Canadian Parks Trip Notes

Canadian Parks

Last Modified: 23 Sep 2013
Canadian Parks
Trip code: STRV
Validity: 01 Jan 2013 to 31 Dec 2013
Although Canadians may argue politely about their favourite part of their bountiful country, all will agree on one thing – their national parks are some of the best in the world. So what better way to experience the glaciers, forests and lakes of this wilderness playground than by stepping out on foot, breathing in the fresh air and getting up close and personal with some of Mother Nature’s finest work. From the flowing waterfalls, alpine meadows and crisp glaciers of Jasper to the towering peaks and rugged forests of Banff – step out into the great outdoors, strap on your hiking boots and experience Canada’s National Parks at their finest.
This trip is operated by our experienced local partner, Grand American Adventures.
Table of Contents
StyleTippingFinish point
ThemesDeparture taxEmergency contact
MapImportant notesEmergency funds
ItineraryGroup sizeVisas
Also available to purchaseYour fellow travellersIssues on your trip
Itinerary disclaimerSingle travellersWhat to take
Culture shock rating AccommodationHealth
Physical ratingMeals introductionSafety
Physical preparationMealsTravel insurance
Included activitiesTransportResponsible Travel
Optional activitiesGroup leaderA couple of rules
Money ExchangeJoining point The Intrepid Foundation
Spending moneyArrival complicationsFeedback
Style
Basix
  • The best value journeys on the planet! On a Basix trip you can expect amazing experiences, but none of the inclusions that you may not want. Which means budget (1-2 star) accommodation, plenty of free time, activities that are optional and the freedom to choose meals to suit your budget. On some trips you may be camping and required to set up your own tent. You'll also have access to a group leader to offer advice and help you uncover the region's hidden gems. On a Basix journey, the way you travel is all a part of the adventure. Depending on the destination and the itinerary, you could find yourself travelling on anything from a donkey to a bus or a private safari vehicle. These trips are ideal for first-time travellers seeking fun and independence with the support of a group leader. They're also ideal for independent travellers looking to make the most of their travel time with minimum hassle and maximum experiences.
Themes
Walking, Explorer
Map
Canadian Parks
Itinerary
Day 1 Vancouver/Clearwater
Welcome to Canada!
There will be an important welcome meeting at 7:30 am this morning. Meet in the hotel reception/lobby. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting so please ensure you have all details on hand to provide to your leader. You should have packed your bags and have eaten breakfast so that you are fresh and ready to start the journey.
The largest city in western Canada, Vancouver is famous for its historic Gastown, Chinatown and the popular Stanley Park. The city's coastal setting is incredibly beautiful, bordering an ocean harbour to the north and a wide-reaching river to the south. The majestic Rockies, often snow capped, provide the eastern horizon.
We leave Vancouver this morning and drive northeast past the city of Kamloops to Clearwater. Today is mostly a driving day and is a wonderful introduction to Canada, as we pass some incredible scenery. It is also a great chance to settle in and get to know your travelling companions before the adventure really begins.
We stop at various points of interest along the way before reaching Clearwater. On arrival there is free time to explore the town of Clearwater and perhaps stock up on any last minute supplies before we hit the trails tomorrow. Depending on stops, there may be enough time this afternoon to explore one of the many trails around Clearwater.
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Days 2-4 Jasper National Park
This morning we continue to Jasper National Park.
Jasper National Park is the largest national park in Canada, covering an area of 18,878 square kilometres (4200 square miles). It is much less developed than other areas of western Canada and offers a true wilderness feel. Its setting deep inside Alberta's Rockies and surrounded by mountains makes this an incredibly beautiful place to visit.
There are several options on offer in Jasper so it is easy to fill three days here with some amazing walks and hikes to places such as Maligne Canyon, Mount Baldy, Opal Mountain and Five Lakes. You may also like to take the cable car to Whistler Mountain for a bird's eye view over the park.
On of the highlights here is the Edith Cavell Meadows hike. This 8 km (4.97 miles) walk encompasses some spectacular scenery with several viewpoints along the way overlooking the moraine fields, bright glacial lakes and the huge 1000m face of Mt Edith Cavell. The trail gradually opens up into a lush alpine meadow carpeted with wildflowers and you can see the alpine region beyond.
Optional Activities
  • Jasper Tramway - CAD30
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (3 nts)
Days 5-7 Banff National Park
Today we travel on the Icefields Parkway (Highway 93), a scenic road linking Jasper National Park with Banff National Park, and which cuts through the heart of the Rockies. This must be one of the world's most spectacular drives. We have a chance to stop and explore some of the scenery close up by walking along the edge of Sunwapta or Athabasca Falls. We'll stop off along the way to explore the Toe of the Athabasca Glacier and get to stand in awe high above the brilliant blue Peyto Lake.
We then continue on to Banff National Park.
Located in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, Banff National Park is Canada's oldest national park. Its valleys and mountain chains were formed 75 million years ago and its terrain consists of coniferous forests, alpine meadows, icefields and glaciers. It is an outdoor enthusiast's paradise with opportunities for canoeing, mountain biking, hiking or riding the gondola to the top of Sulphur Mountain.
While here you may like to walk the Plain of Six Glaciers Trail which is rated moderate (13.5 km/8.5 miles with an elevation change of 365 metres/1200 feet). It is a full day hike with scenic stops along the way, and is probably the most famous Lake Louise hike. Views of glaciers, towering peaks, avalanche paths and high mountain wildlife are all on the menu.
There are plenty more trails you can walk, or you may like to rest your legs and instead view the scenery from a helicopter. And of course there is nothing better after a day's activities than a soak in the Sulphur Mountain hot springs. Banff also offers great nightlife with live music and a selection of restaurants.
Included Activities
  • Athabasca Glacier tour
Optional Activities
  • Cable Car up Sulphur Mountain - CAD30
  • Banff National Park - Helicopter ride - CAD295
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (3 nts)
Days 8-9 Yoho National Park
Today's journey takes us to Yoho National Park.
Lesser known that the neighbouring parks of Banff and Jasper, Yoho National Park is something of a hidden gem in Canada's national parks system. But with a name meaning 'awe' in the native language, and a landscape that includes mountains, lakes and waterfalls, Yoho deserves some share of the spotlight.
One of the most spectacular hikes in the Rockies is the Iceline Trail, with close-up views of numerous glaciers, one of the highest waterfalls in Canada (Takakkaw Falls), mountain peaks, and much more.
Another trail you may wish to hike is the Wapta Falls and Emerald Lake Trail which features wildflowers, forests, lakes, mountains and spectacular views. Alternatively, you may wish to experience the raging Kicking Horse River first-hand, with an optional half-day white water rafting excursion, or canoe to the magnificent Emerald Lake.
Optional Activities
  • Rafting on Kicking Horse River - CAD200
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (2 nts)
Day 10 Glacier National Park
Leaving Yoho behind, we journey towards Glacier National Park. After arriving there is time to walk one of the trails, showing the pristine beauty of this National Park. With over 700 miles of trails, Glacier is a hiker's paradise. After an afternoon exploring the park we head for Revelstoke where we camp under the stars.
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Day 11 Vancouver
We return to Vancouver today, where the trip ends on arrival at approximately 5pm. There is no accommodation included tonight but it you wish to extend your time here we can book post-trip accommodation for you. If you are planning to fly out tonight please do not book a flight departing before 9pm.
As there is much to do in Vancouver we recommend staying a few extra days. Enjoy the delights of Stanley Park by hiring a bicycle or some roller blades or visit the Vancouver Aquarium - home to playful sea otters. Other options include strolling around the shops in the popular Gastown area, visiting the excellent Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia and learning more about Native American culture, and sampling the excellent dining options and nightlife that this vibrant city has to offer.
Optional Activities
  • Cycling in Stanley Park - USD11
Also available to purchase
For many of our trips we have other services or experiences that are also available to purchase to extend your trip or to make your holiday a little easier. Below is a list of other travel products you can purchase in conjunction with this trip.
  • STRV Single Supplement (STRV)
    Itinerary disclaimer
    Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. For the latest updated Trip Notes please visit our website: www.intrepidtravel.com
    Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route.
    Culture shock rating

    This is the least confronting of Intrepid's product range. English is the native language and the food, customs and access to services will be similar to home.
    Physical rating

    Some easy physical activities included in your trip. No physical preparation is required to make the most of the journey.
    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.
    Included activities
    Included activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary, all other activities are optional and at your own expense. If you choose not to participate in the included activities on this itinerary, the cost will not be refunded.
    Optional activities
    A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are for entrance only and don't include transport costs to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. Optional activities aren't necessarily endorsed or recommended by Intrepid nor included in price of this trip. If you do any optional activities, you do so at your own risk and it must be clearly understood that your participation is your own decision and doesn't form part of your contract with Intrepid. You may be required to sign/complete a waiver form or a receipt for some optional activities.
    Money Exchange
    It can be difficult to exchange money while on the road so we suggest that you bring some cash in US dollars/Canadian dollars, or exchange/withdraw money at the airport when you arrive, or at least before you start the trip.
    Your individual budget will depend on your personal plans. Think about how much you want to spend on souvenirs, shopping, entertainment, food, drinks, excursions and attractions that aren't included in your trip (eg. helicopter flights etc). Please bear in mind that North America has endless things to do and see. Not all possible optional activities are listed in our Trip Notes.
    The cheapest and most convenient way to acquire money is via an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) which are plentiful throughout all cities and towns, and even at roadside stops. This allows you to draw funds from your personal account at a superior exchange rate. Bank fees for these withdrawals can be either a flat rate or a percentage of the amount withdrawn. Check with your bank for information on their international fees.
    Don't forget your PIN and make sure you know the telephone number for cancelling your card if it's stolen. Keep this in a safe place. When using your debit card, check your receipts and keep them to compare against your statement when you get home.
    Occasionally banks will also allow cash advances on your credit card, but it's not recommended to rely on this method only. We recommend that you carry some cash for situations when ATMs can't be accessed.
    Spending money
    Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
    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 15% to 20% 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$3 per day for local guides.
    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$3-5 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.
    Departure tax
    All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.
    Important notes
    LOCAL PARTNER:
    This trip is operated by our trusted local partners, Grand American Adventures.
    MINIMUM AGE:
    Age restrictions apply to this trip: minimum age 18.
    Group size
    Maximum of 12 travellers per group.
    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. However you can download Intrepid's FREE Meet Up app to chat with your fellow travellers before your trip. Meet up, discuss your upcoming trip and share the excitement of planning for your adventure. For more information visit:
    www.intrepidtravel.com/meetup
    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 Trip Notes. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own room (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.
    A single supplement is available on this trip, please refer to your booking agent for further information.
    Accommodation
    Camping (with facilities) (10 nts)
    This is a camping trek in twin shared 4 person tents, with all communal camping equipment, including self-inflating sleeping mats, provided. You will need to bring a sleeping bag. You are expected to erect and dismantle your own tent and help out with breaking/setting up camp (we move campsites only 4 times). The forested campsites differ in facilities offered: the planned campsites have flush toilets, tap water and hot showers, the latter often for a small fee (this is common in North America).
    Note: few campsites in Canada allow advance reservations; although not normally a problem, there is no guarantee that the group will stay at all of the planned campsites; some of the alternate campsites may not have a shower on site but we will drive to the nearest shower facilities.
    Meals introduction
    While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. On our camping trips we often cook the region's specialities so you don't miss out. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though.
    Meals
    All meals when camping
    Transport
    Van
    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.
    DRIVING TIMES
    All driving times mentioned in our itinerary are intended as a guide only and represent the minimum 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 (which are based on average drive times from past trips). 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.
    Group leader
    Your Intrepid group leader’s role involves organising the overall operation and smooth-running of the trip, managing trip logistics and camp responsibilities. They will work to make the trip as safe and enjoyable as possible for all travellers. Intrepid's North American trips are built around the co-operation and participation of all the group members under the supervision of the group leader. On our camping trips, your leader will show the group how to set up and use the camp equipment, and form work groups to take turns cooking, cleaning and shopping. Everyone is expected participate and carry their share of the workload, making camp chores easier. If the whole group participates it will be quicker, easier and more fun.
    Your leader will provide basic information about the sights and cities you'll be visiting but please note that our leaders are not 'tour guides' in the traditional sense. They are adventure travel specialists and are there to organise your trip, arrange activities and help with questions or problems you may have while on your tour. Your leader will provide you with all the important information you need to embark on your own explorations.
    They are also responsible for driving the van and navigating across the country. The allowable driving times for drivers is strictly controlled in North America. This ensures our drivers are well rested and are not over-tired from too many hours on the roads.
    While your group will have a minivan for all included activities on the trip, please note that the services of the van and the driver may not be available for your use during free time, or after you have arrived for the day. If you need a special trip into town you may need to arrange transport or a taxi.
    We endeavour to provide the services of an experienced leader however, situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders.
    It's strictly forbidden for non-qualified rangers to present any information about some National Parks in North America, therefore we adopt a system (as requested by the park rangers) where our leader will encourage travellers to visit the information centres in the National Parks for details about the site.
    Joining point
    Hampton Inn Vancouver Airport
    8811 Bridgeport Road
    Richmond
    Vancouver
    British Columbia
    V6X 1R9
    CANADA
    Phone: 713 557 1270
    Arrival complications
    We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, please refer to the emergency contact section below for who to contact depending upon your starting location.
    Finish point
    Hampton Inn Vancouver Airport
    8811 Bridgeport Road
    Richmond
    Vancouver
    British Columbia
    V6X 1R9
    CANADA
    Phone: 713 557 1270
    Emergency contact
    In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, Grand American Adventures can be reached as follows:
    Tours commencing in Las Vegas, Los Angeles & San Francisco:
    - Toll-Free: 1 (800) 786 - 8735
    - Int’l: 001 (707) 523 - 1800
    Tours commencing in New York, Boston, Atlanta, Chicago & Houston:
    - Toll-Free: 1 (800) 637 - 8931
    - Int’l: 001 (973) 989 - 7501
    Tours commencing in Seattle, Vancouver & Anchorage:
    - Toll-Free: 1 (800) 600 -5343
    - Int’l: 001 (206) 878 - 0948
    For all other enquiries please contact our Reservations department which is open 24 hours, 6 days per week (excluding Sunday). For further contact details please use the following page:
    Emergency funds
    Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$400, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
    Visas
    Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.
    We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.
    CANADA TOURIST VISA
    Australia: Not required
    Belgium: Not required
    Germany: Not required
    Ireland: Not required
    Netherlands: Not required
    New Zealand: Not required
    South Africa: Yes - in advance
    Switzerland: Not required
    United Kingdom: Not required
    Issues on your trip
    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 ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.
    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.
    What to take
    What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage and although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes), we recommend keeping the weight under 10kg / 22lb.
    Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.
    You can find Intrepid's Ultimate Packing List on our website. It should be used as a guide only and isn't intended to be a complete packing list.
    LUGGAGE RESTRICTIONS:
    All luggage is carried in trailers or inside the vehicle so please don't bring more than one medium sized bag, backpack or suitcase (20kg maximum) per person, plus a sleeping bag where required on your trip. 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.
    SLEEPING BAGS AND WARM CLOTHING:
    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 and clothing. 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.
    Your own sleeping bag is required for some nights on this trip. 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.
    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.
    WATER BOTTLE:
    Please bring your own water bottle to refill along the way. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments.
    Health
    All Intrepid 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 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 and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.
    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. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.
    We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air 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, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your group 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 group 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:
    BEARS:
    Whilst travelling throughout North America it's not uncommon to encounter bears within campsites and national parks. Your group leader has been specifically trained for these situations and, if camping, will inform the group on how to 'bear proof' the camp in the evenings or when the site is unattended. There's absolutely no reason to be alarmed by this possibility as it is extremely rare for bears to attack humans.
    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 group 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.
    Please go to our website for links to various travel insurance providers:
    Responsible Travel
    We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller:
    A couple of rules
    Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
    The Intrepid Foundation
    Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.
    The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$5,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your group leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:
    Feedback
    After your travels, we want to hear from you! This is so important to us that we'll give you 5% off the price of your next trip if your feedback is completed online within 4 weeks of finishing your trip.