Even though my current trip is exactly that, a vacation doesn’t have to involve lounging around on a beach. For those craving an active adventure, there are plenty of vacation ideas that could be more up your alley. You could embrace a sport you already love, or take up a new hobby altogether. Whether you’re travelling alone, with the family or with the guys, here are several sporty vacations to consider.
Hiking and going for a walk are two very different things. Seasoned hikers will travel for miles in hostile conditions, sometimes even resorting to wild camping along the way. Such walks often involve scenic routes, whilst getting close to nature. Most hikers will set a goal – this could involve climbing to the top of a mountain, walking from one city to another or even tackling a hiker’s trail such as the famous Appalachian Trail or even the mystical Inca Trail to Machu Pichu.
There are even group hiking vacations for those that want a social vacation, and charity sponsored hikes such as the Kilimanjaro climb as detailed at KilimanjaroChallenge.com. Whilst you may need to buy the right gear, a hiking holiday can often be fairly cheap as you won’t be paying for luxuries or a fancy hotel it’s more about whether you can physically do it than financially do it.
Much like hiking, cycling holidays can be carried out anywhere. You can opt for a leisurely family cycle trip or go on an exotic cycle marathon depending on your goals. Cycling allows you to cover greater distances than hiking whilst still being physically exertive, often travelling scenic routes whether they be mountain roads or rural dirt tracks.
These vacations can be cheap if you’re only staying in budget hotels and hostels. What you will need is a good bike – which could mean hiring one or taking one with you on a cycle rack if your destination is in driving distance. You should also ensure you’ve got other equipment such as a helmet and gear for making repairs. Hardened cyclists will invest in the full kit including special cyclist clothing and special repair tools for fixing damage en route.
Winter sports such as skiing are very popular. They’re great for families, groups of friends and solo travellers. Whilst very physical on the legs, they also allow you to climb mountains and take in impressive views. The apres-ski culture also means that you can spend your evenings relaxing or partying, so that it’s as much of a holiday as it a physical challenge.
Ski holidays can be expensive, especially if you’re visiting the esteemed resorts, but you can find good deals on sites such as Igluski.com. You will also need to budget for ski equipment (you can hire this there or bring your own), as well as winter clothing to stop you getting cold.
Fishing holidays allow you to experience the great outdoors, whilst also giving you a goal to pursue (that being to catch the biggest/rarest/most fish that you can). They can often be more leisurely than other sports holidays, making them suited to all age groups and physical abilities. Of course, those fishing for big catches may have to wrestle a bit, which could require some strength, whilst some may combine fishing with hiking or sailing.
There are popular fishing river destinations around the world, which can allow you to mix with a like-minded community. Alternatively, you could try sea fishing – you may even be able to hire a boat and driver.
Golfing holidays are very popular – especially as a holiday with the guys. There are courses all over the world in exotic locations such as the Algarve and the Dominican Republic, allowing you to catch some sun as you golf. Like skiing, golf houses and courses are likely to have good evening facilities so that you can relax with a few bevvies in the evening.
A golf holiday isn’t cheap and you also have to account for equipment. There are some budget golfing holidays, but they may not be on par (pardon the pun) with other offers.
Kayak holidays have become a great way of exploring rivers. You can go with a guide, or paddle on your own. Such holidays are great for taking the family, going with friends or simply exploring on your own. In most cases, you can even self-teach yourself, whilst other active holidays may require paying for lessons first.
Some people may prefer a leisurely paddle, stopping at places along the way, whilst others may try to challenge themselves by going as fast as they can. The likes of NationalKayakSchool.com are great for looking for kayak-friendly rivers and locations. You can hire a canoe, or bring your own. Many may choose the first option as unlike many other sports gear, a canoe is a very bulky thing to take around with you.
For an alternative beach holiday, why not give surfing a go? Surfing is friendly for the whole family – you can get lessons or try to self-teach yourself. Most beaches are suitable for surfing, but for getting the right waves many seasoned hobbyists will choose particular surfer hotspots such as Bali, Santa Cruz and Bondi Beach.
Surfing isn’t too expensive a hobby – you may be able to cut costs on your accommodation and hire a board and wetsuit for relatively cheap. You could alternatively buy your own gear from sites such as Surfdome.com. On top of surfing, the tide offers many other watersports to try out such as water skiing, windsurfing and paddleboarding.
Sailing gives you free reign to explore the seas. Whilst a yacht may allow you to travel in luxury, dinghies are popular for those wanting to experience the sporty side of sailing. These small boats require quite a bit of skill to use and training is often necessary to learn the rules of the sea. Going abroad for group lessons could be a fun experience. There are plenty of sailing hotspots around the world in which you can rent a dinghy. Whilst you can buy a boat, they’re very expensive and not easy to transport around with you.
Scuba diving allows you explore a whole new underwater world. You can explore underwater ruins and see aquatic wildlife that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to see. It isn’t something that you can learn yourself however â€“ training and a license is needed for you to dive anywhere in the world. Some people will learnt the ropes before going on holiday, whilst others will learn whilst on vacation.
Visit sites such as ScubaTravel.com to find the best diving locations and packages. Once you have a license, you can buy your own equipment and dive anywhere in the world. Many people with a license however may still prefer to go out with guides.
Why get in shape before holiday when you can do it on holiday. Overseas boot camps are a new method of exercise, ideal for anyone that wants to get fit and travel at the same time. You can exercise on a beach or up in the mountains and spend the evening treating yourself to the spa (you can even hit the bars, but be careful of undoing the whole day’s work!). Boot camps can be great social experiences. You can also catch some sun whilst working out. Sites such as HealthAndFitnessTravel.com list some great boot camps to choose from.