It is easy for me to put my finger on the best part of my recent Backroads trip: I didn’t have to do any planning in advance or troubleshooting during the trip and each day of my family’s active vacation was incredible.
Some promotional consideration was paid by Backroads.
I booked a biking, hiking, and boating vacation in Croatia with my family, inspired by a desire to celebrate a big birthday. We decided to really treat ourselves (MY-self) and travel with Berkeley’s Backroads tour company to make it extra amazing, and I’m so glad I did.
The photo above was taken while my middle child was lost, having biked about 13 miles off-course. You guys, if that had happened in “real life”, I’d probably still be looking for him. Instead, I was happy and calm knowing that the trip leaders were in walkie-talkie and WhatsApp contact, biking to find him, and shuttling him to meet us at lunch.
Other aspects of the trip I loved so much:
We could all ride at our own pace. Real talk. Despite my dreams of family bonding, I loved that we didn’t all have to stick together every moment of the day. I cannot ride as fast as teenage boys! My big kids would bike ahead, my younger one could lag behind, and I could bike on my own, pulling over whenever I saw a pretty patch of wildflowers (truth!) or to admire the view. My cyclist husband could even double the route if he wanted. And we’d all meet up at the checkpoints, greeted by cheering trip leaders with bountiful snacks. No worries.
P.S. Thank goodness and thank Backroads for the e-bike that made it possible for me to keep up with my boys with a smile on my face.
The food! For curious eaters, the food was delightful, fresh, and abundant. For extremely picky eaters or those with food restrictions, the trip leaders coordinated with the restaurants and obtained appropriate snacks so we parents could enjoy mealtime. At more than one nice restaurant, my picky child received an artfully prepared peanut butter sandwich while the rest of us tried local specialties. If you’re a parent who has to pack special foods in a purse at all times, you know what a real and psychological weight that is.
Other kids and families. Our particular trip had two other families with kids in the same age range as ours. Backroads offers many combinations of trips so you can find the best fit: Kids and Teens; Older Teens and 20s; Families with 20s and Beyond; Couples, Friends, & Solos.
The leaders. The Backroads trip leaders are heroes, camp counselors, bike mechanics, superhuman angels, first aid administrators, problem solvers, logistics wizards, magicians, and probably also demigods. These aren’t just my words; I spoke to a few friends who have gone on such trips and, apparently, this is a common thread.
How a Backroads trip works
The website allows you to browse trips by type, dates, activity type, and destination. Staff is available on the phone to answer any questions or guide you. A trip like this is a huge splurge, and this is me giving you permission to ask a lot of questions, sleep on it, and email them back to ask more. Don’t feel like you have to “add to cart” in one day!
Once your trip is booked, you’ll need to make your own flying or driving arrangements to arrive at the departure location.
The descriptions of the trips will let you know what level of lodging to expect. Let me add that I have been around the block (did I mention my big birthday?) and I was completely wowed and delighted by the lodging booked by Backroads. I did have to book my own lodging to accommodate the dates when we chose to fly in and out based on airfares. Many trips do not start in major airport cities, so get advice from Backroads on your best options.
The whole itinerary is set with activities, equipment, and meals. Relief from figuring out how to spend each day, from breakfast to bedtime, was truly a gift. (Did I mention my birthday?) Our days were filled with adventure, epic nature, gelato, and even a few glasses of wine. Some places we ate were not even restaurants. People opened their homes, private wineries, and farms to us for special meals. Even after taking this trip, I couldn’t recreate one like it!
Future Backroads trips I’ve got my eye on
Bryce, Zion & Grand Canyon Multi-Adventure Tour for Families with Teens & Kids
Families with kids above age four can hike, bike, mule ride, and rock climb through the gorgeous land in and around the Grand Canyon. See details on the website.
Alaska’s Kenai Multi-Adventure Tour for Families with Teens & Kids
My high school bestie went on this trip with her then-nine-year-old. They did dogsledding, ice hiking, and saw moose, eagles, and otters. See details on the website.
Costa Rica with or without kids?
Would I like to take my children to enjoy cloud forests and waterfalls? Or would I prefer to leave them at home and visit the wildlife with my husband or a friend? I love that Multi-Adventure trips are an option. Biking is fun, but it’s nice to switch it up. See all the choices on the Backroads website.
Can’t wait for our next trip together. We are already brainstorming where to go. I hope you are all having fun getaways and enjoying summer with family and friends.