An increasing number of travelers—not just the millennials—are shunning the double decker bus, questing for something rare and authentic and in some cases, even unplugged.
"I think people want to experience something real," said Todd Merry, chief marketing officer for Delaware North Companies, which has operations ranging from Yosemite High Sierra camping to eco-resorts at Australia's Great Barrier Reef. "It's almost like there's no wild places anymore. There are more people looking for things that haven't been done."
In some ways, it's a longing for the days when the old maps marked untamed territory with "here be monsters," Merry said. "There's just not so much of that anymore."
In North America, Europe and South America, adventure travel spending in 2012 reached $263 billion, up from $89 billion in 2009, according to a study by the Adventure Travel Trade Association and George Washington University. Per trip spending (excluding airfare and gear) increased to $947 from $593 over that same time period, according to the report. (For the study, an adventure traveler is any respondent who cited an adventure activity—ranging from caving and heli-skiing to camping and canoeing—as the main activity of their last trip.)