Exodus Travels Challenges Families to Choose Exploration Over Excess in 2020

In 2020, ask not what your money can buy, but where it can take you. At least, that's the motto Exodus Travels  is hoping families and travelers of all types will embrace.

Their new "Adventure Challenge" seeks to get people away from consumer culture and investing in memories over material goods. And there's a good case for doing so. Studies have indicated that experiences are more effective for maximizing happiness than short-term purchases. And it seems like people are already getting on board. A recent analysis conducted by the Center for Generational Kinetics found that 74% of Americans are prioritizing experiences over products or things.

So before you opt for that extra meal out, those new shoes, or that Uber to work instead of the subway, consider all the places that money could be taking you instead. Exodus Travel has rounded up some of their best trips and done a price comparison for you to make your decision that much easier.

Forego fast fashion for an Egyptian adventure

While splurging on a new pair of designer jeans might be novel and exciting for a moment, the feeling is—more often than not—fleeting. Exodus’ Nile Cruise is available for less than $1,866, which is what The Bureau of Labor Statistics says consumers spent on clothing in 2018. Scale back on the latest fashion trends for the sake of experiencing Cairo, Aswan and the pyramids of Giza, with art, temples and tombs among the sites to behold. Spend time along the Nile with a stop at the Valley of Kings on the West Bank, home to the tombs of more than 62 Pharaohs, and onboard a felucca, a traditional Egyptian sailing boat—all of which look better on Instagram than any #OOTD post.

SAVE: $1,866 on shoddy merchandise
SPEND: $1,549 USD on a Nile Cruise (9-days; Departs Dec 14; Mar 14, 28, Apr 4, 2020 & more)

Trade your lunch money for a culinary quest

According to OnePoll, consumers spend approximately $173.62 buying their lunch each month—that’s roughly $2,083.44 a year! This 2020, brown bag your midday meal and spend the savings on a spectacular 10-day Vietnam Food Adventure. Enjoy Pho for breakfast in Hoam Kiem, indulge on fresh seafood while cruising Halong Bay and savor Banh Vac (white rose dumpling), a Hoi An specialty. Stay in a family-run guest house on the Mekong Delta, go cycling in search of fresh herbs and, thanks to a cooking class led by renowned local chef Dang Phuong Nguyen in Thu Dau Mout, learn the skills to up the ante on your lunches at home—so you can keep pocketing cash for your next big adventure.

SAVE: $2,083.44 on avocado toast
SPEND: $1,949 USD on Vietnam Food Adventure (10-days, departs Feb 9, Mar 1, Oct 11, 2020 & more)

Brew your own coffee—and wake up in Marrakesh

While a daily cappuccino can certainly feel like a minor expense, a survey by Money Matters found the average consumer spends a jaw-dropping $1,100 a year on gourmet coffee—meaning those jonesing for a getaway can find one in the bottom of their morning cuppa. Brew your own joe at home for 12 months and reward your restraint with an 8-day adventure to Marrakesh and the Sahara. Start with a camel ride to a Bedouin camp, where stargazing and sleeping in the Sahara are followed by a walk through the High Atlas Mountains and a visit to the village hammam at Tijhza. From there, move on to Marrakech to explore the souks, visit Koutoubia, the largest mosque in the city, or venture via horse drawn carriage to Yves St Laurent’s Majorelle gardens—all for the price of a daily cup of coffee!

SAVE: $1,100 on espresso art
SPEND: $1,045 USD on Marrakesh and the Sahara tour (8-days, departs Dec 21, Mar 22, April 12, 2020 & more)

Pass on post-work drinks for a weeklong Italian happy hour

For those who enjoy after-work cocktails, a change in routine could be rewarded with a superior substitute: sipping Prosecco or Chianti in Italy. OnePoll’s study shows people spend an average of $188.68 on alcohol monthly—roughly $2,265 per year. Opt out of even half of those nights on the town in favor of a long weekend in Italy’s Prosecco Hills instead, and enjoy happy hour somewhere really special. Take four days strolling through vineyards and small communities, along hillsides and to the peak of Monte San Giorgio, all the while getting a taste of the area’s history and natural beauty. Meet top local wine producers in the Prosecco region and visit historic locales such as the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Villa Barbaro, in Maser. Or, spend a week in Villa Casalta, a renovated farmhouse in the Italian countryside on Exodus’ Chianti Walking + Wine tour. Relax with walks throughout Renaissance cities and medieval villages, expand your palate during a class at the Tuscan Wine School, and gain an appreciation for the grape while taking plenty of time to sample the area’s world-renowned varietals.

SAVE: $2.265 on happy hour
$1,099 USD on Prosecco Hills Long Weekend (4-days, departs April 30, May 21, July 2, 2020 & more)
$1,549 USD on 
Chianti Walking + Wine (8-days, departs April 11, 18 & 25, 2020 & more)

Swap stationary cycling for iconic Asian trails

It’s true they’re all the rage right now, but a basic Peloton package costs about $2,245 to cycle in the same place, day after day. Work your quads with a much better view with 10-days of cycling through Cambodia, venturing through the country’s rural landscapes, small villages and the iconic Angkor Wat. Be immersed in local daily life while pedaling through various locales, including Mekong island, the Battamband countryside and the outlying areas of Siem Reap town—just some of the places an exercise bike can’t take you.

SAVE: $1,866 on at-home fitness    
SPEND: $1,799 USD on Cycling Cambodia (10-days, departs Feb 9, Mar 15, Aug 9, 2020 & more)

Ignore auto-aspirations for the road less traveled

Everybody loves a road trip, but there are so many more imaginative ways to see the world. This year, instead of splurging on a new car that depreciates as soon as it leaves the lot, keep your beater for another year and take off to Tahiti with one of Exodus’ NEW small-ship voyages—and enjoy those memories forever. For the average cost of a new set of wheels—about $38,000—travelers can venture with a best friend in tow for the ultimate vacation. Journey to the Seychelles, where you can discover Zanzibar before uncovering other regional highlights like Assumption Island, known for its abundant marine life, and Astove Atoll, where its nature is as rich as its history. Or, if you’d prefer to dive into the Maldives, explore the ocean waters with manta rays at Rasdhoo, whale sharks around Ari Atoll and the diverse marine life of Fotteyo Kandu.

SAVE: $38,000 on that new car smell
$11,980 USD on Ultimate Seychelles with Aldabra Atoll (14-days, departs Feb 14, 2020)
$10,980 USD on 
Ultimate Maldives: Snorkeling & Diving Adventure (11-days, departs Mar 22, April 22, 2020)

Go from couch potato to elite explorer

Recently, OnePoll found that consumers spend roughly $1,635/year on cable, movie streaming and music streaming subscription services. This 2020, consider scaling back on binge-watching HBO and see Chernobyl in-person instead. Exodus’ Chernobyl & Kiev Long Weekend package provides an exclusive permit tour that will take you into the Exclusion Zone, with chilling immersion into the community that was. A city tour of Kiev showcases Kyiv Pechersk Lavra Monastery, and hotspots, Sophiiska and Mykhailivska Squares.

SAVE: $1,635 on bingeing “Friends” re-runs  
SPEND: $1,399 USD on Chernobyl & Kiev Long Weekend (4-days, departs Feb 27, Mar 26, April 2, 2020 & more)

Give the gift of time travel on the Turquoise Coast

Instead of stuffing a bunch of plastic and wires under the tree this year, why not treat loved ones to a Turkish escape instead? According to a 2018 poll by Gallup, $885 was the anticipated price tag of Christmas gifts last year—enough to cover an 8-day Walking the Turquoise Coast trip. Get a real sense for historical permanence by visiting ancient sites and cultural landmarks—like the ruined city of Arycanda, an Ottoman cemetery and an ancient Roman aqueduct. Imbibe the views of this unique corner of Turkey from a fortress near the hillside village of Simena and later, from the Ordubek Plateau. Round-out the experience with traditional cuisine and some time to simply relax.

SAVE: $855 on decking the halls  
SPEND: $779 USD on Walking the Turquoise Coast (8-days, departs May 9, 16; June 6, 2020 & more)

Take your cardio workout to new altitudes

What’s the point in dolling out for a gym membership you’re statistically unlikely to use? Take that monthly fee—which could accumulate to upwards of $1,920/year—and turn it into a once-in-a-lifetime accomplishment with The Moonstone Trek adventure in Peru. This lesser-trod path takes adventurers through Andean Villages otherwise unknown to tourists, and to Incan ruins—Huayrapunku, as one example—that are rarely seen by the average visitor. Enjoy the mountain-river-valley trifecta on a separate walk along the Inca Trail via Winay Wayna ruins before a day spent on a guided tour of Machu Picchu.

SAVE: $1,920 on sore muscles
SPEND: $1,879 USD on The Moonstone Trek (9-days, departs May 16, June 27, Sept 19, 2020 & more)

Fore-go golf membership for a hole-in-one nature experience

Data shows that the average annual cost of a golf membership could set consumers back $6,240 annually— but why play the same course more than once when you can tour the world in search of new challenges? Tackle a few rounds Down Under before discovering what the rest of the destination has to offer with Exodus’ NEW Wild Queensland adventure. Over 10 days, this trip takes travelers through stunning natural attractions like Crater Lakes National Park, the Misty Mountains and Granite Gorge. Learn about the traditions and values of the KuKu Yalanji people, including their relationship with the rainforest at large, and hang your hat at various eco-lodges to ensure you still get your fill of green space.

SAVE: $6,240 on boring old bogeys   
SPEND: $5,480 USD in Wild Queensland (10-days, departs July 10, 2020)

Ditch Uber for the Silk Road

Studies show $4,000 is the estimated annual price tag for using ride-sharing apps; money that could go a lot further—all the way to Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, in fact. Rather than rack up credit charges for an easy ride home, opt for public transit or the heel-toe express to hit the road in a whole new way along Exodus’ the Silk Road tour. Explore one of the most famous traditional trade routes in the world, venturing through the cities of Samarkand and Bukhara along the way, and walk in the footsteps of historic figures like Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan. UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including Bukhara and the Burana Tower, are highlights of the experience, as are the natural vistas of Issyk Kul Lake and the Valley of Seven Bulls.

SAVE: $4,000 on backseat driving
SPEND: $3,099 USD on The Silk Road (15-days, departing May 20, 25, 27, 2020 & more)

Make your vacation money go the extra mile

Reports show that the average timeshare will set consumers back about $22,180, but what good is going back to the same place year after year when new adventures are being created every year? The cost of a timeshare is more than enough to plan a round-the-world escape to exotic destinations the whole family will love from China to Peru to Zambia to the Baltics. Visit the storied Great Wall on Exodus’ Essential China; get your fill of boat touring, jungle journeys and relaxation, and explore Inca ruins, colonial fortresses and traditional communities in Peru: Machu Picchu. Unwind with the Big Five on a leisurely safari in Tanzania and camp on remote islands during a canoe safari on the Zambezi River, and pedal through Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in the Baltics in Europe. However you choose to get away, you can get a whole lot of adventure for the price of one beachfront condo.

SAVE: $22,180 on sitting in the same spot every year
$2,449 on Essential China (11-days, departs April 4, 18; May 16, 2020 & more)
$2,099 on 
Peru: Machu Picchu Discovery (7-days, departs April 12, May 17, June 14 2020 & more)
$4,949 on 
Premium Tanzania Safari (8-days, departs Mar 21, June 6, July 11, 2020 & more)
$2,575 on 
The Zambezi Valley (8-days, departs June 6, 20; July 4 2020 & more)
$2,149 on 
Cycling the Baltics (11-days, departs May 9, 23, 30, 2020 & more)