Useful Advice for your First Soft
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
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
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
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
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.