Are you just starting out in the world of hiking, adventure or travel and don’t know where to begin? Or maybe you just love a good adventure, meeting new people and learning new things. If so, using an adventure company may be a valuable resource for you. Here are 9 benefits of choosing an adventure company for your next trip…
1. Safety First: Guides are experienced leaders. They are familiar with the sport/trail/location you seek, and have the skills and passion to guide you, encourage you, and help in emergency situations. It is important to reasonably assess your own or your group’s abilities in navigation, coping with inclement weather, injuries, handling animal encounters etc. If you are not confident in your abilities to help yourself or someone else in a situation, then consider using a guide company for a greater safety net. Most reputable guides are trained in wilderness first aid. In addition to being with a guide, you will likely be in a group setting, and there is a lot to be said for safety in numbers.
2. So you don’t have to be a lone wolf:
If you want to plan some type of excursion, but didn’t think to read my handy article on how to find people to join you on adventures….or you don’t feel comfortable going it alone… using an adventure company is probably a great option for you. If you are a lone wolf signing up for an adventure, you will likely be placed in a group of other fun adventurers. More often than not, the group will end up being a combination of many solo adventurers or duos. Which brings us to number 3…..
3. Meeting fun, like-minded people:
On every guided trip I have been on, I have yet to meet a person who wasn’t there for a grand adventure. These types of trips generally attract like-minded people who want to enjoy outdoors, try new things, and are ready to have fun. Unless you book as part of a large group, chances are you will have a bunch of people on your adventure who have never met. This is a great way to branch out and make friends. I love talking to new people about places they have travelled or where they want to go next (which is why my bucket list keeps growing). I have met people from around the globe and made great friends with complete strangers. Who knows, maybe you will meet some people who live near you. Voila ! A new adventure friend.
4. Skills development: a confidence builder:
Becoming great at something new is done by doing, trying, and gaining knowledge from your fellow adventurers. For my first couple of multi-day treks in unfamiliar terrains, I chose to use an adventure company: because I didn’t have the gear or skills I needed to feel confident enough on my own. I was lucky to have some of the most incredible guides on these adventures and learned some very valuable lessons and skills, helping me become a confident and knowledgeable backpacker. Great guide companies will have guides who love what they do, are inspired by the outdoors, and willing to share their knowledge. I picked my guides brain for 5 solid days on my first major trip: how to use different stoves, how to use a map, how to get out of quick sand (yes this happened), how to identify animal tracks, principles of leave no trace, how to dig a good cathole (also very important). There is so much to be gained and learned from this type of experience. If you are just starting out, there is no better resource than the people who do these things hands-on, every day.
5. Saving money on gear:
Lets face it, backpacking gear can get very expensive: tents, sleeping bag, packs, stove, etc. The cost upfront for using an adventure company may be greater than going it alone. If you don’t have the gear, finding a company who provides gear as part of the trip cost could be a huge savings for you. It also gives you a feel for different types of gear or brands, helping you decide what may work for you when you make your own purchase. Good adventure companies usually provide top of the line, lightweight gear. If you are out kayaking, canyoneering or rock climbing for example, using a company who can provide the proper tools and quality gear is critical. Leave this one to the pros if you are just starting out.
6. They take care of the details (good for people with busy lives and little time):
Want to take a sweet trip and make the most of the few days you have off, but have absolutely no time to think of the details or begin planning? Leaving this job to someone else could be liberating and simplify things greatly for you. All you have to do is book the trip and pack your bags. The itinerary is set for you and the logistics and accommodations are typically pre-determined. Some (but not all) guide companies provide you with the gear, food and may even cook meals on the trail! You can set your mind on vacation (I mean.. adventure) mode, with more time to enjoy your surroundings and enjoy what lies ahead.
7. Getting permits:
Some locations you may want to travel or camp, use permit systems. This helps to reduce impact on the environment. A lot of places have designated backcountry campsites and do not allow you to camp off trail, making permits or reservations necessary. Half dome or the Inca Trail ? You will need permits for those. If you are a last-minute planner (or just down-right unluckily) you may not get the permit you want for the time you can travel. If you are looking to do a hike offered by an adventure company, they typically take care of the permits required for the trips they offer and may have secured enough to have spot for you in your time frame! Hey, its worth a shot 🙂
When traveling somewhere new, there is much to be discovered about the place you are in; the science of the landscape around you, the history of the area, the people who live there, the culture. Guided trips are also educational experiences. Every place you visit has a story to tell and having a knowledgeable guide who shares this information with you can can ensure you get more from the experience than just the photos you take home. You will gain a deeper appreciation and understanding of the place and people you have visited.
Everyone has something, or someone who influenced or inspired their love for adventure. Being around other people who enjoy and appreciate the outdoors as much as I do, fuels me to want to do more, be more, learn more and go harder. I have met some pretty inspirational people on my journeys, all who love the outdoors for different reasons. All with different set backs, struggles and fitness levels. But all have had great attitudes and great stories to share. Let the people you meet in these experience be an inspiration to you and help encourage you to push your own boundaries.
For some, the hardest first step in getting on a path to enjoying the outdoors, is overcoming the obstacles I have listed above: time constraints, planning, finding a hiking partner, lack of experience, lack of gear. Don’t let these factors deter you from having the experience of a life time and doing something you’ve always want to try. There here are plenty of great companies out there, so do your research and start planning your next adventure.
As a side note, I am not promoting these companies for any reason other than give a shout out for the wonderful experiences I have had over the years.