It’s easy to guess at what adventure travel entails. The name says it all, right?
Adventure travel is pushing your ski tips off the edge of a helicopter and and free-falling into untouched powder at extreme elevations ripe for the thrashing. Adventure travel is mountain unicycling — yes, it’s a real thing. Adventure travel is… none of these activities, really.
The name “adventure travel” is often misunderstood. We like the definition offered up by the Adventure Travel Trade Association, which states that to be considered adventure travel, an activity must contain three ingredients: physical activity, a connection to nature and an immersive cultural experience.1
Adventure travel doesn’t need to be physical pursuits in risky locations. It can be walking across the ocean floor in the Bay of Fundy at low tide. Home to among the world’s most dramatic tides — they can rise and recede at a range of more than 50 feet — this natural phenomenon bordering on the Canadian provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick is a great place to go whale watching and then grab a fresh lobster lunch.2
Some 90 percent of adventure travel is considered soft travel, from walking to kayaking and horseback riding to biking. As for safety, well, most adventure travel is safer than riding in a car. Think of adventure travel as a bridge, spanning from your comfortable home to exciting new cultural discoveries.3 And you need to cross that bridge somehow, even on a unicycle if you so choose.
When it comes to travel insurance, this is all good news. That’s because many of the activities comprising adventure travel may be covered by your insurance policy. (Remember, always consult individual policy details — we can only describe these scenarios with broad strokes and in generalities.) We’ll rundown how travel insurance can complement your next adventure travel trip. Then we’ll explain why an annual insurance policy makes the most sense for adventure travelers. And finally, we’ll even share some ideas that fit the bill — and the fine print.
On the surface, you might assume that adventure travel and travel insurance wouldn’t make good travel companions. That’s why we don’t assume. Remember, when we’re talking about adventure travel, we’re talking about immersive local life experiences that involve some amount of physical activity and embracing the environment — not walking tightropes across alligator-infested waters and other super high-risk stunts.
Certain types of adventure will disqualify you from benefits. For example, skydiving, hang gliding, caving, and bungee jumping are all excluded activities but they are not the only types of adventure out there! Did you know you can swim with wild pigs in the Bahamas, participate in a culturally immersive tour of beautiful destinations like Bali or take a Palace on Wheels luxury rail trip in Europe. These are all thrilling adventures that will make amazing memories.
Plans also exclude high-altitude activities and bodily contact sports, as well as stipulating restrictions for those with existing medical conditions. As we often state, be sure to check your own policy for specific coverage details. And be sure to check back often. Newfangled extreme sports are being invented all the time, and travel insurance providers are always vetting these and letting travelers know when there are additions. It won’t be long before we have Bungee Scuba Crocodile Wrestling.4
Adventure travel isn’t a one and done pursuit. It’s a hobby and a passion.
In fact, in a comprehensive survey of 800-plus international respondents, more than 25 percent stated that their last three trips would be considered adventure travel. And nearly 35 percent said that their next trip would fall into that category.5
Three is the magic number when it comes to deciding whether to purchase an annual travel insurance plan. The more you travel, the more value you recoup with an annual plan vs. purchasing individual travel insurance policies for each trip. With Allianz Global Assistance, once you notch that third annual trip, you’ve generally crossed the threshold by which going with an annual plan is more cost effective than insuring trips piecemeal.6
Like many types of travel, from foodie tours to chasing your favorite sports teams, adventure travel quickly evolves into a lifestyle for many. And lifestyles can get expensive. An annual travel insurance policy protects your investments and maximizes the value.
For some travelers, adventure might mean meandering through small towns on the other side of the world, bartering their way to a ticket home and not even speaking the native tongue. For others, it’s flying economy.
That’s the best part of adventure travel, different strokes for different folks — and sometimes those strokes are through the Indian Ocean in the Maldives, which boasts among the clearest waters in the world (which makes it an ideal snorkeling location.)7
Here are a few unique adventure travel ideas — trips that fit the travel insurance conditions we shared above — that demonstrate there is more than one way to make your next getaway an enthralling adventure.
• Sedona on the rocks: You don’t need to grab your passport, pack your giant suitcase and book a pet sitter to experience adventure travel. Just head to Sedona, Arizona in your pick-up truck — or fly into Flagstaff or Phoenix with a pet carrier — and experience adventure travel without customs and currency exchanges. First you’ll want to jump back in your ride or rental and cruise through Old Creek Canyon, a highly scenic and herky-jerky drive through Arizona’s second-most visited canyon. It’s a harrowing journey; keep your eyes open, two hands on the wheel and your phone down.
After that, there are too many options to list. Work up a sweat on Devil’s Bridge Trail or go shopping and exploring at Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts Village, where upscale shops and restaurants live among Spanish-style edifices, shady sycamores and cobblestone sidewalks. Finally, whether you’re a new age believer or a skeptic, you need to make a cameo at one of Sedona’s popular vortexes, spiritual sites where you get to explore… yourself. Go ahead and write yourself a postcard while you’re at it.8
• Sri Lankan adventure: You’d be lucky to spell it correctly, right? Sri Lanka may not boast the same marketing budget or reputation as Hawaii or even Kokomo, Indiana, but it’s a quickly rising hotspot for adventure travel in the Indian Ocean. Credit the fact that it has a whopping eight World Heritage sites, amazing hiking on ancient hills, and convenient rail travel on ancient trains. Oh, the the civil war ending helped, too.9 Fun fact: we mentioned Hawaii, but did you know that Sri Lanka’s Arugambay is considered the surfing capital of the world? Hang ten and then recharge with the native cuisine: rice with prawns or curried fish.10
• Rock the Brazilian suburbs: Brazil is more than Rio. It’s the largest country in South America — and fifth largest nation in the world. The Diamond Highlands are an adventurer traveler’s delight. Visit diamond mines, swim under waterfalls, and then admire the famously lush foliage and native plants.11 Be sure to bring a camera as the region boasts “the world’s most stunning views.” Nothing says adventure like a selfie stick.12
Adventure travel has an itinerary for everyone, whether you want to break a sweat or take a more laid-back approach to exploring a new city or country. With an annual travel insurance plan, the adventure never has to end, and you can rest assured that you’ll always have a reliable escape plan.