Tales from the road: TrekAmerica Plus tours

Comfy hotel beds and delicious breakfasts are just two of the perks you'll get on one of our Plus tours. This brand new tour style has really taken off in 2017, and for 2018, we're revamping the routes to make it easier than ever to have a TrekAmerica Plus adventure in the USA or Canada. 

We spoke to Alex (who headed out to East USA) and Natasha (who took the Glaciers + Grizzlies tour in Canada), who've both been on Plus tours this year, to get the first-hand lowdown on what the Plus experience is really like...

What were the hotels you stayed in like?

Alex: I was very impressed with the quality of the hotels that we stayed in. After such long trips between destinations and long days exploring cities it was really nice to know that you were heading back to a hotel that offered comfortable rest. The aspect of having a couple of days in a hostel within a larger room in Chicago was a refreshing change as well that added to the social element of the tour. 

Natasha: The hotels were great, and we had breakfast every single day. All really nice hotels set in great locations, and we never usually had to walk far to get anywhere.

Any favourites?

Natasha: My favourite hotel was Sunwapta Falls Rocky Mountain Lodge. It was set in the middle of nowhere, and when we arrived they brought us out champagne! They have a campground next door, so we had camp food and s' mores that night. It also has hiking trails, and they're little lodges with decking and chairs outside. 

Alex: Couldn't pick a favourite as all were excellent! 

How were the included breakfasts?

Natasha: Some of the breakfasts came in the form of vouchers when hotels didn't have breakfast, Starbucks and Tim Horton vouchers - so we could go there before we started off for the day. The beginning and end hotels had an iHop attached, and the breakfasts were there which was amazing! I had two pancakes, bacon, eggs and sausages - epic! 

Alex: My favourite breakfast was definitely in Niagara, where we visited a diner which served excellent pancakes and omelettes!

The majority of our Plus tours are primarily city-based – did you have any favourite cities? What did you get up to in them?

Alex: I fell in love with Chicago. On the evening we arrived we went on a night bike tour where we cycled on the actual roads of the city - some found this stressful (not myself!) but it was incredible to take in the bright lights and sights while speeding through on the bikes. We also went through some pedestrian areas  such as Grant Park, which offered incredible views of the Buckingham Fountain and the city skyline as well as watching the fireworks over Monroe Harbour. On our second night in Chicago we went to one of the oldest blues bars in the city - Kingston Mines. The live music was the best that most of us had ever heard, and we even got the chance to have signed CD's and photos with one of the bands that were playing (Mike Wheeler Band). It was an awesome night!

Take a tour of Chicago on the San Francisco to New York Plus tour

How about the included activities? 

Natasha: The snow coach tour was amazing! We arrived and our tour leader got us the tickets while we ate, so we didn't need to queue. We went to the snowcoaches and took them to the glacier. The snowcoaches were massive - like tanks, with huge wheels! Each driver was giving us loads of knowledge on the way too. We had about 30mins on the glacier, but I don't know if I could have handled the cold much longer!

Get into the Canadian countryside with Glaciers and Grizzlies Plus

Did you make friends with the group quickly?

Alex: It was really easy to make friends with all members of our group.There were plenty of common interests discovered and running tour jokes which led to us having some of the best laughs of my life (genuinely dying of laughter!!!). I don't think I could've asked for a better group to travel with. 

Having been on both our Budget Lodging (BLT) and Plus tours, what would you say the differences are? 

Natasha: With BLT, you could be staying in any kind of accommodation - hotels, motels, hostels and guesthouses. It's more of a group scenario than hotels, which suits some passengers - but others prefer sharing with one person. You definitely have that extra bond, and make great friends when you're paired up so well. You have that one person you're buddied up with, who you speak to every day. You also know the standard of hotel is going to be good - always a nice bed, some sort of coffee and that you'll always have breakfast ready for you in the morning! You're also more likely to get the hotel surprises like jacuzzis! 

Any final thoughts?

Alex: It was an intense but breathtaking, life changing experience. I went on the tour on my own having only ever flown on one other occasion in my life, and I've left with lifelong memories, friends, more confidence and only one question - where shall I go next?

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