A Life in Travel

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7 Essentials for Designing a New Trip

Planning a new trip can be a daunting task for anyone with so many possibilities to see in the world, not to mention the added stress of making sure you make the most out of your precious vacation time. When planning a new trip is your job, it's critical to deliver the most incredible trip that leaves each and every traveler feeling like they experienced a destination far better than they could have ever imagined. Luckily for us, we love designing new adventures and with more than thirty years of experience we've learned a few things over the years. With that in mind, I wanted to share 7 essentials for designing a new trip.

1. Avoiding Crowds
We Identify ways to visit popular sites and avoid the crowds so you have the best experience and don't contribute to the social and environmental impacts of overtourism.​ For example, busloads of travelers crowd into Angkor Wat every day, so we go early at sunrise but then high tail it out to more off-beat, lesser-known ancient sites where the jungle vines wrap around the ruins and you can contemplate and photograph the ancient civilizations with the modern one.​ 

2. Safety First
We assure the health and safety of travelers, looking out for safety concerns, understanding the politics and the work ethics so local guides and host communities benefit from our visit and are not exploited by tourism development. You'll have the confidence to go tracking big game on foot during a safari in Africa because we put you in the most capable hands of the best pro-guides on the continent.
3. Giving Back
We feature opportunities to positively impact the destination through our non-profit Travelers Conservation Trust by working with in-country conservation and community development organizations. For example, our Water for Hwange Conservation Safari with the help of our alumni, was able to fiance four solar-hybrid pumps to Zimbabwe's Hwange National Park that helped supply water for elephants and tribal communities who live around them. Many of our trips give back to the places and people they visit so keep an eye out. We're also members of conservation organizations like the Adventure Travel Conservation Fund that directly funds local projects engaged in the conservation of unique natural and cultural resources of adventure travel destinations.
4. Intimate Experiences
Our goal is to create the most intimate and authentic opportunities to experience local culture by immersion in daily life. Finding the right experiences isn't an easy task and we vet all of our experiences to make sure we are providing a great cultural interaction for yourself and for the locals. On our Maasailand Safari: Living Among the Maasai, travelers are based from specially built guest bungalows in the Maasai village of Merrueshi where they can explore the African savanna on foot with Maasai warriors who are expert naturalist guides. 

5. Finding Balance
We like to create a balance between seeing and doing as much as possible with time for relaxing and soaking it in at camps and ecolodges where you settle into the environment and local culture at the end of the day. This is something so many travelers often get wrong, they expect to fill every minute of every day but it ends up making your vacation stressful and you don't get the time to soak up where you're at. Our Lapa Rios Tropical Adventure is an active adventure in the rainforests by day and then relax in luxurious comfort surrounded by nature at night. 

6. Reach Your Travel Goals
If it's a "best of" first-time visit to experience a new destination we make sure to include the regional highlights and a diversity of experiences. On the other hand, an itinerary focused on a special interest such as photography, birdwatching or wine and culinary experiences require a very detailed design assuring the sites visited, the timing of activities, quality of experiences are the best available. Such as our Highlights of Colombia covering the best Colombia has to offer, or the in-depth culturally focused Art, Music and Dance of Cuba. 

7. Boutique Accommodations
Where you stay at the end of the day and start your adventures the next morning can keep you connected to the place and the culture and prepare you rested and ready to begin your next adventure. On our Best of Patagonia Adventure guests get to stay at Patagonia Camp which is a luxury seasonal camp located just outside of Torres del Paine National Park, in a place of incomparable beauty on the shore of Lake El Toro. The camp is designed and built with minimum impact on the environment and visually harmonious with the landscape. All the facilities are connected by an elevated walk to ensure to protect the fragile landscape and preserve the native plants, shrubs and trees that have grown in the area for hundreds of years and provide habitat for southern Austral bird species.

No matter what we put into each itinerary, the magic is everything else we can't control directly, over which we have some influence. In as much as we prepare you so you have what you need and you know what to expect, the nature of adventure travel is also the opportunity to create your own experience and that's the magic. For you, the traveler, it makes all of the difference to go with an adventurous spirit, to engage with an open mind and open heart, and create your own unique experience together with your travel companions.

Keeping it wild,

Kurt Kutay
Wildland President

PS: Check out my blog on How we Design New Adventures for some more travel planning tips. 

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