9 Vacations A River Trip Will Put To Shame

May 15, 2012

9 Vacations A River Trip Will Put To Shame

Not enough people say, “I’m a river person.”

People often categorize themselves by the types of vacations they take — which does reveal a lot about their psyche, I think, but not nearly enough of them say, “We do rivers.”

You hear, “I’m a beach girl.” Or you hear, “We loooooove cruises.” Maybe he says, “Gimme the right duck blind, and I’m in heaven for a week!”

Well, they’re all missing out. Honestly. Let’s run through all the possible vacations you might take and examine why a river trip should forever tarnish their image in your mind’s eye:

 

1. The Beach — We all have this fantasy of an isolated, white-sand beach with crystal blue waters at just the perfect temperature, and nary a soul around to distract us. In truth, we all end up paying too much for the hotel, fighting for enough space to lay down our towel, fighting with our beach umbrella, listening to the kids nearby whine about being hungry, repeatedly getting run over by the bodybuilders chasing volleyballs and frisbees, and realizing the $20 sunscreen we bought because we forgot our own is only SPF 3 not 30, so now we’re delusional from sun poisoning. These things just don’t happen on a river trip.

 

2. Any Marvel of Engineering — If you’re like me, you’ve got that person in the family that wants to go see the Eiffel Tower or the Navy’s largest aircraft carrier or, the worst, some factory. They try to lure you in with some factoid they read on the website, like, “Can you believe there are over a million hex-head rivets in it?” What’s really dangerous is when this person finds a point of interest based on the destination, as opposed to the other way around. That’s how you end up standing in front of an oil pipeline in Alaska, learning what a “pig” is.

 

3. Tours Based On Pop Culture — You can ride a bus around New York and see every place they visited on “Seinfeld.” You can get a map of the stars and go stare through the gates of mansions in Beverly Hills and say you saw where all your favorite celebrities (supposedly) live. You can even take a bus tour based on the “Real Housewives of New Jersey.“ Actually, if we have to convince you a river trip is better than this, well, never mind.

 

4. Too Many Plane Connections — If your travel agent, or whoever makes your vacation arrangements, starts suggesting your pre-trip reading include websites such as www.sleepinginairports.net, you should be worried. Although you might have to take a plane to meet up with your river trip, after that you’ll quickly forget the stale fluorescent lighting, the stale overpriced food, the stale air and the stale robot voices on the intercom system of the airport.

 

5. The Wrong Kind Of Adventure — The U.S. State Department issues those warnings for a reason, so be wary of that intrepid backpacker boyfriend of yours who starts talking about the wonders of the street markets in Kabul and his pickpocket-proof travel vest. If you get passed this link to start comparing hotels, call us and we’ll try to persuade you why an experienced international outfitter might be a good idea.

 

6. Theme Parks — We’ve previously explained 5 reasons a rafting trip beats the pants off an amusement park vacation. It can’t hurt to give you more. Like, for instance, that most of them are so expensive that people will consider bargain options that will prove “you get what you pay for.” So, if your vacation partner starts extolling the virtues of “Fantazy Land,” be very, very afraid. And then call our adventure consultants to parry with a better vacation idea.

 

7. A Cruise — A boat’s a boat, you might say. Hardly. Remember that crowded beach? Remember the insanity of the theme park? Well, now imagine yourself trying to relax with all of that thrown together on a boat, trapped out at sea. And, we promise, there are no Vegas-exiled lounge acts masquerading as evening entertainment on our raft trips.

 

8. Speaking Of Vegas — You never hear people coming back from Vegas saying, “You know I just feel so relaxed. Really, it was just great to get away and recharge.” Mostly, they’re quiet because they’re exhausted, or broke, or they’re observing the code (“What happens in Vegas …”). If you really want to reinvigorate, if you really want some soul food, if you’re OK with your bright, flashing lights being the purple wisps of the Milky Way and moonlight on rippling waves, there’s a canyon not far from Sin City, and it’s got a river at the bottom of it. (Which we happen to run trips on, just to clarify.)

 

9. The Family Road Trip — Yes, you probably have incredible memories of visiting the world’s largest ball of twine on your family’s famous summer road trip. But, you’re forgetting that little Billy also got the crayon stuck up his nose, sister Jenny discovered her allergy to shellfish, and the two of them spent four-fifths of the trip screaming about who was bothering whom in the back of the station wagon. Fact: Children have never thought to draw an imaginary territorial dividing line in the back seat of a raft. They’re having too much fun to even think of it. So, don’t waste gas, get on the river.

 

If you share your ideas for the worst vacation ever or other reasons that a rafting trip is better than them all in the comments, you’ll be entered in my personal imaginary giveaway for a package trip to Fantazy Land, accompanied by the 2012 South Korea National Elvis Impersonator Competition champion.

Take it from us: chances are, you’ll love it.

Reid Williams
Reid has guided whitewater and taught swiftwater rescue in the U.S. and Central America on 13 different rivers, after brief turns as a chemistry teacher and a newspaper journalist. These days, he tries to turn people on to active, outdoor lifestyles as an executive at WELD.