Getting ready for a guest ranch vacay
SMART RANCH TRAVELER
Hey Mom, let’s say you did all the right planning. You surfed the web and picked your place: you found THE perfect ranch for your family’s special package of needs. Okay, smartypants, now what? How do you actually get the family ready for a guest ranch stay?
Well, Ranchweb can be a great resource there. Check the ‘Ranch Categories’ section to find out if your chosen place meets your specific needs regarding Computer use, children’s programs, pet’s welcome, and so forth. Then, make a quick call to the ranch itself to brush up on some facts at that perfect ranch you’ve chosen. Here’s what you’ll wanna know:
*Want to bring a pet? It is an option at many ranches (check Ranchweb’s list of Ranch Categories/Pets Welcome). But please ask what the ranch policy is first. Many ranches prohibit pets, as their safety may be at risk (among the cattle, herd of horses, and ranch dogs). Some pet friendly ranches: 320 Guest Ranch, the Coulter Lake Guest Ranch, (below right), or the Diamond D Ranch.
*What’s the weather usually like at the time you’re booked? And is altitude an issue (many ranches are in the mountains, and if your child has asthma or other breathing problems or allergies, you may want to pack an extra inhaler or antihistimine).
*What is included in the rate you were quoted? Typical rates are all-inclusive, (covering meals, horseback riding, all facilities, children’s and teen supervision, special programming). But maybe you’ve chosen a special discount rate–double check. And of course find out if sometimes extra options, like spa treatments and trap shooting or fly fishing school are extra—you’ll want to know that ahead.
*Find out the check-in/check-out times—this is not a hotel, so rules vary. Commonly, check in is at 2 PM and check out by 10 AM is typical, but exceptions may be made individually.
*Ask out how many kids of your children’s ages will be there when you’re there. And then, tell your kids so they know they’ll have some buds to hang with.
*Find out if the ranch has a liquor license and, if not, what their policy is about guests bringing their own bottles. (Some ranches will let you bring your own bottles but ask you not to consume it in the public areas, in order to preserve a family atmosphere. Check ahead.)
*Are serious medical concerns a possibility for you or the kids? Ask if the ranch staff is Red Cross First Aid certified and where the nearest hospital emergency room is located and how long it takes to reach. With serious medical issues, you may want to select a ranch that’s fairly handy to a city.
*If you’re a smoker, you’ve gotta ask about the ranch’s smoking policy. In Colorado, for example, a law restricts smoking in public places so you’ll be asked to step outside before you light up. Many ranch cabins are non-smoking now, as well.
*Those who need to stay connected (and who doesn’t, these days?) should ask about cell phone and internet service; both are possible at more and more ranches now, but be sure to confirm your ranch’s availability.
And remember, you can always check Ranchweb for your answers!
Next week, we’ll tell you how to get your family ready for the trip! Stay tuned…