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Those scanning the #adventuretravel tag on Twitter last week might have noticed a takeover by the travel advisors, tour operators, hotels, cruise lines, bloggers and journalists who participated in TravelAge West’s Explorer takeover of #TWChats, a monthly Twitter chat that TravelAge West co-hosts with Travel Weekly.
The conversation was led by co-organizers Mindy Poder, Executive Editor for TravelAge West; Valerie Chen, Associate Editor, Digital for TravelAge West; Rebecca Tobin, Managing Editor for Travel Weekly; Carrie Finley-Bajak, a contributing writer for Travel Weekly; and Michelle Baran, Senior Editor for Travel Weekly.
The chat began with a question from TravelAge West: “When you hear ‘adventure travel,’ what does it make you think?”
Fathom noted that “adventure is equal parts place and attitude,” while Journeys International tweeted that “adventure travel is digging beneath the surface and finding what other people don’t.”
Travel agent Sarah Nelson Wandrey reiterated the personal nature of adventure by tweeting that her agency qualifies clients for adventure by getting “to know them as best we can so we offer them the right type of experiences and activities.”
Shannon Stowell, president of Adventure Travel Trade Association, noted that a major misconception about adventure travel is that it has to be about adrenaline (and sponsored by Advil), but that adventure is actually more about immersion.
Most noted the importance of immersion in a local culture as well as nature.
Next, Lindblad Expeditions asked everyone to share their favorite destinations for adventure travel. Peru was a popular answer, as were countries such as Switzerland, Namibia, Nepal, the Maldives, Norway and Costa Rica.
Participants then shared photos of themselves in the midst of great travel adventures. Standout photos included Michelle Juergen, Associate Editor of TravelAge West, rock-climbing in British Columbia; an underwater walk through French Polynesia from Paul Gauguin Cruises; and Chris Chesak, Family Travel Association’s executive director, paddling a cenote in Quintana Roo, Mexico.
Poder then asked chatters to share the most adventurous thing they’ve eaten in the name of cultural immersion. Answers ranged from alligators and “cuy” (guinea pig) to fried ants and tarantula legs, with Wandrey admitting to eating a few “questionable snails.” Stowell mentioned a hot sauce made from poisonous jungle plants in northern Brazil.
Intrepid Travel followed by asking participants to predict the next adventure-travel hot spot. Antarctica was a popular answer, as were Mongolia and Nepal. Chesak advised consumers to check out the newest trips operators such as Intrepid Travel were offering, as they are usually good hints to what destinations would become popular.
Iran was another answer, put forth by Poder and Johanna Jainchill, Travel Weekly’s News Editor. Kids Sea Camp said it is seeing a great response to Philippines scuba trips; Bajak and Lindblad predicted the Arctic; and several, including Hurtigruten, tweeted that they are seeing demand for Norway. Kensington Tours replied that its Patagonia tours are selling well.
“I'm curious also about what places will see decline as they are overrun/degraded,” Stowell tweeted. “Tourism is a destroyable resource.”
Baran then asked for everyone’s favorite soft adventure activities. Popular answers included cooking lessons, snorkeling and kayaking. Vacations Express professed a love of art walks, while Zoetry Wellness & Spa Resorts and many others answered yoga.
For the next question, Bajak asked for gear recommendations for adventurous trips. Common answers were sunscreen, insect repellant and weather-appropriate clothing.
Abaco Beach Resort recommended an open mind, as did Fathom — along with an open heart and a journal. Aardvark Safaris suggested Imodium, and Travel Leaders advised bringing a pocket knife and packable backpack. Chesak recommended brands such as Grand Trunk Goods, Eagle Creek Gear and Columbia Sportswear. Collette Travel said to pack a camera, an item that many others echoed.
Next, Chen asked everyone in the chat to tweet an adventure activity they still wanted to try.
Un-Cruise Adventures and Tobin both said they want to go bungee jumping. Lindblad Expeditions tweeted it wants to do a hike across Stockholm’s Old Town; Kensington Tours noted it wants to explore the jungles of Ranthambore to go tiger-searching; and Elegant Hotels advised everyone to try waterskiing.
Other common answers were scuba-diving, snorkeling and small-ship expeditions. Zoe Funk, sales and management associate for Kids Sea Camp, replied that she would like to go shark cage diving.
The resounding answer to question nine — whether adventure travel could cater to multiple generations — was “yes.”
Aardvark Safaris suggested a mobile safari for families looking to travel in Africa. Many participants said cruises were the optimal way for families to enjoy a multigenerational adventure trip. Wandrey advised splitting up activities. Travel advisor Jamie Thomas recommended finding a great travel agent to help plan such trips.
Tim Palmer, business development manager for Hurtigruten, advised families thinking of going on a trip to “go at your own pace. Know your and others’ limitations.”
To Stowell, “customization is key” when it comes to multigen travel.
The final question, from Tobin, asked participants to name a splurge that helped them unwind after an adventurous excursion. Popular answers included nice meals and massages, while others mentioned flying business class as a great way to ease back into regular life.
For those who missed the conversation, search #TWChats on Twitter to find everyone’s input. The next #TWChats will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 11, noon PST, and will feature a discussion on cruise innovations.