This page provides useful advice for planning your trip and help with what to expect during your time on tour. Click on the links below and find out tips on what to pack and general information about life on the road.
From camping to clothing...
What to pack?
- Personal toiletries / medication
- Warm sleeping bag
- Thermarest-type self-inflating mat
- Alarm clock & watch
- Address book
- Flashlight (torch)
- Travel power adaptor
- Sewing kit / scissors
- Sunscreen / glasses / hat
- Sense of humour and adventure
nbsp; nbsp; Clothes:
- Jeans / trousers / shorts / skirt
- T-shirts / cotton shirts / blouses
- Socks / underwear / swimwear
- Casual 'evening out' clothes
- Sandals / sneakers / hiking shoes
- Warm anorak / sweater
- Waterproof jacket
> Check out our Online Trek Store and get kitted out with everything you need for your tour.
You will have the opportunity to do your laundry while on tour. This can often be done at the campsite, or in a nearby town. Ask your trek leader for local information.
Depending on the particular tour and time of year, be prepared for both warm and cold temperatures. You can expect most days to be pleasant, but nights generally range from cool to cold. Warm clothing is essential, including wool socks, sweaters, hat, gloves, walking/hiking shoes, rain jacket and warm coat. Our Winter Sun tours stay at hotels in colder destinations, but we recommend a warm four-season sleeping bag for camping nights, as the weather can be very unpredictable.
FootwearComfortable shoes with good ankle support will make all walking more enjoyable. If you are joining a tour in Canada, Alaska or you are a keen hiker we strongly recommend a pair of walking boots. For normal day-to-day wear and light hiking we recommend a pair of cross-trainers or sneakers. If you buy a new pair of shoes or boots for your tour, remember to break them in before you leave home to avoid blisters.
Never camped before?Trek has made it easy. We supply everything needed to make camping holidays comfortable and fun! We provide all the necessary camping equipment including tents, cold food storage containers, camp lights, stoves and other camp accessories. Our high quality tents are very easy to set up and take down on your own. We camp two in each spacious tent, which leaves more than enough room for your luggage. Home sweet home!
Bring your own sleeping bag - we recommend a 'three season' bag during the summer months and a 'four season' bag the rest of the year, as some nights can be cool to cold, especially in mountainous areas. We supply a thermal pad to sleep on, but if you prefer added comfort, you are encouraged to bring your own self-inflating sleeping pad.
Many campgrounds are situated in stunning settings giving our groups opportunities not found by conventional tourists. When we camp near major city destinations, nearly all the campgrounds have full facilities such as showers, pools, shops, and laundromats. Virtually all National Park campgrounds have pay showers, flush toilets and basic facilities. Occasionally, our groups will choose to stay in more isolated areas or 'bush camps' where the surroundings will quickly make you forget any lack of facilities.
En route hotels on camping toursOn some tours we will stay in budget hotels with an average cost of US $30-$50 per person, per night (budget more for nights in San Francisco). See individual tour pages for details for each tour. These en route hotel nights are shown on each tour itinerary. Rooms are based on multi-share basis although occasionally twin-share rooms will be required at a slightly higher cost. These supplements are paid directly to your tour leader as we cannot pre-empt each tour's specific requirements and due to the flexible nature of our suggested night stops. On some occasions we will stay in cabins, at ranches or in a traditional Navajo Hogan, as per the itinerary, where the cost is included in the price of the tour.
Budget lodging toursWe use a combination of hostels, hotels, motels and cabins on our budget lodging tours. Most "cabins" are multi-share sleeping 4 to 6 people and a sleeping bag is not required (except on Cross Country BLT tours). Hostel nights are generally arranged on a single sex, multi-share basis, subject to availability. Where possible we will keep the group together but this cannot be guaranteed. And, where possible, we try to accommodate couples; however twin rooms cannot be guaranteed
There is no food kitty collected on our budget lodging tours. However, a lunch kitty has proven a popular alternative to three meals out. This is optional and our leader will help organise it for those who choose to participate.
Lodging toursThe type of accommodation on our lodging tours is as different as the unique lands they explore. For tours in the USA & Canada we use a combination of motels, hotels, lodges and ranches. In Mexico, Central and South America, we stay at tourist class hotels and lodges that are clean, comfortable and sure to make you feel at home - wherever you are.
Accommodation on our special Christmas departures & Grand American Adventures tours is based on twin share, (we will match you with a fellow traveller of the same gender if you are travelling alone). All meals, except those included where specified, are taken in local restaurants and paid for individually.
Group participationWe believe there is no better way to travel than in a small group of like-minded individuals from around the world. We maintain a limit of 13 passengers on most of our tours - providing the security of group travel and the flexibility of independent discovery.
An essential part of your tour is helping with the day to day camp duties. With guidance from your tour leader and our full range of camping equipment, the team spirit makes the chores easy and enjoyable. From setting up in the evening, to breaking camp in the morning, from unloading the vehicle to shopping for food and preparing group meals, you'll be part of the team.
Optional activitiesOn each tour there are numerous activities and attractions from which to choose. Some of the more prominent ones for every trip are listed under the 'Optional Activities' section on each trip's page. These options are not included in the holiday price because not every passenger wants to participate in each activity. Our leaders know where to get the best group rates available for various attractions and activities. This way each member of the group can choose exactly what they want to do according to their own taste and budget.
Tour leader trainingIt is our belief that the most important ingredient for the success of any tour is the tour leader, and we are extremely proud of the high professional standards set by our tour leaders over the last 40 years. Our training programme begins with recruiting the right people and developing their natural talents to be great team leaders.
New tour leaders receive substantial training in all areas, with specific attention being paid to group dynamics and leadership. In addition, they receive various forms of instruction within our training facilities and operations departments; i.e. first-aid, driving techniques, vehicle maintenance, meal menus and emergency procedures.
When leaders complete their basic training, they receive hands-on education in the field, from managers and senior tour leaders who can relay the benefits of years of experience and knowledge. We are very proud of our training programme. Our level of customer satisfaction underscores it!
Management teamWe believe we have the most experienced management team in the North American adventure travel industry. Our most senior managers have been in Operation since at least 1995, and collectively our management team has an average of over 10 years experience with the industry!
The fleetWe have created a comprehensive network of full-service storage depots throughout North Americas. Our vehicles are customised to ensure your comfort and enjoyment of the tour. All vehicles have air-conditioning and excellent stereo systems to make travelling a pleasure. All luggage, equipment and other necessities are stored on a specially designed trailer or storage area to maximise space and comfort. Every group is virtually self-sufficient and able to explore the back roads "where the crowds can't go".
Food kittyOn our camping tours, our groups share in the preparation and cooking of the food. Supplies, excluding soft drinks and alcohol, are purchased from the food kitty, and each member of the group pays US$10 per day en route (CA$10 in Canada). This covers three meals on most days while we are camping; eating fresh foods that we purchase as we travel to satisfy the international flavour of the group - a healthy way to travel at an unbeatable price. Naturally this does not cover hotel stops or when Trek groups sometimes sample regional cuisine at local restaurants.
Sleeping bagsWe supply all the camping equipment you will need EXCEPT a sleeping bag. You do not need to bring a sleeping bag or bedding on our BLT tours, except on the Cross Country BLT tours.
LuggageAll luggage is stored in a specially designed trailer or in the back of the vehicle, so please don't bring more than one medium sized suitcase or rucksack (maximum 20kg) and your sleeping bag. Your suitcase/rucksack may get some rough handling, so make sure it's a tough one. Small hand baggage may be carried inside the vehicle. We cannot be held responsible for lost or damaged luggage.
MedicalYou should consult your doctor concerning which inoculations are advisable and necessary for the specific areas that you will visit. Illness or dental problems can spoil your holiday, so it's always wise to have a thorough check-up before you leave home.
Age limitsOur TrekAmerica tours are designed specifically for passengers aged between 18 and 38. Consequently, they tend to focus on activities and nightlife that appeal to that age range.
Whereas our Grand American Adventures are open aged... calling all adventure seekers 18 and up! Our 'Family Adventures' have been custom designed for families with children as young as 8 years old, however, we will consider children aged 6 and 7 upon request. See the Grand American Adventures website for more information.
Spending moneyATM's and cash machines are readily available throughout the Americas and major credit cards are widely accepted. Travellers cheques are generally accepted and can be a safe way to take your funds but aren't always the most practical. When using travellers cheques you should purchase US Dollar cheques. Credit cards are not accepted for many optional activities or en-route hotels.
We recommend taking a pre-paid currency card that you can top-up before your leave and use on tour like a credit card. These cards are also a great way to save your spending money by topping up every month before you leave for your trek. We have negotiated a great deal with FairFX cards who will waive the registration fee for all TrekAmerica clients. Click here to get your card: http://www.fairfx.com/trekamerica
It is customary to tip waiters, bar staff, taxi drivers, local guides and any person who provides a service for you. Your tour leader will work long and hard for you during your tour and we recommend a discretionary tip of US$5.00 per passenger per day if the leader´s performance meets or exceeds your expectations.
LanguageAlthough passengers come from many countries around the world, all tours are conducted in English.
Tour departures and finishTours begin and end at our gateway hotels. You will normally depart at approximately 7.30 am (check your tour voucher for exact details). On the final day, your tour will normally arrive at the hotel around 5.00 pm (1700 hours). If you require hotel accommodation this night, you MUST buy an accommodation voucher in advance. Some of our tours may start or finish earlier, please see each tour description for any variations. We recommend you book your return flight for the day after your tour finishes. If you do have to return home the day your trek finishes, please make sure your flight does not depart before 9:00pm.
Pre and post tour hotelsOur gateway hotels are conveniently located in each of our departure and arrival cities. Rooms are based on twin share as most passengers prefer to stay with other travelers at an affordable price - it's also a great opportunity to make friends with your fellow travelers. Reservations at our gateway hotels can be made on the booking form by indicating the number of nights you require (up to 2 nights before and after in most North American cities).
Pre and post tour accommodation can only be guaranteed when booked more than 30 days prior to departure. After this, it may be available on a request basis - please ask us. Pre and post accommodation cancelled between 8 weeks and 30 days of departure is subject to an amendment fee of UK£25 / 30 Euros / US$40 / AU$45 / NZ$50. Accommodation is non refundable within 30 days of departure.
Airport transfers to gateway hotelsAll passengers must make their own way to and from our gateway hotels. You will find detailed airport transfer instructions on our Gateway Hotels page. The details will be reconfirmed in your pre departure "TREK TIPS" information, which will be sent to you with your tour tickets.
Note: Our New York area hotel is located just across the river in New Jersey, and it would be best to use Newark International Airport.
Itinerary changesWe endeavour to run all tours as they are published in this brochure, however, it is sometimes necessary to alter itineraries to adapt to local conditions and park entrance regulations. We will notify you in case of any major alterations to your tour. In most cases, your tour leader will provide a more detailed trip outline at the beginning of your particular tour.
Combination toursPlease note that some tours featured in this brochure may be part of a longer combination tour. For example, the Southern Sun and the Northern Trail comprise the 6 week Grand Trek. On five tours (the Alaskan Wonder, Pacific Dream, Grand Trek, Trailblazer and Costa Rica Panama Trail) scheduling requirements may necessitate a change of tour leaders at the mid-point of the tour, and the passenger mix may change as well. Being able to combine these tours allows us to offer more departures, a greater selection of departure dates and gateway cities.
Trek ticketsElectronic vouchers for your tour and accommodation will be emailed to you upon final payment and approximately 6 weeks before departure. If you would like your tickets earlier for any reason, please contact us. We will also send or email you our pre-departure "TREK TIPS" information before you leave. It offers practical information on clothes, visas, finances, mailing addresses, departure points, airport to hotel transfers, emergency contact details and much more.
Passports and visasYou will need a valid passport, together with visas where necessary, for all the countries that you will visit. Please keep in mind that some tours may spend time in more than one country - it is important that you apply for each of the necessary (multiple entry) visas while in your home country.
> Click here for further information on the new Visa Waiver Program
Rules for entry into the USAEveryone travelling to the USA under the Visa Waiver Programme is required to register for Electronic Travel Authority. For additional specifics about the VWP please consult the VWP information on the US Embassy London website. http://www.usembassy.org.uk
Passengers who have not applied for and receive travel authorisation via ESTA prior to travel may be denied boarding, experience delayed processing or be denied admission at the U.S port of entry. However, neither possession of a visa, nor meeting the basic requirements for travelling visa-free on the VWP, guarantees admission to the United States. As with most countries, the final determination of admissibility is made by immigration officials at the port of entry.
Important reminder: If you are refused boarding or denied admission at the US port of entry you will still be subject to our cancellation charges in accordance with the terms of our contract with you.
We recommend that you carry your ESTA approval with you when you travel. All queries in relation to this requirement should be addressed via the US Embassy Consular department.
> What to expect