Not All Who Wander Are Lost: A Blog for Adventurous Women

Hawaii: Adventure Travel Style (psst… it’s not all about beaches)

Posted by Katie Flanagan on Oct 26, 2012 5:00:00 AM

Images and advertisements for Hawaiian Vacations often depict coconut milk sipping tourists lounging on beach chairs, with leis around their necks, and grass skirts hula dancing by. Those images are certainly not false and are quite enticing… but did you know that Hawaii is a lot more than luaus and lying ocean-side. How about experiencing rainforests, volcanoes, sea turtles, and black sand beaches adventure travel style? If that doesn’t get your travel bug buzzing how about a lava lake that is at a record high. For a glimpse of this natural wonder in action, click on the image below to see a video Kilauea in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The volcano is erupting at two craters right now and is visible from the national park’s observation deck. The lava is 100 feet from spilling over and doesn’t show signs of calming. If lava begins to flow it will be a rare occurrence in modern history and s once in a lifetime experience for most.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is among the scenic spots we visit during our Exploring Hawaii’s Big Island trip February 3-10, 2013. The active travel on the island includes hiking, kayaking, horseback riding, snorkeling, and of course… relaxing.  For more information about the trip follow this link. There are a few spaces still open, so if you see volcanoes in your future, you can register for this trip here. If you have any questions, please call us at 877/439-4042 or contact us by email.

 

Topics: National Park trips, hiking trips, domestic destinations

4 Reasons to Visit Bryce and Zion National Parks

Posted by Katie Flanagan on Aug 7, 2012 5:00:00 AM

My first experience with women's adventure travel was in 2008 on AGC's Hiking in Bryce and Zion trip. As this annual trip approaches – I am reminded of that memorable experience. For a while prior to that trip I had browsed the AGC website and thought... someday... then that someday turned into a few years. And I finally decided to just do it – spoil myself, take a leap, and grow through a new experience. It was one of the most gratifying decisions I would make. There were a few reasons I chose Hiking in Bryce and Zion as my first trip with AGC, and a few more reasons why I will never regret that choice.

First, it made financial and logistical sense. It was a shorter trip – requesting 2 days off of work seemed a lot more realistic than 5 or more. My boss wasn't a fan of vacations – so the longer the time you took off, the longer he made you 'pay' for it. The trip started in Las Vegas – flights to there are reasonable and regularly scheduled. So, Vegas is easy to get to and even fun to just 'witness' the spectacle that it is for an afternoon or longer if that is your pleasure.

Second, we got to stay in Zion National Park! Often I had gazed at lodges within National Parks and thought – gosh it must be impossible to get into that place. I would have to make reservations almost a year in advance, and I like to plan ahead – but a year is a long time. It is true, you have to make reservations far in advance and that is exactly why its great to travel with a group like AGC. AGC secures reservations a year out – but you can often sign up for a trip like this within a more reasonable amount of time (3-4 months prior). And if you never have stayed in a National Park – it is as magical as you may imagine!

284px BryceCanyon Amphiteatre1 resized 600

Hoodoos on Peekaboo Trail – It's fun just to say "Hoodoos" and "Peekaboo" – let alone walking through a canyon rolling full of towering spires. Bryce Canyon National Park is known for its geological structures called hoodoos, formed by frost weathering and stream erosion of the river and lake bed sedimentary rocks. Your pictures will look like postcards.

describe the image

Angels Landing - Arguably Utah’s most talked-about hike — the aptly named Angels Landing is a five-mile round-trip climb of 1,488 feet from the Virgin River to the top of a cliff. This is a strenuous hike with steep drop-offs. While more of a mental challenge than a physical challenge, I recall fellow participants remarking that completing the trail was the highlight of the trip. Of course if heights are not your thing – you can continue on a less exposed and very enjoyable trail.

Whether or not these reasons resonate with you on some level – I hope you put Bryce and Zion on your “life list” and if you think women's adventure travel may suit you – read more about the trip here: Hiking Bryce and Zion National Parks There is still space available on our Fall 2013 trip – November 2-5, 2013.

 

Topics: active travel, womens travel, National Park trips, domestic destinations

Cheap Thrills for Adventure Vacations!

Posted by Katie Flanagan on Jun 28, 2012 5:00:00 AM

Senior PassWhile I was doing a little research for our active vacations – I stumbled upon quite a deal! For seniors (age 62 and older) the National Park Service offers a lifetime pass for only $10! An annual pass for non-seniors is $80 and one-time entrance fees to National Parks can range from $10-20 per person and/or per vehicle. The National Park Service has an extremely informative website with information about how to obtain a lifetime pass and Frequently Asked Questions (isn't it refreshing when websites are thorough and helpful). Appropriately titled, “America the Beautiful,” The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass Series, includes not only the $10 senior pass but also the:

  • Free Annual Pass for U.S. Military - Available to U.S. military members and dependents in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard and also, Reserve and National Guard members.

  • Free Access Pass - For U.S. citizens or permanent residents with permanent disabilities.

  • Free Volunteer Pass - For volunteers with 250 service hours with federal agencies that participate in the Interagency Pass Program.

  • Annual Pass - $80 and available to everyone.

These can be a great gifts for a retiree, mom, dad, aunt, uncle or friend! One of the best parts is that a pass covers entrance for a driver and all passengers in a personal vehicle at per vehicle fee areas (or up to four adults at sites that charge per person). So if you are under 62 but drive in with a senior pass holder – you can reap the benefits.

You can obtain a pass in person at a federal recreation site or through the mail using this application form. There are hundreds of federal recreation sites – there is likely one near you – so check out the list. If you still have questions (I did upon first read) check out the site's frequently asked questions link. It really isn't too good to be true to be 62!


Topics: trip preparation, National Park trips, domestic destinations

National Geographic's Best Summer Trips 2012: Northern Michigan

Posted by Katie Flanagan on May 17, 2012 9:48:00 AM

Great minds think alike! National Geographic and Adventures in Good Company both agree that Northern Michigan is one of the best kept secrets among outdoor adventure travel destinations. Traverse City, Michigan made the recently released list of National Geographic's Best Summer Trips 2012. Naturally, Adventures in Good Company (AGC) is well aware of this natural treasure and is offering a trip this summer to what is also known as U.S.'s “Third Coast”-- the shores of the Great Lakes. AGC's trip called, Islands, Lakes, and Dunes: Exploring Northern Michigan is August 19-26, 2012 and is led by a one of our fantastic guides who calls Traverse City “home.” On the trip we visit an array of attractions: national parks, state parks, a wine tasting room, tea room, islands, and inland lakes. Most people may not equate Michigan and “beach” (that's why it stays a secret) but Traverse City is really the biggest little beach town on the “Third Coast.” Northern Michigan made the list along with other adventure vacation spots such as Scotland, Alaska, and Maryland – all places to which AGC offers women only trips. So if you're still looking for a the 'perfect' summer outdoor travel trip – come explore one of the 'best' with AGC. You can take National Geographic's travel editors' word for it!

describe the image

Topics: active travel, domestic destinations

Travel tips: When should I buy airline tickets?

Posted by Marian Marbury on Feb 17, 2012 4:58:00 AM

In preparing for an adventure trip, when to buy airplane tickets is undoubtedly the most common question we get. With airline consolidation and elimination of many flights, airline tickets have gone up substantially and will likely continue to climb. Of course no one wants to buy a ticket now and find out the price dropped a month later, or to hold off on buying a ticket only to find it much more expensive the next time we look.airplane

Unfortunately there is no good answer to that question, but here is our approach.

Generally, tickets are most expensive far in advance (more than four months) or very close (less than a week) to your departure date. Buying it closer to your departure time (say 3 weeks) may or may not be more expensive. It depends on how seats are filling up, how much competition there is, what the price of oil is etc.

At Adventures in Good Company we start looking at fares about four months in advance of a trip. The first place we go is Bing to see if they have a price predictor and fare history for the route and dates we want. If the price and schedule look OK, we might book right then. Yes, maybe the price will drop more later - but maybe it won't and we've locked in a price we're OK with. If we don't like the price, we then go to Kayak. Bing's results are actually powered by Kayak so you won't find anything different, but I find the interface easier to use and you can then set up a Fare Alert (maybe you can do this on Bing but it isn't obvious how). I also check Southwest if they fly where I'm going and possibly ITASoftware if I'm having trouble finding what I want, but neither of those will give you Fare Alerts.

Some other pssiblities for finding lower airfares: if you have a twitter account, follow the major airlines and also some websites that focus on lower airfares, such as Airfare Watchdog (I just generally like this website including their Facebook page). These generally work better when your dates are open.

But bottom line - your time is worth money too, and driving yourself nuts to find the lowest fare may be more anxiety and effort than its worth.

P.S. I often get sticker shock when I first look at prices. Looking at them over time allows me to adjust to the idea that I'm going to be paying that much.


 Our EBook will help you get ready ready for your next interational trip

Topics: travel tips, trip preparation, international destinations, domestic destinations

Is adventure travel the right choice for you?

Posted by Marian Marbury on Jan 11, 2012 5:21:00 AM

I used to think adventure travel was the right kind of travel for anyone who was basically healthy and mobile. Of course in my 20s, I also assumed that everyone, given a choice, would prefer to spend their weekends hiking and camping. I have since been disabused of both notions. But with adventure travel, I've also seen that some people think they should like it because it sounds so - well, so adventurous! And a little Indiana Jones lives within many of us.

But is it really for you? Having lead adventure trips for over 20 years, I've met a wide range of people and seen the characteristics that allow different individuals to get the most out of adventure. So ask yourself and be honest- do these characteristics sound like you? Because if they don't, other kinds of travel will make you much happier and feel more worthwhile.The African Queen

1. Flexibility. Every kind of trip has an itinerary and some kind of schedule. But on adventure trips, there is a greater likelihood that the itinerary goes awry, sometimes in major ways. Is that OK, or does it make you feel anxious? How about food? What if dinner is at 8pm and nothing on your plate looks familiar? Does that sound exciting or is it your worst nightmare? Do you need 8 solid hours of sleep every night or can you occasionally make do with whatever you get without going into a meltdown?

2. Goal orientation. You know that saying "It's the journey, not the destination". Well is it? What if you trained for climbing Mt Kilimanjaro for 5 months and paid lots of money and that week the worst weather in 20 years descends on the mountain, making a summit attempt impossible. Of course you'll be disappointed! But will you think the trip was a failure and wish you had never gone?

3. Patience. I can guarantee that your patience will be tried during group adventure travel. Whether it's by the other people in your group, the leaders, the food or the accomodations, the weather, the logistics snafus - whatever, you will at times feel impatient. And the more often you feel impatient, the less you will enjoy the experience.

4. Taking things as they are. On an adventure, whether its backpacking in the Sierras or trekking in Nepal, everything will be different- food, companions, activities, scenery etc. Are you going to compare everything to some standard - usually how it is at home - or enjoy things for what they are. This is particularly true in less developed countries and that constant critique of things not living up to some external standard is the genesis of the Ugly American.

5. Reaction to challenge. At the end of any vacation, you want to feel refreshed and rejuvenated. You may feel physically tired, but it should be the "good" kind of tired that comes from putting out energy and being satisfied with what you accomplished. You don't want to feel physically tired and emotionally drained because you've been on edge the whole time- what kind of vacation is that?!

Of course different trips have different challenges. More people will feel comfortable hiking in Utah than traveling in Bhutan. And if you're not sure where you fit on the "adventure scale", starting with something that you feel more comfortable with can build your confidence. If you have never traveled with a group of people you didn't know before, just coming by yourself on your first trip is a huge adventure. If you like the experience, then next time you might choose something that feels less familiar. Or you might decide that next time you need something that leaves you feeling more rested and relaxed.

In the end, the only thing that is important is to be honest with ourselves and to see and accept ourselves as we truly are. A dachsund doesn't beat up on herself because she's not as fast as a whippet. There are so many travel options out there - choose the one that's right for you.

Topics: adventure travel, international destinations, domestic destinations