With a New Year upon us, many of you may be looking for something exciting to do – perhaps a trip that will help you kickstart 2016. But while you look at your credit card bill from Christmas shopping, you are likely thinking you can't afford any new adventures right now. Well think again. We have done our research and, with a little help from budgettravel.com, have found you some of the most exciting trips you can take that won't break the bank. In fact, these destinations are super-affordable and will leave you wondering why you haven't dusted off your passport already.
1. Hiking a Volcano
Ever want to get up close and personal with a volcano? Well, now you can at the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. You will get to drive right up to the caldera and take part in the Crater Rim Drive, an 11-mile road that passes through the volcano landscapes. You can also walk inside the Thurston Lava Tube that will allow you to walk 1/3 mile inside Kilauea where lava actually flowed hundreds of years ago. About an hour's drive outside the park, along Highway 130 in Puna, is the entrance to Kalapana, a town that was once covered by a 1990 lava flow. You can do all of this for under $100 a person.
Ever heard of zorbing? It's the art of rolling and bouncing down a hill while inside a giant, hamster-wheel-like plastic ball. It's been quite popular since 1997 and if you travel to New Zealand you are sure to get the experience of a lifetime. Here you will have two options: Zydro, a water-ride version, and Zorbit, a dry version. Prices for the ride are about $45 per person.
3. Zip Lining
So you like zip lining? How about zip lining over a park full of crocodiles, alligators and hundreds of other reptiles? You can get your adrenaline fix at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm's Crocodile Crossing in Florida this year. Not only will you get that rush you desire, you will have bragging rights for years to come. Before you go you will be trained by experts on how all the ropes and pulley systems work and will get to do a small practice run before you set off on your adventure. A 45-minute course will cost about $30 per person. A 90-minute course will cost about $65.
4. Hanging with Buffalo
Located just an hour's drive south of Mount Rushmore, Custer State Park will have you driving around twisting mountain roads and amazing wildlife. You will likely get stuck in traffic – not because of other vehicles, but because a herd of buffalo have decided to cross in front of you. When you are inside the park you can spend the night camping in the South Dakota wilderness or opt to stay in one of the resorts. You can take part in the Buffalo Safari Jeep Tours, which will allow you to get up close to many wildlife, including bison and prairie dogs. You can enter the park for just $4 per person or pay $15 per vehicle for up to seven days. Prices for the Jeep Safari are $43 for adults and $36 for kids 12 and under.
5. Dog Sledding
If the cold and dogs are your thing, you should consider travelling to the Laurentians in Quebec. At Pourvoirie Mekoos in Mont-Laurier, you will get to meet the dogs before you go riding with them through the Canadian wilderness. You will get to stay in a cabin or you can opt for a room in the main lodge. You will be treated to delicious home-cooked meals and get to choose from several activities such as hunting, fishing, hiking, mountain biking, bird watching and snowshoeing. Dog sledding will cost about $100 per person for a half-day adventure and about $200 for a full day.
6. Great Wall of China
If you think you could never afford a trip to the Great Wall of China, think again. There are some great travel deals out there that include your airfare, hotels and guided trips. Some start at just under $900 per person for an eight-day trip. These trips include extensive sightseeing programs and most of your meals. If you do your research you will find that this adventure is a lot cheaper than you think.
7. Hot Air Balloon
If you want to experience incredible views from up top you should considering visiting Albuquerque for a hot air balloon ride. Some companies will offer you affordable sunrise and sunset flights and be sure to check out what's known as a “splash and dash” event, where the balloon is lowered onto the surface of the Rio Grande, floats along the river and then dashes back up to the height it came from. Hot air balloon rides start from about $159 for adults and $125 for kids between the ages of 13 and 17. Kids aged 5 to 12 will cost about $99 each.
8. Alaska Wilderness
The Alaska Railroad may help you make this trip a reality. If you travel between the months of May and September it will be more affordable and you will get to experience the area without a lot of tourists. One of the best packages is a five-day adventure that is available June to September. When you arrive in Anchorage, you will spend the night in the town where you can visit local sites. Then you will ride the rails of the Denali Star Train from Anchorage to Talkeetna and spend the night in a rustic cabin surrounded by incredible wilderness. Packages for adults will cost about $839 per person.
If water is your thing you must take in some snorkeling at Australia's Great Barrier Reef. If you do your research and find an affordable flight you will find that the rest is pretty cheap. Some companies will offer you great deals, including a 17-day ride up the eastern coast of Australia, which will see you visiting a local winery, panning for gold at a working mine and surfing. You will also get to snorkel the Great Barrier Reef and spend three days sailing around the beautiful Whitsunday Islands before getting on a train to Cairns. Packages range in price from $2,999 per person for the 17 days, or about $176 per person, per day.
While this may be one of the most expensive trips on the list, it is worth it. There are companies out there that offer affordable flights so you must do your research. Once there you should take part in tours that will see you travelling through Havana, Cienfuegos, Trinidad, Cojimar and Santa Clara. Most of the trips, including airfare, will cost you between $2,500 to $3,000.