Are you looking for your next travel thrill? Eager to see the world and do big things—without having to spend big money? Well, you’re in luck! Inexpensive adventure travel awaits! Whether you want to paraglide or skydive in Cape Town or spend some time perfecting your culinary skills while also dancing your nights away in Uganda, with a little bit of planning, cheap adventure travel can be right around the corner. So how should you get started? For starters, grab your notebook (paper or virtual) and get ready to take some notes!
It’s not enough to just know where to go or what you want to do when you’re trying to pack in some amazing fun as part of your budget adventure travel experience. You’ll also want to make sure you consider when to go and how to keep yourself safe. We’ve got all that covered in this overview as we share the benefit of our research and experience with you! We also want to share some great tips about how to make that cheap adventure travel opportunity even easier to pay for so that you can concentrate on everything else that will make it memorable.
So where to begin when planning for budget adventure trips to keep the costs down? Well, you will want to raise money while you save money, for starters! Even if you have the benefit of supportive family, friends, or outside funding from school or a community group to help you, did you know that you can also post your cheap travel adventure plans on crowdfunding sites? Before we go any further, make a quick detour and check out FundMyTravel to download the resources tool-kit right now! Don’t worry…we’ll wait. And then come right back to talk details!
What you need to know about cheap adventure travel
Now that you’re signed up for that free account, let’s talk about the nitty-gritty of the inexpensive adventure travel experience. We’re going to look at the where, the what, and the when, so that we can help you determine the how a little bit easier as you prepare to pack your bags (and your skis, boots, tents, paddles, or whatever else!) and get on your way.
The cheapest places
Let’s start with the “where” and take a look at seven great places for you to consider when planning the budget travel adventure trips of your dreams!
Not just for the yoga enthusiasts (although, it’s definitely a great place for budget adventure trips with a focus on the namaste!), India offers incredible adventures ranging from parasailing to safari to hot-air ballooning! Known as one of the most budget-friendly places for inexpensive adventure travel, be sure to check out all the great activities you can pursue in India today!
You’ve probably seen that iconic view of the Sydney Opera House, all lit up, taken from the water. Well, if you’re into surf and swim-related activities, it might be time to plan for some budget adventure travel in Oz. Once you manage to get there (more tips on that as you read on!), your experiences here will be sure to keep your heart pumping and bring some magic to your senses.
3. Costa Rica
The land of pura vida (the simple life) awaits with budget travel adventure trips that include hiking, zip-lining, horseback-riding on the beach, and kayaking, just to name a few options! Whether you already appreciate the pure life Costa Rica offers, or you’re looking to add some much-needed natural beauty to your routine, this beautiful Central American country can help!
4. New Zealand
Once you look into this beautiful country, you’ll see why so many fantasy films are shot here—the landscape is almost other-worldly! And when it comes to cheap adventure trips, you really can’t go wrong with this amazing country, especially when so many of the available programs include food, lodging, and other value-added benefits that quickly add up as separate costs.
It is hard to find a more diverse collection of budget travel adventure trips than the ones available to you in Spain! You can hike, camp, backpack, and explore the countryside. Learn cooking in the cities and take up surfing on the coast. Better still, thanks to the incredibly efficient Spanish rail-system, you can do as many activities as your schedule (and budget) permits!
6. South Africa
There’s much more in South Africa than just Cape Town, but to give you a sense of the options available for inexpensive adventure travel, a night out in Cape Town ranks as one of the ten least expensive in the world (coming in at number seven). Be sure to check out wildlife adventures in Johannesburg and the sports scene in Port Elizabeth for even more big fun.
You’ve likely heard of some of the most well-known cities in Thailand (like Bangkok or Chiang Mai) but there are plenty of other places for you to explore cheap adventure travel, as well! You can go scuba diving along the coral reefs or hike along (and underneath!) the waterfalls. You can even explore caves, rafting, or eco-adventures among the rural areas, too!
The cheapest activities
We’ve already outlined quite a few mentions as we looked at the locations. Now here’s a short list of six specific activities you might find to be a good fit for your budget adventure travel planning!
Backpacking is great for budget adventure trips because you can maintain pretty much everything you need, well, on your back! From Europe to Asia, or destinations far and wide, backpacking is a great way to see the world without breaking the bank. One particularly cost-effective option is to consider some of the conservation-related backpack treks in Peru. Not only will you get to explore the countryside, but you’ll also be provided with meals and support!
While this might sound like the ultimate indulgence, many of the best eco-tourism adventure travel packages include surfing (either as recreation or education) as part of their budget adventure travel programming. As just one example, check out all of the incredible options for you to explore surfing in Indonesia alone! From Bali to all of the other beaches (like Uluwatu, Canggu, Kuta, and Nusa Dua) you can find all kinds of options to hang ten on the cheap.
Just like backpacking, hiking provides budget travel adventure trips that allow you to power yourself from one beautiful place to another. Conservation programs (far and wide!) not only provide you with opportunities for adventure hiking, they also provide you with food and supplies. They sometimes even include funding and payment stipends when it comes to helping them track things like growth patterns, species sightings, and other eco-focused initiatives while adventuring. It’s a win-win!
Whether you want to see places like Nepal, Argentina, or Iceland, photography adventure travel has gone from one of the most expensive options (think back to when people had to lug all kinds of film and equipment!) to one of the most inexpensive adventure travel options, thanks to digital technology and cloud computing! While adventure means different things to different people, if gorgeous sunsets and sweeping vistas light your fire, then this is a great option for you.
At one point, years ago, a safari adventure was likely to involve a hunting expedition, but we are (fortunately!) in much more wildlife-friendly times. Meaningful adventure travel safaris (especially those found on cheap adventure trips) are focused on seeing the plant and animal kingdom rather than capturing or killing it. So whether you’re packing up for Africa or the Brazilian Amazon, all kinds of budget-friendly opportunities for safari adventures await!
The cheapest time of year
You likely see the words “off season” or “off peak” on just about every travel and lodging booking site. But what does it really mean when you’re looking for budget adventure trips that keep costs super-low? Check out these five easy tips for making your money go the furthest distance.
1. Explore those off-season frequent flyer deals.
Do you have a frequent flyer credit card? Or, do you know someone who does who might gift you some of their miles—perhaps even for a small fee? Our friends over at Club Thrifty are quick to remind us that off-peak, round-trip November to March flights to Europe using frequent flyer miles are often the same cost as domestic travel flights during the peak season. Airfare is often a big piece of the puzzle, so if you can get that covered, you’ve got more money for other things.
2. Check out cash sales on travel.
While those frequent flyer miles are a quick go-to for many travelers, if you’re really trying to save, you might also look into off-season travel options for cash sales on airfare, train tickets, and other transport costs. Most of us are so used to using plastic or e-commerce, but if you take the time to call ahead, speak to a booking agent, and let them know you’re looking for a cash discount, you could save big on cheap adventure trips (and avoid those credit card fees!).
3. Don’t forget to comparison-shop for your lodging.
Many of our favorite cheap adventure travel programs include housing and homestays as part of the deal. For those that don’t, you will get the best deal by doing a little bit of comparison-shopping and emailing or calling for the best possible rate. Going to Croatia? If you go in the fall (rather than the summer), a hotel that costs $500 per night normally may be going for just under $100 for an off-season booking. You can sometimes do even better with a student rate!
4. Be sure to take into account all the weather-related trade-offs.
Travel might be cheaper, and hotel rates might be better, but make sure you’re doing your research on weather-related issues. You can still grab deals as long as you plan ahead. For example, islands like Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao remain safe bets in the Caribbean, even during hurricane season. Cheap adventure trips are available anywhere if you get creative! Check out this resource from The Travel Channel for more examples of cheap (and safe!) fun.
5. Check the blogosphere for inspo and information!
We’ve already sent you over to Fund My Travel so that you could download the resource tool-kit and create an account, but make sure you also check out the super-helpful blog there–and make sure you also do some good, solid searches on GoAbroad.com as well! These are our faves, but there are so many great blogs and social media channels out there to help you learn from the experiences and expertise of others. Be sure to use the power of the people for good!
FYI: Don’t skimp on safety!
While it’s great to be budget-minded, and it feels really good to get a great deal, just remember that it’s never smart to take risks with your health, safety, or security. Even if the hotel is offering super-cheap rates, if it puts you in a dangerous place, or jeopardizes your peace of mind, it’s not worth it. Stay in reputable places. Read the reviews for programs and providers on sites like GoAbroad.com, and make sure that you’re using free resources (like the GoAbroad Online Advisor) to help you find the right program for you, before you start mapping out the details.
Inexpensive adventure travel is real!
So what should you do next, before you pack up and head out on the next budget adventure travel trip of your dreams? Explore virtually and do your research, of course! Will you backpack in the Canadian wilderness? Will you go on photo safari in the Amazon? Will you practice your asanas in the Indian countryside? Whatever you dream, you can do—it just takes preparation and some solid research skills.
When you’ve plotted out the activity, the location, the time of year, and the resources you need, you can get down to the business side, and make your travel list and your budget. And while that might be the least glamorous part (especially if you’re dreaming of riding horses on the beach in Australia), it will give you a clear sense of where to start. Remember, once you have the details and the budget, you can ask around for financial support, do all kinds of things to get creative and save money, and create a campaign to post to a crowdfunding site like FundMyTravel. So go ahead, and get started—and you’ll be on your way in no time!
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This article was written by Andi Sciacca. Andi is based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she lives with her husband and their four-legged family. She works with inspired professionals who are expert practitioners, experienced educators, and well-known contributors to their field. Andi helps them take ideas and put them into practice. When not working or writing, she loves to experience music, see the world, and learn new things. Andi’s favorite places to travel include anywhere she can eat good food—and swim.