The Tour Price displayed here is for the tour only and does not include international flights. Our flight prices are very competitive, please ask for a quote when making your booking
This trip is an overland trip run in an overland truck. In addition to paying for your trip, you're require to make a separate payment to your tour leader at the start of the trip, usually in USD. Kitties are flexible and change as prices are updated. Therefore you should check the latest kitty amount on this website before you depart.
A kitty is a group fund which covers all accommodation, meals while camping (not in hotels) and activities listed as included. It's a system unique to overlanding to provide the maximum flexibility and best value on the road (you get everything at cost price!). The kitty is your money, not ours, so any amount left over is divided among the group as a refund.Close
|Trip Code||Start Date||End Date||Currency||Kitty|
|SSOY||Saturday 01 Jun 2013||Friday 21 Jun 2013|
|SSOY||Saturday 29 Jun 2013||Friday 19 Jul 2013|
|SSOY||Saturday 13 Jul 2013||Friday 02 Aug 2013|
|SSOY||Saturday 17 Aug 2013||Friday 06 Sep 2013|
|SSOY||Saturday 24 May 2014||Friday 13 Jun 2014|
|SSOY||Saturday 07 Jun 2014||Friday 27 Jun 2014|
|SSOY||Saturday 21 Jun 2014||Friday 11 Jul 2014|
|SSOY||Saturday 28 Jun 2014||Friday 18 Jul 2014|
|SSOY||Saturday 12 Jul 2014||Friday 01 Aug 2014|
Snow-capped peaks frame Anchorage, a frontier city that looks out onto icy waters and is surrounded by stunning wilderness and alpine parks.
You can arrive at any time on Day 1 as there are no scheduled activities. You can check in after 3pm but if you arrive early you can store your luggage. You won't be meeting your leader or your group until the morning of Day 2.
Located in south-central Alaska on the shores of Cook Inlet, Anchorage is a unique urban environment situated in the heart of the wilderness. Established in 1914 as the construction headquarters for the Alaskan Railroad, it's the state's largest and most sophisticated city and home to more than half of its occupants.
As there's no time spent in Anchorage on this trip we recommend you arrive a few days early to see the sights. If you need help booking extra accommodation, our reservations team will be able to assist.
Hostel (1 nt)
Anchorage is set on the shores of the Cook Inlet at the base of the Chugach Mountains and is an excellent point to begin exploring the Alaskan glaciers and lakes. Anchorage is historically a frontier oil and railway town and there are interesting museums reflecting the city's past.
Named after a mining promoter, not the ancient Greek author, Homer is a pretty Alaska town sometimes referred to as ‘the end of the road’.
Our route to the Homer takes us around the enchanting Kenai Peninsula (275 km, 4.5 hrs). There will be time to explore some of this Arctic wonderland with its numerous lakes, glaciers and fascinating coastline. The area is also famous for its many anglers, who follow the salmon on their annual migration up the peninsula's many wide rivers.
Halibut fishing (half-day charter), Homer - USD105.00
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Nestled within a beautiful bay and surrounded by mountains, Seward is a picturesque town that lies close to the astounding Kenai Fjords National Park.
Seward may be small, but it lies on a stretegic intersection of several major transport networks. It is home to the fantastic Alaska SeaLife centre as well as offering excellent hiking options and a fantastic party on the 4th July.
Optional activities in this spectacular landscape include a boat cruise around the glaciers of the park (several tours of varying lengths are available), a short walk up to Exit Glacier, or hiking to the Harding Icefield.
Kenai Fjords National Park
Dog sledding tour, Seward - USD450.00
Kenai Fjords boat tour (4.5 hrs), Seward - USD94.00
Camping (with facilities) (2 nts)
Seward is a small fishing town on Resurrection Bay and our base from which to visit Kenai Fjords National Park. The town is quaint and lucky to still exist as was almost entirely destroyed by fires and tidal waves during the 1964 earthquake.
Once a gold-mining town, Hope is a unique and beautiful place with some of the best whitewater rafting, hiking and camping in Alaska
In 1889, before gold was found in Dawson or Nome, it was discovered in Hope. This sparked the Alaska gold rush and buildings from that era still charm downtown Hope.
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Throw together epic glaciers, endless tundra, glassy lakes, wild animals and the tallest mountain in North America and you have Alaska's beautiful Denali National Park.
Explore this natural wonderland on a breathtaking bus ride through Denali National Park. Grizzly bears, elk, caribou, wolves and many species of bird live here. Choose to take one of the shorter trails near the park entrance or stay on the bus for a longer ride.
Two included scenic bus tours take you through the pristine backcountry of the park, with opportunities to view these majestic animals in their natural habitat and enjoy incredible views of the unique landscape of tundra and taiga. A wide range of optional activities are available such as river rafting, scenic flights, dogsled demonstrations and hiking, for all fitness and adventure levels.
Denali National Park
Scenic bus tour
Mt. McKinley scenic flight, Denali National Park - USD350.00
Whitewater rafting (2 hrs), Denali National Park - USD89.00
Camping (with facilities) (3 nts)
Denali National Park is home to Mount McKinley; America's highest peak at 6000 metres. You can take a scenic flight over the park and Mount McKinley. Denali is full of moose, caribou, brown and black bears and over 150 species of birds that flock here during the summer months.
Sitting on the Delta River, Delta Junction is at the end of the Alaskan Highway and a typical Alaskan town set within awe-inspiring scenery
Our journey to Delta Junction takes us through Fairbanks, the second largest city in Alaska and the northernmost part of our journey (385 km, approx 4.5 hrs). Delta Junction is the last milepost of the Alaskan Highway.
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Located within Canada's alluring Yukon Territory, the extraordinary Kluane National Park is rich in glaciers and mountain ranges, and is a wonderful place to experience untapped wilderness.
The journey is around 588 km and takes approx 6 hrs.
Kluane National Park
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Meaning 'windy place' in the local Tlingit language, Skagway is a charming waterside town and a major stop on the cruise-ship circuit.
Our journey starts with a drive to Haines (400 km). Here we will experience a close encounter with America's national emblem at the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve at Haines. The preserve has one of the largest congregations of bald eagles in the world.
We then take the ferry to Skagway, Alaska. This rustic town was one the most important ports during the Gold Rush.
Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve
Camping (with facilities) (2 nts)
Located on the banks of the Yukon River, Whitehorse was once a gold-rush town but now its riches lie in the incredible wilderness at its doorstep.
There are a number of sights to enjoy in Whitehorse. Visit the White Pass Train Station, the former home of the historic White Pass & Yukon Route Railway, one of the most scenic railways in the world. This building now stands as a reminder of Whitehorse's great history as a vital stepping off point to the Klondike Gold Rush over 100 years ago.
Camp at Takhini Hot Springs where you can soak, swim and relax in the natural mineral water.
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Whitehorse is the capital of the Yukon and has the feeling of a frontier town.
Dawson City's dirt streets, colourful yet ramshackle-looking buildings and old-fashioned atmosphere hide an eclectic and fascinating mix of people, culture and history.
Dawson City was once the El Dorado of gold diggers. Enjoy a night out on the town and perhaps roll the die at Diamond Tooth Gerties Gambling Hall.
Gold panning, Dawson City - CAD14.00
Camping (with facilities) (2 nts)
Dawson takes us back to the times of the Klondike Gold rush. It is easy to imagine the old pioneering spirit of the place with it’s boardwalks and boat cruises on the Yukon River all adding to the experience. We will visit Dredger No 4 (one of the original mining rigs) and Diamond Tooth Gerties, a traditional cancan beer hall.
Tok started out as a camp for workers building the Alaska Highway and is now a town that most people visit when travelling between Alaska and Canada.
Our journey takes us along the 'Top of the World Highway', which provides a great opportunity to drink in the vastness of this landscape. Beautiful scenery and unique northern outposts are some of the attractions we encounter on our way back into Alaska.
Spend the night camping near the small town of Tok.
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Amidst the Land of the Midnight Sun lies the small town of Tok which originally was a camp for the workers constructing the Alcan and Glenn Highways in the 1940s. Tok is best known for it's assocation with dog sledding as well as dog breeding, training and mushing. The Tok Race of Champions Sled Dog Race, one of the oldest in the Alaska, is held each March.
For a taste of true wilderness, Wrangell-St Elias National Park doesn't disappoint. Hiking trails take you over breathtaking terrain to see extraordinary glaciers and untamed landscapes.
Our journey is very scenic, with spectacular views of the Alaska Range.
Wrangell-St Elias National Park is a stunning setting that provides for thrilling optional activities including hiking, scenic flights, glacier walks, or ice climbing.
We spend these nights camping in nearby McCarthy, which serves as the base for our exploration into the park.
Wrangell-St Elias National Park
Ice climbing, Wrangell-St Elias National Park - USD125.00
Scenic flight (50 mins), Wrangell-St Elias National Park - USD140.00
Camping (with facilities) (2 nts)
Wrangell-St Elias is the largest national park in the United States, some six times the size of Yellowstone. The scale of everything here is enormous. Four major mountain ranges meet here, and the park includes 9 of the 16 highest peaks in the United States including Mt Blackburn and Mt Sanford and there are huge chains of glaciers within the park. The high country is covered with snow year round, resulting in extensive icefields and glaciers. Numerous sheep and mountain goats patrol the craggy peaks whilst the park is also home to caribouand moose as well as brown and black bears that roam throughout the park.
The town of Valdez may be small in size, but it's enormous in stature with its importance as an oil and fishing town and its gorgeous surrounds.
Our journey takes us over Thompson Pass and around the Worthington Glacier to Valdez (300 km, approx 4 hrs). Known as the 'Switzerland of Alaska' for its snow-capped mountains, Valdez is also the point where the Alaskan Pipeline, which bisects the state and runs for 1300km, comes to an end.
There's an option to kayak on Prince William Sound and view the picturesque Columbia Glacier. Other summer activities include fishing, hiking and biking.
Sea kayaking (3 hrs), Valdez - USD59.00
Camping (with facilities) (2 nts)
Anchorage, although not the state capital, is home to 40% of Alaska’s population and is the gateway to more than 40 wilderness parks.
Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. Our brochure is usually released in November each year. 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.imaginative-traveller.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.
We've allowed plenty of room for freedom and flexibility in our trips. In fact, flexibility is one of the ingredients that makes each of our trips so exciting. This style of travel offers us some unexpected circumstances at times, for example, bad weather and road conditions, technical defects of transportation, inconveniences caused by local operators and authorities, and other circumstances beyond our control. Changes in the program may be required to make the best of the unique situations that we encounter.
Overnight stops and driving distances each day may vary to best suit the needs of the group. Our described itineraries are to be used as a general guide only.
Many of the North American national parks that we visit have hiking opportunities where walks up to 4 hours can be an option for you. There are often easier options too.
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 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 Imaginative Traveller 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 Imaginative Traveller. You may be required to sign/complete a waiver form or a receipt for some optional activities.
The receipt of commissions or kickbacks in exchange for recommending particular shops or services is ingrained in the culture of the North American tourism industry. Rather than turn a blind eye to this unavoidable issue, Imaginative Traveller has established a centralised system whereby commissions from recommended suppliers are distributed back to the leader. Details of these arrangements will be provided by the leader on request.
While we endeavour to ensure that these recommended suppliers and services maintain reasonable levels of quality - they are chosen based on the feedback and experiences of past travellers - we can't explicitly guarantee the quality or safety of the product or activity.
A priority in establishing this service is that your travel experience isn't compromised in any way. Please let us know via the feedback form completed after your trip if we are successfully meeting this objective.
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. 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 of our destinations. Please note we recommend that any tips are given directly to the intended recipient by a member of your group as our group leaders are prohibited from collecting cash for tips.
The following amounts are based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:
Restaurants: We suggest 15% to 20% of your bill.
Bars: Recommended US$1 for each drink ordered to ensure you are served again.
Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your leader. We suggest US$3 per day for local guides.
Your Group Leader: You should also consider tipping your leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. Your leader works long and hard for you. He or she may well become your friend during the trip but they do need to pay their bills. If the leader's performance meets or exceeds your expectation they will gladly accept a tip from you. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however you should plan to tip your leader US$3-5 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.
Maximum of 13 travellers per group.
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.
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 room (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.
Camping (with facilities) (19 nts), Hostel (1 nt)
The campsites that we use are selected for either their scenic beauty, their convenient location to places of interest and/or the facilities available. We aim to offer you a selection of different types of campsites.
If you've never camped before - no problem! We provide a complete set of camping and cooking equipment. This includes roomy easy-to-pitch tents, which are shared by only two people and are equipped with thin foam rubber mattresses and vinyl floors. Your leader will show you how to pitch a tent on the first day. On many trips we also spend a few nights in reasonably priced hotels / motels / hostels (as per the itinerary).
For the group, we also provide two burner stoves, efficient camp kitchen equipment, dishes, coolers, food storage boxes, a water container, lamps and a sun and rain roof. Please take good care of all the equipment. You'll be assigned a specific tent so please look after it well. The equipment has to be returned clean, complete and in the same condition as you received it. Please keep in mind that sleeping bags are not provided and you'll need to bring your own. Please read the 'What to Take' section of these notes for more information on choosing a sleeping bag.
Our high quality camping equipment (including tents) can be affected by bad weather conditions. This can result in some wet and cold conditions inside the tent. Your spirit of adventure and flexibility will help make your adventure trip an exciting and unforgettable experience.
On nights where the group is camping and weather conditions are extreme (such as snow or heavy rain) there may be an opportunity for the group (if everyone agrees) to stay at an alternative location such as a nearby hostel or hotel. When this is the case the upgrade is at your own expense.
For trips where there are lodges/cabins used, couples travelling together may be separated as our rooming arrangements are based on single gender.
You'll find the necessary facilities - toilets and in most cases showers, washing machines and driers - at many of our campsites. The showers at some campsites only have cold water available and some may require a payment (usually no more than US$1-$3 for a quick shower). This is payable locally and is generally a contribution to paying for a limited water supply. Please be aware that some campsites won't have any facilities, however it will rarely be for more than one night at a time. This is true of many campsites within Yosemite National Park, so if your trip is visiting this park, please prepare to go without a shower on this night, although it can often be arranged to stop and utilise facilities on our way out of the park.
In all the campsites there are strict quiet hours, when absolutely no loud noise is allowed. This means that all music, singing and group gatherings have to stop. We request that all our travellers respect these campsite rules.
Our trips extend beyond the traditional vacation months (June - September). This is because over the years we've recognised there's a demand from our travellers for trips outside this period. Many enjoy the experience of North America in the snow, or in the crisp and clear atmosphere of spring.
We've operated successful trips throughout the year however some consideration must be taken when choosing a trip that travels in the colder months such as:
- Have you got a suitable sleeping bag?
- Do you have suitable warm clothing - fleece, waterproofs, thermals?
- Are your walking and hiking boots waterproof and warm?
If you come prepared and are willing to experience North America at this very special time of year, then you will be set for a great time.
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.
No meals included
On our trips in North America, we operate an optional kitty, where travellers are encouraged to contribute to a central fund which is used to buy groceries which then supply meals to the entire group. In our experience all travellers generally participate, however some with special dietary requirements may prefer to opt out. The kitty is administered by the group and is payable per week of the trip. The cost is:
USA - US$50 per week
Alaska - US$70 per week
Canada - CA$70 per week
While camping, some breakfasts and dinners are paid from the food kitty, while lunch is not included. Sometimes we'll go out for dinner and eat at restaurants at everybody's own expense.
Your leader will participate in the food kitty as well. On hotel nights (if included) the food kitty doesn't operate and everybody eats at their own expense.
Chores such as buying and cooking the food, washing up, etc. will be shared by everyone on the trip. Teams of two people will carry out the camp duties on a rotating basis. On camping nights, we usually cook our evening meals together on our own stove, or barbecue food over the camp fire. We usually prepare salads, grill meats and cook pasta, rice and vegetables. For breakfast we usually buy milk, coffee, tea, cereals, bread, jam, butter etc. Not all personal eating preferences can be catered for, however we endeavour to provide tasty, basic meals.
We keep our food costs as low as possible by sharing the expenses. The kitty is based on the average cost from our past experiences and from passenger feedback about what they are prepared to pay for shared meals. Personal beverages, lunches and snacks are not included in the food kitty. If there's any cash left over it will either be redistributed to the group or put towards paying for a group activity.
Our large fleet of vans are fully equipped with dual air-conditioning system, V8 engines and any camping or cooking equipment needed for your trip. Most have cloth-upholstered seats and carpeted interior with radio/tape or CD players. Your baggage is transported in a trailer which is towed behind the van.
The vans are regularly serviced in our own maintenance facility and continuously checked and serviced by a well established network of maintenance and service facilities throughout the continent. However, unforeseen maintenance problems can still occur while on the road and we appreciate the patience of our travellers as we make necessary repairs as quickly as possible.
All driving times mentioned in our itinerary are intended as a guide only and represent the minimum driving time - not including lunch stops, fuel stops, photo stops, traffic congestion, adverse weather conditions or any last minute alterations to the itinerary for any unforeseen circumstances. Please note that there are some long driving days on this tour - we'll have some starts as early as 7am and late arrivals at our final destination, sometimes after dark). As always, your group leader will make stops for viewpoints, short walks and lunch/rest breaks to help break up the journey.
We recommend you are fully prepared for these long travel days by reviewing our notes and indicated drive times (which are based on average drive times from past trips). Some travellers prefer to bring pillows on board for added comfort, others prefer reading material or games and puzzles. The reality is that to get from one fabulous location to another, the distances are great and we like to think at least some of the adventure is in the journey - not just the destination. You'll be on board with up to 12 other passengers plus your group leader so patience and cooperation goes a long way in making this journey a comfortable one.
Sometimes we experience high demand for a trip at particular times of the year. If this is the case we may consider creating an additional departure by using an extra van and driver. The groups will be divided and will travel separately, with the possibility of using the same accommodation along the route.
Safety is our priority and therefore our travellers are asked to sign a document on Day 1 of the itinerary indicating their understanding of our seat belt policy.
Your group leader's role involves organising the overall operation and smooth-running of the trip, managing trip logistics and camp responsibilities. They will work to make the trip as safe and enjoyable as possible for all travellers. Our North American trips are built around the co-operation and participation of all the group members under the supervision of the group leader. On our camping trips, your leader will show the group how to set up and use the camp equipment, and form work groups to take turns cooking, cleaning and shopping. Everyone is expected participate and carry their share of the workload, making camp chores easier. If the whole group participates it will be quicker, easier and more fun.
Your leader will provide basic information about the sights and cities you'll be visiting but please note that our leaders are not 'tour guides' in the traditional sense. They are adventure travel specialists and are there to organise your trip, arrange activities and help with questions or problems you may have while on your tour. Your leader will provide you with all the important information you need to embark on your own explorations.
They are also responsible for driving the van and navigating across the country. The allowable driving times for drivers is strictly controlled in North America. This ensures our drivers are well rested and are not over-tired from too many hours on the roads.
While your group will have a minivan for all included activities on the trip, please note that the services of the van and the driver may not be available for your use during free time, or after you have arrived for the day. If you need a special trip into town you may need to arrange transport or a taxi.
We endeavour to provide the services of an experienced leader however, situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders.
It's strictly forbidden for non-qualified rangers to present any information about some National Parks in North America, therefore we adopt a system (as requested by the park rangers) where our leader will encourage travellers to visit the information centres in the National Parks for details about the site.
Bent Prop Hostel Downtown
700 H Street
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
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.
Bent Prop Hostel Downtown
700 H Street
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
For cases of genuine emergency or crisis, please contact 1-800-786-8735 (within the USA)
From outside the USA please call +1 707 483 9460
Police and Ambulance - In case of an emergency, local authorities can be contacted by calling 911 – this is the toll free phone number for the police, fire department and the ambulance in the USA. In case of doubt, call the operator on 0.
We also have a dedicated 24 hour telephone number which should only be used once you have left the UK and in the event of a real emergency. Should you need to call the number, we will do what we can to help but please bear in mind that real progress or action may not be possible until normal office hours.
If your flight is delayed or cancelled, please let us know and then make your way to the joining hotel as instructed in these trip notes. If you cannot get through leave a message and a contact number as these will be regularly checked. Emergency Number: +44 (0) 7985106564
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.
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).
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
CANADA TOURIST VISA
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
While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.
We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please contact our operations base on 1-800-786-8735 (toll free in the USA and Canada) or +1 707 523 1800 (office hours).
All baggage is transported in a trailer which is towed behind the vehicle. Please bring tough bags as small scratches and minor damages can occur. Avoid packing anything that can be easily broken such as glass bottles. Travelling light is recommended as you will be expected to carry, load and unload your luggage from the van/trailer.
The luggage limit for our trips is:
- 1 medium sized suitcase/backpack
- 1 sleeping bag/sleeping mat
- 1 piece of hand luggage
- Max. weight limit: 20kg
Our baggage is packed away in our trailer, and therefore inaccessible, for much of the day so your hand luggage or day pack should be a suitable size to hold all your belongings that you may need for the day.
SLEEPING BAGS AND WARM CLOTHING:
As we offer trips throughout the year and travel in diverse climate zones, we recommend you carefully consider the weather and choose an appropriate sleeping bag and clothing. Please bear in mind that nights can be very cold even in the warmer months. We can experience temperatures as low as -5C and even snow.
Your own sleeping bag is required for some nights on this trip. Please bring one from home or purchase one before your trip starts - you may not have time once we're on the road. Sleeping bags can easily be bought in the US and Canada at big stores like Walmart, Kmart, Target or at sports and camping supply stores. Renting sleeping bags isn't possible on our trips.
If your trip departs from November to March sleeping bags may not be required as accommodation will vary to accommodate for the cooler weather. Please check the overview page of your trip for more information.
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 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, we reserve 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 itinerary, and we make 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.
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.
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.
At Imaginative Traveller we love helping our clients experience the beauty and cultures of the destinations we visit. However, hand in hand with this we have always been aware that we have a responsibility to minimise any negative impacts that tourism can bring.
Responsible Travel is twofold. It's about taking people to the places they want to go in a safe and responsible manner but also about respecting and maintaining the natural and often delicate balance of the destination. Economic gain from tourism is often fundamental to a country, but should never be at the expense of its culture or the environment.
• It is our aim to provide journeys that have minimal negative and maximum positive impact on the places we visit.
• We do not believe that, as visitors, we should impose our own cultures on others; rather that we should experience foreign cultures and appreciate them for what they are.
• Whilst it is our aim to show destinations and cultures in a positive light, we do not believe in papering over the cracks or shielding visitors from the realities of life. This does not mean, however, that we condone or endorse certain situations or regimes that may be in place.
Our guidelines are meant not as rigid instructions but rather as suggestions to make our holidays more enjoyable – for everybody. As cultural and environmental sensitivities vary from country to country more specific guidelines can be found in our individual country and trip dossiers.
Before you depart try to spend some time familiarising yourself with the destination you will be travelling to – their culture and customs. The country dossiers on our website offer detailed information about all the regions we visit. They also include some useful phrases in the local language for you to use on your trip! A few words of the local language can open up many more opportunities for you to interact with the people you will meet.
Although it is tempting to give out pens, sweets and money to people begging, and particularly tempting to give to children, we feel that this encourages a begging mentality and has a long-term negative impact on communities. If someone begging earns more than someone in the same community who works this can discourage local employment. If children regularly bring home money it may discourage their parents from sending them to school.
Always ask permission to photograph local people and respect their decision if they would prefer not to have their picture taken.
Respect local dress codes, especially at religious sites. Our tour leaders are always on hand to give you advice about this.
In many of the countries we visit you might see examples of animal cruelty (for example dancing bears, performing monkeys and snake charmers). Please do not take photographs of this or offer money as it encourages the activity.
Respect the environment you are in. It sounds obvious but do not throw litter, take it with you or use rubbish bins! You may see locals throwing rubbish on the street but do not follow their example!
When shopping in countries where haggling is the norm – enjoy it and only pay what you feel is a fair price for the goods you are purchasing. However, remember that the shopkeeper does have to make a living so do stop once you have reached a price you are happy with. Bargaining should be fun but always remember that a small amount can mean much more to the vendor than to you.
Endeavour to take home souvenirs made locally; the money you spend can be very important to the local communities. However, do use your common sense and don't buy anything that you think might be made out of endangered animals or plants.
To help keep as much money as possible in the host country - try to eat in locally owned restaurants and order local drinks and produce rather than international brands.
In hotels do be conscious of how much water you are using. Many of the areas we visit regularly have shortages; try not to have hour long showers! Don't leave lights, air conditioners or fans on when you leave the room – you wouldn't at home!
Respect the environment you are in, especially when in national parks or reserves. Pay attention to rules about keeping on paths, keeping a distance from animals and not removing any of the natural habitat.
Relax and immerse yourself in the differences of the culture you are in – you'll be back home in the familiar soon enough (and wishing you were still on holiday!). These cultural differences are part of what makes your experience special.
If you would like to offset the carbon dioxide that will be produced on your flights you can do this on our website (on our Responsible travel page). We work with climatecare, who will reduce the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide that you produce in another part of the World through their emission reduction projects. These projects are low carbon efficient technologies in developing countries and not only serve to reduce emissions but also help to spread the adoption of low carbon technologies and improve the quality of life for local communities. Details of climatecare's projects can be found on their website.
Please do let us know if you have any comments about responsible travel at firstname.lastname@example.org
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 our travellers. Our 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.
Carbon Offset C02-e 1294.00 kgs per pax.
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