Every year we evaluate hundreds of wanderlust-inducing trips to produce a guide to the world's greatest adventures. This time around, we solicited the aid of a new contributor: you. (The democratic spirit is strong right now.) By the hundreds, you told us where you were planning to go and what matters most to you on any trip. You also made two things clear: (1) You have zero plans to stop exploring, recession be damned, but (2) that doesn’t mean that you'd object to saving some cash. Fair enough—turn the page and you'll find Trips of the Year that maximize value, plus dozens of strategies for the wallet-conscious nomad.
Float the Tuolumne and Hike Yosemite
This new, amphibious itinerary from rafting specialists O.A.R.S. starts fast and ends slow. First up: an 18-mile paddle through Class IV rapids on the Wild & Scenic Tuolumne River, Central California’s roiliest. From the take-out at Wards Ferry Bridge, it’s a 50-minute drive to the bar-equipped Evergreen Lodge, on the western edge of Yosemite National Park. The Next four days are spent "glamping" on air mattresses on the lodge's property and trekking to Yosemite classics like 8,842-foot half Dome and wildflower-studded Tuolumne Meadows. Five trips between May and August.
CASH TIP: Ask if there are any openings—or last-minute discounts—on the May trip, when the Tuolumne runs fastest.