I’ve been on 2 TrekAmerica trips now and I loved both for different reasons. My first trip was a cross country trip in the USA called the Southern BLT. It started from LA and ended in New York. I booked this trip for my birthday and it took about 2 years for me to save up for it but it was completely worth it. I spent 4 weeks in America going from the west coast to the East coast. There was a lot to see on this trip and no day was the same. My second trip was the Glaciers + Grizzlies tour in Canada, where I did a loop from Vancouver to the Rockies and back again. This trip was so different to my first trip. We saw a lot more small little towns and was in the thick of nature. There was also a lot more wildlife on our trip. We saw 21 bears, elk, mountain goats, big horn sheep and some of the girls saw whales when they went back to Vancouver. So, how did I pick my trips and what should you consider when you are trying to pick yours:
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WHAT TYPE OF ACCOMMODATION DO YOU WANT?
There are 4 different types of TrekAmerica trip. Each has pros and cons. Not all types are for everyone but there will be at least one style which will suit you:
Camping is the most popular style of accommodation for TrekAmerica. That’s right! Putting up a tent and sleeping under the stars. Personally, I need too old for camping and I have back problems from years of sitting behind a desk. However, this is the most social-able style of trip as you get to pitch your tents together and spend time chatting around a campfire before going to bed. I used to go camping a lot when I was a kid and I was a camp counselor so I know how much fun this style is. It’s also the cheapest option if you are money conscious.
The second style is BLT which stands for Budget Lodging Tour. Not Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato. This is what I did on my first tour. We stayed in anything which has a roof over your head but still keeps you on a budget. You could be staying in hotels, hostels, motels and even guesthouses. All of the accommodation I stayed in was clean, comfortable and perfectly fine. I was really worried about the hostels but we were all together and they were a lot nicer then my imagination let me believe. We were normally on a twin share basis for most nights but when it came to hostel nights we shared with either 4-6 of us. On one night we were all in one room, even the boys! However, it was fine and fun experience for all of us.
Plus tours are just hotels. My Glaciers + Grizzlies tour in Canada this year was a Plus tour. This was amazing as all the accommodation was hotels and they were mostly really nice. Some, like the hotels we stayed in Whistler, were just unbelievable. That one had a swimming pool and a Jacuzzi. The rooms were just seriously fantastic. We had a bedroom each and a bathroom each. One of the best hotels I’ve ever stayed in EVER!
Lastly, there’s BOLT & Overland tours. These tours are mostly in Central and South America. I was looking at doing one of there Mexico trips this year but my funds just could stretch it so maybe next year. You can be staying in hotels, budget lodging, camping or travelling overnight in the bus.
HOW LONG DO YOU WANT TO GO FOR?
Trek offers different lengths of tours so depending on your holiday dates there will be something that will fit for you. My first trip was 3 weeks and for this trip I had to get a sabbatical with work as it was longer than 2 weeks holiday. I also wanted to stay for a few days either side which took my time off to a month! Nice right! My Canada trip was 11 days. The Rockies in Canada can easily be done in less than a fortnight. The USA is obviously a lot bigger and depending on what you want to see can take a lot longer. Trek has trips which go from just 3 days to a whopping 60+ days! How long do you want your adventure to last?
DO YOU WANT BIG CITIES OR NATURE?
What do you want to see? That’s the biggest question! Do you want to explore big cities or go on lots of hikes? Do you want to be in the middle of a noise city with lots to see or be stuck in the middle of nowhere and checking out the wildlife. Do you want to go out into town every night or make smores around a campfire and sleep under the stars. Trek has tours all over the Americas so what do you want to see? Go out in Vegas, check out Alcatraz and go shopping in LA then the US West coast it is? Or maybe you want to get out of the cities and replace that city noise with the sounds of the woods. In this case, Canada is for you.
FOOD! FOOD! FOOD!
The USA and Canada are pretty similar in the case of food for your tour. The biggest difference is dependent on which style of accommodation you chose. If you opt for hotels then you are more likely to be eating out at restaurants with your group. If you chose the camping tours then you’ll be cooking your food most nights around a camp fire. Camping tours also have a food kitty which will save you lots of money on your trip whereas if you do hotel tours then you will be spending that additional expense in restaurants. However, on Plus tours some of the meals are included in the price! We had all our breakfast included on our trip and 2 dinners within the price of the trip. This was a great help budgeting wise.
HOW MANY PEOPLE DO YOU WANT TO BE TRAVELLING WITH?
The normal trek van size is 13 maximum. That’s 12 other passengers you’ll be getting to know. I think that’s a great group size. Not too many people and not too few. On my first tour we had 11 people and the same for my 2nd tour. So the tours weren’t full but very close. Plus tours can be up to 50 people. For me that’s too many people for me but potentially that’s more chances for you to make friends with someone on your trips. However, there is more possibility too of potential groups forming and cliques. The original tours of a maximum of 13 people is perfect for me. Don’t forget your tour Leader too! They’re awesome! They do all the driving and have a lot of knowledge about each area.
HOW MUCH MONEY DO YOU WANT TO SPEND?
My Southern BLT tour was nearly £2000 and I spent nearly 2 years saving up for that trip then plus the spending money on top. The 2nd trip to Canada was about £1200 but it included a lot of optional activities which you would have to pay for in other tours and had food included too. Depending on how long the trip is the more it will cost. So if you are limited on funds then maybe a cheeky 1 week trip and do camping. However, if you see a trip you really want to do then plan in advance like I did. Save up and book it for in a years time. I made sure I put aside enough money each month so I could afford my first trip. It taught me a lot of about saving money for something I really wanted to do. It was totally worth it in the end!
Need more information? Check out my TrekAmerica Q&A vlog on my YouTube Channel and don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE!