What is considered extreme is very subjective. Every person has their own experiences and fears which define their understanding of the word. But if you want to get that exciting picture for your Facebook, there are things that will make your heart rush and bring you back safe. Although, these activities are considered relatively safe remember make your travel agency aware of your plans. They can make sure you get the right travel insurance before you hop on that plane – or jump out of it.
Skydiving in Portugal
No need to big up skydiving but you do kill three birds with one stone – you get to fly on a jet plane, jump off it and parachute your way down to the ground. Experience freefalling from 4,300m above the south region of Algarve. The adrenaline rush of going down at a speed if more than 100 miles per hour is indescribable, but there are few things that can be described which you should know before you go. The high speed of the wind will make you temporarily deaf but your hearing will be back to normal once you land.
To stay safe wear comfortable shoes for landing and listen carefully to any instructions, even if you’ve done it before because different instructors will have different ways for releasing the parachute and landing. If you don’t feel safe doing a solo freefall, do a tandem jump with your instructor.
It has been estimated that there is less than 1% chance for a fatal accident during skydiving.
Bungee jumping in New Zealand
As scary as it might sound for some people, bungee jumping accidents actually occur very rarely, with only an estimated one person injured in every five hundred thousand jumps. You can jump anywhere but if you love the extreme then you definitely want to jump over Canyon Swing in New Zealand. There are ten jump styles offered including the scariest ones – Backwards or the Chair of Death where you are pushed backwards. You can also try the Pindrop where you pop off sideways with your hands clasped behind your back. You can of course go with a basic jump – the easiest one called The Cutaways.
To stay safe, choose the jump that you feel most comfortable with and consult with experts if you have any medical conditions. All recorded bungee accidents have happened due to human error so choose your jumping club carefully. Stay safe and jump away.
Volcano boarding in Nicaragua
Some people might consider snowboarding as extreme but sliding down an active volcano is taking things to a next level. Going down the 728 metres Cerro Negro (Black Hill) active volcano near the west coast city of Leon, on a specialised wooden board will take you less than three minutes but the experience will last for a lifetime.
To stay safe wear safety goggles and a crash protection suit. Follow the instructions, especially how and when to hit the brakes of your board! Also, do not let go of the rope attached to the plank or you might lose your balance and crash. If you want to slide more than two times with the same board, you have to replace the formica plastic glued to the bottom of your board. It’s the simple things that can keep you safe.
Lava boat tour in Hawaii
Watch the lava stream into the ocean at the actively erupting Kilauea Volcano on the Big Island. The thought of a boat trip might not give you the adrenaline rush but this is one you will never forget.
The boat harbours at a safe distance from the pouring lava but when it touches the water the lava forms little rocks. It goes without saying getting too close can be very dangerous.
To stay safe wear hiking boots or trainers, pack sunscreen and water. Also, bring a protective case for your cameras and phones. If you think that the boat trip might be too extreme there are Lava hikes available. To stay safe during a hike it is essential to check for the National Park Services website (nps.gov) for daily updates on the volcano.
Zorbing down a hill in Wales
If you haven’t heard it before, zorbing means you will be rolling down a hill inside a massive inflatable ball. You are strapped inside the ball either on your own or with a friend and then pushed down a 100 m hill. The hill is custom made to ensure safely rolling. You can make your zorbing experience even more exhilarating by trying the wet ride – the operator adds water to the ball with you inside. The feeling of this is often compared to what it would be like to be in a washing machine.
If you are worried about the ball popping while you are in there – don’t. The zorb won’t release air straight away like a balloon it will just gradually leak out air and start to move slower. You can do Zorbing near the Welsh seaside town of Nolton.
To stay safe make sure you are strapped to the ball, check wind condition and wear walking shoes.
Mendenhall Ice Cave in Alaska
Visiting a cave doesn’t exactly scream danger but getting into this one is an adventure in itself. The caves are located 12 miles outside Juneau, so to get to the glacier your plan will include transportation followed by a 4.5miles hike.
The hike takes approximately four hours each way so bring enough food and water and dress appropriately – the more layers the better. The hike includes bridges, stairs and climbing, so be well equipped and prepared to walk on ice. Bring crampons for your shoes, and ice picks also come in handy. It is strongly advised to go with a tour guide and not independently as not all trails on the route will be marked. But the otherworldly, Narnia-looking blue glacier is certainly worth the hike. Unfortunately global warming is threatening the disappearance of the glacier so hurry up and visit now.
Whichever activity you decide to try on holiday, make sure that you do take the appropriate precautions. Standard travel insurance might not cover all of these activities so, whatever you’re doing, double check that you’re taking out the right insurance. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has some great advice on travel insurance, as well as information about all the countries you might be visiting.
By Plamena Manolova