Some of you may know that last month I travelled across North America, starting at The Big Apple and ending in the foggy city that is San Francisco. It was a crazy, wet, stunning and an unforgettable experience, probably the best month of my life to date. I thought this post would basically explain a bit about the tour as a few of my readers have asked questions, so it would be rude not to write a post right? I'm planning to write more on what to pack, and short entries on each location - so keep your eyes peeled for those!
Where to begin?
My boyfriend Jack and I decided at the beginning of the year that we had to do a little travelling in the summer. We both went interrailing last year for two weeks (read about it here: Europe Travels - Interailling Top Tips) and of course we had itchy feet, there was no way we weren't going to explore this year! So we popped into STA Travel and had a little discussion of what we wanted to do, our budget, location and style of tour. It boiled down to North America, a G Adventure 'yolo' tour which would take a group of us across the states covering around 5000 miles in 23 days. It was exciting, after heading home and umming and ahhing we decided to book it, and as luck would have it we had a discounted price. Winning! The tour was camp site based with the occasional motels within city areas, this makes the tour that little bit cheaper compared to other tours. Honestly I'm not a huge camp fanatic, but it was a whole load of fun and it's more like glamping! Our travel agent,booked the tour, flights and extra accommodation, so if you are after a chilled and stress free way to plan your travelling experience this could definitely be for you.
Before you speak to a travel agent plan your:
- Tour style
- Length of tour
This may be shocking to some but the majority of the group were travelling solo. I thought this was so brave to join a group without a friend by your side. You meet so many people when travelling and you make such bonds with the people you meet. Anyone wondering if it's worth travelling alone I would say YES, it is all about the people when it comes to these tours and sharing experiences together. I miss the people on my tour so much, I even got Facebook back for them!
What to expect from a yolo tour?
- Long driving days
- Setting up and packing away tents and equipment
- Preparation of dinner and washing dishes (It's not that bad - I promise!)
- Cold and wet days (we had thunderstorms! - I thought it would be hot and sunny the whole time, it so wasn't!) BRING A WATERPROOF!
- Camp fires, laughs and smores, lots of smores. If you don't know what smores are, they're toasted marshmallow sandwiches with melted chocolate and graham crackers. Amazing, I know.
- Short hikes
- Swims in lakes/rivers/camp site pools
- Sad goodbyes - During these trips many of your friends may depart early due to being on a separate trip so it could get emotional, bring tissues
- Let your tour guide know about your dietary needs
- You are advised to tip your tour guides at the end, the recommended amount is $5-10 a day
- And of course, seeing the most amazing sights!
For a month of travelling I would advice for the camping tours to have a little over $1000 dollars if you are planning on spending a few extra days in the first and last locations. We made sure to speak to our travel agent to book extra days in NY and San Fran, just to make sure we explored these cities as much as we could!
My favourite places on the tour
Obviously New York was phenomenal, especially because it was our first location. I felt like an ant among the trees, but I almost felt at home. The weather was awful but we didn't let it dampen our moods and of course we did all the tourist attractions. Another highlight was Niagara Falls - I would totally recommend doing the Cave Of The Winds, of course you get soaked but it was definitely one of my favourite moments getting drenched underneath the waterfall. Yellowstone was stunning, Badlands was like being on Mars and San Francisco has to be one of my favourite cities in the world. Too many favourites? Probably.
Would I book another tour with G Adventures?
Generally the tour was amazing, one down side however was that we were unfortunate with the tour guides. Luckily we didn't let it get us down or ruin our trip, but the female guide seemed to think she was part of the group rather than a leader and liked to get drunk, eat people's food and was quite rude to many people in the group. The van we travelled in wasn't very comfortable, it was very bumpy and there was no plug sockets as suggested on the website. Another problem I found was there was limited availability for those with dietary requirements. I want to be honest with you, there were some downsides with the management of the trip but visiting all these incredible places was so worth it and I wouldn't change it for anything, I experienced some amazing things and met the most wonderful people. I probably would book with G again as I imagine other tour guides would be more professional and hard working, but I think I will do some research into other companies before planning my next getaway!
Let me know any more questions in the comments! And what else you would like to read about the trip!