Travel: 13 tips for traveling near and far in the next year

My spouse and I have always been good travelers, even in the days when we both worked. We would use holidays for extended weekend trips, and vacation time to tour the Pacific Northwest, British Columbia and Alberta, and once pieced-together enough vacation for a five week trip from Spokane all the way back to the East Coast, when our kids were 7 and 9.

Since we have been retired, we have vowed to travel near, far and frequently (70,000 miles with US travel in three years, two European trips) – while we have energy and good health. We are trying to live by the motto “travel near, travel far, travel frequently – life was not meant to be lived in one place”.

Here are some suggestions for freshening your approach, and energizing your travels:

1. Get started from where you left off. Bet you have travel brochures from recent travels that you’ve meant to get around to. Or, Friends and family have told you love wonderful destinations. Or, you’ve been to places like Pinnacles National Park (amazing and just 2.5 hours from STOCKTON) like we have, and vowed to get back, but haven’t done it yet.

2. Contact your family or nearby friends who like to travel – just chatting can probably lead to a short or longer trip with family or friends and double your pleasure.

Collect all your key travel gear and stow it in one easy to "grab and go" backpack. On airline trips, make the backpack your carry-on bag.

3. Gather your key travel gear and store it in an organized backpack. Same with other key travel items you’d usually put in a suitcase – pack it. If you own a travel trailer, clean it and store key provisions so it’s as easy as “hook up and go”. At the same time, think “traveling light” and don’t over-pack.

4. Get out your travel atlas (or smart phone/tablet and open your map) and consider how much there is to see within 30 miles of your home. Lodi Lake Park, historic downtowns like Lodi or Stockton, the San Joaquin Historical Museum, Caswell State Park just south of Manteca are all nearby and offer travel adventures.

5. Expand your drive time destinations to several hours and you’re looking at Pinnacles National Park, Big Sur and Monterey, Santa Cruz coast, San Francisco and Oakland, Mt. Tam and Point Reyes National Seashore, Bodega Bay and the Russian River, Sonoma and Napa Valleys and the wonders of the San Joaquin and Sacramento River Delta to explore. Consider Sacramento (Old Sacramento and all the Capital City’s other famed attractions). Looking to the Sierra, Lake Tahoe beckons, as does the gold rush/Highway 49 corridor, Yosemite National Park, Sequoia and Kings Canyon and much more.

Bled Castle towers over Lake Bled in the Julian Alps of Slovenia.

6. Start a travel log: now that you’ve looked at where you’ve been, where you’d like to go back to and where you should’ve been long ago – start a list of short-term travel targets and more distant destinations. Share your list with family and friends – you’ll find others with similar interests – and probably energize some of them, as well.

7. Expand your thoughts to more distant travel “bucket list” destinations. Whether it’s Portland or Seattle, Crater Lake Park or Mt. Rainier, Yellowstone/the Grand Tetons, Colorado or spring training in the Phoenix area for the As or Giants in March, build a well-thought list. Reach just one of those destinations in the next year – you’ve got a lifetime ahead of you but it’s time to get energized.

8. Add your international targets. Perhaps you’ve dreamed of touring British Columbia and Alberta or a cruise to Alaska. Or, perhaps England and Ireland, Germany and Austria, Spain and France, or the Balkins and Adriatic Sea. Write them down and prioritize.

General Sherman tree draws big crowd in Sequoia National Park.

9. Invite a few well-traveled friends to dinner and discuss what style travel they have used. You’ll probably find a few backpackers, auto and trailer travelers, ocean-cruisers or tour-users in your circle of friends. Pick their minds as to good value, what they liked and didn’t like. Again, you might discover mutual interests that lead to a joint venture.

10. Learn to appreciate simple and frugal travel. Those day-long or two-day trips to local destinations can be done for less than a tank of gas and a packed picnic lunch or cooler with snacks. If you once tent-camped consider modern tent accoutrements – a bigger tent, a blowup air mattress can give you almost the comfort of a motel – at 25% the cost. Or, if you’ve moved beyond tent and car camping, consider a tiny or classic travel trailer, which gives you hard-sided security and yet is easy to store and tow behind smaller vehicles.

11. Learn to travel within your means. Don’t save for several years and blow your bucks on a multi-week international trip – where the same dollars might fund a half-dozen closer US or Canada destinations.

12. And if you are touring long distances – consider “last minute deals”; as an example, we’ve taken two European cruises on Grand Circle Cruise lines. If you can pick a destination on one to two months notice – the company working to fill their ship – you’ll save 35 to 40% off normal prices. See GCT.com, search for Ways to Save, then go to Last Minute Deals. Similarly, search the web for a variety of cheap travel websites and save big bucks!

12. See my Record blog (blogs.esanjoaquin.com/valleytravel) for over 120 local, US and international destination features, and a variety of “how to” articles.

13. Don’t put off your travels. We see scores of people who can hardly get from auto to airline, much less walk when they reach their destination. Travel while you’re energetic and have good health.

14. Get started! Where can you go this weekend that you’ve not been to; where can you tour to next month that’s a little further afield? Prioritize your more distant destinations, and search the web for smashing deals that will make it affordable.

Get moving – life was not meant to be lived in one place!

Read more from Tim Viall’s travel blog, follow him on Facebook or Twitter; or, email him at tviall@msn.com. Happy travels in your world!

This entry was posted in Alaska, Asia, Canada, Eastern, Canada, Western, Central California, East Coast US, Europe, Hawaii, Midwest US, Mountain West (Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado), Northern California, Pacific Northwest USA (Oregon, Washington, Idaho), Sacramento/Capitol region, San Francisco Bay Area, Sierra Nevada, Southeast US, Southern California, Southwest USA (Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas), Stockton/San Joaquin County, United States beyond! and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment

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