Real LA to San Francisco
from $2790
Duration: 11 Days
Los Angeles and San Francisco are two of the most well-known locations in the USA. But what’s in between? The Real LA to San Francisco tour takes you from the bustling vibes of La La Land to the shores of San Francisco, via Arizona and Nevada. See desert landscapes, beautiful national parks and the extravagance of Las Vegas. If you want to experience the buzz of the big city mixed with the adventure of forest and national park, this trip has all your bases covered. Journey through the west coast on a classic North American road trip with the flexibility to go with the flow.
  • No great west coast road trip is complete without some time in Los Angeles. Fulfil your dreams of strolling the Hollywood Walk of Fame, or people watching down at Santa Monica.
  • Vegas is a spectacle by night, but what happens before dark? Appreciate the neon-filled city at all hours of the day with time and flexibility to do as you please.
  • Take a bird’s eye view and admire the winding gorges and desolate rock landscape of the Grand Canyon by helicopter in an unmissable optional activity.
  • Cover Yosemite’s many trails over two full days and three nights dedicated to the park. You will be able to hike and explore until your heart (and camera) is content.
  • San Francisco is an ideal destination to spend some extra time in, exploring its vibrant heart and the diverse scenery of its surrounds. Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Silicon Valley, Napa… they’re all at your fingertips!
  • Joshua Tree National Park - Entrance Fee
  • Grand Canyon National Park
  • Las Vegas - Street Taco dinner
  • Yosemite National Park - Entrance Fee
  • Visit to Mono Lake
  • Day 1 Location: Los Angeles
    Welcome to Los Angeles, in the US of A! Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting in the hostel lobby today at 6 pm. It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting as we will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this time. If you are going to be late please let your travel agent or hostel reception know. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you do arrive early, take a stroll on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, experience the food markets of Downtown LA, or head to one of the many theme parks in the area. Following the welcome meeting, take a stroll down Venice and Santa Monica beach for a bit of people watching, and perhaps head for an optional group dinner on the boulevard.
    Day 2 Location: Joshua Tree National Park
    Head away from the buzz of the big city and drive to Joshua Tree National Park. Sitting between the Mojave and Colorado Deserts, the park is famous for its spectacular desert plants, cacti and spiky trees, bizarre rock formations and a pretty good U2 album. After a wander through the park, head to Lake Havasu on the Colorado River (at the Arizona border) and set up camp for the night. You might like to head out on a scenic hike around the town, learn the backstory of the city’s unique London Bridge, or even take a refreshing dip in the Colorado River. Covering around 600 kilometres (372 miles) of ground today, there will be time to stop for short walks, photo opportunities and some roadside snacking.
    Day 3 Location: Grand Canyon National Park
    Drive towards the Grand Canyon, along a section of Route 66, stopping in at the eccentric town of Seligman. Arriving later in the Grand Canyon National Park, get ready to admire a natural wonder formed by over six million years of erosion by the Colorado River. When you think about its dimensions – 450 kilometres long, 630 kilometres wide and 1600 metres deep – it really does warrant the whole ‘grand’ title. You’ll spend two nights here which allows for a full day of exploration tomorrow. Check out the park’s massive scale on a walk on the rim or, if you’re feeling more active, hike into the canyon itself to stretch your legs. Spend the night at comfortable digs near the park.
    Day 4 Location: Grand Canyon National Park
    Today is a free day to explore the Grand Canyon in all of its beauty. Stroll along the meandering South Rim Trail or hike your way down to Plateau Point. If you're feeling extra adventurous and angling for a bird’s eye view, splash out on a scenic helicopter flight over the area. You’ll see the winding rivers from up high – a highly recommended way to understand how each section pieces together. In the early evening, relax at the canyon's edge and enjoy a spectacular sunset over one the world's natural wonders.
    Day 5 Location: Las Vegas
    Head out of the Grand Canyon and cross the western deserts of Arizona to the original sin city: Las Vegas. Vegas may be known for its casinos and late-night antics, but there's plenty to do if gambling isn't your thing. Hit the shops, see a world-class stage show, feel your stomach drop on a rooftop roller-coaster or stroll along Freemont Street, soaking up this neon-filled desert city. In the evening, head to Pink Taco for an included street taco dinner from the famous LA chain’s cantina located in Las Vegas Hard Rock Hotel – a perfect way to begin a night out on the town. Later on, why not go see a stage show? Remember that tickets can sell out quickly for popular shows, so best to book before your tour begins.
    Day 6 Location: Las Vegas
    With another day in Las Vegas, continue discovering all things over-the-top. Food-focused travellers may want to check out one of the celebrity chef restaurants around town (Giada De Laurentiis, Gordon Ramsay and Wolfgang Puck all have places here). See the Eiffel Tower of the USA, check out the Bellagio Fountains or visit one of the wacky museums on offer. If you didn’t head out last night, chat to your tour leader for the lowdown on Sin City's best shows, clubs and restaurants, and the option of hiring a limo for the night. You might as well go all out in Las Vegas, right?
    Day 7 Location: Sierra Nevada / Keough Hot Springs
    Head out of sin city to the Sierra Nevada mountain range today on your quest for greener pastures. The Sierra Nevadas are sandwiched between Central Valley and Death Valley, a scenic trip that will take you to the town of Bishop, where you’ll camp the night and visit some nearby natural hot springs. In town, perhaps go to Erick Schat’s European-style bakery for a delicious treat, or stop in tomorrow for a coffee and cake on the way to Yosemite.
    Day 8 Location: Yosemite National Park
    Drive west into the heart of the Sierra Nevada Mountains to your destination: the magnificent Yosemite National Park. Passing by the striking Mono Lake, your private vehicle will travel through the Tioga Pass (weather permitting) and past serene vistas like Tenaya Lake and the Olmstead Point viewpoint, where you’ll catch a glimpse of one of Yosemite’s most recognisable features – Half Dome. You'll spend three nights in the Yosemite National Park so that there are two full days available to explore at your own pace. The total driving time today is approximately 5 hours.
    Day 9 Location: Yosemite National Park
    Today is free to discover the wonders of the park. One of the most famous parks in the USA, Yosemite boasts colossal granite cliffs, cascading waterfalls and redwood forests attract visitors from all over the world. The group leader will point you in the right direction from the village, before leaving you to spend the day as you please. There are plenty of hikes available, each varying in steepness and difficulty. Hike under the cooling breezes of Nevada Falls (4-5 hours) or to the serene Mirror Lake (45 minutes). Keep an eye out for squirrels and perhaps even a bear along the way. You might prefer to hire a bike and explore Yosemite Valley. Visit the park's museum, photo gallery, shops and restaurants along the way, and in the heat of summer a relaxing float down the Merced River is highly recommended.
    Day 10 Location: Yosemite National Park
    With a second full day in the park, there’s an opportunity to explore a different side of Yosemite, and the group leader will take you on a guided hike to Hetch Hetchy, an often overlooked, elevated valley in the park’s northwest corner. The name comes from ‘hetchetci’, describing seeds from a grass that grows in the valley. It has a floor elevation of 1150 metres (3800 feet), and one of the main characteristics is its man-made reservoir, built in the early 20th century. The area attracts far fewer visitors than the more well-known Yosemite hiking points, and its remoteness makes it the ideal place to discover cascading waterfalls and beautiful wildflowers.
    Day 11 Location: San Francisco
    Leave Yosemite behind today and drive west for about 4 hours to San Francisco. The City by the Bay has a beautiful setting and a vibrant, multicultural heart. This trip finishes on arrival into San Francisco after a stop at the Golden Gate Bridge for a walk. No accommodation provided for tonight. If you do wish to spend extra time in San Francisco, we'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). Perhaps check out the vintage stores along funky Haight Street, catch the tram down to the waterfront or take an adventure cruise on the bay past Alcatraz Island. Better yet, consider booking an Urban Adventures sightseeing tour like Bridge and the Beach, where you’ll see a different side of the Golden Gate from Baker Beach (see urbanadventures.com/destination/san-francisco-tours).
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    Departure Date:
    26MAY2022
    Return Date:
    05JUN2022
    2790NZD
    available
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    16JUN2022
    Return Date:
    26JUN2022
    2790NZD
    available
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    03JUL2022
    Return Date:
    13JUL2022
    2790NZD
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    14JUL2022
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    2790NZD
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    07AUG2022
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    2875NZD
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    Return Date:
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    2875NZD
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    21AUG2022
    Return Date:
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    2875NZD
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    28AUG2022
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    2875NZD
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    Departure Date:
    04SEP2022
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    2875NZD
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    Last modified (date)

    08 Sep 2021

    Trip title

    Real LA to San Francisco

    Trip code

    SSYG

    Validity

    Validity: 01 Jan 2020 to 31 Dec 2021

    Introduction

    Los Angeles and San Francisco are two of the most well-known locations in the USA. But what’s in between? The Real LA to San Francisco tour takes you from the bustling vibes of La La Land to the shores of San Francisco, via Arizona and Nevada. See desert landscapes, beautiful national parks and the extravagance of Las Vegas. If you want to experience the buzz of the big city mixed with the adventure of forest and national park, this trip has all your bases covered. Journey through the west coast on a classic North American road trip with the flexibility to go with the flow.

    Style

    Basix

    Themes

    18 to 29s,Explorer

    Transport

    Private vehicle

    Physical Rating

    2

    Physical preparation

    We recommend that you undertake regular aerobic exercise in the weeks before you travel, particularly if you are not in the habit of regular exercise. Walking, jogging, swimming or riding a bike are all good ways to increase your aerobic fitness, which will allow you to enjoy the trip to its fullest. Many of the National Parks that we visit have hiking opportunities where walks of up to 4 hours can be an option for you. There are often easier options. Throughout the trip there are more adventurous optional activities that require some consideration regarding your physical abilities to complete the activity.

    Joining point

    HI Los Angeles Santa Monica Hostel

    1436 2nd Street

    Santa Monica

    Santa Monica

    90401

    UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

    Joining point description

    Just blocks from the beach on LA’s trendy West Side, HI Los Angeles Santa Monica hostel is the perfect spot for living the California dream. Your accommodation is a few minutes walk to 3rd Street Promenade for shopping, the famous Santa Monica pier for social media shots and easy enough to grab a bike and ride to nearby Venice Beach. Heading to the beach? The hostel has beach towels and volley balls for guests to use. A guest kitchen is open for limited meal prep if you want to eat in. Free WiFi, smart showers, game room and an outdoor courtyard are just some of the features you will find.

    Joining point instructions

    The hostel can easily accessed from the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). A taxi to the hotel will cost approximately $55-$75 USD one way depending on traffic. The Santa Monica Flyaway shuttle bus runs hourly from 5:45 a.m. to 11:45 p.m. daily, including weekends and holidays. Buses depart in both directions -- from LAX and the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium at 1875 Main Street which is a 10 minute walk to the hostel. The shuttle departs 15 minutes before each hour.

    Finish point

    The Red Roof Inn at San Francisco Airport

    777 Airport Blvd

    Burlingame

    San Francisco

    94010

    UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

    Finish point instructions

    A complimentary airport shuttle runs from 4am-12:30am every half hour. Check with hotel reception for departure times. Taxis and ride-shares apps like uber are also an option. The hotel is located two miles away and the ride would cost around $10.

    Important information

    ROOMING IN LA: The group will be in 8 and 6 person dorms, with shared bathrooms. The hostel will do their best to separate the group by gender, but it's not guaranteed. SINGLE SUPPLEMENT A Single Supplement to have your own room is available on this trip however excludes night 1 (Los Angeles) where you will be in shared accommodation. LAST DAY: The arrival time back into San Francisco on the last day depends on each group, but if you decide to fly out on this day, please don't book a flight before 9 pm.

    Group leader

    We have designed our trips to make the most of your time in the States, but please understand that there are certain times during each day that your leader will need to be off duty from work. This includes having meal and rest periods and personal time. Your leader will provide you with all the important information you need to embark on your own explorations.

    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.

    DRINKING SAFETY: Please note that in the US the legal drinking age is 21 and in some parts of Canada it is 19. When out drinking in bars please be responsible and take the same precautions you would at home. Don't accept drinks from strangers, and don't let your drink out of your sight. It is always a good idea to go out with a group and stick together.

    Communications

    WIFI Our vans in the USA are equipped with free WiFi however a fair use policy applies. It is limited to 5 users at one time, and is suitable for updating your Facebook status or sending an email home - not for streaming video or radio. Please be considerate of your use so that there is enough to go around. Some campgrounds also have WiFi access, as do many hotels. 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. COVID-19 Entry and Exit Requirements 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 the most up to date information.You may also refer to our travel alert page for more info https://www.intrepidtravel.com/en/travel-alerts Make sure you are familiar with the current border measures and entry requirements as these are quite complex and changing frequently without notice. Please also ensure you have a travel insurance policy that covers your travels as well as medical or COVID-19 related expenses within the country. RETURN TRAVEL Please ensure you stay up to date with any current testing or quarantine requirements for returning to your home country or transiting through other destinations after the completion of your tour. We are able to help facilitate taking a COVID-19 test while on trip. Please ensure you have funds available to cover the cost of this test which will be payable directly to the testing site. Your Intrepid Tour Leader will provide more details at the group meeting as well as assist with booking appointments for all travellers who need to be tested. USA ENTRY REQUIREMENTS The US has strict entry requirements. If you're visiting for less than 90 days, you may be eligible to: • apply for an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) and then • enter under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) Otherwise, you'll need to get a visitor visa before you travel. Apply for an ESTA no later than 72 HOURS before departing for the US. We recommend 2 weeks prior to travel. Real-time approvals are no longer available and arriving at the airport without a previously approved ESTA will likely result in being denied boarding. To apply for an ESTA you will need your passport details and your address in the US (you can use the starting point accommodation address). If there is any discrepancy between the name on your ESTA, your passport, your tickets and even your frequent flyer membership, you may be detained at Immigration and subject to a secondary inspection which could take a few hours. If you have recently changed your name, please check that your details have been updated everywhere. Visa and other entry and exit conditions can change at short notice, including currency, customs and quarantine rules. Contact an embassy or consulate of the United States for the latest details. If you are from a country eligible for the visa waiver program but are a dual citizen of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Iran, Iraq, Syria or Sudan, or if you have travelled to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Sudan or Yemen since 1 March 2011, you will no longer be eligible for the visa waiver program and will instead need to apply for a non-immigrant visa. Please see the Department of State website for more information: http://travel.state.gov//content/travel/en.html

    Why we love it

    No great west coast road trip is complete without some time in Los Angeles. Fulfil your dreams of strolling the Hollywood Walk of Fame, or people watching down at Santa Monica.

    Vegas is a spectacle by night, but what happens before dark? Appreciate the neon-filled city at all hours of the day with time and flexibility to do as you please.

    Take a bird’s eye view and admire the winding gorges and desolate rock landscape of the Grand Canyon by helicopter in an unmissable optional activity.

    Cover Yosemite’s many trails over two full days and three nights dedicated to the park. You will be able to hike and explore until your heart (and camera) is content.

    San Francisco is an ideal destination to spend some extra time in, exploring its vibrant heart and the diverse scenery of its surrounds. Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Silicon Valley, Napa… they’re all at your fingertips!

    Is this trip right for you

    Less time spent in a vehicle; more time to explore each destination. This trip has been carefully designed to give you the best experience of a region by reducing the number of one-night-only stops, giving you extra time in the places that matter. This trip includes time spent travelling in a private vehicle with your group. Extra space can be tight, and conditions may feel a little cramped. It’s all part of the adventure and a great way to get to know your fellow travellers. Please read the itinerary carefully for travel time estimates. Although our private vehicles do have air conditioning, it has to work pretty hard to keep a full group cool. Expect to feel hot during summer and cold at other times of the year, especially at night. Please consider the season and research the weather conditions to determine the best time to travel for you. Remember to come prepared with adequate clothing. This trip involves either a partial or full camping experience, giving you access to more remote destinations at close proximity, and the joy of camping under the night skies and beside a campfire. This is a participatory trip – a fancy way of saying you’re not just along for the ride, but you are part of a team! Be prepared to roll up your sleeves and help out with camp activities like food prep and washing up. It’s all about giving your new travel mates a hand, and everyone knows there’s nothing worse than trying to put up a tent on your own! From the steep hiking trails of the various national parks to the hilly San Francisco, this trip can involve a lot of walking. Please ensure you bring sturdy walking shoes and comfortable clothes. To make the most of the trip, it's best if you have at least a moderate level of fitness.

    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. 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 HEALTH SCREENING 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. TESTING & VACCINATION POLICY From 1st May 2021 we introduced new safety measures that apply on all of our trips, except for tours in Australia and New Zealand. On trips departing before 1st September 2021, you will need to show one of the below to your leader at the Group Meeting on Day 1 of your trip: - Proof of COVID-19 vaccination, or - Proof of negative COVID-19 test conducted no more than 72 hours before day 1 of your trip, or - Proof of recovery documentation In addition, if you’re aged 70+ or have an existing health condition that puts you at a higher risk of serious COVID-19 disease, you are also required to provide proof of vaccination before you can join a trip. MANDATORY VACCINATION POLICY From 1st of September 2021 we have introduced enhanced safety measures that apply on all of our trips, except for tours in Australia, New Zealand, and the Cook Islands. You will need to show your leader at the Group Meeting on Day 1 of your trip: - Proof of COVID-19 vaccination This policy is in addition to any specific testing or vaccination requirements for entry or exit to a destination or required by your airline. For more information, including a detailed FAQ about this policy, please visit https://www.intrepidtravel.com/covid19 PERSONAL MEDICATION Medical prescriptions written outside of the US and Canada aren't accepted at local pharmacies. 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 sunscreen and wear a hat.

    Food and dietary requirements

    CAMPING On our camping 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. More details of the estimated costs and exclusions can be found in the Money Matters section. Buying and cooking the food, washing up, etc are shared amongst 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. Travellers with dietary requirements may prefer to opt out of the kitty, purchasing and preparing food that is suitable to their individual needs.

    Money matters

    It can be difficult to exchange money while on the road so we suggest that you bring some cash in US 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/ 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

    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.

    Climate and seasonal

    USA NATIONAL HOLIDAYS The following national holidays are observed in the US, which can affect our itinerary as traffic can be extreme, and shops, restaurants and attractions can be closed: New Year's Day (01 January) Martin Luther King Jr. Day (third Monday of January) Washington's Birthday (third Monday of February) Memorial Day (last Monday of May) Independence Day (4 July) Labor Day (first Monday in September) Columbus Day (second Monday of October) Veterans Day (11 November) Thanksgiving Day (fourth Thursday of November) Christmas Day (25 December)

    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. For additional Conditions of Carriage regarding COVID-19, see here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/conditions-carriage

    Feedback

    Can’t stop thinking about your adventure? Tell us all about it! We read each piece of feedback carefully and use it to make improvements for travellers like you. Share your experience with us at: 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 Intrepid's Local Operator:: +1 415-642-7378 ext 5

    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

    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

    NORTH AMERICA CAMPING 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). Remember that sleeping bags are not provided. Check out the Packing section for more information. You'll find the necessary facilities - toilets and in most cases showers, washing machines and dryers - 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 a contribution towards the cost of a limited water supply. Some campsites won't have any facilities, but this 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 campsites there are strict quiet hours when no loud noise is allowed. This means that all music, singing and group gatherings must 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. 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.

    Transport notes

    NORTH AMERICA VEHICLES 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 luggage 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. While your group will have a van for all included activities on the trip, 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.

    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. We pair up solo travellers with another traveller of the same gender as per your passport or the information we have in our booking system, so if you identify differently from the gender marker on your passport, please let us know in advance. We also have a Single Supplement available on most trips for travellers who prefer to have their own room. 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. 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

    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 facilities) (7 nights),Hotel (2 nights),Hostel (1 night)

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