Florida Adventure Trip Notes

Florida Adventure

These trip notes are valid for departures from 01 January 2016 to 31 December 2016. View the trip notes for departures between 01 January 2017 - 31 December 2017


Last Modified: 31 Aug 2016
Florida Adventure
Trip code: SSRM
Validity: 01 Jan 2016 to 31 Dec 2016
Enjoy yourself to the max as you travel from New Orleans down to Miami. Skip your way down the white sandy beaches in Panama City and Key West, sampling Key Lime Pie and icy cold drinks as you go. Enjoy the high-octane thrills that come with the territory in Orlando – with an optional trip to Universal Studios or Disney World – before hobnobbing with the beautiful people at a bar or restaurant in sunny Miami. This Florida adventure in the orange capital of the world will leave you tanned, relaxed and refreshed.
Table of Contents
StyleAccommodation NotesVisas
ThemesMeals introductionWhat to take
Is this trip right for you?MealsClimate and seasonal information
Why we love itTransportCommunications
MapMoney mattersHealth
ItineraryGroup leaderTravel insurance
Itinerary disclaimerSafetyA couple of rules
Physical ratingJoining pointResponsible Travel
Group sizeJoining point instructionsThe Intrepid Foundation
Your fellow travellersFinish pointFeedback
AccommodationEmergency contact
Style
Basix
Themes
Explorer
Is this trip right for you?
- On this trip you'll be spending a fair amount of time in a van with other travellers, so conditions may feel a little cramped. This is all part of the adventure, however, and you might even make some long-term friends.
- Travel times between some destinations can be long and tiring, taking between five and seven hours in some instances.
- The weather in Key West can be extremely hot and humid, so it’s a good idea to bring sun protection and drink plenty of water. Although hurricanes are less common during the summer, they do come through in August occasionally.
- As we’ll be travelling between multiple locations at a fairly quick pace, there won’t be too much time spent at Panama City Beach. While there will be some time to relax on the beach, you won’t get a full day here.
- Although there's no age limit, this trip tends to attract travellers in their early 20s, so it's a good idea to consider whether this atmosphere is right for you.
Why we love it
- The city of New Orleans is notorious for its rich culture, music and nightlife. See the iconic French and Spanish Creole architecture and enjoy music in the city where jazz was born
- Summon your inner child in Orlando with a visit to Universal Studios or Disney World
- The tropical island of Key West may be known for its idyllic snorkelling and diving spots, but its also home to the delicious key lime pie. You'll have enough free time to search out the best pie in town, even if every shop in the Keys claims to sell the original recipe
- Throw yourself into Miami's world famous nightlife. The city's Cuban population, beachside setting and balmy nights set a sultry scene
- Soak up the sun on Panama City Beach and paddle in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. If you’re looking for space to spread out, there’s 27 miles of white sandy beach to do it on
Map

Itinerary
Day 1 New Orleans
Welcome to New Orleans, USA. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. 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. As there's a great deal to do in New Orleans, we recommend arriving a few days early to make the most of this exciting city. If you need help booking extra accommodation, our reservations team will be happy to assist.

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'.
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Special Information
Notes: If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time for the group meeting, 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).
Day 2 Panama City Beach
It's quite a long drive today to Panama City Beach, which should take around six hours. Once there, the best way to recover is to flop on some of the 27 miles of white sand beach, or go for a dip in the turquoise waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Panama City Beach is also renowned for its night clubs and parties, so if you have enough energy left at the end of the day you may choose to hit the town.
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Day 3 Orlando
Leave Panama City Beach behind today for another long drive of around six hours, as we head into the heart of Florida to Orlando. With its large Latino population, including many from Cuba, Orlando has an exciting and varied nightlife, as well as a plethora of shops and outlet malls. If there's time on arrival, you may like to go out and explore the town.
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Day 4 Orlando
Today is a free day to explore the amusement parks and attractions of Orlando. Most people opt for Walt Disney World or Universal Studios, but there are a host of other parks that might take your fancy. Islands of Adventure is one of the world's best theme parks and if the weather is nice, Orlando has a handful of water parks such as Wet'n Wild, Disney's Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach. Each park is a full day's worth of action, so choose wisely.
Optional Activities
  • Walt Disney World Day Pass - USD110
  • Walt Disney World Park Hopper - USD140
  • Universal Studios - USD100
    Accommodation
    Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
    Day 5 Key West
    Get comfortable today for a long drive to Key West, which can take up to seven hours. As Florida's southernmost point, you'll travel across the Oversees Highway to this little slice of American paradise. On arrival to the island city, use your free time in the evening to recharge after a long day's drive.
    Accommodation
    Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
    Day 6 Key West
    Today is free to explore. Key West is a town that has long been a haven for artists. The local area is famous for its pastel houses and laid-back attitude, and this combines to give the whole area a bohemian and relaxed feel. With the tip of Key West sitting around 90 miles north of Cuba, the water is warm and perfect for snorkelling and swimming among the reefs.
    Optional Activities
    • Hemingway House - USD13
    • Sunset Sail - USD35
    • All Day Action Watersports Adventure - USD140
    • Glass-bottom boat tour - USD40
    • Snorkelling (half day) - USD49
      Accommodation
      Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
      Day 7 Miami
      Drive back across the Overseas Highway this morning to Miami, which will take around three hours. Get your last fix of sandy beaches and glorious sunshine down at SoBe (South Beach). Stroll the art deco seafront or pose with the beautiful people in ultra-cool nightspots, as you celebrate a fantastic trip with your fellow travellers. This is a great way to spend the last night of your trip.
      Optional Activities
      • Venetian Pool - USD12
      • Miami Beach Botanical Garden - Free
      • Swimming, South Beach - Free
      • Vizcaya Museum & Gardens - USD15
        Accommodation
        Hotel (1 nt)
        Day 8 Miami
        Your New Orleans to Miami adventure ends after breakfast today. There are no more activities planned and you're able to depart at any time.
        Itinerary disclaimer
        ITINERARY CHANGES 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. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff. We are here to help you! 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. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary from time to time.

        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.
        Physical rating

        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.

        Many of the National Parks that we visit have hiking opportunities where walks of up to 4 hours can be an option for you. There are often easier options. Throughout the trip there are more adventurous optional activities that require some consideration regarding your physical abilities to complete the activity.
        Group size
        Maximum of 13 travellers per group.
        Your fellow travellers
        GROUP TRAVEL
        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.

        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) (5nt), Hotel (2nt)
        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.

        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.

        On our trips in North America, we operate an optional kitty, where travellers are encouraged to contribute to a central fund which is used to buy groceries which then supply meals to the entire group. In our experience all travellers generally participate, however some with special dietary requirements may prefer to opt out. The kitty is administered by the group and is payable per week of the trip. The cost is:

        USA - US$70 per week
        Alaska - US$90 per week
        Canada - CA$90 per week

        While camping, some breakfasts, lunches and dinners are paid from the food kitty. Sometimes we'll go out for dinner and eat at restaurants at everybody's own expense.

        Your leader will participate in the food kitty as well. On hotel nights (if included) the food kitty doesn't operate and everybody eats at their own expense.

        Chores such as buying and cooking the food, washing up, etc. will be shared by everyone on the trip. Teams of two people will carry out the camp duties on a rotating basis. On camping nights, we usually cook our evening meals together on our own stove, or barbecue food over the camp fire. We usually prepare salads, grill meats and cook pasta, rice and vegetables. For breakfast we usually buy milk, coffee, tea, cereals, bread, jam, butter etc. Not all personal eating preferences can be catered for, however we endeavour to provide tasty, basic meals.

        We keep our food costs as low as possible by sharing the expenses. The kitty is based on the average cost from our past experiences and from passenger feedback about what they are prepared to pay for shared meals. Personal beverages, lunches and snacks are not included in the food kitty. If there's any cash left over it will either be redistributed to the group or put towards paying for a group activity.
        Meals
        No meals included
        Transport
        Private vehicle

        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 an estimated 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. 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.
        Money matters
        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
        When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities and laundry. It's always better to bring a little more than you think you'll need. Also make sure you've read your trip details thoroughly so you know what's included in the trip price and what isn't. This should make budgeting a little easier. You'll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that's this document).

        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 18% to 22% 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$5-20 per day for local guides. Ask your leader for suggestions as to what is appropriate for a given activity.

        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.

        EMERGENCY FUNDS
        Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$500, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (e.g. a natural disaster, civil unrest, strike action or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
        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.
        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 and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. 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 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 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:

        http://www.intrepidtravel.com/contact-us/safety

        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 or on the floor and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.

        DRINKING SAFETY:
        Please note that in the US the legal drinking age is 21 and in some parts of Canada it is 19. When out drinking in bars please be responsible and take the same precautions you would at home. Don't accept drinks from strangers, and don't let your drink out of your sight. It is always a good idea to go out with a group and stick together.
        Joining point
        Hotel 504 (Formerly Clarion NOLA)
        1300 Canal Street
        New Orleans
        LA
        70112
        UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
        Phone: 504 2999900
        Fax: 504 2991737
        Joining point instructions
        From the airport, you can take the E2 bus to New Orleans Union Station. The bus costs US$2 and takes about 40 minutes. From Union Station it is about a 1.5 km walk north along Loyola Avenue, left into Cleveland Avenue, and then right into S Saratoga St. The hotel is on the corner of S Saratoga and Canal Sts. You can see the bus schedule at jeffersontransit.org.

        A quicker alternative is to take a taxi or airport shuttle. A cab ride costs approximately US$45 from the airport to the hotel and takes around 20 minutes. There may be an additional charge for extra baggage.

        There is also a shuttle service from the airport to the hotels in the CBD for $24 per person, one-way or $44 per person, round-trip. Call 1-866-596-2699 or (504) 522-3500 for more details or to make a reservation. Ticket booths are located on the lower level in the baggage claim area. www.airportshuttleneworleans.com.

        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.
        Finish point
        Courtyard Marriott
        1530 Washington Ave,
        Miami Beach
        Miami
        FL
        FL 33139
        UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
        Phone: 1305 6048887
        Emergency contact
        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.

        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.

        BOOKING ENQUIRIES/ISSUES
        For general enquiries or questions about your booking, please contact your agent or adventure specialist, or visit us at http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/

        CRISES AND EMERGENCIES
        In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency please contact our local ground representative on the number below (remember to drop the +xx country code if you are calling from within the country):

        +1 707 483 9460
        Visas
        Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with acquiring visas. Visas can take several weeks to process, so familiarise yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time.

        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, biometric passport (which meets US requirements) at the port of entry to enter without a visa, otherwise a US visa is required. You can get further information from the US Department of State website:
        - http://travel.state.gov/visa/tempvisitors.html

        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).

        Please note that if there is any discrepancy between the name on your ESTA, your passport, your tickets and even your frequent flyer membership, you may be detained at Immigration and subject to a secondary inspection which could take a few hours. If you have recently changed your name, please check that your details have been updated everywhere.

        If you are from a country eligible for the visa waiver program but are a dual citizen of Iran, Iraq, Syria or Sudan, or if you have travelled to Iran, Iraq, Syria or Sudan since 1 March 2011, you will not longer be eligible for the visa waiver program and will instead need to apply for a non-immigrant visa. Please see the Department of State website for more information: http://travel.state.gov//content/travel/en.html
        What to take
        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. 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. A pillow can also be useful both for sleeping at night and for extra comfort in the van.

        WATER BOTTLE:
        Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. We recommend at least a 1.5litre capacity. 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.
        Climate and seasonal information
        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
        Communications
        WIFI
        Our vans in the USA are equipped with free WiFi however a fair use policy applies. It is limited to 5 users at one time, and is suitable for updating your Facebook status or sending an email home - not for streaming video or radio. Please be considerate of your use so that there is enough to go around. Some campgrounds also have WiFi access, as do many hotels.

        CHARGING BATTERIES
        North American electrical outlets operate at a lower voltage than much of the rest of the world. This means that your devices may take longer to charge than you are used to, or may say that they are not charging, even though they are. You may also notice that some hotels have powerboards or multiple appliances plugged into one socket. Because of the lower voltage, this is not the safety issue that it may be in other parts of the world. Some campgrounds have access to power for recharging batteries, but it may not be in an area that's safe to leave your device unattended. You can also recharge batteries on the van, although obviously this will need to be shared between everyone. You will need to bring a 12 volt/cigarette lighter adapter to plug your USB charger into.
        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 Travel 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.

        ZIKA VIRUS
        Recently it has been confirmed that 4 people in Florida have been infected by the Zika virus by local mosquitoes. These are the first known infections of the virus being transmitted by mosquitoes locally. Up to this point all other cases have been contracted overseas.

        This virus is mostly concerning to pregnant women as recently in Brazil local authorities have linked the virus to an increase in babies born with microcephaly (smaller than normal skull). In addition to this risk, the World Health Organisation have reported that Zika symptoms may include mild fever, skin rash and conjunctivitis. These symptoms normally last for 2-7 days.

        At this stage, WHO is not recommending any travel or trade restrictions related to the Zika virus, however we recommend all women who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant to closely monitor the information provided by the World Health Organisation, and also the USA government's Center for Disease Control (http://www.cdc.gov/zika/geo/).

        More information on the Zika virus can be found at the following links:
        World Health Organisation: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/zika/en
        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 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.

        http://www.intrepidtravel.com/insurance.php
        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.

        Everyone has the right to feel safe and secure on their trip. We don’t tolerate any form of sexual harassment at Intrepid, either between passengers or involving our leaders or local operators. Sexual relationships (consensual or otherwise) between a leader and a passenger are unacceptable. If you ever feel another person is behaving inappropriately please inform us immediately by contacting the emergency contact number detailed in these trip notes.
        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.

        http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/rt/responsibletraveller

        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$1,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year, excluding emergency appeals). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:

        http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/

        Organisations and projects currently supported by The Intrepid Foundation in the USA 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 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.

        http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback