Alaskan Highlights Trip Notes

    • 9
    • STKA
    • Total price tool tip
      USD $2,719
      CAD $2,780
      AUD $2,889
      EUR €2,039
      GBP £1,699
      NZD $3,399
      ZAR R26,295
      CHF FR2,475
      *
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    • Explorer
    • Comfort
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There is a later version of this trip also available for travel from Jan 1, 2015 to Dec 31, 2015. View later Alaskan Highlights.
Print Version
Last Modified: 08 Aug 2014
Alaskan Highlights
Trip code: STKA
Validity: 01 Jan 2014 to 31 Dec 2014
Soak up the beauty of the USA’s frontier state, a wilderness playground that abounds with towering glaciers, emerald green forests and fabulous wildlife. Get up close and personal with some classic Alaskan Highlights, from soaring peaks, crumbling icebergs and massive national parks to modern cities, gold rush towns and remote highways. Spend a night in a cosy log cabin, admire Mt McKinley on the horizon and get off the beaten track in this beautiful part of the world. For those short on time, the Alaskan Highlights adventure is a great way to experience a slice of life in America’s most remote state.
This trip is operated by our experienced local partner, Grand American Adventures.
Table of Contents
StyleDeparture taxFinish point
ThemesImportant notesEmergency contact
MapGroup sizeEmergency funds
ItineraryYour fellow travellersVisas
Also available to purchaseSingle travellersIssues on your trip
Itinerary disclaimerAccommodationWhat to take
Culture shock rating Meals introductionHealth
Physical ratingMealsSafety
Included activitiesTransportTravel insurance
Optional activitiesGroup leaderResponsible Travel
Money ExchangeJoining point A couple of rules
Spending moneyJoining point instructionsThe Intrepid Foundation
TippingArrival complicationsFeedback
Style
Comfort
  • Comfort is your style of travel if you want the whole grassroots experience with more inclusions, meals and creature comforts. While accommodation is predominantly tourist class (3-4 star), on some itineraries there is the opportunity to stay with a local family, spend the night on a train or camp out in exotic places (without putting up your own tent of course). Along the way, you'll really experience the destination up close. You'll mingle with locals, enjoy a taste of their way of life and gain special insights from your leader. This is not luxury travel, but real world experiences - just with a softer landing!
Themes
Explorer
Map
Alaskan Highlights
Itinerary
Days 1-2 Anchorage/Kenai Fjords 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.
Located in south-central Alaska on the shores of Cook Inlet, Anchorage is a unique urban environment situated in the heart of the wilderness. Established in 1914 as the construction headquarters for the Alaskan Railroad, it's the state's largest and most sophisticated city and home to more than half of its occupants.
As there's no time spent in Anchorage on this trip we recommend you arrive a few days early to see the sights. If you need help booking extra accommodation, our reservations team will be able to assist.
Departing Anchorage, we round Cook Inlet's Turnagain Arm and venture onto the Kenai Peninsula. Outdoor activities abound in Seward, gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park. Hike in the high-country of the Harding Icefields, try your hand at fishing or enjoy a spectacular cruise through Resurrection Bay and Aialik Fjord, with views of local marine life, migrating birds, and tidewater glaciers along this remote wilderness coast.
Kenai Fjords National Park is home to rugged mountain peaks, glaciers, deep fjords, bears, whales, puffins, and seals. Optional activities in this spectacular landscape include a boat cruise around the glaciers of the park (several tours of varying lengths are available), a short walk up to Exit Glacier, or hiking to the Harding Icefield.
While here your leader will take you on a one-mile hike from Portage Glacier to Byron Glacier. This is a spectacular walk, with forest, creek, and blue ice scenery. It gets us up close enough to the glacier to be able to touch it.
Optional Activities
  • Kenai Fjords float plane trip - USD200
  • Kenai Fjords scenic cruise - USD165
Accommodation
Lodge (2 nts)
Days 3-4 Valdez
After leaving the Kenai Peninsula, we ride the Alaska Marine Highway ferry through Prince William Sound to Valdez. Glide past the rugged coastline, gaze upon the snow-capped Chugach Mountains, and check out spectacular icebergs released by the immense Columbia Glacier. A myriad of forested islands dot the seascape on our way to Valdez, and the towering mountains that surround this fjord make for stunning views.
There's an option to kayak on Prince William Sound and view the picturesque Columbia Glacier. Other summer activities include hiking, museums and wildlife spotting.
On one of the evenings here the group will participate in cooking up fresh fish for dinner on a barbeque.
Optional Activities
  • Sea kayaking (3 hrs) - USD59
Accommodation
Lodge (2 nts)
Day 5 Maclaren Lodge
Today we embark on one of the most beautiful drives on Alaska, climbing Thompson Pass and passing Wrangell-St Elias National Park, en route to Maclaren Lodge.
Situated at the base of the Maclaren glacier with spectacular views, this rustic log building with authentic stone fireplace will provide an authentic Alaskan experience.
Perhaps take a tour of the Kennecott Copper Mill and Ghost Town. The Kennecott Copper Corporation abandoned the town abruptly in 1938, leaving behind all their equipment, buildings and even some personal belongings. It has now been preserved as it was in 1938 and offers a great insight into what life was like for a miner in the 1930s.
Accommodation
Lodge (1 nt)
Days 6-8 Denali National Park
As we travel the old Denali Highway, keep an eye open for caribou and other wildlife while enjoying the peaceful, unspoilt wilderness en route to our three night stay at Denali National Park.
Surrounding Mt. McKinley, the tallest peak in North America, Denali offers a vast refuge for a variety of wildlife. Wolves, caribou, and Dall sheep call Denali home, as does the mighty grizzly bear. Two scenic bus tours (included with park admission) take you through the pristine backcountry of the park, with opportunities to view these majestic animals in their natural habitat and enjoy incredible views of the unique landscape of tundra and taiga. A wide range of optional activities are available such as river rafting, dogsled demonstrations and hiking, for all fitness and adventure levels. For a real treat why not try an optional scenic flight to get a good view of Mount McKinley’s towering peak. You could even opt for a glacier landing!
Included Activities
  • Scenic bus tour
Optional Activities
  • Mt. McKinley scenic flight - USD350
  • Dogsled demonstration & tour - USD90
Accommodation
Lodge (3 nts)
Day 9 Anchorage
Today we head back to Anchorage. En route we will stop at Talkeetna and see where the climbers of Mt McKinley set off from. Here there is also a good chance to try some reindeer sausage!
The trip ends on arrival in Anchorage at approximately 5pm on day 9. If you are flying out tonight we suggest not booking a flight that departs before 9pm to allow for any delays returning to Anchorage.
Also available to purchase
For many of our trips we have other services or experiences that are also available to purchase to extend your trip or to make your holiday a little easier. Below is a list of other travel products you can purchase in conjunction with this trip.
  • STKA - Single Supplement (STKA)
    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 approximate and are for entrance only and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability and it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination.
    Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. This means that it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, however we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with booking these activities. The decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.
    Money Exchange
    It can be difficult to exchange money while on the road so we suggest that you bring some cash in US dollars/Canadian dollars, or exchange/withdraw money at the airport when you arrive, or at least before you start the trip.
    Your individual budget will depend on your personal plans. Think about how much you want to spend on souvenirs, shopping, entertainment, food, drinks, excursions and attractions that aren't included in your trip (eg. helicopter flights etc). Please bear in mind that North America has endless things to do and see. Not all possible optional activities are listed in our Trip Notes.
    The cheapest and most convenient way to acquire money is via an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) which are plentiful throughout all cities and towns, and even at roadside stops. This allows you to draw funds from your personal account at a superior exchange rate. Bank fees for these withdrawals can be either a flat rate or a percentage of the amount withdrawn. Check with your bank for information on their international fees.
    Don't forget your PIN and make sure you know the telephone number for cancelling your card if it's stolen. Keep this in a safe place. When using your debit card, check your receipts and keep them to compare against your statement when you get home.
    Occasionally banks will also allow cash advances on your credit card, but it's not recommended to rely on this method only. We recommend that you carry some cash for situations when ATMs can't be accessed.
    Spending money
    Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
    Tipping
    If you're happy with the service you receive, providing a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate and indeed expected in North America for waiters, bar staff, any type of guide and taxi drivers. 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.
    The following amounts are based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:
    Restaurants: A minimum of 10% is standard - with the usual amount being around 15-20%.
    Bars: Recommended US$1 for each drink ordered to ensure you are served again.
    Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your leader. We suggest US$5-$7 per day for local guides.
    Your Grand American Adventure 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 per person per day.
    Another charge not normally listed in North American costs is the state and federal taxes, keep this in mind when your bill comes out slightly higher than the original price listed.
    Departure tax
    All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.
    Important notes
    LOCAL PARTNER:
    This trip is operated by our trusted local partners, Grand American Adventures.
    PASSPORT DETAILS:
    In order to book the ferry on this trip we need full passport details, including your middle name if applicable, before we can confirm your place on this trip.
    AGE RESTRICTIONS:
    Grand American Adventures tours are designed for adults over 18 years old. For safety reasons, travellers over 70 will be asked to complete a self-declaration of fitness, although experience has shown us that our senior travellers are often in the best shape!
    LEGAL DRINKING AGE:
    Please note that the legal drinking age in the US is 21 and in some parts of Canada it's 19.
    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.
    A single supplement is available on this trip, please refer to your booking agent for further information. On the following nights the single supplement is not available:
    - Day 5 McClaren Lodge
    Accommodation
    Lodge (8 nts)
    On our lodging tours all accommodation will be in clean, comfortable, tourist class hotels/motels based on a twin share basis (two people per room) with en-suite bathroom facilities. Rooms will have two beds wherever single travellers are sharing. All bedding and towels are provided.
    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
    No meals included
    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 350.00
    On our lodging tours we eat in local restaurants where passengers pay individually for each of their meals and drinks. Average hotel breakfasts cost from US$6-$12, lunches from US$8-$15 and dinners from US$13-$30; this does not include alcoholic beverages. Wine costs approximately US$5 per glass and beer US$4 per bottle.
    Most group leaders will offer their tour members the choice to operate a ‘lunch only’ food kitty that has proven to be a popular alternative to three daily restaurant meals. Leaders will more fully explain this option and the whole group will have to agree to implement this system. Please make sure we are aware of any special meal requirements before travelling.
    Transport
    Van, Ferry
    All of our private vehicles are designed to ensure your safety, comfort and enjoyment of the tour. In North America, our new 15-seater vehicles feature air-conditioning, raised ceilings for more headroom, captain seats for added comfort, back row "bench" seats and an open centre aisle floor plan, making it easier when getting in and out at those many photo opportunities. All our vehicles are equipped with CD stereo systems, often iPod-compatible, and air-conditioning, to make travelling a pleasure.
    Group leader
    Our tour leaders' personalities, knowledge and professionalism make every Grand American Adventures tour a special experience. We are very selective and employ only the most capable men and women from many professional backgrounds. With a passion to explore and share in the experience, you're sure to enjoy a wealth of information and insight from their local knowledge and expertise.
    Joining point
    Inlet Tower Hotel & Suites
    1200 L Street
    Anchorage
    AK
    99501
    UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
    Phone: +1 9072760110
    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 group trip as scheduled, please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your group leader.
    Please also make sure have a copy of the local operators Emergency phone numbers from our Emergency Contact section of these trip notes.
    Finish point
    Inlet Tower Hotel & Suites
    1200 L Street
    Anchorage
    AK
    99501
    UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
    Phone: +1 9072760110
    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.
    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
    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).
    IMPORTANT:
    If you are refused boarding or denied admission at the US port of entry you will still be subject to Grand American Adventures cancellation charges in accordance with the terms of our contract with you.
    Issues on your trip
    While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.
    We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.
    You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
    What to take
    What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage and although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes), we recommend keeping the weight under 10kg / 22lb.
    Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.
    You can find Intrepid's Ultimate Packing List on our website. It should be used as a guide only and isn't intended to be a complete packing list.
    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.
    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.
    WATER BOTTLE:
    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
    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:
    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.
    TRAFFIC AND DRIVING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD:
    Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware!
    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.
    Travel insurance
    Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
    When travelling on a group trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.
    If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
    Please go to our website for links to various travel insurance providers:
    Responsible Travel
    We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller:
    A couple of rules
    Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
    The Intrepid Foundation
    Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.
    The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$5,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your group leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:
    Feedback
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    Remember that once you’ve left your feedback you’ll automatically be entered into our monthly draw for a US$500 (or equivalent in your local currency) travel voucher.