BILLINGS, MT, May 2, 2013 РAward-winning tour operator Austin-Lehman Adventures (ALA Рhttp://www.austinlehman.com/), the multisport tour company setting adventure travel standards in The Americas, Europe, Africa and the Caribbean, reports that it is adding capacity to its family tour departures this summer and fall to Yellowstone National Park because of higher-than-usual demand.

“Inquiries and bookings this spring point to a strong trend toward domestic travel this year –¬†especially to national parks,” reports Dan Austin, founder and director of Austin-Lehman Adventures. “Pent-up desire, the prediction of lowering gas prices, a recovering economy, recent television documentaries and media attention are all helping drive the demand.”

Austin noted that the additional Yellowstone family trip departures assure that clients will be accommodated in style in the park. However, he suggested that people book as soon as possible before this season’s inventory runs out and to book early for 2014. Scheduled 2013 ALA tour itineraries that specifically focus on Yellowstone now number 13 in addition to custom, private group departures.

The number of overnight accommodations available to the public has not increased in most of the National Parks since the 1960s. As a result, travelers have learned to reserve their rooms and cabins early. In Grand Canyon National Park, Xanterra, the official national park concessionaire, begins accepting lodging reservations the first of the month for that month the following year. In Yellowstone, Xanterra begins accepting lodging reservations in May for the following summer.

Other ALA tours that include Yellowstone (and combine Yellowstone with Big Sky or Grand Teton National Park) number 19 unique departures. Austin projects that these programs will run at 95 percent capacity, which means that over 450 people will experience ALA’s unique style of wilderness travel in this corner of Wyoming and Montana. (This is up from 400 last year.)

Noted family travel writer Eileen Ogintz (Taking the Kids) wrote of a 2011 experience: “Our Austin-Lehman trip was one of the least stressful family vacations I’ve ever experienced. All we had to do was relax and enjoy – very unusual for adults shepherding kids on a family vacation. Our stellar guides sweated all the details, entertained the kids and took us places we never would have found on our own. You’re lucky on a family vacation to get a couple of memorable moments; we had those I-can’t-believe-we’re-here-doing-this-together moments every day of our trip.”

The government has tracked visitors here since 1904 when it counted 13,727 park tourists. Last year, 3,447,729 people passed through Yellowstone Park gates (the second highest total on record). 2013 is already on pace to match or exceed that number. Austin-Lehman Adventure’s first trip to Yellowstone was in the early 1980s (when the company was named Backcountry Tours). Since then this park and surrounding region has emerged as the company’s single most popular family trip destination.

About Austin-Lehman Adventures
With a 40-year legacy, ALA provides adventure vacations on six continents building an international reputation for small group active travel to destinations in The Americas, Europe, Africa and (new for 2013) Antarctica. The company specializes in adult and family multi-sport, hiking, and biking vacations that emphasize history, culture and nature’s gifts. Small group trips feature exceptional regional dining, distinctive accommodations and all-inclusive rates and services. In addition to scheduled group departures, ALA offers customized trip planning and a money-back satisfaction guarantee.

In the September 2012 issue of Travel + Leisure, ALA was ranked the #1 Family Tour Operator in the World; in March 2012 the magazine awarded ALA the 2012 World’s Best Values Award for Tour Operators. ALA has also received Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Tour Operator Award (a Top 3 finisher) for four consecutive years from 2009 to 2012. In 2011 the company was honored with the Global Vision Award for its Wheels of Change bicycle empowerment initiative. For a comprehensive 2013 catalog, call toll-free 1.800.575.1540, or e-mail info@austinlehman.com. To review current trips, schedules and itineraries log onto: http://www.austinlehman.com/.

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Sara Widness / 802-234-6704 / sara@widnesspr.com
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