener­gy bars, cere­al, veg­eta­bles, fruit puree, dried pas­ta, rice and cous­cous, dried soup, or meat and fish pouches.

Queenstown, New Zealand

The view from the top is always unbeat­able, but why not enjoy every pitch and approach along the way?

Here are six climb­ing spots that send the charts for unfor­get­table scenery.

Costa Blanca, Alicante, SpainCos­ta Blan­ca, Ali­cante, Spain
More than 120 miles of Mediter­ranean coast­line have it all: end­less sands, the bluest water, and sway­ing palm fronds are the name of the game here in Spain’s Ali­cante province. A rev­el­ry of crags, tow­ers, and sea cliffs offer a seem­ing­ly end­less num­ber of routes that range from sin­gle-pitch sport lines in Xalo Val­ley to com­plex, mul­ti-pitch trad climbs at Puig Cam­pana, which at 4,613 feet is the sec­ond-high­est peak in the province.


Leavenworth, Washington, USALeav­en­worth, Wash­ing­ton, USA
Tourists come for the kitschy Ger­man Bavaria expe­ri­ence, climbers come for the clean alpine gran­ite fea­tur­ing all the best of the Pacif­ic North­west, with views of the Cas­cades and orchards that go for miles. Cas­tle Rock, fea­tur­ing the state’s first mul­ti-pitch tech­ni­cal climb, and Snow Creek Wall’s 800-foot gran­ite face, both offer superb tra­di­tion­al climbs. Although with more than 50 crags just beg­ging for atten­tion with­in an easy dri­ve of town, includ­ing Mid­night Rock and Givler’s Dome—not to men­tion boul­der­ing at Ici­cle Creek or the sport climbs in Tumwa­ter Canyon—climbers will have a smor­gas­bord of routes from which to choose.


Queenstown, New ZealandQueen­stown, New Zealand
With a rep­u­ta­tion like “The Adven­ture Cap­i­tal of the World” to pro­tect, Queen­stown deliv­ers on all fronts: Wye Creek and Kingston both serve up a mix of trad and sport lines across a hand­ful of walls, and boul­der­ing can be found a lit­tle fur­ther afield at Lake­side Boul­der and Lug­gate Boul­ders in Wana­ka. And if you’ve brought along fear­less non-climbers, try them on Queenstown’s very own Via Fer­ra­ta, a series of iron rungs bolt­ed into the exposed, over­hang­ing cliffs of Queen­stown Hill.


Railay ThailandRailay, Thai­land
A trop­i­cal par­adise of white-sand beach­es, flow­er­ing jun­gles, and over 700 routes over, under, around, and through the upthrust karst lime­stone tow­er­ing along the sea, Railay (also spelled Rai Leh) and neigh­bor­ing Ton Sai are a climber’s dream come true. The major­i­ty of the routes here are bolt­ed sport climbs, but Railay also offers world-class deep-water solo­ing. Check the tides, then take a raft out to the near­est jut of karst and climb until you’re ready to let go and get wet!


Red River Gorge, Kentucky, USARed Riv­er Gorge, Ken­tucky, USA
A lush­ly forest­ed canyon sys­tem in the heart of blue­grass coun­try fea­tur­ing more than 100 nat­ur­al sand­stone arch­es and bridges, “the Red” is home to over 1,500 climb­ing routes. Sport lines dom­i­nate the region’s pock­et­ed and over­hang­ing sand­stone cliffs, although there are a few trad lines at places like Fortress Wall. Routes can be as unthink­ing or as prob­lem­at­ic as you please, with about 100 begin­ner-friend­ly 5.6s like Eure­ka, all the way up to a beast like South­ern Smoke, a blis­ter­ing 5.14c line only a few dozen climbers have ever sent. Even sin­gle crags like Gallery can offer routes at any dif­fi­cul­ty lev­el you like, so there’s real­ly no excuse to miss this one.


©istockphoto/Brandon_Nimon Yosemite, Cal­i­for­nia, USA
The beau­ty of the Sier­ra Neva­da is impos­si­ble to over­state, and attempts to do so invari­ably trend toward the cliché, but not with­out good rea­son. The soar­ing gran­ite walls, the deep scent of pinewoods, the pound­ing thun­der of Yosemite Falls: it’s no won­der that this scenic mir­a­cle became the birth­place of Amer­i­can climb­ing. Infa­mous big wall climbs like El Cap­i­tan and Half Dome con­tin­ue to draw climbers from around the world, but Yosemite’s gen­eros­i­ty goes beyond famed big walls. Climbers can find face climbs, slabs, crags, cracks, boul­ders and domes galore just a stone’s throw from Camp 4.