Prepare for Mishaps
Get backcountry-worthy accident insurance.
Find the right coverage. Mainstream insurance often excludes high-risk or overseas activities, so check your current policy. Also, look for travel warnings on the U.S. State Department website (travel.state .gov). “If you visit areas with travel advisories, you may not be cov-ered,” warns Nathan Nicholas, a founder of Adventure Advocates, a nonprofit providing accident insurance to active travelers. “Purchase a travel policy that pays the full benefit regardless of your injury, or has options to build a plan specific to your needs.” Expect to pay as little as $10/month for a bare-bones policy, and up to $600/trip for a month-long expedition insured against nearly everything: rental-car collision, lost baggage, medical emergencies, trip cancellation, and accidental death. Always carry your plan info with you.
Use reputable providers. Work with a company that specializes in adventure travel such as Global Rescue (globalrescue.com), Adventure Advocates (adventureadvocates.com), or Nicholas Hill Benefit Group (nicholashillgroup.com). Pro photographer and climber Cory Richards credits Global Rescue’s international infrastructure and focus on high-risk sports for his quick evacuation from Nepal after he fractured his spine in a backcountry fall. Compare policy options on a site like squaremouth.com.
Schedule by Season
Plan for good-weather windows and low-traffic trails.
» Spring Starting in May, temps around the Mediterranean are mild enough for pre-summer-crowd kayak tours between Grecian islands.
» Summer August is high season up north, so target southern-hemisphere destinations with mild winters. Wildlife viewing is at its peak in South Africa, when animals concentrate at water sources.
» Autumn Want to trek in the Alps? Go in the first half of September, when days are still warm and most of the summer tourists have left.
» Winter Head to New Zealand in early or mid-October, just before huts on the Milford Track require reservations. You might have to deal with late snow, but the huts are first come, first serve.