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A Typical Adventure Traveller – Is That You?

Categories: Travel Styles

A typical adventure traveller? Is there such a thing? What does a typical adventure traveller look like? What activities would make up typical adventures? What would be the personality of the typical adventure traveller?

Well, the Adventure Travel Trade Association (yes, there is such a thing) recently released an extensive, professionally researched, report on the typical North American traveller. Is it much different for non-North Americans? You’ll have to judge for yourself but, from my experiences travelling with people from the UK and Ireland, continental Europe, Australia, New Zealand and a variety of other places, I don’t think we’re all that different from one another.

Here are some of the things that the study found to define the “typical” adventure traveller and their experiences.

First, what are the components that make up an effective adventure trip? Three things stood out: nature, activity and culture. Is that what you look for in an adventure trip? The mix will vary, to be sure, depending on the location. If you travel to the southern Mexico/northern Central American region the Mayan culture may perhaps weigh more heavily than activity. But come to Western Canada, and activities and nature will dominate over culture. Every place can, and every adventure travel company should, offer a mix of the three to satisfy the appetite of the adventure traveller.

Second, what are the outcomes for the adventure traveller? What do they want to get out of their trip? Four broad categories were identified: Novel/Uniqueness, challenge, wellness, and transformation. Clearly, we adventure travellers want to come away from our experiences being better people because of them, and with stories to tell. We’re not simply escapists, getting away from our everyday routine or from the stresses of our environments. (I guess that’s why we identify as adventure travellers, not as “vacation” travellers or “tourists.”)

Third, what are the activities typical adventure travellers seek? Here the study found some changes had occurred since their previous study ten years earlier. Not surprisingly, hiking comes out on top. It was followed by visiting family and friends, camping, cycling, and skiing/snowboarding. Future intentions, though, also included stand-up paddleboarding, visiting historic sites and cultural activities.

When asked, though, what activities properly fall under the umbrella of adventure travel, respondents listed as the top eleven: hiking, backpacking, trekking, kayaking, rafting, climbing, mountain biking, scuba-diving, caving, camping and canoeing. Here is where the shifts had occurred from ten years ago, with climbing and canoeing having dropped considerably down, but still on the list.

What were the destinations most favoured by the North Americans in the survey? Would it surprise you if North America topped the list? But much of the world was included. The largest changes from the previous survey were the rise of South America and Central Europe.

What about the adventure traveller personality? What kind of people are they? Based on the self-assessment over a range of adjectives, the study put together a profile of typical adventure travellers: First, they see themselves as kind, efficient, organized and imaginative. That certainly matches my perception of the people I’ve travelled with. They enjoy working on new ideas and see themselves as intellectual. They are also concerned about health and fitness. No surprises there, either.

Typically adventure travellers are not too concerned about shopping or the accumulation of luxuries, nor do they see themselves as highly competitive. By contrast, they see themselves as more giving, altruistic people.

And, when they travel, they want to learn and come back as changed people. They want to be immersed in a culture, not just exposed to it, to seek out learning and growth experiences.

Does that profile match you? Are you a “typical” adventure traveller? What would you change about this picture to make it fit you personally?

The West Adventures model was developed prior to the study. And it was developed not to aim particularly to North Americans, but the whole world. But, the study strongly affirms that the things that are important to us and that we’ve built our trips around, are what the typical adventure traveller is looking for in their experiences.

And the flexibility we’ve built into our tours means you get to tweak them to fit, even more perfectly, your own personal aspirations.

We will continue to listen, to study, to explore, and to stay on top of the research, to keep delivering the most up-to-date packages for the most up-to-date adventure traveller. . .

. . . like yourself.