Make 2023 adventuresome by looking for travel bargains, nearby spots


In 2022, both our ability to travel and our personal travel destinations continued to rebound as we moved past the worst of the Covid pandemic. In the new year, while still practicing good travel health precautions, expand your horizons, seek novelty you may have missed in the past and make 2023 a year of adventure.

Here are a few suggestions to help you become more adventurous, along with a few anecdotes of travel treasures we have uncovered using these tips.

Search for nearby treasures

First, take a look at treasures close to your prime destination.  On a spring trip to Breckenridge, Colorado, for a National Ski Patrol event, we took the time to pour over a map of the state and realized two amazing national parks were fairly close.  So we added a few days to our drive trip and  included southern Colorado national parks (Mesa Verdi National Park, Great Sand Dunes National Park, as well as Canyons of the Ancients National Monument); simply stunning places. Seeing the ancient pueblos of Native Americans built into secluded Colorado canyons a thousand years ago was truly memorable. For detail, read one of my past columns:

Take a fresh look at old favorites

View of Lake Tahoe and Mt. Tallac from the Van Sickle Connector Trail    Young hiker gets ride from father on Van Sickle Connector Trail    Purple lupine frames Mount Tallac    Nevada Beach, with Heavenly Resort ski trails in distance    Valhalla Boathouse Theater, built 1920s, from the lakeside.    Tim Snider and his band Wolfgang Timber play to a packed house at the Boathouse.    15 foot waterfall offers chilly respite on Van Sickle Connector Trail at 7.000 feet elevation    View of State Line casinos, looking down from Van Sickle Connector Trail, with author’s spouse Susan.

Over the past year, we took several one week trips to places like Palm Springs, California and South Lake Tahoe, California. We have been to each destinations a number of times in past years, but resolved to find a few new options at each. In the Palm Springs area, we booked an early morning tram ride on the Palm Springs Tramway, whisking us a mile in elevation to the Mt. San Jacinto State Park and surrounding wilderness area at the top of Palm Springs. Not only did the tram ride yield spectacular views, the short hike near the summit virtually demands a return visit to do more serious hiking in this lovely, much cooler oasis (it snowed at this elevation, two days later). We also queried a couple of locals who insisted we explore several of the nearby Palm Canyons rising up from the Sonoran desert, amazing places with year-round spring-fed creeks allowing several miles of California Fan Palms to propagate, yielding emerald-green oases in a bone-dry desert setting.

A similar one week trip to State Line, Nevada (next door to South Lake Tahoe) gave us the time to discover a lovely set of hiking/biking trails within a couple of blocks, fanning out into the Sierra foothills and down to the lake itself. Talk to locals, which led us to discover places like the Valhalla Boathouse Theatre, where we saw a wonderful musical act on a stage overlooking the lake itself.

Get a youthful perspective

If your travels involve younger family members, kids or grandkids, ask them to pour over a map or a GPS app and ask what would they like to do and see when visiting a given destination. For us, that’s led us to novel destinations in the greater Los Angeles area such as the La Brea Tar Pits Museum, and a walking tour of the old beachfront town, Crystal Cove, in the state park of the same name on south edge of Newport Beach, site of a dozen classic beach movies.

Take advantage of travel bargains for exploration

We are members of the Affordable Travel Club ( with 3,000 members spread across the United States, Canada and Europe, allowing members one and two night stays at fellow member’s homes for the bargain price of tipping the host $20 per night; a second option, house and pet sitting opportunities. We used a housesitting assignment on Vancouver Island, Canada to spend three weeks and thoroughly explore the southern and eastern portions of this huge, lovely island paradise. With some of Canada’s mildest weather and sunniest of days, the island draws many Canadians from the mainland as their retirement destination. For us, it gave us weeks of opportunity to explore quaint oceanfront towns, meet Canadians, explore local pubs and go on a search for the best Canadian fish and chips!

The trip also included two days passing through Olympic National Park in the Northwest corner of the state of Washington, all while reminding us that Canada is finally now wide open for business and happy to share its neighborly warmth with visitors. Frequent travelers can find other similar clubs specializing in house and pet sitting or home swaps, which allow virtually free lodging as a reward for the service rendered.

Value persistence

Almost every year in late February we travel to Whitefish, Montana, for a ski/snowshoeing trip, then visit Glacier and Yellowstone national parks on our way home. After about 10 different winter visits to Yellowstone park, always taking a drive into the Lamar Valley with binoculars to hopefully see Yellowstone’s wolves and achieving only snowy vistas, this past trip we spotted the wolfpack, not one day, but two! Surprisingly, we found the 11 member wolfpack just two miles into the park, sunning themselves just 200 yards away on the far bank of the Gardiner River. One of life’s memorable experiences to see these noble animals, up close, and proof that persistence often pays off (my regret, lack of a telephoto lens!).

Contact Tim,; bidding you the healthiest of New Year’s and making it a year of adventure travel!


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