East Coast Loop Trip Notes

From New York to New Orleans, Toronto to Montreal, get a fresh and diverse taste of North America on a vibrant, city-hopping trip.

    • 29
    • SSSVC
    • Total price tool tip
      USD $7,495
      CAD $7,595
      AUD $7,890
      EUR €5,330
      GBP £4,720
      NZD $9,350
      ZAR R71,815
      CHF FR6,570
      *
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    • Explorer
    • Original
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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 East Coast Loop.
Print Version
Last Modified: 10 Aug 2014
East Coast Loop
Trip code: SSSVC
Validity: 01 Jan 2014 to 31 Dec 2014
Relish the diverse colours and flavours of life in the USA and Canada on a vibrant, city-hopping tour. Start in the frenetic hub of New York City, then follow a loop all the way down the east coast of the USA. After a taste of the south, head up to Canada to explore two of the county’s most thriving cities. Each stop on this trip reveals a new city with a unique personality, and there is no shortage of treasures to uncover. From the rampaging Niagara Falls to the historical sites of Boston to Nashville’s country music scene, this trip is full of experiences that ignite all the senses.
****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
StyleImportant notesEmergency funds
ThemesGroup sizeVisas
MapYour fellow travellersIssues on your trip
ItinerarySingle travellersWhat to take
Itinerary disclaimerAccommodationHealth
Culture shock rating Meals introductionSafety
Physical ratingMealsTravel insurance
Physical preparationTransportResponsible Travel
Included activitiesGroup leaderA couple of rules
Optional activitiesJoining point The Intrepid Foundation
Money ExchangeJoining point instructionsResponsible Travel projects
Spending moneyArrival complicationsCarbon offset
TippingFinish point Feedback
Departure taxEmergency contact
To save you money and the hassle of booking multiple trips, this journey is a combination of some of our most popular adventures so your leader and the composition of your group may change.
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
Explorer
Map
East Coast Loop
Itinerary
Day 1 New York
Welcome to the USA!
Your adventure begins with a Welcome Meeting at 6pm on Day 1.
Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.
New York is the city that never sleeps. Grab a slice and see those famous sites - Times Square, Broadway, Central Park and the Empire State Building.
As there's a great deal to do in New York City, we recommend staying a few extra days to make the most of this exciting city. If you need help booking extra accommodation, our reservations team will be happy to assist. Consider doing our one-day sightseeing tour of New York (see www.urbanadventures.com).
Optional Activities
  • American Museum of Natural History - USD22
  • Brooklyn Bridge - Free
  • Central Park - Free
  • Empire State Building - USD27
  • Guggenheim Museum - USD22
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art - USD25
  • Museum of Modern Art - USD25
  • Urban Adventure - USD65
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 2 Philadelphia
This morning we travel by train to Philadelphia.
Philadelphia holds the distinct moniker of being the ‘City of Brotherly Love’—and rightfully so. With its tourist-friendly local environment landmarked by historical monuments and cultural centers, visitors to Philly can virtually tour the city on foot for miles.
In the afternoon we will take a tour of some of the city's important, historic sites.
Included Activities
  • Philadelphia Urban Adventure
Optional Activities
  • Philly on Tap Urban Adventure - USD35
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 3-4 Washington DC
Today we take a train to the nation's capital, Washington DC. The rest of our time here is free to check out the many museums and historic and political sites. The best bit? Most of it is free!
The nation's capital, Washington DC, is easily explored by foot. Don't miss the White House, Capitol Building, Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, and National Air and Space Museum, as well as many other museums of interest. In the evening you can stroll through Georgetown, the centre of the city's nightlife.
Optional Activities
  • Arlington National Cemetery - Free
  • Bike and Roll Night Tour - USD45
  • International Spy Museum - USD21
  • National Air & Space Museum - Free
  • National Archives - Free
  • National Gallery of Art - Free
  • National Museum of American History - Free
  • National Museum of Crime and Punishment - Free
  • National Museum of Natural History - Free
  • Newseum - USD22
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 5-6 Charlotte
Long travel day (approx 9 hours) today as we take the train from Washington to Charlotte, arriving in the evening.
Known as 'Queen City' Charlotte is a sprawling, financial centre, but is also home to numerous museums, the NASCAR Hall of Fame, and a thriving food scene, making this a great place to try some traditional Southern food. Charlotte was spared significant damage during the Civil War so there are still plenty of historic neighbourhoods to explore, and there is also an abundance of parks and greenspace.
The following day we take a half day Urban Adventure, exploring Charlotte's food hotspots by bicycle.
Included Activities
  • Charlotte Urban Adventure
Optional Activities
  • NASCAR Hall of Fame - USD20
  • Speedway Tour - USD12
Accommodation
Motel (2 nts)
Days 7-8 Atlanta
Today we travel by bus to Atlanta. The following day is free to explore Atlanta. Check out sites such as World of Coca Cola, CNN Center, the Martin Luther King Jr Historic Site, and the Margaret Mitchell House.
Known as the New York of the South, Atlanta is big city with a wide range of parks, museums, restaurants and bars to explore.
Optional Activities
  • CNN Center - USD15
  • Martin Luther King Jr National Historic Site - Free
  • World of Coca Cola - USD16
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Day 9 Birmingham
We take another train today, to Birmingham, Alabama. This afternoon there is time to visit the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and Museum.
Birmingham was the primary site of the Civil Rights Movement and is where Dr Martin Luther King Jr began his campaign of civil disobedience. Today it is home to the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and Museum next to Kelly Ingram Park, which documents the civil rights movement and its struggles during the 1950s and 1960s.
Included Activities
  • Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and Museum
Optional Activities
  • Birmingham Botanical Gardens - Free
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 10-12 New Orleans
After a late start, we take a train to New Orleans, arriving in the evening, in time for an optional late dinner and some jazz on Bourbon Street.
Otherwise known as the 'Big Easy', New Orleans's eclectic mix of European, Creole and Cajun culture manifests itself in every aspect of the architecture, cuisine and music scene. Take in the sights and sounds of Bourbon Street, relax in the Garden District and absorb the ambience of the French Quarter, known also as just 'The Quarter'. Founded by French traders in 1718, there are many layers of history in this city and its many attractions combine to make it one of the most visited cities in the USA – a trend that was only momentarily halted by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
As this is a combination trip, your group leader and the composition of your group may change at this location. There will be a group meeting to discuss the next stage of your itinerary and you're welcome to attend, as this is a great chance to meet your new fellow travellers.
Optional Activities
  • Mississippi Steamboat Ride - USD25
  • Bourbon Street - Free
  • New Orleans - Cemetery Tour - USD25
  • New Orleans - French Market - Free
  • Honey Island Swamp Tour - USD49
  • Mississippi Riverboat Cruise - USD70
  • Presbytere - USD6
  • Preservation Hall Jazz - USD15
  • Ursuline Convent Tours - Free
  • Voodoo Museum - USD7
  • New Orleans School of Cooking - USD29
Accommodation
Hotel (3 nts)
Days 13-14 Memphis
After a free morning in New Orleans, we take an afternoon train to Memphis, arriving late in the evening.
Memphis is the home of the Blues. In the evening, you can head down to Beale Street's traditional blues clubs, made famous by legends such as Louis Armstrong, Muddy Waters and B.B. King. For those with an interest in history, there's the National Civil Rights Museum at the former Lorraine Motel, where Martin Luther King, Jr was assassinated on April 4, 1968.
The following day we include a tour of Sun Studios. You may also like to head out to Graceland and see Elvis Presley's home and grave.
Included Activities
  • Sun Studio
Optional Activities
  • Graceland Museum - USD35
  • Peabody Hotel Duck March - Free
  • Rock 'n' Soul Museum - USD11
  • National Civil Rights Museum - USD13
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 15-16 Nashville
We have a free morning in Memphis and then take an afternoon bus to Nashville.
The undisputed capital of country music, Nashville is home to the famous Wildhorse Saloon and Country Music Hall of Fame. Outside of its music credentials, Nashville is also the capital of Tennessee and the state's second largest city after Memphis. Situated on the banks of the Cumberland River, it was established as a major river port by settlers in 1779.
Visit the Country Music Hall of Fame, which contains Elvis' golden Cadillac. Another point of interest is Music Row, where more than 50 record studios and approximately 200 music publishing houses are located.
Optional Activities
  • Country Music Hall of Fame - USD25
  • Grand Ole Opry Tour - USD19
  • Ryman Auditorium Tour - USD14
  • Tennessee State Museum - Free
  • Wildhorse Saloon - USD10
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 17-18 Louisville
Today we catch a bus (approx 4 hours) from Nashville to Louisville, Kentucky.
Louisville is perhaps best known as being the home of the Kentucky Derby, although it is also famous in baseball circles, as being the birthplace of the Louisville Slugger bats. Aside from sports, Louisville has an up-and-coming food scene, several interesting museums, pretty parks, the largest collection of Victorian-era homes in the country, and to top all that, it is the final resting place of Colonel Sanders. Of course Kentucky is also well-known for its bourbon, and in Louisville you can follow the Bourbon Trail, learning about the history of the beverage, visiting distilleries, and perhaps trying a sample or two.
Accommodation
Motel (2 nts)
Days 19-21 Chicago
Today we travel by a combination of bus and train to Chicago.
Chicago is the 'City of Skyscrapers'. Located on Lake Michigan, it's also known as the friendly city. Locals are more than happy to tell you about their favourite restaurant or cafe, or perhaps which music club plays the most authentic blues music. With more than 45 km of lake front paths, Chicago is also one of the world's most walkable cities.
As this is a combination trip, your group leader and the composition of your group may change at this location. There will be a group meeting to discuss the next stage of your itinerary and you're welcome to attend, as this is a great chance to meet your new fellow travellers.
Optional Activities
  • Willis Tower Skydeck - USD18
  • Bobby's bike hike--Chicago - USD35
  • Adler Planetarium - USD12
  • Art Institute of Chicago - USD23
  • Museum of Contemporary Art - USD12
  • Chicago Boat Cruise - USD18
  • Field Museum - USD15
  • Chicago History Museum - USD14
  • Museum of Science and Industry - USD27
  • Shedd Aquarium - USD8
  • Navy Pier - USD16
Accommodation
Hotel (3 nts)
Days 22-23 Toronto/Niagara Falls
Very early this morning we take a flight to Toronto. In the afternoon we take a walking tour with a local guide, exploring some of the hidden gems and quirky history of Toronto.
Toronto is one of Canada's hippest and cleanest cities. Situated on Lake Ontario, there's no lack of options available to explore this active city. You can get a view from the CN Tower, take a bike tour to Toronto Island, catch a Maple Leafs game or simply stroll the many shopping alleys.
The following day we take a day trip to Niagara Falls.
As one of the most well-known waterfalls in the world, Niagara Falls is a truly majestic sight not to be missed. There are numerous viewpoints at which we can appreciate the pure power of this amazing set of falls.
In season (April/May to September/October) we include a ride on the Maid of the Mist boat tour.
There's no better way to get a feel for their true immensity than to approach them from the water. So after donning raincoats, head straight up to the falls at the Horseshoe Basin on the thrilling 'Maid of the Mist' boat ride.
Included Activities
  • Kensington Market Urban Adventure
  • Niagara Falls
Optional Activities
  • CN Tower - USD28
  • Maid of the Mist boat tour - USD16
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 24-25 Montreal
This morning we take a train to Montreal, arriving early-mid afternoon. The rest of the day, and the following day are free in Montreal.
Situated at the confluence of the St Lawrence and Ottawa rivers, Montreal has a genuine French atmosphere and beautiful historic architecture. This is a compact island city, great for walking, and you can easily explore its vibrant neighbourhoods on foot. Montreal is also home to more than 80 ethnic communities, and enjoys an outstanding reputation for gourmet dining.
Optional Activities
  • Montreal Jet Boat ride - CAD67
  • Biodome - CAD19
  • Olympic Park - Free
  • Montreal Tower - CAD23
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 26-27 Boston
Today is a long travel day (approx 8 hours) as we journey by bus to Boston.
Boston is a historically important city that was founded by the Puritans in 1630, and you'll have the chance to stroll along the British colonial streets. Boston is also famous for its sporting events including baseball, basketball and ice hockey, not to mention its popular college teams. Visiting Faneuil Hall marketplace or the nearby Italian District is a great way to get a real taste for this popular city.
The following day is free in Boston. A great way to get a feel for this historic city is to walk the Freedom Trail.
Your visit to Boston must include a walk into history along the Freedom Trail. You can start in the beginning, the middle or the end and wend your way through the streets of this very modern city — Boston — and along the paths of history. This is Boston’s indoor/outdoor history museum. There are 16 “official” sites of the Freedom Trail and you’ll want to visit every one.
Optional Activities
  • Freedom Trail - Free
  • Cheers Bar - Free
  • USS Constitution Boat Tour - Free
  • USS Constitution Museum - USD5
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 28-29 New York
Today we take a train to New York, arriving early afternoon.
New York is the city that never sleeps. Grab a slice and see those famous sites - Times Square, Broadway, Central Park and the Empire State Building.
As there's a great deal to do in New York City, we recommend staying a few extra days to make the most of this exciting city. If you need help booking extra accommodation, our reservations team will be happy to assist. Consider doing our one-day sightseeing tour of New York (see www.urbanadventures.com).
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.
Optional Activities
  • American Museum of Natural History - USD22
  • Brooklyn Bridge - Free
  • Central Park - Free
  • Empire State Building - USD27
  • Guggenheim Museum - USD22
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art - USD25
  • Museum of Modern Art - USD25
  • Urban Adventure - USD65
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.
      Physical preparation
      We recommend that you undertake regular aerobic exercise in the weeks before you travel, particularly if you are not in the habit of regular exercise. Walking, jogging, swimming or riding a bike are all good ways to increase your aerobic fitness, which will allow you to enjoy the trip to its fullest.
      Included activities
      Included activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary, all other activities are optional and at your own expense. If you choose not to participate in the included activities on this itinerary, the cost will not be refunded.
      Optional activities
      A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are 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.
      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.
      Money Exchange
      It can be difficult to exchange money while on the road so we suggest that you bring some cash in US dollars/Canadian dollars, or exchange/withdraw money at the airport when you arrive, or at least before you start the trip.
      Your individual budget will depend on your personal plans. Think about how much you want to spend on souvenirs, shopping, entertainment, food, drinks, excursions and attractions that aren't included in your trip (eg. helicopter flights etc). Please bear in mind that North America has endless things to do and see. Not all possible optional activities are listed in our Trip Notes.
      The cheapest and most convenient way to acquire money is via an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) which are plentiful throughout all cities and towns, and even at roadside stops. This allows you to draw funds from your personal account at a superior exchange rate. Bank fees for these withdrawals can be either a flat rate or a percentage of the amount withdrawn. Check with your bank for information on their international fees.
      Don't forget your PIN and make sure you know the telephone number for cancelling your card if it's stolen. Keep this in a safe place. When using your debit card, check your receipts and keep them to compare against your statement when you get home.
      Occasionally banks will also allow cash advances on your credit card, but it's not recommended to rely on this method only. We recommend that you carry some cash for situations when ATMs can't be accessed.
      Spending money
      Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
      Tipping
      If you're happy with the service you receive, providing a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. Please note we recommend that any tips are given directly to the intended recipient by a member of your group as our group leaders are prohibited from collecting cash for tips.
      The following amounts are based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:
      Restaurants: We suggest 15% to 20% of your bill.
      Bars: Recommended US$1 for each drink ordered to ensure you are served again.
      Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your leader. We suggest US$3 per day for local guides.
      Your Group Leader: You should also consider tipping your leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. Your leader works long and hard for you. He or she may well become your friend during the trip but they do need to pay their bills. If the leader's performance meets or exceeds your expectation they will gladly accept a tip from you. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however you should plan to tip your leader US$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
      BAGGAGE FEES FOR INTERNAL FLIGHTS:
      Please note that in North America, the cost of checked baggage usually is not included in the price of an airline ticket and is subject to additional payment. If you wish to check in luggage then you may need to pay for this on arrival at the airport. Each airline calculates fees differently, sometimes on the number of bags, sometimes by weight, however the fee is usually in the vicinity of US$25 per bag.
      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
      MINIMUM AGE:
      The minimum age for this trip is 15 at the time of travel. Any travellers under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a legal guardian, or in lieu of a legal guardian, by an escort over the age of 18, appointed by their legal guardian. The legal guardian or their designee will be responsible for the traveller under the age of 18 day to day’s care. If a legal guardian elects to designate an escort in their lieu, they will be required to complete and sign a relevant document, to delegate their authority.
      Group size
      Maximum of 12 travellers per group.
      Your fellow travellers
      As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part.
      Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure. However you can download Intrepid's FREE Meet Up app to chat with your fellow travellers before your trip. Meet up, discuss your upcoming trip and share the excitement of planning for your adventure. For more information visit: www.intrepidtravel.com/meetup
      Single travellers
      Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own 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
      Hotel (24 nts), Motel (4 nts)
      The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.
      Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.
      If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.
      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
      1 Dinner
      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 975.00
      Transport
      Train, Bus, Taxi, Plane
      TRAVELLING TIMES:
      All travel times mentioned in our itinerary are intended as a guide only and do not allow for traffic congestion, adverse weather conditions or any last minute alterations to the itinerary for any unforeseen circumstances. Please note that there are some long travel days on this tour - we'll have some early starts and late arrivals at our final destination (sometimes after dark). We recommend you are fully prepared for these long travel days by reviewing our notes and indicated times. 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.
      PUBLIC TRANSPORT:
      For long distance and inter-city travel on these trips we use a mixture of Amtrak trains (USA), VIA Rail (Canada), Bolt Bus, Megabus and Greyhound. Trains and buses are comfortable, although they don't always run to schedule so a degree of flexibility is needed. In many cases inter-city transport has free wifi on board, although this does not always work.
      AIRPORT QUEUES:
      While in the USA you might hear talk about 'the sequester'. This basically means cuts to federal government spending, and it has had an impact on transport in the US, especially air travel. As a result, please be prepared for long queues (sometimes up to 2-3 hours) through airport security and immigration and be prepared for queues by making sure you have bottled water, snacks, a book to read, etc as you often cannot buy these things in the immigration hall.
      Group leader
      All Intrepid group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders.
      Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.
      We have designed our trips to make the most of your time in the States, but please understand that there are certain times during each day that your leader will need to be off duty from work. This includes having meal and rest periods and personal time. Your leader will provide you with all the important information you need to embark on your own explorations.
      Joining point
      Hotel Pennsylvania
      401 Seventh Ave. (At 33rd St.)
      New York
      NY
      UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
      Phone: +1 212 736 5000
      Joining point instructions
      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
      Hotel Pennsylvania
      401 Seventh Ave. (At 33rd St.)
      New York
      NY
      UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
      Phone: +1 212 736 5000
      Emergency contact
      For cases of genuine emergency or crisis, please contact 1-800-786-8735 (within the USA)
      From outside the USA please call +1 707 483 9460
      Police and Ambulance - In case of an emergency, local authorities can be contacted by calling 911 – this is the toll free phone number for the police, fire department and the ambulance in the USA. In case of doubt, call the operator on 0.
      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).
      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.
      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:
      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:
      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.
      Carbon offset
      Carbon Offset C02-e 2208.00 kgs per pax.
      Feedback
      After your travels, we want to hear from you! 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.
      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.