Adventure travel continues gaining popularity as people seek active, off-the-beaten-path experiences. Exploring the outdoors provides transformational journeys peppered with adrenaline.
New destinations emerge offering stunning yet accessible terrain for hiking, watersports, winter activities, and wildlife spotting. Read on to discover what’s trending in adventure travel for 2024.
Rather than lounge at a resort, today’s travelers want to learn, grow, and exhilarate their souls. Adventure tourism provides just that – eye-popping scenery, cultural immersion, and adrenaline-pumping exploits.
What is Adventure Travel?
Adventure travel engages participants in nature-based activities and explorations of untouched environs. Hiking, camping, water sports, and wildlife safaris are common pursuits. It’s all about accessing awe-inspiring corners of the planet.
The Benefits of Adventure Travel
Some of the top benefits of adventure travel include:
- Pushing your boundaries and conquering fears
- Bonding deeply with nature and ancient cultures
- Gaining new perspectives and skills
- Revitalizing your mental health through awe and joy
- Creating lifelong memories and connections
Adventure Travel Trends in 2024
Current hotspots range from Iceland to Peru, providing majestic scenery as the backdrop for heart-pounding exploits. Popular adventures include:
- Road trip camping and hiking adventures in national parks
- Daredevil activities like cliff camping and volcano boarding
- Safari journeys to see elephants, gorillas and tigers
- Kayaking, surfing, scuba diving in exotic locales
- Biking, trekking, and ziplining through jungles
- Heliskiing on remote mountain faces
Let’s look at what’s trending in adventure travel activities, destinations, and tips for 2024.
Trending Adventure Activities
Hiking and Trekking
Trails await across diverse terrains from Panama to New Zealand. Choose hikes matching your skill level.
Hiking and Trekking Trails for All Levels
Beginner: Canyon Rim Trail, Black Hills, SD; Hidden Lake Trail, Glacier National Park, MT
Intermediate: Inca Trail, Peru; Kalalau Trail, Kauai, HI
Advanced: Mount Rinjani Summit Route, Indonesia; Everest Base Camp, Nepal
Popular Hiking and Trekking Destinations
USA: Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Zion, Rocky Mountains
Europe: Spain, Switzerland, England, Iceland
Asia: Thailand, Japan, Indonesia, Himalayas
South America: Patagonia, Machu Picchu, Bolivia
Africa: Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount Kenya, Rwenzori Mountains
Trails worldwide cater to trekkers and day-hikers of all abilities.
Camping and Backpacking
Pitch a tent or sleep under the stars in pristine spots from Australia to Alaska.
Tips for Safe and Enjoyable Camping/Backpacking
- Research regulations, permits, trail conditions, and weather before venturing out
- Carry maps and a compass/GPS since cell service is often limited
- Pack proper gear including a first aid kit, camping stove, and bear canister if needed
- Follow Leave No Trace principles like packing out all trash and burying waste
- Join a guided group hike or share your detailed itinerary with a contact at home
Popular Camping and Backpacking Destinations
North America: Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Banff, Pacific Crest Trail
Europe: Alps, Scottish Highlands, Norway, Sweden
South America: Patagonia, Atacama Desert, Amazon rainforest
Africa: Mount Kilimanjaro, Sahara Desert, Serengeti
Asia: Mount Everest, Annapurna Circuit, Great Wall of China
Pitch your tent in wondrous spots worldwide.
Make a splash trying thrilling watersports across oceans, lakes, and rivers.
Popular Water Sports to Try
Whitewater rafting, kayaking, scuba diving, surfing, kitesurfing, paddleboarding, sailing, snorkeling
Top Water Sports Destinations
Oceans – Great Barrier Reef, Maldives, Hawaii, Caribbean
Rivers – Grand Canyon, Zambezi, Futaleufú
Lakes – Lake Tahoe, Lake Como, Lake Louise
Carve through waves, run rapids, or scuba-vibrant reefs on water adventures worldwide.
Snowy slopes await shredding on skis, snowboards, and more across mountain ranges.
Popular Winter Sports
Downhill skiing/snowboarding, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, sledding, ice skating, dog sledding
Top Winter Sports Destinations
Switzerland, Canada, Japan, USA, Italy, Norway, Germany, Spain
Seek powder stashes, steep chutes, and groomed slopes at winter sports hubs globally.
Spy exotic creatures on foot, by vehicle, boat, or horseback across habitats worldwide.
Tips for an Epic Wildlife Safari
- Avoid rainy seasons limiting animal spottings
- Book small-group tours with expert guides versus self-driving
- Rise early for the best chances of seeing key wildlife when active
- Bring binoculars and telephoto camera lenses for ideal viewing
- Follow safari etiquette like keeping quiet and giving animals space
Top Wildlife Safari Destinations
Africa: Serengeti, Maasai Mara, Kruger, Okavango Delta
Asia: Ranthambore, Kaziranga, Bardia National Parks
The Americas: Galapagos Islands, Yellowstone, Amazon Rainforest
Spot incredible creatures by getting back to nature on wildlife safaris.
Emerging Adventure Destinations
Less-Explored Countries and Regions
Venture beyond major capitals into untouched rural regions and emerging destinations.
Examples of Less-Explored Adventure Destinations
Mongolia – Ride horses and camp on the steppe with nomads
Chilean Patagonia – Trek the rugged Torres del Paine Circuit
Slovenia – Hike and bike forested trails and turquoise rivers
Myanmar – Bike the ancient temples of Bagan
Bhutan – Paraglide and trek the Himalayan kingdom
Greenland – Dogsled and see the northern lights over glaciers
Escape the ordinary by blazing trails through emerging locales.
Venture beyond main attractions to remote locales seldom seen by tourists.
Tips For Finding Off-The-Radar Adventure
- Ask guides to customize trips highlighting remote areas
- Travel in shoulder season when fewer tourists visit
- Read blogs/forums for hidden gem recommendations by travelers
- Choose local outfitters versus big companies
- Book longer trips allowing time to venture farther
Examples of Off-The-Grid Adventure Experiences
Sea kayaking remote islands in Antarctica
Mountain biking ancient Silk Road caravan trails
Multi-day mule treks to Machu Picchu’s Llactapata ruins
Camping the Sahara’s Erg Chigaga dunes by camel
Heli-skiing untracked powder in the Canadian Rockies
Discover adventure beyond the guidebook by traveling deeper.
Sustainable Adventure Travel
Trips protect environments, support communities, and reduce carbon footprints.
What is Sustainable Adventure Travel?
This pairs exploring off-the-beaten-path places while minimizing negative impacts. Practices like staying in eco-lodges, avoiding plastics, and hiring local guides make it possible.
Tips for Traveling Sustainably on Adventures
- Choose tour operators that support local economies and the environment
- Pack reusable water bottles and kit to avoid single-use plastics
- Consider lower-emission transport like trains or bikes to trailheads
- Read up on Leave No Trace principles before hiking, camping, etc
- Travel during off-seasons to avoid overcrowding destinations
Examples of Sustainable Adventure Travel
Climbing Kilimanjaro with ethical local guides
Safari at conservancies funding wildlife protection
Biking Vietnam’s countryside staying at village homestays
Kayaking Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula Supporting preservation
By adventuring thoughtfully, precious cultures and environments benefit.
Tips for Planning an Adventure Trip
Choosing the Right Destination and Activities
Consider your interests, fitness level, budget, and style to target ideal locales aligned with your goals. Seek trusted operators.
Researching Before You Go
Learn restrictions, permits, conditions, and packing lists. Book guides/gear rentals. Get vaccinations, insurance, visas. Study language and customs.
Booking Flights and Lodging
Reserve well ahead, especially for peak seasons. Browse reviews. Consider boutique eco-friendly options versus big chains.
Getting Proper Gear
Ask your tour operator about renting versus bringing gear. Pack quality basics like outdoor clothes, hiking boots, and daypack.
Preparing for Anything
Pack for weather extremes. Bring first aid and a toolkit. Know universal translated emergency phrases. Share detailed itinerary with contacts.
Thoughtful trip planning helps maximize adventure success and safety.
As the world reopens, adventure calls the brave and spirited. Awaken your soul through adrenaline and awe discovering Mother Nature’s masterpieces – the ultimate art museum.
Let your wanderlust run wild venturing into ancient cultures, lost cities, and stunning terrain made for conquering personal quests. Heed the call and never stopped exploring.
For more adventure travel inspiration, explore:
- Adventure Travel Guide – Conde Nast Traveler
- World’s Best Adventure Trips – National Geographic
- Adventure Holidays – Lonely Planet
What are some of the most popular adventure travel destinations in 2024?
National parks in the western U.S., Costa Rica, Patagonia, New Zealand, Iceland, Nepal, Peru, and African safaris.
How can I stay safe while on an adventure trip?
Book with reputable companies, get insurance, share detailed itineraries, listen to guides, only hike designated routes, bring proper gear, and know universal translated safety phrases.
How can I save money on my adventure trip?
Travel shoulder season, use points for flights/hotels, choose budget group tours and stays, cook your meals, and use public transportation to trailheads.
What are some tips for traveling sustainably on an adventure trip?
Choose eco operators, pack reusable gear, fly less when possible, follow Leave No Trace principles when hiking/camping, and avoid polluting activities like riding jet skis.
What are some common challenges faced by adventure travelers?
Altitude sickness and dehydration when hiking, getting lost in remote areas, gear failures like broken backpack straps, extreme weather changes, language barriers, and theft of valuables left unattended.