Northeast USA & Canada Trip Notes

Northeast USA & Canada

Last Modified: 31 Dec 2013
Northeast USA & Canada
Trip code: STKN
Validity: 01 Jan 2012 to 31 Dec 2013
Head to North America’s iconic northeast – an enticing blend of colossal cities, classic landmarks and quiet national parks. Beginning in New York, travel to the unrelenting torrents of Niagara falls before crossing into Canada and experiencing the contrasts of the USA’s unique neighbour. Enjoy French culture and cuisine in Montreal and Quebec, stroll the parklands of cosmopolitan Toronto and experience the serene lagoons of Acadia National Park before crossing back into the States for a taste of Boston’s revolutionary past. Encompassing some of the world's most captivating cities and picturesque landscapes, this comfort adventure is a great way to get to the heart of this dynamic region.
This trip is operated by our experienced local partner, Grand American Adventures.
Table of Contents
StyleDeparture taxEmergency contact
ThemesImportant notesEmergency funds
MapGroup sizeVisas
ItineraryYour fellow travellersIssues on your trip
Also available to purchaseSingle travellersWhat to take
Itinerary disclaimerAccommodationHealth
Culture shock rating Meals introductionSafety
Physical ratingMealsTravel insurance
Included activitiesTransportResponsible Travel
Optional activitiesGroup leaderA couple of rules
Money ExchangeJoining point instructionsThe Intrepid Foundation
Spending moneyArrival complicationsFeedback
TippingFinish point instructions
  • 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!
Overland, Explorer
Northeast USA & Canada
Day 1 New York/Finger Lakes
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.
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 no time spent in New York City on this trip, we recommend you arrive a few days early to see the sights. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). Consider doing our one-day sightseeing tour of New York (see
Leaving the big city behind, we travel west through the Garden State of New Jersey and through the Pocono Mountains to the Finger Lakes of ‘upstate’ New York.
The Finger Lakes are a chain of seven lakes, each long and narrow in shape and orientated north-south. They contain some of the deepest lakes in the US. As well as its picturesque beauty, the Finger Lakes district is also known for its wine production.
Visit local wineries or enjoy a relaxing hike and afternoon swim.
Optional Activities
  • Winery visit - USD12
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 2-3 Niagara Falls/Toronto
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.
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.
We enjoy a cruise on the 'Maid of the Mist', which takes us right up to the base of the falls.
Then cross the border to Toronto where the following day is free.
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.
Those with a head for heights and a passion for panoramic views can head up to the observation tower at the top of CN Tower. When completed in 1976 it was the world's tallest tower with a height of 553 metres (1815 feet) - a status it held for 34 years. From enjoying a lunch of 'dim sum' in Chinatown or dinner at Greektown to visiting the Royal Ontario Museum, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Hockey Hall of Fame, Eaton's Shopping Complex or the comprehensive and spacious Toronto Zoo, there is a lot to choose from.
Included Activities
  • Maid of the Mist boat tour
Optional Activities
  • CN Tower - USD28
  • Royal Ontario Museum - CAD24
  • Toronto Zoo - CAD23
  • Hockey Hall of Fame - CAD18
  • Art Gallery of Ontario - CAD20
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 4-5 Montreal
We travel from Ontario to the French-speaking province of Quebec and Canada's cultural capital, Montreal, well-know for its music, museums and avant-garde artistic flair. We enjoy the European-style charms with its lively summer festival season, French culture and narrow laneways that are filled with quirky cafes and great shopping opportunities. Montreal was also the site of the 1976 Summer Olympic Games and we can pay a visit to the stadium that is the largest in Canada.
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.
Old Montreal is located between the river and downtown boasting narrow lanes and quirky cafes and shops preserving the ambience of a bygone era. Notre-Dame Basilica is an impressive Gothic Revival structure and we can also enjoy a panoramic vista of the city from the lookout point at Mount Royal Park. For the more adventurous, why not scream across the Lachine Rapids on an optional extreme jet-boat tour!
Optional Activities
  • Lachine Rapids jet boat tour - USD55
  • Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal - CAD5
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 6-7 Quebec
Drive into the heart of French Canada - Quebec City (270 km, approx 3 hrs).
Quebec City is one of Canada's oldest cities and features North America's only walled historical downtown district (Vieux Quebec). It's understandably compared to its French homeland and still retains a distinctly old-world feel of Europe. Walk the cobbled streets, ducking down little alleys, gaze at the famous Chateau du Frontenac or take in a movie at the IMAX theatre - and don't forget to try your best French as it's commonly spoken here.
We enjoy a couple of nights here to make our own discoveries in this wonderful city. Strolling round the Old Town literally takes us back in time and along the way we can check out some of the local delicacies on sale. Old Quebec has many important and iconic places including Place Royale, Plains of Abraham, Place d'Armes, the Chateau Frontenac Hotel and the old city walls. Twelve kilometres from Quebec City are the mighty Montmorency Falls, which are higher than Niagara Falls.
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 8-9 Acadia National Park
Crossing back into the United States, we travel ‘Down East’ to coastal Maine for a full day of exploring Acadia National Park.
Acadia National Park is the only national park in New England. Situated on a series of rocky coastal islands, this reserve was originally named Lafayette National Park in 1919 and took on its present name in 1929. Famous for its natural beauty, wildlife and spectacular coastline, Acadia is a perfect place to enjoy hiking and mountain biking, or climb into a sea kayak (optional) to gain better access to the rugged coastline and some of the scenic hidden coves.
Optional Activities
  • Mountain biking - USD45
  • Sea kayaking - USD75
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 10-11 Boston
Stop by Freeport for a bit of retail therapy before arriving in Boston, the commercial and cultural capital of New England.
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.
By walking on the Freedom Trail, we get to visit many historic sites and learn about the story of America's own road to independence. Some may wish to pay a visit to Harvard University, located in the suburbs of Boston. New England is renowned for its delicious seafood, in particular the thick seafood soup known as New England clam chowder. Sample this and dine on other local produce in an included group dinner to commemorate the end of our classic journey.
Optional Activities
  • Freedom Trail - Free
Hotel (2 nts)
Day 12 New York
Saying goodbye to ‘Bean Town’ and New England, we make our way back towards the ‘Big Apple’ for the end of the tour and one last chance to explore the city at your leisure.
This tour ends at our hotel at approximately 5pm. We can book you post-tour accommodation at our hotel if required - please enquire at time of booking. If you are planning to fly out tonight, please do not book a flight that departs before 9pm.
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.
  • STKN Single Supplement (STKN)
    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:
    Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route.
    Culture shock rating

    This is the least confronting of Intrepid's product range. English is the native language and the food, customs and access to services will be similar to home.
    Physical rating

    Some easy physical activities included in your trip. No physical preparation is required to make the most of the journey.
    Included activities
    Included activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary, all other activities are optional and at your own expense. If you choose not to participate in the included activities on this itinerary, the cost will not be refunded.
    Optional activities
    A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are for entrance only and don't include transport costs to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. Optional activities aren't necessarily endorsed or recommended by Intrepid nor included in price of this trip. If you do any optional activities, you do so at your own risk and it must be clearly understood that your participation is your own decision and doesn't form part of your contract with Intrepid. You may be required to sign/complete a waiver form or a receipt for some optional activities.
    Money Exchange
    It can be difficult to exchange money while on the road so we suggest that you bring some cash in US dollars/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.
    If you're happy with the service you receive, providing a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate and indeed expected in North America for waiters, bar staff, any type of guide and taxi drivers. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations.
    The following amounts are based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:
    Restaurants: A minimum of 10% is standard - with the usual amount being around 15-20%.
    Bars: Recommended US$1 for each drink ordered to ensure you are served again.
    Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your leader. We suggest US$5-$7 per day for local guides.
    Your Grand American Adventure Leader: You should also consider tipping your leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. Your leader works long and hard for you. He or she may well become your friend during the trip but they do need to pay their bills. If the leader's performance meets or exceeds your expectation they will gladly accept a tip from you. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however you should plan to tip your leader US$5 per person per day.
    Another charge not normally listed in North American costs is the state and federal taxes, keep this in mind when your bill comes out slightly higher than the original price listed.
    Departure tax
    All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.
    Important notes
    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
    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!
    Group size
    Maximum of 13 travellers per group.
    Your fellow travellers
    As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part.
    Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure. However you can download Intrepid's FREE Meet Up app to chat with your fellow travellers before your trip. Meet up, discuss your upcoming trip and share the excitement of planning for your adventure. For more information visit:
    Single travellers
    Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.
    A single supplement is available on this trip, please refer to your booking agent for further information.
    Hotel (11 nts)
    On our lodging tours all accommodation will be in clean, comfortable, tourist class hotels/motels based on a twin share basis (two people per room) with en-suite bathroom facilities. Rooms will have two beds wherever single travellers are sharing. All bedding and towels are provided.
    Meals introduction
    While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. On our camping trips we often cook the region's specialities so you don't miss out. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though.
    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 550.00
    On our lodging tours we eat in local restaurants where passengers pay individually for each of their meals and drinks. Average hotel breakfasts cost from US$6-$12, lunches from US$8-$15 and dinners from US$13-$30; this does not include alcoholic beverages. Wine costs approximately US$5 per glass and beer US$4 per bottle.
    Most group leaders will offer their tour members the choice to operate a ‘lunch only’ food kitty that has proven to be a popular alternative to three daily restaurant meals. Leaders will more fully explain this option and the whole group will have to agree to implement this system. Please make sure we are aware of any special meal requirements before travelling.
    All of our private vehicles are designed to ensure your safety, comfort and enjoyment of the tour. In North America, our new 15-seater vehicles feature air-conditioning, raised ceilings for more headroom, captain seats for added comfort, back row "bench" seats and an open centre aisle floor plan, making it easier when getting in and out at those many photo opportunities. All our vehicles are equipped with CD stereo systems, often iPod-compatible, and air-conditioning, to make travelling a pleasure.
    Group leader
    Our tour leaders' personalities, knowledge and professionalism make every Grand American Adventures tour a special experience. We are very selective and employ only the most capable men and women from many professional backgrounds. With a passion to explore and share in the experience, you're sure to enjoy a wealth of information and insight from their local knowledge and expertise.
    Joining point instructions
    Transfer from Newark Airport:
    Transportation from this airport is the cheapest and most convenient. From Baggage Claim at the airport, take the Airtrain to station P4 and wait for the Newark Airport Hilton Complimentary Shuttle. This will bring you directly to the Hotel and a shuttle arrives/departs every 15-20 minutes. It is customary to tip the driver who helps you with your bag ($1-$2 per bag).
    Transfer from JFK or LaGuardia Airport:
    From JFK and La Guardia airports you must transfer to New York Penn Station in Manhattan first. NY Penn Station is located at 31st and 7th Streets in Midtown. You will need to change at NY Penn Station and take another transfer to the Newark Liberty International Train Station, then board the Airtrain to P4 Station where you will find the Newark Airport Hilton Complimentary Shuttle bus that goes directly to the Hilton.
    1). To transfer from the airport to New York Penn Station:
    By Shuttle: The "Super Shuttle" service can be found adjacent to the Baggage Claim Area of the Airport and costs approximately US$25.00 (including tip) to the NY Penn Station.
    By Bus: The most convenient service is the "New York Airport Express Service Bus". This bus departs from both airports every 20-30 minutes (7am- midnight) and stops are located at the 'Express Bus Stop' at each airport terminal. Cost is US$15.00. For reservations or for more info call (718) 875-8200 or visit their website at Use taxis for transport during the hours of midnight-7am.
    2). To transfer from NY Penn Station to Newark Liberty International Airport Train Station:
    Trains depart New York Penn Station every 10-15minutes to Newark Liberty International Airport Train Station. Purchase ticket at the ticket window for Newark Liberty International Airport, ticket cost around $12.50, and wait till the train board displays your track. ALL trains that go to Newark Liberty International Airport Train Station are displayed as "EWR." The train ride to the airport station is about 22-25 minutes. You will be asked to show you ticket while on the train.
    3.) To transfer from Newark Liberty International Train Station to the Newark Airport Hilton:
    After exiting the train follow the sign the read: "AIRTRAIN." Board the Airtrain and get off at P4 Station. Outside P4 station look for a the Newark Airport Hilton Complimentary Shuttle Bus. This bus will take you directly to the hotel and arrives/departs every 15-20 minutes. . It is customary to tip the driver who helps you with your bag $1-$2 per bag.
    For more information and alternative routes please see the New Jersey Buses and Trains website at or the New York Port Authority website at
    If you have booked additional accommodation in conjunction with your trip, please note that it is standard policy in the USA for debit and credit cards to be authorized at check-in by hotels for the amount of your stay, plus an amount to cover incidentals. The authorization will hold the funds until check out, at which time the amount actually incurred during the stay will be charged. Authorized amounts can take up to 30 days after departure to be released by your bank or financial institution. If you are unsure at check in as to what your card is being charged for, please ask the staff to explain their policy. Please also clarify with the hotel when you check in or out that all deposits will be refunded as promptly as possible.
    Arrival complications
    We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your group trip as scheduled, please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your group leader.
    If you have pre-booked an airport transfer (where available) and have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the starting point hotel, following the Joining Instructions in these Trip Notes. Should this occur, please apply to your travel agent for a refund of the transfer cost on your return.
    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 instructions
    Most tours end at our finishing point hotel between 5pm to 6pm on the final day. Some tour activities scheduled for the last day may preclude an earlier arrival at the hotel, so you should not book a departure flight that leaves prior to 9pm. You will be responsible for any transportation costs if you have to arrive for an earlier flight.
    If you require accommodation on this last night, it is essential that you book this before your tour departs. If you would like to reserve additional nights in our hotel after the tour, please contact our sales team for additional information and associated costs.
    Emergency contact
    In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, Grand American Adventures can be reached as follows:
    Tours commencing in Las Vegas, Los Angeles & San Francisco:
    - Toll-Free: 1 (800) 786 - 8735
    - Int’l: 001 (707) 523 - 1800
    Tours commencing in New York, Boston, Atlanta, Chicago & Houston:
    - Toll-Free: 1 (800) 637 - 8931
    - Int’l: 001 (973) 989 - 7501
    Tours commencing in Seattle, Vancouver & Anchorage:
    - Toll-Free: 1 (800) 600 -5343
    - Int’l: 001 (206) 878 - 0948
    For all other enquiries please contact our Reservations department which is open 24 hours, 6 days per week (excluding Sunday). For further contact details please use the following page:
    Emergency funds
    Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$400, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
    Visas 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.
    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:
    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.
    Australia: Not required
    Belgium: Not required
    Germany: Not required
    Ireland: Not required
    Netherlands: Not required
    New Zealand: Not required
    South Africa: Yes - in advance
    Switzerland: Not required
    United Kingdom: Not 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 ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.
    You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
    What to take
    What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage and although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes), we recommend keeping the weight under 10kg / 22lb.
    Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.
    You can find Intrepid's Ultimate Packing List on our website. It should be used as a guide only and isn't intended to be a complete packing list.
    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.
    Grand American Adventures offers secure storage facilities at our operations offices if your tour starts and finishes in either New York or Seattle. The cost is US $10 per item, per week and should be paid in cash to the local Grand American Adventures representative. Please notify Grand American Adventures, before the date you wish storage to commence. Your luggage will be returned to the gateway hotel at the end of your trek for you to collect. All stored luggage must be locked and clearly marked with your name, contact telephone number, name of your trek and the dates your trek starts and finishes. This storage service is generally very safe, however, we are unable to insure the contents on your luggage. The company accepts no responsibility for lost or damaged goods.
    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.
    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.
    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!
    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:
    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.