How Long Has the Tour Operator Been in Business?
Avoid fly-by-night outfits that might take your money today but will cease operations in a month or two. Opt instead for an adventure travel guide whose business has established a reputation in the tourism industry and who also is well known to travel agents. It is a good idea to ask any tour operator to also provide some references of other adventure travelers.
How Often Has the Adventure Travel Guide Run Your Particular Tour?
Do not sign up with a tour that embarks on its maiden voyage. Even though you may be able to get a great deal on the travel arrangements, you also will be the proverbial guinea pig on whom the tour operator will test the tour and adjust it for future travelers. If such a tour takes you into potentially dangerous territories, the fact that you are participating in the first tour could put you at a disadvantage with respect to personal safety.
How Physically Demanding is the Travel Experience?
If your trip includes optional whitewater rafting or hiking excursions, the odds are good that you need to be in physically fit condition to participate. Find out if the rest of the adventure travel experience will be similar. Even if you are an avid hiker, ask about the quality of the terrain in which the excursions take place. This gives you a good idea about the ruggedness you might be facing, and you can compare it to your physical stamina.
What is the Travel Guide's Safety Record?
Accidents do happen, but a travel guide that seems to be plagued by them may not be properly qualified. Question also any equipment the tour guide provides; make sure it is modern and well-maintained. Remember to ask about travelers falling ill during tours and how this is handled. Consult the Centers for Disease Control to find out about vaccinations you may need and also any breaking news pertaining to disease outbreaks in the regions you may consider for your adventure travel.
How Dangerous is the Location?
Adventure travel that takes you into third-world countries or venues adjacent to war zones may hold some unexpected dangers from terrorists, political factions and religious zealots. Unless you are familiar with the political and social intricacies of your target location, it is important to educate yourself on potential dangers. If your travel guide is unaware of any unrest, double check with the Department of State. Be weary about traveling with an adventure guide who offers to take you into areas where kidnappings of Americans are a recurring problem.