Feature Article - March 2013
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Programming: Day Trips

The Path to Adventure

By Kelli Anderson

Tips for Success

When it comes to doing things right, there is plenty to take into consideration with early preparation being one of the most important. "Be familiar with where you are going and think about the logistics like extra water if you forget, how to describe the trail, expectations or how long the driving will be," Latona advised. "Adding stops, too, and having fun surprises like stopping in a town at a mom and pop shop for ice cream. Something along those lines."

Enhancing the experience doesn't necessarily have to cost extra. It can be as simple as changing the route home or making an unscheduled stop for a scenic view or for a quick snack.

According to Aluise, one of the keys to enhancing any trip is the driver. "We've been fortunate to have wonderful drivers. One always carries a small baggie with mints to hand out after dinner—a little something to enhance the experience," Aluise said. "A driver or escort can make or break a trip on how they handle conflict and smooth it over with a group."

When hiring a driver, Aluise recommends looking for customer service experience and trust. "The more the drivers are trusted, the more the seniors are going to return. You can see the expression, 'Oh, good, we have so-and-so' when the driver pulls up because they know they'll be well taken care of."

Building up expectations is another big factor with pre-trip meetings, pictures, detailed itineraries and icebreakers. Of course, expectations will be dashed if day trippers arrive on location only to be turned away. Lakota emphasized the importance of getting access permits when needed and checking, double-checking and triple-checking reservations for the same reason.

Regardless of changes these days in the economy, parenting or gender gaps, some things never change. Success is always about planning, knowing your demographic and knowing your location.