Depending who you talk with group, custom, charter and private trips all sound the same. Below is a quick breakdown of the differences between these terms and the advantages of each type of trip.
A group is typically at least 12 people that decide they want to do a trip together. A group is usually part of a larger trip. Some outfitters give a discount if you book a group of people. Set of friends, department within a company, party of people, or an extended family are common groups. What is nice about a group is that you don’t have to pay for the entire launch which can be up to 24 people but you get to raft with a bunch of your favorite people. Typically there will be individuals outside of your group on the trip which can be a positive, a negative or a little of both.
A charter is when a group books the entire trip meaning there will be no other guests outside their group on the trip. This means you know everyone in the group and it makes it easier for the trip to be centered around that groups needs. Potentially the trip could get to camp early, have late breakfasts, and do additional hiking if that’s what is desired.
Just because a trip has capacity for 20 people doesn’t mean your group needs to be that big. We’ve run charter trips for groups 4 people on rivers that usually run much larger trips. Chartering a trip also allows for the trip to be customized.
Charters work well for groups wanting to customize their itinerary, like have a layover day or special food. One of our favorite parts of running Rivers & Oceans is working with charter groups to customize their experience. We’ve found this typically leads to best outcomes and is the focus of ROCA (Rivers & Oceans Custom Adventures). Custom charters might also have different logistics to start and/or end their trip.
A private trip sometimes refers to a charter trip but this term can be confusing. Private trips also refer to non-commercial trips where a group of people with their own gear do a shared cost trip down a river. If you want a private rafting trip with commercial outfitter you want a charter trip.
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