Like many people these days I’m feeling broke. But I’m hoping to take a great trip in the new year rather than stay home watching CNBC. What do you recommend?
A. For now, forget the assault on Everest or diving the Bikini Atoll—the types of sojourns that will set you back many thousands of dollars. Suze Orman might say don’t go anywhere, but I say these turbulent times simply mean we must get creative, back to basics, and, if possible, off the grid. Remember the potential for Zen equity (and real-world savings) when you unplug in a remote environment: It offers a reprieve from all types of media and a reconnection with the natural world—and it removes you from unwise consumer temptations. Whatever the economic situation, travel on the cheap is always a viable option, especially when you consider the home court advantage. If you live in the American West, why not look up that old college buddy who lives in Colorado? Spend some time renewing your friendship, then set off to backcountry ski or snowshoe the Rockies by day and crash out in the 10th Mountain Division Hut Association’s cozy accommodations by night. Stuck on the eastern seaboard? Leave your cell phone behind and take on a stretch of the Appalachian Trail, grabbing cheap sleep and eats at its trailside bunkhouses. And international travel doesn’t have to be off-limits. Capitalize on the weakness of the euro and raft down the Tara River in mountainous Montenegro. Got frequent-flier miles that will take you as far as Central America? Explore the crowd-free Pacific beaches of El Salvador that showcase unspoiled surf breaks, majestic sea turtles, and simple cabanas—all for less (after airfare) than that Craigslist couch you’ve been eyeing.
Holly Morris is a TV host (Treks in a Wild World, Globe Trekker). She is also the author of Adventure Divas and founder of the multimedia company Adventure Divas. Post your travel questions here and they could get answered in the magazine.
Illustration by Shout