Family Trip Leaders

Family Trip Leaders: All The Right Stuff

Handling all the day-to-day logistics are three Trip Leaders, including a Kid Coordinator who orchestrates activities for the entire family as well as regionally focused events created for the younger crowd. They're knowledgeable and enthusiastic motivators, interact with excitement and are inspiring role models. These amazing people can move between discussing the finer points of 13th-century architecture in the Loire Valley to the latest in teenage fashion and music trends right on over to high-fiving our five year old guests. Backed by our Family Trips team, they want to see your gang enjoy the best vacation ever. So let us take care of all the logistical headaches while you focus on what a family vacation should be – filled with fun, discovery and special times you'll remember forever.

Meet a Few Faces From Our Family Trips Team

Alison Iles

Alison Iles

Family Trips Manager & 21-year Backroads veteran

Alison Iles knows from personal experience that Backroads trips are ideal for families who want an unforgettable vacation together. "I'm the mother of two energetic boys," she explains, "and I can attest that when families are actively exploring together, they see, experience and learn so much more about the world and themselves." She continues, "As we developed the Backroads Family program, we challenged ourselves to look beyond the fundamentals of what families generally seek in a vacation. We learned that kids and parents alike - when they experience a region in an interactive and authentic way - are able to slow down and open their minds and spirits to each other, as well as fully absorb the essence of their destination. Families who travel actively want a richer experience where they can truly use all of their senses to appreciate and share the journey together."

One of Alison's goals in helping to develop the Backroads Family program was to come up with trips that offer the perfect balance of family time together and time apart. "On each trip we've built in special kids-only activities and dinners to give adults time to ride or hike the longer route, take a winery tour, get a spa treatment or enjoy a more formal meal.' She notes that the trips also need to appeal to a broad range of interests and abilities, as well as be fun, safe, interesting and rewarding. "Our many wonderful local connections have helped us pinpoint the regional activities that kids and adults love, such as chocolate-making lessons in Italy, sheep shearing in New Zealand, mock-medieval battles in the Czech Republic and rock-climbing instruction in Yosemite National Park."

Bryan Rees

Bryan Rees

Family Trips Leader

Chile-born Bryan Rees discovered Backroads after receiving his MBA and taking a 16-month trip around the world. "Upon returning home, I realized what's most important in my life: family, friends and travel." Leading Family Trips in Costa Rica, Ecuador and California, Bryan finds inspiration in sharing his interest in other cultures - and the world at large - with the families he meets on his Backroads trips. "It's incredibly rewarding to witness families discovering new places together," he exclaims. "Biking and hiking has a way of bringing everyone together and allowing families to accomplish some amazing things as a unit versus as individuals and makes for really special memories that will last the rest of their lives."

Jesse Karp

Jesse Karp

Family Trips Leader

Jesse, a UCLA grad with a Sociology/French degree, finds that Backroads offers a wonderful opportunity to combine his passion for the outdoors and travel. "I'm drawn to the outdoors, especially the mountains and oceans, and sharing the experience with others has made my job more exciting and fulfilling than I ever could have imagined." He leads Family Trips in the Loire Valley, Alsace, Switzerland, and Yellowstone & the Tetons and says, "It's incredibly fulfilling to see entire families have a great time together and to know that I helped create a memory they'll share for years to come. Not to mention, every single adult (leaders included) gets to experience what a joy it is to be a kid again!"

Rebecca Sorensen

Rebecca Sorensen

Family Trips Leader

After leaving her job as a film/TV production coordinator in Los Angeles, Rebecca Sorensen traveled the world for four months, including biking in Italy and Thailand. It didn't take her long to realize that this was the kind of life she wanted to continue. Now leading Family Trips in Yosemite National Park and Hawaii, she says, "I think families really bond on an active vacation because they are out there every day experiencing new things together. There's nothing like biking and hiking together as a family—exploring a national park, being able to smell the trees, pick up rocks and pine cones, and really appreciate the nature that surrounds you. It's beautiful, challenging, and in the end, it's something you've accomplished together."

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