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Useful Advice for your First Soft
Adventure Trip

Twenty wise tips for women travelers.

1. Ask lots of questions you need to know how much experience is warranted. Tip: if special gear is recommended, this is not for novices!

2. Do not bring valuables; many outdoorsy places do not have a safe.

3. Wear new shoes a minimum of ten miles before a trip. Same with socks, backpacks, and any other weight creating carry-with-you item.

4. If you are afraid of something, ask for the alternative. If it is to stay behind, ask if you will be accompanied especially in remote areas. Similarly, ask what happens if you are the slowest walker!

5. Consider your flexibility. Test your flexibility in the next massive traffic jam and see if you can to relax when things are not going according to schedule!

6. Assume road conditions will be poor.

7. If you want to photograph a native, ask first but ask for him or her to show crafts or children in the photo also. You will more likely get her permission.

8. Ask for the size of the group; a small group makes rafting, hiking etc. easier. If you are a sightseer par excellence, ask how much time is for shopping.

9. Soft adventure does mean you have to trust your tour operator who presumably knows the trip is safe. If you are a second guesser, this mode of travel is not for you.

10.To double check on a tour operator for issues such as safety read on the web the local English newspaper of the area you are visiting . You can pick up accidents, crime, and, alternatively, non events which might have been hyped in your hometown press.

11. Contact several large travel insurance companies and ask if they cover your tour operator.

12. Analyze the itinerary for nights in each place, for jet lag , and for parts of the trip you find hardest. If you are traveling more than 4 time zones, pay attention to the beginning when sleep is most disrupted. This precaution also applies when the altitude or food/water are very different.

13. Assume early mornings for all nature trips and be a good sport. For any trip which includes birds or wildlife, assume you will be up at 4:30 or 5AM.Similarly assume some really long drives as any place remote will not be around the corner.

14. Special diets can be difficult on soft adventure trips. Bring your own supplies. Especially be aware that low fat meals are difficult to prepare for outdoor or Third World country dining. Bring along your special diet written in the language of the country you are visiting. If you are allergic to animals, ask if any are used to carry supplies or to carry you in cases of emergency or used for fun, such as a camel ride on the desert.

15. If water is an issue, bring iodine pills but taste iodine treated water beforehand: some people cannot tolerate it. You can use iodine treated water to disinfect fruit and vegetables in a container in your room.

16. If you have a physical limitation, test yourself so you can be honest to the tour operator: if you can walk a mile, do it to make sure you know the difficulty.

17. Small planes, helicopters, vans and "sherpas" cannot carry large suitcases-be prepared to leave behind clothing.

18.Good things to bring along: lipsticks and stamps as gifts, a beach ball globe to show where you live, tape for repairs of all kinds, one hefty bag, pins. (in many countries, there are no tampons)

19. Still undecided, check out seniors' tour groups to see if they are including your intended adventure.

20. Read, read, read especially European or Australian guidebooks which cater more to adventure. Favorites are Lonely Planet, Rough Guides, Moon Publications, Let's Go and Berkeley from Harvard and Berkeley.

Thanks to the Women's Travel Club for this article, and thanks to Gail Green of Adventures in Perspective for photo.

 

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