Frequently Asked Questions
What’s included in the price?
Apart from the freedom of one meal on your own, we design our trips to be all-inclusive.
Typically, the price covers:
Double occupancy rooms with private baths
All meals and snacks except one dinner on your own
Professional and first-aid certified guides and local partners and experts
Bikes, kayaks, helmets and other necessary equipment
Vehicle support during the trip
Austin Adventures t-shirt, water bottle, and luggage tags
Detailed pre-departure and packing information
All taxes, dining and housekeeping gratuities, local partner and expert gratuities and national park entrance and permit fees, unless noted
What’s not included?
Typical trip exclusions are detailed for you in our pre-trip planners, and they include:
Gratuities to Austin Adventures guides
Alcoholic beverages and related gratuities
1 dinner during the trip
Pre-and post-trip accommodations and associated expenses
Air and land transportation to and from host cities
In-country air on international itineraries (unless noted)
Airport departure taxes and some park entry fees
Personal travel and medical insurance
Optional activities and spa services
Items of a personal nature
How difficult and flexible are trip activities?
You don’t have to be a fitness fanatic to enjoy our trips. A typical day consists of a personally paced 5-mile hike or 20-mile bike ride. We’re flexible, though, and we’ll adjust distances and levels of difficulty up or down according to your abilities and desires.
Are the hiking and biking distances the same on family trips?
To accommodate our youngest guests, family hikes and bike rides are typically shorter and easier. Our guides are happy to keep children entertained while adults/teens opt for a challenging hike, bike ride, etc. – distances and levels of difficulty for adults and teens are easy to adjust.
What is the minimum age and do you offer child discounts?
On adult trips, our minimum age is 16. On designated family adventures, we accommodate children as young as 7 (age 6 for Yellowstone & age 5 on our Costa Rica Family Adventures). Children who share accommodations with one or more adults will receive discounts of 10 – 25%, depending upon the trip.
How large are your groups?
We promise an intimate experience with maximum flexibility and personal attention. On most trips, we take 2 guides and an average of 10 to 12 guests. On family adventures, we can accommodate up to 18 guests with 3 guides. We are also experts at planning exclusive and custom trips ranging from 5 guests to 50 or more.
What about single and solo travelers?
Many of our guests travel solo. Solo travelers have the option of paying a single supplement for a private room throughout the trip. At your request, we will also try to match you up with a suitable roommate. If we’re unable to do so and you are forced into a private room situation, we will only charge you 50% of the customary single supplement charge (on most trips). We recommend talking to one of our Custom Trip Experts if this is something you’re interested in.
Will I have time to spend on my own?
Though our days are busy, there’s always downtime to shop, relax or visit the spa. At any time during your trip, if you feel like putting your feet up instead of opting for the day’s activities, that’s fine. This is your vacation!
Can I talk to someone who’s taken a trip with you?
Absolutely. Our alumni are some of our best sources of information. Just give us a call and we’ll provide references for the specific trip you’re interested in.
How far in advance do I need to reserve my trip?
The farther in advance you book, the better selection of dates you’ll have. On most trips, you’ll want to book 3 to 6 months out. For holiday trips, you’ll want to reserve 6 to 8 months out. Rest assured, though, we’re also masters at accommodating last-minute reservations!
Who is Austin Adventures?
Austin Adventures is a family-owned and operated tour operator based in Montana. The Austin family consists of Dan, Carol, Kasey, and Andy who are all deeply involved with the company in different roles. We have a spectacular team of office staff and guides who serve as an excellent extension to the Austin family.
How long has Austin Adventures been in business?
Austin Adventures has a legacy dating back to 1974. The Austin’s have been involved with day-to-day operations since 1995.
Where is Austin Adventures located?
Austin Adventures’ main office is located in Billings, Montana.
How can I reach Austin Adventures?
You can reach Austin Adventures by calling 1-800-575-1540 or by emailing [email protected]
Can I speak to the owner?
Yes! Dan Austin is still very much involved in the day-to-day operations of the company.
What awards or recognition have you received?
Austin Adventures has received many prestigious awards over the years and we’re very proud of that! A few of our favorites are Travel + Leisure’sWorld’s Best and Global Vision Awards, National Geographic’s Tours of a Lifetime Award, and Outside Magazine’s Guide of the Year award.
Where do you travel?
The better question is, where don’t we travel! We operate over 100 adventure vacations on all seven continents. We also build and run custom tours, so if we don’t have something you’re looking for in our catalog or on our website, call to speak to one of our Adventure Consultants with your ideas.
On The Trip
What meals are included?
We include all meals from the time of pick-up to time of drop-off, except for one dinner during a night on your own (international trips may offer several lunches or dinners on your own depending on destination). Most breakfasts and dinners will be eaten at your hotel or a local restaurant. Most lunches are prepared freshly and expertly by your guides (who also just happen to be amazing chefs!) Picnic themes range from “Taco Tuesday” to “Deli Day” and a little bit of everything in between. We don’t have a set menu on our trips and our guides love having the flexibility to create unique and delicious picnic lunches. Each guide team puts their own creative twist on lunch time and we promise you won’t walk away hungry!
Can you cater to dietary restrictions?
In short, yes! We do need a heads up on your dietary restrictions before your arrival, so be sure to note “vegetarian,” “gluten free,” “vegan,” or whatever your dietary restriction on your green guest information questionnaire. We also accommodate dietary restrictions due to allergies. Please give our team as much information on your allergy as possible and be sure to list if you carry an EpiPen. If you have a picky eater in your family, it can also be helpful to give us a list of items your picky eater will eat. Give us a heads up on your dietary restrictions in advance and we’ll do our best to accommodate you!
Where do the trips start?
Our trips begin in what we call a host city. For example, the host city of our Yellowstone trip is Bozeman, Montana whereas our Holland trip begins with a pick-up in Amsterdam. We choose our host cities for several reasons including location, ease of access, and abundance of things to do.
Why do I have to arrive a day before the trip begins?
We recommend arriving at least one day prior to your trip start date since your guides will pick you up early (usually between 6:00 and 8:00 AM) on Day 1 of your trip in the lobby of our recommended pre-trip hotel(s). Most guests enjoy having an extra day or two before their trip to explore the host city, relax and try out the local fare.
What sort of shape do I have to be in to enjoy my adventure?
With our small group size and 6:1 guest-to-guide ratio, we can cater to all fitness levels. Our adventure vacations are as active as you want them to be and flexibility is the name of the game. This being said, we do believe that engaging in a regular exercise routine at least 2-3 times per week for at least 30 minutes per session will allow you to more fully enjoy your trip.
Are the guides your employees?
Yes! The guides of Austin Adventures are carefully selected for their infectious enthusiasm, sense of humor, and encyclopedic knowledge of the local wildlife, geography, history, and culture. Our guides are the lifeblood of this company and we consider them the world’s best travel companions.
What is the group size?
On most adventures, you’ll find a maximum group limit of 18 guests and 3 guides. Our family trips tend to max out at 18 guests while our adult trips tend to max out at 12 guests.
What if I am traveling alone?
We think booking a group tour is the best way to meet other active travelers with similar interests if you’re traveling solo! We offer a wide variety of adult trips on which you’ll meet other couples, singles, and families with older children.
Do I need to bring my own bike?
No, you do not need to bring your own bike. Austin Adventures has a fleet of hybrid bicycles that will be fitted to your size in accordance with your height. Our American fleet of bicycles feature the Trek Verve 3. Our European fleet of bicycles feature the Cannondale Adventure 800 Rigid. We also offer a wide range of children’s bikes in a mountain bike style and can provide tagalong bikes for our not-as-confident child riders. All bicycles are well-maintained and offer a smooth ride on dirt or pavement.
How do we get around on the trip?
When you’re not biking, hiking, rafting or horseback riding from point A to point B, you’ll be riding in a clean and comfortable 15-passenger van. On trips with over 13 guests, we will add a second 15-passenger van to the mix. One van will tow a cargo trailer which holds not just your luggage but all of the gear, food and magic your guides need to pull off a memorable trip of a lifetime.
What are the accommodations like?
We offer a wide variety of accommodations on our trips ranging from locally run inns, B&B’s and ecolodges to resorts, haciendas and historic national park cabins. Accommodations are selected for their location, unique charm and history, and offer a true feel for the region.
How safe is it to travel on a group tour?
When you travel with a tour operator, the safety of you and your fellow travelers is our number one priority. While there is and always will be inherent risk on an adventure vacation, we take as many preventative steps as possible to minimize risk on your trip to keep your family active and comfortable throughout the course of your vacation. All of our guides are certified in CPR and First Aid. Each activity you embark on whether you’re heading out for a hike in the woods or rafting down a class III river will involve a short safety briefing. Every move we make on one of our tours from riding in the van to going on a bike ride is planned and carried out with your safety in mind.
What is your return guest rate?
50% of our guests return to travel with us annually! This is huge in the tourism industry and speaks volumes of what our alumni think about our trips!
How long and/or active will each day be?
All tours are different but a typical day starts with breakfast at your lodge or a nearby restaurant. Your guides will pick you up between 8 and 9:00 am (the meeting time will be given the night before). You’ll head out on either an all-day activity with a packed lunch you carry in your backpack. Or you’ll complete two to three activities over the course of the day, usually driving between destinations, with a relaxed guide-prepared picnic lunch around noon. We pack a lot into a day but we try to get you back to your hotel an hour or two before dinner. Dinner is usually eaten with the group, sometimes at one large table and other times split up into smaller tables for faster service. Get lots of sleep – we repeat the same thing tomorrow!
What if I don’t want to participate in a specific activity?
If you don’t want to go on a bike ride or head out on a hike one day, that’s okay! Your guides will let you know your back-up option(s) which can include heading back to the hotel early, exploring on your own, arranging an alternate activity or hanging out with a good book in the shade (depending on location and timing of the day). This is your vacation and we want to help you have a great time, even if you don’t feel like participating in every activity.
Do you have electric bikes?
We offer the option of upgrading to an electric bike for an extra cost on our European vacations. We can not offer electric bikes on most US trips due to permit regulations in the national parks.
What does multisport mean?
Multisport adventures feature different activities done over the course of a week such as hiking, biking, horseback riding, rafting, kayaking and/or zip lining. Our multisport itineraries tend to be our most popular trips, especially for families, since there truly is something for everyone over the course of the trip!
Is alcohol included?
On most trips, alcohol is not included in the trip price. Some international trips and cruises do include beer and wine. See your itinerary or talk to your Adventure Consultant for details.
Can you accommodate travelers with disabilities?
Yes! We have accommodated many guests with disabilities over the years. We realize that there are many different disabilities and each person’s needs are very distinct. Call and speak to an Adventure Consultant, giving as many details as possible about what you can and can’t do, and we can look into making arrangements to accommodate you as well as we can.
How old do kids need to be?
Most of our scheduled family departures require children to be 7 years or older at the time of travel. Our Yellowstone and Costa Rica adventures can accommodate 6-year-olds. On custom or exclusive adventures, we can accommodate any age of child including babies or toddlers. Call your Adventure Consultant for more details.
Do you have children’s bikes?
We do have an array of kids mountain bikes that we use for our travelers who are under 5 feet tall. Most kids bikes feature a gear system and hand brakes just like our adult bikes. We also have tagalong bicycles on request which attach to the seat post of a parent’s bike. Our tagalong bikes are best used for children between the ages of 5 and 8.
Do you offer discounts for children?
Yes! Children (age 7 and up) who share accommodations with one or more adults will receive discounts of 10 to 20%, depending on the trip.
Can we pick a trip with similar-age kids?
Yes, your Adventure Consultant can give you the breakdown of kids’ ages on whichever trip and date you’re considering. We actively try to match families with similar-age kids on all of our trips because we believe this works best for trip dynamics!
What is the difference between an adult and family itinerary?
Our adult trips are built for travelers 16 years and older. The itineraries are crafted to include longer, more rigorous options when it comes to activities like hikes or bike rides, and we include special ‘grown-up’ perks like private wine tastings, cooking demonstrations, and as much quiet time as the heart desires. Our family trips are designed for children 7 and up (6 and up in Costa Rica and Yellowstone). Family itineraries include an extra guide and van, special equipment (e.g., tag-along bikes), and separate activities for kids so grown-ups can have some ‘adult time.’ Our family trips are the perfect blend of cross-generational activity, R&R, and good, clean outdoor fun.
Can we get family suites and/or adjoining rooms?
Many national park properties do not offer family suites or adjoining rooms, but we will do our best to place you in rooms adjacent to or across from your family members. Trips outside the national parks that feature lodging with family suites or connecting rooms can be requested at the time of booking.
What is your top-selling family trip?
Our top-selling family trip is our Yellowstone Family Adventure. We think it’s the perfect blend of family-friendly activities, wildlife spotting opportunities, and fascinating geothermal features to keep kids fascinated, engaged and moving throughout the entire week. It doesn’t hurt that Yellowstone is practically in our backyard with Austin Adventures’ base in Montana! Yellowstone is our go-to “introduction to Austin Adventures” trip, especially for first-time travelers!
Custom & Exclusive Adventures
Do you build custom adventures?
Yes! Custom Adventures are a big part of what we do. If you can dream it, we can build it! The Austin Adventures team loves the challenge of designing dream vacations and turning them into a reality. To get started, call and let us know what you want to do, how much you’d like to spend and how active you’d like to be. Then leave the rest up to us!
What is the minimum or maximum group size?
On a Custom Trip, there is no minimum or maximum group size. We’ve done trips for 1 guest and trips for 100 guests before. The custom trip is designed with your group size in mind so the sky is truly the limit!
What is the difference between a custom and an exclusive vacation?
A Custom Vacation is an entirely new, once-in-a-lifetime trip built from scratch to meet your definition of a dream vacation. An Exclusive Vacation is chosen from one of our pre-existing tours, and we’ll tailor it specifically for you and your travel companions.
Do we have to follow published itineraries?
A Custom or Exclusive Vacation is truly your adventure and we’ll design the trip to your liking during the planning stages of booking the trip. Your guides will operate your trip as planned, whether you’re following a pre-existing trip schedule or a custom trip itinerary. That being said, part of the magic of an adventure vacation is waking up with a game plan, but allowing for spontaneity as the day unfolds. Expect the unexpected is ingrained in the adventure travel mantra – it’s the unplanned moments, in fact, that make each trip unique!
What is the age limit on custom adventures?
There is no age limit on Custom Adventures! We will design the trip with the ages of the guests in mind whether you bring along your two-year-old or your 90-year-old grandparents. This being said, there are some activities that require a minimum age; for example, horseback riding. If you want to add an activity like horseback riding but you have a child that is too young to go riding, one parent will need to plan to stay with the child during that activity. We will work through these kinds of details as we plan your trip.
Will I need a passport while traveling internationally?
Yes, you will need a passport to travel internationally. If there are domestic flights in-country in your itinerary, we will need copies of your passports to submit to the airlines. Otherwise, we will request the name listed on your passport, passport number, and expiration date. Please keep in mind that your passport must be valid for at least six months from your date of entry.
What is a visa and will I need to get one?
A visa is an official document granted by a foreign country, giving you permission to enter that country for a specified period of time. All countries have different rules on visas. Some countries require you to purchase your visa online ahead of time while some countries allow you to pay for your visa upon arrival at the airport. Other countries don’t require a visa at all. Visa regulations change frequently so you’ll want to do your research on whether you’ll need one or not. Go directly to the embassy website of the country you are planning to visit for the most up-to-date information, plus a phone number you can call for more information.
US citizens can also check the Bureau of Consular Affairs for detailed travel advice on every country.
Do I need special vaccinations to travel out of my country?
The vaccinations you may need to travel abroad depend on several things including where you’re traveling, your activities while traveling, the state of your health and your vaccination history. We recommend that you see your healthcare professional or a travel clinic at least 4-6 weeks before your trip to get up to date on any vaccines you need before you travel. Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information.
Do I need local currency?
You can Google the local currency of the country you’re traveling to before you go. We do recommend getting some cash in the local currency which you will need to tip your guides/drivers, pay for items not included in your trip and/or shop at the small shops or local markets. You may exchange your US dollars at a bank or in some instances at your hotel. ATMs are usually common in the major towns along your route.
Ensure your bank knows of your upcoming travels before you leave the country so your account doesn’t get frozen due to questionable activity. Also, educate yourself on your bank cards before you travel so you know you’ll be charged reasonable fees when you use your card in a foreign country.
Do I need to speak the language?
No, you do not need to speak the language of the country you’re traveling to if you book an Austin Adventures vacation. Your guide is bilingual, speaking both English and the language(s) of the country you’re visiting. Your guide can communicate with and for you. That being said, it certainly doesn’t hurt to learn a few words or phrases of the country’s language with the very least being please and thank you!
How safe is it to travel internationally?
When traveling with a tour operator, our main priority regardless of the destination you travel to is your safety. There is no 100% guarantee that you will be completely free from safety risks when you travel internationally (or anywhere for that matter!) but we will do everything we can while you’re on tour to minimize risks.
While traveling internationally, you can take preventative steps to keep yourself safe, like gaining knowledge about your destination before you travel, learning about local customs and some key phrases in the local language, and not taking risks you wouldn’t be comfortable taking at home. Trust your instincts – if a situation doesn’t seem right to you, it probably isn’t.
Is the food and water safe to eat or drink?
Don’t worry, we’ll make sure you’re thoroughly fed and have plenty to drink on your vacation. That being said, some countries recommend the use of bottled water in remote areas, even for chores like brushing your teeth. Do not use ice anywhere you wouldn’t drink the water. Food is usually safe in all of the hotels that cater to international travelers. If you are eating in smaller “street restaurants” there is less certainty about the food quality.
Avoid eating uncooked portions such as salads, fruits, and vegetables unless you know they’ve been washed thoroughly (with clean water) beforehand. Make sure all meat is completely cooked through and steaming hot when served to you. We, of course, encourage you to try new things while you’re on vacation, just be mindful of what you eat and drink.