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The Perfect Vacation - Top 5 things to know for planning a Whitewater Rafting Trip

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Whitewater rafting is defined as a recreational activity enjoyedby several passengers in an inflatable rubber boat used fornavigating down a river or other fast-moving body of water. Ifyou love adventure and want to do something special for yournext vacation, then perhaps a whitewater rafting trip would bethe ideal option. Steered by a professional guide, you willmake your way through raging water, while enjoying the thrilland adventure of the rapids. The key to a successful whitewaterrafting trip is good planning, which is why we decided toprovide you with the top five things you need to know.

Safety, Expertise, and Certification

The most important aspect of planning any whitewater raftingtrip is to ensure you will be guided down the river by aprofessional guide, one who knows not just the water and how tosteer the boat but also one who is certified as a "WhitewaterRescue" or "Swift-Water Technician". Additionally, your guideshould be certified in CPR, Advanced First Aid, and other commonriver rescue techniques.

Unfortunately, only about 5% of whitewater rafting guides meetthese criteria. While this type of activity is generally, safeand you are required to wear life vests and helmets, sometimesthings happen. In this case, you want to ensure you have thebest possible guide with you if something were to go wrong. Therefore, as you begin your search, ask questions specific tosafety, expertise, and certification, and make sure everypassenger will undergo a safety orientation prior to headingdown the river.
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Special Needs and Children

If you or someone in your group has a special need, make sureyou choose an outfit that can accommodate. Remember, whitewaterrafting does not exclude people who are not able-bodied. Infact, it is common to see people who normally live inwheelchairs along with people who have other types ofdisabilities enjoying this kind of activity.

For children, again you want to choose the right whitewaterrafting outfitter. However, most gladly welcome children onthis type of adventure, knowing it is an excellent familyexperience. However, you will need to research age and sizerequirements in that these vary depending on the type of boat,the outfit company itself, the water level, difficulty of thetrip, and so on.

Single or Multi-Day Excursions

Some people look for a whitewater rafting trip that will startearly in the morning and have them back to their car or campsiteby late afternoon. However, other diehard outdoor enthusiastsprefer rafting trips that are multiple day excursions. In thiscase, you would take your sleeping gear with you down the riverand camp out along the banks at night. This experience is trulyamazing and one that you will never forget. Therefore, checkout all your options to see if a multi-day trip is more to yourliking.

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Whitewater rafting trips are not all created equal. Therefore,rather than just settle on the first outfit you talk to, takeyour time to find out about the length of the trip, theamenities included, level of skill for your guide, price perperson, equipment rental fees, and gratuity. Obviously, priceis just one consideration when booking a whitewater rafting tripand while it should not be the number one factor, it iscertainly something to consider in the overall planning.

Additionally, ask about group, student, or corporate discounts. Many times, even the best outfitters will offer a nice discountif you have over a certain number of people in your party, ifyou are a student, or if you are taking the trip as part of acorporate outing such as a team-building event. In fact, thereare even discounts offered in many cases for wedding parties soalways ask.

When to Go

Finally, you want to take a whitewater rafting trip when it willbe most enjoyable. Obviously, the time of year you choose willdepend greatly on the region or country where you plan to raft. However, you can do your own homework pertaining toprecipitation, along with dam and reservoir water releases,snowfall, rainfall, and heat or talk to the outfitter to findout what time of year they recommend.

Generally, whitewater rafting in the United States and Canada isbest from April to October. However, some rafting outfitterswill supply passengers with wetsuits whereby they can take tothe river with the first snow runoff in the spring and if waterlevels permit, later into the year, as late as November.

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