Does my child need to have previous experience?
No, our trips are geared for everyone from the experienced traveler to those who have never been on a plane before. Your trip with Open Roads will lead you to new adventures, new places, and into experiences you could never have imagined. That is part of the fun. Students often join us that have no travel experience at all.
What is the enrollment process like?
Each trip has a slightly different enrollment process, please refer to its adventure page or contact us directly.
Is it okay to come with a friend?
Yes, participants can come with a friend, though the majority who travel on our programs join us without knowing anyone. We know that a close community works to make the trip successful for everyone in the group. If participants come with a friend, we simply ask that they put as much energy into everyone else on the trip as they will their friend. It is nice to have someone back home that has shared the experience, so we are always open to it.
How many people will be in my group?
Group size is important to the overall success of the trip, and we prefer smaller groups than most travel companies. A group that is too small or too big may not provide our participants with the best experience possible. Our group size generally varies from 8 to 16 participants, depending on our program goals. We work hard to keep a staff to student ratio at or below 4 to1.
We do require a minimum number of participants to be enrolled in order for an adventure to launch.
Who are the staff/guides?
Our staff and guides are pretty amazing! They put health, risk management, and developing positive group dynamics at the forefront of every adventure. They have experience working with young people, are highly skilled and deeply committed people.
Most importantly, they have strong values: honesty, integrity, respect for the outdoors, and compassion for others. Because Open Roads trips combine time in nature with elements of photography, film, and writing, our guides often have expertise in one or more of those areas. Above all, our guides are committed to bringing their full hearts and souls to the adventure, all in the name of creating the experience of a lifetime for all of us.
What about risk management?
Everyone’s physical and emotional health is our first priority. Each trip will have a staff member that has been through first-aid and CPR training, While on the river or in remote areas, we will have staff members trained in wilderness first aid and/or a certified Wilderness First Responders. We also carry satellite devices that we can use in emergencies to contact outside assistance. In addition, we always create partnerships with other adventure guiding companies that have the highest standards, excellent track records, and who share our commitment to providing high quality experiences for our entire group.
If you have further questions about how we manage risks, please give us a call to have your questions answered and hear more about our risk management practices and track record.
What if there is a medical situation on the trip?
Open Roads staff are medically trained in first aid and CPR. We have a first aid kit stocked with ample supplies to handle most first aid situations.
If you have specific questions or have a medical condition you want to discuss in advance, please don't hesitate to reach out to us. The more we know, the better prepared we can be.
My child has Allergies or needs medication
Please list all allergies and medication needed on the medical form for our directors to review.
Our staff will keep prescribed medications and distribute them when needed.
If your child has a severe allergy and you have any questions or concerns about how we work with allergies in remote areas, please contact us and arrange a phone call.
How do I prepare for my trip?
Success comes with a willingness to give the experience 100%
Bring a “can do and will try” attitude. Be prepared to try new things, to work hard, to be challenged and explore what you’re capable of, and prepare to have a boat-load of fun doing it. The most important preparation is simply to show up with an open heart and mind. Some trips offer pre-trip seminars, and in those cases there might be additional preparations and support.
I’ve never been camping before. What should I expect?
Your primary responsibilities will be to manage your own gear, to set up your tent.(which we will show you how to do), and to be open to a new way of living for a few days. You can choose to sleep securely zipped up inside your tent, or sleep under the stars, with your sleeping pad and sleeping bag laid out on the ground. Sometimes it takes people a night or two to adjust to sleeping outside, but it won’t be long before you can relax into your new surroundings. The only other adjustment will be to the bathroom options. It will be more rustic than what you are used to, but it's a small change to get used to given all the beauty you get to experience.
I’m nervous about rafting and the rapids. What should I do?
It’s perfectly normal to feel a little nervous. Our guides and trip leaders will help you get comfortable and make sure you know where you will sit and how to hang on to the raft before you get into any rapids. You will get a safety talk, but don’t forget that the safety talk is meant to prepare everyone for possibilities, not eventualities. Other than that, just hang on and enjoy the ride! Don’t forget to look at the scenery, and trust us when we say that some of the people who are the most nervous at the start of the trip are the ones who end up whooping and hollering the loudest in the rapids at the end! Most important, if you ever feel nervous, have questions, or didn't understand directions, communicate that to us so we can work through it with you.
Where do I meet the group?
Detailed information will be sent out pre-trip to explain meeting places and communication procedures on arrival days. You can expect to meet us at a pre-designated place either immediately outside security, or at baggage claim.
If traveling in a group, they will travel to and from the destination with other students and the appointed leader.
Guides will be wearing an Open Roads t-shirt, will have their cell phones, and will have all student contact information with them. Our trip directors will be in contact with the staff should there be any delays on arrival and departure days.
What travel plans do I need to make?
Details on when to make your travel arrangements will be included in the trip specific information sent out in the spring. Families or groups are responsible for booking their own flights unless coordinated with Open Roads in advance. Our office will provide details on arrival/departure windows and locations. If you can’t find a flight within that window please contact us before booking
What do I need to bring on the trip: gear, money etc
Open Roads will provide a packing list. Please make sure you have everything on the list, pack light and pack only the essentials.
Please do not bring smart watches, iPods, tablets, e-readers, or game devices, It’s best NOT to bring any jewelry or other small items that you would be sad to lose. Rings, in particular, can sometimes get pulled off of fingers while getting in and out of the rafts. We also suggest leaving your watch behind: embrace the freedom of the great outdoors and “river time”!
All camping gear, including a sleeping bag and pad, will be provided by Open Roads.
All meals, transportation (excluding airfare), camping fees, equipment, park admissions, and activity fees are included in the tuition: We suggest bringing between $50-$100(debit or credit card is best) for anything that is required on travel day: baggage fees, airport meals, etc.
How does communication work?
A valuable part of the Open Roads experience is to be unplugged. For most of the trip, we aim to be electronics-free. A cell phone can be used for communication purposes on arrival and departure days only to coordinate meeting up with our leaders. Otherwise, all electronics (except a camera) should be left at home or will be collected and protected by the Open Roads guides.
We will work together to be sure that parents know exactly when you enter the backcountry and will be without service, and when you return. We want to make sure parents know when you will be unplugged and when you will plug back in so they don't worry that they haven't heard from you.
The Open Roads staff will travel with a satellite communicator for use in emergencies. If you need to contact us urgently please leave a message with our trip coordinator who will arrange for us to contact you as soon as possible.
Where do we sleep, shower etc.
We will be sleeping in the camp ground, along the river and sometimes in a hotel. When tent camping, we aim for it to be 2 or 4 participants of the same gender in a 4-person tent.
Bathrooms are a mix between flush toilets and latrines and showers can be rustic so please be prepared.
What is the food like?
We provide a healthy meal plan with plenty of fresh food to fuel our bodies and we eat very well on trips. Most meals are prepared in basic outdoor kitchens. With leader supervision, each group prepares, eats, and cleans up meals together.
We can accommodate allergies and dietary restrictions as long as we have advance notice. Please make sure you fill out any restrictions on your health form so we can adjust our menu if necessary.
What if I don’t know how to swim?
Many of our trips are appropriate for people who can’t swim, although when on a rafting trip you must be comfortable getting into the water where we will teach you a certain level of self-rescue behaviors, such as kicking in a direction and reaching for a throw rope or raft, etc. We provide a U.S. Coast Guard–approved personal floatation device (PFD, or life jacket) that everyone is required to wear whenever you are near or on the water, including using personal crafts (such as inflatable kayaks and stand-up paddle boards), and while swimming. This will be covered in detail as we begin the river travel.