Adventure Planning 2024: The Ultimate Step-By-Step Guide

Are you feeling adventurous and looking to plan your next big trip? Well, you've come to the right place for adventure planning!

As someone who goes on some sort of adventure every month, I'm always planning something!

Planning an adventure can seem overwhelming, but with a little organization and research, you'll be on your way to an unforgettable journey.

In this blog post, we'll break down the steps for adventure planning, from considering your physical condition to setting a budget. So, let's jump into it and start planning your next thrilling adventure!

Adventure planning is needed for ice climbing at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Image of Ice Climber

How Do You Plan An Adventure?

Are you craving some adventure in your life? Whether you're a seasoned traveler or new to the game, planning an experience can be exciting and overwhelming.

With a little bit of preparation, research, and a sense of adventure, you can plan an unforgettable trip.

In this blog post, we'll explore how to plan an adventure by breaking down the process into seven simple steps.

STEP 1: What To Consider When Planning Your Adventure

Planning an adventure can be exciting and overwhelming at the same time. Before jumping into the fun stuff, taking a step back and considering a few key factors is important.

Here are some things to keep in mind as you start planning:

  1. Budget: How much are you willing to spend on your adventure? Having a budget in mind will help you narrow down your options and ensure you're not overspending.
  2. Time: How much time do you have to dedicate to your adventure? Depending on the length of your trip, you may need to plan for time off work or adjust your schedule accordingly.
  3. Destination: Where do you want to go? Consider your travel preferences, including whether you prefer a beach vacation, a mountain adventure, or a city getaway.
  4. Accommodation: What type of accommodation do you prefer? Are you okay with camping, or do you prefer a hotel? Remember to consider the cost and availability of your chosen accommodation.
  5. Transportation: How will you get to your destination? Will you need to rent a car, take a train, or fly?
  6. Group size: Are you traveling alone or with a group? Your group size can affect your accommodation, transportation, and activity choices.

Considering these factors, you can create a clear picture of what you want to get out of your adventure and start planning accordingly.

New River Gorge Bridge - did you know that you can climb under the bridge deck?!?!

STEP 2: Decide On Your Adventure Or Activity

Once you have considered the above factors, it's time to decide on the adventure or activity that you want to do. Let your imagination run wild, and choose something that excites you.

Important: Are you in shape enough for your adventure?

Are you in shape enough for your adventure? If you are planning a physically demanding experience, such as a trek or a climb, make sure that you are in good physical condition before you go.

Before embarking on an adventure trip, assessing your fitness level and determining whether you're physically and mentally prepared for the challenges you may face is important.

Here are some tips to help you decide if you're fit enough for an adventure:

Consult Your Doctor:

Suppose you have any health concerns or medical conditions. In that case, it's vital to consult your doctor before embarking on an adventure trip.

They can help you assess your fitness level and determine whether there are any precautions you should take.

Research the Activities:

Research the activities you have planned and the physical demands they require. For example, suppose you're planning a multi-day backpacking trip. In that case, you'll need to be able to carry a heavy backpack for several miles each day.

If you're planning a rock climbing trip, you'll need upper body strength and endurance.

Assess Your Fitness Level:

Be honest with yourself about your fitness level. Consider your current exercise routine and whether it prepares you for the physical demands of your planned activities.

If you're inactive, gradually increase your activity level before your trip.

Train Specifically:

To prepare for your adventure trip, consider training specifically for the physical demands you'll face.

For example, if you plan a hiking trip, start by taking shorter hikes and gradually increasing the distance and elevation gain.

If you're planning a backpacking trip, carry a loaded backpack on shorter walks and progressively increase the weight.

Listen to Your Body:

During your training and while on your adventure trip, listen to your body and pay attention to any signs of fatigue or discomfort. Take breaks as needed, stay hydrated, and get plenty of rest.

Don't forget altitude sickness can be severe – especially for those of us in places with little elevation change. Here are some tips on how to prevent and treat altitude sickness.

Adventure Planning is required for a White Water Rafting down a river.

STEP 3: Research & Pick A Destination For This Activity

Now that you've decided on your adventure or activity, it's time to research and pick a perfect destination.

For example, suppose you're planning a hiking trip. In that case, you'll want to look for destinations with plenty of trails and beautiful scenery.

If you're planning a scuba diving trip, you'll want to find a location with clear waters and plenty of marine life.

When picking your destination, it's important to consider factors like accessibility, safety, and cultural differences.

You'll want to make sure that you can easily get to your destination without breaking the bank and that you'll be able to enjoy your adventure without putting yourself in danger.

You'll also want to research the local customs and norms so that you can be respectful of the local culture.

Many resources are available to help you research and pick the perfect destination for your adventure. Travel blogs (like mine!!), review sites, and social media groups can all be excellent sources of information.

You can also consult with travel agents or tour operators specializing in adventure travel.

Once you've narrowed down your options, it's a good idea to read reviews and check out photos and videos of the destination.

This research will give you a better idea of what to expect and help you make a more informed decision.

Remember, your chosen destination can make or break your adventure, so take your time and choose wisely.

What time of year has the best weather for your adventure? 

What time of year has the best weather for your adventure? If you plan an outdoor adventure, such as hiking or camping, go when the weather suits your activity.

Husband post piling in the deep snow - he should have had snow shoes on!

STEP 4: Choose The Best Time For Your Adventure

Now that you have picked your adventure and destination, it's time to decide the best time to go. This step is crucial and can make or break your experience.

Here are some things to consider when choosing the best time for your adventure:

How long will you need for your adventure?

Make sure to plan enough time for your adventure so that you can enjoy it fully.

Some experiences may take only a day or two, while others require a week or more. Take into account travel time and any necessary accommodations.

How will the weather impact your adventure? 

Weather can have a significant impact on your adventure experience. For example, hiking in the rain may be challenging, or skiing on icy slopes can be dangerous.

Research the weather patterns of your destination during the time you plan to visit. Check the temperature, precipitation, and other relevant factors that could impact your adventure.

Once you have considered these factors, it's time to choose the best time for your adventure.

Remember to be flexible and open to making adjustments if necessary. If the weather forecast changes or you need to adjust your schedule, be prepared with a backup plan.

Finally, make sure to communicate your plans with anyone else who will be joining you on your adventure. That way, everyone is on the same page and can plan accordingly.

Hot Air Balloons flying over Albuquerque.

STEP 5: Set Your Adventure Budget

Now that you have planned the logistics of your adventure, it's time to consider the financial aspect. Set a budget for your experience, and stick to it.

Some things to consider when creating your adventure budget include the following:

How Much Will Your Adventure Cost?

Consider all the expenses associated with your adventures, such as transportation, accommodations, equipment rentals, food, and other relevant costs.

Make sure to research the average cost of these expenses in your chosen destination to get an accurate estimate.

Once you have determined the cost of your adventure, set aside enough money in your budget to cover any unexpected expenses or emergencies. It's always better to be over-prepared than under-prepared.

Want some tips on travel hacks without signing up for new credit cards? Check out my friends at the Traveling Franklins for some excellent travel hacking tips!

Sitting by the campfire while camping.

STEP 6: Make Reservations

Once you have decided on the destination and activities, the first step is to make reservations for any necessary permits or reservations for your chosen adventure.

For example, if you plan to hike in a national park, you may need to secure a permit in advance! 

NoteCheck the website for National Park System Reservations. Backpacking permits at the National Park Sites are typically available directly at the park you plan to visit.

Additionally, some activities may require reservations, such as a whitewater rafting trip or a hot air balloon ride. It's important to research and make any necessary reservations well in advance to avoid disappointment.

I recently was in the Las Vegas area. I didn't realize that Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area now requires a timed entry pass to enter the park.

Be sure to check that the activity you've planned does or doesn't require a permit! More and more places are requiring them nowadays. 

Plan Your Accommodation 

When planning accommodations, it's vital to consider your budget and personal preferences. Are you comfortable roughing it in a tent, or prefer a hotel room with all the amenities?

Depending on your destination, various options may be available, from campsites and cabins to luxury hotels and resorts.

Consider the location of your accommodations to ensure that you're staying in a convenient location for your planned activities.

Plan Your Transportation

Transportation is another critical aspect of planning an adventure trip. Depending on your destination and activities, you may need to rent a car, book a shuttle service, or arrange flights or other transportation.

When planning transportation, it's important to consider cost, convenience, and safety factors. Additionally, consider your destination's terrain and weather conditions, which can impact your transportation options.

Me in an ice cave. Prepared for the conditions with ice cleats to get around safely.

STEP 7: Pack For Your Adventure

Packing for an adventure trip can be a challenge. Still, with careful planning and preparation, you can ensure you have everything you need for a safe and enjoyable experience. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

Research Your Destination:

Before you start packing, research your destination and planned activities. This information will give you a better idea of the climate, terrain, and other conditions you can expect and will help you pack accordingly.

For example, suppose you're planning to hike in a mountainous region. In that case, you'll need different gear than if you are planning to kayak on a calm river.

Make a Packing List:

Make a packing list before you start packing to ensure you remember everything.

Start by making a list of the essential items you'll need, such as a tent, sleeping bag, and cooking equipment, and then add any additional items based on your research.

Pack for the Climate:

When packing for an adventure trip, it's essential to pack for the climate you'll be in. Pack warm and waterproof clothing, gloves, and a hat when traveling to a cold and snowy destination.

If you're traveling to a hot and humid destination, pack lightweight and breathable clothing, sunscreen, and a hat.

Pack Versatile Clothing:

When packing for an adventure trip, it's important to pack versatile clothing that can be worn in various situations.

Packing clothing that can be layered for warmth and easily washed and dried to help you save space and avoid overpacking.

Pack Light:

Finally, it's important to pack light for an adventure trip. Packing light will make it easier to move around and carry your gear and will also make it easier to pack and unpack.

Consider investing in lightweight and compact equipment, and try to pack only what you need.

What gear or accessories will you need on your adventure? 

The gear and accessories you'll need for your adventure will depend on the planned activities, your destination, and the conditions you can expect. Here are some basic items to consider:


For most outdoor adventures, having some form of navigation equipment, such as a map and compass, GPS, or a smartphone with a navigation app, is essential. Make sure to bring extra batteries or a portable charger if needed.


Depending on your planned activities, you may need a tent, sleeping bag, and sleeping pad for camping. Suppose you're staying in a cabin or other accommodations.

In that case, you may not need a tent, but a sleeping bag and pad may still be necessary.


As mentioned before, pack versatile clothing that can be worn in various situations. Depending on the climate, you may need a rain jacket, hiking boots, or warm layers.

Food and Water:

Bring plenty of food and water if you plan to be in a remote location. You may need to bring a water filtration system or purification tablets to ensure your water is safe to drink.

First Aid:

A first aid kit is essential for any outdoor adventure. Include bandages, antiseptic, pain relievers, and any necessary prescription medications.

And remember to take the first aid kit with you on your adventure – don't leave it in your luggage at the hotel or in your tent. I'm guilting of forgetting the kit – are you?


Bring a headlamp or flashlight, and pack extra batteries or a rechargeable power bank. A lantern or campfire may also be necessary for lighting in camp.


You may need tools such as a knife, multitool, or saw, depending on your planned activities. If you're camping, bring a camp stove and fuel.

Other items:

Consider bringing a camera or other devices to capture memories of your adventure. A dry bag or waterproof case may also be helpful to protect your gear from water.

TIP: If you're bringing children along, it's a good idea to include a whistle for each person. Whistles can be crucial in helping search parties locate someone who has become lost.

Adventure Planning requires planning - review a trail map or resource prior to starting a trek - like this information sign for Grand Wash and Cassidy Arch Trail.

STEP 8: Share your Plan with a Trusted Contact

To share your trip plan with a trusted contact, follow these steps:

  1. Choose a Trusted Contact: Select someone you trust to be your point of contact while you are away. This person should be someone who is not accompanying you on the trip.
  2. Inform Them of Your Itinerary: Let your trusted contact know the details of your trip, including where you are going, what activities you have planned, and when you expect to return. This will ensure that they have a clear understanding of your travel plans.
  3. Provide Emergency Contact Information: Share any emergency contact information that may be relevant, such as the contact details of hotels or accommodations you'll be staying at, local authorities, or medical facilities in the area. This will help your trusted contact in case of any emergencies.
  4. Request Regular Check-ins: Ask your trusted contact to periodically check in with you during your trip. This way, they can ensure your well-being and take necessary action if they are unable to reach you.
  5. Share Your Trip Plan: Give your trusted contact a document that contains your trip plan. This can be a fillable trip plan template provided by a travel agency or an online itinerary creator, or you can create your own. Include essential details such as departure and arrival dates, flight numbers, accommodation information, and any other important notes related to your trip.
  6. Provide Instructions for Action: Clearly explain to your trusted contact what actions they should take if you do not return from your trip on time or if they are unable to contact you. Instruct them to call the appropriate authorities and share your trip plan with them. This will help authorities respond effectively and promptly in case of an emergency.

Remember, sharing your trip plan with a trusted contact is a proactive way to ensure your safety while traveling and will provide peace of mind to both you and your loved ones.

FAQ's: Adventure Planning

What should I do if I'm not feeling up to the planned activity?

When you find yourself not feeling up to the planned activity, it is important to assess your readiness for the activity. Take a moment to check in with yourself and evaluate how you are feeling.

Do you have the necessary energy to fully participate in the planned activity? If not, it may be time to consider an alternative plan. Having a backup activity in mind can be incredibly helpful in situations like this.

Take the necessary steps to implement your backup plan if it becomes necessary. This could involve exploring different options, such as choosing a different location or opting for a less physically demanding activity.

It's also important to consider external factors that may impact your ability to carry out the planned activity.

If park conditions have changed or if you realize you don't have the appropriate gear and supplies, it might be wise to reconsider and adapt your plans accordingly.

Remember to communicate any changes in your plans to your Trip Plan Trusted Contact.

Letting someone know about your change of plans ensures that there is someone who is aware of your situation and can potentially provide support if needed.

Overall, it is essential to prioritize your well-being and listen to your body when you're not feeling up to the planned activity.

Being flexible and open to alternative options will allow you to have an enjoyable experience while still taking care of yourself.

Final Thoughts: Adventure Planning

As you can see, planning for an adventure takes some time and effort, but it's well worth it in the end. Following these steps ensures your experience is enjoyable, safe, and within budget. So, what are you waiting for? Start planning your next adventure today!

Pin this for later:

Choose the image(s) that resonate with you to pin to your travel board on Pinterest!

Adventure planning 101: person ice climbing at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.
Tips for Planning Adventure Travel. 3 images: Group of people whitewater rafting in a yellow raft, man rock climbing in a wooded area, two people hiking up a rocky trail
Adventure Planning: A step-by-step guide. Group of people whitewater rafting in a yellow raft.

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