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Tips for Planning an Adventure From Cycling the PCH and Baja Divide

Tips for Planning an Adventure From Cycling the PCH and Baja Divide

Have you considered walking the streets of a foreign country, hiking through a tropical jungle, or cycling the coast? In 2018, I challenged myself to cycle over 4,000 km down the Pacific Coast Highway and Baja Divide.

As you may have found, it’s important to prepare both mentally and physically months in advance to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip. Bring your dream adventure to life by properly preparing for it with these nine planning tips from my personal experience!

1. Determine Your Destination

This is the fun part of planning an adventure! Where do you want to go? What do you want to explore? Take time to research various options and decide on a specific destination.

After hiking the Appalachian Trail, I just couldn’t get excited about walking again. But I still craved a long distance journey. I chose cycling because I’d never ridden before. It was completely outside of my comfort zone! I decided on the Pacific Coast Highway because it was the perfect time of the year for it in September. The Baja Divide I’d heard about from a friend and it ended up being the perfect way to extend the adventure.

2. Set Your Start and End Dates

Whether you will be exploring for three weeks or three months, consider your schedule. Will you miss a family member’s wedding, a friend's graduation, or your niece’s birth if you leave in December? Once you’ve acknowledged any potential setbacks, decide on which days you plan to leave and return.

I chose to begin my adventure on September 10—my birthday! I really don’t like my birthday much, so I’d rather do something amazing. Now, when I think of September 10, I think of starting this awesome adventure.

3. Book Your Flights

Once you’ve determined when you will be adventuring, schedule your flights. As soon as I know my dates, I get my flights. I suggest securing domestic flights about 54 days in advance and international flight about 70+ days in advance. This will ensure that you have a seat to and from your destination. Consider planning for downtime as well. If you want to begin a week-long hike on a Monday, plan to fly in on Saturday, rest on Sunday, and adventure on Monday.

4. Obtain Visas

The average visa process can take anywhere from two weeks to two months. Begin by researching which visas you will need for your journey. You’ll most likely need to print an application, fill it out, send it in, and wait for the visa to be mailed to you. I encourage you to complete this as soon as possible.

I had my visa for America and it was super easy to get the Canadian and Mexican visas. I figured out that I could apply for my Canadian visa in advance and would have to get my Mexican visa when I crossed the border. Figuring this stuff out is a critical part of preparation!

5. Set Up Travel Insurance

Travel insurance has the potential to save you loads of money if you happen to become ill before or during your trip. Research the many travel insurance options provided and decide on the best one for you and your adventure. Options vary based on where you are going and what you are planning to do while you are there.

6. Physically Train

Create a workout routine that will physically prepare you for your adventure. I ensure that I am healthy and fit for my journey by training consistently until the start of my trip. I trained for my last adventure by cycling once a day. As I was traveling, I realized that I should’ve spent more time working on improving my flexibility in order to best utilize my muscles and cycle only three times per week.

I was still recovering from my Appalachian Trail hike. I started with two rides a week going to three times a week. I worked with a program and my personal trainer so it was very unique to me.

7. Organize Finances

Continue researching your destination in order to determine how much your adventure will cost. Look up affordable housing options, hotels, and campsites. Determine how much you will likely spend on meals, snacks, and drinks. Consider what gear and tools you will need to purchase in order to be fully prepared for your trip.

8. Pre-Plan Business Content

If you run a business, prepare content beforehand to post while you are adventuring. I set aside time to plan, pre-record and schedule podcast episodes to post while I am away. This ensures that my audience receives new content consistently even when I am far from my office.

9. Gather Equipment

Make a list of the equipment you will need for your adventure. Check off which items you already have. Plan on borrowing or purchasing the remaining items. The Tough Girl tribe has supported many of my trips by allowing me the opportunity to borrow equipment that they already have. Save money by asking around to see if you have a friend who already has what you are looking for.

I was in a good place with equipment because I’d already had a lot of the more expensive items. What I didn’t have was a spot tracker, Garmin GPS for when I was off road in Mexico, and a tent. In the end, I got help with some of these things. It’s amazing what happens when you put your goals out there.

Now it’s time to GO! Live out your wildest adventure dreams by preparing for them with these nine adventure-planning tips. I can’t wait to hear how you’re going to step outside of your comfort zone and explore.


Listen to the podcast episode - Planning and Preparation for the Pacific Coast Highway & the Baja Divide!

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