Canadian Rockies & Vancouver Island

20 Days from $4,030

START: Vancouver

FINISH: Vancouver

AGES: Over 15

THEME: Explorer

Overviewicon readmoreicon minus

Description

There’s nothing quite like Canada’s south-west, with snow-capped mountains on the city skylines, rugged wilderness to explore all year round, top notch hiking, world-class surf breaks, whale migration routes, and that fresh, crisp British Columbia air. Experience the natural wonder of Canada’s west on this 20-day active adventure. Beginning in Vancouver, you’ll traverse weaving highways lined with alpine scenery, through Wells Gray Provincial Park and Jasper, Banff, Yoho and Glacier national parks. Cross the Strait of Georgia to Vancouver Island, and discover the culinary hub of Victoria and the beachy town of Tofino. The Canadian Rockies and Vancouver Island are nature at its absolute finest.

Start: Vancouver

Finish: Vancouver

Ages: Over 15

Theme: Explorer

Accommodation: Camping (with basic facilities) (1 night), Camping (with facilities) (15 nights), Hostel (2 nights), Hotel (2 nights)

Destination: Vancouver

Highlights

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Get wild in Jasper National Park, where it’s possible to spot moose, elk, deer, bears and coyotes among the sea of evergreen pine and spruce trees.
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Lakes, mountains, glaciers – the Rockies feature an array of striking landscapes that are remarkable no matter what time of year you visit.
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Set out by canoe and camp overnight on the remote shore of Clearwater Lake, where you can fall asleep under a blanket of stars.
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Compact Victoria is perfect for exploring on foot, and its younger population is reflected in the thriving bar and dining scene of the city.
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Vancouver Island is an ideal viewing point on a whale migration route as they head north to Alaska for the summer or down to Mexico for the winter.

Itineraryicon readmoreicon minus

icon check Day 1 : Vancouver

Welcome to Vancouver, Canada. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm at the hotel, where you can introduce yourself to your fellow travellers and tour leader. If you arrive early in Vancouver, why not take a walk around the Victorian buildings in the historic Gastown neighbourhood or wander through the behemoth urban forest that is Stanley Park. Captivated by Vancouver and worried you won’t have enough time to see what the city has to offer? Remember you’ll be back to bookend your journey.

icon check Day 2 : Whistler

Today, leave Vancouver behind and travel to the outdoor mecca that is Whistler. Drive along the Sea to Sky Highway, widely considered one of the most scenic routes in the world, with a stop at Squamish along the way. If time permits, it may be possible to take a short hike to the massive granite monolith known as The Chief before continuing to Whistler. While there are no included activities planned for your time in Whistler, there are plenty of optional activities to take part in during your stay. Hiking, mountain biking, zip-lining and kayaking are just some of what’s on offer. Have a chat to your leader about how to go about booking and taking part in these activities. You’ll have time today on arrival to get your bearings before you settle into the campground for the night.

icon check Day 3 : Whistler

Rise and shine for a free day in this outdoor adventure hub. Remember that all activities in Whistler are optional and some may come at an additional cost. Zip-lining tours are an amazing way of getting an aerial view over Fitzsimmons Creek and, if you’re lucky, seeing some bears along the way. During the warmer months, hiking is a great (and inexpensive) way to get the lay of the land, just keep in mind that the rugged terrain can make for challenging trails. There are also some great cycle networks in Whistler, so you have the option of hiring a bike and riding to one of the nearby lakes. Don’t forget to spend some time exploring Whistler Village, a charming pedestrian-only town with plenty of bars, cafes and restaurants.

icon check Day 4 : Wells Gray Provincial Park

Make sure you’ve got a book, a podcast or some sparkling conversation ready as you settle in for a long drive to Wells Gray Provincial Park (approximately 6–7 hours). You’ll arrive in time to set up camp for the evening on a rustic cowboy ranch. Enjoy a cold beverage in an authentic saloon and then relax with dinner by the campfire. Complete the classic North American campsite by crafting s’mores (marshmallow, chocolate and graham crackers) and sharing stories over the crackle of the flames.

icon check Day 5 : Wells Gray Provincial Park

This morning you’ll travel deeper into Wells Gray Provincial Park, disembarking at Clearwater Lake. Pack your camping equipment into a canoe and cruise into the water. On a sunny day the name of the lake is particularly apt, and if you work up a thirst while paddling you can drink the pristine water around you, no filter necessary. After some instruction from the canoeing guides, paddle about 2.5–4 hours to a secluded beach campsite. Set up camp for the night and spend some time swimming or exploring before cooking dinner. The campsite tonight is a little more basic than others on the trip. It has tables, fire-pits and tent sites, but only pit toilets and no showers. But trust us, the stunning location more than makes up for the rustic facilities.

icon check Day 6 : Wells Gray Provincial Park

Wake up lakeside and choose whether to set out on a short, unguided hike from the campsite or enjoy a relaxing breakfast on the lakefront. Pack up your gear and hit the water again, alighting along the way at another beach for a picnic lunch. Back at the starting point, help unload and store the canoes and then drive to the ranch, checking out some amazing waterfalls along the way.

icon check Day 7 : Jasper National Park

Hit the road bound for Jasper National Park, a journey which should take around five and a half hours in total. Along the way you'll see views of Mt Robson, the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies. You'll arrive in the afternoon, giving you time to head out on an optional walk. Try and catch a glimpse of the area's wildlife such as moose, elk, deer, bears and coyotes. If you’re lucky enough to spot one or more of these beasts in their natural habitat, remember to keep your distance of at least 100 metres from predators (bears, coyotes) and 30 metres from all other animals. One optional activity that may be of interest if you arrive with a few hours of daylight to spare is the Jasper SkyTram. This tramway ascends to 2300 metres above sea level to a great vantage point in the Rocky Mountains with breathtaking views.

icon check Day 8 : Jasper National Park/Maligne Lake

Today you’ll make a visit to of Maligne Lake. Make sure you’ve got a charged phone or camera ready to capture shots of the jagged mountains and bright green pine forests that surround these glacial waters. Take a hike around the area and then choose whether you’d like to pay for an optional cruise around the lake, including a visit to Spirit Island. This tiny ‘tied’ island is one of the most photographed spots in the Canadian Rockies for a reason, so if you can afford it the optional cruise is worthwhile.

icon check Day 9 : Banff National Park

Take a scenic morning drive through mountain scenery on the famous Icefields Parkway, which connects Jasper and Banff National Parks (approximately 4 hours). There will be numerous opportunities to stop at viewpoints and waterfalls along the way. This includes visits to the ice fields of Athabasca Glacier, where you can choose to either admire from a distance or explore on an optional guided tour. On arrival at your campground in Banff, get your bearings with a brief walk. You'll be spending the next three nights here, so settle in and start planning what to do in your free time.

icon check Day 10-11 : Lake Louise/Banff National Park

Over the next two days you'll visit the pristine Lake Louise and stunning Moraine Lake with hiking opportunities at both locations. Banff is Canada's oldest national park, with valleys and mountain chains formed between 55 and 80 million years ago. You'll also have ample free time to explore Banff and take part in optional activities. As always, your leader is there to help, so pick their brain for advice on which (if any) you wish to participate in. Options include a gondola ride up Sulphur Mountain, a dip in the natural hot springs or exploring the hoodoos and falls of Bow River valley by foot. There are many trails of different lengths, allowing you to hike for as long (or short) as you wish.

icon check Day 12-13 : Yoho National Park/Golden

Today drive for around two and a half hours to a place so beautiful its name comes from a Cree word that means awe and wonder – Yoho National Park. On arrival, take a walk down the Kicking Horse River and visit Takakkaw Falls (the second-highest falls in Canada at 384 metres). If time permits, you’ll also visit Emerald Lake, which (perhaps unsurprisingly) is an arresting shade of cyan. Your two nights in Yoho National Park give you ample time to explore the terrain and take part in optional activities. Thrillseekers might want to give whitewater rafting a go. Half- and full-day options are available for rafting, giving you the chance to get wet and wild on class III to class IV+ rapids. For those who prefer to approach nature in a calmer way there are plenty of great trails – ask your leader for a recommendation that matches your fitness level.

icon check Day 14 : Glacier National Park/Kamloops

This morning, travel through the high mountain clearing of Rogers Pass to reach Glacier National Park. Stop at Rogers Pass Discovery Centre for a look around and (depending on time and conditions) take a short hike through an old-growth area of cedar and hemlock. As one of the world's most active avalanche areas, most of the rugged, mountainous area of Glacier National Park is inaccessible for day hikes. Drive through Mount Revelstoke National Park, which contains part of the world's only temperate inland rainforest, and (if time allows) explore the area on a short hike. The destination today is the town of Kamloops. Keep in mind that the drive today will take approximately 6–7 hours, so get those devices and reading materials ready.

icon check Day 15 : Vancouver

Make the journey back to Vancouver (approximately 4-5 hours). The arrival time depends on a variety of factors such as weather, but you should expect to be back in the city before 3 pm. Vancouver is the largest city in western Canada and well worth the place to begin the second stage of your North American adventure. Please note that you may farewell some of your travellers today who aren’t making the journey to Vancouver Island. Meet up with your group at another briefing at 6 pm, where there may be some new adventurers joining you! Afterwards, why not head out in the Gastown neighbourhood or head to one of over 40 craft breweries in Vancouver – Mount Pleasant is a brewery hotspot.

icon check Day 16 : Victoria

To start the Vancouver Island trip, you’ll have to get over to the Island! Take a ferry across the Strait of Georgia to Victoria BC (approximately 3.5 hours). With its landscaped gardens and preserved historical buildings, it is one of the most British-influenced cities in North America. However, with a recent injection of hip bars, shops, restaurants and young residents, the city is evolving into something more cosmopolitan. Wander through Victoria’s abundant parkland and make your way into town to kick back with the young locals in a bar or restaurant. The afternoon and evening are yours to explore.

icon check Day 17 : Victoria

Victoria is known for its outdoor activities so on your free day here, perhaps indulge in a spot of whale watching or take a tour of the famous Butchart Gardens. If that isn’t your thing, check out the excellent Royal BC Museum to learn about the natural and human history of the area. The city has also been hit by the craft beer revolution, and is home to Canada’s first brewpub, so why not meander your way to one to relax and experience the Canadian hospitality for yourself.

icon check Day 18 : Tofino

On your way out of Victoria, have a quick stop in the eastern port of Nanaimo before heading on to Cathedral Grove for a walk around the majestic Douglas fir trees, which are more than 800 years old and untouched by the modern world. A picnic lunch will be needed to admire this towering forest. You’ll continue on your drive to the relaxed seaside town of Tofino (total journey approximately 4.5 hours, not including stops). As well as being named the best surf town in North America, Tofino is also a perfect spot for storm watching and outdoor activities such as kayaking, whale watching and hiking.

icon check Day 19 : Tofino

Today is free for you to explore Tofino and its surrounds, with many possible optional activities. Take a kayak out on Clayoquot Sound, relax on one of Tofino’s sandy beaches or take a stroll and go tide pooling. Alternatively, you have the option to sign up for a whale watching tour. Tofino lies along the route of the annual grey whale migration. Each year, up to 20,000 grey whales leave the waters of the Baja Peninsula and head north to the nutrient-rich feeding grounds of Alaska and the Bering Sea. This 20,000 kilometre round trip is thought to be the longest migration of any creature in the world. Whale-watching trips can often be combined with wildlife viewing and hot springs tours. A bear-watching trip by boat through the calm waters of Clayoquot Sound near Tofino is another popular option.

icon check Day 20 : Vancouver

From Tofino, you’ll travel to a ferry port and cruise back to Vancouver. The total travel time from Tofino on this day is around 5.5 hours. There may be time for an activity with your group leader in the afternoon, however there is no included accommodation for the night.

What's Included?icon readmoreicon minus

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Transport

Ferry, Private vehicle
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Accommodation

Camping (with basic facilities) (1 night), Camping (with facilities) (15 nights), Hostel (2 nights), Hotel (2 nights)
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Included Activities

  • Ferry from Vancouver Island

Availabilityicon readmoreicon minus

Starts
Ends
Price
Availability
May 31, 2020
Jun 19, 2020
$4,030
Available
Jun 14, 2020
Jul 03, 2020
$4,030
Available
Jun 28, 2020
Jul 17, 2020
$4,150
Available
Jul 12, 2020
Jul 31, 2020
$4,150
Available
Jul 19, 2020
Aug 07, 2020
$4,150
Available
Aug 02, 2020
Aug 21, 2020
$4,150
Available
Aug 09, 2020
Aug 28, 2020
$4,150
Available
Aug 16, 2020
Sep 04, 2020
$4,150
Available
Aug 23, 2020
Sep 11, 2020
$4,150
Available
May 30, 2021
Jun 18, 2021
$4,030
Available
Jun 13, 2021
Jul 02, 2021
$4,030
Available
Jun 27, 2021
Jul 16, 2021
$4,030
Available
Jul 11, 2021
Jul 30, 2021
$4,030
Available
Jul 18, 2021
Aug 06, 2021
$4,030
Available
Aug 01, 2021
Aug 20, 2021
$4,030
Available
Aug 08, 2021
Aug 27, 2021
$4,030
Available
Aug 15, 2021
Sep 03, 2021
$4,030
Available
Aug 22, 2021
Sep 10, 2021
$4,030
Available

Important Detailsicon readmoreicon minus

icon readmoreicon minusJoining Point

Accent Inn Vancouver Airport

10551 St. Edwards Drive Roman St. Germain, Richmond

Vancouver

British Columbia

V6X 3L8

CANADA

Phone: 604 2733311

Fax: 604 2739522

icon readmoreicon minusFinishing Point

Accent Inn Vancouver Airport

10551 St. Edwards Drive Roman St. Germain, Richmond

Vancouver

British Columbia

V6X 3L8

CANADA

Phone: 604 2733311

Fax: 604 2739522

icon readmoreicon minusPhysical preparation

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.

icon readmoreicon minusImportant information

1. This trip finishes on arrival into Vancouver in the afternoon on day 20.

2. SINGLE SUPPLEMENT

A Single Supplement to have your own room is available on this trip however excludes nights 7 & 8 (Jasper National Park), nights 9, 10 & 11 (Banff National Park) and nights 16 & 17 (Victoria) where you will be in shared accommodation. This is due to the availability of campsites and campsite space in these locations where Canadian National Parks are very strict about the number of tents per site. Nights 16 & 17 is multishare hostel accomodation.

PLEASE NOTE: Single Supplement on nights 2 & 3 (Whistler) may be a separate campsite and a short walk from the group campsite depending availability of space at group campsite.

icon readmoreicon minusGroup leader

Your Intrepid 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. Intrepid's 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.

icon readmoreicon minusSafety

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 and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trips. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, flight 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 or relax and take it easy. While your 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 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:

https://www.intrepidtravel.com/safety-field

PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY: While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair or on the floor and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.

UNFENCED CAMP SITES: On some trips you will at times stay in unfenced camp sites within national parks. While this is a fantastic experience, there are a few safety rules to follow. While staying in national parks it's important that you listen to any advice given by your tour leader and the park rangers regarding responsible and safe behaviour.

BEARS: 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.

icon readmoreicon minusCommunications

WIFI

Some campgrounds have WiFi access, as do most of our hotels, although you may occasionally need to pay extra for it.

CHARGING BATTERIES

North American electrical outlets operate at a lower voltage than much of the rest of the world. This means that your devices may take longer to charge than you are used to, or may say that they are not charging, even though they are. You may also notice that some hotels have powerboards or multiple appliances plugged into one socket. Because of the lower voltage, this is not the safety issue that it may be in other parts of the world. Some campgrounds have access to power for recharging batteries, but it may not be in an area that's safe to leave your device unattended. You can also recharge batteries on the van, although obviously this will need to be shared between everyone. You will need to bring a 12 volt/cigarette lighter adapter to plug your USB charger into.

icon readmoreicon minusVisas

Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with acquiring visas. Visas can take several weeks to process, so familiarise yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time.

CANADA

Most nationalities except South Africans do not need a visa for Canada, but will need to apply online for an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). See http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/eta.asp for details and to apply. There is a fee of CA$7 for this service. Travellers will need an eTA before they can board a flight to Canada. If you are crossing the border by road, then you do not need to apply for an eTA. Please note there are many third-party sites offering visa services and charging a fee however The Government of Canada website is the only official place to apply for an eTA visa.

Please note, if you hold dual Canadian citizenship, then from 30 September 2016 you won't be able to apply for an eTA and will instead need to enter Canada using your Canadian passport. If you do not have a Canadian passport, you'll need to apply for one in advance of travel.

As always, please check your individual requirements with your local embassy/consulate or a visa service.

icon readmoreicon minusWhy we love it

Get wild in Jasper National Park, where it’s possible to spot moose, elk, deer, bears and coyotes among the sea of evergreen pine and spruce trees.

Lakes, mountains, glaciers – the Rockies feature an array of striking landscapes that are remarkable no matter what time of year you visit.

Set out by canoe and camp overnight on the remote shore of Clearwater Lake, where you can fall asleep under a blanket of stars.

Compact Victoria is perfect for exploring on foot, and its younger population is reflected in the thriving bar and dining scene of the city.

Vancouver Island is an ideal viewing point on a whale migration route as they head north to Alaska for the summer or down to Mexico for the winter.

icon readmoreicon minusIs this trip right for you

Less time spent in a vehicle; more time to explore each destination. This trip has been carefully designed to give you the best experience of a region by reducing the number of one-night-only stops, giving you extra time in the places that matter.

As Canada is a huge country, this trip covers a lot of ground. Please be prepared for some long days of driving. You'll be travelling in a van with a group, so conditions may feel a little cramped. We think this is all part of the adventure of road travel, and friendships form fast in tight quarters.

As we're travelling through the mountains, the weather can be unpredictable. We advise wearing layers in all seasons in case conditions change during the day. At night the temperature can really drop, so make sure you have warm and comfortable clothing with you. Camping can be especially cold at the start and end of the season. We really can’t stress this enough - even in the warmer months the temperature can be low in the mountains.

While this trip doesn't require a high level of fitness, for you to get the most out of the included and optional activities we recommend you are moderately fit. The hikes are a real highlight on this trip and give you access to some fantastic scenery as well as the chance to see native flora and fauna.

This trip involves either a partial or full camping experience, giving you access to more remote destinations at close proximity, and the joy of camping under the night skies and beside a campfire. This is a participatory trip – a fancy way of saying you’re not just along for the ride, but you are part of a team! Be prepared to roll up your sleeves and help out with camp activities like food prep and washing up. It’s all about giving your new travel mates a hand, and everyone knows there’s nothing worse than trying to put up a tent on your own!

That teamwork also extends to our optional food kitty of approximately CAD 90 per week to cover the cost of meals. This means you don’t have to worry about stuff like where to get food or what exactly sales tax is, and actually helps keep your costs down. Instead of paying individually as you go, it means we can bulk purchase items and cook our own food – though there’s always the chance to use it for the occasional pizza night or s’mores by the campfire! The kitty is optional and for your convenience, so if you've got specific dietary requirements you can opt out to purchase (and cook) your own food.

icon readmoreicon minusHealth

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, Intrepid Travel 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 before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.

PERSONAL MEDICATIONS:

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.

icon readmoreicon minusFood and dietary requirements

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.

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$70 per week

Alaska - US$90 per week

Canada - CA$90 per week

While camping, some breakfasts, lunches and dinners are paid from the food kitty. 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.

icon readmoreicon minusMoney matters

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:

When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities and laundry. It's always better to bring a little more than you think you'll need. Also make sure you've read your trip details thoroughly so you know what's included in the trip price and what isn't. This should make budgeting a little easier. You'll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that's this document).

TIPPING

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 Intrepid 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 18% to 22% 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$5-20 per day for local guides. Ask your leader for suggestions as to what is appropriate for a given activity.

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$5-7 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.

Tipping in North America can be confusing. If you'd like some more detail about when and how much to tip, see http://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/tipping-guide-united-states/

DEPARTURE TAX

All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.

CONTINGENCY FUNDS:

We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. Please make sure you have access to an extra US$500 for emergencies (e.g. severe weather, natural disasters, civil unrest) or other events that result in unavoidable changes to the itinerary (e.g. transport strikes or cancellations, airport closures). Sometimes these things necessitate last minute changes to enable our trips to continue to run, and as a result there may be some extra costs involved.

The recommended amounts are listed in USD for the relatability of universal travellers, however the local currency is needed in the countries you are visiting.

icon readmoreicon minusWhat to take

LUGGAGE RESTRICTIONS: 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. 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.

As well as your underwear, toothbrush and other items you always need to pack for travel, below are some items that you specifically need for this trip. ESSENTIAL - Sleeping bag. 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. 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. 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. - Towel - Travel pillow - Reusable water bottle. We recommend at least a 1.5 litre capacity. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. Tap water in the US and Canada is safe to drink and there are many places to fill up along the way, so please save plastic by bringing your own water bottle. - Sun protection - hat, sunscreen, sunglasses - Clothing you can layer. 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. We suggest you check the expected temperatures en route and bring clothing that you can layer. - Closed-in shoes. As this trip includes camping and/or bush walking we highly recommend that you take a pair of comfortable, closed-in walking shoes. Closed-in shoes will help to protect your feet from cuts and scratches when walking through bush/grass-lands, and will also act as a barrier protection in rare cases against bites or stings from dangerous animals in this environment. RECOMMENDED - Power adaptor - Insect repellent - Spare camera battery. You should have access to electricity to charge your battery most nights, but as some of the places we stay are a little isolated, it is always a good idea to carry a spare. - Swimwear - Head torch - A simple plastic bag/waterproof toiletry bag (that can hang on a nail on the back of a door) will be useful to keep your clothes dry inside basic camp shower structures. - Personal medical kit. Your guide will carry a large kit but we recommend you carry items such as mild pain killers, electrolytes, anti-diarrhoeal, antibacterial gel, wet wipes, bandaids/plasters etc. OPTIONAL: - Sleep sheet. If you are travelling during the hot season you may wish to also pack a sleep sheet so you will be comfortable no matter what the weather. - Thermarest. While we provide a basic camping mattress for each client, some travellers find they like the extra comfort of a double layer. - Ear plugs to guard against a snoring tent-mate - A good book, a journal or an Ipod for the long drives.

icon readmoreicon minusA couple of rules

Everyone has the right to feel safe when they travel. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment, either between customers or involving our leaders, partners or local people. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a customer are strictly forbidden.

Use or possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. If you choose to consume alcohol while travelling, we encourage responsible drinking, and expect that you’ll abide by the local laws regarding alcohol consumption.

The sex tourism industry is known to exploit vulnerable people and have negative consequences on communities, including undermining the development of sustainable tourism. For this reason, patronising sex workers will not be tolerated on our trips.

By travelling with us you are agreeing to adhere to these rules. Your group leader has the right to remove any member of the group for breaking any of these rules, with no right of refund.

If you feel that someone is behaving inappropriately while travelling with us, please inform your tour leader or local guide immediately. Alternatively, contact us on the emergency contact number detailed in the Problems and Emergency Contact section of this Essential Trip Information.

CANNABIS

Recently cannabis was legalised in Canada, however taking it across international borders, including into the United States is illegal. For more information: http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/cj-jp/cannabis/

icon readmoreicon minusFeedback

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.

http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback/

icon readmoreicon minusEmergency contact

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).

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.

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 and Canada. In case of doubt, call the operator on 0.

BOOKING ENQUIRIES / ISSUES

For general enquiries or questions about your booking, please contact your agent or adventure specialist, or visit us at:

http://www.intrepidtravel.com/au/contact-us

CRISES AND EMERGENCIES

In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency please contact our local ground representative on the number below (remember to drop the +xx country code if you are calling from within the country):

Intrepid’s Local Operator: +1 707 483 9460

icon readmoreicon minusResponsible travel

Our Responsible Travel Policy outlines our commitment to preserving the environment, supporting local communities, protecting the vulnerable and giving back to the places we travel. All our trip leaders, suppliers and staff are trained on these principles, and are core to us delivering sustainable, experience-rich travel.

Explore the different parts of our Responsible Travel Policy by visiting:

https://www.intrepidtravel.com/responsible-travel

http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/rt/responsibletraveller

icon readmoreicon minusAccommodation notes

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.

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.

For trips where there are lodges/cabins used, couples travelling together may be separated as our rooming arrangements are based on single gender.

CAMPING OUTSIDE THE SUMMER MONTHS:

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?

You may also like to think about bringing your own camping mat for this period as the double layer provides extra warmth.

In some locations it may be possible to upgrade from camping to cabins if it is cold. You will need to pay for, and arrange this locally and it is of course subject to availability. In some locations it may only be possible to upgrade if the whole group is willing to.

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.

icon readmoreicon minusTravel 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 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.

http://www.intrepidtravel.com/insurance.php

icon readmoreicon minusYour 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.

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 Essential Trip Information. 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.

icon readmoreicon minusItinerary disclaimer

ITINERARY CHANGES:

Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you print and review a final copy prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any changes once on tour.

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES:

A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, are for entrance only, and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability, and may be on a join-in basis. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your leader know you are interested and they can assist.

Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.

icon readmoreicon minusAccommodation

Camping (with basic facilities) (1 nt),Camping (with facilities) (15 nts),Hostel (2 nts),Hotel (2 nts)

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