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Home » Future of Travel » Planning an Adventure Without Blowing the Budget (or Using Your Passport)

Sometimes it seems like modern life is all about gadgets. Wherever you go you’ll find herds of people with their heads down, thumbs swiping, on their way home to Netflix and relaxing on the couch. But an increasing number of young professionals and families are focused on a more active lifestyle — getting out of the office at lunch, taking vacations that offer more than an exotic place to text from and taking a healthier approach that doubles as a chance for adventure.

That often has a pretty high price tag when you factor in gear, travel costs and hotels — especially when it involves kids. The good news is America is a big place and an affordable adventure is probably waiting in your backyard.

Making adventure easy

“Making the choice to pursue a healthy lifestyle is easier when it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to do so,” said Emily Reeves of Sierra Trading Post, an online outdoor gear, apparel and footwear retailer.

According to the U.S. Government, Americans are taking fewer domestic trips and vacations in general, down 30 percent since 2005. Cost is certainly one of the main motivating factors for that decline, and a more active vacation can be prohibitively expensive if you have to outfit your family with specialized gear. This has driven many young families to look for bargains.

“Getting the gear necessary to enjoy an adventurous, healthy life can be overwhelming for many people — if you’re not spending as much on the gear you need, you have more flexibility with the activities you try and places you go,” Reeves added, noting that Sierra Trading Post tries to do its part to make it easier for people to explore and connect in the outdoors by providing values on a variety of outdoor gear and apparel.

Those savings are crucial because if you play your cards right there are infinite opportunities for an affordable adventure right here in the United States.

Affordable and healthy

Most of America’s numerous state and national parks offer multi-day passes for a very small amount of money (Yellowstone offers a $15 individual 7-day pass, for example) or even for free (The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is free, although there are camping fees ranging from $14 to $23 per night). If you’re willing to sleep out under the stars, you can have the adventure of a lifetime for under $100.

Wildlife refuges offer healthy outdoor vacations on the cheap as well — with the added benefit that many of these free-to-enter spots offer affordable hunting and fishing licenses (Georgia’s coastal wildlife refuges, including Wolf Island and Blackbeard Island, offer $9 license to residents and $45 license to tourists). You can hike, kayak, fish and camp at nearby state parks to your heart’s content.

If your family loves the water, there are plenty of public beaches and lakefronts all over the country, accessible for free or for nominal entry fees.

The key is you don’t have to be a fanatic about living an active outdoor lifestyle to want to make your vacations about more than eating out and spending money. “Sierra Trading Post customers are ‛everyday explorers,’” Reeves said. “They are active people who love spending time outside, embrace outdoor adventure and are looking to live the good life.”

With a little thought and some smart shopping, the ‛good life’ is nearer than you think.

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