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.

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.

Cos­ta Rica Rios, a fam­i­ly run com­pa­ny, deliv­ers exhil­a­rat­ing mul­ti-sport adven­tures that show­case the raw, nat­ur­al beau­ty of this Cen­tral Amer­i­can gem. Com­ing from New Zealand and Scot­land, own­ers Jane and Fras­er Tyrrell took on Cos­ta Rica Rios in 1995 after falling in love with the coun­try dur­ing their trav­els. Spend­ing decades explor­ing its diverse regions and inti­mate­ly get­ting to know the local cul­ture, they are poised to offer well-craft­ed adven­ture trav­el packages.

Com­mit­ted to sus­tain­able tourism and hir­ing the best local guides, Cos­ta Rica Rios upholds strict prac­tices that sup­port the envi­ron­ment and local com­mu­ni­ties. They also edu­cate employ­ees and trav­el­ers alike about envi­ron­men­tal stew­ard­ship while adher­ing to Leave No Trace principles.

It is clear why Nation­al Geo­graph­ic rec­og­nized this oper­a­tor as one of “The Best Adven­ture Out­fit­ters On Earth”. To adven­ture with them is to hike under wild jun­gle canopies, down­hill moun­tain bike the Tur­ri­al­ba Vol­cano, raft the leg­endary white­wa­ter on the Pacuare Riv­er, and kayak through rapids on the Rio Pejibaye–all in one adventure.

“Our guides are some of the best adven­ture guides in the coun­try. Two of them have rep­re­sent­ed Cos­ta Rica at the world raft­ing cham­pi­onships, two of them have rep­re­sent­ed their coun­try at the world kayak­ing cham­pi­onships, one of them is a pro­fes­sion­al MMA fight­er (but a very nice guy!), and one of them was recent­ly the third rat­ed triath­lete in the coun­try, so our guests are in very good hands!” ‑Fras­er Tyrrell, Owner

Commit to supporting locally while delighting in an action-packed experience.




The Lokal team con­nects trav­el­ers to expe­ri­ences that empow­er local com­mu­ni­ties and pro­tect wild places. From canoe rides in pri­vate rain­for­est reserves to overnight immer­sions in indige­nous vil­lages, Lokal brings many off-the-beat­en-path expe­ri­ences online for the first time.


Before start­ing Lokal, founders Dave and Eytan were work­ing on oppo­site sides of the plan­et. Along the way, they each met hun­dreds of inspir­ing local peo­ple who were work­ing mul­ti­ple jobs to sup­port their fam­i­lies. They were sur­prised to see how many of them were turn­ing to tourism to help boost incomes, con­serve land, and pro­tect cul­tur­al heritage.


The team found that local com­mu­ni­ties were offer­ing trav­el­ers incred­i­ble oppor­tu­ni­ties to expe­ri­ence local life, but their unique guest­hous­es and pris­tine swim­ming holes were often emp­ty. Com­mu­ni­ties want­ed to wel­come more trav­el­ers, but they didn’t know how to get start­ed. As a result, they were miss­ing out on much-need­ed tourism dol­lars and trav­el­ers were miss­ing out on amaz­ing local expe­ri­ences. Some­one need­ed to help make the connection.


Lokal con­nect­ed the dots, help­ing trav­el­ers get immersed in local com­mu­ni­ties by run­ning week-long trips to expe­ri­ence life in a pris­tine Cos­ta Rican rain­for­est. They still offer–and per­son­al­ly guide–these unique adven­tures today. They now also con­nect trav­el­ers to unique, local­ly-run expe­ri­ences with in 14 coun­tries through­out Latin Amer­i­ca and Asia.


All the trips are man­aged by com­mu­ni­ty coop­er­a­tives, fam­i­ly busi­ness­es, and local oper­a­tors that ensure each vis­it sup­ports local liveli­hoods, pre­serves cul­tur­al tra­di­tions and pro­tects wild places.


Sup­port your trav­el habit while sup­port­ing local communities


Take a trip with Lokal Travel. 


Root­ed in North­ern Cal­i­for­nia, among aged sequoia trees and the tow­er­ing cliffs of El Cap­i­tan, Last­ing Adven­tures is born and bred in the wilder­ness of Yosemite. This non-prof­it is on a mis­sion to serve youth in the out­doors, pro­vid­ing back­pack­ing trips, day hikes, and out­door sum­mer camps.


Founder Scott Gehrman devel­oped an appre­ci­a­tion for Yosemite Nation­al Park at a young age when his bond with the park helped him recov­er after los­ing his moth­er to can­cer. This pas­sion grew into an inevitable call­ing to com­bine both his love for the out­doors and for youth devel­op­ment in order to estab­lish Last­ing Adven­tures in 1997.


Yosemite is much more than a Nation­al Park to Last­ing Adven­tures. It is an emblem of love, edu­ca­tion, and per­se­ver­ance. It is an oppor­tu­ni­ty to show youth and the gen­er­al pub­lic the pos­i­tive impact the nat­ur­al envi­ron­ment and back­coun­try wilder­ness can have on humans.


With an excep­tion­al staff, devot­ed exec­u­tive team, and strong mis­sion, Last­ing Adven­tures has served over 5,000 kids and pro­vid­ed 1,500 schol­ar­ships to dis­ad­van­taged youth, allow­ing them to gain valu­able skills and real life experiences.


Last­ing Adven­tures’ mis­sion is to pro­vide pos­i­tive youth devel­op­ment and edu­ca­tion­al oppor­tu­ni­ties to the gen­er­al pub­lic while also pro­vid­ing char­i­ta­ble assis­tance to oth­er­wise dis­ad­van­taged youth. The Clymb is proud to part­ner with such a force for good in the out­door space.


Sup­port your adven­ture habit while sup­port­ing local providers.

For more infor­ma­tion about book­ing a trip with Last­ing Adven­tures, check out our Adven­tures page here.


Old Town Out­fit­ters start­ed as a dream while founder Matt Hartell and his broth­er were rid­ing moun­tain bikes in Guatemala in 1995. This rur­al and vibrant coun­try, full of mys­tery and cul­ture, was the per­fect place for an adven­ture trav­el company.


Incred­i­ble access to the out­doors and a seem­ing­ly lim­it­less net­work of trails were all with­in reach of the beau­ti­ful and con­ve­nient­ly locat­ed Antigua. Thus, in the fall of 1998, Old Town Out­fit­ters was offi­cial­ly founded.


Near­ly 20 years lat­er, the adven­ture is still going strong. Full-time guide staff has an aver­age of 10+ years with the com­pa­ny, oper­at­ing world-class, tai­lor-made itin­er­aries, while going out of their way to ensure that every vis­it is unforgettable.


Along with the integri­ty of their adven­tures, OTO is ded­i­cat­ed to sup­port­ing local NGOs that ben­e­fit sur­round­ing com­mu­ni­ties. Hartell and his team help run reg­u­lar vol­un­teer and fundrais­ing events for Niños de Guatemala, The Phoenix Projects, EcoFil­tro, and oth­ers. In Jan­u­ary of 2015, OTO spon­sored three of their guides and one oth­er hik­er to com­plete a fundrais­ing expe­di­tion called “37in27”, in which they sum­mit­ed all of Guatemala’s 37 vol­ca­noes in just 27 days. The team was able to raise near­ly $20,000 for local NGOs.


With its rugged land­scapes, rich Mayan (or Maya?) cul­ture, and his­tor­i­cal colo­nial charm, Guatemala is an intox­i­cat­ing adven­ture des­ti­na­tion for all types of trav­el­ers. Climb soar­ing vol­ca­noes, kayak mag­nif­i­cent Lake Ati­t­lan, moun­tain bike in the jun­gle, explore mar­kets burst­ing with life, and more.


Sup­port your adven­ture habit while sup­port­ing Guatemalan communities.

For more infor­ma­tion about book­ing a trip with Old Town Out­fit­ters, check out our Adven­tures page here.

We want­ed to take a moment and hon­or the many thou­sands of our mem­bers that have trav­elled with us along the way, whether it’s sup­port­ing the best brands in the out­door indus­try or explor­ing the world on extra­or­di­nary human-pow­ered adven­tures. We, more than ever, are com­mit­ted to con­tin­ue to offer com­pelling oppor­tu­ni­ties for adven­ture trav­el where you can explore, make a dif­fer­ence, and have ball.

In that spir­it, here’s a lit­tle more about WHY we do what we do.rafting


INCREASE THE WELL-BEING OF THE PLANET AND INHABITANTS BY INSPIRING HUMAN POWERED ADVENTURE. It’s our com­pa­ny’s mis­sion, we are com­mit­ted to help­ing you get out and explore: from your back­yard, to the far­thest cor­ners of our amaz­ing plan­et. We believe in human-pow­ered adven­ture. Trekking, cycling, kayak­ing, hik­ing, raft­ing, skiing—so many ways to con­nect, prac­tice a craft, try some­thing new. Ulti­mate­ly, explore and feel alive.


MAKE ADVENTURE TRAVEL MORE AFFORDABLE. Let’s face it, adven­ture trav­el is often way over­priced. The aver­age price per day of our com­peti­tors is often $350+. Our aver­age price per day is around $150 or less. We believe that amaz­ing adven­tures should be avail­able to all. It’s not about being the cheap­est, it’s about offer­ing great val­ue. We are com­mit­ted to nego­ti­at­ing the best pos­si­ble rates for you in order to low­er the finan­cial bar­ri­er to GO. New lux­u­ry is authen­tic­i­ty and access, not thread count and stars.

SUPPORT LOCAL ECONOMIES. Often in mass tourism, as much as 90% of trip costs go to a cor­po­ra­tion oper­at­ing out­side the coun­try vis­it­ed. Adven­ture trav­el is the inverse, and we work hard to ensure that the lion’s share of trip costs go direct­ly to the local economies and peo­ple we visit.




BE A FORCE FOR GOOD. We can vote with our dol­lars and sup­port: sus­tain­abil­i­ty, con­ser­va­tion and the idea of help­ing great places to vis­it also be great places to live. By work­ing with small­er, local oper­a­tors, we ensure that the mon­ey is going to local peo­ple and com­pa­nies, who are on the front lines of pro­tect­ing nature, cul­ture, and place.



Because, Awe­some. This is not our job, it’s our voca­tion. We are part of a glob­al tribe that believes that we need mean­ing­ful trav­el expe­ri­ences more than ever and the con­text that we gain from our expe­ri­ences makes our lives and that of those around us richer.

Join us. It is with­in your reach. For in the end, the only regret we will have, is hav­ing not gone.


“And if trav­el is like love, it is, in the end, most­ly because it’s a height­ened state of aware­ness, in which we are mind­ful, recep­tive, undimmed by famil­iar­i­ty and ready to be trans­formed. That is why the best trips, like the best love affairs, nev­er real­ly end.” Pico Iyer

To take a Clymb Adven­ture, check out our Adven­ture Trav­el page here. 

Mem­bers, click through below for exclu­sive sav­ings on today’s fea­tured brands:

KEEN: With a pair of KEEN hybrids you can jog a few miles to the riv­er, ford it, hike to the sum­mit of a rocky peak, then walk into the city to meet friends for drinks all in one pair of shoes. Fea­tur­ing footwear and socks.

Bergans of Nor­way: If a Nor­we­gian old-timer gave you cold weath­er advice, you’d lis­ten. So when Bergans of Nor­way, since 1934, offers you down jack­ets, take note, because you might final­ly stop shiv­er­ing. Fea­tur­ing jack­ets and packs.

10-Day Chilean Hik­ing Trip |8‑Day Botswana Hik­ing Safari

Reef: Fueled by their pas­sion for surf­ing, and draw­ing inspi­ra­tion from the beach lifestyle, Reef is a core surf com­pa­ny that cre­ates inno­v­a­tive, authen­tic prod­ucts. Fea­tur­ing san­dals and shoes.

J Fold: These wal­lets are so hip that they are car­ried in the MoMA design store. Inspired by clas­sic sneak­ers and the con­tem­po­rary aes­thet­ics of indus­tri­al design, J. Fold builds mod­ern day works of art.

Topeak & OnGuard: They say dia­monds are for­ev­er. Your trusty com­muter ride is too. Get it the bling it real­ly wants with the pre­mi­um bike acces­sories in this col­lec­tion. Fea­tur­ing lights, racks, locks, and more.

Arnette: Sleek, styl­ish, Arnette snow gog­gles exude bold indi­vid­u­al­ism while main­tain­ing pro­gres­sive designs, supe­ri­or func­tion­al­i­ty, and an unques­tion­able com­mit­ment to qual­i­ty. View our col­lec­tion here.

Mem­bers, click through below for exclu­sive sav­ings on today’s fea­tured brands:

Cos­ta Rica Surf Escape | Machu Pic­chu

TREW: Based in Hood Riv­er, with Ore­gon’s tallest peak in their back­yard, TREW is a design-dri­ven brand that embod­ies the core of moun­tain rid­ing. This col­lec­tion fea­tures tech­ni­cal jack­ets, pants, and more.

Anon: When you’re bomb­ing down­hill on a waxed rock­et, vision mat­ters. Anon knows this. So stop clos­ing your eyes and hop­ing for the best. Strap on a pair of these tech­ni­cal optics to see the difference.

CycleTEK: Train­ing days don’t wait for nice weath­er. With the CycleTEK Momentum1 Indoor Cycling Train­er you can start on your train­ing reg­i­men with­out act­ing like a mar­tyr every time you suit up to ride.

Videograss: These snow­board films fea­tur­ing the Videograss crew of all-star trick­sters will melt your mind with their utter dis­re­spect of grav­i­ty. Pay close atten­tion and you’ll be fly­ing high this winter. 

MiiR: In a mar­ket sat­u­rat­ed by ubiq­ui­tous style and mediocre design, MiiR stain­less steel bot­tles stand out as unique. For every bot­tle sold, the brand pro­vides one per­son with clean water for a year. 

Cycling Essen­tials: For com­muters and rac­ers, this col­lec­tion of cycling gear and acces­sories fea­tures tool kits, appar­el, cli­p­less shoes, and more from top brands like Lezyne, Can­non­dale, and Northwave.


Mem­bers, click through below for exclu­sive sav­ings on today’s fea­tured adven­tures and brands:

Arc’teryx: Arc’teryx’s com­mit­ment to scrupu­lous design has earned them the trust of pro­fes­sion­al guides and ath­letes around the globe. This col­lec­tion fea­tures some of the best har­ness­es and jack­ets in the world.

Gib­bon Slack­lines: The slack­line orig­i­nat­ed in Yosemite Val­ley as a way for climbers to pass the time when they weren’t scal­ing rocks. Whether you slack for kicks or an adren­a­line rush, Gib­bon has the line for you.

Wilder & Sons: Vin­tage design meets mod­ern fit in this col­lec­tion of Nation­al Parks-themed throw­back tees. Cel­e­brate your favorite park and so will we—by donat­ing a por­tion of the pro­ceeds to it!

Vestal: Vestal’s unique style is inspired by out­doors ath­leti­cism, art, and music. Go from break­ing trail to cut­ting rug with this col­lec­tion of pre­mi­um dig­i­tal and ana­log watch­es and more.

Swix: This leg­endary Nor­we­gian brand makes appar­el for high­ly aer­o­bic sports in cold con­di­tions. Insu­lat­ed, wind­proof, breath­able, you can stay warm with­out break­ing a sweat when it’s minus 10.

Ter­ra­mar: Ter­ra­mar weaves syn­thet­ic and silk into com­fort­able, mois­ture-wick­ing per­for­mance lay­ers. Dis­cov­er the off­spring of Moth­er Nature and Father Indus­try with these light­weight base layers.

Men’s Walk­a­bout: Whether you’re bushwack­ing through Denali’s tun­dra, route find­ing through Escalante’s canyons, or drop­ping in at Burnside’s skate park, start out on the right foot with the footwear in this col­lec­tion. 

Wom­en’s Walk­a­bout: Shoes are your sole. Are you big-boot­ed stom­per? A nim­ble trail run­ner? Or are you in water as often as you’re on land? In any ter­rain, put your best foot for­ward with footwear in this col­lec­tion.

New Clymb Adven­tures: 9‑Day Patag­o­nia Trek | 3‑Day Alas­ka Back­coun­try Heli-ski­ing | 9‑Day Baja Kayak Tour