Planning a family vacation can be daunting in itself. Planning a successful family cycling vacation seems possibly even more daunting. But it’s not impossible—you’ll just want to do your homework. Here are some quick pointers:
Research: Pick a unique destination that offers something for everyone. For instance, a cycling tour of South Dakota’s Mt. Rushmore area offers a little bit of everything, from Flintstones Village to Wind Cave to bison, a mammoth dig and of course Mt. Rushmore itself. Or, if your family has a particular destination in mind—say, somewhere that has a fun mountain vibe—you can pick a spot that fits the family’s needs (like Bend, Oregon, where you’ll find great roads and trails for cycling plus terrific rock climbing, hiking and other outdoor fun). Once you pick the destination, work with a cycling company, tour group or bike shop at your destination to plan your adventure. Convey all the important information—age of your children, riding ability, planned dates, etc. If you don’t have (or don’t want to haul) bikes, a tour company may be a great way to go.
Plan a full day, or keep it low key: It’s important to keep your family’s travel preferences in mind. Some people love to keep busy during a trip. Others like to take it easy during vacation. If your family has a mix of both, choose an itinerary that offers variety and flexibility. You can plan a relaxing tour of somewhere low-key like Portland, Oregon, or you could go with a more active and adventurous trip, like a five-day cycling, hiking and kayaking trip in Washington’s Cascade Mountains.
Have a Plan B: When you’re traveling, things don’t always go as planned.
Flat tires, bad weather, sore muscles – all possibilities on a bicycling tour. Whatever happens, keep your sense of humor, try to roll with the punches and take things in stride. Also, try to have a backup plan or two: a potential indoor activity if the weather is unfriendly; plenty of tubes (or a guide who carries them!) Maybe even plan to get a massage along the way.
Have fun! When trips turn serious, things get stressful quickly. So keep things light: take plenty of pictures, try different foods, enjoy fun side-trips or new activities and work on communicating with all of your family members. Planning ahead is your best bet for a great family vacation.