When the activity level is too high

Occasionally, I see programs that look fascinating but have an activity level that is higher than I usually enjoy. Should I attend the program and try to challenge myself or play it safe?

  • I attended the Independent Paris trip last fall and the activity description is very accurate. Some of our group had a hard time keeping up.If its something you are really interested n, "train" first, walk more, take more stairs, stand more. You will get an idea of how you will manage. The RS people can help you find something similar but less active .
  • We just returned from The Complete Ecuador program which was labeled "active". Most of the programs we've taken have been labeled active and were fine for us. This one, however, was occasionally more active that we anticipated: 2 hikes and 2 snorkeling expeditions in one day in the Galapagos, for example, stretched us because of the heat. We found, however, that so long as you tell the leader that you plan to sit out an activity, it's okay to do that.
  • I like to challenge myself, however, I do train for my trips (I do a lot of hiking trips.). I have found the descriptions for challenging and moderately challenging trips to be pretty accurate. I read the daily itinerary closely and the comments from prior participants. I have found most of the group leaders very accommodating to participants who are having difficulty or chose to sit out a day. Try a program that is one activity level higher that what you usually chose to see if you enjoy it.
  • Am planning my first RS trip in November to the Canyonlands but would like to include my two cents in response to your question, and only because I learned by experience the hard way. I consider myself to be a young and fairly fit and athletic early fifties female, but when the description merits a rating of active/challenging, etc--take heed of it! The burden is on the participant to manage that level of activity for the benefit of the entire group and not to over - reach their abilities only to be the tail-dragger or chair-sitter. I would definitely err on UNDER -estimating my abilities and taking a level below what I think I can manage -- it will still be a challenge and a great experience! This is knowledge based on an REI Adventures trip to the Scottish Highlands and Rick Steves trips to Ireland & Sicily. Be conservative when in doubt.

  • In reply to Missy:

    Excellent point, Missy.
  • Check the trip details closely. If something may be above your capabilities, do you have an alternative activity you can do without delaying the group? Be aware elevation can make a huge difference if you are mobility impaired. If you use a wheelchair, recognize there is a huge difference in sizes of chairs. Be honest about your capabilities. Do you have someone to locate ramps or curb cuts or will you need extra time to locate them? How much time is needed to safely avoid hitting wayward children in crowds? Specify your needs early to those organizing the group so some accommodations might be arranged where possible. Be open to last minute changes.
  • I would like to do the program in Dordogne, France, but the notes indicate participants need to be able to walk up to 9 miles a day! I might be able to do 9 miles, but the next day I would be useless.
  • I found that when something happened and I simply couldn't be as active as planned (I got the flu!) they were wonderful about accommodating me by letting me take a cab to the sites instead of the planned walk and bringing me back food and such. I was worried about taking an "active" trip, and I did some extra working out before hand, but found it was nothing I wasn't able to handle (until I got ill, of course)
  • Do not pick a trip that is above your fitness level. It is not fair to your guides or fellow travelers. I have been on a hiking trip rated as " moderately challenging" in which a participant who had never exercised was unable to keep up. The guides were kind and understanding but had to consult with the main office to determine how to handle it. The decision was to allow the participant to stay but not do the group hikes. Please be considerate of your fellow travelers.
  • In reply to p_oberle012248:

    I have to disagree with you on this one. Choosing an activity level that is higher than your normal activity can actually ruin your trip . If you are sore all the time from the activity it detracts from your enjoyment. If others have to constantly wait for you or assist you it detracts from their enjoyment.
  • The activity rankings can be very subjective. Happily, now that the RS discussion board is back, you can ask members about a specific trip. When we went on a RS trip to Cuba - active- I worried about keeping up. Turned out to be fine - the guide was very flexible and offered alternate activities and nobody felt held up.
  • We took a moderately challenging hiking trip to Death Valley and had a great time. I was told that the hiking range in the description includes the farthest hike, so if most of the walks are 3-4 miles and one is 6 miles, the range will list -6 miles. Please take into account elevation too. A 6 mile hike in Death Valley may be a piece of cake compared to the Rocky Mountains.
  • In reply to gailgompper011939:

    Perfect response. It is subjective. On a recent trip, which I found easy peasy, not so much for others. The days were not challenging but the schedule was. On The Road trips are exactly that: pack up and go, tour, travel, eat, travel, tour, travel,eat, sleep and get up the next day and do it again. I like it but some of the not On The Road people found the schedule challenging and it had nothing to do with age or fitness. Know your limits. Challenging yourself if good but within what you can hope to do within reason.
  • In reply to CT_PBW:

    Has anyone one done the cycling tour in Tuscany? If so, what wa your experience? How difficult is his?
  • In reply to patriciademyan040434:

    We have done about 20 RS programs over the past 20 years. Now "Active" the the best we can do. I like the riverboats because you can stay on the boat if you are unable to do a specificly strenious excursion. Since the boats dock in cities you can enjoy the "cafe society" instead.