Canadian Rockies
from $4210
Duration: 15 Days
Explore Canada’s Rocky Mountains on a 15-day Lonely Planet Experience tour, powered by Intrepid. Walk the streets of Vancouver, hike the trails of Jasper and Banff, meander along the river in Yoho National Park and soak up the superb alpine scenery. Spot native moose and bears and unleash your inner daredevil with a range of potential escapades – mountain biking or river rafting, anyone? With a mixture of included activities and optional extras, you get to decide just how active or relaxed you want this adventure to be. Jump in feet first and immerse yourself in the beauty of Canada in this outdoor experience.
  • Get wild in Jasper National Park, where it’s possible to spot moose, elk, deer, bears and coyotes among the sea of evergreen pine and spruce trees.
  • Take an included canoeing adventure and camp overnight on the remote shore of Clearwater Lake, where you can fall asleep under a blanket of stars.
  • Enjoy plenty of free time to explore Canada’s premier outdoor adventure hub, Whistler, at your own pace. Hike rugged trails or munch on ‘beaver tails’ – the choice is yours.
  • Lakes, mountains, glaciers: the Rockies feature an array of striking landscapes that are remarkable no matter what time of year you visit.
  • This tour gets you to the heart of the best destinations in the Canadian Rockies with a wilderness-loving local as your guide.
  • Wells Gray Provincial Park
  • Overnight Canoe Trip
  • Jasper National Park - Entrance Fee
  • Visit to Maligne Lake
  • Banff National Park
  • Visit to Lake Louise
  • Visit to Moraine Lake
  • Yoho National Park
  • Glacier National Park
  • Mt. Revelstoke National Park
  • Rogers Pass Discovery Centre
  • Day 1 Location: Vancouver
    Welcome to Vancouver, Canada. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm at the hotel, where you can introduce yourself to your fellow travellers and tour leader. If you arrive early in Vancouver, why not take a walk around the Victorian buildings in the historic Gastown neighbourhood or wander through the behemoth urban forest that is Stanley Park. Captivated by Vancouver and worried you won’t have enough time to see what the city has to offer? Remember you’ll be back to bookend your journey.
    Day 2 Location: Whistler
    Today, leave Vancouver behind and travel to the outdoor mecca that is Whistler. Drive along the Sea to Sky Highway, widely considered one of the most scenic routes in the world, with a stop at Squamish along the way. If time permits, it may be possible to take a short hike to the massive granite monolith known as The Chief before continuing to Whistler. While there are no included activities planned for your time in Whistler, there are plenty of optional activities to take part in during your stay. Hiking, mountain biking, zip-lining and kayaking are just some of what’s on offer. Have a chat to your leader about how to go about booking and taking part in these activities. You’ll have time today on arrival to get your bearings before you settle into the campground for the night.
    Day 3 Location: Whistler
    Rise and shine for a free day in this outdoor adventure hub. Remember that all activities in Whistler are optional and some may come at an additional cost. Zip-lining tours are an amazing way of getting an aerial view over Fitzsimmons Creek and, if you’re lucky, seeing some bears along the way. During the warmer months, hiking is a great (and inexpensive) way to get the lay of the land, just keep in mind that the rugged terrain can make for challenging trails. There are also some great cycle networks in Whistler, so you have the option of hiring a bike and riding to one of the nearby lakes. Don’t forget to spend some time exploring Whistler Village, a charming pedestrian-only town with plenty of bars, cafes and restaurants.
    Day 4 Location: Wells Gray Provincial Park
    Make sure you’ve got a book, a podcast or some sparkling conversation ready as you settle in for a long drive to Wells Gray Provincial Park (approximately 6–7 hours). You’ll arrive in time to set up camp for the evening on a rustic cowboy ranch. Enjoy a cold beverage in an authentic saloon and then relax with dinner by the campfire. Complete the classic North American campsite by crafting s’mores (marshmallow, chocolate and graham crackers) and sharing stories over the crackle of the flames.
    Day 5 Location: Wells Gray Provincial Park
    This morning you’ll travel deeper into Wells Gray Provincial Park, disembarking at Clearwater Lake. Pack your camping equipment into a canoe and cruise into the water. On a sunny day the name of the lake is particularly apt, and if you work up a thirst while paddling you can drink the pristine water around you, no filter necessary. After some instruction from the canoeing guides, paddle about 2.5–4 hours to a secluded beach campsite. Set up camp for the night and spend some time swimming or exploring before cooking dinner. The campsite tonight is a little more basic than others on the trip. It has tables, fire-pits and tent sites, but only pit toilets and no showers. But trust us, the stunning location more than makes up for the rustic facilities.
    Day 6 Location: Wells Gray Provincial Park
    Wake up lakeside and choose whether to set out on a short, unguided hike from the campsite or enjoy a relaxing breakfast on the lakefront. Pack up your gear and hit the water again, alighting along the way at another beach for a picnic lunch. Back at the starting point, help unload and store the canoes and then drive to the ranch, checking out some amazing waterfalls along the way.
    Day 7 Location: Jasper National Park
    Hit the road bound for Jasper National Park, a journey which should take around 5.5 hours. Along the way you'll see views of Mt Robson, the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies. You'll arrive in the afternoon, giving you time to head out on an optional walk. Try and catch a glimpse of the area's wildlife such as moose, elk, deer, bears and coyotes. If you’re lucky enough to spot one or more of these beasts in their natural habitat, remember to keep your distance of at least 100 metres from predators (bears, coyotes) and 30 metres from all other animals. One optional activity that may be of interest if you arrive with a few hours of daylight to spare is the Jasper SkyTram. This tramway ascends to 2300 metres above sea level to a great vantage point in the Rocky Mountains with breathtaking views.
    Day 8 Location: Jasper National Park/Maligne Lake
    Today you’ll make a visit to of Maligne Lake. Make sure you’ve got a charged phone or camera ready to capture shots of the jagged mountains and bright green pine forests that surround these glacial waters. Take a hike around the area and then choose whether you’d like to pay for an optional cruise around the lake, including a visit to Spirit Island. This tiny ‘tied’ island is one of the most photographed spots in the Canadian Rockies for a reason, so if you can afford it the optional cruise is worthwhile.
    Day 9 Location: Banff National Park
    Take a scenic morning drive through mountain scenery on the famous Icefields Parkway, which connects Jasper and Banff National Parks (approximately 4 hours). There will be numerous opportunities to stop at viewpoints and waterfalls along the way. This includes visits to the ice fields of Athabasca Glacier, where you can choose to either admire from a distance or explore on an optional guided tour. On arrival at your campground in Banff, get your bearings with a brief walk. You'll be spending the next three nights here, so settle in and start planning what to do in your free time.
    Day 10-11 Location: Lake Louise/Banff National Park
    Over the next two days you'll visit the pristine Lake Louise and stunning Moraine Lake with hiking opportunities at both locations. Banff is Canada's oldest national park, with valleys and mountain chains formed between 55 and 80 million years ago. You'll also have ample free time to explore Banff and take part in optional activities. As always, your leader is there to help, so pick their brain for advice on which (if any) you wish to participate in. Options include a gondola ride up Sulphur Mountain, a dip in the natural hot springs or exploring the hoodoos and falls of Bow Valley by foot. There are many trails of different lengths, allowing you to hike for as long (or short) as you wish.
    Day 12-13 Location: Yoho National Park/Golden
    Today drive for around two and a half hours to a place so beautiful its name comes from a Cree word that means awe and wonder – Yoho National Park. On arrival, take a walk down the Kicking Horse River and visit Takakkaw Falls (the second-highest falls in Canada at 384 metres). If time permits, you’ll also visit Emerald Lake, which (perhaps unsurprisingly) is an arresting shade of cyan. Your two nights in Yoho National Park give you ample time to explore the terrain and take part in optional activities. Thrillseekers might want to give whitewater rafting a go. Half- and full-day options are available for rafting, giving you the chance to get wet and wild on class III to class IV+ rapids. For those who prefer to approach nature in a calmer way there are plenty of great trails – ask your leader for a recommendation that matches your fitness level.
    Day 14 Location: Glacier National Park/Kamloops
    This morning, travel through the high mountain clearing of Rogers Pass to reach Glacier National Park. Stop at Rogers Pass Discovery Centre for a look around and (depending on time and conditions) take a short hike through an old-growth area of cedar and hemlock. As one of the world's most active avalanche areas, most of the rugged, mountainous area of Glacier National Park is inaccessible for day hikes. Drive through Mount Revelstoke National Park, which contains part of the world's only temperate inland rainforest, and (if time allows) explore the area on a short hike. The destination today is the town of Kamloops. Keep in mind that the drive today will take approximately 6–7 hours, so get those devices and reading materials ready.
    Day 15 Location: Vancouver
    Make the journey back to Vancouver (approximately 4–5 hours). The arrival time depends on a variety of factors such as weather, but you should expect to be back in the city before 3 pm. There are no activities scheduled upon arrival in Vancouver. If you are flying out on this day please don't book a flight before 8 pm, as this will give you enough time to catch a shuttle from the hotel to the airport and be there two hours before departure. Vancouver is the largest city in western Canada and well worth some extra time to explore the city’s delights. Should you choose to stay longer in Vancouver we'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).
    Dates
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    Departure Date:
    16MAY2021
    Return Date:
    30MAY2021
    4210NZD
    available
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    23MAY2021
    Return Date:
    06JUN2021
    4210NZD
    available
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    30MAY2021
    Return Date:
    13JUN2021
    4210NZD
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    13JUN2021
    Return Date:
    27JUN2021
    4210NZD
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    20JUN2021
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    4210NZD
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    27JUN2021
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    4380NZD
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    04JUL2021
    Return Date:
    18JUL2021
    4545NZD
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    Departure Date:
    11JUL2021
    Return Date:
    25JUL2021
    4545NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    18JUL2021
    Return Date:
    01AUG2021
    4545NZD
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    Departure Date:
    25JUL2021
    Return Date:
    08AUG2021
    4545NZD
    available
    Last modified (date)

    22 Sep 2020

    Trip title

    Canadian Rockies

    Trip code

    SSOR

    Validity

    Validity: 01 Jan 2020 to 31 Dec 2021

    Introduction

    Explore Canada’s Rocky Mountains on a 15-day Lonely Planet Experience tour, powered by Intrepid. Walk the streets of Vancouver, hike the trails of Jasper and Banff, meander along the river in Yoho National Park and soak up the superb alpine scenery. Spot native moose and bears and unleash your inner daredevil with a range of potential escapades – mountain biking or river rafting, anyone? With a mixture of included activities and optional extras, you get to decide just how active or relaxed you want this adventure to be. Jump in feet first and immerse yourself in the beauty of Canada in this outdoor experience.

    Style

    Basix

    Themes

    Lonely Planet Experience

    Transport

    Private vehicle

    Physical Rating

    3

    Physical preparation

    Many of the North American national parks that we visit have hiking opportunities where walks up to 4 hours can be an option for you. There are often easier options too.

    Joining point

    Accent Inn Vancouver Airport

    10551 St. Edwards Drive Roman St. Germain, Richmond

    Vancouver

    V6X 3L8

    CANADA

    Phone: 604 2733311

    Fax: 604 2739522

    Joining point instructions

    The hotel offers a free 24-hour shuttle service. Courtesy shuttle pick-up and drop-off areas are located at the green canopy outside of Arrivals Level 2 International Terminal and outside the Arrivals Level 1 Domestic Terminal. The shuttle runs every half hour.

    Finish point

    Accent Inn Vancouver Airport

    10551 St. Edwards Drive Roman St. Germain, Richmond

    Vancouver

    V6X 3L8

    CANADA

    Phone: 604 2733311

    Fax: 604 2739522

    Finish point instructions

    The hotel offers a free 24-hour shuttle service. Courtesy shuttle pick-up and drop-off areas are located at the green canopy outside of Arrivals Level 2 International Terminal and outside the Arrivals Level 1 Domestic Terminal. The shuttle runs every half hour.

    Important information

    1. This trip finishes on arrival into Vancouver in the afternoon on day 15. 2. SINGLE SUPPLEMENT A Single Supplement to have your own room is available on this trip, but excludes nights 7 & 8 (Jasper National Park) and nights 9, 10 & 11 (Banff National Park) where you will be in shared accommodation. This is due to the availability of campsites and campsite space in these locations where Canadian National Parks are very strict about the number of tents per site. PLEASE NOTE: A Single Supplement on nights 2 & 3 (Whistler) may mean you are accommodated at a separate campsite a short walk from the group's campsite, depending on the available space.

    Group leader

    Your Intrepid group leader’s role involves organising the overall operation and smooth-running of the trip, managing trip logistics and camp responsibilities. They will work to make the trip as safe and enjoyable as possible for all travellers. Intrepid's North American trips are built around the co-operation and participation of all the group members under the supervision of the group leader. On our camping trips, your leader will show the group how to set up and use the camp equipment, and form work groups to take turns cooking, cleaning and shopping. Everyone is expected participate and carry their share of the workload, making camp chores easier. If the whole group participates it will be quicker, easier and more fun. Your leader will provide basic information about the sights and cities you'll be visiting but please note that our leaders are not 'tour guides' in the traditional sense. They are adventure travel specialists and are there to organise your trip, arrange activities and help with questions or problems you may have while on your tour. Your leader will provide you with all the important information you need to embark on your own explorations. They are also responsible for driving the van and navigating across the country. The allowable driving times for drivers is strictly controlled in North America. This ensures our drivers are well rested and are not over-tired from too many hours on the roads. While your group will have a minivan for all included activities on the trip, please note that the services of the van and the driver may not be available for your use during free time, or after you have arrived for the day. If you need a special trip into town you may need to arrange transport or a taxi. We endeavour to provide the services of an experienced leader however, situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders. It's strictly forbidden for non-qualified rangers to present any information about some National Parks in North America, therefore we adopt a system (as requested by the park rangers) where our leader will encourage travellers to visit the information centres in the National Parks for details about the site.

    Safety

    Most national governments provide regularly updated foreign travel advice on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all destinations and activities on your trip. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trips here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/travel-alerts We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, flight tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however, during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests or relax and take it easy. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Intrepid's operational safety policies can be viewed on our website at the link below. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how safety is being managed on our trips.

    https://www.intrepidtravel.com/safety-guidelines

    PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY: While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair or on the floor and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.

    UNFENCED CAMP SITES: On some trips you will at times stay in unfenced camp sites within national parks. While this is a fantastic experience, there are a few safety rules to follow. While staying in national parks it's important that you listen to any advice given by your tour leader and the park rangers regarding responsible and safe behaviour.

    BEARS: Whilst travelling throughout North America it's not uncommon to encounter bears within campsites and national parks. Your group leader has been specifically trained for these situations and, if camping, will inform the group on how to 'bear proof' the camp in the evenings or when the site is unattended. There's absolutely no reason to be alarmed by this possibility as it is extremely rare for bears to attack humans.

    Communications

    WIFI Some campgrounds have WiFi access, as do most of our hotels, although you may occasionally need to pay extra for it. CHARGING BATTERIES North American electrical outlets operate at a lower voltage than much of the rest of the world. This means that your devices may take longer to charge than you are used to, or may say that they are not charging, even though they are. You may also notice that some hotels have powerboards or multiple appliances plugged into one socket. Because of the lower voltage, this is not the safety issue that it may be in other parts of the world. Some campgrounds have access to power for recharging batteries, but it may not be in an area that's safe to leave your device unattended. You can also recharge batteries on the van, although obviously this will need to be shared between everyone. You will need to bring a 12 volt/cigarette lighter adapter to plug your USB charger into.

    Visas

    PASSPORT You will need a valid passport to travel internationally. As a general rule, most countries require that your passport has a minimum of 6 months validity remaining. Your passport details are required to complete your booking. Please ensure the name on your passport matches the name on your booking and airline tickets exactly and contact us immediately if there are any errors. We recommend taking copies of the main passport pages and other important documents with you as well as leave copies at home with family or friends. VISAS Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time. It is important that you check your government's foreign travel advisories along with the consular website of the country or countries you are travelling to for the most up to date information specific to your nationality and circumstances. Please be aware that not all visa information found online from other sources may be valid while COVID-19 restrictions are in place. Visas can take several weeks to process, so make sure you research the requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for obtaining any necessary documents as well as the application and processing time. Your booking consultant can advise on a visa processing service or you can apply yourself directly through a consulate. Below you will find general visa advice about the destinations on your trip. Due to constantly evolving COVID-19 requirements and restrictions, please refer to your government's foreign travel advice for most up to date information. CANADA Most nationalities except South Africans do not need a visa for Canada, but will need to apply online for an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). See http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/eta.asp for details and to apply. There is a fee of CA$7 for this service. Travellers will need an eTA before they can board a flight to Canada. If you are crossing the border by road, then you do not need to apply for an eTA. Please note there are many third-party sites offering visa services and charging a fee however The Government of Canada website is the only official place to apply for an eTA visa. Please note, if you hold dual Canadian citizenship, then from 30 September 2016 you won't be able to apply for an eTA and will instead need to enter Canada using your Canadian passport. If you do not have a Canadian passport, you'll need to apply for one in advance of travel. As always, please check your individual requirements with your local embassy/consulate or a visa service.

    Why we love it

    Get wild in Jasper National Park, where it’s possible to spot moose, elk, deer, bears and coyotes among the sea of evergreen pine and spruce trees.

    Take an included canoeing adventure and camp overnight on the remote shore of Clearwater Lake, where you can fall asleep under a blanket of stars.

    Enjoy plenty of free time to explore Canada’s premier outdoor adventure hub, Whistler, at your own pace. Hike rugged trails or munch on ‘beaver tails’ – the choice is yours.

    Lakes, mountains, glaciers: the Rockies feature an array of striking landscapes that are remarkable no matter what time of year you visit.

    This tour gets you to the heart of the best destinations in the Canadian Rockies with a wilderness-loving local as your guide.

    Is this trip right for you

    As Canada is a huge country, this trip covers a lot of ground. Please be prepared for some long days of driving. You'll be travelling in a van with a group, so conditions may feel a little cramped. We think this is all part of the adventure of road travel, and friendships form fast in tight quarters. As we're travelling through the mountains, the weather can be unpredictable. We advise wearing layers in all seasons in case conditions change during the day. We really can’t stress this enough – even in the warmer months the temperature can be very low in the mountains. While this trip doesn't require a high level of fitness, for you to get the most out of the included and optional activities we recommend you are moderately fit. The hikes are a real highlight of this trip and give you access to some fantastic scenery as well as the chance to see native flora and fauna. This is a participatory trip. That’s a fancy way of saying you’re not just along for the ride – you are part of a team! You know the phrase ‘the more you put in, the more you get out’? Well that’s extra true on this trip. Be prepared to roll up your sleeves and help with camp activities like food prep and washing up. That teamwork also extends to our optional food kitty of approximately CAD 90 per week to cover the cost of meals. This kitty saves you worrying about stuff like where to get food or what exactly sales tax is and helps keep your costs down. Instead of paying individually as you go, it means we can bulk purchase items and cook our own food – though there’s always the chance to use it for the occasional pizza night! The kitty is optional and for your convenience, so if you've got specific dietary requirements you can opt out and purchase (and cook) your own food.

    Health

    GENERAL HEALTH All travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to manage and enjoy our style of travel. Please note that if in the opinion of our group leader or local guide any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, we reserve the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund. You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements as they may not easily be obtained while travelling. Below you can find some further information about health issues relevant to the destinations visited on this trip. COVID-19 The safety and wellbeing of our travellers, leaders, crew, staff, and suppliers continues to remain our highest priority as we travel. You can read more about how we will keep you safe on our trips, including our COVID-19 Health & Safety Guidelines here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/safe-travels We will not require a negative COVID-19 test before joining a trip unless it is a requirement of entry for the country. If you are unwell prior to travelling, please stay at home and contact us to make alternative arrangements. At the group meeting, you will be asked to complete a self-screening health form and report any COVID-19 symptoms as well as any close contact with someone who has suspected or confirmed COVID-19. If you are displaying any symptoms or have any health concerns at this time, we will follow the advice of local health authorities to determine whether medical assistance, isolation or further action is required. We ask all travellers to continue to monitor their health throughout their travels and report any relevant symptoms to their tour leader. PERSONAL MEDICATIONS: Medical prescriptions written outside of the US and Canada aren't accepted at pharmacies. Therefore, we recommend you bring along your personal medications in the necessary quantities for your trip. DEHYDRATION & SUN PROTECTION: The most likely medical incidents to occur on our trips are dehydration, over exposure to the sun, and twisted ankles from walking on uneven ground. While hiking please ensure you drink enough water to remain hydrated as some hikes don't have refill stations for your water bottles. The sun (especially in desert areas in the West) can be harsh, particularly in the warmer months. Ensure you apply adequate sun protection cream and wear a hat. Travelling with sunburn can be uncomfortable.

    Food and dietary requirements

    While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. On our camping trips we often cook the region's specialities so you don't miss out. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though. On our trips in North America, we operate an optional kitty, where travellers are encouraged to contribute to a central fund which is used to buy groceries which then supply meals to the entire group. In our experience all travellers generally participate, however some with special dietary requirements may prefer to opt out. The kitty is administered by the group and is payable per week of the trip. The cost is: USA - US$70 per week Alaska - US$90 per week Canada - CA$90 per week While camping, some breakfasts, lunches and dinners are paid from the food kitty. Sometimes we'll go out for dinner and eat at restaurants at everybody's own expense. Your leader will participate in the food kitty as well. On hotel nights (if included) the food kitty doesn't operate and everybody eats at their own expense. Chores such as buying and cooking the food, washing up, etc. will be shared by everyone on the trip. Teams of two people will carry out the camp duties on a rotating basis. On camping nights, we usually cook our evening meals together on our own stove, or barbecue food over the camp fire. We usually prepare salads, grill meats and cook pasta, rice and vegetables. For breakfast we usually buy milk, coffee, tea, cereals, bread, jam, butter etc. Not all personal eating preferences can be catered for, however we endeavour to provide tasty, basic meals. We keep our food costs as low as possible by sharing the expenses. The kitty is based on the average cost from our past experiences and from passenger feedback about what they are prepared to pay for shared meals. Personal beverages, lunches and snacks are not included in the food kitty. If there's any cash left over it will either be redistributed to the group or put towards paying for a group activity.

    Money matters

    It can be difficult to exchange money while on the road so we suggest that you bring some cash in US dollars/Canadian dollars, or exchange/withdraw money at the airport when you arrive, or at least before you start the trip. Your individual budget will depend on your personal plans. Think about how much you want to spend on souvenirs, shopping, entertainment, food, drinks, excursions and attractions that aren't included in your trip (eg. helicopter flights etc). Please bear in mind that North America has endless things to do and see. Not all possible optional activities are listed in our Trip Notes. The cheapest and most convenient way to acquire money is via an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) which are plentiful throughout all cities and towns, and even at roadside stops. This allows you to draw funds from your personal account at a superior exchange rate. Bank fees for these withdrawals can be either a flat rate or a percentage of the amount withdrawn. Check with your bank for information on their international fees. Don't forget your PIN and make sure you know the telephone number for cancelling your card if it's stolen. Keep this in a safe place. When using your debit card, check your receipts and keep them to compare against your statement when you get home. Occasionally banks will also allow cash advances on your credit card, but it's not recommended to rely on this method only. We recommend that you carry some cash for situations when ATMs can't be accessed. SPENDING MONEY When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget an appropriate amount for things like optional meals, drinks, shopping, optional activities, and laundry. Make sure you have read the itinerary and inclusions thoroughly so you know what is included in the trip price and what you may need to pay for while travelling. TIPPING If you're happy with the service you receive, providing a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. Please note we recommend that any tips are given directly to the intended recipient by a member of your group as our group leaders are prohibited from collecting cash for tips. The following amounts are based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers: Restaurants: We suggest 18% to 22% of your bill. Bars: Recommended US$1 for each drink ordered to ensure you are served again. Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your leader. We suggest US$5-20 per day for local guides. Ask your leader for suggestions as to what is appropriate for a given activity. Your Group Leader: You should also consider tipping your leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. Your leader works long and hard for you. He or she may well become your friend during the trip but they do need to pay their bills. If the leader's performance meets or exceeds your expectation they will gladly accept a tip from you. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however you should plan to tip your leader US$5-7 per person per day. Another charge not normally listed in North American costs is the state and federal taxes, keep this in mind when your bill comes out slightly higher than the original price listed. Tipping in North America can be confusing. If you'd like some more detail about when and how much to tip, see http://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/tipping-guide-united-states/ DEPARTURE TAX All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket. CONTINGENCY FUNDS We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. We reserve the right to change an itinerary after departure due to local circumstances or a Force Majeure Event. In such emergency circumstances, the additional cost of any necessary itinerary alterations will be covered by you. Please note we are not responsible for any incidental expenses that may be incurred as a result of the change of itineraries including but not limited to visas, vaccinations or non-refundable flights. Make sure you have access to an extra US$500 for emergencies (e.g. severe weather, natural disasters, civil unrest) or other events that result in unavoidable changes to the itinerary (e.g. transport strikes or cancellations, airport closures). Sometimes these things necessitate last-minute changes to enable our trips to continue to run, and as a result, there may be some extra costs involved. The recommended amount is listed in USD for the relatability of universal travellers, however, local currency may be needed once in the country to cover these costs.

    What to take

    LUGGAGE RESTRICTIONS: All luggage is carried in trailers or inside the vehicle so please don't bring more than one medium sized bag, backpack or suitcase (20kg maximum) per person, plus a sleeping bag. Your suitcase/rucksack may get some rough handling, so make sure it's a tough one. A small daypack and camera may also be carried inside the vehicle.

    As well as your underwear, toothbrush and other items you always need to pack for travel, below are some items that you specifically need for this trip. ESSENTIAL - Sleeping bag. Please bring one from home or purchase one before your trip starts - you may not have time once we're on the road. Sleeping bags can easily be bought in the US and Canada at big stores like Walmart, Kmart, Target or at sports and camping supply stores. Renting sleeping bags isn't possible on our trips. As we offer trips throughout the year and travel in diverse climate zones, we recommend you carefully consider the weather and choose an appropriate sleeping bag. Please bear in mind that nights can be very cold even in the warmer months. We can experience temperatures as low as -5C and even snow. - Towel - Travel pillow - Reusable water bottle. We recommend at least a 1.5 litre capacity. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. Tap water in the US and Canada is safe to drink and there are many places to fill up along the way, so please save plastic by bringing your own water bottle. - Sun protection - hat, sunscreen, sunglasses - Clothing you can layer. You may encounter a wide variety of temperatures en route due to altitude and unforeseen weather conditions - so be prepared! Make sure to pack a warm fleece and a waterproof jacket. We suggest you check the expected temperatures en route and bring clothing that you can layer. - Closed-in shoes. As this trip includes camping and/or bush walking we highly recommend that you take a pair of comfortable, closed-in walking shoes. Closed-in shoes will help to protect your feet from cuts and scratches when walking through bush/grass-lands, and will also act as a barrier protection in rare cases against bites or stings from dangerous animals in this environment. RECOMMENDED - Power adaptor - Insect repellent - Spare camera battery. You should have access to electricity to charge your battery most nights, but as some of the places we stay are a little isolated, it is always a good idea to carry a spare. - Swimwear - Head torch - A simple plastic bag/waterproof toiletry bag (that can hang on a nail on the back of a door) will be useful to keep your clothes dry inside basic camp shower structures. - Personal medical kit. Your guide will carry a large kit but we recommend you carry items such as mild pain killers, electrolytes, anti-diarrhoeal, antibacterial gel, wet wipes, bandaids/plasters etc. OPTIONAL: - Sleep sheet. If you are travelling during the hot season you may wish to also pack a sleep sheet so you will be comfortable no matter what the weather. - Thermarest. While we provide a basic camping mattress for each client, some travellers find they like the extra comfort of a double layer. - Ear plugs to guard against a snoring tent-mate - A good book, a journal or an Ipod for the long drives.

    A couple of rules

    Everyone has the right to feel safe when they travel. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment, either between customers or involving our leaders, partners or local people. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a customer are strictly forbidden. Use or possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. If you choose to consume alcohol while travelling, we encourage responsible drinking and expect that you’ll abide by the local laws regarding alcohol consumption. The sex tourism industry is known to exploit vulnerable people and have negative consequences on communities, including undermining the development of sustainable tourism. For this reason, patronising sex workers will not be tolerated on our trips. By travelling with us you are agreeing to adhere to these rules. You must at all times comply with the laws, customs, foreign exchange and drug regulations of all countries visited, and you also agree to travel in accordance with our Responsible Travel Guidelines. The decision of the group leader is final on all matters likely to affect the safety or well-being of any traveller or staff member participating in the trip. If you fail to comply with a decision made by a group leader, or interfere with the well-being or mobility of the group, the group leader may direct you to leave the trip immediately, with no right of refund. We may also elect not to carry you on any future trips booked. If you feel that someone is behaving inappropriately while travelling with us, please inform your tour leader or local guide immediately. Alternatively, contact us on the emergency contact number detailed in the Problems and Emergency Contact section of this Essential Trip Information. CANNABIS Recently cannabis was legalised in Canada, however taking it across international borders, including into the United States is illegal. For more information: http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/cj-jp/cannabis/

    Feedback

    After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers. http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback/

    Emergency contact

    While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip. We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please contact our operations base on 1-800-786-8735 (toll free in the USA and Canada) or +1 707 523 1800 (office hours). You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete. POLICE AND AMBULANCE In case of an emergency, local authorities can be contacted by calling 911 – this is the toll free phone number for the police, fire department and the ambulance in the USA and Canada. In case of doubt, call the operator on 0. BOOKING ENQUIRIES / ISSUES For general enquiries or questions about your booking, please contact your agent or adventure specialist, or visit us at: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/au/contact-us CRISES AND EMERGENCIES In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency please contact our local ground representative on the number below (remember to drop the +xx country code if you are calling from within the country): Intrepid’s Local Operator: +1 707 483 9460

    Responsible travel

    Our Responsible Travel Policy outlines our commitment to preserving the environment, supporting local communities, protecting the vulnerable, and giving back to the places we travel. All our trip leaders, suppliers, and staff are trained on these principles and are core to us delivering sustainable, experience-rich travel. Explore the different parts of our Responsible Travel Policy by visiting: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/responsible-travel http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/rt/responsibletraveller

    The Intrepid Foundation

    Help us change thousands of lives by creating meaningful work and supporting skills training in communities around the world. The Intrepid Foundation is the not-for-profit for Intrepid Group. We work with local organisations around the world to improve the livelihoods of vulnerable individuals and communities through sustainable travel experiences. With our travellers’ help, we’ve contributed more than AU $6 million to over 100 community organisations since 2002. Did you know that tourism is one of the biggest contributors to the global economy, making up 1 out of every 10 jobs? That’s why we support local projects that create meaningful jobs and give people the skills they need to work in the destinations we take you to. And it’s why we exist – to make it easy for travellers to give back to the communities and places they’ve been in an effective and meaningful way. Intrepid Group covers all administration costs, every cent goes directly to the projects. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information about the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or visit our website: http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/

    Accommodation notes

    The campsites that we use are selected for either their scenic beauty, their convenient location to places of interest and/or the facilities available. We aim to offer you a selection of different types of campsites. If you've never camped before - no problem! We provide a complete set of camping and cooking equipment. This includes roomy easy-to-pitch tents, which are shared by only two people and are equipped with thin foam rubber mattresses and vinyl floors. Your leader will show you how to pitch a tent on the first day. On many trips we also spend a few nights in reasonably priced hotels / motels / hostels (as per the itinerary). For the group, we also provide two burner stoves, efficient camp kitchen equipment, dishes, coolers, food storage boxes, a water container, lamps and a sun and rain roof. Please take good care of all the equipment. You'll be assigned a specific tent so please look after it well. The equipment has to be returned clean, complete and in the same condition as you received it. Please keep in mind that sleeping bags are not provided and you'll need to bring your own. Please read the 'What to Take' section of these notes for more information on choosing a sleeping bag. Our high quality camping equipment (including tents) can be affected by bad weather conditions. This can result in some wet and cold conditions inside the tent. Your spirit of adventure and flexibility will help make your adventure trip an exciting and unforgettable experience. On nights where the group is camping and weather conditions are extreme (such as snow or heavy rain) there may be an opportunity for the group (if everyone agrees) to stay at an alternative location such as a nearby hostel or hotel. When this is the case the upgrade is at your own expense. You'll find the necessary facilities - toilets and in most cases showers, washing machines and driers - at many of our campsites. The showers at some campsites only have cold water available and some may require a payment (usually no more than US$1-$3 for a quick shower). This is payable locally and is generally a contribution to paying for a limited water supply. Please be aware that some campsites won't have any facilities, however it will rarely be for more than one night at a time. This is true of many campsites within Yosemite National Park, so if your trip is visiting this park, please prepare to go without a shower on this night, although it can often be arranged to stop and utilise facilities on our way out of the park. In all the campsites there are strict quiet hours, when absolutely no loud noise is allowed. This means that all music, singing and group gatherings have to stop. We request that all our travellers respect these campsite rules. For trips where there are lodges/cabins used, couples travelling together may be separated as our rooming arrangements are based on single gender. CAMPING OUTSIDE THE SUMMER MONTHS: Our trips extend beyond the traditional vacation months (June - September). This is because over the years we've recognised there's a demand from our travellers for trips outside this period. Many enjoy the experience of North America in the snow, or in the crisp and clear atmosphere of spring. We've operated successful trips throughout the year however some consideration must be taken when choosing a trip that travels in the colder months such as: - Have you got a suitable sleeping bag? - Do you have suitable warm clothing - fleece, waterproofs, thermals? - Are your walking and hiking boots waterproof and warm? You may also like to think about bringing your own camping mat for this period as the double layer provides extra warmth. In some locations it may be possible to upgrade from camping to cabins if it is cold. You will need to pay for, and arrange this locally and it is of course subject to availability. In some locations it may only be possible to upgrade if the whole group is willing to. If you come prepared and are willing to experience North America at this very special time of year, then you will be set for a great time.

    Transport notes

    FLEET Our large fleet of vans are fully equipped with dual air-conditioning system, V8 engines and any camping or cooking equipment needed for your trip. Most have cloth-upholstered seats and carpeted interior with radio/tape or CD players. Your baggage is transported in a trailer which is towed behind the van. The vans are regularly serviced in our own maintenance facility and continuously checked and serviced by a well established network of maintenance and service facilities throughout the continent. However, unforeseen maintenance problems can still occur while on the road and we appreciate the patience of our travellers as we make necessary repairs as quickly as possible. WI-FI Beginning 01 January 2013, all private vehicle trips through the United States, including Alaska, will feature mobile Wi-Fi hotspots. Please note that trips in Canada will NOT have Wi-Fi hotspots in your van. Whilst travelling in the van, use Wi-Fi to check-in back home and share your background and cultural interests with your fellow travellers. Some usage restrictions may apply depending on demand and use. Hotspot devices provide wireless connections for up to five devices (up to two for optimal service and speed). Many camp grounds and hotels supply Wi-Fi for additional use outside the van. DRIVING TIMES All driving times mentioned in our itinerary are intended as a guide only and represent an estimated driving time - not including lunch stops, fuel stops, photo stops, traffic congestion, adverse weather conditions or any last minute alterations to the itinerary for any unforeseen circumstances. Please note that there are some long driving days on this tour - we'll have some starts as early as 7am and late arrivals at our final destination, sometimes after dark). As always, your group leader will make stops for viewpoints, short walks and lunch/rest breaks to help break up the journey. We recommend you are fully prepared for these long travel days by reviewing our notes and indicated drive times. Some travellers prefer to bring pillows on board for added comfort, others prefer reading material or games and puzzles. The reality is that to get from one fabulous location to another, the distances are great and we like to think at least some of the adventure is in the journey - not just the destination. You'll be on board with up to 12 other passengers plus your group leader so patience and cooperation goes a long way in making this journey a comfortable one. SEAT BELT POLICY Safety is our priority and therefore our travellers are asked to sign a document on Day 1 of the itinerary indicating your understanding of our seat belt policy.

    Travel insurance

    Travel insurance is compulsory on all our trips for those travelling internationally. We require that at a minimum you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. If you are travelling within your home country or region please confirm before travel that you are entitled to access the public medical system easily should an accident occur. We strongly recommend all travellers have a policy that also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage or personal effects. For international trips, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24-hour emergency contact number has been sighted by your leader. If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number, and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and your credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country. Travellers who reside within the European Union or Switzerland receive basic international health insurance, so travel insurance is not mandatory under European Union Law. However, as this does not cover situations such as emergency rescues, private health care, or repatriation to their home country, comprehensive travel insurance is strongly recommended. European Union or Swiss travellers who decline travel insurance when travelling outside of their home region must sign a Travel Insurance Waiver Form at the Group Meeting. For assistance with travel insurance or other services, please visit the link below: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/booking-resources/our-services

    Your fellow travellers

    As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons, we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure. SOLO TRAVELLERS This is the beauty of our style of travel: many of our travellers join because they are travelling solo and want to meet and share experiences with like-minded people. As a solo traveller, you will be paired up with another traveller of the same gender as per your passport information. Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour. Pre-trip and post-trip accommodation booked through us will on a single room basis. If you’re not comfortable sharing a room with someone of the same gender, you also have the choice to pay for a single supplement (available on the majority of our trips). If you don’t identify with the gender assigned on your passport, please let us know at time of booking and we’ll arrange the rooming configuration accordingly. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on an open gender, multi-share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Essential Trip Information.

    Itinerary disclaimer

    ITINERARY CHANGES Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you review this information prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays, or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in-country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any such changes once on tour. OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, are for entrance only, and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability, and maybe on a join-in basis. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your leader know you are interested in the Group Meeting and they can assist. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high-risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.

    Accommodation

    Camping (with basic facilities) (1 nt),Camping (with facilities) (12 nts),Hotel (1 nt)

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