Tag Archives: active travel

REI Co-op Expands Domestic Adventure Travel Program

Hiking in Death Valley. REI Co-op’s adventure travel program includes Death Valley National Park trips for hiking and cycling. © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

SEATTLE – REI Co-op is expanding its domestic multiday adventure travel trips, guided day tours, rentals and adventure center locations as part of a continued multi-year strategy designed to get 3 million people outside each year. Consumer interest in the outdoors and related activities has soared across the country in recent years, and many have turned to spending time in nature for physical and mental well-being during the pandemic. REI has grown its experiences offerings by more than 60 percent in the last 12 months to meet the demand.

“The co-op was founded in 1938 by a group of 23 friends who loved to explore nature and share their passion and expertise with others. REI strives to build on this tradition and community through the expertise of our retail staff as well as our award-winning guides across the country,” said Mark Seidl, REI Experiences divisional vice president. “As the nation’s leading outdoor experience operator, we are working to expand our offering to new locations that will empower all to experience urban and iconic destinations in new and unforgettable ways.”

This month, REI opens the doors of a new Bay Area Adventure Center in Richmond, California with bike, paddling and camping gear rentals. The facility will be a home base for a 50-person guide team that leads day tours and multiday trips in the region. REI also hosts kayaking classes and day tours from the adjacent Richmond Marina and broader programing throughout the Bay Area.

To further complement REI’s regional ecosystem of experience offerings in the Bay Area, REI will soon launch bike and e-bike rentals in the heart of Fisherman’s Wharf for urban cycling opportunities along San Francisco’s famed waterfront and minutes from the Presidio and Golden Gate Bridge. According to the San Francisco Travel Association, more than 75 percent of the city’s visitors include Fisherman’s Wharf during a planned trip. The location will open in early August.

In addition to the Bay Area facility, the co-op operates an Arizona Adventure Center in Scottsdale that offers gear rentals and day tours while serving as the base for the co-op’s multiday guide teams in the Southwest. REI also has seasonal rentals and programming through two boathouses in Bellevue, Washington and a winter snowshoe rental pop-up at Snoqualmie Pass outside Seattle, Washington.

Adventure travel done right

REI Experiences offers 124 multiday adventure travel trips led by professional local guides. Fully hosted small groups explore the country’s natural places as guests hike, backpack, cycle, paddle, climb, snowshoe and more. So far this year, 22 new trips have been added to REI’s active travel assortment, of which more than half are hiking and backpacking itineraries. REI now operates a new private signature camp adjacent to Bryce National Park that is featured in five itineraries. Other new trips include:

The co-op will continue to add more trips to meet continued demand especially for weekend adventurers, travelers 35 years and younger, women and families.

Day programming in 14 major cities

In addition to multiday adventure trips, REI continues to offer day tours and educational programming in 14 cities through a wide range of expertise for anyone to learn or sharpen their outdoor skillsets for camping, cycling, paddling, climbing and more. The co-op’s most popular classes are Wilderness Survival Skills, Map & Compass, as well as the Wilderness First Aid and Wilderness First Responder training courses from a decade-long partnership with the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). The co-op is also a leader in teaching youth and adults how to ride a bike.

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With New Zealand Reopening Borders in May, Active Adventures Predicts Boom in Adventure Travel

Active Adventures offers 11 all-inclusive small group trips across New Zealand’s North and South Islands, including their popular “Rimu,” “Kauri,” and “Takahe” trips. Each trip offers a range of activities like hiking, biking, and kayaking.

QUEENSTOWN, New Zealand– After two long years with borders closed, New Zealand is ready to open its doors to international travel again. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s March 16th announcement not only fast-tracked re-opening but assured the world that New Zealand is safe for travelers and ready to welcome the world “with open arms.”
 
Queenstown-based Active Adventures has weathered the pandemic storm and is poised for a high-season boom, beginning with their first departure of the company’s most popular “Rimu” trip on September 19th. But well before that, the small-group adventure tour operator is ready to show off New Zealand’s winter to international travelers this May through September.
 
“After two challenging and uncertain years, there’s finally a buzz of excitement,” Active Adventures CEO Wendy van Lieshout states. “We’ve used the time wisely, improving nearly every aspect of our company to hit the ground running when the first international guests arrive. We’re prepared and are confident and excited to welcome thousands of travelers over the next year.”
 
The small-group adventure travel company kept their skills sharp throughout the pandemic, running their internationally popular New Zealand adventure tours for Kiwis and have expanded their portfolio by merging with Montana-based Austin Adventures.  
 
With the high season beginning in September and pent-up demand higher than ever, the tour operator urges travelers to book as soon as possible. Many guests have had to reschedule trips for the past two years but would like to assure travelers there is space for those who are ready for a real New Zealand adventure.
 
Active Adventures offers 11 all-inclusive small group trips across New Zealand’s North and South Islands, including their popular “Rimu,” “Kauri,” and “Takahe” trips. Each trip offers a range of activities like hiking, biking, kayaking and more, with comfortable accommodations to help guests recharge each night. In addition to New Zealand, the company operates in the Himalayas (opening in August), Europe, South America, Africa, and Australia. To view all trips and see full itineraries, head to activeadventures.com.
 
“To echo our Prime Minister’s words, we’re ready to welcome the world,” says van Lieshout. “But most importantly, we’re ready to explore and experience the joy of adventure New Zealand has to offer with guests from around the globe.”

With over 60 years of combined experience, Active Adventures and Austin Adventures set the standard for inspiring, all-inclusive, small-group adventures in the most breath-taking regions of the world. Their teams across New Zealand, North America, Peru, Nepal and the Netherlands ensure every detail is looked after. Hand-picked guides with a wealth of experience and local knowledge lead the way as guests enjoy exclusive accommodations, top-notch dining and unique activities showcasing the best of each region. Each of their 100+ trips are crafted to encourage and enable guests to not only challenge themselves physically but also to take a deep dive in the local way of life in every destination.

For more information, visit  activeadventures.com and austinadventures.com.

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Holiday River Expeditions Offers Alternative Way to Experience Magic of Wild, Untamed Places Overrun With Crowds

By coordinating with other companies and scheduling launches and camps for maximum privacy while limiting the numbers and size of groups, Holiday River Expeditions guests won’t have to share their wilderness river or trail experience with unregulated crowds flocking to similar unpermitted, front country experiences nearby. (photo courtesy of Holiday River Expeditions)

SALT LAKE CITY, UT — It’s sad but true that too many people can spoil the appeal and magic of wild, untamed places, like our national parks. Due to too much love leading to overcrowding – especially in the last two years – many national parks are having to limit entry and trail access through new reservation policies, permits and user limits.
 
In Utah alone, Deseret Media reports, “all-time visitation records were broken at four of the state’s “Mighty Five” national parks in 2021.” Totals reached more than 11 million visitors, far exceeding the 7.7 million recorded in 2020, the year when visitation plummeted as a result of the pandemic. As a result, long lines formed at entrance gates, tailhead parking filled quickly, roads and trails were over-populated and some visitors were turned away altogether.
 
Experts are predicting more of the same, if not worse conditions for 2022 and beyond. So how does one truly enjoy the serenity and wild beauty of the backcountry without having to share it with too many fellow travelers? “This is the year to leave the masses behind and experience the benefits of joining a small group, professionally guided tour,” says Karen Johnson of Holiday River Expeditions, based in Salt Lake City.
 
Offering a variety of whitewater rafting and mountain biking adventures from two days to over a week long, Holiday River Expeditions trips are limited in number of participants and have real Covid-wise appeal; from the small trip sizes, to low ratios of guests to guides on a boat, not to mention the canyon breeze making contagions float farther away than any indoor excursions.
 
By coordinating with other companies and scheduling launches and camps for maximum privacy while limiting the numbers and size of groups, guests won’t have to share their wilderness river or trail experience with unregulated crowds flocking to similar unpermitted, front country experiences nearby.
 
“What we are offering with our trips is an escape into the backcountry without the crowds,” explains Johnson. “You can experience Canyonlands National Park and not have to wait in a line or worry about getting a campsite. Our backcountry trips require federal permits – which regulates the number of people able to access certain areas at any given time, so no unpleasant surprises.”
 
Johnson also points out, “Due to the desire to create a ‘pandemic bubble”, custom and exclusive group outings are on the rise. With this increase in interest in private trips and the ability to secure such permits becoming very difficult, signing onto a scheduled tour departure may be the only good option to still get out on a trip this year.”
 
A guided tour comes with other benefits as well: 

  • Tours are a great way to get out and enjoy the outdoors without the hassles and crowds with guides and staff performing all the work and heavy lifting. 
  • Get real! Disconnect from electronics and the “virtual” world.
  • Quiet the noise! Disconnect from the daily barrage of negative news. 
  • Reconnect with friends and family in a setting that you can feel safe in (from the throws of the pandemic). 
  • Clear your mind and soul. Feel the healing power of nature. 
  • Escape civilization! No concrete, paved trails, parking lots, traffic, crowds, lines to wait in, overpriced concessions and inconsiderate tourists. 
  • See the Milky Way in International Dark Sky Parks. 
  • Campgrounds are private. See some of the most beautiful places imaginable with minimal effort exerted. Better chances of seeing wildlife. 
  • Enjoy multiple days’ worth of interaction with knowledgeable and charismatic guides who have worked in these places for years. Better than a single short interaction with a park ranger or curator. 

“The park system was really ahead of its time in setting use limits for commercial operators decades before overcrowding and pandemic contagions were a concern,” Johnson points out. “Thanks in no small part to our founder Dee Holladay’s participation in the creation of ‘Backcountry Management Plans’ in the 1970’s we have a system that works perfectly for the public and for those of us who make a living providing controlled backcountry access to anyone seeking adventure and nature at its purest.”

Holiday River Expeditions began in 1966, when Dee Holladay and his wife Sue took the plunge to become river outfitters. The family-owned-and-operated company has grown exponentially due to its respect for the lands, rivers, guests and employees. Each of its guides is professionally trained in first aid and river safety, and with 50+ years of experience, the company provides guests the opportunity to explore the nation’s wild lands in comfort and security. Holiday River Expeditions has a commitment to protect the environment through education and conservation, and as such, uses oar-powered and paddle rafts exclusively.

For more information, availability, reservations or a copy of the 2022 call 800-624-6323, Email: Holiday@BikeRaft.com or log onto: http://www.bikeraft.com/

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Austin & Active Adventures Cyber Weekend Sale Saves $500 on Trips

Dan Austin expects Yellowstone National Park itineraries to sell out early. Travelers can take advantage of $500 off trips during the tour company’s Cyber Weekend sale © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

BILLINGS, MT– Recently merged Active Adventures of Queenstown, New Zealand and Austin Adventures of Montana, USA have announced a holiday offer for the travel-starved this Black Friday through Cyber Monday.
 
From Friday, Nov. 26 through Monday, Nov. 29, 2021, this special offer saves travelers $500 (per person) on trips priced over $3,500 that are sold and operated exclusively by either travel brand. This booking offer for departures now through the 2022 season is valid through phone and/or online reservations. (Note: This offer excludes Australia hiking adventures and cannot be combined with other promotions, discounts or offers.)
 
In designing what has turned into Active Adventures and Austin Adventures’ biggest sale ever, Dan Austin, Founder of Austin Adventures, focused on these conditions:

  • Widespread hunger for the spiritual healing an adventure vacation in nature can bring,
  • The release of pent-up desire to travel again in the wake of the worldwide pandemic,
  • The general expectation that 2022 trips will fill quickly now that people are feeling better about travel domestically and abroad.

Due to earlier than usual interest and bookings, Austin expects the following itineraries to be best sellers:

Active Adventures programs anticipated to be highly popular and sell fast include:

Interested travelers can reserve a spot and take advantage of these special savings by calling 800-575-1540.
 
With over 60 years of combined experience, Active Adventures and Austin Adventures set the standard for inspiring, all-inclusive, small-group adventures in the most breath-taking regions of the world. Their teams across New Zealand, North America, Peru, Nepal and the Netherlands ensure every detail is looked after. Hand-picked guides with a wealth of experience and local knowledge lead the way as guests enjoy exclusive accommodations, top-notch dining and unique activities showcasing the best of each region.
 
Each of their 100+ trips are crafted, encouraging guests to not only challenge themselves physically but also to take a deep dive in the local way of life in every destination. For more information, visit activeadventures.com and austinadventures.com

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Active Adventures and Austin Adventures Unite to Create Global Adventure Travel Company

The merger between Active Adventures of Queensland, New Zealand and Austin Adventures of Billings, Montana will enable more adventure travelers to benefit from a broader range of global destinations and experiences. Both companies specialize in off-the-beaten-path small group adventure trips delivered with a personal touch.

BILLINGS, MT — United by a powerful belief that travel creates inspiring and life-changing moments, Austin Adventures of Montana and Active Adventures of Queenstown, New Zealand have merged to provide a wider world of opportunities for global travelers. 

The merger will enable more adventure travelers to benefit from a broader range of global destinations and experiences. Both companies specialize in off-the-beaten-path small group adventure trips delivered with a personal touch.

“Travel today is not just about choosing a destination. Now more than ever, it’s about how we travel,” says Wendy van Lieshout, CEO of the new merged adventure travel company.

“It’s about precious time together – creating lifetime memories, being inspired, and connecting with the people and environment around us. It’s about feeling you can trust the company you are on that journey with that all the little details will be taken care of to create the best experience possible.”

“To expand our offerings to our loyal customers, it was critical we find a like-minded brand to join forces with. Just like us, Austin Adventures was born out of a deep passion for sharing authentic, curated, and inspirational adventure experiences with their guests.” 

What does the merger mean for travelers? More choice of destinations, dates, and trip styles:

  • 100+ adventure trips available across the globe
  • More departure dates available throughout the year
  • More life-changing experiences – to be able to share with family and friends
  • Two customer service teams in different time zones, providing extended hours to help adventurers find the best trip to suit them

Each brand brings its own specialties and experiences that form an expanded, unified collection of adventure opportunities across the globe. Now, Austin Adventures’ tours will be available for booking on Active Adventures’ website, adding adventures in the USA, Canada, and Central America for both brands, including specific family departures. Active Adventures’ unique hiking, biking, and kayaking experiences in New Zealand, South America, Europe, the Himalayas, and Africa will be available via the Austin Adventures’ website. 

Dan Austin, founder of Austin Adventures, stressed that the homework has been done to make sure the match was a natural fit and would create new opportunities for each company’s loyal guests. “We were founded in different countries, yet our companies have very similar stories. Each business is like a family – now we’ve just created one bigger family!”

Shared features:

  • Skilled local guides who have in-depth knowledge of every destination and years (if not decades) of experience
  • Small group sizes – average of 12-18 travelers per trip with two guides.
  • One-of-a-kind experiences, away from the crowds
  • All-inclusive, multi-day, fully guided, multi-activity adventures in the most stunning adventure travel destinations around the world
  • Authentic, personalized service – taking care of every detail, so guests can just relax and enjoy their vacation
  • Hand-picked accommodations in amazing locations
  • Great food and memorable meals are part of the adventure and experience

The two brands have come together as one global team across New Zealand and the USA, with operational bases around the globe.

“We share the same commitment to putting our guests at the heart of everything we do. We look forward to sharing many more special experiences with our guests and partners,” says van Lieshout.

With over 60 years of combined experience, Active Adventures and Austin Adventures set the standard for inspiring, all-inclusive small group adventures in the most breath-taking regions of the world. Teams across New Zealand, North America, Peru, Nepal, and the Netherlands ensure every detail is looked after. Hand- picked guides with a wealth of experience and local knowledge lead the way as guests enjoy exclusive accommodations, top-notch dining, and activities showcasing the best of each region. Each of their 100+ trips are crafted to perfection, encouraging guests to not only challenge themselves physically, but also to take a deep dive in the local way of life in every destination. For more information, visit activeadventures.com and austinadventures.com.

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Autumn Fun in Moab: Zip Lining, River Rafting and Hummer Tours

Hummer tours are on Moab Adventure Center’s short list of how to enjoy autumn in the world’s red rock playground of Moab, Utah.

Moab Adventure Center, a division of Western River Expeditions, has a short list of how to enjoy autumn in the world’s red rock playground of Moab, Utah. This region becomes an artist’s dream world when fringed by the Colorado River’s yellow cottonwoods along the Colorado River and the golden aspens of the LaSal Mountains.
 
After the summer rush, daytime temperatures in September and October cool down to around the mid-70s to mid-80s. Fewer people around means more elbow room to be had on every adventure in not just one but two National Parks – Arches and Canyonlands.
 
Here are seven suggested adventures that continue through the end of November, with the exception of rafting which concludes the end of October.

  1. Fall River Rafting Adventures are full or half days, some served up with a BBQ lunch on a world-renowned stretch of the Colorado River, winding through scenes made famous by dozens of popular movies. https://www.moabadventurecenter.com/moab-river-rafting
     
  2. Horseback Adventures come with cowboy-trained quarter horses. A professional wrangler leads the way on trails made famous by John Wayne himself.  Rides are three hours in the mornings and 90 minutes in the afternoons. https://www.moabadventurecenter.com/moab-horseback-riding
     
  3. Hummer Tours are conducted in style and comfort aboard the world’s most serious 4×4. Spectacular backcountry opens up in the hands of professional guides who help visitors explore seldom-seen, awe-inspiring Moab overlooks. Tours are two, three and four hours including a sunset safari. https://www.moabadventurecenter.com/moab-hummer-tours
     
  4. Zipline Tours are always a thrill, but how about skimming over sheer sandstone cliffs and canyons on Moab’s only zip line? The Raven’s Rim Moab zip line tour begins with a spine-tingling ride to the top of the cliff faces overlooking Moab, swooping like a bird of prey landing on each of six gaps.  https://www.moabadventurecenter.com/moab-zip-line
     
  5. Hot Air Ballooning can be likened to riding a magical carpet for 3.5 hours over the astounding red rock landscape of Moab. It’s an unbelievable way to experience the sights of Moab in the quiet of the early morning. https://www.moabadventurecenter.com/hot-air-balloon-rides-moab-utah
     
  6. Arches National Park Tours are stunning, morning or evening. Arches National Park Tours showcase the more accessible of more than 2,000 arches, the highest concentration on the planet, after which the park is named. https://www.moabadventurecenter.com/arches-national-park-tours
     
  7. Mountain Bike Tours requests a commitment of 4.5 hours to experience why Moab has become the undisputed mecca for mountain bike enthusiasts from all over the world. Whether beginner or advanced the Moab Adventure Center offers professionally guided mountain biking tours on all of Moab’s classic rides.     https://www.moabadventurecenter.com/moab-mountain-biking 

America’s red rock playground, Moab, Utah, home of two national parks that are coveted icons to explore in post-pandemic lockdowns, has experienced an unprecedented surge in popularity this summer.

This influx means that visitors should “nail down your accommodations and your preferred guided excursions as soon as possible and certainly before you arrive in Moab,” said Cort Wright, manager of the Moab Adventure Center. This is the go-to outfitter for securing pre-set backcountry and national park access and tours. Moab Adventure Center specializes in all there is to do in Moab and bundles assorted activities and lodging to maximize enjoyment of Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park and the surrounding Colorado River country.
 
“Arrangements made in advance help deliver the peace and privacy you expect when surrounded by this natural playground,” Wright said. In fact, for early bird planners, Moab Adventure Center is offering excursions in 2022 at 2021 rates when booked this season. (www.moabadventurecenter.com/moab-lodging)
 
The company has seen growing demand unleashed by the desire to return to nature and outdoor recreation. Compared to their record 2019 season, programs have seen phenomenal growth through the end of July 2021, including Moab Zipline Adventure, Arches National Park Sunset Discovery, The Ultimate Moab Canyoneering AdventureMoab Hummer Tours, and Full-Day Colorado River Rafting Adventure.

 “Making reservations well in advance of arrival helps assure that we can gear up to accommodate your specific adventure requests,” Wright said. “Now is the perfect time to plan for a fall escape to Moab. Everyone loves autumn in Moab. Just about every trip operates right through the end of October and all land-based tours through mid-November.” 
 
Moab Adventure Center is a division of Western River Expeditions (http://www.westernriver.com/) an adventure travel company headquartered in Salt Lake City, with operations and offices in Moab and Fredonia, AZ. The company is the largest single tour provider in Moab, Utah. The Moab Adventure Center is located at 225 South Main St., Moab, UT 84532. For information and reservations please call (435) 259-7019 or (866) 904-1163. The center also has a 2,000-square-foot retail space selling adventure related gear, clothing, maps and souvenirs. Visit https://www.moabadventurecenter.com/.

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Bike and Camp the White Rim Trail in Utah’s Canyonlands National Park with Escape Adventures

Escape Adventures guests spend most of this 4-day mountain biking and camping tour on Utah’s 100-mile White Rim Trail in Canyonlands National Park,  riding the famous off-road route, while detouring to admire secret passages, hidden slot canyons, natural rock arches, and ancient Puebloan ruins.

(Las Vegas, NV) — Utah’s 100-mile White Rim Trail in Canyonlands National Park, Utah, comes on like a natural rollercoaster, looping in and out of a multi-colored array of spires, arches, buttes, and mesas carved by the Green and Colorado Rivers. A primitive trail framed by blooming cacti below and snow-capped mountains above, the White Rim Trail loops around and below the Island in the Sky mesa top and provides expansive views of the surrounding area. Escape Adventures guests spend most of this 4-day mountain biking and camping tour riding the famous off-road route, while detouring to admire secret passages, hidden slot canyons, natural rock arches, and ancient Puebloan ruins.

“The steep, exposed sections of the Shafer Trail, Lathrop Canyon Road, Murphy Hogback, Hardscrabble Hill, and the Mineral Bottom switchbacks make the White Rim loop a very rewarding and scenic mountain bike ride,” said Escape Adventures Director Jared Fisher. “While enjoying the beauty of the nature that surrounds us, we will also appreciate the modern amenities like our custom support truck, gourmet meals, top-of-the-line camping equipment, and attentive guides.”

This multi-day odyssey through some of the most gorgeous terrain imaginable loops around the Island in the Sky mesa top within Canyonlands. Riders will definitely want to take plenty of pictures of along the way as they’ll pass an array of stop-offs and scenic overlooks, admiring both the Colorado River and the Green River far below. The ride mostly involves casual doubletrack, enjoyable for most people, from novice riders to families. (Check out the video.) 

All internal land expenses and services are covered in the cost of this tour. This means from the time Escape Adventures picks you up, all transportation, food preparation, meals (except where noted on itineraries), snacks, non-alcoholic beverages, group supplies and community gear (portable chairs, large awnings, coolers, utensils, etc.) are included.

Backcountry permits, licenses, park fees, reservations, and accommodations are also included, along with at least two professionally trained trip leaders, a mobile first aid and mechanic station, spare bikes, and a support vehicle(s). Trip price does not include airfare, lodging prior to trip start or bicycle rental and/or camping gear (if on a camping tour) unless otherwise noted on itinerary or website.

Day 1-2: Meet in Moab. Ride Schafer Trail to Airport, ride to Murphy’s Hogback via White Crack.

Day 3-4: Ride to Potato Bottom with slot canyon side hike. Ride along Green River up Mineral Bottom. Shuttle back to Moab.

The trip, including first-class camping, starts at $999 per person. E-bikes are available upon request. Tours run March-May and September-October. For more info, visit https://escapeadventures.com/tour/utah-white-rim-mountain-bike-tour/ or contact Escape Adventures at 800-596-2953. 

Since 1992, Escape Adventures has shaped and lead adventure travel vacations through some of the most awe-inspiring natural destinations in the world. With programs in 100 destinations, Escape Adventures caters to the full spectrum of active traveler, respective to fitness level and activity type – from road cyclist to mountain biker to electric biker, hiker, and multi-sport enthusiast, and from first timer to friends and family groups of all ability levels. https://escapeadventures.com/

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Holiday River Expeditions Invites Adventurers Back to the River In Their Own Private Travel Pod

To take any lingering fears away from being out and about in Nature with family and friends together, Holiday River Expeditions has retooled its offerings by encouraging “pod” travel, or teaming up with a small group of friends and family who share pandemic protocol wave lengths.

SALT LAKE CITY, UT – “Take me to the river” takes on whole new meaning this season as the lock-down weary seek Houdini-like strategies to free themselves from the shackles of the pandemic’s captivity.
 
Holiday River Expeditions for over 50 years has been freeing people’s souls on river rafting adventures and they hope that in 2021 the same opportunities abound.
 
To take any lingering fears away from being out and about in Nature with family and friends together, this trail-blazing company has retooled its offerings. Primarily, they have made it easier to travel in confidence by encouraging “pod” travel, or teaming up with a small group of friends and family who share pandemic protocol wave lengths.
 
When Holiday River Expeditions began running its 2020 trips it was quickly evident that adjustments needed to be made for guests to feel more secure joining a trip. One of those adjustments was allowing for and encouraging smaller, private trips. On most trips the company has lowered its required minimums in order to schedule an exclusive group trip. The smaller group minimums have allowed guests to travel with just their family members, or close friends with whom they’ve already created a pod or travel bubble.
 
The new 12-person minimum for private rafting charters in 2021 apply to:

Holiday River Expeditions has also changed minimum requirements for its mountain biking itineraries to just 8 people for a small group, private charter backcountry trip. This applies to: 

Considered by enthusiasts to be Utah’s ultimate multi-day mountain bike trip, The Maze, deep inside Canyonlands National Park, is naturally a small group trip with a maximum capacity of just 7 guests.  Private charters can be arranged on two available dates; May 18-21 and September 7-10, 2021.
 
For more details, please see https://www.bikeraft.com/what-your-2021-trip-will-look-like-2/ and https://www.bikeraft.com/custom-charter-trips/.
 
Other Covid related adjustments and protocols the company has adopted and will carry into 2021 include: 

  • a 4 to 1 guest to guide ratio (to increase social distancing while in a raft),
  • decreased capacity in vehicle transportation with masks required,
  • a mandatory “Statement of Good Health” a week before departure,
  • temperatures taken at meeting point,
  • meal service change from buffet to served, with guides wearing masks and gloves during preparation and service,
  • always-available sanitizer,
  • additional PSA’s to create a “culture of care” that addresses comfort zones. 

For more information, availability, reservations or a copy of the 2021 catalog call 800-624-6323, Email: Holiday@BikeRaft.com or log onto: http://www.bikeraft.com/.
 
Holiday River Expeditions began in 1966, when Dee Holladay and his wife Sue took the plunge to become river outfitters. Due to its respect for the lands, rivers, guests and employees, the family-owned-and-operated company has grown exponentially. Each of its guides is professionally trained in first aid and river safety, and with 50+ years of experience, the company provides guests the opportunity to explore the nation’s wild lands safely and securely. Holiday River Expeditions has a commitment to protect the environment through education and conservation, so uses oar-powered and paddle rafts exclusively.

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Rails-to-Trails Conservancy Urges Congress to Pass ‘Connecting America’s Active Transportation System’ Act

Biking the 109-mile long Mickelson Trail, a centerpiece of Wilderness Voyageurs’ South Dakota bike tour, is one of 30 rail-trails to have been named to the Hall of Fame by Rails-to-Trails Conservancy © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

A new bill in Congress will, if passed, enable communities across America to connect their trails, sidewalks and bikeways to the places that people want to go – by bike or walking – within and between communities.

But our U.S. Representatives need to hear from us to make it happen.

Tell the Congressmembers to support trails, walking and biking by signing on in support of the Connecting America’s Active Transportation System Act.

The Connecting America’s Active Transportation System Act, co-sponsored by Reps. Jared Huffman (Calif.-2), Daniel Lipinski (Ill.-3) and Chris Pappas (N.H.-1), will provide $500 million in direct funding annually to help communities and regions across the country build connected active-transportation systems to ensure people can get where they want to go safely by foot, bike or wheelchair.

This proposal, coupled with increases in funding for Transportation Alternatives and the Recreational Trails Program, would provide critical resources for communities to build safe, convenient and accessible places for people to walk, bike and roll.

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy’s top policy priority is to create this game-changing opportunity to build a trail and active transportation system to serve the nation.

“Our research has found that wise investments in connecting trails, sidewalks, bikeways and other active transportation systems are creating returns of more than $34 billion in health, environmental and economic benefits around the country,” said Kevin Mills, Rails-to-Trails Vice President of Policy. “And that return could even be quadrupled as more communities have the opportunity to connect their active transportation systems.

“People across the country want to be able to safely walk and bike where they need to go. The Connecting America’s Active Transportation System Act is a major leap forward because it would reshape federal transportation law to recognize that communities nationwide need safe, connected trail and active-transportation networks.

“Urge your representative to sign on to the Connecting America’s Active Transportation System Act.”

See more at railstotrails.org.

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Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland, Designed for Active Travelers, Sets Spring Departures

Vagabond Adventure Tours of Ireland are designed for active travelers who want to mix up hiking and biking and other outdoor adventures with history, culture, dining and shopping.

COUNTY WICKLOW, Ireland – Touring Ireland in March and April means fun-filled festivals, better value flights, quieter roads, lambkins, bluebell-carpeted woodlands. Vagabond Adventure Tours  an award-winning travel company offers two styles of culturally immersive travel.

Vagabond Adventure Tours are designed for active travelers who want to mix up hiking and biking and other outdoor adventures with history, culture, dining and shopping. An 8 Day Wild Irish Rover Tour (Vagabond Adventure Tours,https://vagabondtoursofireland.com/tour/ireland-trips-award-winning-8-day/) departs March 10, 17, 24, 31 and April 7, 14, 21 and 28.

Why wild? Because the tour, recognized by National Geographic Traveler as a Top 50 Tours of a Lifetime, is off-road as much as it’s on, relying on signature 4×4 tour vehicles to go where other sightseeing companies tend not to tread.

Why Irish? Because the tour blends pubs, people, castles and lore into the hearts of active travelers.

Why roving? Guests are never rushed traveling from the west coast of Ireland and the peninsulas of the southwest all the way up to Connemara.

Our itinerary of the southern half of Ireland keeps guests on their toes and exploring under their own steam power. In fact, they’re sometimes, after a walk or cycle, grateful for a sit down in the 4×4,” said Rob Rankin, founder and owner with Amy Rankin. “Every stone we walk over has a story to tell. Ruins and castles are, after all, about people.”

The €1,919 per person double rate (before the early booking discount) includes eight full days of touring, seven nights’ accommodation with breakfasts, services of a professional Vagabond tour guide, guided walks, entrance fees to historical and archaeological sites, demonstrations of local craftsmen at work, ferry excursion tickets and taxes. Activities require a good level of fitness for walking and cycling 2.5 hours each on undulating paths. Additional 2019 departures are weekly on Sundays through mid-October.

Driftwood Journeys of Discovery follow similar itineraries but at an intimate and in-depth looking and lingering pace, sans the physical exertion. A 6 Day Northern Island Tour (https://vagabondtoursofireland.com/tour/6-day-northern-ireland-tour/) offers spring departures April 7 and 21.

“This tour brings tourists into a region that for decades was overlooked because of border issues,” said Rankin. “Basically, nobody wanted to visit Northern Ireland because of the ‘troubles’ there. This only started to change in the early 2000s really. The northwest county of Donegal, despite being in the Republic of Ireland (the ‘south’), was almost cut off from the rest of the state geographically. Thus, its tourism did not develop in the same way as in other parts of the country.” A border region deemed “very hard” up until early in the 21st century emerged with its own identity and culture, partly formed by the years of political turmoil and violence.

The per person double rate of €1,509 (before the early booking discount) includes six full days on tour, five nights’ accommodation with full Irish breakfasts, some entrance fees and relevant taxes. Additional 2019 departures are May 5, 19; June 16, 30July 14, 28; Aug. 11, 25; Sept. 8, 22; and Oct. 6.

For all of the current specials and promotions offered by Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland visit online; https://vagabondtoursofireland.com/special-offers/.

Vagabond staff curate locally owned accommodations, pubs and restaurants that help serve their goal of authenticity. In the end the mission is to have guests “love Ireland as much as we do.” Transport is in a custom 4×4 Land Rover or Mercedes ‘Vagatron’ that allows access beyond where regular tour buses go.

Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland has been revealing the hidden treasures of Ireland through its carefully planned and executed tours since 2002.  Last year the Irish Tourism Awards singled the company out as offering Best Adventure Experience, and also in 2017 it became Ireland’s first tour operator to achieve Ecotourism Gold Level Certification.

For details on all of Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland itineraries, availability and for 2019 reservations, visit https://vagabondtoursofireland.com/. Call toll free (from the US) 1.833-230-0288; in Ireland 00353 (0) 1 5634358; or email: info@vagabond.ie.

Vagabond Adventure Tours has been creating opportunities for visitors to embrace Ireland by walking, biking, horseback riding and kayaking its lands and waters, imbibing history and culture along the way since 2002. In 2013 the company was honored by National Geographic Traveler with a Top 50 Tour of a Lifetime distinction. In 2015 and 2017 Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland was named the “Best Adventure Experience” at the Irish Tourism Awards. In 2017, Vagabond became Ireland’s first tour operator to achieve Ecotourism Gold Level Certification and in 2018, Vagabond Tours won The Green Tourism & Entertainment category in Ireland’s most prestigious Green (business) Awards.

 

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