Traveling is an umbrella term that encompasses a quick weekend getaway and an extended vacation downtime. However, traveling is also sometimes thought of as a way to explore your curiosity about the world. If you are a traveler of the curious kind, then you find your true calling in exploring the roads less travelled.
Off the beaten paths allow you the opportunity to explore and bring to life your adventure fantasies. The less-trodden pathways are seldom mentioned on popular tourist sites and never get mainstream attention.
Think of these routes as hidden gems, or unexplored corners of the world. However, there’s a catch to exploring these obscure locations. There’s a higher need for exercising caution when embarking on an adventure on these tracks.
Here’s a guide that will help you on your next adventure:
- Always Have a Starting Point
Haphazard road traveling can get you lost. Even if you’re trying to find rarely visited sites, do it with a plan in mind. The best starting point will always be your own lodgings. For example, if you are in the Great Smoky Mountains, and are taken aback with its biodiversity, parks, and of course the mountains, you might find yourself venturing farther and farther than would be safe.
Gatlinburg hosts some of the best lodging arrangements for visitors to the Smokies. There are many places to stay in Gatlinburg, but the ideal lodgings are the cozy cabins that provide stunning vistas of the mountains in the distance.
The location of your lodgings should be treated as your home base. Plan your trek in the mountains beforehand, and make sure you are comfortably tucked in bed at your cabin at the day’s end.
- Never Leave Without a Map
Your plans to hit the road for an adventure should be accompanied by stuffing a map inside your backpack. Maps make for the best travel companions. Unfamiliar spaces can be hard to navigate, and without a map to assist, one could be lost for days on end.
In case of emergencies, maps can point you to the nearest clinic or hospital. You can use Google Maps, too, if you can access it, but the internet connection in far-flung areas can be slow or downright unresponsive.
The last thing you want is something putting a damper on your adventure plans. Proper preparations can ensure that you not only have a good adventure but also remain safe. Highlight the areas you want to explore, making it easier for you to navigate to the areas you want to explore first. Use highlighters to identify routes to take and the ones to avoid.
- Pack Essentials Only
Your explorations will lead you to climb, scale, hike, and jump on and off rocks and in and out of pathways. If you packed too much in your backpack, you would find it hard to do all those.
Pack only the essentials: a first-aid kit, ropes, snacks, medications, spare clothing, and an emergency device that connects to the central hospital server in case of emergencies.
Your backpack should rest comfortably against your back. If it’s too heavy, it will weigh you down and make it harder for you to explore freely. Google a list of essentials that are required on an adventure trip, and use it to pack for yours.
Sticking to the essentials only will save you from overspending on items you would have less use for anyway and ensures that you remain well within budget.
Taking a walk around the area can give you a feel for what’s on offer, the vistas, the attractions and all. Exploring on foot will lead to more adventures and even discoveries of hidden pathways, away from the hustle and bustle of tourists.
If you’re amongst the Great Smoky Mountains, you can explore the caves, climb over rock faces, explore deep crevices, and trace routes that may lead you to waterfalls or other hiking grounds.
Walking slows you down, so you can’t miss the landmarks. It also allows you to stop a moment and take in the view. You should pack a good pair of shoes if you are going for exploration hikes and trips on foot to avoid getting blisters on your feet.
- Look for Local Guides
Tourist packages are selective in the destinations they let you explore. When wanting to go on an adventure, discovering off-the-beaten-path destinations, your best bet is to talk to the locals.
If you can find natives of the area, they’ll point you to places seldom visited by tourists. When talking to the locals, you will also come to know of the local legends that are associated with certain locations; it will add to the romanticism of the whole adventure.
- Find Others Like You
Online blogs are powerful platforms for finding adventure seekers like yourself. Not everyone wants to explore unpaved pathways. You should find a community of fellow rebels, who are on the scour for similarly exotic and novel destinations.
You will come to know of outlandish new places to explore from the stories swapped among the community of thrill seekers. The information they provide will be invaluable for arriving at places you want to visit, all the while staying clear of crowds and tourist traps.
These online communities also plan adventure trips where they go as groups. You’ll also make life-long friends on these trips.
Going on adventures that are off the beaten track is a fun way to explore and discover new places, devoid of the hustle and bustle of the traditional tourist spaces. Instead of taking the bus, go and explore on your foot. You can start by arranging for comfortable lodgings, grabbing a map to guide you, packing the essentials, and finding a community of fellow thrill seekers. The locals are a great repository of local legends associated with the landmarks you will visit on your trip. If you are lucky, you will also find undisclosed pathways seldom trodden by other tourists.