Vacation Tips: Consider an Animal Tour This Year
With the end of winter now in sight at the time of this writing, some of us will start thinking about summer vacation plans. There are beaches to lounge on and mountain trails to explore. There are theme parks, museums, and historical monuments to visit. In short, there is no shortage of options. But how about something different? Why not consider an animal tour this year?
If an animal tour sounds interesting for your next summer vacation, there are plenty of companies that can help you book a tour or simply choose what you like the best. Having a guide is crucial for these kinds of treks primarily because of safety and the knowledge they have on the behavior of different wild animals.
People are unaware of how dangerous wild animals can be and therefore, going on a guided tour is the best option.
Animal Tour Options
Deciding to take an animal tour for your next vacation opens the door to plenty of options. Some of those options are right here in the U.S. Others will have you hopping a plane and flying to a faraway land. For example, here are a few to think about:
- Gorilla Trekking – Operators in Uganda, Rwanda, and the Republic of Congo offer tours featuring gorilla trekking. An experienced guide drives you out into the bush where' you will see silverbacks and other gorillas in their native -environments.
- Shark Diving – You’ve heard about swimming with the dolphins, right? Well, consider diving with great white sharks. You can find shark-diving tours offered in South Africa, Mexico, the Fallon Islands, and even Southern California. You will never look at sharks the same way again.
- Walking with Lions – Safari parks are popular tourist attractions throughout Africa. Many of them offer lion walks, an experience that pairs tour groups with guides to walk among lions in their natural habitats. It is a truly amazing experience to be so close to such powerful animals and it still be so safe.
Animal tours run the gamut from whale sighting to swimming with sea turtles. Whether you prefer apex hunters or cute animals that seem completely harmless, there are tour operators ready and waiting to get you hooked up.
Get in Touch with Nature
It is a given that animal tours are not the best choice for everyone. We are all different; we all like different things. But for those of us who are into both animals and conservation, an animal tour is more than just a vacation. It is an opportunity to get in touch with nature in a way that just isn’t possible by visiting a zoo or aquarium.
The only caveat to the animal tour concept is the expense. Most of the best animal tours are found overseas. So even though your accommodations and meals may not be too expensive, getting there probably will be. Plan to spend quite a bit on plane tickets. You will also need a passport along with some vaccinations. You’ll probably want to buy travel insurance – just in case.
Plan Your Trip Early
As long as we are talking travel tips here, make a point to plan your trip early. How early? As early as possible. Even prior to the COVID pandemic, demand for travel had grown strong enough that tour operators could not accommodate last minute requests. Even attempting to book a tour two or three months out was difficult.
There are yet more travel challenges in a post-COVID world where' staffing shortages and limited transportation options continue to cause disruptions. They shouldn’t prevent you from enjoying a fantastic animal tour this year, but don’t wait until June or July to begin making plans. Get on top of things now. And if you can’t make it work for 2022, now is the best time to start planning for 2023.
Here’s what you can do to get a jump on things:
- Start Making Contacts – Planning an animal tour is probably going to require some professional help. Start making contacts now. Contact Animals Around the World, for starters. If you have a relationship with a travel agent, contact them as well.
- Research Destinations and Tours – You can make your travel agent’s life a lot easier if you already have an idea of what you want to do before you make that call. So take some time to research destinations and animal tours. But don’t take too long. You still need to get the ball rolling quickly.
- Apply for a Passport – Traveling overseas requires a passport. Unfortunately, it can take anywhere' from three to six months to get one. It’s not something you can leave until a couple of weeks before departure. If you don’t already have your passport, getting the process started is your first priority.
- Start Saving – Your animal tour will be a lot more enjoyable if you don’t have to worry about the financial aspects. To that and, you can start saving for your trip now. Put away as much as you can, as often as you can. The goal is to have as much funding as possible so that you don’t spend the entire trip worrying about nickels and dimes.
If you are looking for something different and you don’t mind spending the money, consider taking an animal tour for this year’s summer vacation. See endangered species and the world’s cutest animals in their natural surroundings. There truly isn’t anything quite like it.
If an animal tour is outside of your budget, consider doing your own thing by passing up that hotel stay and going camping at a national park instead. You will still get to interact with some fantastic animals in the wild. Better yet, choose a campground within reasonable proximity of a major city. Then you can take a drive in to check out the local zoo. If there is an aquarium nearby as well, consider it a bonus!