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Lions, tigers, rhinoceroses, elephants, sharks, and even a passing comet! All of these things await you when you go adventure vacationing in and around Earth. For the worldly wanderer, the possibilities are endless. Willingness to shoulder a backpack or travel under your own power is all takes (and some operational expenses) to visit national parks, gaze out over breathtaking vistas or stand up close to some of the world's most magnificent animals.

Adventure vacations come in two varieties: the prepackaged, preplanned trips that travel companies offer and the personally organized solo or family trips to the nearest national park. While planning it yourself offers a certain sense of accomplishment, it is not for the inexperienced. Pre-organized trips offer all of the joys of adventure vacations without the difficulties of map-reading, emergency planning and experience; often, they also eliminate some or all of the equipment load. Moreover, such vacations have been carefully designed by experts in their regions to maximize visitors' exposure to the wildlife and scenery of the particular region.

When planning for an adventure vacation, one of the first decisions you will have to make is where you want to go. Do you want to be hiking in the mountains or rafting down the Grand Canyon or on safari in Western Africa? All of these and more are available to you. Once you've decided what kind of geography interests you, you must decide upon your energy commitment. Would you rather be carrying four days worth of equipment on your back or would you prefer to carry only a day's worth and spend your evenings in the comfort of a lodge?

Fortunately, there are dozens of options available to adventurers of all tastes. For a day packing trip, take a look at the Canadian Rockies. Summertime hiking, biking and rafting trips can carrying you across the landscape while you spend each night in a bed and breakfast style lodge or in tents that have been driven to where you camp for the night. While there, you will see the mighty Rocky mountain peaks and cross fresh, sparkling streams of water. Similarly, a trip to Costa Rica affords the opportunity to climb volcanoes, hike the rainforests and go scuba diving in the tropical waters. There is no reason to avoid an outdoors adventure just because you don't want to carry a tent-plenty of vacation agencies offer trips that allow you to experience the beauty of the world without the travail of expedition hiking.

If, on the other hand, you are interested in expeditions, rafting the Colorado river, boating down the Amazon, and backcountry hiking all provide fantastic views, challenging physical and mental adventures and plenty of good times. Even more, safari companies give you the chance to head deep into the African savannah and see the most exotic of wildlife. In Africa, you can see cheetahs, elephants, lions, and more in parks like Botswana Chobe National Park. Companies like Abercrombie & Kent have been taking tourists on safaris for years and have so perfected the vacations that you're satisfaction is virtually guaranteed. If a safari sounds good to you, but Africa doesn't, maybe a trip to Australia, where some tours offer access to limited areas of the Outback, the Great Barrier Reef and more. On every continent of the world there are trips, which will challenge your mind and body-giving you a vacation that you will never forget.

And beginning in 2002, vacations will leave the Earth! Recreational space travel may well turn into the next big tourist event. For just a shade under $100,000, you will receive pre-flight training and spend close to a week floating thousands of feet above the planet. Finally, you will know what it's like to be an astronaut and a space explorer. Spaceā€¦the final frontier.

An adventure vacation can be the trip of a lifetime, providing you with every opportunity to challenge yourself, experience the world in new and different ways and still maintain an high standard of living and safety. By booking travel through one of the adventure companies, you can assure yourself of a near-perfect trip through an amazing world, be it mountains, oceans or even space. Whatever region or climate you may prefer, be sure to get out for that vacation before it's too late!