From the category archives:

Affordable

3 Ways To Sleep Cheap

by Alan Rider

In the two decades I’ve spent traveling the world to dig up new and unusual experiences for my readers, I’ve spent the night in everything from ridiculously expensive hotels where my personal butler left plush slippers next to the bed each evening to low-budget motels with filthy orange shag carpet so gross I was afraid to take my shoes off.  And here’s what I learned:  That it usually doesn’t make much sense to shell out a ton of dough for a room where all I’m going to do is sleep and shower.
Fortunately for frugal types like me, there are more affordable lodging options out there than ever before.  Which brings [...]

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5 Affordable Gifts You'll Never Have To Return

by Alan Rider

In my recent Black Friday Blues post, I suggested a few extraordinary experiences that I thought would make great gifts.  The kind of remarkable once-in-a-lifetime adventures that I know from personal experience will flat-out blow your giftee away.

After giving it some more thought, however, it occurred to me that some folks might be put off because they automaticaly assume that it must be too expensive.  Something that actually couldn’t be further from the truth.
To prove my point, I’ve put together a list of five extraordinary experiences with price tags under $100.  Add the fact that these gifts will be remembered long after every other present under the tree has been [...]

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The One Creature Every Animal Lover Must Meet

by Alan Rider

Everyone thinks of Florida as all warm and sunny, all the time.  And while that’s largely true, the nights around the sleepy coastal town of Crystal River can get downright nippy this time of year.  Which is exactly why the next few months are such a great time of year to visit, especially if you’re an animal lover.
You see, those chilly evenings make the many warm springs around King’s Bay a magnet for manatees.  Because sea cows can’t take the cold any better than I can, they return from their daily foraging to spend the night here in waters as clear as any swimming pool.
Which is where my friends at [...]

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Experience This!

by Alan Rider

Just read a great interview with one of my heroes, Blue Highways author William Least Heat Moon.  A man responsible for my long-held belief that it’s not the destination but the experience that really matters.  And the more extraordinary that experience the better.
While I’ve collected a fair number of extraordinary experiences both here and on the pages of XTRORD.com, I’m well aware there are lots more of these truly remarkable once-in-a-lifetime adventures out there waiting to be discovered.
Which is why I’ve been geeking out on a handful of new adventure travel books.  While all of them tend to focus on destinations rather than experiences to some degree, read between the [...]

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Black Friday Blues

by Alan Rider

Just heard an interview with a women who arrived at a southern California mall at 4:30 this morning because she thought joining the crowds lined up for the traditional day-after-Thanksgiving deals would be an interesting “experience.” I’m sure she’s right on some level, though honestly battling the Black Friday throngs for questionable deals on things I have no real use for is one adventure I have absolutely no interest in.
As a matter of fact, I’ve long been a proponent of the philosophy that we’re all burdened by way too much “stuff.”  All of which will wear out, go out of style, or just plain get ignored at the back [...]

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A Real Wild Time—Part 2

by Alan Rider

In the previous installment, I pointed out that you don’t have to travel to remote corners of the globe to have an extraordinary experience.  Well, here’s another example of a genuine once-in-a-lifetime adventure hiding in plain sight at one of San Diego’s most-visited tourist attractions:

Let’s try a little word association.  When I say “San Diego,” you say what?
Anyone who’s ever visited America’s Finest City knows there’s no shortage of ways to fill in that blank.  But I’m thinking of one word in particular: Zoo.  After all, there are good reasons they call it the “World Famous San Diego Zoo,” not the least of which are some of the classic [...]

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A Real Wild Time—Part 1

by Alan Rider

A lot of folks mistakenly assume that having a truly extraordinary experience means spending a ton of dough or traveling to exotic locales.  Today’s post, the first in a two-part series, proves that ain’t necessarily so.

Considering I’m all about hunting down remarkable adventures, it’s probably not all that surprising that I generally tend to shy away from theme parks and similar attractions that cater to the masses. But my recent trip to San Diego reminded me that sometimes, with a little digging, it’s possible to turn up some downright extraordinary experiences even in the most touristy places you can imagine.

Case in point: SeaWorld’s [...]

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