The world is your playground, and what a huge one it is!

There’s so many options, so many trails and adventures to choose from that you sometimes feel dizzy from the sheer magnitude of it all. Where to begin? Where to go next?

Fortunately, there’s a way to decide how to seek your own adventure or even plan for one. To narrow down your choices, you’ll need to consider the following factors so you’re sure your next hike will be a fantastic milestone of an experience and achievement.

aletsch
Picture taken in Aletsch

Adventure Goals

Are you looking to do a short day hike or walkabout? Or are you craving to commune with nature at its rawest and even spend the night(s) on the trail? Do you want to enjoy the outdoors with your family or friends? Are you thinking of going on a hike to a body of water and then swim about once you reach your destination? You need to define your objectives for the trip as this will help you determine what you need to prepare and decide on the best location for what you have in mind.

Hiking Experience and Skills

Considering your goals for your next adventure, do you have the experience, skills, and even the fitness to finish your journey? Taking these into consideration helps you decide which locations or trails are best suited for you.

A highly technical trail, for example, should be set aside if you have not yet gone through a basic mountaineering course or have not done major climbs yet.

Also, you may need to learn basic first aid and the leave no trace principles in order to be adequately prepared for the rather challenging adventures.

Resources Present and Required

If you have a trail in mind, consider what resources are present. Are there a lot of water sources there? If so, you won’t need to bring a lot of water and may even indulge in cooking when camping out. If the place is pretty dry, you’ll need to bring enough hydration to last you the entire trip or find ways to keep your hydration supplies sufficient along the way. Logically, you may want to pick the hydration-rich option if you don’t want to carry that much water weight on your climb.

Also, consider if there’s a lot of shelter or forest cover. Otherwise, you may need to bring gear that shields you from the heat or cold when the weather changes. Ask the trail or park’s ranger or other hikers who have gone through the route you’re planning to traverse.

Kandersteg
Picture taken in Kandersteg

Preparation Time Needed

How long until you’ll be ready for the trip? Consider whether it’s a technical trail that requires weeks of exercise so you’re fit enough to endure the whole route. Or perhaps the trip will need you to gather certain gear you do not have and will take time for you to acquire due to financial or logistical reasons.

You may pick a less preparation-intensive trek option if you cannot afford to wait that long or if the weather is no longer favorable by the time you consider yourself ready.

Schedule and Weather

Have a travel timeframe in mind? Check the weather forecast and the trail conditions before you finalize your plans. You’ll also need to consider the temperature range expected along the route, as well as elevation and exposure areas. Ideally, you should go to the desired destination at the most favorable times of the year, based on the recommendations of locals or authorities of the place.

Risks Involved

What sort of wildlife will you expect on the trail you’re planning to trek? What are the risk levels for hypothermia or dehydration? How about the risks of getting ill from mosquito or insect bites?

Is the path around or near volcanic peaks? Are there risks for avalanches, rock falls, earthquakes, or mudslides?

You’ll need to prepare for these risks so you come out of your adventure safe and sound. You will need the advice of park rangers or authorities for this.

Backup Options

It’s standard operating procedure to let a family member, relative, or friend know where you’re heading and when you’ll be back. However, you’ll also need to consider how to get help when you need it. You can get and save the contact numbers of the emergency responders or rangers in the area so you can call them when necessary. Or you can relay this information to the persons you’ve informed about your outdoor adventure.

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