By Everett Potter · Originally published in Forbes May 27, 2020
As the travel world slowly emerges from quarantine, adventure travel companies are getting creative as they lure travelers back. Getting outdoors and staying outdoors is what these companies are focusing on for the sake of social distancing. The itineraries are all based in North America.
With the recent reopening on some National Parks, Dan Austin of Austin Adventures has announced that their summer trips will start to run in June. The company has long specialized in adventurous trips to the parks and expects a big demand this year. Their signature Yellowstone National Park Family trip is already open for departures, following the park’s reopening on May 18. They also offer a Bryce Canon/Zion Family trip, and a Big Sky, Yellowstone and Paradise Valley Family trip. That said, it won’t be business as usual.
“We started by doubling the vehicles,” Austin says. “So for a group of 12, we are using two 15-passenger vans. For the vans, we have been following the lead of the airlines who I think are doing a great job. So we’re cleaning the vans constantly and doing a deep dive nightly. In many cases, we had to come up with alternate accommodations to the typical park properties. We have done so with properties on the outskirts of the parks and have tried to secure cabins as a first priority and properties with private entrances as a backup. “
Austin adds that in their hotel choices, they’re trying to avoid hotel lobbies, long hallways and elevators. They will offer their usual picnic lunches and add more private BBQ’s. They will be practicing social distancing at all times.Most Popular In: Travel
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“A lot of what we are seeing is private small groups, in which case wearing masks will be optional,” Austin adds. “Once on the trails, we will encourage them to breath the fresh air.”
Other companies, such as Escape Adventures, have rolled out their own US trips. They have a five day mountain biking and hiking trip along the north rim of the Grand Canyon. They also have a Bryce & Zion Mountain Bike Tour as well as New Mexico Road Bike Tour. They offer lodging options on their trips that typically range from camping to casual inns to luxury inns.
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Then there’s Ciclismo Classico, a Boston-area company that specializes in Italian bike trips. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, several of her spring and summer European tours have been postpostoned until next year.
“We are running our later summer and fall tours,” says company President Lauren Hefferon, “but when the world gives you lemons, make limoncello.”
While her heart may be in Puglia, Tuscany and Piedmont, Hefferon will be taking her loyal cyclists on day rides to the Battle Road in Lexington and Concord: the North Shore of Boston; The Berkshires; The, Grand Tour of Boston; Keene, New Hampshire; and Mystic, Connecticut. All of these destinations are within a couple of hours drive from Boston.
“I will be co-guiding all these day rides with a local cycling historian with the goal being a leisurely pace and abundant photo and history talk stops, with one-on-one cycling instruction,” Hefferon says.
She’s also organized multi-day tours in Vermont, New York’s Finger Lakes, North Carolina, Colonial Williamsburg and Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Travel dates are for fall 2020.
Another Boston-based bike outfitter, DuVine Cycling & Adventure Co., specializes in luxury cycling trips worldwide but has also had to trim its sails for 2020. Instead, they’ve created a series of domestic rides set to depart this fall. They’re limiting most scheduled departures to just eight guests. Guests also have the option to make their trip private. With a group of 6 or more, you’re guaranteed the lowest published price.
The destinations include Aspen, Colorado; Maine; New York’s Hudson Valley and California, as well as Zion National Park in Utah, Vermont, and the San Juan Islands of Washington. Scheduled dates for some trips are set as early as mid-August.