Category Archives: Adventure Travel

Utah’s Arches National Park Introduces Timed-Entry Program for Independent Travelers; Tour Operators Exempted

A new advance-reservation timed-ticket entry program is in effect at Arches National Park, Utah for independent travelers from April  3 through October 3. Tour operators, however, are not restricted. © Laini Miranda/goingplacesfarandnear.com

MOAB, UT – New admission protocols have gone into effect for visitors to Arches National Park in Moab, Utah. Visitors traveling on their own will have to make advance reservations through Recreation.gov. Under a timed entry system, each registered visitor (an individual, couple, group or family is covered under a single booking) will be assigned a one-hour time slot between 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. local time. They will be able to enter the park anytime during that one-hour window.
 
The new timed-entry program will run from April 3 to Oct. 3, 2022. Reservations will open three months in advance. For example, visitors who hoped to go to the park in April needed to reserve a slot beginning Jan. 3, 2022. There will also be small numbers of last-minute tickets made available every day for the following day, since not everyone is able to plan their visit so far ahead.
 
Another good strategy is to leave the car behind and arrange to visit the park under the guidance of a professional tour operator. 

Moab Adventure Center, the go-to hub for all things adventure in the region, has arranged guided tours throughout the season and is not limited by these new restrictions. This will be a benefit for those who aren’t able to plan their park visit so far in advance.

Visitation grew to new heights in the 2021 season, the busiest year on record. Many people had to wait hours in line before being admitted. Others were turned away altogether and asked to come back the next day.
 
“Overall, we are very excited about the new system, and the changes it will bring. With the new system, the aim is to reduce the lines to get into the park, further enhancing the experience for everyone. The timed-entry system should keep the crowds at a manageable level at each point of interest, as well as parking lots and trailheads, making parking and access much more available and predictable,” said Cort Wright, Moab Adventure Center Manager.
 
The timed entry program does not apply to tour operators who have concessions contracts, such as Moab Adventure Center. The park will continue to accommodate travelers (even that same day) who book a guided tour through Moab Adventure Center. For details see https://www.moabadventurecenter.com/arches-national-park-tours and https://www.moabadventurecenter.com/arches-national-park.
 
“If tourists miss getting a reservation or something unexpected comes up, Moab Adventure Center will always be able to get them in as long as we have a scheduled tour operating. We are not required to participate in the reservation process and are not limited by the restrictions placed on the public,” Wright added.
 
Wright recommended the following tours for first-time and repeat visitors to the region: 

“In addition to not having to worry about advance reservations or having to enter the park at an assigned hour, these guided tours have several other benefits. Our guests love the fact that they can sit back and enjoy the ride, taking in every view out the window vs. having to pay attention to roads and traffic. Guests also appreciate learning about the history and geology of the area from an experienced guide. It’s really a great way to see Arches National Park,” Wright explained.
 
Moab Adventure Center (https://www.moabadventurecenter.com/) is a division of Western River Expeditions (http://www.westernriver.com/) an adventure travel company headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah with operations and offices in Moab and Fredonia, AZ. The company is the largest single tour provider in Moab, Utah. The Moab Adventure Center is located at 225 South Main St., Moab, UT 84532. For information and reservations call 435-259-7019 or 866-904-1163.

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TRIPS by Culture Trip Launches New Immersive, Experiential Tours with Special Deals, Discounts

Experience rural life in Vietnam and cycle through rice fields to experience farm life first hand with TRIPS by Culture © Laini Miranda/ goingplacesfarandnear.com

TRIPS by Culture Trip launched in September to offer multi-day small-group adventures with itineraries that combine immersive activities and distinctive places to stay, and experiences for the young at heart, the off-the-beaten path enthusiast, the culturally curious and those with the belief that “travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer”.  Behind TRIPS by Culture Trip is Culture Trip itself – the travel website and app for booking hand-picked places to stay, unique travel experiences and now also small-group adventures.

To kick off the new year, Culture Trip is also offering special deals and discounts now through January 31, 2022 including a $100 Culture Trip voucher when you book with TRIPS by Culture Trip; a $50 Culture Trip voucher when you spend $200 on a hotel; and a $20 Culture Trip voucher when you spend $100 on an experience. T&Cs apply.

TRIPS by Culture Trip offers over 30 itineraries in some of the world’s most captivating and off-the-grid places across the world.  TRIPS range from four to 13 days, welcoming up to 18 travelers aged 25 and over who can join solo or with friends. With a focus beyond mass-market offerings, TRIPS itineraries often avoid areas of over tourism and aim to put local people at the center; the team is dedicated to avoiding unethical activities or wildlife interactions that aren’t in the best interest of the animals.

“With everyone looking for that vacation or escape in 2022, here are some trips that many will never experience in their lifetime because, well, they didn’t know they could.”  Check these out:

●      Stay with a Bedouin Family in Jordan & sleep under the stars in the Valley of the Moon

Wild camping under the stars and staying with a Bedouin family in the breathtaking Wadi Rum — also known as the Valley of the Moon and as filming location for Star Wars: the Rise of Skywalker — is an unforgettable experience. On this trip, travelers also learn how to make Arabic coffee, cook a traditional meal with local Bedouins, milk camels and help shepherds herd their goats in the sunrise. Treks through rust-colored mountains, street food tours in Amman, and visits to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Petra through a back door to avoid the crowds are also part of this itinerary. 9-day trip from $2,599*      per person

●      Explore Casablanca’s design with a local architect & stargaze with an astrologer

Before exploring the tangerine dunes of the Sahara’s Erg Chebbi, bedding down in a desert camp in a Berber-style tent with a canopy of twinkling stars above, and stargazing in the desert with local astrologer Astro Hamid, travelers get to explore Casablanca’s diverse and historically significant architecture together with a local architect. 13-day trip from $2,809*      per person

●  Experience rural life in Vietnam & cook with a gastronomy artisan

A trip to Mai Chau is unforgettable — a lush valley lined with rice paddies between forested mountains, inhabited by several ethnic groups in the Hoa Binh province. Here, the group will cycle through rice fields to a White Thai village to experience farm life first hand — including collecting food for buffalos and feeding them, while learning about the history and culture of the White Thai ethnic group, named after their white clothes. The trip also takes travelers to Hue where they will get to learn about the flavors and techniques behind the local cuisine through a market visit and cooking class with gastronomy artisan Ms. Huy12-day trip from $1,609* per person

●  Immerse yourself into Sri Lankan wildlife and culture & learn the ancient dances

This epic 12-day ‘Treasure Island’ adventure avoids the usual tourist areas for a glimpse of real Sri Lankan culture. Travelers get to visit a quieter, lesser-known side of Yala National Park — reducing the impact on the wildlife and environment. The park has one of the highest densities of leopards in the world with plenty of elephants, monkeys, and crocodiles. Equally memorable will be seeing herds of wild elephants in Minneriya National Park, visiting a rural village school to learn about Sri Lankan education, and attending a dancing school in Lankathilaka, where a generational dancing master will teach the ancient art of dance in his own backyard. 12-day trip from $2,039* per person

● Learn taiko drumming and aikido & witness sumo wrestling training in Japan

As part of the ‘Japan Rising’ 12-day journey through the land of the rising sun, travelers get to learn from a local aikido expert this Japanese martial art that involves breathing, stretching and self-defense techniques. They also can witness sumo wrestling training to learn about the centuries old history of this traditional sport, and test their rhythm over a taiko drum — played in traditional performing arts and festivals in Japan — with a local expert instructor. 12-day trip from $4,239* per person

Naturally, TRIPS by Culture Trip has an extremely flexible and generous cancellation plan in place should Covid restrictions change your plans      , including rebooking for free up to 48 hours before departure and if TRIPS by Culture Trip cannot change your booking dates, they will refund the booking.  

To learn more and book TRIPS by Culture Trip, visit culturetrip.com/trips or call 678-967-4965.  

* Prices include the Local Insider; activities; accommodation based on two people sharing, with single occupancy available with a supplement; transport throughout the trip and a range of meals

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VISITED Travel App Helps Travelers Keep Track of Where They’ve Been, Where to Go

Got the travel bug? The travel app VISITED can help you keep track and plan where to go next. Is Venice on the list? © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com.

The mobile app development company, Arriving in High Heels Corporation, based in Toronto, Canada (arrivinginhighheels.com) has launched three new features in its VISITED travel app that are specifically designed to motivate travelers to find new experiences and help the travel industry recover from the stay-at-home coronavirus pandemic.

“People are ready to travel again and VISITED is ready to get them excited about new opportunities and destinations,” Founder and CEO Anna Kayfitz said,  No other travel app has these three features.

The new features are Inspiration, Lists, and City Maps. Together they highlight those places not necessarily popular but worth a trip, as well as well-known tourist attractions. They allow travelers to swipe photos of famous and not so famous places to add to their own picture database of destinations they have experienced or want to visit. VISITED has over 1.2 million users.

For individual travelers, the VISITED Inspiration feature tracks personal travel stats, such as percentage of the world visited, number of countries and cities visited, as well as regions on a personal wish-list. The List feature names capitals of the world, wonders of the world, and art museums. Museums and other attractions are constantly added to provide even greater options to choose from. The City Maps feature is invaluable in planning upcoming itineraries.

The app enables travelers to keep personal stats on the number of countries visited, percentage  of the world or country seen by region, how you rank against other world travelers, number of cities visited, percentage of the world that you WANT to see vs. where you are in your travel journey.

For the travel industry, the VISITED app’s features present a sponsoring opportunity for hospitality related companies, “because we know where the users have been and where they want to go,” Kayfitz said. “This is also an opportunity to showcase travel products and destinations without losing the focus of the user.”

She is looking forward to seeing a resurgence in travel. “In the meantime, users can start planning their trips with VISITED, discovering places to go, things to do, and sites to see domestically and internationally.”

Kayfritz is the founder of Arriving In High Heels, a mobile app company, which she started 2014 and incorporated in 2017 converted it to a corporation. The company, now known as Arriving in High Heels Corporation, and has 3 apps including Visited, to help keep track of your travels;  X-Walk Fitness app, a Nordic walking app that tracks progress and lists the top 25 famous hikes and Pay-off Debt app that helps people get out of debt faster.

All her app ideas came from a personal need for them, Kayfitz said.

The idea for Visited, for example, “started while I was flying back from South Africa with my husband (then boyfriend, Brian). I would use a little notebook and make a list of all the countries I visited and places I still wanted to visit. When I could not remember a few smaller islands such as Curacao, I became frustrated and spent the enter long haul flight trying to remember the islands we had visited. Brian had mentioned there has to be an app for that. When we could not find one, Brian, who is an app developer decided to make one for me for my personal use. We launched it in iOS only. When we started seeing downloads coming in, we knew we had something. So, we slowly began working on it to make it the app it is today. We currently have 1.2 million plus users and are growing.

“My travel industry experience did not really impact the development of the app. I was always into travel. My parents would always visit new places while I was growing up and that started my interest in travel. When I had the chance at 18 to go abroad with a friend, we went on a tour to London, Paris, Rome, and that’s when the travel bug bit me.”

The Visited app, she said, “has opened my eyes to new destinations especially with the inspiration section of the app. Gathering the hundreds of photos that are currently in the app, it made me realize how much more of the world there is to see. It has also motivated me to check off even more countries I want to visit.”

Prior to developing Visited, she said, “I would discover new places by browsing the web, travel brochures, reading magazines and even talking to other travelers while abroad. I kept track of my travels and things I wanted to see in a journal. I hate to write, so it was just a simple continuing list or a drawn map of all the places I have visited. I used to love to check off top destinations, lists found in magazines, blogs to see what percentage I have seen. This is what we hoped to capture in our app. We also added the top 10 countries to visit based on where you live to inspire people to travel to easy to reach/popular destinations.”

The app doesn’t replace guidebooks, she maintained. “It is a complimentary app to these books. Guidebooks offer a way into a destination with detailed explanations, and insightful information while we offer a macro approach to travel to simply tick off places you want   to travel or have already visited.

“As an analyst I always start by asking the questions of why and so what? Since Visited was designed for my personal use at the beginning, I wanted the app to answer the following questions:

  • How many countries have I seen?
  • Many of our copy-cat competitor apps show you what percentage of the world you have seen. However, what use is that? I do not want to visit every country in the world although for some that may be their goal. However, I wanted to know what percentage of the world I WANT to visit and what percentage I have seen. So, we have included the metric that answers those two questions.
  • We also added the top 10 locations for people to visit from their home country. This allows users to discover easily accessible countries. This was done to inspire additional travel. For example, if Canada is their home country, Canadians will find plenty to see in destinations easy to visit in Canada. This answers the question what sites can I visit in my home country?
  • We also have a rank of how you compare to other international travelers.
  • We now allow users to count the UK as 4 countries vs 1, so., we now have the options for you to select it as 4 or 1. This will help answer the question how I count the number of countries I have visited.

“The app is designed to show your progress and to inspire you to complete your journeys.”

As to who the Visited app can benefit, she says, “Anyone that likes to travel regardless of their style of travel. They can be a once-a-year family trip traveler, a backpacker or someone who has rented an RV to visit every state. They will all benefit from using our app to keep track of their trips and get inspired to visit new locations. We find that it is a good reminder of all the places that you have been to, to make yourself feel better especially during the coronavirus pandemic. That is why we added the list feature that lets you check of all the art museums, world wonders, and other lists to help keep up travel moral during the pandemic.”

Users can use the app to share their trips, by clicking an icon that pops up with all the different ways you can share – text, email, print, download as PDF, as well as via social media you have installed such as WhatsApp, Instagram.

Visited now has 1.2 plus million users. XWalk and Pay Off Debt are niche apps that were launched in the past 2 years; the number of users has been growing.

Travel apps have taken off with people getting back to traveling once again. According to Sensor Travel Apps 2021 report, U.S. Travel Apps surpassed 85 million downloads, growing 128%.

How to use Visited:

  • Download the app for free via App Store or Google Play Store
  • Sign up – with email – (email is required because this is a unique identifier to keep track of the data that the user has select that way if they change phones, they will always be able to get back to the selection).
  • Input where you live, countries visited and countries you wish to visit
  • The map will display the selections. You can then click on each country to see additional information such as regions and cities, and input notes for that destination.
  • If you click on cities (Paid Feature) you can select different cities by tapping on the country.
  • You can see on the) dashboard the top countries you visited, how you rank against other international travelers as well as the top 10 countries that are most visited from the country you live in.
  • You can swipe to see photos of places and add them to your wish or been list.
  • You can click on experiences and see the different lists such as capitals of the world, art museums or world wonders, etc. In addition, you can also see the percentage of the world you have visited. You can also tap on experiences (such as hiking, skiing) and can select all the countries you have been to and doing that activity. For example, if you select: Canada, the US, and Switzerland for skiing it will display the 3 countries where you skied. You can also select where you want to ski.

The app can be downloaded for free on iOS from the App Store and on Android from Google (due to copy-cats, the app is called Visited with the blue world icon and a yellow pin).

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Global Scavenger Hunt to Decide World Travel Championship Set for 2022 – Think You’re the World’s Best Traveler?

Team Lazy Monday, Eric & Kathryn Verwillow of California, who would go on to win second place in the 2019 Global Scavenger Hunt, dash out of Petra, Jordan on to their next challenge © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

The 2022 edition of The Global Scavenger Hunt™ is the 16th annual “world travel championship”—an around-the-world travel adventure competition that takes Teams of two on A Blind Date with The World™ that eventually crowns The World’s Greatest Travelers™.

Held every spring, with our 2022 event to take place over three-weeks starting on April 22nd through May 14th, 2022. Fifteen international Teams will travel from Vancouver, Canada to New York City—the long way around!

Event participation is open but limited to 15 teams of two from around the world.  Previous events have drawn savvy globe tottering travelers from: USA, Canada, China, Belgium, New Zealand, Australia, England, Poland, Germany, Dubai & Barbados. With travelers having previously applied from over 60 nations.

The World’s Greatest Travelers™ trophy, along with an accompanying free trip around the world to defend their titles in the next event are at stake in this winner-take-all event.

The whole world is our game board. It’s a circumnavigation of the globe touching down in at least 10 countries, that may include in 2022: Peru, Colombia, Indonesia, Laos, Oman, Tanzania, Russia, Morocco and Italy. (Note: These are only potential countries as The Global Scavenger Hunt™ is indeed A Blind Date with The World™ for all its participants—they do not know which country they will be visiting next until they are given a 4-hour notice. So far, the event has visited 85 countries.

For additional information visit GlobalScavengerHunt.com or call GreatEscape Adventures (CST#2071053-40) at +1.310.281.7809.

See Global Scavenger Hunt: In the Scramble to be Crowned ‘World’s Best Travelers’ and more features on the 2019 Global Scavenger Hunt at goingplacesfarandnear.com

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Grab a BOGO Deal from TRIPS by Culture Trip During Holiday Sale

Vietnam is one of the destinations offered by Culture Trip © Dave E. Leiberman/goingplacesfarandnear.com

TRIPS by Culture Trip is offering a BOGO deal from Nov. 22-Dec. 3, 2021: book a spot on one of their trips and bring someone along for free to places like Scotland, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Italy, Nepal and 20 more destinations.

Travel must take place before May 31, 2022 (the Iceland itinerary in Jan. 2022 is excluded).  All trips available are on a first booked, first served basis. Space is limited and certain conditions apply.

TRIPS by Culture Trip are unique small-group adventures that help people experience extraordinary destinations in unexpected ways, together with other culturally curious travelers. Curated by travel experts and led by Local Insiders, the multi-day adventures offer itineraries that combine immersive activities, hyper-local experiences and unique places to stay. Thoughtfully planned with ample free time to unwind or explore, the itineraries offer the right balance of exploration, action, and relaxation.
 
Some of the once-in-a-lifetime experiences that are part of TRIPS by Culture Trip and can be enjoyed with this Black Friday deal:

Welcome to the Jungle: Exploring Northern Thailand
10-day trip from $1,599* per person; based on departures 20 February and 14 April 2022
Watch the sunrise over the highest mountain in Thailand and feed elephants in a sanctuary during this 10-day adventure. Take in Chiang Mai, Pai and the Doi Inthanon National Park and float through a 5,466 ft. cave and watch the sunset over the scenic Pai Canyon. In between jungle trekking and waterfall swims, enjoy a slice of slow living at a geothermal hot springs and savor local Thai delicacies. This off-the-beaten-track journey will showcase an authentic side of the former Lanna Kingdom.

From the Amalfi Coast to Puglia: the Complete Southern Italy Tour
10-day trip from $2,029* per person; based on departures 2 April and 7 May 2022
Discover cliff top villages, secluded beaches and authentic Italian cuisine on this journey across southern Italy. Sample street food in Naples, cruise along the Amalfi Coast on a private boat tour, uncover the secrets of Altamura bread at Il Frantoio and explore the ancient hilltop town of Matera, featured in the latest James Bond movieRound off the trip by relaxing on the secluded beaches of Polignano a Mare and explore the Salento peninsula.

Riches and Ruins: Wine, Dine and Step Back in Time in Rural Georgia
9-day trip from $1,369* per person; based on departures 5 May 2022
Whether hiking in the Caucasus Mountains or whipping up a feast from a farmer’s market, this nine-day journey yields an immersive Georgian experience. Begin in the Old Quarter of Tbilisi and visit UNESCO World Heritage sites at nearby Mtskheta. See the ancient wine-making – and drinking – before exploring Lagodekhi National Park. The spectacular Truso Gorge, a hike up to Gergeti Church and a ramble beyond remote Juta village showcase the best of the High Caucasus. 

La Vida Local in Mexico City
5-day trip from $1,209* per person; based on departures 10 February, 17 March and 14 April 2022
Climb ancient temples in Teotihuacán, watch lucha libre wrestlers in action and toss back mezcal shots on a five-day trip to Mexico City. Stay at the artsy Cadillac Hotel near Roma, before hitting the streets on a walking tour of the Condesa district. Enjoy sizzling meat tacos in Roma, visit Frida Kahlo’s house, then sing with the mariachis floating along the Xochimilco canals.
 
TRIPS by Culture Trip offers over 30 itineraries in some of the world’s most captivating and off-the-grid places, with new itineraries added regularly. TRIPS range from four to 13 days, welcoming a maximum of up to 18 travelers aged 25 and over who can join solo or with friends. With a focus beyond mass-market offerings, the itineraries often put local people at the center and avoid areas of over-tourism as well as unethical activities or wildlife interactions that aren’t in the best interest of the animals.
 
TRIPS by Culture Trip offers its Ultimate COVID Booking Guarantee, so if COVID regulations change a customer’s plans, they can rebook for free (valid for bookings made by Nov. 30, 2021 for travel before Feb. 28, 2022). For bookings outside these dates, no change or cancellation fees are imposed and customers can get a full refund should they need to postpone or cancel a trip up to 30 days prior to departure. All trips have COVID safety measures in place.

Full terms and conditions can be found at:  https://theculturetrip.com/bookable/booking-terms-and-conditions/

To book a TRIPS by Culture Trip Black Friday deal visit culturetrip.com/trips or contact tripssupport@theculturetrip.com or +1 (678) 967-4965

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Tight Window Opens for Booking Grand Canyon Group Rafting Charters

Western River Expeditions opens select booking dates for charter groups anticipating river rafting adventures in 2023 in the Grand Canyon.

SALT LAKE CITY, UT, Nov. 12, 2021 – This month Western River Expeditions opens select booking dates for charter groups anticipating river rafting adventures in 2023 in the Grand Canyon.
 
Groups ranging from extended family to corporate to non-profit can benefit from the advantages of this advance booking window for up to 28 people on prime departure dates.
 
Advance bookings for charter groups are available for select, 3, 4 6, or 7-day Grand Canyon rafting expeditions throughout the 2023 season.
 
“As the popularity of doing an exclusive private trip with just the members of your group has grown over the years, we have found it works best to open up select dates in advance for just these groups. That way they can still find dates with wide-open availability. Doing it this way, we can give our charter guests time to advertise, market, promote and book,” said Brandon Lake, co-owner and CMO. “We still leave several dates wide open for the general public so they have plenty of space to for individual bookings when the season opens for individual bookings on Nov. 30. Once this opens, many departures will sell out online within the first several hours.”
 
Although Mother Nature provides more than enough photo ops on the descent through the Grand Canyon, for these upcoming bookings, Western River Expeditions plans to offer groups the option of custom group t-shirts, adding even more pizzazz to group photos.
 
Group charters are available on all of the rivers where Western River hosts programs: Cataract CanyonDesolation Canyon and Westwater Canyon.  Western River’s experience with charter groups is that people get hooked on river rafting and in the future segue into other river trips. For details please see – https://www.westernriver.com/group-rafting-trips.
 
If an epic river rafting adventure is in your future, Western River Expeditions says don’t delay making reservations for trips down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon and in Utah’s Cataract Canyon and Desolation Canyon.
 
Here are a few good reasons why to act now.
 
Tight controls on inventory through commercial permits make these areas available only to a limited few every year. While Western River Expeditions escorts more people down the Colorado River and Green River on professionally guided rafting trips in Utah and Arizona than any other rafting operator in the country, Western River, as well as other commercial tour operators, has to abide by the limits set by government-issued permits. These coveted seats are being snapped up quicker than ever before by an unprecedented surge of demand following months of COVID lockdown, record-breaking heat waves that beg for water-based recreation, and an exploding demand to visit America’s national parks.
 
As a result, Western River Expeditions filled all Grand Canyon slots for 2021 well in advance. Many departures for 2022 are sold out and others are very close to selling out. 2023 Grand Canyon dates will open for general bookings on Nov. 30 this year. Requests for 2023 group charters are being taken now.
 
For a copy of Western River Expeditions’ 2022/2023 catalog, questions, availability and reservations call 866-904-1160 (Local: 801-942-6669) or visit the website at: http://www.westernriver.com/.
 
Western River Expeditions is an adventure travel company headquartered in Salt Lake City, with operations and offices in Moab, Utah and Fredonia, Arizona. Annually from March through October it escorts more people down rivers on professionally guided rafting trips in Utah, Idaho and Arizona than any other company. It is the largest licensed outfitter in the Grand Canyon and the largest single tour provider in Moab, UT through its division Moab Adventure Center (http://www.moabadventurecenter.com/).
 
Western River Expeditions, providing Grand Canyon rafting, Utah and Idaho rafting, and international multi-sport trips, was founded in 1961 by Colorado River rafting pioneer Jack Currey. It has been named one of the “Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth” by the editors of National Geographic Adventure magazine. The company is the proud recipient of the “Best of State” award through Utah’s Premier Recognition and Awards Program for the past seventeen consecutive years (2004-2020).

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G Adventures Offers Up to 30% Off More than 500 Tours During Biggest Sale of the Year

Tour the dunes from atop a camel for an authentic way to experience the Sahara, explore high-walled kasbahs and wander the labyrinthine alleys of Fès and Marrakech on G Adventures Morocco Kasbahs and Desert trip and get 20% off when booking during the holiday sale © Dave E. Leiberman/goingplacesfarandnear.com

G Adventures is offering up to 30 percent off on more than 500 tours departing before October 31, 2022 with its biggest sale of the year, from November 10 through December 3, 2021. With the launch of the Cyber Sale, the small group adventure operator and community tourism pioneer is rewarding travelers who are eager to get back out there with discounts on more than 500 itineraries across the company’s selection of Active, Classic, Active, Marine, Family, Local Living and 18-to-30-Somethings travel styles.

Tours that are on sale and depart before March 31, 2022 offer travelers up to 30 percent off, with additional departures before October 31, 2022 featuring savings of up to 20 percent off the original price. 

Ben Perlo, managing director for G Adventures in the US and Latin America, says the sale provides an added incentive for travelers at a time when the conditions are just right for booking for holiday travel and beyond. 

“Our most recent consumer research panel* tells us that 72 percent of respondents plan to take an international vacation by mid-2022 but of those people only 44 percent have actually booked, so there’s still a lot of pent-up demand that is yet to be realized.

“This year’s Cyber Sale has some of the biggest discounts we’ve ever offered, giving people the added incentive they need to book. And with our flexible Book with Confidence policy still in place, allowing travelers to cancel and rebook their tour with no added cost, plus our Vaccinated-Only and Travel Ready tour options, travelers can feel confident about their next vacation knowing that we have their health and safety top of mind,” says Perlo.

Also, here’s a pro tip: with supply chains being strained worldwide, why not bypass the mail system and stuff your loved one’s stocking with the gift of travel? No need to hit refresh on a tracking number, and givers and recipients alike will feel good knowing that each G Adventures trip helps support local communities that rely on tourism. 

Departures and options are subject to availability, and travelers are encouraged to take advantage of the deals as soon as they go live to secure their desired trip option and departure date. Sample itineraries in this year’s Cyber Sale** include:

  • Machu Picchu Adventure – This eight-day Classic style adventure starts and ends in Lima and offers all of the access, culture and can’t-miss sights in a short amount of time. Explore Cusco and the surrounding hills, take the train up to Machu Picchu, wander through markets and museums and immerse yourself in cultures past and present. This tour starts at USD $979pp** (30% off the regular starting price of $1399pp). 
  • Colombia Express –  Save 30% on this action-packed nine-day Classic trip that starts in Bogota and ends in Cartagena. Tour beaches, coffee regions, and metropolitan cities, check out the resurgence of culture, art, and food in Bogotá and Medellín, dive deep into the Caribbean vibe in Cartagena, and enjoy the Latin-Caribbean fusion of the local cuisine. Pricing starts at USD $1434pp (that is 30% off the regular starting price of $2049pp).
  • Costa Rica Active Adventure – Starting and ending in San Jose, this 13-day Active style trip packs in the adventure with biking, trekking, kayaking, ziplining and horseback riding. After landing in San José, embark on four days of exploration around Monteverde and Arenal Volcano. Raft down the mighty Pacuare River before crossing over to our remote rainforest lodge, surrounded on all sides by the thick, enveloping jungle. Travelers end the journey by heading down to the beach at Puerto Viejo. Pricing starts at USD $1439pp (that is 20% off the regular starting price of $1799pp).
  • Morocco Kasbahs and Desert – Starting in Casablanca and ending in Marrakech, this short-but-sweet eight-day Classic tour offers up a great combination of Morocco’s must-see highlights and a little free time for travelers to explore on their own. Tour the dunes from atop a camel for an authentic way to experience the Sahara, explore high-walled kasbahs and wander the labyrinthine alleys of Fès and Marrakech. Sale pricing starts at just USD $679pp (that is 20% off the regular starting price of $849pp).

For more information or to book, visit www.gadventures.com/cyber-sale/

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Global Scavenger Hunt Returns for 2022; Applications to Join now Being Accepted

Team Lazy Monday, Eric & Kathryn Verwillow of California, who would go on to win second place in the 2019 Global Scavenger Hunt, dash out of Petra, Jordan on to their next challenge © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

After a COVID-enforced two-year hiatus, the Global Scavenger Hunt is back in 2022 – an around-the-world travel adventure to crown the “World’s Greatest Travelers.”

Unlike the Amazing Race (which was inspired by the Global Scavenger Hunt), The Global Scavenger Hunt isn’t a race, but rather a contest to amass the most points by doing scavenges designed to immerse you into local culture, heritage and environment of the places you visit.

In the course of 23 days, the teams of two travel to 10 countries, not knowing your next destination until your team is given instructions to get to the airport. You have to figure out how to get around without the benefit of GPS, smartphones or computer. Paper maps are allowed, but asking locals for directions is preferred.

Trusting strangers in strange lands is the shibboleth, as the intrepid travelers circle the globe (which is why you can’t use your own GPS or smartphone). The event has touched down in 85 countries to date.

“We’re thrilled about the growing momentum for travel and are feeling so positive and excited about it, that we have scheduled the takeoff dates for our Spring 2022 event: Wheels up April 22 thru May 14,” writes Event Director Bill Chalmers, who calls himself the “ringmaster.”

“Our last event in 2019 was fully subscribed, and we are currently reserving spots for our 2022 adventure while holding on to our 2019 price structure on all deposits made before December 10th this year.”

(Full disclosure: I was on the 2019 Global Scavenger Hunt.)

The event, which will be the 16th Global Scavengee Hunt, pits savvy international travelers against each other by taking them on A Blind Date with the World, visiting ten secret destinations without any prior preparation, and then have them unravel a constant blitz of highly authentic, participatory and challenging culturally-oriented scavenges along the way.

For example: meditating with monks, training elephants, taking flamenco lessons, cooking local dishes with local chefs, searching out Lost Cities, cracking sacred temple mysteries, joining in local celebrations and learning local languages enough to decipher their scavenger hunt clues. 

The Global Scavenger Hunt is limited to a small group of world travelers. All travelers are interviewed for suitability and single travelers are welcome to apply (you will be paired up for a team).

For additional information visit GlobalScavengerHunt.com, or contact GreatEscape Adventures Inc., at +1.310.281.7809.

See our coverage of our experience on the 2019 Global Scavenger Hunt at goingplacesfarandnear.com

Global Scavenger Hunt: In the Scramble to be Crowned ‘World’s Best Travelers’ 

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8 Fall Vacations for Foliage, Fewer Crowds & Stunning Scenery

Ziplining at the Red Reflet Ranch, Ten Sleep, Wyoming, just one of the activities at the all-inclusive guest ranch (c) Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Cool weather, brightly colored foliage, and destinations largely free from crowds make fall the perfect time to travel. Here are eight vacation ideas for the months ahead, ranging from the mountains of Montana to the Natchez Trace and even the Galapagos Islands

1. Pacific Coast Cycling: The Pacific Coast Route is one of America’s premier cycling routes and autumn is an optimal time to avoid heavy tourist traffic. Pedal south through the lush forests of western Washington before following the Columbia River to the Oregon coast, then enter California and encounter massive redwoods coastal headlands and sandy beaches with bike paths. Ride the route on your own with maps from Adventure Cycling Association, or join other on a tour.
 
2. Fall Under the Big Sky: A visit to Big Sky, Montana, and stay at The Wilson Hotel offers the opportunity for fall adventures in Yellowstone country, as elk bugle and pockets of aspen trees turn golden against the backdrop of the green forest. Hike and mountain bike trails surrounding town, fish the famed Gallatin River or take one last tour of Yellowstone National Park’s natural wonders and wildlife before roads close for the season.
 
3. Traffic-Free Natchez Trace: The Natchez Trace is a historic travel corridor through Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi used by American Indians, settlers, soldiers and future presidents. And with no commercial traffic, the Natchez Trace Parkway is a cyclist’s dream come true. Join Cycle of Life Adventures for a fall tour to enjoy the changing colors of maple, hickory, oak and other hardwood trees, milder temperatures and overnight accommodations in small towns along the parkway.
 
4. National Parks RV Trip: National parks saw record crowds over the summer, but now that fall is here it’s a great time to visit for fewer crowds, less traffic and pleasant temperatures. Blacksford rents fully stocked Mercedes-Benz Sprinter overland adventure vehicles from Winnebago with an all-inclusive pricing model that includes unlimited miles, no generator fees, bedding, kitchen and bath supplies, free Wi-Fi, a free annual pass to the national parks and 24-hour roadside assistance.
 
5. Arizona + Black Canyon Mountain Biking: Explore all the Sonoran Desert has to offer with the Best of Phoenix and Black Canyon Trail Mountain Biking Tour from Escape Adventures. This trip is ideal for close groups of biking friends looking for a warm fall or winter excursion. Highlights include exploring the 21,099-acre McDowell Mountain regional park, riding conservancy lands and ripping more than 40-miles of fast and flowy singletrack.
 
6. Jackson Hole Glamping: Wyoming’s Fireside Resort offers 25 pint-sized, luxuriously outfitted tiny house rental units designed by Wheelhaus. The resort is located a short distance from Grand Teton National Park and the Jackson Hole ski slopes, making it the perfect place to post up for a fall getaway or winter ski trip.
 
7. Play Cowboy at a Dude Ranch: Red Reflet Ranch is a 28,000-acre luxury resort and working ranch on the west slope of the Bighorn Mountains, just three hours from Yellowstone National Park. Guests stay in private chalets and enjoy family-friendly activities like horseback riding, ATVing, ziplining, swimming, hiking, fishing, shooting and feasting on farm-to-table cuisine.
 
8. Autumn Galapagos Adventure: Fall is one of the best times of year to visit Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands, particularly when it comes to wildlife and weather. The Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel has joined forces with Scalesia Galapagos Lodge to offer a new weeklong program that includes day trips aboard Yacht Sea Lion, glamping in luxury tents on Isabela Island and visits to remote and mysterious places that illustrate the incredible diversity of the archipelago.

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‘Long Travel’, A Post-Pandemic Trend

Our chalet at the Red Reflet Ranch, Wyoming, is ideal home-away-from-home amid red-rock cliffs, with all the amenities and activities of a luxury 28,000-acre ranch © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

New data indicate that travelers want to vacation for longer than in the past due to pent-up demand, an excess of paid time off, and a surplus of funds from saving during the pandemic. GlobalData’s newest poll discovered that more than 1/4 of travelers now prefer taking a vacation of 10 nights or more. “Long travel” could become a post-pandemic travel trend, reaching into vacations for 2022 and beyond. From the Galapagos to the Grand Tetons, Andes to Appalachians, here are a few examples of longer bucket list adventures:

1. Galapagos, Amazon + Andes: This two-week-long journey showcases Hacienda PimanSacha Lodge and Scalesia Galapagos Lodge, taking guests to the snow-capped volcanoes of the Andes, the depths of the Amazon jungle and the breathtaking mini-worlds of the Galapagos Islands, unspoiled by civilization.

2. Epic Appalachians: Cycle from the wilderness of Maine to vibrant Asheville, North Carolina during Cycle of Life Adventures’ 28-day Epic Appalachians Bike Tour, paralleling the Appalachian Trail on low-traffic roads. Cover more than 1,300 miles and more than 100,000 feet of elevation gain as you climb and descend through the Green and White Mountains, the Berkshires, the Red Mountains, the Delaware Gap, the Poconos, and along Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway.

3. Yellowstone, Jackson Hole + Dude Ranch: Spend a few days playing cowboy at the 28,000 acre Red Reflet Ranch in Ten Sleep, Wyoming, before heading to The Wilson Hotel in Big Sky, Montana to explore the surrounding area and Yellowstone National Park. After that, journey to Jackson Hole and use Fireside Resort as your base camp for a Grand Teton National Park adventure.

4. TransAmerica Trail: For many, the 4,200-mile TransAmerica Trail remains the holy grail of American bike trips, crossing the country between Oregon and Virginia. Ride from the outlet of the Columbia River, over the Cascades and Rockies, across the Midwest and Mississippi, then descend the Appalachians to Chesapeake Bay on your own with resources from Adventure Cycling Association or join its 93-day TransAm Westward tour.

5. Grand Canyon, Yosemite and Zion by RVBlacksford offers overland RV adventures and an all-inclusive pricing model that includes unlimited miles, z national park pass, and 24-hour roadside assistance. The company curates multi-week road trips by connecting travelers with vetted campsites, guides and other hand-picked attractions. Pick up an RV at their Las Vegas location and spend a couple weeks exploring the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Zion and Arches via a tricked out Mercedes Sprinter van. 

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