Adventure Tourism

Perfect for people who love extreme sports and pushing their bodies to the limit. It looks at exciting adventure sports like skydiving, rock climbing, scuba diving, white water rafting, paragliding, bungee jumping, and mountaineering. It also looks at a new form of tourism, space travel, and how close we are to having the moon and even Mars as potential tourist destinations.

Paragliding

Paragliding

Paragliding is a recreational extreme sport that involves flying paragliders, which are foot-launched, free-flying, lightweight glider aircrafts that lack a rigid primary structure. The pilot sits in a harness, which sits suspended below a fabric wing. Although it does not use an engine, paraglider flights can last for hours and cover hundreds of miles. Typical flights, however, last a couple of hours and cover tens of miles. It is not uncommon to fly a few thousand meters above the ground, thus making it one of the more popular extreme sports.

Pros and Cons

Like all extreme sports, paragliding carries with it some danger.

Between 1994 and 2010, an average of 7 pilots out of 10,000 were fatally injured. The potential for injury can be significantly lowered by taking the necessary safety precautions and undertaking proper training. Purchasing appropriate equipment, such as a cushioned harness, reserve parachute, and helmet also helps to minimize risk. It is also important to have an understanding of the site conditions. Knowing how strong the wind is, what the air turbulence is like, and where the power lines are can help prevent injury as well. Most paragliding accidents occur because of poor flying conditions and pilot error, so minimizing risk in both those areas is essential. Paragliding is popular because you can pack all you need in a rucksack and take off, and you are able to launch independently (unlike hang gliding). It also provides a sensational adrenaline rush.

Popular Destinations

paragliding5 California is one of the top destinations in the world for extreme sports, and paragliding falls right in this category. The combination of the consistent sunny weather with lots of updrafts, the coastline, and the mountains offer a great flying experience and a picturesque view. Fort Funston, located just south of San Francisco, is one of the most popular spots for paragliding, and you’ll see hundreds of paragliders on any given weekend. It is not for beginners, however, as the famous Funston Shear can propel pilots so high that they have difficulty getting back down. Similar to California, Queenstown in New Zealand is another popular destination for adventure tourists, and Queenstown’s beautiful location makes it a wonderful place to fly from.

The Road Less Travelled

Located 750 km off the mainland, the Bazaruto Archipelago in Mozambique is one of the more underrated locations in the world. It is barely touched by civilization and offers beautiful crystal clear water and white sandy beaches, making it a great destination for paragliding vacations. paragliding2 For those who may wish to stay closer to home, Sun Valley in Idaho is a tremendous destination for paragliding. It was even one of the locations for the paragliding world cup. Its huge area is perfect for both experts and beginners, and the desert updrafts allow for pilots to fly for hundreds of miles.

Costs and Savings

For starters, a brand new paragliding set up usually costs between $5,000 and $7,000. This basic set up should include a radio, a helmet, a reserve parachute, a harness, and a wing, and the price may increase depending on the brand. Lessons generally cost between $200 and $400, but for those who wish to fly on their own, a Novice Training Program is required. This program typically costs around $1500, but there are gift certificates available to help lower the cost. Another bonus is the cost of the daily lessons is sometimes applied toward the price of the program.

White Water Rafting

White Water Rafting

White water rafting, also known as rafting, is one of the more popular adventure tourist attractions. It involves using an inflatable raft to steer down a river (although sometimes lakes can be used). In order to thrill the passengers, this is usually done in different degrees of rough water or white water (hence the name). It is considered an extreme sport and can be very dangerous. There are many different Class levels of white water rafting. Class I contains small waves with no serious obstacles, while Class V features long and violent rapids with big drops, a steep gradient, and an extremely obstructed riverbed.

Pros and Cons

The biggest negative of white water rafting is the risk factor. In 2006 alone, 50 people died because of white water rafting accidents. Injury rates tend to be fairly low, but this number may be skewed due to a large number of unreported incidents. The fact of the matter is, you are navigating through high speed rapids with large obstacles and violent currents, so the risk of injury or death is certainly a factor. Still, white water rafting companies follow very strict safety protocols which include skilled guides and training courses to ensure everyone is prepared in case something does go wrong. Rafting trips tend to begin with safety orientations to educate riders about any problems that may occur during the ride. It is a great adrenaline rush, however, and it allows you to explore some of the world’s most beautiful rivers and landscapes.

Popular Destinations

rafting4 Because of its high number of lakes and rivers, northern Canada is one of the most popular places for white water rafting. The Alsek and Tatshenshini Rivers, located on the border of Alaska and Canada, feature icebergs and glaciers that make it one of the most fun rafting courses in the world. The trip offers superb white water, but also provides the unforgettable experience of seeing spawning salmon, moose, and grizzlies in the wild. Magpie River in Canada is another popular destination. The only way to get there is by a float plane, and the trip takes eight days in total, starting with relatively easy rapids as you leave Magpie Lake before ending with Class V rapids down the stunning Magpie Falls. While you camp at night, you will be able to witness the spectacular northern lights called aurora borealis.

The Road Less Travelled

Not all the best white water rafting is done in the great white north, however, as there are plenty of great places all over the world. One of these places is the Noce River in Italy. rafting2 It tumbles through the remote Val di Sole and is fed by the melting Alpine glaciers. Its spectacular series of Class V rapids offers some of the most exciting, and most difficult, white water rafting in all of Europe. The North Johnstone River in Australia is another relatively underrated location. It offers Class IV and V rapids and takes you through the ancient rain forests of Palmerstone National Park. The course is only accessible by air, so the helicopter ride taking you to the start of the course only adds to the excitement.

Costs and Savings

The cost of white water rafting varies greatly depending on where you wish to go. In general, a single ticket for just rafting costs somewhere between $60 and $100. Travel and accommodation costs can certainly increase that total in a hurry, however. There are numerous packages available that offer rafting along with other experiences, such as ziplining or bungee jumping. Banff adventures, for example, offers a $225 package that includes a BBQ lunch and steak dinner, a day rafting trip, and a pass to the Banff Hot Springs.

Bungee Jumping

Bungee Jumping

For extreme sport enthusiasts, bungee jumping is one of the most popular activities, and has become a common travel trend among adventure tourists. Bungee jumping involves leaping from a fixed object, such as a crane, bridge, or building (although some people jump from helicopters or hot air balloons). The person is attached to a cord, which stretches and allows the jumper to free-fall before recoiling and bringing them back up. The word bungee has many different definitions, but it has long been Kiwi slang for an elastic strap, which perhaps best describes bungee jumping.

Pros and Cons

While bungee jumping may seem incredibly risky, it is actually relatively safe.

The “jolt” that bungee jumpers feel when the cord recoils is not as intense as it may seem to the untrained eye. Some jumpers may experience dizziness from hanging upside down for a short period of time. Still, it is risky enough to satisfy your quest for danger, and it is certainly an adrenaline rush. Bungee jumping isn’t the cheapest activity out there, which may scare some people off. It typically costs around $100 for each jumper, which isn’t ridiculous but may be more than some people are willing to spend. Bungee jumping is also a great way to discover any hidden injuries you may have, and in the worst case scenario you may actually injure yourself further.

Popular Destinations

bungee1 One of the most popular destinations for all extreme sports, not just bungee jumping, is Queenstown in New Zealand. The Kawarau Bridge is where everything began, and while its 43-meter drop may be small by today’s standards, more than 650,000 people have jumped from this historic bridge. It is the only bungee in Queenstown that can be done as a tandem, which further adds to the popularity. Also in Queenstown, the Nevis is another extremely popular jump, and is a contender for the most terrifying bungee jump in the world. It takes a four-wheel drive up a bumpy mountain road before you reach the top in an open-air cable car. The jump includes eight seconds of freefall. The largest jump in the world is the Royal Gorge Bridge in Colorado. At 321 meters, this jump is by far the highest bungee jump in the world.

The Road Less Travelled

While most bungee jumps take place in some scenic area, often in a forest or near a cliff, those who live in urban centers can still jump without having to travel extremely far. bungee2 In Macau, China, for example, you are able to jump from the Macau Tower, which stands at 233 meters. Jumpers leap from the outer rim of the huge tower, giving you a slight peek of mainland China. The Europabrucke in Innsbruck, Austria, is another underrated location. The name translates into “Europe’s Bridge”, and rises 192 meters above the Sill River. It is one of the highest bridges on the continent.

Costs and Savings

While bungee jumping is certainly cheaper than skydiving or mountain climbing, it is still relatively expensive. On average, it costs between $100 and $200 for one jumper. Factor in transportation and accommodation costs, and it can quickly add up. Still, you don’t have to pay for equipment, and typically you can purchase photos after at a relatively cheap price. There are also numerous travel websites and tour packages out there that provide discounts for group bungee jumps which can help save on the cost.

Scuba Diving

Scuba Diving

Scuba diving allows divers to breathe underwater and experience underwater aquatic life up close. Other forms of diving rely on air pumped from the surface or for divers to hold their breath. Scuba diving, however, has the diver use a self contained underwater breathing apparatus, which allows them greater freedom of movement and allows them to stay underwater for much longer. Scuba divers wear wetsuits with fins attached to their feet allowing them to move underwater easily, although sometimes a diver propulsion vehicle may be used. Scuba diving is one of the most popular forms of adventure tourism.

Pros and Cons

Like any activity, there are pros and cons to scuba diving.

Many people are afraid of scuba diving, and while some fears may be irrational, there’s always the chance that something could go wrong. The scuba equipment may not work, and there’s always the outside chance that you may run into a shark. Shark attacks are extremely rare, however, and scuba diving is considered fairly safe. You have to be able to swim to dive, and should be comfortable in the water. Diving is also expensive. Still, it allows you to explore the underwater world, and gives you a personal view of things you cannot find anywhere else. Diving is also a great way to meet new people who share similar hobbies, and offers a truly unique experience.

Popular Destinations

scuba2 Barracuda Point, located on Sipadan Island in Malaysia, can be an intimidating experience but is truly rewarding for those brave enough to take it. Thousands of fish steam along and some divers may find themselves swimming next to flapping rays and hammerhead sharks, or even in the middle of a giant barracuda tornado. The sea turtles are over three meters in length, and you will see some fish here that you won’t find anywhere else. Yongala in Queensland, Australia, is another popular destination. It is considered the best wreck dive on the planet, as it is home to the 100 year old SS Yongala shipwreck, which sank after a cyclone in 1911. Giant groupers, eagle and manta rays, and tiger and bull sharks also make this shipwreck their home, and during the winter you may be able to see the 16-meter-long humpback whales.

The Road Less Travelled

One of the more underrated dive locations in the world is located in the UK. The Burroo Ned in the Isle of Man offers a unique experience unlike any other. scuba3 You have to be willing to get into the chilly Irish Sea, but you’ll be able to see dangly octopi, grey seals, lobsters and dogfish. One of the two large basin-shaped gullies has an old wooden ship beam which is a popular attraction. The La Dania’s Leap to Karpata in Bonaire, Netherlands is another underrated destination. To enter this fun drift dive requires a leap from five feet up, but en route you will see an abundance of canyons, coral, and discarded anchors. There are plenty of branded butterfly fish, yellow goatfish, and mahogany snapper that call this place home.

Costs and Savings

While not as expensive as mountain climbing, scuba diving can quickly add up. Before you hit the water, you need to learn how to use the equipment and take an open water dive course, which generally costs around $150. It is also advisable to take lessons to learn how to manoeuvre in the water, which can cost around $500 (depending on how many lessons you take). The cost of diving itself is generally between $300 and $500, and when you add on travel and accommodation costs, the price may soar to well over $1000 for a diving vacation.

Mountaineering

Mountaineering

The term mountaineering encompasses all sorts of mountain activities, including mountain climbing, hiking, glacier crossing, and rock climbing. Mountain climbing has become one of the more popular extreme sports, and as such has become a popular travel trend among adventure tourists. Mountain climbers are often called Alpinists (especially in European languages), because it implies climbing extremely high and difficult mountains like the Alps.

Pros and Cons

Climbing a mountain provides a tremendous sense of achievement, and it is a common item on a person’s bucket list. It also helps improve your overall stamina, fitness, and strength. You need to be in excellent shape to climb a mountain, and getting in excellent shape helps improve your health and will likely extend your life.

You generally climb as part of a team, and it can be a great bonding experience, while meeting locals (such as Sherpa guides) can also be a very rewarding experience. There are some obvious downsides, however, such as the safety risks. Hazards such as falling rocks, falling ice, crevasses, avalanches, and poor weather can all endanger your life while on the mountain. It will be extremely cold, so hypothermia is another risk. It also costs a large sum of money to climb a mountain, and takes (at least) months of training to get in the proper shape.

Popular Destinations

mountain2 One of the most popular mountain climbing destinations needs no introduction. Rising 29, 035 feet above sea level, Mount Everest in Nepal is the highest mountain on Earth and has been considered one of the greatest mountaineering achievements for decades. More than 2,000 people have reached the summit through South Col, which is the most successfully climbed route on the mountain. Mount Kilimanjaro is another popular destination. It is Africa’s highest mountain, located on the border of Tanzania and Kenya. The highest peak is Uhuru, which stands at 19, 340 feet high. For sheer beauty, it’s hard to top Mount Khuiten in Mongolia. The rolling landscapes that define the Altai Mountains and the endless green steppes make the trek to Mount Khuiten just as beautiful as the climb itself.

The Road Less Travelled

Some people may be surprised to learn that Iran holds one of the most beautiful mountains in the world. The Elburz Mountains are stunning towards the northeast of Tehran against the Caspian Sea, and Damavand’s peaks are over 19,000 feet high. mountain1 The two small glaciers provide spectacular views. Mexico is also home to two beautiful mountains, the Cilaltepetl and Iztaccihuatl, which are the third and seventh highest mountains in North America. They offer two of the most attractive climbs in all of North America, particularly Iztacchihuatl, which is called the “white woman” because its snowcapped peaks look like the feet, breasts, and head of a sleeping woman.

Costs and Savings

Mountain climbing is one of the most expensive endeavours in the world. To start, personal travel will cost at least a couple of grand, depending on where you are going. Getting to the Base Camp and accommodation will cost another few thousand dollars. Climbing fees, however, are where things start to get very expensive. For Mount Everest, climbing fees generally range between $16,500 and $21,500. This includes a permit to climb, medical support, Sherpa guides, and other necessities. Add on climbing gear and other miscellaneous expenses, and mountain climbing becomes one of the most expensive tourist attractions in the world.

Surfing Adventures

Surfing Adventures

Over the past few decades, surfing has become one of the most popular extreme sports in the world, and surfing tourist trips have increased significantly. While the term surfing refers to the act of riding a wave (not necessarily on a board), the modern-day definition generally refers to a surfer riding a wave on a surfboard (also called stand-up surfing). The rider generally rides on the deep face of a moving wave which then carries them towards the shore. The best surfing is typically found in the ocean, but some people even surf in rivers or lakes, or from man-made waves from artificial wave pools or boat wakes.

Pros and Cons

Surfing is popular for many reasons, one of which being the adrenaline rush it provides. Riding a huge wave successfully is truly a thrilling experience unlike no other. It is also a great workout. From riding a wave to having to paddle out to the ocean and pop up on your board, surfing works out all areas of your body, especially your arms and core. While you generally need to be in decent shape to begin with to surf, surfing does help you in this area as well. Like all physical activity, however, there are risks. Injuries are common, from hitting the reefs or sandbanks or even other riders. Drowning is also an issue, as the undertow can be extremely strong and dangerous. There are also numerous sea creatures, like sharks, which, although rare, can be provoked and attack.

Popular Destinations

surfing4 It’s called “surfer’s paradise” for a reason; the Gold Coast in Australia is best known for its 70 km of beaches and four epic point breaks including the Superbank, which is considered one of the world’s finest breaks. The Gold Coast has been welcoming surfers for decades, thanks to both its quality of waves and its large expansive area that accommodates all types of people. It is one of the top surfing locations in the world. For those who don’t want to go all the way to Australia, Oahu in Hawaii is the best surfing location in the United States. Oahu is the island that created surfing, and its waves are over six meters high.

The Road Less Travelled

One of the more underrated surfing destinations in the world is Tofino on Vancouver Island in Canada (although it is considered the surfing capital of Canada). It offers a beautiful view of the west coast of the island and is surrounded by a lush rainforest. It can be a little chilly, however, so bringing a thick wet suit is advisable. 200314082-001 Manu Bay in New Zealand is another beautiful destination, and was made popular by “Endless Summer”, a 1960s surf flick, but doesn’t always receive the publicity of other surfing locations. It is a very relaxed place with beautiful bars and cafes and waves that can rise to as high as three meters.

Costs and Savings

Luckily for surfers, surfing equipment costs a lot less than skiing or snowboarding equipment. Surfboards generally cost somewhere between $500 and $900, depending on the brand and size. Other costs, such as wetsuits and a board bag, can add another $200 on to the total. The most expensive part of surfing is the travel, especially if you do not live near the beach. Travel costs and accommodation can add up. For those lucky enough to live near the beach, however, surfing is one of the cheaper extreme sports out there.

Skiing/Snowboarding

Skiing/Snowboarding

Ski and snowboard vacations are currently one of the most popular travel trends in the world. While skiing has been around for decades, snowboarding is still a relatively new sport. It was developed in the United States in 1960s before eventually becoming a Winter Olympic Sport in 1998. Skiers attach fixed-heel bindings from the heel of the boot and to the toe, while snowboarders use special boots to lock both feet onto the board. Both skiing and snowboarding are two of the most popular forms of adventure tourism.

Pros and Cons

The biggest disadvantage to skiing and snowboarding tourism is the price.

After paying for travel, accommodation, food, equipment, and lift tickets, the cost can add up extremely quickly. There is also always the chance of injury. Still, ski and snowboard vacations are a great way to bring a family together. There are pros and cons of both skiing and snowboarding. Skiing tends to be easier to learn than snowboarding, and it is easier to get around the mountain and manoeuvre the chair lifts on skis. Snowboarding may be more popular at the moment, however, and has an advantage when it comes to rail parks and half pipes. Injury wise, skiers tend to injure the knees, where as snowboarders are more prone to broken wrists or other upper body injuries.

Popular Destinations

snowboarding4 One of the most popular resorts in the entire world is Whistler Blackcomb in British Columba, Canada. Not only did it host the 2010 Winter Olympics, its towering mountains and charming village offers everything skiers and snowboarders need, earning it the title of “World’s Greatest Ski Resort”. Another popular destination is Kitzbuhel in Austria. Considered the “Pearl of the Alps”, it is the most famous holiday resort in the Austrian Tyrol, ranking higher than St. Anton and Innsbruck. Zermatt, Switzerland is another top resort. It holds the world’s second biggest lift-served vertical drop, and thanks to its altitude it receives huge snowfall every year.

The Road Less Travelled

While B.C., Austria, and Switzerland are some of the top ski resort destinations, there are thousands around the globe that offer similar services for cheaper with smaller crowds. Stratton Mountain in Vermont is one of these locations. Although it was the host of the U.S. Open Snowboarding Championship in 1985 (and the event was held there for the 26 years after), snowboarding3 it has fallen out of favor in recent years. Stratton still boasts a convivial after-hours scene and superior grooming, however, and allows you to ski the same hills as the pros. Mt. Evak in Alaska is another underrated location. It features the oldest operating chairlift in the United States (not Vermont’s Mad River Glen contrary to popular belief). It boasts 30 exceptional runs, and while it lacks some amenities (such as night skiing and terrain parks), it offers terrific heli-skiing opportunities.

Costs and Savings

Skiing and snowboarding is by no means cheap. Snowboards and skis can cost anywhere between $300 and $2000 dollars depending on the brand, and that’s just the beginning. Skiers need boots, poles, pants, gloves, goggles, and a helmet, while snowboarders need the same to go along with bindings for the snowboard. This can add up to nearly $1000, and this is before you have even gotten on the slopes! Lift tickets generally cost around $100 for one day, and accommodation at the best resorts can be expensive. Still, there are great deals and packages available at travel websites online, and exploring some of the cheaper resorts that still offer great ski runs may be ideal.

Rock Climbing

Rock Climbing

One of the most popular activities for adventure tourists is rock climbing. There are many different types of rock climbing, and it has been separated into several different sub-disciplines and different styles. The two main types are indoor and outdoor, and for adventure tourists, it’s all about the outdoor rock climbing. Some people even enter competitions that have the objectives of attaining the farthest point on an increasingly difficult route or completing the route in the quickest possible time.

Pros and Cons

There are many advantages to rock climbing. For starters, it keeps you in fantastic shape. Climbing builds a very strong core and develops terrific abdominal and back muscles.

It also develops mental toughness. Rock climbing requires constant planning and problem solving, and entails controlling your nerves as you hang off the edge of a cliff hundreds of feet above ground. Researchers have found that rock climbing encourages positive thinking, improve self-confidence and reduce stress. There are some downsides, the most obvious of which is the risk factor. Climbing a cliff face hundreds of feet above ground entails some danger, and things can always go wrong. The gear is expensive, and it is very easy to get injured. Climber’s finger is a common tendon injury caused by trying to support your body weight with only a few fingers.

Popular Destinations

climbing4 One of the most popular places in North America for rock climbing is the Red River Gorge. Located in Kentucky, the gorge features an intricate canyon system with an abundance of natural bridges, waterfalls, rock shelters, and sandstone cliffs. The numerous sandstone and cliff-lines have helped this area become one of the most popular rock climbing destinations. Acadia National Park in Maine is another popular destination. This area provides a beautiful view of the northern Atlantic Ocean and is home to an impressive formation of pink granite.

The Road Less Travelled

Some people may be surprised to learn that the Nevada desert has some of the best rock climbing in the world. The Red Rock Canyon, located just outside Las Vegas, showcases a set sandstone walls and peaks, and large red rock formations called the Keystone Thrust. Some of these walls are up to 3,000 feet high, which make them an extremely popular rock climbing destination. Outside of North climbing1 America, some other excellent but relatively unknown places for rock climbing include Kullen in Sweden, Flatanger in Norway, and Kangaroo Point in Australia.

Costs and Savings

Unlike some other extreme sports typically involved with adventure tourism, rock climbing is usually free, although some locations may charge day rates due to an entrance fee for the national park (and not for the sport of climbing). Rock climbing gear, however, can be quite costly depending on the quality and brand. Shoes and helmets generally cost between $50 and $100, while ropes can cost up to $350. In order to ensure the proper safety measures, however, it is advisable to buy the best equipment available, especially if climbing some of the more difficult cliffs.

Skydiving

Skydiving

Adventure travel is one of the most popular travel trends of the 21st century. It is a type of tourism that involves travel with some sort of risk, and typically requiring physical exertion and some specialized skills. One of the popular types of adventure travel is skydiving. Skydiving involves jumping out of an airplane and free falling to the ground before pulling a parachute. Because sky diving generates an extremely high rush, it is one of the most popular forms of adventure tourism.

Pros and Cons

Starting with the most obvious con, skydiving is dangerous. Typically you will dive with a trained instructor, and even if something does go wrong they are skilled enough to prevent disaster.

Still, you are jumping out of an airplane and falling to the ground. Thus, there will always be some risk. It is also very expensive, and it generally takes a full day as you will have to undergo some training before you jump. For most people, however, the pros greatly outweigh the cons. Skydiving is truly a once in a lifetime experience, and generates an adrenaline rush that other activities cannot. It also provides a sensational view, especially if you jump in one of the more popular places, like New Zealand.

Popular Destinations

sky2 New Zealand and Australia are two of the most popular places in the world for adventure tourism, and for good reason. While there are plenty of beautiful drop zones in New Zealand, one of the most popular locations is Fox Glacier. Situated on the west coast of New Zealand in the isolated Westland Tai Poutini National Park, Fox Glacier is an 8-mile-long glacier that allows for a beautiful view of the snowy rugged peaks of the Southern Alps and the wild coastline along the Tasman Sea. In Australia, jumping at North Wollongong Beach in Sydney offers a unique whale watching experience, allowing jumpers to see dolphins and whales in the deep blue waters.

The Road Less Travelled

For North Americans who may not be able to afford going all the way to New Zealand to skyjump, there are plenty of places close to home that offer a similar experience. Snohomish, located in Washington, provides jumpers with an exquisite 360-degree panoramic view featuring the green San Juan Islands and Mt. Baker and Mt. Rainier in the Cascades Mountain Range. It is one of the most gorgeous drop zones in the US. Another great destination that may not receive much publicity is in Pattaya, Thailand. sky1 Before falling into lush green fields, the jump offers a stunning view of the western coast of Thailand. Pattaya is located just south of Bangkok, and is the only full-time drop zone in Southeast Asia.

Costs and Savings

One of the biggest downsides of skydiving is the cost. One tandem jump generally costs around $200, with at least $50-$100 for photos and a video. On top of that, there are travel and accommodation costs. Going to New Zealand or Australia from North America adds at the very least an extra few grand on top of that cost. There are many packages available that help save on the cost of skydiving, however, especially if you go through tour companies or websites like Groupon.

Space Tourism

Space Tourism

Space tourism is a new form of travel which offers exactly what the name states: the ability to go to space. Many startup companies, such as XCOR Aerospace and Virgin Galactic, have opened with the hopes of creating a sub-orbital space tourism industry. To this point, there have only been a handful of space “tourists”, and that term is debateable because the majority of them visited space for research purposes. Still, this is an industry that figures to grow over the next 100 years.

Pros and Cons

Obviously there are both positives and negatives when it comes to space tourism. Over the next 100 years, space tourism may become the biggest travel trend, and provide employment to thousands of people.

At this point, however, the only plausible destination is the moon, and there is not much to see on the moon’s surface other than craters and rocks (and a pretty cool view of Earth). Still, a trip to space is more than just a sightseeing opportunity; it is a step into the future. The biggest downside is the cost; so far, every space “tourist” has paid millions of dollars for their trip. Thus, it is not a reasonable vacation for the average person.

Popular Destinations

space6 Because space tourism is still in its infancy, there are no real “popular destinations” yet. The most reasonable destination, at this point anyway, is the moon. Certain American politicians even pledged to establish a moon base within the next 10 years. The International Space Station is another destination, particularly for tourists who wish to spend at least a few days living in space. To gain a seat on a space shuttle to either of these places, however, costs in the hundreds of millions. According to experts, however, they expect to have a mission to the moon ready by 2017.

The Road Less Travelled

Outside of the moon and the International Space Station, the most desirable place to go to in space is Mars. Unfortunately, this is even further off than a trip to the moon. Still, Lansdorp’s Mars One has the goal to establish a human settlement on Mars by the mid-2020s. The technology exists to allow humans to get to and live on Mars, but not to bring them back, which means travellers are essentially on a one way trip. space4 They would be able to live in inflatable components and essentially carry out typical day-to-day lives. It would cost nearly $6 billion US to send the first four astronauts, however, and even more to send additional crew.

Costs and Savings

At this stage, travelling to space is only for the wealthiest individuals. Of the seven space tourists so far, each has paid somewhere between $20 million and $40 million for their visit. Richard Branson’s Virgin empire plans on transporting people just beyond the earth’s atmosphere, costing each passenger around $200 000. As competition increases and the industry develops prices may slowly decrease, but as of right now space travel is only for the wealthiest members of society.