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Let the Web Be Your Guide to Out of the Ordinary Vacations

By Sherri Higgins (sherrihiggins@wwwiz.com)

 

We scour the Internet looking for more ways to add excitement to our lives. Whether it is work related or fun and games, we surf every part of the world downloading information into our physical database: The human mind.

Working from home, I find myself surfing the Web more than I should. As a matter of fact, this year I am planning our first family vacation from my chair. I'm a mom, raising four preschoolers; a family total of six. I wondered where we can travel, how long can we get away and the most important question: How can we afford to have an exciting vacation where we will all enjoy ourselves and make memories to last a lifetime? Yes, we could venture to Disney World, but that has the potential to annoy us to tears. Long lines would have the kids whining in unison. Perhaps when the children are older a Disney vacation would fit the bill, but for now, for our first family vacation, we want to enjoy being together as well as having the children learn about the surrounding country and all it has to offer.

          I was searching for the best way to enjoy a real family adventure. As I surfed the Web, I came across Adventure Quest. Here you can chose from a diverse variety of theme vacations. Whether it be watching the whales in Baja, swimming with the dolphins off the coast of Florida, saddling up and driving cattle across the plains (think Billy Crystal in City Slickers), hiking in the great outdoors or even digging with professional archeologists, it's all here.

          There are so many places to go and many sights to see in our country, as well as other countries. Just in the United States there are nine culture tours and most of these are family friendly.

A volunteer vacation would be my cup of tea. Imagine researching the marine mammals in Monterey or joining an expedition to monitor the Manatees of Sarasota Bay. Better yet, tracing 2,000 years of ancient rock art in Utah.

          When I mentioned a possible volunteer vacation to my husband, he wasn't interested. The lecture came, ``I'm on vacation, I don't want to work. I want to relax." Venturing through the large selection, I decided to search for something he could also enjoy. Learning to drive at a Nascar track would be thrilling for him, but what about the rest of us? We don't want him vacationing alone (or do we?). I searched the site intensely.

Dog sledding, horseback riding, bicycle touring, fishing, nature viewing, kayaking, cave exploration, culture: That's it! A cultural experience for the whole family! What an adventure! We could journey into Indian territory.

          Adventure Quest described the trip of my dreams: Encounter the world of Native Americans and experience their culture first hand. Journey into American Indian territory. You camp in tepees, hogans or wigwams and meet Native Americans in their homes and tribal headquarters. Learn traditional dance, attend festivals, sample native foods and visit museums and sacred sites during a weeklong adventure. Journeys focus on spirituality, history, contemporary life, crafts and other aspects of the American Indian culture. The description goes on and on. Dates for expeditions vary depending on the state you wish to visit. The best part of the whole vacation is the price. Events range from $365 per person and children are half price at the August 27 event.

          With hundreds of adventures available, how can one decide? This Maine-based company says it is committed to providing a high level of adventure planning expertise and their customer service representatives will help you plan and book your next adventure.

          Adventure Quest has it all. Now that they have merged with Green Travel to form away.com, you can bet the adventures will continue and extend throughout the world.

          Disabled accessible vacations are available for the mobility-impaired as well as the developmentally challenged adult. Tours for singles, gays and lesbians, or seniors are also an option. This company offers it all. No more lonely travelers, why not join a singles tour where you and your college roommate can sow wild oats one more time, or learn a foreign language on a learning tour and impress your boss to secure that big raise.

Anything and everything you've ever dreamed of doing is available here. The tours are rated as easy, intermediate, moderate and difficult, so choose your passion and plan that vacation.

You may even find part of the volunteer vacation you have booked is tax deductible. Adventure Quest states under some circumstances, volunteers may deduct out of pocket expenses or transportation to and from research sites if the provider is a designated charity with a 501-c3 classification. They advise checking with your accountant to be sure.

You can book vacations by emailing the Web sites or call (800) 643-5630.

  

Sherri Higgins, an adoptive parent of four young children with her husband Howard, is a freelance writer from Belle Vernon, Pa., a small community near Pittsburgh. She specializes in children's issues, women's issues, true crime, ghost research and local historical concerns.

 Take an Active Trip

 A few vacation possibilities from Adventure Quest (airfare not included):

 Journey into Indian Territory–$365

Explore History aboard a Steamboat–$1,070

Learn to Rock Climb–$110

Mingle in Dolphin Society–$995

Preserve Utah's Ancient Rock Art–$1,695

Track Mountain Lions in Idaho–$1,445

Study Community Health in Cameroon–$1,595

Study Monkey Politics in Sri Lanka–$1,995

Research the Amazon's Pink Dolphins–$1,890

Join an Archaeological Expedition–$450

 

 

horiline

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