How to Plan an Active Vacation

Research, plan ahead, pack lightweight gear, and have AAA help build a travel package to suit you.

Two women laugh while resting on a hike, image
Explore outside on your next big trip. / Shutterstock

"The key to a hiking trip is lightweight, durable boots," says AAA Travel's Doreen Loofburrow.

Do your research.

Is the great outdoors calling your name? Loofburrow recommends speaking with a specialist at your destination's local sports store for insider tips before you hit the trail. "Talk to the professionals and see what they suggest you bring," she says.

Plan ahead.

Book active trips at least six months in advance. Most important: Be clear on the cancellation policy, especially when your activity depends on the weather. For skiing accommodations, "see if you can negotiate a refundable or cancelable no-penalty rate if there is no snow," Loofburrow says.

To pack or not to pack.

When it comes to lightweight equipment such as snorkel gear, bring it with you. For heavier items—skis, golf clubs, and the like—it comes down to how much of a devotee you are. "If you're an avid skier, absolutely bring your own skis," Loofburrow says. "But if not, just rent them while you're there."

Good things come in packages.

AAA offers an active vacation for almost anyone, from volunteering trips in India to bicycling treks in Europe. "If there's not a package that fits your mood," Loofburrow says, "we can build one for you."