Alaskan Family Adventure Trip Notes

    • 13
    • STFA
    • Total price tool tip
      USD $2,675
      CAD $2,845
      AUD $2,955
      EUR €2,055
      GBP £1,770
      NZD $3,505
      ZAR R26,925
      CHF FR2,535
      *
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    • Family
    • Original
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Print Version
Last Modified: 05 Mar 2014
Alaskan Family Adventure
Trip code: STFA
Validity: 01 Oct 2013 to 31 Dec 2014
The wilderness of Alaska is calling, and it is time to answer. From Anchorage, journey into the expanse of frozen tundra and wild adventure. Check out huge glaciers, explore deep into the heart of alpine forests and be sure to pack some cosy slippers to unwind by a roaring, open fire (don’t forget the marshmallows). With the help of Alaskan locals and wilderness experts, seek out bears, caribou and moose on land, and if you are lucky, spot orcas and whales at sea. This fun-filled region will quench your thirst for adventure and satisfy your desire to see Mother Nature at her best.
This trip is operated by our experienced local partner, Grand American Adventures.
****A tip before booking****
Just as a heads up before you book: this trip is new to our range this year. And while we have thoroughly researched every detail of the logistics, new destinations can sometimes throw us some unexpected surprises. More often than not, it’ll be a great surprise. But every now and again there might be a hiccup. We like to think that’s what puts the ‘adventure’ in ‘adventure travel’.
Table of Contents
StyleGroup sizeEmergency funds
ThemesYour fellow travellersVisas
MapSingle travellersIssues on your trip
ItineraryAccommodationWhat to take
Itinerary disclaimerMeals introductionHealth
Culture shock rating MealsSafety
Physical ratingTransportTravel insurance
Included activitiesGroup leaderResponsible Travel
Optional activitiesJoining point A couple of rules
Money ExchangeJoining point instructionsThe Intrepid Foundation
Spending moneyArrival complicationsResponsible Travel projects
TippingFinish point Feedback
Departure taxFinish point instructions
Important notesEmergency contact
Style
Original
  • 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.
Themes
Family
Map
Alaskan Family Adventure
Itinerary
Day 1 Anchorage
The largest city in Alaska with only 250,000 people, Anchorage has gone through quite a change since the earthquake of 1964. Now a bustling city fuelled by the oil boom and tourism, it was not that long ago that Anchorage was the last outpost before heading into the 'Last Frontier' and it is not uncommon to see wildlife including moose and bear in and around town.
Please note that just the accommodation is included tonight. You will meet the group leader and the rest of the group on the morning of day 2.
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 2-3 Denali National Park
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.
Following the meeting we head North from Anchorage towards Denali National Park, stopping on the way to try our hands at gold panning before camping for the night. The following day we will embark on a tour to explore the back country and enjoy a dog sled demonstration. The beauty of Denali is unlike other parks, you are encouraged to leave the paths and explore deeper and our leader will take us on walking adventure to discover the park in search of wildlife.
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (2 nts)
Day 4 Alaska Range
We head into the heart of the Alaska mountain range where we then spend the night camping under the stars. Here we experience the quiet lakes of the tundra and look out for grazing caribous. This is a birder's paradise with many species often sighted and there is a chance to experience excellent fishing for grayling. This range is actually the highest mountain range in North America and includes Mount McKinley - the highest peak in North America.
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Days 5-6 Wrangell St-Elias National Park
We venture off the main highway into the heart of Wrangell-St Elias National Park. Bordering Canada's Yukon Territory, this stunning national park is the largest in the country, containing glaciers five times the size of Manhattan and nine of the sixteen highest peaks in North America! We will camp on the banks of the Kennecott River in the shadow of Mount Blackburn with a beautiful view of Root Glacier. The next day is free to explore this vast wilderness region including the historic area of McCarthy and Kennecott. Optional activities available include ice climbing, hiking, sightseeing and glacier walking.
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (2 nts)
Day 7 Valdez
From here we make our way to Valdez which has incredible access to the rawness of Mother Nature, as well as home to many land animals, sea life, and birds including Humpback and Orca whales that make their home in the Prince William Sound. Glaciers nest atop towering mountains as majestic waterfalls pour forth from the melting ice and snow. Some glaciers reach all the way to the ocean and greet the tide with their impressive size. Top on the list is to experience the Prince William Sound, which contains various tidewater glaciers including Columbia Glacier; the largest tidewater glacier in South central Alaska.
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 8-9 Kenai Fjords National Park
This morning we board an awe-inspiring ferry ride through Prince William Sound before arriving at the colourful fishing village of Seward, the gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park. On board the cruise it is common place to see humpback and killer whales and birds riding the wild currents.
The following day we spend the day visiting and exploring the trails of Exit Glacier. Here we can walk extremely close to an active glacier, or take a ranger-led walk. During our visit it is evident to see how glaciers can re-shape a landscape and see how plant life reclaims the barren rocky land exposed by retreating glaciers. A visit to a tidewater glacier to experience the sights and sounds of icebergs being calved into the sea are all part of this perfect day out.
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (2 nts)
Days 10-11 Kachemak Bay Wilderness Camp
For the next two nights we have the rare privilege of travelling to Homer, and then taking a boat to our wilderness camp overlooking remote Kachemak Bay. Here we experience a true Alaskan adventure in this remote wilderness paradise, with included activities such as a four hour guided sea kayaking, mountain biking, hiking, and beach combing. We will all love the home-cooked meals including a salmon bake, while basking in the breath-taking scenery. The next day the leader will take us on a walk from camp to explore the surrounding area.
Accommodation
Bush camp (no facilities) (2 nts)
Days 12-13 Anchorage
We have a free morning before making our way back to Anchorage, arriving early in the evening. We spend the night in a hotel.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.
Please note that the leader will finish the trip on arrival into Anchorage on day 12, and your final night is unaccompanied.
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
      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.
      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, 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$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.
      Departure tax
      All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.
      Important notes
      AGE RESTRICTIONS:
      Age restrictions apply to this trip: minimum age 8.
      LOCAL PARTNER:
      This trip is operated by our trusted local partners, Grand American Adventures.
      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
      Group size
      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:
      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 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.
      Accommodation
      Camping (with facilities) (7 nts), Hotel (3 nts), Bush camp (no facilities) (2 nts)
      GENERAL ROOMING CONFIGURATIONS:
      Family of two - All family groupings of two will be put into a twin room.
      Family of three - Wherever possible we will put you in a triple room. Please be aware that in some places triple rooms are in short supply. This means that, in practice, a triple room will often simply be a twin room with a mattress on the floor or a further bed squashed in. Where it is impossible to provide a triple room, you will have to decide which of your party takes the single room.
      Family of four or more - You will most likely stay in two twin rooms. If and wherever possible we will aim put you in a quadruple room. Whilst we will do our very best to ensure that families are roomed close together (in some cases, we can arrange adjoining rooms), we can’t guarantee this. Most family holidays occur during peak season and we sometimes have little to no control over where you will be put. You need to come prepared for this.
      The campsites that we use are selected for either their scenic beauty, their convenient location to places of interest and/or the facilities available. We aim to offer you a selection of different types of campsites.
      If you've never camped before - no problem! We provide a complete set of camping and cooking equipment. This includes roomy easy-to-pitch tents, which are shared by only two people and are equipped with thin foam rubber mattresses and vinyl floors. Your leader will show you how to pitch a tent on the first day. On many trips we also spend a few nights in reasonably priced hotels / motels / hostels (as per the itinerary).
      For the group, we also provide two burner stoves, efficient camp kitchen equipment, dishes, coolers, food storage boxes, a water container, lamps and a sun and rain roof. Please take good care of all the equipment. You'll be assigned a specific tent so please look after it well. The equipment has to be returned clean, complete and in the same condition as you received it. Please keep in mind that sleeping bags are not provided and you'll need to bring your own. Please read the 'What to Take' section of these notes for more information on choosing a sleeping bag.
      Our high quality camping equipment (including tents) can be affected by bad weather conditions. This can result in some wet and cold conditions inside the tent. Your spirit of adventure and flexibility will help make your adventure trip an exciting and unforgettable experience. On nights where the group is camping and weather conditions are extreme (such as snow or heavy rain) there may be an opportunity for the group (if everyone agrees) to stay at an alternative location such as a nearby hostel or hotel. When this is the case the upgrade is at your own expense.
      You'll find the necessary facilities - toilets and in most cases showers, washing machines and driers - at many of our campsites. The showers at some campsites only have cold water available and some may require a payment (usually no more than US$1-$3 for a quick shower). This is payable locally and is generally a contribution to paying for a limited water supply. Please be aware that some campsites won't have any facilities, however it will rarely be for more than one night at a time. This is true of many campsites within Yosemite National Park, so if your trip is visiting this park, please prepare to go without a shower on this night, although it can often be arranged to stop and utilise facilities on our way out of the park.
      In all the campsites there are strict quiet hours, when absolutely no loud noise is allowed. This means that all music, singing and group gatherings have to stop. We request that all our travellers respect these campsite rules.
      Our trips extend beyond the traditional vacation months (June - September). This is because over the years we've recognised there's a demand from our travellers for trips outside this period. Many enjoy the experience of North America in the snow, or in the crisp and clear atmosphere of spring. We've operated successful trips throughout the year however some consideration must be taken when choosing a trip that travels in the colder months such as:
      - Have you got a suitable sleeping bag?
      - Do you have suitable warm clothing - fleece, waterproofs, thermals?
      - Are your walking and hiking boots waterproof and warm?
      If you come prepared and are willing to experience North America at this very special time of year, then you will be set for a great time.
      For trips where there are lodges/cabins used, couples travelling together may be separated as our rooming arrangements are based on single gender.
      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
      9 Breakfasts, 9 Lunches, 9 Dinners. All meals when camping
      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.
      USD 150.00
      Transport
      Private Bus
      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 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.
      The leaders on Intrepid Family trips aren't babysitters - we leave that to you (the experts). But they will make sure that group members of all ages are able to explore their destination safely and with as much fun as possible. Our group leaders are not responsible for looking after children at any time and children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at all times throughout this itinerary.
      Joining point
      Inlet Tower Hotel & Suites
      1200 L Street
      Anchorage
      AK
      99501
      UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
      Joining point instructions
      The hotel offers a 24 HOUR FREE SHUTTLE. Contact the hotel upon arrival using the hotel phone in the baggage claim area, or call the hotel directly. A tip of US$2 per person for the driver is recommended. If you wish to take a taxi, they leave from the designated taxi area near baggage claim. The fare should be approximately US$15-17, including tip.
      PRE/POST TOUR ACCOMMODATION:
      If you have booked additional accommodation in conjunction with your trip, please note that it is standard policy in the USA for debit and credit cards to be authorized at check-in by hotels for the amount of your stay, plus an amount to cover incidentals. The authorization will hold the funds until check out, at which time the amount actually incurred during the stay will be charged. Authorized amounts can take up to 30 days after departure to be released by your bank or financial institution. If you are unsure at check in as to what your card is being charged for, please ask the staff to explain their policy. Please also clarify with the hotel when you check in or out that all deposits will be refunded as promptly as possible.
      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.
      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
      Inlet Tower Hotel & Suites
      1200 L Street
      Anchorage
      AK
      99501
      UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
      Finish point instructions
      Most tours end at our finishing point hotel between 5pm to 6pm on the final day. Some tour activities scheduled for the last day may preclude an earlier arrival at the hotel, so you should not book a departure flight that leaves prior to 9pm. You will be responsible for any transportation costs if you have to arrive for an earlier flight.
      If you require accommodation on this last night, it is essential that you book this before your tour departs. If you would like to reserve additional nights in our hotel after the tour, please contact our sales team for additional information and associated costs.
      The hotel offers a 24 HOUR FREE SHUTTLE. Check with hotel for details of times and arrangements. A tip of US$2 per person for the driver is recommended.
      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.
      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.
      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.
      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 passport (which meets US requirements) at the port of entry to enter without a visa, otherwise a US visa is required. Canada doesn't require a visa for many foreign nationals however you should check to see if this applies to your country. You can get further information from the US Department of State and the Canadian government websites:
      - http://travel.state.gov/visa/tempvisitors.html
      - http://canadainternational.gc.ca
      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
      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).
      USA TOURIST VISA:
      Australia: No - ESTA required
      Belgium: No - ESTA required
      Canada: No - not required
      Germany: No - ESTA required
      Ireland: No - ESTA required
      Netherlands: No - ESTA required
      New Zealand: No - ESTA required
      South Africa: Yes - in advance
      Switzerland: No - ESTA required
      UK: No - ESTA 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
      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.
      If your trip departs from November to March sleeping bags may not be required as accommodation will vary to accommodate for the cooler weather. Please check the overview page of your trip for more information.
      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.
      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.
      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.
      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:
      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 and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.
      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.
      UNFENCED CAMP SITES:
      On some trips you will at times stay in unfenced camp sites within national parks. While this is a fantastic experience, there are a few safety rules to follow. While staying in national parks it's important that you listen to any advice given by your tour leader and the park rangers regarding responsible and safe behaviour.
      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:
      Responsible Travel projects
      Organisations and projects currently supported by The Intrepid Foundation in America include:
      * Bay Area Wilderness Training creates opportunities for urban youth to experience wilderness first hand and often for the first time. Operating out of the San Francisco Bay Area, BAWT supports teachers and youth workers with training, gear, funding and community support to help them get youth outdoors.
      Feedback
      After your travels, we want to hear from you! We realise that our partner company may ask you to complete paper or online feedback following your trip, however we would also like to know what you thought and encourage you to submit your feedback to us too. 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.
      Once you’ve left your feedback with us you’ll automatically be entered into our monthly draw for a US$500 (or equivalent in your local currency) travel voucher.