1. Start with easy steps out of your comfort zone.

1. Start with easy steps out of your comfort zone.

When we first started traveling, we didn’t want to do anything on vacation but work on our tans, relax on the beach, and maybe read a book in a comfortable lounge chair. It wasn’t long before we grew tired of relaxing, and we yearned for more active outings. The key is to have fun and relax, and not to try too hard.

2. Take it one day at a time.

2. Take it one day at a time.

If you are new to adventure travel, chances are you don’t want your entire vacation to be filled with activities. Adding one or two days to your usual vacation will be enough to satisfy your adventurous side while still fulfilling your need to relax.

3. Don’t go plunging into the volcano first thing. Take baby steps.

3. Don’t go plunging into the volcano first thing. Take baby steps.

If you haven’t done a lot of adventure travel, start with something easy. Many resorts offer snorkeling and kayak rentals. Those types of activities are a great start, but why not try something different? Stand-up paddle-boarding is becoming popular and is an excellent way to explore interior rivers or calm shores.

4. Or you could just jump straight to swimming with sharks.

4. Or you could just jump straight to swimming with sharks.

Swim with whale sharks in Mexico or nurse sharks in the Bahamas. If you know how to swim, these are pastimes that will take the adventure to another level! [Photo: Flickr Creative Commons, Brian Goode]

5. Lessons or courses can be a good way to enjoy more fun in the sun.

5. Lessons or courses can be a good way to enjoy more fun in the sun.

If you are in a place such as Costa Rica, sign up for a surfing lesson. If you’ve always wanted to SCUBA, try a discovery experience where you can get a taste of diving (or you can sign up for a complete PADI course and go home with a new skill). [Photo: Flickr Creative Commons, Yu Diving]

6. Immerse yourself in the local culture.

6. Immerse yourself in the local culture.

When on vacation, take a day to rent a car, hire a taxi, or hop on a bus and visit the local villages. When you get out of the tourist area, you’ll have a more authentic experience and a chance to interact with the locals. It’s a completely different experience than staying at the resort, and you’ll come away with great stories to tell about your day of adventure on an exotic island. [Photo: Flickr Creative Commons, Adam Harris]

7. Ditch the disco and get up early.

7. Ditch the disco and get up early.

Turn in early and head out at dawn. There are so many adventures waiting for you! [Photo: Flickr Creative Commons, Dave Taylor]

8. Listen when nature calls.

8. Listen when nature calls.

9. Balance adventure and relaxation.

9. Balance adventure and relaxation.

You don’t have to spend every single day exploring, but take a day to try something new (such as, say a canopy tour over a rainforest or a sailing trip to a neighboring island), so you have a well-balanced vacation. [Photo: Flickr Creative Commons, Heiko Brinkmann]

How do you turn your vacations into adventures? Tell us in the comments!