Truck Camper Magazine Blog

The Excursion Cost Conundrum

Most of us know the sickening feeling.  Your travel destination offers a bus tour, boat ride, museum ticket, wildlife safari, or some other kind of semi-unique excursion or experience at a seemingly ridiculous fee.

“Well that looks like something we might enjoy, but $45 a person?  What!”

But there you are.  You’re there.  You may never return to have this opportunity again.  And if you do, it won’t be any cheaper.  What do you do?

Making the decision more challenging is the fact that not all expensive opportunities are worth while.  In fact, most of the best things we’ve ever done while truck camping have been free, while some of our biggest travel disappointments have been very costly.

What we’re looking for are the rare exceptions, the pricey excursions that are truly worth it.  For example, the glass boat ride at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in Florida ($24 per adult) is well worth it.  And the Antelope Canyon Boat Tour ($45 per adult plus $25 park entrance fee) in Arizona was simply amazing.  Both were pricey decisions for which we have zero regrets.

And then there are the excursion opportunities that torture us.

Dry Tortugas National Park is 68 miles west of Key West and full of abundant sea life, preserved reefs, Spanish ship wrecks, and Fort Jefferson, an enormous brick fortress from the early to mid-1800s.  The fort was never completed and was later converted into a military prison that famously imprisoned Dr. Samuel Mudd after the assassination of President Lincoln.

As folks who enjoy American history and love our National Parks, we really want to go.  We have even been to Key West twice with our truck camper – but we haven’t gone.

Why?  The cost!

Dry Tortugas National Park is only accessible by boat and the fee for visiting the park stops us in our tracks; $175 per adult.  Since there are two of us, and we’re not kids anymore, it would be a $350 day.   There are literally round-trip flights from Pennsylvania to Florida for less money.  But wait, it gets better.

If you’re really feeling rich, you can fly to Dry Tortugas National Park for $329 per adult for a half day trip, $578 for a full-day excursion.  Seriously, these are the per-person prices folks.  Like I said, ridiculous.

This week’s Question of the Week is actually two questions.

First, “What do you do when faced with an excursion cost conundrum?”  

Do you hold your nose, open your wallet, and just do it?  Or do you hold your nose, walk away, and do something else?  Or maybe it’s not that simple.

Second, “What pricey excursions have you been on that were worth every penny?”

We highly recommended the glass bottom boat tour in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park and the boat tour (evidently we like boats) at Antelope Canyon.  What excursions have you been on that you can heartily recommend to fellow truck campers?

Question of the Week is now closed for this week.  Click here to see 30+ excursions that you shouldn’t cheap out on this year.


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