Presented By: Chris Ronseth – Adventure Travel Expert!

Presented by: Chris Ronseth – Adventure Travel Expert!

Presented by: Chris Ronseth – Adventure Travel Expert!. I recently had the opportunity to speak with Chris Ronseth of Trek Holidays (see interview preview) who gave me a good overview of adventure travel, an area of ​​travel I would definitely like to explore sooner rather than later…

Presented by: Chris Ronseth - Adventure Travel Expert!
Presented by: Chris Ronseth – Adventure Travel Expert!

1. Tell us how you got into the adventure travel business.

I grew up around travel. My father, Alan Ronseth, founded the company in 1972 and with a passion to see the world in a different way than usual, we had the opportunity to travel to countries that were considered exotic at the time and to some extent still are today.

Venturing into traveling by myself while attending college, I became more and more passionate about the world outside of North America. With a degree in Marketing, he ventured out first to New York and later to Toronto to work in sales and marketing for technology companies during the tech boom.

Having learned the sales skill in an industry outside of travel but bolstered by an upbringing rooted in adventure travel, I’ve progressed into managing sales in the Eastern Canada family business where I now provide support to our network of travel agents across the Eastern Province. Canada Plus compiled monthly newsletter on adventure travel trends.

2. What countries have you traveled to?

Africa: Namibia, South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Zambia, Egypt, Morocco

Europe: United Kingdom, Greenland, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Austria

Asia: Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and Hong Kong

South Pacific: Australia, Cook Islands, Tonga, Fiji

The Americas: Canadian Arctic, USA, Mexico, Jamaica, Cayman Islands,

Guatemala, Honduras, Belize, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia

3. Please share with us your three most important travel memories of all time.

a. Peru – The last descent to Machu Picchu on the famous Inca Trail from the Gate of the Sun after seeing the sun rise over the site, being the first to enter the site at dawn and feeling the peace, harmony and powerful magic in the air.

B. VIETNAM – Traveling in rural Vietnam by motorbike and finding a hidden and rarely visited Buddhist monastery leads to a three hour visit with a young Buddhist monk learning and understanding the ways of the other.

Jim Namibia – Skydiving at sunset in Swakopmund on the coast where the Atlantic Ocean meets blood red sand dunes as far as the eye can see. One of the quietest moments of my life.

4. What is adventure travel and how has it evolved over the past few decades?

Adventure travel used to mean high adventure when the company was founded in the 70’s, it’s a time when the “hippie trail” was hot and buses used to travel across Asia from London to Kathmandu with largely invented itineraries along the way.

Today it’s about small group experience and experiencing a destination rather than just seeing it. It is about sharing and understanding cultures, histories, customs and being able to take that experience away as an enrichment to your daily life.

5. Who goes on your travel tours and why? What is the age, gender, nationality and income level of the people who go on your tours?

Adventure travel is very much about the passion to do it. For this reason, it transcends the boundaries of age, gender, and income because the common goal for travelers is to experience regardless of their lives at home.

However, our largest demographic and most important growth demographic is the baby boomers who have experienced the traditional beach vacation many times and now have the time and disposable income to travel to more exotic destinations.

Nationality generally consists of largely English-speaking nations with the composition in order of British, Australian, Canadian, New Zealander, American, some Mainland European, some Latin American and the exotic Asian traveler.

We serve over 120 countries around the world generally just about everywhere. However, countries currently considered unsafe to travel (such as Iraq and Afghanistan) are not included but we expect to be in the coming years as the situation stabilizes.

6. What type of accommodation is provided?

We generally offer anything from 2-star budget accommodations to 6-star lodge experiences in Africa and everything in between. However, the common to all places we stay is that they must be clean, comfortable, centrally located and most importantly have a feel that reflects the destination.

7. How do these tours work for solo travelers? Do you offer TravelMate matching service? What happens if I prefer single housing?

Our tours are designed with individual travelers in mind. In fact, 50% of all our travelers come on their own. We match people of the same gender and age to participate and avoid being charged. If clients prefer their own rooms we can do this on approximately 60% of the tours, usually the most luxurious tours, but at a fair and affordable rate.

8. What about meals?

Depending on the trip we generally include breakfasts and some dinners but never lunch as many people like to go out in the middle of the day to make their own discoveries. However, when trekking, in the countryside, or where there are no alternatives, we will always include meals.

9. What are the unique advantages of adventure tours compared to other types of travel?

A sense of accomplishment, quality of experience, traveling with a small group of only ten people on average, better value overall than similar bus tours, and camaraderie with individuals who share a passion for this type of travel.

10. What kind of activities are offered on your tours?

Sightseeing is a major part of every tour, but beyond that we want to include as many cultural experiences as possible such as homestays with local families, village visits, etc. We also have many optional activities available such as kayaking, sailing, jeep safaris, day trips, etc.

11. Are there adventure tours for families?

We now have tours designed specifically for families traveling with other families where children are six and over. There is a large population of “late” families who have not had children until the age of 30.

Many of these people have traveled with us in their twenties or independently backpacked and now want to pass this experience on to their children. They are not interested in introducing them to the “Coca-Cola” culture that is prevalent in today’s society. This has been met with great success.

12. Please share with us some practical advice for someone who has never tried adventure travel.

Safety is a state of mind. Most people who choose not to travel to exotic destinations do so out of fear for their safety while at the destination. If you listen to your tour leader’s advice and are practical, any destination in the world can provide you with a safe, secure, and unforgettable experience.

When we run into safety issues it has always been a disregard for common sense and advice. Don’t be afraid to experience other cultures, you will always find that your curiosity will be the best guide in spite of it all, and the people we meet along the way will share that same curiosity.

It is about learning and understanding others as much as they need to understand us. It really shrinks the world. Our second biggest problem is dehydration, when traveling to hot and dry countries or where there is activity like trekking, be sure to drink plenty of water!

13. How often do you travel by yourself these days?

Generally 5 or 6 weeks a year. It is essential to my sales knowledge and experience and I owe it to my clients to be the experts at what we do! All of our employees are given great travel opportunities that go straight to our company motto: expert advice from those who’ve been there!

14. Where are you going next?

This year I’m planning a chaperone trip back to Egypt in April, to South Africa in May to experience some of our new properties we’re working with and hopefully a side trip to Mozambique. Later in the year, I plan to make my way to Turkey and Patagonia outdoors in Chile and Argentina.

Thank you Chris for all your information, and enjoy your travels!