Tag Archives: family adventures

Western River Expeditions Draws on 60 Years Experience to Devise Protocols to Keep Families Adventuring this Summer

Western River Expeditions is applying decades of professionalism to pandemic-related challenges. Here are some of many steps this company is taking to counter COVID-19 fears so families can continue to experience outdoor adventures this summer. 

SALT LAKE CITY, UT – Where in the world – and how – will families vacation this summer?
 
Given months of pandemic-driven lock-down orders, stay-at-home summer vacation won’t be high on many lists. What will be attractive will be vacations that embrace fresh air and the healing powers of nature that can work wonders on family spirits and recovery.
 
Western River Expeditions (https://www.westernriver.com/ for nearly 60 years has operated top-quality river rafting vacations for individuals, families and friends. This year they are also applying their decades of professionalism to pandemic-related challenges. Here are some of many steps this company is taking to counter COVID-19 fears. 

  • Screening Employees: Every day before work, each employee must pass both a temperature and pulse oximeter screen, and then answer a detailed questionnaire.
  • Screening Guests at Check-in: Guests exhibiting temperatures of 100.4 or higher will not be allowed to travel with Western River Expeditions at the time they planned; instead, they will receive an “Adventure Credit” which allows the guest and any members of the group who were currently living at the same physical address during any of the 7 days prior to the trip to use the full paid value of their trip as a credit for a future trip at a later date.
  • Screening while on Multi-Day Trips: All trip participants and guides will have a daily temperature and pulse oximeter checks and fill out a daily review of symptoms questionnaire. 

In addition, there are new protocols in place should someone experience COVID-19 symptoms during a trip. In such case, steps will be taken to protect other guests from exposure during the remainder of that trip. There also will be protocols for toilet facilities, hand washing stations and social distancing (when feasible) as well as reduced number of guests per raft.
 
The company will also implement specific guidelines that address everything from life-jacket use and sanitation, to meal prep and service, use of shuttle vans, number of people per shuttle vehicle, sanitation of rafts, dry bags, cots, sleeping bags and all associated equipment. For more details on Western River Expeditions’ specific protocols please see https://www.westernriver.com/covid-19
 
Western River Expeditions hopes to still operate late spring and summer 2020 trips, subject to the easing of government-mandated closures. Three suggested trips ideal for families are: 

  • Desolation Canyona five-day trip through breathtaking Desolation Canyon and Gray Canyon on the Green River in central Utah. Trips are scheduled to depart June 7 through Aug. 12 with a minimum age of five years old. For details see https://www.westernriver.com/desolation-canyon
  • Southwest Samplera four-day adventure that includes an off-road Hummer Safari, Arches National Park tour and overnight rafting trip as well as a stay at Moab’s Marriott SpringHill Suites. Departures are scheduled May 26 through Aug. 26. If National Park closures affect the operation of the Arches National Park tour, guests will explore another stunning location in Moab. For details see  https://www.westernriver.com/moab-utah-vacation-sampler
  • Grand Canyon, the three-day option still has some limited space on certain dates from June 21st through September. Conveniently departing and returning to Las Vegas, NV, this 100-mile journey is suitable for families with kids as young as nine. For details see: https://www.westernriver.com/grand-canyon-river-trip 

Other adventures from Western River Expeditions include:

Utah’s Cataract Canyon Classic 4 Day: Unless otherwise advised, we are currently planning to operate all scheduled departures for our 4-Day Cataract Canyon Expeditions June 2 through August 25. We are accepting reservations now for any of these dates. This spectacular 4-Day Colorado River trip runs 100 miles from Moab to Lake Powell through Canyonlands National Park. A flight returns guests to Moab over Canyonlands.

Cataract Canyon Express 2 Day: Unless otherwise advised, we are currently planning to operate all scheduled departures for our 2-Day Cataract Canyon Expeditions June 1 through August 25. We are accepting reservations now for any of these dates. This faster-paced 2-Day Colorado River trip runs 100 miles from Moab to Lake Powell through Canyonlands National Park. Large whitewater rapids are a big part of this adventure!

Upper Grand Canyon 6 or 7 Day: Trips starting June 14 and later are currently scheduled to operate. Select trips June through September have limited availability. If you are unable to find your desired date, please add your name to our 2020 Waitlist for Grand Canyon 6 & 7 Day Expeditions. The upper 188 miles of the Grand Canyon offer some of the largest whitewater rapids in North America and a plethora of side canyon attractions. 

Lower Grand Canyon 4 Day with Bar Ten Ranch: We plan to operate all 4 day departures from June 21st through September. Limited space is available on select departures in 2020. If you are unable to find your desired date, please add your name to our 2020 Waitlist for Grand Canyon 3-4 Day Expeditions. Adding one day and a night at the Bar Ten Ranch before dropping into the 3-day river expedition is a popular way to extend your Grand Canyon experience.

Western River Expeditions is an adventure travel company headquartered in Salt Lake City, with operations and offices in Moab, Utah and Fredonia, Arizona. Annually from March through October it escorts more people down rivers on professionally guided rafting trips in Utah, Idaho and Arizona than any other company. It is the one of largest licensed outfitters in the Grand Canyon and the largest single tour provider in Moab, UT, through its division Moab Adventure Center (http://www.moabadventurecenter.com/).
 
Providing Grand Canyon rafting, Utah and Idaho rafting, and international multi-sport trips, Western River Expedition was founded in 1961 by Colorado River rafting pioneer Jack Currey. It has been named one of the “Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth” by the editors of National Geographic Adventure magazine. The company is the proud recipient of the “Best of State” award through Utah’s Premier Recognition and Awards Program for the past sixteen consecutive years (2004-2019).

For a copy of Western River Expeditions’ 2020/2021 catalog, questions, availability and reservations call toll-free: 866.904.1160 (Local: 801.942.6669) or visit the website at: http://www.westernriver.com/.
 

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Backyard Travel Offers Cambodia With Kids Tour – Adventures In Siem Reap

Backyard Travel, a boutique private tour operator specializing in tours around Asia, introduced a new family-friendly adventure through magical Siem Reap.

Bangkok, Thailand – Backyard Travel, a boutique private tour operator specializing in tours around Asia, introduced a new family-friendly adventure through magical Siem Reap.

The seven-day Cambodia with Kids tour introduces young explorers and their families to the wonders of ancient Khmer civilization, and the bucolic landscapes that surround Siem Reap.

The journey begins at Angkor Wat, where a private tour gives kids a close-up view of its elaborate Hindu carvings and lets them explore its hidden chambers and halls. Angkor expeditions continue with a walking temple trek that loops around Angkor Thom and the iconic Bayon Temple, with stops at the Terrace of the Elephants and the Pool of Ablutions.

Adventures continue outside of Angkor, with a cycling tour through rice-paddy countryside and a trip to the Tonle Sap lake for lunch in a local stilt house. In Banteay Chhmar, families get to experience village life with a homestay, and learn traditional rice farming, fishing and beekeeping.

On return to Siem Reap, families can enjoy some free time to rest or explore, or choose an optional activity such as zip lining, horse riding, or quad-bike riding. The tour ends on an acrobatic note with a performance by Phare, The Cambodia Circus. 

“Siem Reap is a perfect destination for families,” says Backyard Travel General Manager Trystan Trestchenkoff, “It’s got exciting ancient history, hands-on cultural activities and a whole host of experiences that specifically cater to younger travelers. Pair this with Backyard Travel’s years of experience creating dedicated family tours and you’ve got an unforgettable trip for guests of all ages.

For more information about Backyard Travel, www.backyardtravel.com

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Austin Adventures Offers Special Incentives, Live Webinar during March ‘Family Appreciation’ Month


For the second year in a row, Austin Adventures, a leading family adventure company, is dedicating the entire month of March to “Family Appreciation,” with special incentives and giveaways, plus an interactive child & parent “Take a National Park Vacation” webinar

BILLINGS, MT –For the second year in a row, Austin Adventures, a leading family adventure company, is dedicating the entire month of March to “Family Appreciation,” with special incentives and giveaways, plus an interactive child & parent “Take a National Park Vacation” webinar that all ages will want to attend.
 
“Between work, school, athletic and social schedules, planning and scheduling a family vacation has never been more challenging, often to the point of missing the opportunity all together to create lasting bonds and memories within the family,” explains Dan Austin, president and founder of the company which has been taking families to national parks and around the globe for 35 years. “Austin Adventures is fully committed to helping anyway we can. Our goal is to take the stress out of vacation planning and then deliver an experience second-to-none.”
 
On Tuesday, Mar 12, 2019 at 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM EDT Austin Adventures invites kids and parents to a live webinar focused on helping families (especially the kids) with their vacation planning. Anyone considering a small group vacation tour now or in the future is encouraged to attend. For information and to register click here.
 
The seminar will be hosted by Kasey Austin, Outside Magazine 2014 Family Guide of the Year. Making a cameo appearance will be Dan Austin, company visionary and travel industry legend. Together, The Austin Family has set the bar for family adventure travel for decades, so much so, they are often referred to as “the First Family of Adventure Travel”.
 
During this informal and informative webinar focused on the younger generation, Kasey will offer tips and insights on planning and visiting America’s National Parks along with other popular family destinations.
 
As an incentive to register and attend, every family that participates will receive a coupon worth $250 off their next Austin Adventures family vacation. Plus, all participating kids (age 6-12) whose parents end up booking a 2019 family national park adventure will receive a logo-embossed backpack (on Day 1 of the trip) packed full of swag (logo water bottle, trip journal, field guide, hacky sack, stickers and more).
 
“I had so much fun sharing my passion for our National Parks last year, I couldn’t wait to do it all again this year. Sharing the parks with the next generation of adventurer really is my passion. I am looking forward to sharing what we know and have learned from our 35+ years of taking families deep into our national parks,” said Kasey Austin.
 
“Dan and I will draw from our own experiences and help families with real time information that can assist them in making the most of a park vacation, whether with us or on their own. There will be a follow-up email survey as well as ample time for questions and answers.”
 
The webinar will help Austin Adventures kick-off their second annual “Family Appreciation” Month. Dedicated to celebrating and encouraging family vacations worldwide, this observance comes on the heels of the company’s 2nd wildly successful “Alumni Appreciation” month held in December, 2018. Throughout the month there will be dedicated e-newsletters and blogs on family travel, special incentives, travel agent promotions and for extended families, an offer of a free trip for one guest in groups of ten or more booked.
 
To assist in vacation planning, Austin Adventures also offers a free Insider’s Guide to Planning the Perfect Family Adventure. See: https://www.austinadventures.com/free-family-travel-guide/.
 
Austin Adventures has led the field when it comes to family adventures (twice being acknowledged by Travel + Leisure Magazine as the #1 Tour and Family Tour Operator in the World). For 2019, there are over 40 family adventures planned across the globe. Here is a sampling of some of the more popular National Park itineraries on the current Austin Adventures roster. All adult rates are per person, double occupancy.
 
Grand Canyon National Park: 6-days/5-nights from $2,998; children from $2,398.
 
Alaska- Kenai Fjords National Park: 6 days/5 nights from $3,698; children from $3,328.
 
Bryce & Zion National Parks: 6 days/5 nights from $2,798; children from $2,518.
 
Yellowstone National Park:  6 days/5 nights from $2,898; children from $2,318.
 
Grand Teton National Park: 6 days/5 nights from $3,298; children from $2,968.
 
Yosemite National Park: 6 days/5 nights from $3,698; children from $2,958.
 
Glacier National Park: 6 days/5 nights from $3,298; children from $2,638.
 
South Dakota – Black Hills (Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse Monuments / Wind Cave NP): 6 days/5 nights from $2,898; children from $2,318.
 
Banff to Jasper National Parks 6 days/5 nights from $3,098; children from $2,478.
 
For more information and trip availability, call 800-575-1540 or email info@austinadventures.com. For a full roster of Austin Adventures’ 2019 trips, cruises and distinctive accommodations on seven continents visit: http://www.austinadventures.com. To access the 2019 digital catalog or order a print copy, go to: https://www.austinadventures.com/request-catalog/.
 

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Austin Adventures Adds Wilderness Glamping in Costa Rica To Growing Lineup of Upscale Multisport Tours

Costa Rica: Chiquita Glamping & Pacuare River Raft vacation is the latest of over 30 “online-only” trips featured on Austin Adventures’ award-winning website.

BILLINGS, MT –The best of all worlds, including creature comforts while glamping in the wilderness, come seamlessly together on Austin Adventures’ new 8 day/7 night Costa Rica: Chiquita Glamping & Pacuare River Raft vacation. This is the latest of over 30 “online-only” trips featured on its award-winning website: https://www.austinadventures.com/.
With its newest Costa Rica program, year-round departures are flexible and may be arranged when it best fits participant’s own schedule, on a space-available basis. The per person double rate (based on a party of four or more) is from $3,998 for the core experience. Options exist to customize the itinerary to the guests’ wishes.

This luxury trip, without a lofty price tag, brings curious travelers to a country on the forefront of land and wildlife conservation. Over 25 percent of the country has been protected by the establishment of preserves, sanctuaries, refuges, and national parks. Costa Rica also offers one of the most biodiverse places in the world, Carara National Park located in the transition zone between Costa Rica’s wet southeast and hotter, drier northwest. The adventure begins here as guests explore the river basin of the River Tárcoles, which hosts one of the largest remaining populations of wild scarlet macaws in the country.

Guests then journey by boat to Isla Chiquita Glamping Resort, far off the usual tourist track. Home for three pampered nights, each large platform tent accommodation is equipped with a king bed, day bed lounger, private shower and bathroom with double sinks, and spacious lounging deck with stunning ocean views.  From this isolated island, guests visit Curú National Wildlife Refuge with pristine beaches and abundant wildlife while gliding through the still waters of a protected bay in a kayak or on a stand-up paddleboard, watching tropical birds soar overhead. One morning guests transfer to Tortuga Island where white sands contrast with brilliant Caribbean blue waters. Snorkeling is popular here, as guests marvel at surprisingly colorful crabs and lobsters as well as vibrant tropical fish.

A local flight back to mainland beckons guests to engage in the premier whitewater rafting adventure in Costa Rica – on the Pacuare River (rated by National Geographic as one of the Top 10 river trips in the world).  Here they visit the Cabecar Indian village and meet with the largest indigenous tribe in Costa Rica. A family of the community shares traditions they have used for centuries.  After zip lining comes more rafting, leading to the deluxe, eco-sensitive Pacuare Lodge, accessible only by whitewater raft. Located at the center of a series of over 1.2 million acres of wildlife reserves, the lodge is both secluded and beautiful. Guests may opt to dine 60 feet above the forest floor in a platform built on the branches of a century-old Kapok tree. This lodge enjoys National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World status.

After two nights at the lodge and a final morning on the river, guests are transferred back to San José for a last overnight at Hotel Grano de Oro, a “Tropical Victorian” house which features a world-class restaurant. Airport transfers are offered the next morning.

For more information please see https://www.austinadventures.com/packages/costa-rica-isla-chiquita-pacuare-lodge/.

This is one of multiple programs Austin Adventures offers in Costa Rica where it has enjoyed relationships with top tourism purveyors for over 15 years.

“Costa Rica has always been our top selling international destination,” says Dan Austin, Founder and President of Austin Adventures. “We’re always on the lookout and open to what our well-established in-country contacts have to share when it comes to new, unusual and cutting-edge adventure opportunities. Together, we look for experiences away from the usual tourist track and crowds. The key is developing tour itineraries that appeal and captivate our brand of intrepid travelers.”

In the print version of its catalog, Austin Adventures features 65 separate destinations representing over 100 published tour options with over 40 also offered as a Family-Focused version. The website also showcases over 30 additional trips and destinations (not included in the catalog) outlining core itineraries that can be customized upon customer request. These online-only programs include, in addition to the Costa Rica vacation:
https://www.austinadventures.com/packages/arizona-havasupai/
https://www.austinadventures.com/packages/ireland-kerry-county/
https://www.austinadventures.com/packages/ireland-family-kerry-county/
https://www.austinadventures.com/packages/scotland-family-scottish-highlands/
https://www.austinadventures.com/packages/scotland-scottish-highlands/

To help plan, Austin Adventures’ 2018 catalog is available upon request. Order ONLINE or call 800-575-1540 or email info@austinadventures.com. For a full roster of 2018 trips that is frequently updated visit http://www.austinadventures.com.

 

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Wild Planet Adventures Offers Family-Focused ‘Ultimate Wildlife Ecotour’ in Costa Rica

WildPlanet-costa rica1

SAUSALITO, CA – It is one thing to see a sloth at a zoo or rescue center, but how many kids can boast seeing more than a dozen along with multiple troops of wild monkeys during a jungle hike on just the second day of their vacation? Such an experience can inspire a child to eventually become a biologist, start a green business, or just live his or her life more respectful of nature and connected to the wonders of life.

This is the magic behind Wild Planet Adventure’s award-winning Costa Rica Ultimate Wildlife Eco-Tour which features prime-time family-focused departures in July and December. “This adventure,” explains company founder Josh Cohen, “is specifically intended to inspire young minds and expose them to astonishing natural wonders and thought provoking adventure, while surrounded by passionate, enthusiastic guides and field scientists who are making a difference in the world by following their dreams.”

The 9-, 10.5- and 14-day itineraries, crafted by Cohen have been designed to, “put families in front of more wildlife than any other eco-tour offered today.”  Days include expert-led wildlife excursions in up to eight national parks and wildlife reserves, cloud forest canopy bridges and zip-lines, whitewater rafting, wildlife-spotting float trips, smoking volcanoes, bubbling hot-springs, sun swept beaches on both coasts, a sloth rescue program, scarlet macaw migration, hands-on learning at a wildlife rescue center, sea-kayaking with dolphins, snorkeling at night in the bioluminescence, night hikes for nocturnal animals and much more.

As Cohen explains it, “Wild Planet’s activities are expressly designed to create lasting impact on the entire family. We want to inspire kids of all ages to reach for their dreams and expand their horizons.  This consciousness is self-evident in every aspect of our Costa Rica Ultimate Wildlife itinerary.”

WildPlanet-costa rica3Included is a specially arranged experience at La Selva Biological Reserve. La Selva is the largest field station of the Organization for Tropical Studies, where 64 universities from all over the world offer graduate and undergraduate courses in tropical rainforest biology. La Selva hosts approximately 300 scientists and 100 university courses every year. Wild Planet has negotiated a special program here where guests hike the trails of La Selva’s private reserve with biologist guides with the opportunity to interact with researchers and even peek into the labs, conditions permitting.

Cohen likes to recall the time, when on a recent trip, a 13 year-old traveler was completely enthralled upon meeting a biologist who was researching how female red and blue poison arrow frogs return after a year to a site where they previously laid their eggs. Learning how the frogs are able to remember the exact location of oviposition in the dense rain forest and even identify their own offspring out of thousands of young frogs impacted that child far more than any textbook could.

Young travelers are also treated to Wild Planet’s special Sloth Rescue program where they can interact with animals, scientific researchers and wildlife experts. There is also a special hands-on “voluntourism” segment at a wildlife rescue center, complete with feeding.

Authentic, in-depth and non-commercial excursions into Costa Rica’s parks and reserves are led by Wild Planet’s gifted naturalist guides, over 90% of whom are trained biologists. Itineraries are specifically designed to take full advantage of the extreme biodiversity Costa Rica has to offer. Strategically comprehensive, itineraries include both lowland and mid-elevation rainforests on both coasts, cloud forests on top of the continental divide, gallery forests surrounding the rivers, volcanoes, hot springs and both northern and southern climes, all while while maintaining a comfortable pace.

“Such diversity is nearly impossible to arrange on one’s own,” explains Cohen, “as it requires precision execution in order to arrive at certain destinations at just the perfect moment.”  An example of this is a visit to Carara National Park when the group arrives at the ideal time to see the evening migration of scarlet macaws returning from the coastal mangroves. Cohen believes that the wide variety of eco-systems they visit is one of the key reasons his “Ultimate Wildlife” eco-tour can boast significantly higher wildlife sighting statistics than conventional tours.

This trip is designed for kids as young as eight and features distinctive accommodations, meals, transportation, activities, park admissions, and top naturalist guides in an all inclusive price starting at $3,398/person for a 9-day version or $4,998 for the full 14-day itinerary.  A 10½ day version is also offered starting at $3,898/person. Group size is limited to 12 due to the special wildlife focus, except for private departures upon special request. See: http://www.wildplanetadventures.com/destinations/?country=costa-rica

There’s still time to take advantage of special family departures June 25, July 16, 21 and 30 as well as Christmas family departures December 17, 24, 26 and 31.  Wild Planet strongly suggests booking as early as possible for best airfares.

For detailed itineraries, exciting wildlife photos and video galleries and booking information for tours worldwide, visit http://www.wildplanetadventures.com/, call 1-800-990-4376 or email trips@wildplanetadventures.com.

Recently, Wild Planet Adventures received its fifth “Worlds’ 50 Best Trips” award from the editors of National Geographic Traveler for its “On the Jaguar’s Trail; from the Pantanal to the Amazon” wildlife safari in Brazil. Previous National Geographic Traveler awards went to Wild Planet’s Thailand, Costa Rica, India, Panama wildlife eco-tours and its ultimate African safari in Zambia. Wild Planet Adventures is also recognized by other top travel publications for its wildlife-focused itineraries in Africa, Borneo, Brazil, Costa Rica, Galapagos, India, Laos, Nepal, Panama, Peru, Thailand and Zambia. 

Follow Wild Planet Adventures:
Facebook:     http://www.facebook.com/mywildplanet
Twitter:           @WildPlanetAdv
You Tube:     https://www.youtube.com/user/WildPlanetAdv
Pinterest:       http://www.pinterest.com/wildplanetadv/

 

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Backroads Offers Selection of Spring Break Family Adventures, from Florida to Costa Rica to Hawaii

Visiting the Butterfly Sanctuary in Key West. Backroads is offering a series of family adventures to places from the Florida Keys and Everglades, to Costa Rica, to Hawaii © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Visiting the Butterfly Sanctuary in Key West. Backroads is offering a series of family adventures to places from the Florida Keys and Everglades, to Costa Rica, to Hawaii © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

BERKELEY, CA –Backroads, a leading active travel company, has just introduced a slew of spring break trips for the whole family, ranging from Florida’s Key West and the Everglades to Hawaii’s Big Island, Costa Rica, Palm Springs and beyond. The all-inclusive family adventures offer a perfect blend of activity choices for all ages including biking, hiking, kayaking, cultural exploration, great food and unlimited opportunities for adventure.

Backroads makes traveling easy for families by handling all of the planning and logistics and making booking a breeze. Families traveling with Backroads find it easier to engage with the destination, with everything taken care of, there is less family tension and as kids unplug from their electronics opportunities for interaction abound. Each itinerary balances quality time together and apart, with welcome opportunities for everyone to take a break and recharge—usually impossible on a family vacation.

“Spring break is an ideal time to embark on a family adventure. Many of our destinations are not as crowded as in the summer and the school break is a welcome respite for busy kids and their parents,” said Backroads Founder and President, Tom Hale. “Because we take care of all the details, families can fully relax and enjoy their time together, and even book last minute knowing we have reservations at the popular hotspots.”

Some of the most popular family trips planned for spring break 2016 include:

California’s Palm Springs & Joshua Tree Bike Tour (new in 2016), March 28-31:
Bike on quiet roads amid gravity-defying rock formations and Joshua trees, rock climbing, pool time at luxury hotels, bird watching, hiking and more.

Everglades to Key West Family Multisport Adventure Tour (March 6-11, March 20-25, March 27 – April 1): Winter sunshine in America’s Caribbean – biking, walking & hiking, kayaking, snorkeling, glass-bottom boat rides, history, culture and relaxation

Hawaii’s Big Island Family Multisport Adventure Tour (March 13-18, March 20-25, March 27-April 1, April 3-8): Big-Time Fun on the Big Island from Coast to Crater

Costa Rica Family Multisport Adventure Tour (Family Breakaway and Family departures), April 4-8: From Arenal Volcano to the Pristine Pacific Coast

Santa Barbara & Ojai Valley Family Bike Tour (April 4-8): Rolling Waves and Rolling Hills on California’s Coast

Ecuador: Galapagos & Andes Multisport Adventure Tour (March 20-27):Ancient Culture & Wondrous Wildlife in Ecuador’s Islands & Highlands

Caribbean Family Adventure Multisport Tour (new in 2016), March 21-26 and April 4-9: Beaches, Rain Forest and Volcanoes on Nevis & St. Kitts

Argentina’s Lake District Family Multisport Adventure Tour (new in 2016), March 20-27: National Parks & Epicurean Delights in Patagonia

Belize and Guatemala Family Multisport Adventure Tour (March 13-19, March 20-26, March 27- April 2): Jungles, Maya Temples & The Barrier Reef

More information about Backroads’ family adventures is at www.backroads.com/award-winning-tours/family.

Backroads was founded in 1979 by Tom Hale and has been in business for more than 37 years. The company hosts thousands of guests, 80% of whom are repeat guests or referrals from past guests, in hundreds of locations across the globe. Backroads was named one of the top 100 places to work by Outside magazine in 2015, and is a founding member of the Adventure Collection. For more information, visit www.backroads.com or call 800-462-2848.

 

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Western River Expeditions: Top Questions Families Should Ask When Considering a Raft Trip

In answer to the question “Is a raft trip right for me and the family?” Western River Expeditions says, "If you’ve been eager to get the kids away from an over-civilized world and all its technology and overload, river rafting is a great place to start (hint – no Internet or cell service!)."
In answer to the question “Is a raft trip right for me and the family?” Western River Expeditions says, “If you’ve been eager to get the kids away from an over-civilized world and all its technology and overload, river rafting is a great place to start (hint – no Internet or cell service!).”

Salt Lake City–Rafting pioneer Western River Expeditions advises on the key questions families should ask before embarking on a river rafting vacation.

“In our 50-plus years of operation, Western River Expeditions has created heirloom memories for literally thousands of families,” said Brian Merrill, CEO. “We’re always learning new things about how to engage parents and children both ashore and on the river.  And we love it when families take the time to ask us questions before they make reservations for a rafting adventure.”

Merrill and his staff have heard it all from first time river runners, from “will there be flush toilets and room service?” to “I can’t swim, but can I still go?” But they also appreciate that no question is too silly or inappropriate.

Here are the questions they suggest anyone considering a raft trip should ask:

First, “Is a raft trip right for me and the family?” If you’ve been eager to get the kids away from an over-civilized world and all its technology and overload, river rafting is a great place to start (hint – no Internet or cell service!).

“How young can children be?” This question is river-dependent. If the river is relatively tranquil in post-spring runoff, with most rapids being Class III or lower, children as young as five can often be accommodated with Coast Guard-approved age-appropriate life jackets.

“How old can Grandma and Grandpa be?” This is truly more a question of physical ability over age. Western River Expeditions has taken 85-year-olds down the river who can get on and off the boat and hike better than a 60-year-old. Discuss your physical level with your outfitter to help you make the best choice. Note that Western River Expeditions does offer an interesting option for the older crowd. On Grand Canyon trips, Western uses a patented boat called the “J-Rig.” This 37-foot motorized craft offers quite a bit more flexibility in seating and comfort than traditional rafts and can be a great way for Grandma and Grandpa to join a trip.

“Is it mandatory to know how to swim?” Non-swimmers are welcomed on most all river trips. Coast Guard-approved life vests (PFDs – personal floatation devices) are mandatory as well as a safety talk prior to departure. Non-swimmers, however, should have a heart-to-heart chat with their potential tour company before making a reservation for a rafting trip with larger whitewater.

Bottom line: “Is rafting dangerous?” The element of risk (and thrill) that comes with running the rapids is why river rafting is so popular. But there’s perceived risk and then there’s real risk. That’s where professional river guides come in. They are extensively trained to minimize and manage risks. But there’s not much even your guides can do about your sunburn if you forget to put on sunscreen, or if you’re a klutz getting in and out of the boat!

Once you’ve put the above questions to bed, then ponder:

“How many hours will your gang want to spend on the river each day?”  Some itineraries involve less time on water, more time at camp and exploring trails. But please come with a flexible attitude. The speed of the flow, location of campsites and how long lunch and day hikes take influence the amount of time floating, swimming and paddling on the water each day.

“What if I’m nervous about whitewater?” Think options. There are rafting trips on calm water and trips with world-class whitewater. The type of boat you’re in also dictates the adventure. You can choose to paddle your own craft (most adventurous), ride in boat with a guide at the oars or with Western, ride atop a patented “J-Rig,” a large, motorized boat with seating up front for the more gung-ho or aft for more protection.

“In camp, how much ‘roughing it’ is there?” Guests sleep each night in a wilderness setting on the river, in a tent or out in the open under the stars (your choice). Your biggest responsibility will be pitching your tent. The guides take care of setting up the loo, food prep and clean up. Camping is usually deluxe, comfortable and easy. Meals are often better than what you have at home.

“What do little ones do at camp?” Think nature-oriented games and special hours for dining for youngsters, supervised by staff trained to work with children. There is truly never enough time for all that both kids and teens want to experience on the river.

When you are ready to make a reservation, let the company know the ages and experience levels of participants.  The company will guide you.

For first timers and young families with ages five to 12, Western River Expeditions recommends a five-day trip on Utah’s Green River or Idaho’s Lower Salmon.

For families with children ages nine and up, a three-day trip through the Grand Canyon may be the right fit.

Those with children 12 and up have the widest range of options to choose from including Utah’s Cataract Canyon and a full six day trip in the Grand Canyon.

Chances are other families will be on these trips and the children have fun interacting and making new friends.

For a copy of the 2015 catalog, questions, availability and reservations call toll-free: 866.904.1160 (Local: 801.942.6669), or visit: http://www.westernriver.com/.

Western River Expeditions is an adventure travel company headquartered in Salt Lake City, with operations and offices in Moab, Utah and Fredonia, Arizona. Annually from March through October it escorts more people down rivers on professionally guided rafting trips in Utah, Idaho and Arizona than any other company. It is the largest licensed outfitter in the Grand Canyon and the largest single tour provider in Moab, UT, through its division Moab Adventure Center (http://www.moabadventurecenter.com/).

For a copy of the 2015 catalog, questions, availability and reservations call toll-free: 866.904.1160 (Local: 801.942.6669), or visit: http://www.westernriver.com/.

 

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