Road trip across America, from Chicago to San Francisco, taking in New York, Nashville, New Orleans, Vegas and more.
Discover some of the best cities and national parks of the US. Try a deep-dish pizza in Chicago, learn about the nation’s rich history in Washington DC, and soak up some southern hospitality in New Orleans over a big bowl of gumbo. Indulge your love of music (and fried foods) in Memphis, then embrace the great outdoors – from the thundering spray of Niagara Falls and the towering redwoods and granite cliff of Yosemite, to the red-hued rocks and the desolate salt flats of Death Valley. Head underground to explore the labyrinthine chambers of Carlsbad Cavern and try your luck on the casino floor in Vegas. Even though we’re not into ticking boxes, this trip definitely ticks them all.
The flexibility of this trip allows you to do what you want. There are minimal inclusions so you can be as active or relaxed as you like, and to a degree that suits your budget.
Sandusky is a place for the child and thrill seeker inside you. Feel your stomach drop on one of the world’s best rollercoasters at Cedar Point Amusement Park
Worship at the sublime altar to Mother Nature that is Niagara Falls, taking an optional wet and wild boat cruise
Enjoy a full day to explore Washington DC. There's lots to see and do in the US capital, and most of it is free. Visit the White House, Capitol Hill and the National Mall, and feel small next to the statue of Abraham Lincoln
The cities of Nashville, Memphis and New Orleans are notorious for their rich music and nightlife scenes. See live performances of blues, jazz, country and rock in celebrated musical venues
This is a participatory trip. That’s a fancy way of saying you’re not just along for the ride – you’re part of a team! You know the phrase ‘the more you put in, the more you get out’. Well that’s extra true on this trip. Be prepared to roll up your sleeves and help out with camp activities like food prep and washing up. It’s all about giving your new travel mates a hand – everyone knows there’s nothing worse than trying to put up a tent on your own!
That teamwork also extends to our optional food kitty of approximately US$10 per day, run to cover the cost of meals. This kitty saves you worrying about stuff like where to get food or what exactly sales tax is, and actually helps keep your costs down. Instead of paying individually as you go, it means we can bulk purchase items and cook our own food – though there’s always the chance to use it for the occasional pizza night! The kitty is optional and for your convenience, so if you've got specific dietary requirements you can opt out and purchase (and cook) your own food.
The United States is a world of endless possibilities – that’s why our Basix trips are designed so they fit together as (not quite endless) combinations. That means while you might just be starting your trip, some of your new travel mates may have been travelling together for a week or more (and so have some great tips for you). You can see how our trips fit together and all the different possible combinations at www.intrepidtravel.com/brochures. Simply click view/download on the North America brochure and look at the combo map on page 12.
Traffic in and out of the big cities like Chicago, New York, Washington DC and San Francisco can be hectic, especially during holiday periods. There may be delays, so be prepared to take part in car games to keep you entertained.
You'll be travelling in a van with a group of travellers, so, with a full group, conditions may feel a little cramped. This is all part of the adventure, however, and you might even make some long-term friends.
During this trip you'll find you have some free time within the cities you visit. These are best explored on foot, so you'll get the most out of your trip if you're reasonably fit and able to walk moderate-to-long distances. However, public transportation in these cities is also modern and reliable.
This trip only allows for one night in some destinations, such as Nashville and Memphis. Although you'll get more or less a full day to explore these great cities, you might have to move quickly to see everything on your to-do list.
The USA is a big country. Distances between destinations may be longer than what you're used to, especially if you're coming from Europe. There are many long days of driving, so expect to spend a lot of time in the van.
Although our vans do have air conditioning, it has to work pretty hard to keep a full group cool. Expect to feel hot during summer and cold at other times of the year, especially at night. Please consider the season and research the weather conditions to determine the best time to travel for you. Remember to come prepared with adequate clothing.
Death Valley in the summer is extremely hot and dry. It does hold the record as the hottest place on earth after all. Hiking at this time of year isn't recommended. Although our vans do have air conditioning, it has to work pretty hard to keep a full group cool so expect to be hot. Sometimes in mid-summer we may be unable to visit the Valley itself if we feel that the heat presents a safety risk. At other times of the year, it might be quite cold, especially at night. Please consider the season and research the weather conditions to determine the best time to travel for you. Remember to come prepared with adequate clothing.
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There are currently no scheduled departures on our Chicago to San Francisco trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.
1. This trip finishes on arrival into San Francisco in the afternoon on day 28.