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Tips For Planning A River Rafting Trip For Your Family

Aug 17, 2007
You've planned out your family vacations for the year and decided to try a river rafting trip. Here are some tips for planning a fun and enjoyable river rafting trip for your family.

Planning the perfect family rafting trip involves understanding who you will be rafting with and where you are going to be rafting. You should always leave some time for adventure and excitement within the skill levels and ages of your family members. Don't get too carried away with planning it so detailed that you have it down to the second leaving no time for some adventurous and spontaneous exploring. Instead let mother nature be your part time guide, spinning your trip into an unforgettable adventure for the entire family. River rafting gives new meaning to the phrase, "go with the flow." That's the type of rafting trip you want for you and your family. You want your family to have memories that be with them forever--so relax and enjoy the ride.

Of course there is plenty of planning that must go into the trip. Rafting isn't a trip that you can just wing and hope for the best. You will want to decide where you will take your rafting trip well in advance and then you will want to book as far in advance as you can. You should evaluate your family's level of skill river rafting. If you have young children or first-time rafters, you should stick with a shorter, less wild trip. If you're all more experienced you may be ready for a longer trip with more of the wild and crazy rapids. It's important that you choose a trips that offers a level of adventure that the entire family can enjoy. Too hard or too intense for younger or less-experienced members can not only risk their safety but also turn them off from the sport completely.

Find out what you are required to bring and what the rafting company will provide. Are you required to bring your own food and water or is the trip all-inclusive--with the company providing everything? What types of meals will be provided? If you have specific dietary requirements, find out if you can bring your own food, or better yet, can they accommodate your needs? What supplies are provided, and which ones need to be brought by you? Also ask about age restrictions, skill level requirements, and any other questions that might apply to your family's circumstances.

Be sure to plan on how you will get to your rafting adventure. Depending on where you will be rafting you may have to make arrangements for transportation not only your flights but also your transportation out to the rafting site, so find out where you need to arrive for the trip. Most companies run shuttles to and from the river. Check with your tour provider for details about transportation.

Shelter is another important consideration. You might be required to bring your own tents and sleeping gear. When traveling with family, things can get bulky. You'll want to consider purchasing one of the very new and very compact tents that take up less space and weigh very little. Be sure to have enough space in your tents for the entire family--once you start out, you'll be subject to whatever weather mother nature throws at you. Many rafting trip providers provide tents and sleeping bags or make them available to rent.

Be sure to bring comfortable clothing. For hot summer days on the raft, a swimsuit and T-shirt is all you'll want to wear. Sandals or water shoes can also be worn on the raft. Bring comfortable hiking shoes or sneakers for exploring on shore. If you're expecting cooler weather, bring clothing that will keep you dry. Layering is also a good way to keep warm during your rafting trip.

Everything you bring should be packed in a waterproof bag or case. You don't want your sleeping bag and clothes to get wet, so take every precaution to make sure your dry stuff stays dry. Even with waterproof bags, there's a chance that things could get wet, so try not to bring anything that would be ruined if it gets wet. If you don't absolutely need to bring it along, leave it behind just to be safe.

If you're traveling with children, ask your river guide about activities for children. Some companies offer special games and activities for children. Most of the time you won't need anything special to keep kids interested in the adventure. The sights and sounds of the trip down the river are enough to pique their imagination.

With proper planning, your rafting trip will be a memorable vacation that your family will remember for a lifetime. If you take time to plan a good rafting trip, you'll be able to relax and take in all the fun times on the river with your family.
About the Author
Terry Fitzroy is a marketing consultant for Holiday Expeditions. Holiday Expeditions specializes in Colorado river rafting trips, and other family river rafting adventures to several locations in the Western United States. For more information about Holiday Expeditions' rafting trips, see http://www.bikeraft.com
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