Two weeks ago I departed on an immense four day adventure with Trek America in the South West of America. I am not always one for organised tours, but instead more of a ‘fly by the seat of my pants, moment to moment’ (to quote Pretty Woman) kinda girl.
However every once in a while you have a short amount of time and lots to see and so an organised tour is just the ticket to cram it all in. My recent adventures across America came about thanks to winning a tour with Trek America at the Traverse conference earlier this year. A perfect excuse to revisit my favourite country and tie in catching up with a few friends while I was there.
I had an incredible time with Trek America and they looked after me super well, but as a Trek America first timer here are a few tips for anyone departing on one of their exciting adventures…
Check what is provided
The tours vary in terms of accommodation, food and activities.
Accommodation – I think (don’t quote me) they all include all your accommodation in one form or another, ranging from camping under the stars to lovely hotels, but they probably won’t include accommodation before or after your trip so make sure you have that sorted in preparation for a no doubt early start to your tour.
Food – Most tours include some meals, but vary as to whether they include all lunches and dinners. Our ‘Las Vegas to Grand Canyon Mini‘ tour included all food, including breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Activities – Your tour will definitely include loads of amazing things to do and see, but chances are there will be more awesome stuff to add to your itinerary at a fee. They will let you know before hand what these are so you can budget if you want to add them on.
Budget for Tips
You will need to tip A LOT, as is custom in America for just about everything. It can take some getting used to, but you are best to just bite the bullet and do as you are told for fear of being called a tight British ******! On your trip you will want to tip any restaurant staff, any performers, any tour guides and your main guide who is with you for the duration. It adds up, but they work hard for their tips and I am sure you will meet some excellent folk who deserve every penny.
Listen to the advice
Trek America will no doubt give you advice on what to pack and I speak from experience when I say listen, read and take note of the advice. I remember reading to bring a 3-4 season sleeping bag and thinking I knew better (and not having much space in my bag) I brought a small one season sleeping bag. Who needs all that warmth in Vegas right?! WRONG… it got to -1 degrees when camping in the Grand Canyon and I got very cold. So when they tell you it might be a good idea to bring a certain item, remember they are the experts, you’re probably going to need everything on the list!
Take lots of photos
These guys know where to take the good photos. Our tour guide Devon just kept surprising us with more amazing photo spots to stop at. Famous movie moments, iconic vistas, comedy gold and places that just take your breath away.
Make sure you have plenty of space on your memory cards, you make full use of the in-bus USB charging points and don’t forget to back up where possible as you move. I didn’t do this and lost a whole bunch of awesome photos when I broke my camera on the final day of the tour 🙁 Let’s not talk it… about I’m still mourning my loss.
Don’t hog the wifi!
This is a toughy for social media addicts like myself. BUT when the kind people at Trek America go to the trouble to organise on the road wifi in your bus, make sure you share it with your fellow tour companions. Most wifi dongles allow up to 5 people on at a time and that’s when there is good network coverage. Make sure you turn your wifi off when you aren’t using it so others can connect.
Ask lots of questions
If the other tour guides are anything like Devon, then they will no doubt be a mastermind of information. Make the most of having these humans filled with knowledge about really useful, random, interesting and crazy stuff about the places you are visiting. Ask away, you never know what gems juicy stories you might unfurl.
Take note of my top tips and you are sure to have an amazing time. In the words of Americans across America… HAVE A NICE DAY!
I won my trip through a blogging competition but was not obligated to write about my tour, so all blog posts were my choice, include my opinions and are a genuine thanks for an amazing tour!