“The best family adventure vacation we have ever had.”
“In this fast paced world I never get the time to spend with my teenagers.
This is an excellent way to stop the clock and have fun with them.
Thanks for the trip of a lifetime!”
“My goal was to have a special time with my granddaughter and we did.
She does not stop talking about all the things she accomplished! I
cannot think of anything I would have liked differently. Keep up the good
Wonderful comments like these are regularly heard by adventure travel
outfitters from their clients. Whether it is on a family rafting vacation, at a
dude ranch, or participating in a wildlife expedition, family adventure
holidays seem to be some of the most satisfying and rewarding
vacations available. What is it about these vacations that make them so
memorable and enjoyable? And what planning steps are suggested to
families considering an outdoor adventure for their next family vacation
to help make that trip impactful as those described above?
Family adventure holidays are successful in large part because of the
challenges they provide and the camaraderie that results from
successfully meeting those challenges. There is nothing like climbing up
on a horse for the first time and pulling on the reins to get it to gallop
through a mountain meadow, or paddling a bouncing raft through eight-
foot waves. Successfully steering your horse or helping paddle a raft
through a rapid are what makes family rafting vacations and adventure
holidays so rewarding. What a great feeling it is to face a challenge and
do well! And, when you do this as a member of a group or team,
everyone celebrates! When was the last time your family worked and
played together to overcome a common challenge!?!? Simply put, the
teamwork required in most adventure activities brings people together,
friends, strangers, and families alike.
Of course, it is very important to be as prepared as possible for any
adventure travel vacation. Correctly preparing yourself and your family
is the first step towards a successful outdoor adventure. The following
suggestions may work for your family as you consider and plan your
next adventure vacation:
Choose the Correct Adventure Vacation for your Family
Perhaps the most important decision you can make regarding an
adventure travel family vacation is which adventure to choose. Trips
range from one-day river trips near your hometown to multi-day wildlife
safaris in the distant corners of the earth. So how do you choose?
Consider asking yourself the following questions to help you decide: Is
my family or are most members of my family adventurous? In other
words, is our family one that enjoys or would enjoy facing exciting
challenges? If you answered no to this, then perhaps adventure travel
vacations are not right for you and your family. If you answered yes, then
the following questions should further assist you in deciding which
adventure travel offerings are best for your family.
Do we or would we like to camp and spend time outdoors? Since most
adventure travel holidays involve spending time outdoors and camping,
it is important to at least feel comfortable with the idea of sleeping in a
tent, being out in the sun all day, etc.
What experience do we have with the activities we are considering? If
you have haven’t participated in the activity or activities that are the
feature of the vacation you are considering (rafting, backpacking,
horseback riding, four-wheel driving, etc.), it might be best try the activity
on a local and shorter term basis. For example, a one-day raft trip
should indicate to you whether or not your family would enjoy a longer
wilderness river trip.
Have we ever traveled overseas as a family on a more typical vacation?
Vacations that include creature comforts (such as hotels and
restaurants) in a foreign country can often be challenging in their own
right, as cultural and schedule differences can cause difficulties. When
considering an overseas adventure vacation it is important to know that
your family will be able to deal with the cultural and amenities
differences of another country, as well as the challenges that adventure
activities can provide.
Do the outfitters we are considering have experience running trips with
families who have never participated on an adventure travel vacation?
This is a very important question to ask the companies you are
considering for your adventure vacation. Outfitters with experience have
likely developed an approach to guiding trips that help first-timers with
all aspects of their adventure, from helping with tent set-up to having
extra activities available for children.
What type of elements do we most enjoy or would we most enjoy? In
other words, is mine a family of water-loving swimmers, land-loving
hikers, or…? This question ultimately decides what type of adventure
vacation may be best suited for your family. If you have a family that
loves to hike, then consider a backpacking or hiking with pack animals
trip. If your family loves water then rafting down a wilderness river may
be best. With all of the options now available to families looking for
adventure travel, it is a safe bet that you will find many vacations that will
prove to be as satisfying and rewarding to you as they were to the folks
who were quoted above!
Once you have narrowed down the choices or have selected the
adventure vacation that is well suited to your family, consider the
following suggestions as a way to best prepare you and your child(ren)
for the big adventure.
Involve Your Kids In Planning
Getting your child(ren) excited about specific aspects of the trip will help
engage them during the trip itself. If you are so inclined, take some time
before you travel to show them maps, list animals that may be
encountered on your trip, and discuss what type of activities will be
included on the trip, etc. Above all else, consider each child’s abilities
and personality to ensure they have a fun and rewarding adventure
without getting in over their heads.
Plan A Trip-Long Project
A trip-long project may help your child(ren) enjoy the trip even more,
and can provide a valuable record for lifelong memories. One popular
option is to buy your child a disposable camera and have them create a
photo essay of pictures they’ve taken. Another good idea is to create a
journal for your children to write in each evening at camp. They can
write, draw pictures, press flowers and go home with a running record of
Watch The Weather
Once on the trip, watch the weather and heed advice from your guides
in order to assure your comfort. As you know, children (especially small
ones) are more susceptible to the elements than most adults. Bring lots
of waterproof sunscreen and have your child apply it several times a
day. However, do not apply sunscreen to your or their forehead. If it
drips in your eyes from splashing or perspiration it can sting. Also, have
your child wear a hat with a bill. Also, make sure that you have closely
followed the gear and clothing requirements before the trip, in order for
you and your children to be as comfortable as possible.
Drink Lots Of Water
Dehydration may be the biggest hazard on any adventure trip, and the
first sign is often a bad mood. Bring water bottles and have your whole
family drink lots of fresh water. This is probably the most important thing
you can do to ensure everyone has a good time.
Most adventure travel outfitters encourage everyone to do as much or as
little as they want to in camp and at other times while on the trip. If your
children like to participate and lend hands, most outfitters welcome it!
When deciding on a trip, find out from potential outfitters exactly how
much hands-on participation there can be!
Hopefully, these suggestions inspire you and your family to participate
in adventure travel vacations. And, we hope that should your next family
vacation be filled with outdoor adventures that you too feel that your
holiday was “the most incredible vacation we have ever had!”