Last Modified: 24 Sep 2013
Trip code: SSSC
Validity: 01 Jan 2013 to 31 Dec 2013
Take in the highlights of western Canada, from Vancouver to the great Banff and Jasper national parks. Get off the beaten track and deep into the rugged wilds while trekking through emerald forests and past sparkling, turquoise lakes. Grab the chance to go white-water rafting in Golden and canoeing in Wells Gray Provincial Park. Ride horses on a real cowboy ranch and go mountain biking through secluded wilderness. Whatever you choose, you're guaranteed to be left awestruck by this spectacular part of the world.
Table of Contents
- Original trips are classic Intrepid adventures. With a mix of included activities and free time, they offer plenty of opportunities to explore at your own pace and take part in activities that really get beneath the skin of a destination. While the occasional meal may be included, you'll have the freedom to seek out your own culinary adventures. Accommodation is generally budget or tourist class (2-3 star), but you're as likely to find yourself as a guest of a local family as staying in a hotel or camping. Transport will vary as well. Depending on the destination and the itinerary you could find yourself travelling on anything from a camel to a train or a private safari vehicle. It's all part of the adventure! Original travellers have a desire to make the most of their travel time and really get to know a place, its people and cultures.
Day 1 Vancouver
Welcome to North America!
Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm on day 1. You can arrive at any time as there are no activities planned until this important meeting; please ask the hostel reception where it will take place. If you're going to be late, please inform the hostel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details, food kitty, and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.
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.
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 2 Whistler
Drive to Whistler (125 km, approx 2 hrs).
Whistler was the host mountain resort for the 2010 Winter Olympics. It's a pretty resort town and a great spot for a spot of kayaking in summer. Whistler is a fantastic place to explore on foot with stunning mountain terrain.
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 3-4 Wells Gray Provincial Park
Today we travel through the Camelsfoot Range and the Cariboo Mountains to Wells Gray Provincial Park (450 km, approx 6.5 hrs).
Wells Gray Provincial Park is British Columbia's third largest provincial park. The options to explore this vast wilderness region are many and varied. There will be time to canoe on Clearwater Lake, or get a different perspective on horseback. Needless to say, there are numerous hiking trails on offer.
Spend the night in a rustic bunkhouse at a western-style ranch in Wells Gray.
- Wells Gray Provincial Park
- Horseback ride (1.5 hrs) - CAD50
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 5-6 Jasper National Park
Travel to Mt. Robson Provincial Park.
Mt. Robson is the tallest peak in the Canadian Rockies at 3954 m. It was originally named 'Mountain of the Spiral Road' by the local natives.
Continue on to Jasper National Park
The largest of Canada's Rocky Mountain parks, Jasper is famous for its wildlife such as elk, moose, deer, coyotes, bears (including grizzlies) and mountain lions, as well as many smaller mammals and birds. Here you have the option of hiking up Whistler Mountain, mountain biking in the Valley of Five Lakes or taking a cruise on Maligne Lake. If you are looking to take it a bit easier, you can ride the Jasper Tramway or just relax and soak in Miette Hot Springs.
- Jasper Tramway - CAD30
- Bike rental - CAD30
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 7-8 Banff National Park
Take a scenic drive through breathtaking mountain scenery on the famous Icefields Parkway which connects Jasper and Banff National Parks (300 km). There's no rush and we stop at many viewpoints and waterfalls along the way, including Athabasca Glacier.
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.
The town of Banff offers quaint shops, bars and cafes, with a lively nightlife. The free Cascade Gardens depict the evolution of life and it's only a short hike up Tunnel Mountain for beautiful views of the town and its surrounds.
- Athabasca Glacier tour - CAD52
Hostel (2 nts)
Days 9-10 Golden
Drive to Lake Louise (60 km 1 hr) and enjoy a hike to Lake Agnes Teahouse.
Continue to Yoho National Park (60 km 1 hr).
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.
Take to the river for some of the best whitewater rafting in Canada. The combination of wild whitewater, spectacular scenery and abundant wildlife makes rafting the Kicking Horse River a thrilling adventure. There's a range of rafting activities on offer including a full day, half day and a full river challenge. There's also an option to relax by the shore of this beautiful river setting.
- Kicking Horse rafting (full day) - CAD99
- Kicking Horse rafting (half day) - CAD69
Hotel (2 nts)
Day 11 Kelowna
Today's drive to Kelowna will take about 5 hours (400 km).
First, drive to Glacier National Park.
Glacier National Park features more than 400 glaciers and is one of the world's most active avalanche areas. Most of this is inaccessible for any day hikes, but we will stop at the Rogers Pass visitor center and maybe take a short hike in an old-growth cedar and hemlock area.
Drive on to Mt. Revelstoke National Park.
Mt. Revelstoke National Park contains part of the world's only temperate inland rainforest. See the area on a scenic drive and, if time allows, a short hike.
Our final destination is Kelowna.
Situated on idyllic Okanagan Lake, Kelowna is in the heart of British Columbia's wine region. Its name is derived from a native term for 'grizzly bear'.
- Mount Revelstoke National Park
- Glacier National Park
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 12 Vancouver
Today's drive to Vancouver will take about 5 hours (400 km).
This trip finishes upon arrival to Vancouver. Accommodation is not provided tonight. Please contact us if you need assistance to arrange extra accommodation.
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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.
We've allowed plenty of room for freedom and flexibility in our trips. In fact, flexibility is one of the ingredients that makes each of our trips so exciting. This style of travel offers us some unexpected circumstances at times, for example, bad weather and road conditions, technical defects of transportation, inconveniences caused by local operators and authorities, and other circumstances beyond our control. Changes in the program may be required to make the best of the unique situations that we encounter.
Overnight stops and driving distances each day may vary to best suit the needs of the group. Our described itineraries are to be used as a general guide only.
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.
Some easy physical activities included in your trip. No physical preparation is required to make the most of the journey.
Many of the North American national parks that we visit have hiking opportunities where walks up to 4 hours can be an option for you. There are often easier options too.
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.
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.
The receipt of commissions or kickbacks in exchange for recommending particular shops or services is ingrained in the culture of the North American tourism industry. Rather than turn a blind eye to this unavoidable issue, Intrepid has established a centralised system whereby commissions from recommended suppliers are distributed back to the leader. Details of these arrangements will be provided by the leader on request.
While Intrepid endeavours to ensure that these recommended suppliers and services maintain reasonable levels of quality - they are chosen based on the feedback and experiences of past travellers - we can't explicitly guarantee the quality or safety of the product or activity.
A priority in establishing this service is that your travel experience isn't compromised in any way. Please let us know via the feedback form completed after your trip if we are successfully meeting this objective.
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.
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.
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$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.
All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.
LEGAL DRINKING AGE:
Please note that the legal drinking age in the US is 21 and in some parts of Canada it's 19.
Maximum of 13 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:
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.
Hotel (9 nts), Hostel (2 nts)
Accommodation on our Basix/Original lodging trips can be combination of standard hotels, motels, rustic cabins and hostels. Some accommodation is on a multishare basis (usually 4-6 per cabin). Generally we separate male and female travellers, however this isn't possible in all locations where we will make use of multi-gender dorms/cabins. We use a wide network of local accommodation depending on the season and availability, so we can't guarantee the facilities at each location.
Generally the hostels we use don't have curfews, however on occasions we may use an alternative hostel where the rules are different. Most hostels are 4-6 bed dormitories however there are occasions where hostels are 12 bed dorms (this is very rare). It's possible that other travellers will be sharing your room as rooms aren't reserved for Intrepid travellers only.
When we're lodging in a camp ground where rustic cabins are available, the showers/toilets for the cabins are located in a separate central building. In some sites, there's a small fee for using the showers. This isn't an included expense.
Some of the cabins we use have a bunk bed and a double bed which means the cabin could sleep up to four people. This means you may share a mattress with another passenger however you will both have your own sleeping bags so won't be sharing linen. If this is something which would bother you please advise your leader who will make every effort to ensure you get a bunk bed for nights spent in those cabins. Your own sleeping bag is required if your itinerary mentions that you will be staying in hostels or cabins.
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.
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.
Most groups opt to use a kitty for some breakfasts, picnic lunches and the occasional dinner. This is possible at some hostels and cabins where cooking facilities are available. Each participant has the option of contributing to the kitty, and keeping food costs as low as possible by sharing the expenses. Buying and cooking the food, washing up, etc. are shared chores of the trip participants. Your leader will participate in the food kitty as well. Where facilities are not available, meals will be at own expense. Usually we stop for lunch at sandwich shops, fast food stores or restaurants, or go out to a restaurant for dinner.
The kitty is administered by the group and prices will vary. As a guide, allow for:
USA - US$50 per week
Alaska - US$70 per week
Canada - CA$70 per week
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.
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.
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.
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 description
BEST WESTERN PLUS Chateau Granville hotel is located in the downtown area, at the edge of Yaletown on Granville Street with its many restaurants, specialty boutique shops, and vibrant nightlife. The airport shuttle, public bus transportation, Canada Line and Sky Train access are all located just a short walk away.
Joining point instructions
From Vancouver International Airport (YVR):
Taxis are a quick and easy way to get to and from Vancouver International Airport. The approximate fare to downtown Vancouver is between $34 - $36 (taxes included).
The Canada Line is Vancouver’s new rapid transit rail link connecting YVR to downtown Vancouver in 26 minutes. It’s a fast and easy way to get to the city centres. You can conveniently access trains from both the International and Domestic Terminals.
Canada Line’s YVR-Airport station is centrally located between the International and Domestic Terminals. As you exit the train, turn left for domestic flights or right for U.S. and international flights.
DIRECTIONS TO CANADA LINE FOR PASSENGERS FLYING IN TO YVR
ARRIVING FROM WITHIN CANADA?
If you’re picking up checked bags, you are at Arrivals, level 2 of the Domestic Terminal. Go to Level 3, and walk toward the Link Building (located in between the International and Domestic Terminal). Follow the signs marked Canada Line or ask any of our Customer Care staff in red or green vests for assistance.
ARRIVING FROM THE U.S.A OR AN INTERNATIONAL DESTINATION?
Once through the customs and immigration arrivals process, walk toward the exit to our International Arrivals Greeting Area. Exit the building following signs markedCanada Line. Before the parkade entrance, an escalator and elevator will take you up to the Canada Line platform.
Further information can be found at - http://www.yvr.ca/en/getting-to-from-yvr.aspx
We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your group trip as scheduled, please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your group leader.
If you have pre-booked an airport transfer (where available) and have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the starting point hotel, following the Joining Instructions in these Trip Notes. Should this occur, please apply to your travel agent for a refund of the transfer cost on your return.
No refund is available on missed transfers or portions of your trip owing to a different flight arrival or delayed flight arrival. Any additional cost incurred in order to meet up with your group is at your own expense.
Finish point description
BEST WESTERN PLUS Chateau Granville hotel is located in the downtown area, at the edge of Yaletown on Granville Street with its many restaurants, specialty boutique shops, and vibrant nightlife. The airport shuttle, public bus transportation, Canada Line and Sky Train access are all located just a short walk away.
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 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 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.
What to take
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.
CLIMATE & CLOTHING:
Keep in mind that our dress tends to be informal. Take a practical selection of clothes for both warm and cool climates to suit the season. 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 as well as comfortable walking shoes.
Consider bringing 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 ends up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. Although it can be difficult to avoid bottled water when travelling, please consider water purification techniques such as iodine or micropur and use the water dispensers which are provided at some of our accommodation. When unable to avoid bottled water it is better to buy the largest available and distribute into your smaller bottle for the day
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.
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.
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:
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 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:
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:
Carbon Offset C02-e 677.00 kgs per pax.
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.