Adventure travel is no longer a niche segment of the tourism industry. People from all walks of life, of all ages, are planning trips that challenge them both mentally and physically more than ever before. Adventure travel trips are up in a major way, and they’re going beyond international Bucket List destinations.
Trends in Adventure Travel for 2016 and 2017
International travel is easier than any period in history, but myriad reasons are bringing travelers back home. You might be surprised to learn that 82% of travelers say a domestic trip was their primary summer vacation in 2016. Tour operators say they’re seeing a distinct increase in the number of adventure travelers looking domestically for regional tours and cultural-based experiences. But why the shift back from long-time “adventure destinations” like South America, Asia, and Africa?
Why Adventure Travelers Are Staying In-Country
In a word, the reason more travelers are staying “home” is convenience. The average traveler stays completely plugged in even while on vacation, and far-flung global destinations don’t offer the predictable mobile service and WiFi of domestic accommodations. Domestic adventure travelers say they appreciate the predictability of clean water, safe food, and creature comforts like spa services and tidy rooms. Broadly, fears about international safety – both politically and via terrorism – are keeping people here in the U.S.
Additionally, continually rising airfare costs have made getting exotic domestic destinations like New Mexico or the Rocky Mountains much more affordable than traveling abroad. As the age of adventure travelers rises with the Baby Boomers, down goes their tolerance for long-haul, overnight flights!
The Definition of “Adventure” is Changing
For decades, there were few options that fell on the spectrum between “relaxing cruise” and “high-impact adrenaline trips.” Travelers had to make a choice between non-stop, physically exhausting excursions and sedentary, sometimes-boring poolside retreats. Today’s adventure traveler has far more options.
Many tourists, particularly Baby Boomer adventure travelers, are looking for a hybrid trip. They want the opportunity to take on adventures like hot air ballooning, guided cave hikes, and wildlife-spotting expeditions, but they want to have time to chill out, too. They’re turning in droves to domestic adventure destinations that cater specifically to their wants and needs. Adventure resorts are working overtime to come up with unique, local-driven outdoor adventures for guests while simultaneously offering up the best in five-star food and world-class accommodations. It’s adventure travel with a relaxing edge.
Popular U.S. Adventure Travel Destinations
These same travelers, weary from the challenges of international travel, are looking to unexplored corners of the U.S. for new and different experiences. The American Southwest is perhaps the most popular domestic adventure locale, boasting unparalleled scenery as well as endless opportunities for outdoor activity. Mountain destinations such as Colorado and even the Catskills, too, are becoming havens for all-inclusive retreats that offer guests a litany of adventurous pursuits.
American beaches are also getting in on the action. Adventurous travelers are increasingly looking to explore untouched, less traditional beaches in locations like Washington, Maine, and Texas, and are even renting out their own private islands in the U.S. for a once-in-a-lifetime escape. An overwhelming majority of travelers in the United States say they’re looking to enjoy sun and sand while they’re away, so it’s no surprise the beach adventure travel industry is on the rise.
What do these changes in international vs. domestic adventure travel mean for your next vacation? Well, they mean you’ve got options! It’s exciting to see American travelers turn back to the wide, diverse United States for adventure, exploration, and cultural enrichment – there’s so much to be seen and explored in this great country of ours.
Ted Turner Expeditions specializes in offering the best in domestic adventure travel with a range of properties catering to all levels of activeness. From the luxe Sierra Grande Lodge and Spa in New Mexico to the private national park atmosphere of Vermejo Park Ranch, our destinations are made for making memories.
Call a travel concierge today at 1.877.288.7637 to learn more about how to make your next vacation easier – and more adventurous! – than ever.