In days gone by, all we asked for from our holidays was a few days away from it all in the English countryside or on the coast – in the Victoria era, small seaside towns such as Southend, in Essex, and Margate in Kent were among the most popular resorts of the time for well-to-do families. Brighton, on the south west coast of England, was also the Prince Regent’s personal playground in the 18th Century, where he commissioned the architect John Nash to build him a summer home, the palatial Brighton Pavilion, which stands there to this day. Even as air travel was popularised in the mid-20th Century it remained the reserve of the rich, and business still boomed in British coastal holiday destinations such as Blackpool and Bournemouth right through the 1960s and 1970s. It wasn’t really until the late 1980s that affordable, short haul flights were introduced to the UK, and middle class families took to the skies, enjoying the explosion in popularity of cheap package holidays to exotic destinations such as Mallorca and Ibiza. We’ve been enjoying cheap travel ever since, and although a comparatively recent development, long distance travel to ever more far flung and exotic destinations has become the norm. Nowadays destinations like Australia, the United States of America and Japan are within our reach, and so it’s no longer enough just to visit a faraway place – to make our holidays a bit different, we need more than just to travel to somewhere exotic – hence the birth of adventure travel.
Types of Adventure Travel
There are many different types of adventure travel that thrill seeking holiday makers can enjoy. Colder countries with snow-capped peaks are natural destinations for adventure travellers, awash as they are with opportunities to ski off piste, or try out snowboarding, or any other number of extreme winter sports activities. Sun seekers who head out to sunnier climes are want to take advantage of the numerous opportunities for bungee jumping, hiking, trekking, water skiing, mountain climbing, surfing, deep sea diving and many more exciting, extreme activities. Such is the popularity of adventure travel, especially in the UK, that there are now specialist travel agents who only deal in adventure travel package holidays, offering cut price deals to tempt cost conscious holiday goers. Travel insurance brokers have long since also realised that adventure travel necessitates a higher level of insurance, and a separate industry has grown up around this need too.
When Adventure Travel Goes Wrong
As travellers compete with one another to go on the most extreme holidays, so the danger factor inherent in adventure travel rises. Some of the risks are obvious – skiers risk broken limbs, as do enthusiasts over extreme sports. On the more serious side, divers, water skiers and other people participating in water sports risk mishaps at sea and the hikers and trekkers can get lost in the woods, or even kidnapped by militia groups. There is also a large number of people returning from exotic holidays every year with parasites which can cause serious illness, picked up from exposure to polluted foreign rivers and lakes. When adventure travel goes wrong, it can cause serious problems for holiday makers – even the most comprehensive travel insurance policy may not cover all the expenses that go hand in hand with suffering a serious illness abroad, such as needing to change flights home or the cost of being transported to the UK in an air ambulance.
How To Minimise The Risks
There is no reason why adventure travel can’t be both exciting, and safe. First of all, be sure to do your research – make sure that the agent you book your holiday package through is reputable. The same goes for any additional activities you arrange once you arrive at your holiday destination. See if you can talk to other holiday makers who have used the service before and take a note of their experiences, or try to look up the company online or in your guide book. Also check if any and all lakes and rivers in the area are safe for swimming, Locals should be able to tell you if they are not. Pay attention to coastguard warnings about going into the ocean and avoid all activities that are untested or unsupervised. Also check online for foreign and commonwealth advice about the country you are visiting before you travel, and reconsider your trip if they advise against travel.