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Active vacations ideas

Updated on January 3rd, 2020

Where to Take the Best Active Holidays

With the indulgent season upon us, we’re all drinking more, eating more and socialising more. All that festivity doesn’t leave much time to keep up with the gym schedule. While you start thinking about where you should go on holidays next year why don’t you combine both your trip and getting back into shape?

Listed are my top active holidays that you can take in 2017

Experience a Wanderlust Festival

Need time to ohm out and recharge after the new year? Wanderlust festivals are four full days of yoga, hiking, eating, live music and learning. There are around 10 locations for festivals each year, with new ones popping up all the time. Predominantly you’ll find them in lush mountain towns of North America including Squaw Valley, Whistler and Stratton. Due to their popularity, there are now a couple in the Southern Hemisphere. One in New Zealand and one in Australia in changing destinations each year.

Image of Wanderlust festival yoga class in the best active holidays to take in 2017
Outdoor Yoga Studio at Wanderlust

You don’t need to be a yoga pro – or yogi to attend the festival. When I attended the Squaw Valley one in 2015, my yoga practice was just beginning. Wanderlust caters to all levels and styles of yoga and was so much more than I had expected. The village of Squaw was buzzing with activity and people, vendors had set up everywhere. My hair was braided, my body covered in flash tattoos, I had a backpack full of samples and I now own a fun pair of yoga pants. There was a class to learn to hula hoop, slackline, group hikes, black light yoga, meditation, SUP yoga, yoga with DJ’s, famous musicians, delicious food and talks on so many health related topics.

Hot tip for budget travellers: I volunteered at this festival to receive free entry. It required 3 half days of work, which can be before, during or after the festival. Sign up on the here.

Image of hula hoopers at Squaw Valley Wanderlust
Hula Hooping at Wanderlust

Take a Skiing or Snowboarding Trip

Skiing and snowboarding are my favourite sports. Not too many years ago, I used to teach skiing and snowboarding and follow the winter season. With destinations in both the northern and southern hemisphere, you don’t need to stick to your winter. Why not take a ski trip during your summer? European mountains are famous for their huge connecting mountains. Ski from town to town and then finish the day with après. Go to Japan to shred the pow, the US and Canada for incredible terrain and easy access, Chile to escape the crowds, Australia for spring-like conditions and New Zealand to feel like a local at the club fields.

Image of Erin taking a ski trip to Jackson Hole in Wyoming
Ski Trip to Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Budget travel tip: If you’re going to be skiing for a week or more, the price of lift tickets definitely starts adding up. Plan the trip as far ahead as possible and you can save some serious cash by purchasing a season pass. The closer to the winter, the more expensive the pass becomes. If you’re a student make sure you bring your ID card as most places will give a student discount.

Explore an Underwater World

Did you know that 71% of the world is covered in water? That means there is so much of our planet to discover under the surface. You’ll have the opportunity to explore shipwrecks, view colourful coral and watch fish and other marine life in their natural habitat. There are numerous destinations around the world which are known for incredible scuba diving.

Image of open water PADI scuba diving certificate in Koh Tao, Thailand
Doing my open water PADI scuba diving cert

I love diving, being an Aussie, this should almost be a rite of passage. I’ve dived the infamous Great Barrier Reef and with sharks in The Bahamas. During my trip to Thailand, I did my PADI open water course in Koh Tao. On my list for Mexico in a couple of months is to explore the underwater world of Cozumel. It won’t be whale shark season, but I still have my fingers crossed.

Budget traveller tip: Because there are so many dive centres in Koh Tao prices are extremely competitive. This makes it one of the cheapest places in the world to do your PADI certs. I can highly recommend Asia Divers where I did my course. They have small class sizes, great prices and make you feel like you’re part of their island family. Get ready for group drinks and trivia nights. I ended up being the only person in my class. There was the instructor, a dive master, an underwater photographer and me! Talk about individual attention.

Underwater world scuba diving active holidays in Thailand
Diving in Thailand

Go Hiking

When I first started hiking alone, I hated it, now it’s something I relish. Being able to spend quality time surrounded my nature with only your thoughts and the sounds of the breeze is one of the best feelings in the world. There is an instant peace within myself and all my senses are ignited. If you’ve been feeling stressed of late, I urge you to get outside and experience the meditative qualities. When we are without technology and are using our own body to move from A-B we have time to be present. Both to ourselves and our surrounds. Something that in our everyday, busy lives seems to take a backseat.

Hiking in Lake Tahoe California
Hiking in Lake Tahoe

For your next active holiday why not book a trip somewhere outdoors where you can hike? Maybe you won’t even need to leave your own town. There are many unknown hiking trails which with a simple google search can show what’s around your area. Consequently, wherever you have wanted to visit in the world will most likely have trails if it’s out of the city. Therefore you can combine hiking and explore by foot on your next adventure.

Bonus budget tip: Why not add camping to your holiday? No expensive hotels and free daily hikes make this one of the cheapest trips you can take.

How about Rock Climbing?

Have you ever considered scaling the side of a cliff? While this may not be the active holiday for everybody it sure is a lot of fun! Why not conquer your fear of heights by hanging suspended over the ocean? Railay Beach in Thailand has incredible sandstone cliffs perfect for climbing. In addition to getting a great workout and learning new skills, you’ll score insane views of the surrounding area.

Rock Climbing in Brisbane at Kangaroo Point Cliffs
Climbing in Brisbane

Still not convinced? Find a climbing gym close to your home to get in some indoor practice before you leave. The best thing about a climbing trip is you don’t need to be in a remote part of the country. There are lots of cities around the world which have great climbing locations within an hours drive. Barcelona, Sydney, Las Vegas and Vancouver are a few of these locations. Still not close enough? Kangaroo Point cliffs in Brisbane, Australia provide climbing right in the heart of the city.

Budget Tip: When you are starting off, see if you have any friends you can borrow equipment from. Sometimes the cost of gear rental can double the price of a gym session. Also, do your research with climbing company operators and see if you can get gear included in your tour cost.

Other active holidays to consider:

Not sold on any of the above ideas? I’m sure you are, but you could consider combining a current hobby or sport you already love with your next trip. Need some more inspiration? Read on.

  • Kitesurfing in Mauritius
  • Mountain bike the Andes in Peru
  • Kayak Lake Atitlan in Guatemala
  • Caving in Vietnam

Where are your favourite active holidays? Is there anywhere I should be adding to my list for 2017?

Hello! My name is Erin, the lady behind Curiously Erin. After more than 10 years of travelling and working abroad, I wanted to create a platform where I could share my stories and travels. My goal is to help you live the life you desire and inspire you to travel more.


  • Suzanne Blackmore

    11:05 am

    I wish I was younger! Great ideas and tips.

  • Laura

    7:14 pm

    I absolutely love hiking, it’s one of my favorite activities ever. I also love cycling, especially long-distance bicycle touring (I once cycled from Thailand through Cambodia and Vietnam to China. It was AWESOME).

    Those wanderlust festivals sound too good! I’m just starting out with my yoga practice, and this sounds like so much fun! I don’t think I’ll be anywhere near one in 2017 though, but who knows, my plans change a lot all the time.

    Great post ❤

  • 1:46 pm

    I just looked into the Wanderlust events. They look like so much fun! I might try to volunteer at one this year. Really glad I came across this post. 🙂 #FlyAwayFriday

  • Louise Morris

    8:12 pm

    Great reading, Erin. Just love it when I see a new post pop up. Keep them coming.

  • 12:14 pm

    I love active holidays!! Especially snowboarding and yoga ones! Since I’m pregnant right now I kinda have sit them out till our little man is here but def on the agenda for the next year or so!! And Wanderlust looks amazing! They had one in Aspen I think last year or the year before and it looks SO FUN! Can’t wait to see what you share on FlYAwayFriday this weekend!!

  • 12:44 pm

    Ahh Erin! You DID join us on Fly Away Friday! That’s awesome, so happy to see your post! I didn’t know the Wanderlust Festival was a thing! Good to know but I seriously, SERIOUSLY am terrible at yoga 🙂 You taught skiing right? Will you come to SoCal and teach me? 😀


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