How to Choose Your Family Travel Adventure- an Interview with Dan Austin of Austin Lehman Adventures

Last Updated on November 10, 2015 by Jody Halsted

A couple of months ago I was privileged to offer my readers a chance to win a $5000 Austin Lehman Adventure.  Entries poured in from Family Rambling and other travel blogs- nearly 3000 entries were received.  And the lucky winner had entered through Family Rambling!  Which means that I won a matching prize- and now we have to decide where to go.  Which is much more difficult than it seems.  Questions abound:

  • Do we take the girls?
  • Should we have an “adults only” trip?
  • Do we want to stay in the US?
  • How active do we want to be?

I was getting no closer to a decision, so I decided to ask the expert, Dan Austin, CEO of Austin-Lehman Adventures to help me figure out how to choose our perfect adventure vacation.  In the following interview we discuss:

  • (00:40)  The History of Austin-Lehman Adventures
  • (02:00)  How to Choose Your Family Adventures
  • (05:40)  At What Age Are Kids Most Ready to Take an Adventure Vacation
  • (07:30)  What is The Favorite “Couple’s Only” Trip
  • (08:38)  How Fit Do You Need to be to Take an Adventure Vacation?
  • (12:25)  What to Bring on an Adventure Tour (See “The Art of Packing” by Carol Austin on the ALA YouTube Channel)
  • (14:46)  What to Leave Home (hint: don’t bring the Nintendo)
  • (16:55)  What is Included in an Austin Lehman Adventure
  • (18:25)  Why Austin Lehman Doesn’t Offer any Adventures in Ireland
  • (19:28)  Dan’s Final Thoughts on Adventure Travel

Despite Dan’s incredibly great advice, I am still torn on which trip we should choose.  I truly desire to take my girls on one of the family Montana vacations.  I want them to see the majesty of the mountains.  Heck, I want to see the mountains…   And because small group travel can be customized- and my girls are expert travelers- I think they would do wonderfully.  And really, Dan was right when he said that everyone should experience National Parks trips at least once in their life.

Then again, Doug and I haven’t had a “couple’s vacation” since we went to London in May 2003- before we had kids.  Though the family Europe vacations look incredible- my dream would be the Alps to Salzburg bike trip- I know my girls wouldn’t do well on that.  If we do a couples only trip we have narrowed our choices down to: Holland- Netherlands Highlights, Utah- Arches to Moab or Arizona- Grand Canyon & Sedona.

What would you do?  Please leave your input in the comments- help us decide!

Have you been on a adventure vacation?  Please tell me about it in the comments!

PLUS:  One comment will receive a Family Rambling Travel Journal and a copy of 100 Places to Take Your Kids Before They Grow Up.  Just as my way of saying “thanks” for your input.  (Leave your comment by July 24, one winner will be chosen via on July 25.)

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  1. You have to put Arches on your bucket list. Although, I’ll be honest, while hiking the trails, you hear a lot of kids whining about the “hikes”. To stand on the fins on the way to Double “O” arch is something you’ll never forget… though the splendor of it may be lost on youth, and if they’re under 8 – you may worry that you’ll lose them off the sides of the fins. So you may be too worried about them to enjoy the moment. Reviews of the park on TripAdvisor are nearly all 5 stars- largely because it’s so unique. The town of Moab has dozens of adventures for kids, from rafting down the (fairly tame) Colorado (you can also rent little inflatable kayaks), hummer & ATV tours over the petrified sand dunes (slick rock), bike riding (for hard core riders who really know what they’re doing) and canyoneering (rappelling). There are lots of petroglyphs and even a couple of well preserved raptor foot prints at Poison Spider Mesa. Spring or fall are the best times to visit. The Grand Canyon is cool, but frankly – it’s in the middle of nowhere and all you get is views: there’s little to do. But watch their eyes light up when they stumble upon Sand Dune Arch in Arches, or the awe and wonder of the ranger-led hike through the Fiery Furnace.
    A little over an hour away from Moab is the crazy fairlyland of Goblin Valley where kids will play for hours, and for a combination of Wow-and-Fun factor – visit Little Wild Horse Canyon right next door. Then of course, few people (young or old) will forget their first views from Island in the Sky at Canyonlands, Mesa Arch or Dead Horse Point which are only 40 mins from Moab.
    Montana is pretty – but you can see tree covered mountains throughout the US – from Alaska to Maine. There is literally no place on earth that has the unique features of what you can see within 20 mins (Arches) to 1.5 hrs (Goblin Valley) of Moab! And … it’s one of the funnest little towns in the west.

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