Escape at Will” Trip Tips Goes EXTREME! If you’re attracted to adventure travel and extreme sports, you’ll find plenty of it in the northeast. You don’t need to go to the Costa Rican rainforest to try zip lining, when you can zip up to the White Mountains of NH in a few hours. You can rappel down a mountain face in State College, PA, without a passport, and no pesky jet lag. You will however, still need to make the trip to Thailand to try toasted crickets. Sorry. My own idea of “extreme” travel is heading to the outlets after forgetting to bring my coupon book. Actually, I once “hiked” up Kaaterskill Falls in the Hudson Valley, which is considered a “moderate” hike by those who actually enjoy the sport. I think those five-year olds who passed me, both on the way up AND the way down, would probably agree. Even though I’m not an extremist, I know there are ways you can make the planning go smoother. So before you head to the wilds of Wildwood, NJ, or try experimenting with the extreme, take these tips into consideration. I’ve included more details and ideas here. Mix it Up – Can’t choose a sport? You’re not limited to just one adventure per trip. Multisport destinations like Penobscot Bay and Acadia National Park in ME provide the places for biking, hiking and sea kayaking. Leave it to the professionals – There’s no lack of adventure travel companies offering scheduled group tours or customized trips. Most specialize, so choose an outfitter based on where you want to go, or what sport you want. Learn the Basics Now – If you’re new to the sport, get training or local instruction before your trip. You don’t want to waste that first day of your Virginia trip in a classroom learning what the acronym SCUBA stands for, when you could be out in Lake Rawlings or Lake Millbrook. Don’t Leave the Kids at Home – There are less “extreme,” yet still exciting, trips out there which will whet your kids’ appetite for adventure. Just make sure they’re physically prepared and able to take on the challenges. Or, Leave Everyone at Home – If your goals have more to do with pushing your individual limits, then head out on your own, or join a support-oriented, single-gender group. Outfitters like Adventures in Good Company offer women-only trips. Try Something New – If you’re up for something different, there are plenty of extreme sports popping up every day. Try backcountry skiing at Tuckerman Ravine on New Hampshire’s Mount Washington, kiteboarding in Wildwoods, NJ, or ice climbing on Mt. Katahdin in ME. Get Outfitted – Create a packing list, with help from the tour operator and/or online sources, and include the equipment, clothing, food, and “extras” based on the sport, the location, and the season. Before purchasing costly gear, make the effort to research your choices. Don’t Break the Bank – Travel and equipment costs can quickly add up, but you can find affordable adventure nearby. Don’t book with a tour operator if you can find a local guide through a visitors bureau. If you do want to travel with a tour company, ask if there are discounts for reserving early, traveling with a group, or filling in empty spots at the last minute. Do Some Good – You can combine your thirst for adrenaline with your philanthropic side, and volunteer where there’s a need. Hook up with a local chapter of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy to join a trail building or rehabilitation project. Read more about “Voluntourism” here. Include some R&R – You don’t need to “rough it” the entire time. Enjoy some indulgent comfort at night! Tour companies like H2Outfitters, based in ME, purposely offer Bed & Breakfast trips which include a day of kayaking adventure, followed by a night in a cozy inn.