This page provides useful advice for planning your trip and help with what to expect during your time on tour. Take a look below and find out tips on what to pack and general information about life on the road.
We offer active holidays! Hiking in National Parks and forests, whitewater rafting, horseback riding, sea kayaking, canoe trips, mountain biking, swamp tours and so much more... All levels of adventure are available. From softer adventures which mix cities, small villages and National Parks to higher levels of adventure in Alaska and public transport tours in Central America. Many of our itineraries are ideal for first time visitors to the Americas, while others have been designed with the return visitor in mind. That's why many `Trekkers' keep travelling with us again and again!
We believe there is no better way to travel than in a small group of like-minded individuals from around the world. We usually maintain a limit of 13 people on most of our tours, providing the security of group travel and the flexibility of independent discovery. Occasionally groups may be up to 16 people.
Our TrekAmerica tours are designed specifically for passengers aged between 18 to 38. Consequently, they tend to focus on activities and nightlife that appeal to that age range. The minimum age on our Christmas and New Year trips and our Historic Hollywood: Stars and Bars Urban Adventure is 21.
Although passengers come from many countries around the world, all tours are conducted in English.
Our tour leaders are a special breed! They have contributed hugely to our success. The tour leader and the group work as a team and are jointly responsible for arranging everything en route - to suit the group and the individual. We provide the right kind of person to handle the multitude of needs that arise throughout any tour. We are very selective in our choice of people; we employ men and women from many professional backgrounds, who lead active lifestyles themselves. It is our belief that the most important ingredient for the success of any tour is the tour leader, and we are extremely proud of the high professional standards set by our tour leaders for the last 40 years. Our training programme begins with recruiting the right people and developing their natural talents to be great team leaders. New tour leaders receive substantial training in all areas, with specific attention being paid to group dynamics and leadership.
In addition, they receive various forms of instruction from our Training and Operations teams including first-aid, driving techniques, vehicle maintenance, meal menu planning and emergency procedures. When leaders complete their training, they receive hands-on education in the field, from managers and senior tour leaders who can relay the benefits of years of experience and knowledge. We are very proud of our training programme. Our level of customer satisfaction underscores it!
We believe we have the most experienced management in the North American adventure travel industry. Our most senior managers have been with TrekAmerica since at least 1995 and our managing director even started as a tour leader! Collectively our management team has an average of over 15 year' experience with the company!
You'll travel in a private van which is driven by your tour leader. All of our vans have air conditioning and excellent stereo systems. All luggage, equipment and other necessities are stored in a specially designed trailer or storage area to maximise space and comfort in the vehicle. When you are travelling within mainland USA our vans are fully equipped with free Wi-Fi. Every group is virtually self sufficient and able to explore the back roads `where the crowds can't go'. For BOLT (Buses or Local Transport) tours through Central America, we will use public transport. This style of transport is only used on BOLT tours.
All luggageis stored in a specially designed trailer or in the back of the vehicle, so please don't bring more than one medium sized suitcase, soft holdall or rucksack (maximum 20kg) and your sleeping bag. Your suitcase/rucksack may get some rough handling, so make sure it's a tough one. Small hand baggage may be carried inside the vehicle. We cannot be held responsible for lost or damaged luggage. Some hotels may store extra luggage. Please ask us for more details.
We have made camping easy and fun, so don't worry if you have never camped before! We provide all the necessary camping equipment including tents, foam sleeping mats, cold food storage containers, camp lights, stoves and other camping accessories. The only thing you need to bring is a sleeping bag. Our high quality tents are very easy to set up and take down on your own, and your leader will show you how. We camp with two in each spacious tent, which leaves more than enough room for your luggage. Home sweet home!
Many campgrounds are situated in stunning settings giving our groups opportunities not found by conventional tourists. When we camp near major city destinations, nearly all the campgrounds have full facilities such as showers, pools, shops, and laundromats. Virtually all National Park campgrounds have pay showers, flush toilets and basic facilities. Occasionally, our groups will choose to stay in more isolated areas or `bush camps' where the surroundings will quickly make you forget any lack of facilities. Most camping trips will spend some nights in budget hotels or hostels during the tour, usually in the cities. This is based on multi-share or twin sharing. From 2014 onwards, all accommodation is included in the price of the tour. On some occasions we will stay in cabins, at ranches or in a traditional Navajo Hogan as per the itinerary.
An essential part of your camping tour is helping with the day to day camp duties. With guidance from your tour leader and our full range of camping equipment, the team spirit makes the chores easy and enjoyable. From setting up in the evening, to breaking camp in the morning, from unloading the vehicle, to shopping for food and preparing group meals, you'll be part of the team.
Camping Tour Food Kitty
On our camping tours, our groups share in the preparation and cooking of the food. The Food Kitty is normally collected by your tour leader at the beginning of the trip in cash. On longer trips the food kitty may be collected in installments. Supplies, excluding soft drinks and alcohol, are purchased from the Food Kitty, and each member of the group pays US$10 per day, or for trips in Canada CAD$10 per day. This covers three meals on most days whilst camping, eating fresh foods that we purchase as we travel to satisfy the international flavour of the group - a healthy way to travel at an unbeatable price. Naturally, this does not cover hotel stops or when Trek groups choose to sample regional cuisine at local restaurants.
Budget Lodging Tours (BLTs)
We use a combination of hostels, hotels, motels and cabins on our Budget Lodging Tours. Accommodation will be arranged on a single sex, multi or twin share basis (Hogan stays are mixed sex). Where possible we will keep the group together but this cannot be guaranteed, we will try to accommodate couples, however twin rooms cannot be guaranteed. There is no Food Kitty collected on our Budget Lodging Tours and meals will need to be paid for locally. However, a lunch kitty has proven a popular alternative to three meals out. This is optional and our leader will help organise it for those groups who choose this option. You do not need to bring a sleeping bag for the majority of BLT tours, but a sleeping bag will be required on the Southern BLT, Northern BLT and Mexican BLT.
Buses Or Local Transport (BOLT) Tours
We use hotels on a twin share basis on BOLT tours. Travel options range between first class buses, public transport, overnight sleeper coaches, ferries, water taxis and mini buses. Meals and optional activities need to be paid for locally.
On each tour there are numerous activities and attractions to choose from. Some of the more prominent ones for each trip are listed under the `Optional Activities' section on each tour page. These options are not included in the holiday price because not everyone will want to participate in each activity. Our leaders know where to get the best group rates available for various attractions and activities, and activity providers have been assessed for quality and safety. This way each member of the group can choose exactly what they want to do according to their own taste and budget. For a detailed list and prices please refer to our website.
You need to bring your own sleeping bag for all our camping trips. We recommend a `three season' bag during the summer months and a `four season' bag the rest of the year, as some nights can be cool to cold, especially in mountainous and desert areas. We supply a foam pad to sleep on, but if you prefer added comfort, you are encouraged to bring your own self-inflating sleeping pad and pillow. You do not need to bring a sleeping bag on our BLT trips or BOLT trips, apart from the Southern BLT, Northern BLT, Grand BLT and Mexican BLT where you will need one.
Frequent Trekkers Discount & Benefits
If you've travelled with TrekAmerica before, then you are eligible to join our Frequent Trekkers Club and save on your next Trek. You can save 5% when you've travelled with us, then after you've been on your third trek you will save 10%. These discounts are valid for you and anyone travelling with you and can also be combined with any last minute discount, and multi trip discounts up to a maximum saving of 20%. For full details, terms and conditions and to join see here
Multi Trip Discount
Get 5% off by combining two or more tours - does not apply to tours which are already `combination' tours (e.g. Grand Trek, Trailblazer or BOLTs) as they already have a multi-trip discount applied. See here for more info.
Please note that some tours featured in this brochure may be part of a longer combination tour. For example, the Southern Sun and the Northern Trail comprise the 6 week Grand Trek. On seven tours (the Pacific Dream, Coast to Coast Express, Grand Trek, Grand BLT, Trailblazer, Great 48 and Grand Costa Rica BLT) scheduling requirements may necessitate a change of tour leaders at the mid-point of the tour, and the passenger mix may change as well. Although we endeavour maintain the same leader for the BOLT tours, they may change from time to time.
Combination tours may run in different directions at different times of year. Being able to combine these tours allows us to offer more departures and a greater selection of departure dates and gateway cities.
Passport & Visas
It is your responsibility to ensure you have a valid passport and any necessary visas for your tour. As a general rule you will need a passport with at least six months validity following the end of your trip. The visa requirements for your trip may vary depending on where you are going, and where you are from. It is important that you check which visas you will need, and apply for each of the necessary visas whilst in your home country. Please bear in mind that some tours may spend time in more than one country. Visas are not currently required by holders of UK, EU, Australian, New Zealand or US passports for the following countries:
Canada Costa Rica
Other nationalities should consult the relevant embassy.
We keep the above visa information as up to date as possible, but it is important that you check this for yourself.
Rules for entry into the USA
Holders of UK, Australian, New Zealand and most EU country passports are eligible to travel to the USA under the Visa Waiver Program. The Visa Waiver program is open to people for travel in the USA for up to a 90 day stay. For more information about who is eligible to travel under the Visa Waiver Program, and the eligibility requirements please visit: http://travel.state.gov/visa/. Residents from countries who cannot travel under the Visa Waiver Programme must consult their relevant embassy for more information.
All eligible travellers who wish to travel under the Visa Waiver Program must apply for electronic travel authorisation from the Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA). If you are planning to transit in the USA or intend to stopover on the way to your destination, you will still need to apply for an ESTA. You must apply for your ESTA at least 72 hours before travelling to the USA. You can apply for an ESTA at: https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov. You will require your passport details and your address in the US (you can use the starting point hotel address). At the time of publication there is a USD$14 fee for the electronic approval (ESTA). Your ESTA will be valid for a period of two years, or until your passport expires. We recommend you carry your ESTA approval with you when you travel. Anyone that has not applied for and received travel authorisation via ESTA prior to travel may be denied boarding, experience delayed processing or be denied admission at the US port of entry. However, neither possession of a visa nor meeting the basic requirements for travelling visa-free on the VWP, guarantees admission to the United States. As with most countries, the final determination of admissibility is made by immigration officials at the port of entry.
You should consult your doctor concerning which inoculations are advisable and necessary for the specific areas that you will visit. Illness or dental problems can spoil your holiday, so it's always wise to have a thorough check-up before you leave home.
It is a condition of joining any of our tours that you must be insured against medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs, air ambulance, and helicopter rescue service). We offer an insurance policy that is designed specifically to cover the potential risks on our holidays particularly the many optional activities offered. Please note we can only offer cover for passengers residing within the European Union. If you do not take our policy, you must ensure that the policy you do take offers an equivalent level of protection and covers you for the activities involved - be aware that some policies do not include, or restrict, coverage for this type of travel. There may be cheaper policies available, but this does not mean it may better value - we strongly advise you check fully what will and won't be covered.
In particular, cover provided by credit cards is often very restricted. You will be asked to provide details of your insurance policy, including insurer, policy and phone number on the morning of your trip departure. Any claims concerning matters for which you are insured must be directed to your insurers.
Tour Departures and Finish
Tours begin and end at our gateway hotels. You will normally depart at approximately 7.30am (check your tour voucher for exact details). On the final day, your tour will normally arrive at the finishing point hotel around 5.00pm. If you require hotel accommodation for this night, you MUST book in advance. Some of our tours may start or finish earlier, please see each tour description for any variations. We recommend you book your return flight for the day after your tour finishes. If you do have to return home the day your tour finishes, please make sure your flight does not depart before 9.00pm.
Pre and Post Tour Hotels
Our gateway hotels are conveniently located in each of our departure and arrival cities. Room rates are usually based on twin share as most passengers prefer to stay with other travellers at an affordable price - it's also a great opportunity to make friends with fellow travellers. We can also offer a `Full Room' rate for single or double occupancy for passengers on the same booking. Reservations at our gateway hotels can be made at the time of booking or by contacting us. Pre and post tour accommodation can only be guaranteed when booked more than 35 days prior to departure. After this, it may be available on a request basis - please ask us. Pre and post accommodation cancelled between 8 weeks and 35 days of departure is subject to an amendment fee of UK£25/Euro30/US$40/AUS$40/NZD50. Accommodation is non-refundable within 35 days of departure.
Transfers to Pre and Post Tour Hotels
You will need to make your own way to and from our pre/post tour hotels. You will find detailed instructions on how to get to our hotels in your pre departure `Trek Tips' information, which we send to you with your confirmation/invoice.
Note: For our New York area hotel it would be best to use Newark International Airport. For Antigua, use Guatemala City Airport. For Playa Del Carmen, use Cancun Airport.
ATM's and cash machines are readily available throughout the Americas and major credit cards are widely accepted. Pre-paid credit cards can be a cost effective and safe way to take funds overseas. See: www.fairfx.com/trekamerica Travellers Cheques are generally accepted and can be a safe way to take your funds but aren't always the most practical, as foreign money exchange facilities, especially in Central America, can be limited. If using Travellers Cheques you should purchase US Dollar cheques. Credit cards are not accepted for the Food Kitty and many optional activities.
For camping tours we recommend you budget at least an average of US$25/CAN$25 per day for meals and general spending. This includes US$10/CAN$10 per day for your food kitty which covers all of your meals while camping plus at least US$15/CAN$15 per day for snacks, drinks, tips and general spending.
For BLT Tours we recommend you budget an average of US$50 per day to cover all meals, snacks, drinks, tips and general spending but please note that this is a recommendation only as ultimately how much you want to spend is dependent on your personal choice.
In addition to this you should also budget for the optional activities that you would like to participate in. For guideline prices, the most popular optional activities are listed on the individual tour pages on the site.
It is customary to tip waiters, bar staff, taxi drivers, local guides and any person who provides a service for you. Your tour leader will work long and hard for you during your tour and we recommend a discretionary tip of US$5-7 per passenger per day if the leader's performance meets or exceeds your expectations.
Climate and Clothing
Depending on the particular tour and time of year, be prepared for both warm and cold temperatures. You can expect most days to be pleasant, but nights generally range from cool to cold. Warm clothing is essential, including wool socks, sweaters, hat, gloves, walking/hiking shoes, rain jacket and warm coat. Our Winter Sun tours stay at hotels in colder destinations, but we recommend a warm four-season sleeping bag for camping nights, as the weather can be very unpredictable.
We endeavour to run all tours as they are published in this brochure; however, it is sometimes necessary to alter itineraries to adapt to local conditions and park entrance regulations. We will notify you in case of any major alterations to your tour. In most cases, your tour leader will provide a more detailed trip outline at the beginning of your particular tour.
Electronic vouchers for your tour and accommodation will be emailed to you upon final payment and approximately 6 weeks before departure. You can print off the PDF or download to your smartphone. If you would like your tickets earlier for any reason, please contact us.
Trek Tips You will receive a copy of our pre-tour joining and packing instructions with your tour and hotel voucher, approximately six weeks before departure. To help you better prepare for your upcoming Trek, you can also download a copy of these Trek Tips. These notes have been prepared to provide you with the most essential details that you will need to know about your forthcoming Trek, however, it is not intended to be a complete guide. Your Tour Leader will provide you with more detailed information en route.
Our US division, PEAK Adventure Travel North America, doing business as TrekAmerica is an equal opportunities service provider operating under a variety of Commercial Use Authorizations and Special Use Permits from the United States National Park Service, United States National Forest Service, United States Bureau of Land Management, Park Service of Canada, the Hopi Indian Nation and the Navajo Indian Nation.
What to Expect