So, last week we told you how to plan ahead for your guest ranch trip. Now the question is: How do you get the family ready for this unique vacation?
Simple: ask Ranchweb.
Gene Kilgore, chief wrangler here at Ranchweb, has visited most of the guest ranches in the West and beyond, and has learned a few things in his decades in the dude ranching industry.
“Over the years, after hundreds of miles on horseback and thousands of miles in automobiles and airplanes, I know quality clothing is better than quantity. Well, I guess that goes for most everything in life.”
Yep. So check the family’s wardrobes. If those jeans are torn: replace ‘em. If they’re new and unwashed, we guarentee they’ll result in saddle sores or chafing. Wash ‘em ahead–at least four times–using fabric softener (the liquid kind).
Some kids just don’t like to wear hats, but try hard to find a hat or a visor they WILL wear. Otherwise, bring extra sunscreen and sunglasses (with leashes, cuz they will fall off).
Make sure everybody brings a warm sweater, and a jacket for cool mornings and evenings by the campfire.
Check their footwear: riding means boots. Comfy boots. Invest in a good pair and get these far enough ahead so they can break ‘em in. (You too, Mom!) And you’ll want a pair of sneakers for running around and flip flops for just hanging out.
With the kids, start adjusting bedtimes. The kids will want to get up early on the ranch so as not to miss the morning pancake ride, lessons, and so on. Get them adjusted ahead and there will be no arguments on the first morning of vacation.
Reality check #1: are your family members really into riding? If so, a working ranch will suit them just fine. But if they’re more laid back in the saddle, then a family-oriented ranch is a better choice.
Reality check #2: is everyone in shape? If not, getting them off the couch a couple weeks ahead of time and out for a walk after dinner will mean they’re in better shape to enjoy the great outdoors.
Reality check #3: if you’re going for a bargain, go during the off-season or shoulder season. But if you do, be prepared for weather extremes and dress accordingly.
Finally, ask the ranch or lodge to send you a clothing list to help with your packing. Don’t forget a flashlight, some lip protection, mosquito repellant, and sunblock. And one last thing: bring along a smile–you’ll use it constantly on your guest ranch vacay!