Eight amazing adventures travellers short on time: Trips that you can take for under a month

Not everyone has the time to be adventurous. It takes serious work to go on a proper escapade, to do something crazy like cycle across a continent or sail around the world.

That takes months of planning. Years even.

And not everyone has the time for that sort of thing. Even if you feel the urge for adventure in your heart, you still have to work five days a week to put food into your stomach. Life gets in the way, and those grand ideas for adventure fade, they seem untouchable, impossible.

But there's good news. You can still go on an amazing adventure with the bare minimum of planning. You can do incredible, life-changing things without spending years of your life figuring out how to make them happen.

For the following journeys, pretty much everything is planned for you. All the details have been taken care of. All you have to do is put in your notice for annual leave, jump on a plane and get adventuring.

Cycle through southeast Asia

<i>Luang Prabang</i>

Luang Prabang Photo: Shutterstock

It sounds like the sort of thing you'd have to train long and hard for: cycling a bike all the way from, say, Hanoi in Vietnam to Luang Prabang in Laos. And yes, you probably should train. But I've done this trip with barely any preparation and I survived. Plus, you don't have to organise anything – companies such as World Expeditions offer cycling journeys like this as a tour, with bikes, accommodation, a tour guide and a support vehicle all thrown in. All you have to provide is the time and the muscle.

Time needed: 12 days

Sail to Antarctica

You may not think of this as much of an adventure, but wait until you're crossing the Drake Passage, the notoriously violent stretch of ocean between South America and Antarctica; wait until you spot, for the first time, the world's southernmost continent on the horizon; wait until you're aboard a little Zodiac, rugged up against the cold, dodging icebergs as you head for land. This journey is a serious adventure from start to finish, and there are loads of companies that offer the experience at a reasonable price.

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Time needed: 14 days

Crew on a yacht

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Photo: Shutterstock

Maybe sailing to Antarctica aboard a big expedition vessel isn't hard-core enough for you. How about, then, volunteering to work as crew on a private yacht that's making its way around the world? Anyone can do this. With the minimum of experience; the minimum of knowledge. You don't need money. You don't need your own boat. Through websites like findacrew.net you can just find a skipper who needs a hand, work out how long you can be on board and where you're going, and get set for an adventure.

Time needed: From a week to a year

Do an Intrepid "Expedition" tour

If you've done plenty of tours before, have gained experience and are ready to take your adventuring to the next level, then Intrepid's Expedition series is for you. These are tours with a difference, where the destinations are a little more unpredictable, the experiences are riskier, the journey is rougher. You could ride the Baikal-Amur railway in Siberia, take a women-only expedition through Iran, travel with park rangers in Kenya, or explore the mountains of Mongolia. Everything is organised. Just show up.

Time needed: From one week

Do an African overlander

Forget about the fact this is an organised tour. If you opt to join an African overlander, one of the big trucks that trundles across the continent from game parks to cities to the middle of nowhere, things will go wrong. Itineraries will need to be changed. Roads will have to be avoided. Campsites will close. This is Africa, where every day is an adventure, where sometimes it feels like everything is out to get you. You might think you know what's going to happen on a tour like this – but you have no idea.

Time needed: 20 days

Hike lodge to lodge in Peru

<i>Machu Picchu, Peru</i>

Machu Picchu, Peru Photo: Shutterstock

If you fancy the idea of multi-day trekking through the high Andes of Peru, of winding your way through spectacular mountain passes, hiking through verdant valleys, stopping at Incan ruins – if you like all of that, but aren't that keen on carrying a tent and food and figuring out where to camp each night and how to stay warm, there's good news. You can do all of those things, but spend each night in heated comfort, at lodges where people greet you with mint tea and there are jacuzzis to soak in. Check out Mountain Lodges of Peru – it's adventure, but everything is organised.

Time needed: 10 days

Do the Trans-Siberian

<i>The Trans-Siberian Express</i>

The Trans-Siberian Express Photo: trans-siberian.com.au

Surprisingly, it doesn't take a lot of organisation to do the Trans-Siberian railway as an independent traveller, particularly if you're happy to do the whole thing in a single shot. You'll have to organise train tickets from abroad (check out seat61.com for all the details), plus secure a Russian visa, and book accommodation at each end. Once you've done that though, it's just a case of turning up and climbing on board. Six days later you'll alight, having had one of the experiences of your life.

Time needed: 10 days

Ride a mail boat

Here's a cool way to travel, and one that's available in plenty of parts of the world: ride a working mail boat. Jump on board a commercial vessel and make your way slowly from one place to another. Get to know the crew. See the sights. Live a different life. You can do this in New Zealand, around the Marlborough Sound. You can do it in the Bahamas, heading from Nassau to the beautiful out-islands. You can do it in Norway, sailing the fjords. It's cheap, it's adventurous, and it takes very little planning.

Time needed: Five days

Have you been on an adventure that was easy to plan? Where did you go? Have any of your adventures ever gone wrong?

Email: b.groundwater@traveller.com.au

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