If there’s one thing we can all agree on, adventure travel leaders included, it’s that nobody bloody knows what an adventure traveller is anymore.

The market was once so black and white – adventure travellers were defined as young people who took risks by backpacking and climbing mountains.

But not anymore!

Now, the market is very 50 Shades of Grey (without the whips or maybe with – each to their own) with people describing it as any form of travel that’s seen as “out of the box”.

James Thornton, Chief Executive of the world’s largest travel company, Intrepid Travel Group, says this confusion comes from the fast-growing nature of the sector, which is being driven by how “courageous travellers are becoming” each time they step outside of their comfort zones.

“Adventure Travel is more likely to be defined by Aussies as being about where and how they travel,” he explained.

“It’s someone who wants to get out of their comfort zone, not just in that physical sense but emotionally, intellectually and culturally.”

James Thornton, Intrepid Travel Group Chief Executive

If that’s the case, then how do we define adventure travel to fit one type of individual when the perspective of ‘comfort zone’ and ‘something new’ varies from person-to-person.

The answer is, you can’t.

Instead of trying to define it, the Intrepid Travel Group is hoping to help Travel Agents understand and sell to the new-age adventure traveller through the release of the first ever Adventure Travel Index, which showcases the expanded parameters of the sector.

“To some people their most adventurous holiday was trying a new cuisine, for others it’s the serenity of a sunrise hot air balloon ride in Kenya, or abseiling down a 250m waterfall in Utah,” Thornton added.

Travel Agents can try asking clients questions about their past adventures to idenfity them as an adventure traveller, which could then lead to conversations (and perhaps even sales) on adventure travel trends, such as:

 

Why people are choosing to go on an adventure…

You could probably guess one – stress. Everyday life continues to beat people to a pole, so-much-so that 51 percent are choosing to step out of their comfort zone on holidays in order to feel alive again.

Sound familiar?

Then there’s 19 percent who get itchy feet from standing still for too long, 11 percent who go on an adventure for their birthdays, eight percent who just want fun stories to share with family and friends, and six percent who want to challenge themselves.

Oh, and there’s around four percent who do it post-break up.

 

Are they mostly youngsters?

Err, no!

Intrepid Travel’s research found adventure travellers are made up of all ages from 18, right through to 46 and over.

Those who slot into the 18-29 category are headed to Peru this year, as those in 30-45 category choose to go to Peru and Cuba, while the 46+ travel to India.

 

Forgotten destinations are making a comeback…

 

In 2018 Intrepid Travel is seeing growing interest in ‘forgotten destinations’ like Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Greenland and Kazakhstan.

 

While cocktails are being replaced with biking…

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Hmm, might’ve missed the memo on this one. Apparently more adventure travellers are swapping the cocktails for challenges in 2018 as they choose active trips such as hiking, biking and kayaking over laying by the pool for a week.

 

And work/life balance looks more like work/travel balance

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It’s a trend you’re either seeing for yourself or living for yourself – Aussies don’t want to spend their time off lazing around the house, they want to soak up a range of experiences whilst keeping their day jobs afloat.

 

READ: Intrepid Group celebrates the year’s successes

READ: New women-only tours just part of Intrepid Travel’s equality plan

READ: Meet your favourite adventure AND sustainable travel company

What types of adventure travellers have you encountered recently?