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.

©istockphoto/PoparticWhether you spent a sum­mer bag­ging every four­teen­er in the Rocky Moun­tains or you walked across the coun­try com­plet­ing a Nation­al Scenic Trail, these expe­ri­ences that define the way you think can also define the way poten­tial employ­ers see you as a poten­tial employee.

Though the job-seek­ing process is a far cry from what your adven­ture stood for, if you ever do want to step up to that dream orga­ni­za­tion and pri­mo posi­tion you’ve been striv­ing for, a big adven­ture can help you stand out in the play­ing field. While it always helps to apply towards an orga­ni­za­tion with sim­i­lar out­door val­ues, if you do need a lit­tle help sell­ing your case, check out these ways any big adven­ture can help you on your next job application.

Plan­ning, Orga­ni­za­tion, and Atten­tion to Detail 
Any­one who has loaded climb­ing gear into the back of a vehi­cle knows the val­ue of orga­ni­za­tion, plan­ning and the impor­tance of being detailed. That’s because in many ways in the out­doors, your life depends on it. Beyond the sticky notes and col­or-cod­ed manil­la envelopes, when you put your­self out in the back­coun­try, on top of the rock or any­where where mod­ern con­ve­niences don’t apply, it’s your plan­ning, orga­niz­ing and atten­tion to detail that helps keep you safe.

Pas­sion­ate and Value-Driven 
Per­haps you plunged into the wilder­ness to pho­to­graph the nat­ur­al world, or you scaled the high­est moun­tain to know if you could do it, what­ev­er the rea­son, there is an iden­ti­fi­able spark of life that push­es you for­ward. It takes more than nails to build a house, it requires a relent­less swing of the ham­mer that comes from these pas­sions and val­ues. With that kind of enthu­si­asm and the right posi­tion you are apply­ing for, many things are possible.

Works Well with Others
Send­ing mes­sages back to base­camp, ensur­ing cor­dial con­tact with your climb­ing part­ners, even know­ing how to ask for that last scoop of peanut-but­ter, a key to any suc­cess­ful expe­di­tion is the abil­i­ty to work well with oth­ers. Even the most self-dri­ven, high­ly-capa­ble adven­tur­er relies on oth­ers, or more appro­pri­ate­ly on his/her rela­tion­ship with oth­ers. Whether you lead with a joke or cut straight to the point, com­mu­ni­cat­ing and sur­viv­ing togeth­er in the out­doors is a bal­anc­ing act between hear­ing and speak­ing, and can be a huge addi­tion to any com­pa­ny or position.

Self-Moti­va­tion, Deter­mi­na­tion, Tenacity
Your dri­ve for life is set on high, after all, what else could have pushed you to that final mile and beyond the fin­ish line? For some it’s cof­fee, oth­ers it’s tea, but it is the rush of a brand new day that gets you out of bed and one step clos­er to your goals. Giv­en the right direc­tion to fol­low, and the sup­port at your side, with your demon­strat­ed self-moti­va­tion, deter­mi­na­tion and tenac­i­ty behind you, you can take any busi­ness that extra distance.

Crit­i­cal Think­ing Abilities 
Remem­ber that time the bridge was out? Or when your tent poles broke under the weight of the overnight snow? Or how about that time mice got into your food bag and killed a few day’s sup­plies? While every­one has been in a sit­u­a­tion that wasn’t includ­ed in the plans, for many instances it didn’t mean game over. Instead, by eval­u­at­ing the ele­ments, assess­ing the assets and mak­ing a most-informed deci­sion, plans have changed and obsta­cles hur­dled. This kind of think­ing-on-your-toes abil­i­ty is valu­able in all aspects of life and career.

Phys­i­cal and Men­tal Capabilities
If you are apply­ing for a job that would require some phys­i­cal move­ment, then rid­ing your bike across the coun­try or swim­ming across Lake Michi­gan is a clear exam­ple of your abil­i­ties. The oth­er side of things, the part that doesn’t nec­es­sar­i­ly have such tan­gi­ble def­i­n­i­tions as miles ran or ver­ti­cal climbed, is the men­tal capa­bil­i­ties that pushed you for­ward. You might describe it as fool-hearty or as a lack of com­mon sen­si­bil­i­ty when it’s day 13 of pour­ing-down rain and your thigh mus­cles feel like bal­loons about to pop, but in the end, your are stronger from these expe­ri­ences, both phys­i­cal­ly and mentally.

Char­ac­ter Building
It all seems to boil down to this, such easy words to use but a hard con­cept to tru­ly under­stand. Big adven­tures have a way of rear­rang­ing some of the hard-wiring in our brains, infus­ing new capa­bil­i­ties and per­spec­tives with every step and turn of the wheel. It can be sub­tle, like a beard try­ing to grow, but the per­son you become after a big trip is dif­fer­ent from the per­son who start­ed one. Whether it was the plen­ti­ful exer­cise or the insight­ful moments, per­haps even just the ego-boost from an accom­plish­ment, that per­son you are now because of your big adven­ture is the per­fect can­di­date for your dream job or position.

©istockphoto/PeopleImagesActive par­ents often raise adven­tur­ous fam­i­lies, which is won­der­ful for kids: they get to test their lim­its, learn how to han­dle them­selves in the out­doors, and grow up with a very respect­ful rela­tion­ship to nature. Just make sure you’re high­light­ing these impor­tant skills.

How To Read A Map
No mat­ter how com­plex our nav­i­ga­tion­al tech­nol­o­gy becomes, the abil­i­ty to read old-fash­ioned paper maps is an irre­place­able skill: it’s empow­er­ing, use­ful, and helps adven­tur­ers of all ages under­stand where they are, what the sur­round­ing areas con­tain, and how to chart a course to a cho­sen des­ti­na­tion. Start with the basics, like ori­ent­ing charts, under­stand­ing the car­di­nal direc­tions, topo­graph­ic demar­ca­tions, and iden­ti­fy­ing and dis­cern­ing lakes, rivers, moun­tains, and roads. As kids get old­er and more famil­iar with maps, move on to the more advanced skills, like the con­sid­er­ing con­cepts that cause dec­li­na­tion, find­ing a slope angle, and cal­cu­lat­ing dis­tances between points.

A Basic Under­stand­ing of Fire
Every­body loves pok­ing around in the camp­fire, and kids are no excep­tion. Rather than dis­cour­ag­ing school-aged chil­dren from exper­i­ment­ing with fire, teach them to respect the flames and edu­cate them with the knowl­edge of how to play safe­ly. Where are safe places to start fires in your local ecosys­tem? How should they be con­tained and extin­guished? What should they do if they see a spark fly out of the fire? What are some of the most effective—and fun—ways to cook over a campfire?

Sit­u­a­tion­al Awareness
Of all the things the out­doors can teach us, this is one of the most important—and the most over­looked. When you’re out­side, encour­age kids to prac­tice sim­ple aware­ness activ­i­ties. For exam­ple, ask ques­tions like What’s above you? What’s below you? What kinds of nois­es are nor­mal for this place? What kinds of ani­mals might live in this envi­ron­ment? If you were to trip and fall, what would hap­pen? Keep the atmos­phere light and play­ful with fun games to encour­age obser­va­tion­al skills—but don’t under­es­ti­mate how use­ful those skills can be.

Respect for Knives 
Knives have been fas­ci­nat­ing to kids for cen­turies. They’re pow­er­ful and dan­ger­ous tools, and many pint-sized scouts crave the knowl­edge to use their blades safe­ly. Embrace that curios­i­ty by teach­ing safe and respect­ful knife-han­dling skills: start with an age-appro­pri­ate pock­et knife or mul­ti-tool, encour­age prop­er fin­ger posi­tion­ing and hand place­ment, and explain thor­ough­ly how to eval­u­ate whether a sit­u­a­tion is a safe place to use a blade. The first project? Whit­tling the per­fect marsh­mal­low roast­ing stick.

A Basic Sense of Risk Assessment
Most young peo­ple under­stand that doing cer­tain things caus­es cer­tain results—but prac­tic­ing, under­stand­ing, and talk­ing about actions and their con­se­quences in a con­trolled wilder­ness or out­door envi­ron­ment can be a very reward­ing expe­ri­ence. Try set­ting up safe sit­u­a­tions where kids can prac­tice their own eval­u­a­tion of risk ver­sus reward. For exam­ple, go on a walk in a local park, then ask which way they’d like to go: the short­er route, which will be easier—or the longer route, which will be hard­er but more reward­ing? By prac­tic­ing these skills with the help of fam­i­ly mem­bers and loved ones, young peo­ple will be more pre­pared to thrive in the outdoors—and in life.