Southern Comfort USA – New Orleans Jazz Festival
from $5720
Duration: 12 Days
Enjoy classic architecture, history, music and food on this adventure through the Southern states of the USA. Kick things off in Atlanta before heading to the historic cities of Savannah, Charleston and Asheville and the musical cities of Nashville and Memphis before finishing in New Orleans in time for Jazz Fest. See a variety of artists covering all kinds of genres from jazz to zydeco to blues, rock, African, and more. It's not just music either – Southern cuisine, crafts, folk heritage and native cultures all play a role in this action-packed, world-class event.
  • Jazz Fest is one of the best music festivals in North America. As well as being able to listen to all different kinds of music across 12 stages, the festival also attracts some big name international artists. A single day ticket is included in the price of your trip.
  • Embark on a road trip across one of the most colourful, musical and hospitable parts of the USA: the Deep South. This diverse trip takes you through six states and the best of the region's contrasting cities, from the historic settlements of Savannah and Charleston, to the mountain town of Asheville and the musical centres of Nashville, Memphis and New Orleans
  • A journey through the USA wouldn’t be complete without a lesson in history. Charleston’s story is told through the former auction rooms of the Old Slave Mart and in the fields of the cotton plantations
  • Experience the pinnacle of pop culture with a visit to Graceland, the iconic home of the ‘King of Rock and Roll’, Elvis Presley
  • Y'all might think you don't like country music, but Nashville’s honky-tonks may well change that. Visit the Country Music Hall of Fame and then check out a live band in town
  • Lively New Orleans is a great place to round off your trip. Discover French, Creole, Spanish and American influences in the Big Easy's architecture, food, history and music, and you won't find a cocktail more colourful than the city's signature drink, the Hurricane
  • Savannah - Leader led historical walking tour
  • Charleston - Boone Hall Plantation
  • Nashville - Wildhorse Saloon cover charge & line dancing
  • Memphis - Sun Studio
  • Memphis - National Civil Rights Museum
  • New Orleans - Crawfish Boil
  • New Orleans - Jazz Fest Ticket
  • Day 1 Location: Atlanta
    Hey y’all! Welcome to Atlanta, Georgia! An important supply route during the Civil War, the spiritual centre of the civil rights movement in the 1960s and the hometown of some of hip-hop’s biggest stars, Atlanta is the perfect introduction to the fascinating Southern USA. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm today. Following the formalities, maybe get the crew together and head out in search of some hot wings or fried chicken for a taste of Atlanta flavours. If you arrive with a few hours (or days) to spare before the meeting, why not check out the Martin Luther King Jr National Historic Site. Take some time and explore the house where the civil rights leader was born, the church where he honed his oratory prowess, and the memorial site where he is buried. Atlanta is also very proud of its connection to Coca-Cola – locals have a tendency to call every kind of soft drink 'coke'. Maybe tour the World of Coca-Cola for a lesson on the world's most popular fizzy drink.
    Day 2 Location: Savannah
    Mornin' sunshine! Hit the road bright and early and make the 5-hour journey to Savannah. In 1946, Lady Astor referred to Savannah as 'a beautiful lady with a dirty face', in reference to the crumbling, faded majesty of the city's 18th- and 19th-century mansions. Due to plenty of restoration work, Savannah's face may no longer be dirty, but she's still a city of contradictions. Take a leader-led historical walking tour to soak up the stories behind the antebellum mansions, towering oak trees and colonial buildings. Enjoy free time for the rest of the day. In the evening, perhaps head out on a ghost tour of old Savannah, then maybe seek out spirits of a different kind at one of the many local haunts.
    Day 3 Location: Charleston
    Leave Savannah in the rear-view mirror and drive two hours to Charleston. On arrival take a brief orientation walk to get your bearings, then perhaps set out and explore the cobblestone streets that hold a complicated and often violent history. These streets were made for strolling – be sure to stop and smell the honeysuckle bushes. Perhaps let your nose lead you to a diner for lunch, where you should consider ordering a plate of soft, buttery biscuits. In the afternoon, take a tour of one of the plantation homes around Charleston. Wander around the well-maintained gardens and learn about the dark history behind the opulent facade.
    Day 4 Location: Charleston
    Today is as clear as a Georgia sky in the summer time, so set out whenever you like and explore at your own pace. There are plenty of optional activities on offer, so take your pick and dive on in. When exploring Charleston, the history of the city cannot be ignored. In 1860, over 50 percent of the population of South Carolina were enslaved Africans, and a fantastic place to honour the reality of this dark history is the Old Slave Mart Museum. Perhaps continue to the seaside stronghold of Fort Sumter, where the first shots of the Civil War were fired. In the evening, maybe take a stroll along the Pitt Street Bridge and watch the sun set over downtown Charleston.
    Day 5 Location: Asheville
    Head into the Blue Ridge Mountains today with a 5-hour drive to charming Asheville. Home to the country’s best breweries and some of North Carolina’s finest barbecue, Asheville also boasts an incredible folk music scene. On arrival you’ll be given an orientation tour by your leader to help you get your bearings. In the late afternoon, take a stroll through the River Arts district, a truly amazing section of the town filled with art galleries and gorgeous street art on warehouses that line the river. As night falls, consider catching an optional show at the Altamont Theatre, a historic and intimate venue with incredible acoustics and eclectic programming.
    Day 6 Location: Nashville
    Make the scenic drive to Nashville, arriving in the country music capital after 4–5 hours. On arrival you’ll be introduced to this famous country music town with an orientation tour. Get your bearings and then enjoy a free day to explore. When the sun goes down, head to the Wildhorse Saloon to experience a real Nashville night. Every day and every evening, the Wildhorse puts on line dancing lessons and live music so newcomers and locals alike can thump the floorboards. There's also classic country fare cookin' in the kitchen – think fried pickles, wedge salads and brisket. Your cover charge is covered by us, so get shaking.
    Day 7 Location: Nashville
    Howdy! Start your day with a visit the Country Music Hall of Fame, which contains the golden Cadillac that once belonged to Elvis. The rest of the day is all yours. Maybe check out Music Row, an area ablaze with neon signs, where more than 50 record studios and around 200 music publishing houses line the streets. Fans of classic country and blues may want to hit the Johnny Cash Museum, where the largest collection of artefacts and memorabilia related to the 'Man in Black' are on display.
    Day 8 Location: Memphis
    Hit the road again for the 4-hour drive to Memphis, Tennessee. Time depending, the first stop on arrival will be Sun Studio, the self-identified 'Birthplace of Rock 'n' Roll'. It's a bold claim, but when artists like BB King, Johnny Cash, Howlin' Wolf, Elvis Presley and more have laid tracks in your studio it doesn't seem that far-fetched. Spend the rest of the day how you wish, soaking up the sights and sounds of Memphis. In the evening, consider heading down to check out bustling Beale Street, where traditional blues clubs and ritzier tourist traps rub shoulders. Ask your leader which bars are worth a look.
    Day 9 Location: Memphis
    Visit the National Civil Rights Museum at the former Lorraine Motel – where Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated – for a dose of history that is both confronting and inspirational. Following that sobering look at the recent past, you can choose whether to visit Graceland. Exploding with kitschy glamour and over-the-top Southern charm, Graceland is a more than the former home of Elvis Presley and site of his tomb – it's an ode to the glitzier elements of the Deep South. Spend the rest of your day at your leisure.
    Day 10 Location: Vicksburg
    Travel along the famous Highway 61 to Vicksburg, Mississippi (around 4–5 hours). Stop at Clarksdale en route, where you have the option of seeing Blues Alley, Robert Johnson's Crossroads and the Delta Blues Museum. Other possible stops, depending on group's interests, are Cleveland (for the Grammy Museum), and Dockery Farms. Arrive in Vicksburg and spend the afternoon how you wish. Famous for the siege that occurred there during the Civil War, the city is full of historical attractions. Visiting the National Military Park is one option, as are the antebellum mansions, the Mississippi River Museum, the Riverfront Murals or the Biedenharn Coca-Cola Museum, where the drink was first bottled.
    Day 11 Location: New Orleans
    Make tracks for the 'Big Easy', a 4- or 5-hour drive that might be broken up with a swamp or plantation tour along the way, time depending. After checking in to your hotel in New Orleans' French Quarter, use your free time getting to know the eclectic city. With a mix of European, Creole and Cajun culture reflected in the city's architecture, cuisine and music, New Orleans is the perfect place to end your Southern Comfort adventure. Maybe take a walk down rowdy Bourbon Street or wander through the former plantation area of the Garden District. In the evening, join the rest of the group for an included Crawfish Boil dinner.
    Day 12 Location: New Orleans
    It's time get amongst the sights and sounds of Jazz Fest. A single-day general admission ticket is included in the price of your trip, and today is the first day of the festival. With music scattered across 12 stages, this event is about so much more than jazz – you can also find gospel, Cajun, zydeco, blues, R&B, rock, funk, African, Latin, Caribbean and folk music, and there are usually a couple of big-name international guests as well. Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan, Burning Spear and Youssou N’Dour are among those who have played here before, which gives a sense of the calibre – and diversity – of the talent. The line-up is usually announced in January. Needless to say, music isn't the only thing celebrated here – take the chance to sample delicious Southern cuisine and learn a thing or two about Louisiana’s rich cultural heritage while you're here.
    Dates
    Prices
    Availability
    Departure Date:
    14APR2020
    Return Date:
    25APR2020
    6175NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    13APR2021
    Return Date:
    24APR2021
    5720NZD
    available
    Last modified (date)

    27 Jan 2020

    Trip title

    Southern Comfort USA - New Orleans Jazz Festival

    Trip code

    SSKES

    Validity

    Validity: 01 Jan 2020 to 31 Dec 2020

    Introduction

    Enjoy classic architecture, history, music and food on this adventure through the Southern states of the USA. Kick things off in Atlanta before heading to the historic cities of Savannah, Charleston and Asheville and the musical cities of Nashville and Memphis before finishing in New Orleans in time for Jazz Fest. See a variety of artists covering all kinds of genres from jazz to zydeco to blues, rock, African, and more. It's not just music either – Southern cuisine, crafts, folk heritage and native cultures all play a role in this action-packed, world-class event.

    Style

    Comfort

    Themes

    Explorer,Festivals and Events

    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.

    Joining point

    Country Inn & Suites Atlanta Airport South

    5100 W Fayetteville Rd

    College Park

    Atlanta

    30349

    UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

    Phone: +1 770 991 1099

    Joining point instructions

    The airport shuttle runs on a loop to and from the domestic terminal 24 hours a day. From the international terminal, exit the terminal and ride the Domestic Terminal Shuttle to the domestic terminal. At the domestic terminal: Follow signs for area hotel airport shuttles. Go across the street to the hotel shuttle area (purple signs). Wait in zone 3. The shuttle arrives for pick-up at 15 minutes and 45 minutes past the hour, every hour. Please make sure to get on the Country Inn & Suites shuttle bus going south.

    Finish point

    The Whitney Hotel

    610 Poydras Street LA 70130

    New Orleans

    LA

    UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

    Phone: 504 5814222

    Finish point instructions

    Airport Shuttle is approx $24 USD per person. To book you must call 504-522-3500 at least 24 hours prior to arrange. Your hotel can assist you to do this. Rideshare providers and taxis are also available. Uber/Lyft cost approx $25 USD and Taxi Approx $35 +$10 per extra person.

    Important information

    1. A single supplement is available on this trip. 2. Interested in this trip but unable to make it for Jazz Fest? See trip code SSKE for our regular departures

    Group leader

    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

    Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service 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 areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trips. 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 valuable 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. For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:

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

    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. Most hotels have WiFi access although on occasion you may 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. 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

    Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with acquiring visas. Visas can take several weeks to process, so familiarise yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time. Your passport details are required to complete your booking. Please ensure the name on your passport matches the name on your booking Entrance requirements to the USA have changed in recent years so please read the following instructions carefully, even if you have travelled to the USA before. PLEASE NOTE: Also please note, all travellers from Visa Waiver Program countries must obtain an electronic travel authorization prior to their flight from the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) website: https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov Apply for ESTA no later than 72 HOURS (we recommend 1 week prior to travel) before departing for the United States. Real-time approvals will no longer be available and arriving at the airport without a previously approved ESTA will likely result in being denied boarding. Many countries now operate under a visa waiver program (meaning a visa isn't required) however you still need to obtain an authorisation which confirms that you have been approved to travel. This authorisation must be obtained in advance of travel. See https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/tourism-visit/visa-waiver-program.html Many citizens from Visa Waiver Program countries can travel to the USA without a visa for a 90 day stay, if they meet certain requirements. Travellers from all Visa Waiver Program countries must present a machine-readable, biometric passport (which meets US requirements) at the port of entry to enter without a visa, otherwise a US visa is required. You can get further information from the US Department of State website: - https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/tourism-visit.html All ESTA registration applications or renewals require a US$14.00 fee paid by credit or debit card. You should apply for your visa waiver authorisation at least 1 week prior to travel to avoid any last minute delays. You will require your passport details and your address in the US (you can use the starting point hotel/hostel address). Please note that 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. If you are from a country eligible for the visa waiver program but are a dual citizen of Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Iran, Iraq, Syria or Sudan, or if you have travelled to 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

    Jazz Fest is one of the best music festivals in North America. As well as being able to listen to all different kinds of music across 12 stages, the festival also attracts some big name international artists. A single day ticket is included in the price of your trip.

    Embark on a road trip across one of the most colourful, musical and hospitable parts of the USA: the Deep South. This diverse trip takes you through six states and the best of the region's contrasting cities, from the historic settlements of Savannah and Charleston, to the mountain town of Asheville and the musical centres of Nashville, Memphis and New Orleans

    A journey through the USA wouldn’t be complete without a lesson in history. Charleston’s story is told through the former auction rooms of the Old Slave Mart and in the fields of the cotton plantations

    Experience the pinnacle of pop culture with a visit to Graceland, the iconic home of the ‘King of Rock and Roll’, Elvis Presley

    Y'all might think you don't like country music, but Nashville’s honky-tonks may well change that. Visit the Country Music Hall of Fame and then check out a live band in town

    Lively New Orleans is a great place to round off your trip. Discover French, Creole, Spanish and American influences in the Big Easy's architecture, food, history and music, and you won't find a cocktail more colourful than the city's signature drink, the Hurricane

    Is this trip right for you

    The southern states of the USA can be really hot and humid in the summer. September through to November is also hurricane season, so prepare for potentially wet weather. You'll be travelling in a van with a group of travellers, so conditions may feel a little cramped. This is all part of the adventure, however and you might even make some long-term friends. You're in the Deep South of the USA, so expect a lot of (delicious) fried food and barbecue. Vegetarians may also have limited options, as a lot of southern cuisine is meat-based. In some of the cities we visit, some neighbourhoods are deemed more unsafe than others. This is nothing to be alarmed about, as your leader will point you in the right direction. You just may need to be more aware of your surroundings.

    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 cope with 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, Intrepid Travel reserves 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 at the locations on this trip. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared. 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. 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 lodging tours we eat in local restaurants where passengers pay individually for each of their meals and drinks. Average hotel breakfasts cost from US$6-$12, lunches from US$8-$15 and dinners from US$13-$30; this does not include alcoholic beverages. Wine costs approximately US$5 per glass and beer US$4 per bottle. Most group leaders will offer their tour members the choice to operate a ‘lunch only’ food kitty that has proven to be a popular alternative to three daily restaurant meals. Leaders will more fully explain this option and the whole group will have to agree to implement this system. Please make sure we are aware of any special meal requirements before travelling.

    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 a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities and laundry. It's always better to bring a little more than you think you'll need. Also make sure you've read your trip details thoroughly so you know what's included in the trip price and what isn't. This should make budgeting a little easier. You'll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that's this document). 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$7-10 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. Please budget for additional meals and expenses while on your trip. Our suggestion is based on past traveller feedback but you may choose to spend more or less. CONTINGENCY FUNDS We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. Please 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 the local currency is needed in the countries you are visiting.

    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. 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: - 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. If you are planning on doing any hiking during your trip 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 it is always a good idea to carry a spare. - 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: - Travel pillow if you like to sleep during long drives - Reusable coffee cup such as a travel mug or KeepCup if you are a coffee drinker. Not only is it much better for the environment, but many places in the US and Canada also give a discount for bringing your own cup. - Ear plugs to guard against a snoring room-mate - A good book, a journal or an Ipod for the long drives. - Swimwear - Head torch

    Climate and seasonal

    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 - Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. - Washington's Birthday - Memorial Day - Independence Day - Labor Day - Columbus Day - Veterans Day - Thanksgiving Day - Christmas Day

    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. Your group leader has the right to remove any member of the group for breaking any of these rules, with no right of refund. 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.

    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. 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): 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 +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. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation are matched by Intrepid Group dollar for dollar (up to AU$10,000 per donor and AU$500,000 in total each financial year, excluding emergency appeals). And because 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 style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances. Throughout the trip we request that our lodgings prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.

    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 for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen 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 credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country. http://www.intrepidtravel.com/insurance.php

    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. SINGLE TRAVELLERS: Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Essential Trip Information. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.

    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 print and review a final copy 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 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 may be 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 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. MEALS Please note that day-by-day meals are indicative only. You will receive the same number of meals, but they may not happen exactly on the days indicated. Your leader may change the days that meals are provided to best suit the needs of the group and the timing of the activities on your trip.

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