5 Tips for Easing Families into Outdoor Adventure

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This story was written by Northside as advertising material.
SNEWS editors had no involvement in its creation.

We’ve all been there. That fun family adventure gone not-so-fun. Whether you were the parent, the kid, or the innocent bystander (pretending not to watch), you’ve seen the family adventure go from fun to failure…fast. Lack of planning and preparation can take just about any outing from good to bad, and venturing into the outdoors adds an element of unknown to even the most casual excursion.

But let’s face it. Today’s families are more time-starved than ever. Work, school, soccer games, piano recitals…the list goes on. The stresses of everyday life carry into the weekend and make getting away from it all harder than ever. Time is limited. Budgets are tight. And suddenly, the idea of a “fun family adventure” sounds more like hard work than, well, fun.

At Northside, we believe that getting outside and away from the stresses of the day-to-day doesn’t have to be hard work. We also know that for many, a few hours at the river or a weekend of car camping is an adventure in itself.

Because of this, we not only embrace, but celebrate the casual outdoor participant by doing our best to educate them on the accessibility of outdoor adventure. We encourage families to experience the outdoors any way, anywhere, and any time they’re able to fit it into their busy lives. Getting the family outside doesn’t have to be hard work. With just a little prep work, that “fun family adventure” really can be fun. By helping even the most reluctant family adventurers prepare for a great outing or camping trip, you’ll be making a customer for life. Here are some tips:

  1. Plan ahead: We’re not talking about helping them figure out where they want to go, how far they want to travel, or how much they want to spend, but by providing some resources for advanced planning, you can help alleviate some of the trepidation that many families feel about the process. Help them out by having your local area campsite reservation numbers or URLs handy and available as handouts. Information on required permits for parking or camping—and where they can be obtained—can also be a great help. Having this information before starting any adventure makes the outing more predictable and easier to manage.
  1. Help them prepare for the worst:In the outdoor industry, we know that preparing for the worst is the best preparation when planning an adventure. Make sure you’re carrying appropriate footwear, apparel and other gear that doesn’t cost a fortune, so families and casual outdoor participants can gear up easily with the things they may not have thought they needed.
  1. Make a list: Packing lists can be overwhelming. Make available copies of typical check lists for various outings, from hikes to rafting trips. Knowing what to bring is often half the battle when planning a trip outdoors, and providing families with a good place to start will be very useful and greatly appreciated by your customers.
  1. Share the wealth: Planning for a fun family adventure can be a lot of work, and doing it all without help can leave a person feeling less than, well, Giving everyone in the family their own responsibilities can help. If a family is buying a tent, for example, engage the whole family in a practice run of setting it up. The more people are involved in the process, the more excited they will be about the adventure.
  1. Don’t worry be happy: The most important thing to bring on any family adventure is the right attitude. Let your customers know that no matter how prepared they are, there will always be some surprises. Stuff happens. Things go wrong. Rolling with the punches can be hard to do, but it’s important to remember that it’s not a family adventure without the adventure. Encourage them to leave their worries behind them, hit the road in front of them, and plan for happy. Because this trip is going to be awesome!
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