Top five adventure travel sources in Los Angeles

posted by Adventure Pam
Thursday, July 8, 2010 at 2:47pm EDT

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If you're planning an adventurous vacay and don't have the time to hit 50 different stores to get what you need, look no further - because here's a handy list for reference!

My first stop in Brazil will be the Amazon, where I'll face the challenge of UV rays, heat, biting disease-bearing insects, and other nasty bugs that cause unpleasant and frequent 200s.  I visited the following to minimize my risk:

Your health is #1, so the Dr. should be your first stop, at least a month before your trip.  Some countries require a certificate (the little yellow card) showing that you've had the proper immunizations.  Visiting a travel doctor instead of your primary care physician before a trip, allows you the benefit of a specialist that can assist you with the necessary vaccinations and health precautions, and can possibly save you money as well.  Dr. Terri Rock in Santa Monica is certified by the International Society of Travel Medicine and the American Society of Tropical Medicine, and is also an avid traveler that volunteers her medical services in exotic locales to help those in need.  She exceeded my expectations, and provided me with practical suggestions for traveling in tropics, which leads me to #1a...

My travel physician turned me on to this Travel Medicine website.  Since it's a website, it's not really a Los Angeles source, so it's not in my top 5 count, hence the 1a.  They have good prices on Permethrin clothing treatment, insect repellent, and ceralyte glucose-based rehydration formula (just in case).  If you enter the preferred pricing code trav10, you get 10% off your order. 

This is the perfect shop to score phrasebooks and travel guides.  There's a nice kids selection; and it's a great place to buy a gift for your favorite armchair traveler.  A friendly staff member special-ordered a map of the Brazilian Amazon for me because they didn't have one in stock, and it took less than a week to arrive.

At first glance, I thought this store was geared towards someone like my mom about to take a luxury cruise.  Well, that's not entirely an inaccurate assumption since they did have plenty of apparel that my mom would be thrilled to wear, however, this shop makes my list because of the expertise of the staff, selection of traveler gadgets and accessories, and some sun and insect protective garments they had on sale.  There are 2 store locations - Santa Monica and Santa Barbara.

I credit Adventure 16 as the store that got me hooked on adventure.  I remember the first time I wandered in the store and saw all the climbing gear and ropes on display and thought, "I want to be the kind of person that needs to buy that..."  Not only does Adventure 16 carry products you'd be hard-pressed to find at other stores, but the staff is very knowledgeable, and has a passion for outdoor sports.  Standing in line at checkout, staff members inquire, "So where are you going on your trip?" and you'll hear a conversation about the lemurs in Madagascar or climbing in Africa.   Check their website for clinics they host with adventure travel experts, and plan your next trip.  Right now there's a sale on ExOfficio clothing, which I took advantage of.

5.  REI
I shopped REI at the end of the day, saving the best for last.  Yes, I've lectured at a bunch of locations, but that's not the reason I say this; it's because this store has the perfect combination of intelligent, personable customer service with gear and clothing for all income levels.  REI has their own brand which tends to be less expensive, but comparable quality to other higher-end brands.  I had a fantastic selection of mosquito nets to choose from, including ones in my price range (the Defender brand happened to be on sale) so I didn't have to be stuck with that dorky mosquito head-net as the only thing I could afford.  Best thing about REI, the friendly sales gent said I could return my Buff headband I bought a couple years ago and exchange it for one with Insect Shield, which will be a huge help in the jungle.  If you are an REI member, they can locate your purchases in the system, and it's as good as a receipt.

I stopped in Big 5, which is known for their inexpensive clothing and sports equipment selection.  I checked to see if they carried mosquito nets since they carry hunting licenses and equipment, and the only thing they carried was that stupid head net.  I was about to leave, when I noticed they had a decent selection of compact binoculars, perfect for wildlife viewing while on an Amazon riverboat, on sale for $10.  A staff member assisted me, and proceeded to go through the merits of every binocular, including the ruby-coated lenses feature, which are, "great for spying on your neighbors so they can't see the reflection of your lenses.  Just kidding.  They're really used for hunting, so the deer can't see you."  Funny.

  • Dr. Terri Rock Travel Medicine & Immunization Center 2021 Santa Monica Blvd, Suite 335 E, Santa Monica, CA  90404, 310-829-7625 
  • Travel Medicine at http://travmed.com/
  • Traveler's Bookcase - 8375 West 3rd. St., LA, CA  90048, 323-655-0575
  • Magellan's - 1006 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, CA  90401, 310-394-9417
  • Adventure 16 - 11161 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, CA  90064, 310-473-4574 or visit http://www.adventure16.com/ for additional locations
  • REI - 402 Santa Monica Blvd, Santa Monica, CA  90401, 310-458-4370 or visit rei.com for additional locations
  • Big 5 Sporting Goods - 3121 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, CA  310-453-1747 or visit http://www.big5sportinggoods.com/ for additional locations

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