Last Modified: 11 Aug 2014
Historic Route 66
Trip code: STKS
Validity: 01 Jan 2014 to 31 Dec 2014
Hit the road on the historic Route 66 - America's most famous highway. Follow in the tyre-marks of settlers, cowboys, migrants and travellers on 'the main street of America', learning all about the importance of this pathway through America's heartland along the way. From the green shores of the Great Lakes, watch the landscape gradually change from fertile farmlands to arid desert, eventually giving way to the celebrated beaches of the Californian coastline. Visit contemporary Chicago, soak up all the action of Las Vegas, be awe-inspired by the Grand Canyon, experience cowboy and indian country and finish it all off in electric Los Angeles. Join us on this road trip of a lifetime and discover why it is one of North America's most celebrated journeys.
This trip is operated by our experienced local partner, Grand American Adventures.
Table of Contents
- Comfort is your style of travel if you want the whole grassroots experience with more inclusions, meals and creature comforts. While accommodation is predominantly tourist class (3-4 star), on some itineraries there is the opportunity to stay with a local family, spend the night on a train or camp out in exotic places (without putting up your own tent of course). Along the way, you'll really experience the destination up close. You'll mingle with locals, enjoy a taste of their way of life and gain special insights from your leader. This is not luxury travel, but real world experiences - just with a softer landing!
Day 1 Chicago/Springfield
There will be an important welcome meeting at 7:30 am this morning. Meet in the hotel reception/lobby. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting so please ensure you have all details on hand to provide to your leader. You should have packed your bags and have eaten breakfast so that you are fresh and ready to start the journey.
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 we spend no time in Chicago on this trip, we recommend you arrive early to see more of the city.
After leaving Chicago, we drive south to the first iconic Route 66 stop, Springfield, the capital of the state of Illinois.
Springfield was not only the home of Abraham Lincoln, but it's also the birthplace of corndogs and drive-thru restaurant service!
We pay a visit to the Lincoln Home National Historic Site, which is the home that he lived in with his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, from 1844 until 1861 when he because US president.
- Lincoln Home National Historic Site - Free
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 2 St Louis
From Springfield it's only a couple of hours driving (155 km or 96 miles) to St Louis, Missouri.
St. Louis, is known as the 'Gateway City', as many of the old pioneers would stock up on supplies in St. Louis before travelling into the wild west. The 'Gateway Arch' is St. Louis' most significant landmarks.
St Louis is also associated with the music scene, particularly blues music. Perhaps you can spend the evening checking out the city's vibrant nightlife. You should also be sure to bisit Ted Drewes Frozen Custard. This iconic Route 66 establishment has been here since 1941. Its specialty is a drink called the Concrete - an uber-think milkshake made from vanilla frozen custard. Try the 'Cardinal Sin' (hot fudge and sour cherries), 'All Shook Up' (peanut butter and bananas) or invent your own creation.
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 3 Branson
Nestled in the Ozark Mountains, Branson is famous for the live country music, comedy and magic shows held in its 50 theatres. The action centres around '76 Strip' where most of the theatres are located alongside shopping malls, fun parks, motels and restaurants.
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 4-5 Oklahoma City
First stop today is the town of Miami, Oklahoma where we visit the Route 66 Vintage Iron Motorcycle Museum, and the silent-film era Coleman Theater.
We drive on to and arrive in Oklahoma City for a two-night stop.
Located in the heart of 'cowboy country', Oklahoma City was originally founded in 1889 as a tent city for 10,000 settlers. Check out the Crystal Bridge at the Myriad Botanical Gardens, a large downtown urban park and tropical conservatory, visit the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, or take a walk through the sobering Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum, chronicling the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.
- National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum - USD12
Hotel (2 nts)
Day 6 Amarillo
Amarillo in the state of Texas is our destination for today. On the 'Way to Amarillo' and before we leave Oklahoma, we stop to visit the 'official' Route 66 Museum, where we learn about the legends surrounding the road we are travelling on. Then it's on to Amarillo where we make our way to the Big Texan Steak Ranch for a steak meal (optional). If you can eat a 72 oz steak in less than one hour, you get it for free!
- Route 66 Hall of Fame & Museum
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 7-8 Santa Fe
Our Route 66 road trip continues onto Cadillac Ranch - a Texan version of Stonehenge with 10 classic cars buried nose-down in the dirt. The owners encourage graffiti so grab a paint spray can and leave your mark! Then it's on to New Mexico and the city of Santa Fe.
The capital of New Mexico, Santa Fe, is the oldest capital city in the US. You can visit the town plaza surrounded by pueblo architecture, view the south-western art and décor at local museums or enjoy a drink and take in Santa Fe's quaint atmosphere.
Hotel (2 nts)
Day 9 Gallup
From modern culture to ancient civilizations, stop by the 'Sky City' ruins on the Acoma Indian Reservation. This is a fortified community of indigenous people living in a sandstone mesa that dates back to the 12th century AD.
We spend the night in Gallup, New Mexico.
Gallup is home to a diverse population, with a third of its residence being of Native American descent.
Tonight we stay at the historic El Rancho Hotel. This historic hotel was built in the 1930s as a home away from home for some of Hollywood's famous while they were filming in the area. Just some of the big names who have stayed here (and have rooms named after them) are Betty Grable, Doris Day, Errol Flynn, Gregory Peck, Humphrey Bogart, Jimmy Stewart, John Wayne, Mae West, Katherine Hepburn, and William Holden.
- Acoma Indian Reservation & Sky City Pueblo
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 10-11 Grand Canyon National Park
So it's not on the original Route 66, but it's so close it would be a shame to pass it by! The Grand Canyon is an iconic symbol of the Desert Southwest and a spectacle not to be missed.
This national landmark is 18 miles wide, 277 miles long and over a mile deep, making it one of the largest canyon systems in the world. Stroll the meandering South Rim Trail, hike your way down to Plateau Point, opt for a scenic flight or simply relax at the canyon's edge and enjoy a spectacular sunset over one the world's natural wonders.
- Helicopter flight (25 mins) - USD244
- IMAX movie - USD15
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 12-13 Las Vegas
First stop today is Seligman, a classic Route 66 stop with its Roadkill Cafe and Historic Route 66 General Store.
Leaving nature behind we head to the neon world that is Las Vegas. The Snow Cap Diner makes for a quirky lunch stop en route to the Hoover Dam. Then try your luck on the one-armed bandits or take in a show - Las Vegas is Americana at its most outrageous.
Las Vegas is the gambling capital of the world, but there's plenty to do along the Strip for gamblers and non-gamblers alike - there's the casinos and shows, of course, plus shops, amusement rides, dance clubs and great value 'all you can eat' buffets.
But if you really want to look at something different, stop by one of its countless wedding chapels. In Las Vegas we enjoy a city tour that takes us to some of the quirky things that epitomises this city, as well as learn about some of its colourful history.
Hotel (2 nts)
Day 14 Los Angeles
On our final day we travel into California and follow Route 66 across the great Mojave Desert to the city of Los Angeles. We toast farewell at Santa Monica Pier - the very end of the road.
This tour ends at our hotel at approximately 5pm. We can book you post-tour accommodation at our hotel if required. If you are planning to fly tonight, please do not book a flight that departs before 9pm.
Los Angeles - the 'City of Angels' - is world-renowned for the streets of Hollywood and Beverly Hills, and the shopping on Rodeo Drive. From Venice Beach to Disneyland, it's a veritable smorgasbord for the senses.
As there's a great deal to do in Los Angeles, we recommend staying a few extra days to make the most of this exciting city. Consider doing our one-day sightseeing tour of Los Angeles (see www.urbanadventures.com).
Also available to purchase
For many of our trips we have other services or experiences that are also available to purchase to extend your trip or to make your holiday a little easier. Below is a list of other travel products you can purchase in conjunction with this trip.
- Historic Route 66 - Single Supplement (STKS)
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.
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.
Some easy physical activities included in your trip. No physical preparation is required to make the most of the journey.
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.
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.
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.
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.
If you're happy with the service you receive, providing a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate and indeed expected in North America for waiters, bar staff, any type of guide and taxi drivers. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations.
The following amounts are based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:
Restaurants: A minimum of 10% is standard - with the usual amount being around 15-20%.
Bars: Recommended US$1 for each drink ordered to ensure you are served again.
Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your leader. We suggest US$5-$7 per day for local guides.
Your Grand American Adventure Leader: You should also consider tipping your leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. Your leader works long and hard for you. He or she may well become your friend during the trip but they do need to pay their bills. If the leader's performance meets or exceeds your expectation they will gladly accept a tip from you. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however you should plan to tip your leader US$5 per person per day.
Another charge not normally listed in North American costs is the state and federal taxes, keep this in mind when your bill comes out slightly higher than the original price listed.
All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.
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
LEGAL DRINKING AGE:
Please note that the legal drinking age in the US is 21 and in some parts of Canada it's 19.
This trip is operated by our trusted local partners, Grand American Adventures.
Grand American Adventures tours are designed for adults over 18 years old. For safety reasons, travellers over 70 will be asked to complete a self-declaration of fitness, although experience has shown us that our senior travellers are often in the best shape!
Maximum of 13 travellers per group.
Your fellow travellers
As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part.
Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure. However you can download Intrepid's FREE Meet Up app to chat with your fellow travellers before your trip. Meet up, discuss your upcoming trip and share the excitement of planning for your adventure. For more information visit: www.intrepidtravel.com/meetup
Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.
A single supplement is available on this trip, please refer to your booking agent for further information.
Hotel (13 nts)
On our lodging tours all accommodation will be in clean, comfortable, tourist class hotels/motels based on a twin share basis (two people per room) with en-suite bathroom facilities. Rooms will have two beds wherever single travellers are sharing. All bedding and towels are provided.
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.
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.
On our lodging tours we eat in local restaurants where passengers pay individually for each of their meals and drinks. Average hotel breakfasts cost from US$6-$12, lunches from US$8-$15 and dinners from US$13-$30; this does not include alcoholic beverages. Wine costs approximately US$5 per glass and beer US$4 per bottle.
Most group leaders will offer their tour members the choice to operate a ‘lunch only’ food kitty that has proven to be a popular alternative to three daily restaurant meals. Leaders will more fully explain this option and the whole group will have to agree to implement this system. Please make sure we are aware of any special meal requirements before travelling.
All of our private vehicles are designed to ensure your safety, comfort and enjoyment of the tour. In North America, our new 15-seater vehicles feature air-conditioning, raised ceilings for more headroom, captain seats for added comfort, back row "bench" seats and an open centre aisle floor plan, making it easier when getting in and out at those many photo opportunities. All our vehicles are equipped with CD stereo systems, often iPod-compatible, and air-conditioning, to make travelling a pleasure.
Our tour leaders' personalities, knowledge and professionalism make every Grand American Adventures tour a special experience. We are very selective and employ only the most capable men and women from many professional backgrounds. With a passion to explore and share in the experience, you're sure to enjoy a wealth of information and insight from their local knowledge and expertise.
Red Roof Inn Chicago Downtown
162 East Ontario Street
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Joining point instructions
“Continental Airport Express” is a private shuttle company and can be found in the airport baggage claim area. Cost is
approx. US$28 per person, plus tip. Transfer takes approx. 45 minutes. If you wish to pre-reserve your shuttle, call within
the US toll-free (888) 284-3826 or visit www.airportexpress.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.
We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your group trip as scheduled, please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your group leader.
Please also make sure have a copy of the local operator's emergency phone numbers from our Emergency Contact section of these trip notes.
Custom Hotel LAX
8639 Lincoldn Blvd
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Phone: 310 6450400
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 are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.
We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.
USA TOURIST VISA:
Australia: No - ESTA required
Belgium: No - ESTA required
Canada: No - not required
Germany: No - ESTA required
Ireland: No - ESTA required
Netherlands: No - ESTA required
New Zealand: No - ESTA required
South Africa: Yes - in advance
Switzerland: No - ESTA required
UK: No - ESTA required
Entrance requirements to the USA have changed in recent years so please read the following instructions carefully, even if you have travelled to the USA before.
Many countries now operate under a visa waiver program (meaning a visa isn't required) however you still need to obtain an authorisation which confirms that you have been approved to travel. This authorisation must be obtained in advance of travel.
Many citizens from Visa Waiver Program countries can travel to the USA without a visa for a 90 day stay, if they meet certain requirements. Travellers from all Visa Waiver Program countries must present a machine-readable passport (which meets US requirements) at the port of entry to enter without a visa, otherwise a US visa is required. Canada doesn't require a visa for many foreign nationals however you should check to see if this applies to your country. You can get further information from the US Department of State and the Canadian government websites:
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).
If you are refused boarding or denied admission at the US port of entry you will still be subject to Grand American Adventures cancellation charges in accordance with the terms of our contract with you.
Issues on your trip
While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.
We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.
You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
What to take
What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage and although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes).
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.
All luggage is carried in trailers or inside the vehicle so please don't bring more than one medium sized bag, backpack or suitcase (20kg maximum) per person, plus a sleeping bag where required on your trip. Your suitcase/rucksack may get some rough handling, so make sure it's a tough one. A small daypack and camera may also be carried inside the vehicle.
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
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.
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.
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:
Whilst travelling throughout North America it's not uncommon to encounter bears within campsites and national parks. Your group leader has been specifically trained for these situations and, if camping, will inform the group on how to 'bear proof' the camp in the evenings or when the site is unattended. There's absolutely no reason to be alarmed by this possibility as it is extremely rare for bears to attack humans.
TRAFFIC AND DRIVING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD:
Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware!
PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY:
While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.
Travel insurance 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:
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:
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.