5 Ways planning can make or break your adventure
When it comes to expedition planning, there really is a balance to be had. Too much detail and you’ll know what’s around every corner, too little and you could find yourself in quite a bit of doo-doo. Here are our 5 ways to balance the planning of your trip to maximise adventure.
Our adventure planning tool helps you plan your expedition perfectly.
Take calculated risks where possible.
Hopefully it goes without saying, but knowing exactly what’s going to happen at all times is kind of exactly the opposite of adventure. If you want total control of every aspect, you’re better off with a package holiday. And besides, who cares about hearing stories of things that went perfectly? Name one film or book that’s worth reading that doesn’t have some kind of drama or set back in the middle? As far as we’re concerned ‘living happens within the margins’ and you can’t be afraid to go outside the lines every once in a while.
By ‘take risks’ we don’t mean venture into the desert with no water, that would be stupid. What we mean is, where possible you should deliberately not plan some things. This could be as simple as not booking your hotel in a certain area, and taking a gamble that you’ll be able to find something at short notice. This gives 2 rewards, 1) if you do find somewhere you a guaranteed to be surprised and 2) if you don’t find somewhere you’ll need to think of you feet and improvise- all part of of story making!
“We wandered into the town after 13 hours hiking and exactly zero hotels were open. We ended up sleeping on a rock ledge overlooking the ocean, and woke up to the best sunrise I’ve quite literally ever experienced”
Prepare for the worst, hope for the best
Expedition planning is about preparation
As the cub scouts quite rightly keeping banging on about, you should Always be prepared. But what they’re are talking about is safety, not luxuries. Make sure before you depart that you have at least the basics covered, such as first aid kits for expeditions, roadside mechanics for rallies and navigational skills for trekking. It’s also worth while making sure you have at least the minimum amount of supplies for any particular stretch, so we’ve created a supply calculator which will give you a rough estimate. You’ll need to take note of places to restock and supply, and the emergency hotlines. I mean, this is fairly commonsensical, but you’d be amazed at how reckless some folks are when it comes to this. Having the basics covered is the ticket to enjoying the adventure and everything it throws at you.
The other, less deadly way to ruin to trip is to be too prepared. Going full hoarder mode is tempting, I mean, taking an arial photo of your kit neatly organised on the rug before you head out does make for some solid content for the gram, but it’s easy to go overboard. Don’t be that person who rocks up to the peak in full pack, only to realise you’ve been lapped by a family in jeans with nothing but a packed of polos and a receipt from lunch. Consolidate your kit where possible, and look for multi-functional items. We have a great selection of kit lists to help you find balance on your expeditions. But, don’t forget the kit goes hand in hand with the challenge- you will need more kit to climb K2 than you would for Kili, but for each expedition be conscious of every gram.
You don’t know what your missing if you don’t know what’s there
Annual leave is a precious resource so of course you want to make sure that your trip is maximised for wow factor and experience, and there is a temptation to research all the things to do and see. But trust us. There’s something to be said about discovering something yourself, for the first time, much like your first sip of beer, or your first time ‘adult wrestling’. Resist the urge to research every possible thing to see and do in a location. Instead, use our planning tool to choose routes that have lots to see on them, without knowing what they are. This way, when you stumble upon a majestic nature wonder for the first time, you’ll be taken a back by its beauty like the explorers of old.
Don’t take that the wrong way, these days it’s almost impossible not to know of many of the sights and view points, we’re just saying don’t spend 3 days on TripAdvisor searching “Top 10 hikes in Yosemite” and looking at every single picture of every single rock face. Choose the route with the highest chance of seeing some cool stuff, and go with the flow.
Prepare to pivot
If you’re planning an expedition across Northern Africa for example, it is unlikely (very, very unlikely) that your plan will actually run through smoothly. I mean, this isn’t news… History has literally churned out hundreds of catch phrases that make this point… our favourite, “Man plans, and God laughs”. The point we’re making is that you have to plan to change the plan. It doesn’t hurt to have a plan B, “If the river is too high then we can take this alternative route” for example. But, it’s also crucial to have a pivotal or agile mindset. This means that as you make progress towards your goal, you are taking in and adapting your approach based on the various inputs around you. It seems like common sense, but you’d be amazed at how many people ignore changes in weather, how tired they’re feeling or that weird noise coming from the moped they’ve just ragged 10 miles uphill. If you have a plan, but things are telling you that something is not right, you must adjust your strategy in order to succeed. Plan to change the plan, and your plan might go to plan…
Don’t let one person do all the planning
When taking on a new challenge, no matter how hard, it’s usually the temptation to let someone do all the heavy lifting in the prep work. I mean, it was their idea after all so why not? Or maybe you are that person who likes to take control. Well, listen up. Having only one person in the group who knows the plan inside out is a recipe for disaster, especially when it comes to dealing with problems on the road. Our planning tool has been designed to easily involve all members of your crew, and assign tasks so that the workload is split out.
Why is this so important? Well, theres 1 obvious answer and a few not so much…Firstly, what happens if something happens to the lead person, maybe they fall ill, or can’t hack it and go home? (don’t think this happens, ask Ed Stafford about his pal that jacked it in just months into their attempt to walk the amazon). Secondly, teams function better when each person is autonomously in charge of their own area, despite being in economics 101, division of labour and agility has been proven for success in crisis management. During the hurricane Katrina disaster for example, Walmart were actually quicker to respond that the Government. Why? Because Walmart bosses push autonomy down to the store managers and gave them free rein to handle the situation the best they could, while the Government slowly churned through red tape, as orders came down from one central small group of people. You’ll find this tactic commonly used in all high performance teams.
So to all you control freaks, give up some responsibility to your pals, and to all you lazy passengers get involved and become the expert on your element.