Want to meet like-minded travelers? Join a club! It’s easier than ever to become a part of an outdoor club, whether at home or abroad. While city tours and museums are a solid introduction to the urban character of a new place, an outdoor club will give you the big picture—teaching you the while bonding new friends.
Find a New Circle of Friends
Clubs are especially great to join when you’re new to town—but where to find them? If you’re a student studying abroad, keep an eye out for campus club fairs and join the university’s Facebook groups. A club will help you quickly plug into a circle of friends and get a quick finger on the city’s pulse. Already graduated? No problem. People of all ages should search for local Facebook groups to plug into a community; try searching “location” + keywords like “hiking,” “expats,” “female travelers,” or “events” to hone in on relevant groups.
Even better than Facebook is Meetup, a social network designed to connect like-minded individuals and share upcoming events. Whether you’re connecting on mobile or desktop, Meetup is a fantastic resource worldwide! Join for free to signup for group events like “Calabasas Day Hikers,” “Paris Urban Cycling,” or “Sydney Skiers & Snowboarders,” with recurring Meetups—or start your own!
Get a Clearer View
The Great Wall of China welcomes an estimated 9 million tourists every year—New Zealand’s Milford Sound, a mind-boggling natural wonder, gets only half a million. Ditch the crowds (and their view-killing selfie sticks) by checking items off of this 50 Natural Wonders Bucketlist. These sites’ lack of easy accessibility means they’re pristinely preserved and all yours—just don’t get lost. Download the AlpineQuest GPS hiking app to navigate thousands of miles of trekking trails worldwide.
Accommodation: Nailed It
Several heads are better than one, and there’s a high chance someone in your group will handle logistics, reserving cabins or campsites for everyone on the trip. Sit back and relax—just download the Venmo app so you can be a good team player and instantly transfer money to your new friends for permits and other fees.
Pack accordingly for your adventure, making sure to check out the weather forecast using the hyperlocal Dark Sky app. If you’re camping, bring a lightweight tent that sheds rain and wind like this Stansport A-frame design. If it’s just a day trip—or you’d like to extend your cabin’s patio—we love this instant canopy.
Pro tip: Hey city slicker, leave the spinner at home. Pack minimally in a Patagonia backpack. This smart, water-repellant pack is also ideal for day trips, with three main pockets to be organized yet not fussy—and a section for an optional hydration pack.
See the Shore from Afar
Exploring a country’s bodies of water—from icy fjords to tropical bays to mossy lakes—can often require equipment or resources that are prohibitive for a single traveler. But with a group of like-minded travelers, you may be able to get a group discount on kayak or Waverunner rentals…or even hire a sailboat that comes with its own captain! Regardless of craft or group size, you’ll see the world from a decidedly new perspective.
Pro Tip: If you’re planning to be out on the water, you’ll need to become an expert in sun protection—reapply your SPF regularly with the help of this UV-monitoring patch and app. Remember that the sun’s rays will reflect off the water with additional intensity, so don some polarized shades—we love the au naturel wooden frames on this pair!
Do it for Your Health
Hiking, trail running, kayaking, you-name-it in the great outdoors will pump clean O2 through your veins and shower your skin with some Vitamin D. Compare the health impact of your activities without thinking twice by strapping on this BellaBeat wearable fitness tracker. It will help you monitor your exercise, sleep, and stress.
Still sitting inside? Check out these 20 reasons to exercise outdoors and go forth into the wilderness!
Clubs are a fantastic way to never stop learning, especially when the classroom is outdoors. Make new friends while exploring the world’s natural playgrounds—you’ll return feeling rejuvenated from the inside out.
Annie’s based in Los Angeles but hails from Portland, Oregon. Sort of. She moved to six states by the time she reached middle school, and continues to move around the US and abroad – call her a nomad, but she prefers “Location ADHD.” After studying abroad in New Zealand, Annie circled the globe, graduated from USC, and circled the world once again. For one year she lived out of a backpack everywhere from The Philippines to Nepal to Slovenia to Norway. She’s a curry connoisseur and passionate explorer, taking the road less traveled, the “trail” covered in vines and swarmed in exotic bugs. Foreign lands feel like home, and Annie loves encouraging more and more people to utilize their passports and experience a new culture.