Top Adventure Trips for 2018New year, new holiday allowance

Max Hepworth-Povey

2 years ago in News

We’ve put together a list of our top surf, snow and cycle trips to do this year including a few new adventures, as well as some updated classic Ticket to Ride itineraries. All of which are longing to be explored and will make the most of that fresh holiday allowance.

1. Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka continues to grow in popularity for surfers and adventure enthusiasts alike and rightly so. We thought it had had its peak a couple of years ago but it keeps topping the charts of fellow influential travel outlets and each year upon our return it’s hard to not notice the further investment into the country. This is however being done tastefully and Sri Lanka remains as charming as ever.

The influx of tourism is bringing more options for travelers, so you don’t have to stay in uncomfortably hot homestays or tacky tourist hotels anymore, as the boutique options are springing up nestled inbetween jungle and ocean up and down the coast and all of the surf camps are upping their game in line with the competition. Authentic experiences are still on the menu, but as is fresh ceviche and cold coconuts (I only ever had luke-warm coconuts until November 2017).

Then of course there are the seemingly endless bays with waves for days. The lure remains the same, mellow waves breaking over un-intimidating reefs, which keeps the arrogant crowds at bay, allowing the beginner and more intermediate/advanced surfers to play.

Musts: You have to climb Sri Pada (Adam’s Peak) in time to watch the sunrise. This holy pilgrimage has something very spiritual about it regardless of your faith or lack thereof.

Local tip: Get the bus! They are cheap and the fastest things on the road.

Top trip: I personally think the four week adventure where we tour a massive chunk of the island from West to East Coast and through the Hill Country is the best surfing and cultural experience on the market, but we have just launched a new ‘Green Wave Riders Week’ where we will intensively coach up to ten surfers with the aim of getting them comfortably riding green waves in just one week. Bearing in mind it probably took me about three years to accomplish this, it’s quite a task but our coaching skills and team are top notch so I’m looking forward to getting involved in this journey. It’s also a solid investment for your surfing at only £695! More info.

Sri Lanka’s stunning Hill Country

2. Mozambique

Mozambique, or ‘Mozam’ is our most exciting destination due to the vast amount of waves we hunt out only accessible by 4×4 and some serious local knowledge. The crystal clear, tropical breaks that await make the journey worthwhile and sitting on an empty white sand beach after a day’s surfing with your new friends, sipping a cold Laurentina Preta will make you feel small in the grand scheme of things, yet massively overwhelmed at the same time. It is the perfect place to fuse adventure whilst unwinding away from it all.

Musts: Take malaria tablets and know the symptoms. Going off the beaten track has its dangers!

Local tip: Take a portable mosquito net for the same reasons.

Top Trip: The three week 4X4 road trip this Spring for sure. More info.

Magical Mozam

3. Basque Country

The Basque Country is an autonomous region of Northern Spain and South West France, made up of four provinces in Spain and three in France. This incredibly beautiful place boasts fairy tale-like villages and modern architectural landmarks, world-class food and wine, and of course countless breath-taking beaches. The Basque Country spans from the Atlantic Coast to the mountains, turning everything green in its path. It is one of the most aesthetically pleasing places you will ever visit.

Musts: Despite being a tourist hot spot, a short stop in San Sebastian for some pinchos and a small cervesa or two is a must. It’s hard to explain why it’s so magical, but it is.

Local tip: Just get to grips that this isn’t France and this isn’t Spain. Learn to pronounce Kaixo (hello) properly and do so with an air of confidence to fit in.

Top Trip: The Bordeaux to Bilbao Cycle Surfari this May will take you through untouched corners of the Basque Country at the perfect pace to soak it all up. More info.

Another empty Basque cove

4. New Zealand

The Lonely Planet have put New Zealand in their top ten list of countries to visit in 2018 and we agree. Lord of the Rings was filmed in the North Island here due to the region’s extraordinary topography and wilderness. It is also home to Mighty Mt Ruapehu, which boasts New Zealand’s top ski areas, Whakapapa and Turoa. Both epic snow resorts sat between an active volcano with limitless backcountry options, ample powder days and the longest season in the southern hemisphere. The riding and scenery here is incomparable to anything else in the world.

Musts: Explore Mordor (yes actual Mordor) by bike.

Local tip: Learn how to pronounce Whakapapa properly…

Top trip: The all inclusive ten week SBINZ Level 1 & 2 Instructor Course. Ten weeks of riding heaven combined with a globally recognised qualification.

Fresh lines in NZ

5. Northern Spain

I may be biased as I’m currently living here but I truly believe that Cantabria, Northern Spain is one of the most beautiful places on earth.

The Spanish have never really been good at marketing and most people think of holidays in Spain as lads-on-tour’esque booze cruises. It’s this lapse in proper promotion which leaves visitors pleasantly surprised. The wine is world class, the cities are classically cosmopolitan, the local towns are truly charming and the coastal roads leading to them are on a par with Big Sur in California. But it’s the vast selection of beaches and quality waves with nobody to share them with, which never ceases to amaze me. Just yesterday I went to one of my favourite spots to drink in the scenery and what stood beneath the jaw dropping cliff I was perched upon was a completely deserted beach with 4ft clean lines relentlessly rolling in. You have to come and see it for yourself.

Musts: Visit the ‘old town’ area of the larger cities for a truly authentic experience. Campo Viejo in Bilbao is as impressive on the food front as it’s neighbour San Sebastian but with no tourists.

Local tip: Eat out at lunch time and opt for a menu del dia. It will be the best food on offer that day and always under €15 for three courses including wine.

Top Trip: The Spring Surf & Yoga Trip for great weather and empty waves. The water is surprisingly chilly in the Spring sunshine, but a 4:3 wetsuit is more than warm enough (I’m currently in a 4:3 in the middle of Winter).

Surf meets city in Santander

6. Mentawais

The Mentawai Islands are a chain of about seventy islands off the western coast of Sumatra in Indonesia. This means a lot of coastline facing many directions open to the vast amount of swell that the Indian Ocean sends its way. This means waves that are offshore constantly. This means it is one of the best places to visit as a surfer. There is nothing else to say.

Musts: Be on a boat trip. Land camp prices may be appealing but the ability to travel to the best or least crowded waves at the drop of a hat is priceless.

Local tip: Pack light. This isn’t exactly a local tip, but learn to live like the locals – with few belongings. If you’re doing a boat trip then space is at a premium and with the tropical weather you will literally just need your boardies (bikini).

Top Trip: 100% a boat trip with a bunch of mates.

Ticket to Ride Ambassador Harry Timson’s happy place is an Indonesian tube

7. Meribel France

Meribel is in the centre of the World famous 3 Valleys ski area in the French Alps. It is one of the oldest and best resorts in Europe with more than 600km of pistes and a buzzing atmosphere. I was fortunate to visit our Mountain Lodge in Motteret-Meribel during the best snow dump in recent years and although I appreciated the conditions, my novice eye was drawn to the chalet-style architecture, wooded surroundings and friendly, village atmosphere. Apparently the POW off piste was incredible as well…

Must: Stay at the Meribel Ticket To Ride Mountain Lodge. It’s all too easy! Ski in, ski out, with a warm fire and good, reasonably priced beers awaiting you after a hard days shredding

Local tip: Now I am not local, but I taught our Lodge Manager Gwil a new trick out there; Pizza at the bottom of the baby run for €7! I don’t remember the name of the place but it’s next to the ski hire shop and has a great view up the mountain.

Top trip:
Create your own trip by keeping an eye on the snow conditions then booking your stay at the Mountain Lodge for as many nights as you need to get your powder fix.

The Mountain Lodge in Meribel looking inviting

8. Banff, Canada

It’s impossible not to fall in love with the Canadian ski town of Banff as it mixes North America’s best restaurants and bars with the enchanting beauty of a National Park and the legendary ski resort, Lake Louise. With 4,200 skiable acres, it’s one of the largest in North America and has been voted “Canada’s Best Ski Resort”. There are runs to suit all levels, the piste never seems busy and there’s an awesome park with beginner rails as well as terrifying XL jumps. You’ll never stay anywhere as simultaneously vibrant and beautiful, peaceful and gnarly.

Musts: Wind down after a day’s riding in a natural hot spring staring up at the stars above.

Local tip: Get on ya bike! There are cycle paths everywhere, taking you right to the trailheads of some of the most glorious mountains in Canada.

Top trip: Without a doubt the 13 week Dual Ultimate Level 1 & 2 Instructor Course. The qualifications are the AST Level 1 (Avalanche), First Aid, CASI Level 1 & 2 snowboard instructor exams, plus also the CSIA Level 1 ski exam. It’s simply the most comprehensive instructor course on the market.

The Canadian Rockies

9. South Africa

The original and still one of the best countries on the Ticket to Ride circuit is South Africa. You’ve got incredible waves meeting the mountains, raw wildlife and really good wine, and of course the vibrant culture and cosmopolitan Cape Town, where our office is based and where we start our South Africa Adventures. This year is even more exciting as the country is hosting the ‘Nelson Mandela Centenary 2018: Be the Legacy’, with loads of sporting, educational and art events dedicated to the legend. Combine all of the above with a banging exchange rate offering great value, 2018 is a the year year to visit our second home!

Musts: Watch the WSL Competition at J Bay and see first hand the World’s best surfers shred the incredibly fast and long right hand point break.

Local tip: Carling Black Label is nothing like the beer back here in the UK.

Top Trip: The original 13 week instructor course is a life-changing experience, but for those with less free time in the calendar, our six week road trip from Cape Town to Durban during the peak swell season this Summer has to be one of the best surfing road trips out there.

J Bay – one of many reasons to visit South Africa