If there’s one thing Dan Austin knows about, it’s family travel.
For 35 years, it’s been the focus of his company Austin Adventures, which is, fittingly, a family-run affair. Austin’s wife is in sales, his daughter is in charge of operations and his son is a photographer and guide. “We have a passion for family travel, and like to practice what we preach,” Austin says.
Austin Adventures provides trips for about 3,000 travelers per year, including approximately 200-300 to Peru. “We consider ourselves a small, boutique tour operator,” Austin says. “About 65% of our business is family travel.”
So how do you ensure your family vacation is a success? Austin has some recommendations. First, involve the kids from the beginning. Here’s an excerpt from the Austin Adventures Family Travel Guide:
We at Austin Adventures think that planning a family vacation should involve all members of the family who are going on the aforementioned ultimate family vacation! Including your kids in the decision making from the beginning stages will get them excited from the start, and they’ll feel like they had a say in the overall process.
Another key to a successful family adventure, according to Austin, is meeting the locals. “We always make sure the kids on our tours have some sort of interaction with Peruvian kids,” says Austin. Often that means visiting a local school, and playing with some of the kids. Austin has found an effective way to overcome language barriers between the kids, a soccer ball. It’s easy to get a pick-up soccer game going. It’s the universal language.”
Finally, Austin recommends booking your family adventure with a reliable tour operator. “No one realizes the value of a tour operator until they experience it.” Austin continues, “If you’ve got only one week in Peru, you want to make sure you get the most out of every minute. And people who try to make all the arrangements themselves only see a fraction of what they would had they hired a tour operator.”
Austin Adventures offers several trips to Peru, including customized trips (appropriate for all ages), an Inca Trail “glamping” trip (for ages 12 and up), but the company’s most popular Peru family trip is its multisport adventure, which it has been running for over 15 years, and is suitable for ages 6 and up.
The company has a philosophy, which Austin describes as, “First and foremost, we make sure we support the local people.” In Peru, that means hiring and training local people as guides, and supporting local businesses, such as the café the company brings its travelers to at the end of its whitewater rafting trips.
Austin Adventure multisport travelers also often have the opportunity to work with locals outside the Urubamba Valley, planting trees in the watershed. The Andean area has historically had issues with landslides, and this sort of reforestation helps mitigate landslide damage.
A trip to Peru is a special event, which can be made even more special when the whole family can enjoy it.
To take a family trip to Peru, take the first step, and check out this trip here.