Chicago to San Francisco Road Trip

Valid for all trips departing January 1st, 2014 - September 18th, 2015 Last Updated:
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Introduction

Remember the country they sing about in 'America the Beautiful'? The one with the spacious skies, gleaming alabaster cities and majestic purple mountains? It’s still out there. Come see it with us. Ideal for wildlife enthusiasts and outdoorsy folk who want to see the country by day and revel downtown by night, this trip takes you across the Great West, from the City of Big Shoulders through Yellowstone and Yosemite and past herds of grazing bison to the City by the Bay. In a word: Perfect.

  • Camp along the Mississippi River
  • Hike the Badlands
  • Marvel at Yellowstone's geyser
  • Meet the wildlife of Grand Teton National Park
  • Explore the streets of San Francisco
Duration: 17 days
Start/Finish City: Chicago to San Francisco
Service Level: Camping
  • Excellent value, amazing prices, quality experiences
  • Camping most nights with some hotel stays to start and throughout
  • Private transport to out-of-the-way places in order to keep your gear stowed and secure
Physical Grading: 2
There'll be some light walking and hiking. Suitable for most fitness levels. Nothing too challenging.
Travel Style: Yolo
Adventures for 18 to thirty somethings

Designed for young, budget-minded travellers, Yolo trips maximize time and money by squeezing the most out of a destination. This ain't your typical big-bus tour, though. Small groups, insider access and personal freedom to follow the whim of the moment are the order of the day, every day.

Trip Type: Small Group
Group trips average 12 travellers per departure, depending on the adventure. The maximum is usually no more than 16, but some can be smaller or bigger, depending on the trip. Check individual trips for details.

Itinerary

Route map for Chicago to San Francisco Road Trip (NUCF)

Day 1 Chicago

Arrive to our joining hotel at any time. Welcome meeting in the evening.

This group tour departs the city early on Day 2. We recommend booking pre-tour accommodation in Chicago if you'd like to spend any time exploring the sites this city has to offer.

Day 2 Wisconsin/Winona (1D)

Stop in Milwaukee and take a tour through America's oldest major brewing company, Millers. Explore the history and brewing process, don't forget to try some before you leave! Later visit Madison, the capital of the US state of Wisconsin. Pass by the capital itself and enjoy downtown Madison with its unique shopping and entertainment district. Continue to our campground located along the bank of the Mississippi River.

Approximate Distance to Winona: 535 km
Estimated Travel Time: 9 hrs (including stops in Milwaukee and Madison)

Day 3 Sioux Falls/Kennebec (1B,1L,1D)

Leaving the "cities" behind we cross native American Sioux terrain and America's original western frontier, the Great Prairie. Take a break in Sioux Falls. Drive past Garretson, famous for Devil's Gulch, a footbridge that crosses the "Mini-Canyon" where Jesse James jumped to prevent being captured.

Approximate Distance to Kennebec: 710 km
Estimated Travel Time: 9 hrs (including stops in Sioux Falls)

Day 4 Badlands NP (1B,1L,1D)

Before we continue our short journey to Badlands National Park, stop at the Original South Dakota 1880's Town for an optional visit and envision life on the prairie. Admire the many props that were used in Kevin Costner's famous movie "Dances with Wolves". In the early afternoon explore the spectacular, bizarre and moon-like landscape at Badlands National Park. The Lakota gave this its name, "mako sica," meaning "land bad." Discover the park on short hiking trails and enjoy the feeling of true isolation, where you can look for miles and see no sign of civilization. We spend the night camping while witnessing an incredible sunset or sunrise over the Badlands!

Approximate Distance: 185 km
Estimated Travel Time: 5 hrs (including stops)

Day 5 Custer (1B,1L,1D)

It all started in the 1930's with free ice-water for thirsty tourists coming from the east that made "Wall" such a famous place to visit. Discover Wall Drug, an American roadside wonder before we reach the famous Black Hills in the heart of South Dakota. This historic area is filled with American history. Black Hills are known to be one of the best places to discover the legend of the old west. Next we take the scenic route to Custer State Park, named after the (in)famous General George Armstrong Custer. Custer State Park is home to the world's largest free-roaming bison herds (about 1,500). Explore this fascinating terrain on short hikes. Horseback riding is also available.

Approximate Distance to Custer: 250 km
Estimated Travel Time: 6 hrs (including stops in the state park)

Day 6 Custer (1B,1L)

In the morning visit Mount Rushmore National Memorial, one of Americas most inspiring symbols of democracy and freedom. Be amazed at the impressive granite faces, each head as tall as a six-story building, of four of the most influential presidents of the United States including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. Visit the "City of Gold" Keystone, once a gold mining boom town in the 1870's. Keystone was also the adult home of Carrie Ingalls of “Little House on the Prairie” fame. In the evening visit spectacular Crazy Horse Memorial. "My fellow chiefs and I would like the white man to know the red man has great heroes, too". These were the words of Chief Standing Bear convincing sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski in 1939 to create a Memorial for the Lakota people. Witness the fantastic Laser-Light Show "Legends in Light".

Day 7 Deadwood/Devil's Tower (1B,1D)

Visit historical Deadwood and take a self-guided walking tour into the past of the Wild West. Be a part of the famous shoot out at the Old Style Saloon #10 as you witness the shooting of Wild Bill. Then enter the fabulous Midnight Star, Kevin Costner's Casino and try your luck at one of the slot machines. On our way to Devils Tower we take the most scenic highway in the Black Hills, Spearfish Canyon. Enjoy spectacular scenery that was the location for several scenes in the movie epic, “Dances With Wolves.” In the evening arrive at America's first national monument, the Devils Tower! It rises over 1200 feet into the air!

Approximate Distance to Devil's Tower: 215 km
Estimated Travel Time: 5 hrs (including stops in Deadwood)

Day 8 Cody (1B,1L,1D)

With crystal-clear lakes, alpine meadows and glacial carved valleys, the Bighorn National Forest is one of the most scenic drives in Wyoming towards Cody, "the rodeo capital of the world"! The town is named after "Buffalo Bill Cody" and has long been a symbol of the old American West. Optional visit to Buffalo Bill Historical Center to discover the real story of the old west. In the evening optional experience of an authentic Rodeo (depends on the season, check with your CEO for details).

Approximate Distance: 500 km
Estimated Travel Time: 7 hrs (including stops)

Day 9 Yellowstone NP (1B,1L,1D)

Discover the wonders of Yellowstone, the world's first National Park! Yellowstone is beyond special. Geysers, waterfalls, wildlife and scenic beauty are around every corner for you to explore. In fact, Yellowstone National Park is a super volcano with the world’s largest active geyser field, boasting more than 10,000 geysers. The Park is also home to more wild animals than almost anywhere else in the U.S., including roaming bison, gray wolves, elk, black bears and of course the famous grizzly bear!

Travel to the Lamar Valley in Yellowstone and explore the Northern Loop which features beautiful scenery, exciting wildlife and spectacular hydrothermal features. Admire Mammoth Hot Springs, Norris Geyser Basin and the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone!

Approximate Distance: 320 km
Estimated Travel Time: 8 hrs (including stops)

Day 10 Yellowstone NP (1B,1L,1D)

More highlights await you as the South Loop goes through some of the most famous landmarks of Yellowstone, including Old Faithful and Lake Village.

Estimated travel time: 4 hrs within the park

Day 11 Grand Teton NP/Jackson (1B,1L)

Drive to Grand Teton National Park and view more than twelve peaks at elevation greater than 12.000 feet! Stop at beautiful Jenny Lake and take an optional boat ride across the lake to discover Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point. Grand Teton National Park highlights are numerous and each offers a better understanding of this natural phenomenon.

In the late afternoon we reach Jackson, where we marvel at the town square’s elk antler arches. The area offers unique mix of boutique and country and western shopping opportunities. Wildlife watching is easy here; elk, deer, and many other small mammals can be found throughout the valley. In the evening step back in time and enjoy a night out with a true Wild Western atmosphere at the One Million Dollar Bar, known world wide for its western dancing and live entertainment!

Approximate Distance to Jackson: 230 km
Estimated Travel Time: 6 hrs (including stops in Grand Teton NP)

Day 12 Salt Lake City (1B,1L,1D)

Optional guided wildlife and whitewater rafting trip down the snake river in Jackson. Leave Yellowstone National Park behind as we continue to Salt Lake City. Orientation tour of Salt Lake City including a visit to Temple Square for views of the world's largest Mormon Temple.

Approximate Distance: 440 km
Estimated Travel Time: 8 hrs (including stops)

Day 13 Tonopah (1B)

One of the best ways to to experience Nevada is to travel on the "Loneliest Road in America", a fascinating scenic and historic area through a land seemingly untouched by man. In the evening experience Tonopah's night sky, considered among the best in the country for stargazing.

After the long drive to Tonopah trade in the camping gear in favor of a night in a hotel.

Approximate Distance: 656 km
Estimated Travel Time: 9 hrs (including stops)

Day 14 Yosemite NP (1L,1D)

Marvel at the spectacular views of Yosemite National Park's magnificent peaks and granite domes as you enjoy one of most scenic drives in California: Tioga Pass! Take short hikes to majestic waterfalls, clear lakes, beautiful meadows and walk amongst giant sequoias. With a keen eye, you may be lucky enough to spot black bears, deer or coyotes.

Approximate Distance: 385 km
Estimated Travel Time: 8 hrs (including stops)

Day 15 Yosemite NP (1B,1L,1D)

Full day to explore Yosemite National Park. Hike the many trails Yosemite has to offer and be inspired by this beautiful and amazing landscape. Option to rent bikes in Yosemite Valley.

Estimated travel time: 2 hrs within the park

Day 16 San Francisco (1B)

Arrive to one of the most iconic cities in the world: San Francisco. Your CEO will point out some popular sites on the drive into town–perhaps you'll catch a glimpse of the stately Golden Gate Bridge, a marvel of engineering and deco design. Go back in time and take an optional cable car ride over the steep hills or rent a bike to explore the city on wheels. In the evening, take an optional sunset sailing trip.

For our final night of the tour in San Francisco, we stay close to the action in a hotel in the city center.

Approximate Distance: 225 km
Estimated Travel Time: 6 hrs (including stops)

Day 17 San Francisco

Depart at any time.

There's a lot to see and do in San Francisco, and we recommend spending extra time here if you'd like to explore the city; speak to your sales agent to book extra accommodation. Haight-Ashbury, Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman's Wharf and the city's famous cable cars await you.

What's Included

Entrance fees to all national parks, state parks and national monuments with hiking and walking excursions. Beer brewery tour and beer tasting (Milwaukee). All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.

Highlights

Camp along the Mississippi River, hike the Badlands, marvel at Yellowstone's geyser, meet the wildlife of Grand Teton National Park, explore the streets of San Francisco

Dossier Disclaimer

The information in this trip details document has been compiled with care and is provided in good faith. However it is subject to change, and does not form part of the contract between the client and the operator. The itinerary featured is correct at time of printing. It may differ slightly to the one in the brochure. Occasionally our itineraries change as we make improvements that stem from past travellers, comments and our own research. Sometimes it can be a small change like adding an extra meal along the itinerary. Sometimes the change may result in us altering the tour for the coming year. Ultimately, our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience. Please note that our brochure is usually released in November each year. If you have booked from the previous brochure you may find there have been some changes to the itinerary.

VERY IMPORTANT: Please ensure that you print a final copy of your Trip Details to review a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans.

Itinerary Disclaimer

While it is our intention to adhere to the route described below, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The Trip Details document is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered. Aboard expedition trips visits to research stations depend on final permission.

Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.

Important Notes

1. An essential part of your trip is participation - from putting up your tent (while camping) or packing it away in the morning, to helping with meal preparation and cleaning up - it is all part of your adventure and when everyone puts in a little effort the trip will run smoothly. Your CEO will do all the meal planning, but we do ask the clients to help with the preparation and washing up. Team spirit is part of the fun! All camping equipment (with the exception of your sleeping bag and pillow) is supplied. We supply dome tents and assembly/disassembly takes only 5 minutes. All tents have built-in insect nets. Self-inflating mattresses are also provided, which are approximately 4cm thick, warm and comfortable.

2. Proper sleeping bags are necessary for this tour. Evening temperatures can reach -9°C - 0°C. Please ensure that your sleeping bag is rated to (-17°C for spring and fall trips and 0°C for trips June - Sept). If you prefer you can purchase a proper sleeping bag on the first day of the trip. Prices range from $40-$60USD. 

3. In order to cover the vast distance in North America to be able to visit several different parks and cities along our trip, we will have a couple of long driving days.

4. All walks and hikes proposed by our CEO will be easy to moderate level. You may choose to participate or not, but exploring our national parks on foot is part of our way of travelling. It’s a healthy way to discover North America’s beauty and landscape.

5. Tioga Pass is a route through the Sierra Nevada mountain range of California on the eastern edge of Yosemite National Park, and we travel through the pass en route. In the spring and autumn seasons, there's a chance that the pass will be closed due to poor weather conditions or even snow. In such a case, we use an alternate route. The status of the road is monitored daily, and our travel plan for the area will be confirmed during the trip.

6. Please note that some trips could be a combination of multiple G Adventure tours. You should expect some group members to join or leave the tour between tour segments.

7. The American west is generally known for warm weather, but temperatures do vary significantly in the mountain and desert areas especially. The day time temperature could exceed 30 C, while the night time temperatures do regularly decrease to single digits, or even possible below freezing. Please be prepared for such extreme conditions.

8. Regarding our wi-fi equipped vehicles: we have limited bandwidth, and in the interests of allowing all travellers to access the wi-fi, travellers should limit their access to reasonable levels. Please note that wi-fi is not always available due to areas with limited or no cell phone service (e.g. in parts of national parks).

9. Please note that the legal drinking age in the United States is 21 and in Canada, 19 (with Alberta and Quebec at 18). Many bars and clubs will ask for ID at the door, therefore listening to live music in certain bars or spending a night out in Las Vegas or New Orleans is not possible when you are under the legal age, even if you don't plan on consuming alcohol. Drinking laws in both countries are strictly enforced and our CEOs are unable to help those under age obtain alcohol of any kind.

While this should not stop those under legal drinking age from booking a tour, it is important to note that if a traveller is under-age there are certain optional nighttime activities that they may not legally be able to participate in. When trying to book the right trip, we recommend that travellers under legal drinking age take this into consideration when booking a tour that visits several big cities.

Group Leader Description

This G Adventures group trip is accompanied by one of our group leaders, otherwise known as a Chief Experience Officer (CEO). The CEO will be the group manager, leader and driver - this person is experienced in the routes travelled. He or she will organize and lead the meal preparations and has training to cooking a variety of local and international dishes for large groups.

As the group coordinator and manager, the aim of the CEO is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. While not being guides in the traditional sense, you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. They will also offer suggestions for things to do and to see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends.

While our CEOs are trained and have resources to assist them along the way, the United States is the fourth largest country on the planet, and it is impossible for them to know everything about this massive country. We recommend local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting - we think it's the best of both worlds

Please note that specific tour guide licenses are required to guide in certain cities and regions, and as such, our CEOs will oftentimes provide brief orientation walks to point out useful places like supermarkets, main squares and ATMs but for more specific or in depth destination information, an official guided tour is recommended.

Group Size Notes

Max 13, avg 10.

Meals Included

13 breakfasts, 11 lunches, 11 dinners.

Meals

Most of the meals on this tour are included in the tour price. When a meal is not included, this is because there are often many options available - we would like to give you the opportunity to explore a bit and taste the local cuisine yourself. In these cases, your CEO will be able to suggest some good local restaurants or options for you to choose from.

All included meals will be prepared from fresh local produce. The majority of the shopping for food will be done before the trip departs, and fresh goods, such as meats, fruits, vegetables, and dairy products, will be bought en route during the trip from supermarkets, local shops and markets. Breakfasts will generally consist of breads and cereals, if time allows a warm breakfast may be prepared. Many lunches will be provided en-route and will be light meals such as sandwiches and/or salads. All evening meals will be freshly-prepared hot meals, and will consist of a variety of continental and local dishes.

Our CEO will organize the meal preparation and lead the way here, but will prepare a duty schedule for ensuring a fair, rotating participation from you and your group members in the meal preparation and dish washing duties.

Vegetarian meals and other dietary requirements need to be specified prior to arrival.

Meal Budget

Allow USD150-200 for meals not included.

Transport

Air-conditioned private touring van

About our Transportation

We use 15-passenger vans for up to 13 people plus the CEO/Driver for all our of our trips in North America. For groups of 8 and more travellers, we also use a trailer to carry luggage and camping equipment.

These vans are durable vehicles that allow us to drive on most types of roads in North America.

Each van has a front passenger seat and 4 benches that will accommodate 3 people each. No standing is permitted in these vehicles, but there is air conditioning to cool things down on warm days and mandatory seat belts to us secure and safe.

This is not a physically demanding journey. However, travelling can be difficult, with long drives and limited space in the van. Please take note of the travel times and distances in the above itinerary. Despite some of the long days, most clients feel that the diversity of the North American landscape, culture and wildlife are all well worth the experience!

While we try to travel into and out of cities during non-rush hour times, heavy traffic is a reality of some of the places we visit. As a result, some drives may be a bit longer than listed in the day-to-day itineraries. Bring your patience and a smile, and we'll get through it!

Solo Travellers

We believe single travellers should not have to pay more to travel so our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and do not involve a single supplement. Single travellers joining group trips are paired in twin or multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip. Some of our Independent trips are designed differently and single travellers on these itineraries must pay the single trip price.

Accommodation

Hotels (3 nts), participation camping (13 nts).

My Own Room

Please note that if you have booked the "My Own Room" option for this tour, you will receive your own single room for all night stops

About Accommodation

This trip includes a few nights in hotels, used mainly in cities, and most of the nights on tour we camp in tents in public and private camp grounds.

The hotels that we use are well located, good quality, 2-3* venues, based double occupancy with a private, en route bathroom.

All camping equipment (with the exception of your sleeping bag and pillow) is supplied, including camp mattresses, which are warm and comfortable. We supply dome tents and assembly/disassembly takes only 5 minutes. They are good quality, durable, industry-standard 2-person pop-up tents, each with 2 separate and convienent zip-up doors and vestibules, so that each person has his/her own entrance.

We use 2 types of campgrounds in North America:
1. Private campgrounds: These are privately run sites, usually with all services such a fire pit, picnic table, drinking water, toilet & shower buildings. Some have small outdoor swimming pools and laundry facilities.These campgrounds are located near national park entrances or towns.
2. Public campgrounds: These are park-run run sites, usually with basic facilities such a fire pit, picnic table, and drinking water. In some cases, these types of campgrounds don’t have showers, only pit toilets and a lake! In other locations, toilet and shower facilities may be located outside of campground, or at times in another location, a drive away. Some of them have also shower fees ($2-6/shower).

Joining Hotel

Ohio House Motel
600 North LaSalle Street
Chicago, IL 60654
Tel: +1 312-943-6000

Joining Instructions

When arriving at O’Hare International Airport, which is about 20 miles (32km) away from downtown Chicago, you have two transportation options: public taxi and a door-to-door shuttle service. Both are located outside the lower level of all terminals across the baggage claim areas.

Taxi
Expect to spend approximately $40 depending on traffic (plus gratuity).

Go Airport Express
A very convenient transport is Go Airport Express. Located at the same location on all terminals, this service doesn’t require any reservations. The shuttles run approximately every 5-10 min. The cost to downtown Chicago is about $25. They operate from 6:00 to 23:30.

Please note that day 1 is an arrival day and no activities have been planned, though a brief departure meeting will be held in the hotel on the evening of day 1. When you arrive at our joining hotel you will find the time and place of the meeting on a welcome note hung in the hotel lobby. If you are unable to find the note, please just ask the front desk staff.

At the meeting you will meet other tour participants and receive information about general and specific aspects of the trip. If you arrive late and miss the meeting, your CEO will leave you a message detailing what time and where you should meet the next morning.

Emergency Contact

Should you need to contact us during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call the G Adventures Local Representative. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.

EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures Local Representative (San Francisco)
During office hours (Weekdays, 6:00am-9:00pm PST)
From outside the USA: 1-415-642-7378
From within the USA: 415-642-7378

After hours emergency number
From outside the USA: 1-530-784-4238
From within the USA: 530-784-4238

If you are unable for any reason to contact our local representative, please call the numbers listed below, which will connect you directly with our 24 hour Sales team, who will happily assist you.

Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from UK: 0844 272 0000
Calls from Germany: 01805 70 90 30 00
Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618
Calls from New Zealand: 0800 333 307
Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK: +1 416 260 0999

What to Take

You will be on the move a lot, so our advice is to pack as lightly as possible.

For days in the outdoors, we recommend the use of lightweight, breathable, moisture-wicking fabrics made of wool or synthetic fibers. Cotton is not recommended for days to spend hiking as it does not allow for heat or moisture to enter or escape, and it will not dry easily once wet.

We recommend the use of a well-labeled duffel bag, soft bag or backpack (whichever you find easiest to carry). Suitcases or heavy luggage are not recommended for the health of the CEO! A good size day-pack (20-35L) is also essential as you will have the chance to walk and hike in different national parks during these trips This daypack will be used to carry your personal gear for the day, lunch and water bottle.

The American west is generally known for warm weather, but temperatures do vary significantly in the mountain and desert areas especially. The day time temperature could exceed 30 C, while the night time temperatures do regularly decrease to single digits, or even possible below freezing. It is therefore important to pack clothes for warm days and cool evenings - a light jacket is necessary.

Seasonal temperature ranges:
March - May ; September to December: -7 C to +30 C
June – August: 0 C to + 35 C

Additionally, a set of smart casual clothes is also advisable.

Checklist

Travel
- Credit and/or debit card (see spending money)
- G Adventures vouchers, pre-departure information and trip details
- Passport (with photocopies)
- Travel insurance (with photocopies)
- Airline tickets (with photocopies)
- Any entry visas or vaccination certificates required
- Camera and memory cards
- Charger for phone/camera/music device
- Reading/writing material

Equipment
- Insect repellent (for North West and East Coast only)
- Head lamp with batteries
- Hand sanitizers/ antibacterial wipes
- Rain Cover or plastic bags for daypacks
- Small towel (pack towels are good) and swim wear
- Sun hat
- Sunblock
- Sunglasses
- Toiletries (biodegradable)
- Water bottle (at least 2L capacity)
- Pocketknife
- Watch or alarm clock
- Sleeping bag : a down or synthetic sleeping bag (0° to +5°C) for the summer and warmer for spring and fall season (-15°C). You can purchase sleeping bags on the first day of the trip. An appropriate sleeping bag will cost from $40-$60USD. At the end of your journey, if you would like to donate your sleeping bag you can leave it with your CEO and we will donate it to a local charity.
- Sleeping bag liner (synthetic or silk - optional)
- Pillow (pack pillow recommended)
- First-aid kit (should contain lip salve, Aspirin, Band-Aids, anti-histamines, motion sickness remedy, after-bite salve and extra prescription drugs you may be taking).

Clothing and Footwear
- 3 or 4 lightweight shirts or T-shirts
- Fleece/jacket
- Windproof/waterproof jacket (rain gear)
- 2 pair of shorts
- 1 pairs of long trousers
- 2 pair hiking pants/track pants
- Comfort clothing for the night
- 3 to 5 pair of walking/hiking socks (synthetic or wool)
- Under garments
- Warm thermals/long underwear (fall and spring season only)
- Warm wool hat and gloves (fall and spring season only)
- Good hiking shoes or boots
- Sport sandals (suitable for water if you are planning on rafting)
- Extra comfortable slip-on sandal or shoes for the campsites

Optional Items:
-Hiking poles, binoculars, Playing cards, games, frisbee, notebook, pens/pencils

Laundry

Laundry can be done at least once a week while on tour. Some private campgrounds and most cities have laundromats where you can buy soap and wash your laundry in coin-operated machines. Your CEO will advise you along the trip where you will be able to do your laundry.

Visas

All countries require a valid passport (with a minimum 6 months validity). Contact your local embassy, or consulate for the most up-to-date visa requirements, or see your travel agent. It is your own responsibility to have the correct travel documentation. Visa requirements for your trip will vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. We keep the following information up to date as far as possible, but rules do change and sometimes without warning. While we provide the following information in good faith, it is vital that you check yourself and understand that you are fully responsible for your own visa requirements.

Spending Money

Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.

Money Exchange

The United States currency is the US Dollar (USD).

Credit cards are accepted almost everywhere in the US and can be used to purchase small and large items. When purchasing products or services with a foreign credit card in the USA, you may be charged additional fees by your credit card company for foreign purchases.

Credit cards and debit cards are very useful for cash advances but you must remember to bring your PIN number (be aware that many ATM machines only accept 4-digit PINs). Both Cirrus and Plus system cards are the most widely accepted debit cards. Both Visa and Master Cards are the most widely accepted credit cards. While ATMs are commonly available, there are no guarantees that your credit or debit cards will actually work check with your bank before you travel. A visit to an ATM can be arranged on Day 1 and other days of the trip.

Do not rely on credit or debit cards as your only source of money. A combination of US Dollars as cash (preferably smaller bills, 5's, 10's and 20's), traveller’s cheques and credit cards is best. Currency exchange is best obtained prior to travel or at the airport, currency exchange is very difficult to find in the USA and most banks do not accommodate.

Always take more rather than less, as you don't want to spoil the trip by constantly feeling short of funds.

As currency exchange rates can fluctuate often we ask that you refer to the following website for daily exchange rates: www.xe.com

Emergency Fund

Please also make sure you have access to at least an additional USD $200 (or equivalent) as an 'emergency' fund, to be used when circumstances outside our control (ex. a natural disaster) require a change to our planned route. This is a rare occurrence!

Tipping

It is customary in North America to tip service providers such as waiters, bartenders and taxi drivers, at approximately 15-18%, depending on the service. Tipping is an expected - though not compulsory - component of your tour program and an expression of satisfaction with the persons who have assisted you on your tour. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels. There are times during the trip where there is opportunity to tip any local guides used. Recommendations for tipping local guides would range from $2-8 USD per activity depending on the quality and length of the service; ask your CEO for specific recommendations based on the circumstances and culture.

Also at the end of each trip if you felt your G Adventures Chief Experience Officer did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however as a guideline $5-10 USD per person, per day can be used as a guide. If your CEO exceeded your expectations, feel free to tip more.

Optional Activities

Optional activity prices are subject to change and can fluctuate in relation to the high/low season and the number of people on a specific excursion. Not all excursions listed here may be available, due to season or weather conditions. As generally not a lot of time is spent in start/end cities, you may want to arrange to arrive early, or stay longer after the trip in order to allow sufficient time to participate in optional activities there.

All prices are per person, are in US dollar amounts.

San Francisco:
Cable Car Ride US$6 one way, US$14 one day
Bike Rental (full day) US$32 or US$36 (for higher end bike)
Sunset Sail (1.5 hrs) US$40

Jenny Lake
Boat Ride US$10 (return), $7 (one way)

Badlands
Horseback Riding US$28 (1 hr), $35 (1.5 hrs), $40 (2 hrs), $65 (1/2 day)
1880's Town US$12

Cody
Buffalo Bill Historical Center US$18
Night Rodeo US$18

Jackson Hole
Rafting on Snake River (3 hrs) US$75
Horseback Riding US$35 (1 hr), $50 (2 hrs), $65 (3 hrs)

Safety and Security

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. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers' cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your CEO has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Your CEO will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your CEO will assist you with options available in a given location please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgment when selecting an activity in your free time. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions.

Protests and Demonstrations- Protests and demonstrations, even those that are well intended, have the potential to turn violent with no warning. Counter protests can also turn violent. Action by security forces to disperse demonstrators and protesters may occur at any time. If you are in an area where demonstrators or protesters are gathering, avoid the temptation of staying for a good photo opportunity and leave the area immediately.

Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards) have a balanced approach to safety. It is our policy not to allow our CEOs to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).

Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk.

We take all prudent measures in relation to your safety. For ways to further enhance your personal safety while traveling, please visit:


www.gadventures.com/travel-resources/safety/

Medical Form

Our small group adventures bring together people of all ages. It is very important you are aware that, as a minimum, an average level of fitness and mobility' is required to undertake our easiest programs. Travellers must be able to walk without the aid of another person, climb 3-4 flights of stairs, step on and off small boats, and carry their own luggage at a minimum. Travellers with a pre-existing medical condition are required to complete a short medical questionnaire, which must be signed by their physician. This is to ensure that travellers have the necessary fitness and mobility to comfortably complete their chosen trip. While our CEOs work hard to ensure that all our travellers are catered for equally, it is not their responsibility to help individuals who cannot complete the day's activities unaided. Please refer to the physical ratings in this Trip Details document for more information.

The medical questionnaire can be found online at:

www.gadventures.com/medical-form
.

A Couple of Rules

Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on any 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 the world the special place it is. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our CEOs have the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance: Travel insurance is compulsory in order to participate on any of our trips. When travelling on a group trip, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance has been sighted by your CEO, who will take note of your insurance details. When selecting a travel insurance policy please bear in mind that all clients must have medical coverage and that we require a minimum coverage of USD 200,000 for repatriation and emergency rescue. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. If you have credit card insurance we require proof of purchase of the trip (a receipt of credit card statement) with a credit card in your name. Contact your bank for details of their participating insurer, the level of coverage and emergency contact telephone number.

Planeterra-The G Adventures Foundation

Through our commitment to responsible tourism we have developed the Planeterra Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of people and communities around the world through support of international charities, local organizations and community projects in the places that we visit on our tours. G Adventures matches all individual donations and pays all administration costs, which means that 100% of each donation is doubled and goes directly to support our projects. For more information about Planeterra and the projects we support, or to make a donation, please visit www.planeterra.org

Planeterra Dollar-A-Day Program
Our Dollar-A-Day Program provides travellers with the opportunity to help us give back to the people and places visited on our tours by donating one dollar per day for the duration of their tour. 100% of these proceeds will go directly to support our Planeterra projects.

To participate in this program please indicate at the time of booking that you would like to participate in G Adventures’ Dollar-A-Day program, either by clicking the check box online, or by advising your G Adventures specialist or travel agent. (Note: Donation will be charged in the currency of your booking)

Feedback

After your travels, we want to hear from you! Your feedback information is so important to us that we'll give you 5% off the price of your next G Adventures trip if your feedback is completed on-line within 30 days of finishing your trip. Your tour evaluation will be e-mailed to you 24 hours after the conclusion of your trip. If you do not receive the tour evaluation link in the days after your tour has finished, please drop us a line at customerservice@gadventures.com and we will send it on to you.

Newsletter

Our adventure travel e-newsletter is full of travel news, trip information, interesting stories and contests. To avoid missing out on special offers and updates from G Adventures, subscribe at www.gadventures.com/newsletters/

Stay current on how our company invests in our global community through our foundation – Planeterra. Sign up for Planeterra's monthly news to learn more about how to give back and support the people and places we love to visit.

Travel Forum - The Watering Hole

Be sure to stop by The Watering Hole, our adventure travel forum. If you're interested in meeting others booked on your upcoming trip, check out the Departure Lounge section of our forum and introduce yourself. Otherwise, just drop in at anytime to share some travel tips, ask questions, meet other travellers and quench your thirst for travel. Our forum is located at wateringhole.gadventures.com.