Climb the Alps and 6 Other Amazing Meeting Excursions

By Kristen Pope, June 22, 2015

Tired of the same old ropes course, zip-lining, and horseback riding options for your conference’s adventure-themed activities? Try your hand at one of these extreme adventures to get people bonding and make your event one to remember.


Glacier Trekking

In order to assess the impact of climate change, attendees of the International Association for the Study of the Commons’s biennial meeting in Alberta, Canada, trekked onto the Athabasca Glacier, one of the “toes” of the Columbia Icefields. They also made a stop at Brewster’s Glacier Skywalk, where the participants strolled along a glass, cliff-edge walkway 918 feet above the glacier. Talk about a cool meeting.

Avenue of the Volcanoes

Travel on a South American Train

Perhaps inspired by writers like Paul Theroux chronicling their South American train odysseys, Last year’s Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference, hosted by the International Ecotourism Society, offered just such an excursion. As a side trip to the conference in Quito, Ecuador, attendees could enjoy close-up views of Cotopaxi and other peaks on a scenic train ride through the Avenue of the Volcanoes.

Birdwatching in Mindo

Get Up Close and Personal With Wildlife

When you’re in a land with exquisite wildlife, take advantage of it as attendees did at ESTC’s TIES Conference in Quito. A popular excursion allowed attendees to travel two hours away to the cloud forests of Mindo for spectacular wildlife watching. Among the attractions were endemic birds, including the “cock of the rock” bird, umbrella bird, rolled-billed toucan, and a rainbow of butterflies, and fascinating plants like the dragon’s blood, teak, and breadfruit.

Southern Ship Journey

Why travel by land if you could travel by sea? The Adventure Travel Trade Association’s 2015 Adventure Travel World Summit in Chile includes a three-night excursion about the Stella Australis. This expedition cruise ship will take passengers on an epic journey across the Strait of Magellan to explore Cape Horn, Beagle Channel and other highlights like Tierra del Fuego, with opportunities to see dolphins, penguins and elephant seals up close.


Hit the Alps

There are no stuffy conference rooms at the Wilderness and Travel Medicine Conference in the Alps. This 10-day trip is a “conference on the trail” with participants hiking up to seven hours a day on Europe’s Mont Blanc Circuit, sampling local cuisine and wine before taking course lectures in the evenings at the cozy inns where participants stay on their way through France, Italy, and Switzerland.


Glamp It Up

While hardship is a great way to bond, “glamping” has is perks. ATTA’s Adventure Travel World Summit is offering an excursion dubbed a “Glamping Experience at the 8th Wonder of the World” in Chile. Participants stay in luxury yurts with king size beds, enjoy stunning views of the Paine Massif and spend their days hiking and kayaking in Torres del Paine.


Blindfolded Driving

You don’t have to travel too far to have a terrifying and adrenaline-packed bonding experience. One British company, The Teambuilding Company, lets teams try their hand at “Blindfold Driving.” Yes, it’s every bit as terrifying as it sounds. This communication and problem-solving exercise lets a driver take a good look at the course while making a plan. Then, the team piles in the car, the driver is blindfoled and it’s go time. Of course, the team gives instructions, but the catch is they can’t use words like “left,” “right” or “slow down!” That would be too simple. An experienced instructor accompanies the team through their problem-solving exercise, helping them “find unique alternative solutions to complex problems.”

Photo Credits: TIES, Wilderness and Travel Medicine Conference, EcoCamp

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