Adventure travel is a type of tourism, involving exploration or travel with perceived (and possibly actual) risk, and potentially requiring specialized skills and physical exertion. Adventure tourism has grown in recent decades, as tourists seek different kinds of vacations, but measurement of market size and growth is hampered by the lack of a clear operational definition. According to the U.S. based Adventure Travel Trade Association, adventure travel may be any tourist activity that includes the following three components: a physical activity, a cultural exchange and connection with nature.
Adventure tourists may be motivated to achieve mental states characterized as rush or flow, resulting from stepping outside of their comfort zone. This may be from experiencing culture shock or through the performance of acts, that require significant effort and involve some degree of risk (real or perceived) and/or physical danger (See extreme sports). This may include activities such as mountaineering, trekking, bungee jumping, mountain biking, canoeing, rafting, kayaking, zip-lining, paragliding, sandboarding, caving and rock climbing. Some obscure forms of adventure travel include disaster and ghetto tourism. Other rising forms of adventure travel include social and jungle tourism.
Access to inexpensive consumer technology, with respect to Global Positioning Systems, flashpacking, social networking and photography, have increased the worldwide interest in adventure travel. The interest in independent adventure travel has also increased as more specialist travel websites emerge offering previously niche locations and sports.