This Trek America trip is definitely getting plenty of blog mileage, eh? Ever since I came back from my (pretty short) trip and have raved about it in person and online, loads of people have been asking about my experience – and a few have even said they’ve booked as a result, which is literally the most exciting feeling EVER. I had such an incredible time (in case you hadn’t guessed already, LOL), and being able to inspire other people to experience the same things I did is just…wow. As a result, I thought I’d put together an ‘FAQ’ style post of some of the main things I’ve been asked – and I hope it helps anyone who’s thinking of doing Trek America to finally take the plunge!
1 | It’s not all hiking and camping
Despite having ‘Trek’ in the name, not all of the trips will involve roughing it in a tent or hiking for days across the country. I went along on the Western BLT tour, and spent every night in an actual bed. Most nights I shared a room with one other person, but for two nights all the girls slept in a hostel-style dorm. Which was basically like an awesome sleepover. If you do want to get involved with the more ‘back to basics’ trekking side, there’s plenty on offer. If you want something a little less strenuous, check out their Budget Lodging Tours (BLTs), which all involve four walls and a mattress as opposed to canvas and roll mats.
2 | You won’t be alone
Trek America is great if you’re wanting to travel but don’t have anyone adventurous enough to go with you. As my first ever solo trip, I felt like I had backup and support if something were to go wrong. I get that completely solo travel can be really empowering, but I’m definitely a people person and loved sharing the experience with others who completely GOT how amazing everything was.
3 | You’ll be with people around your own age & mindset
Some of my group were first time travellers, and some had already spent months going around the world – but everyone was excited and passionate about seeing and doing as much as possible. I genuinely made some amazing friends during the trip – thanks to eight days in close proximity and a small van, we all bonded pretty quickly. The group size was just right – not so big that you feel lost, but enough people that you can split into smaller groups if people want to do something different.
4 | Your basic itinerary is planned out for you…
Day-to-day, our AMAZING tour leader Helen (seriously, SUCH a babe) looked after us, driving from place to place and taking us to some of the major sights that’d be on everyone’s trip bucket list. The Fremont Street show in Vegas, Hoover Dam, Golden Gate Bridge. I think I’d definitely have struggled to see as much as I did without a little bit of guidance along the way.
5 | …But there’ll be plenty of free time too
As well as the activities that were part of the Trek, we were also given plenty of free time to wander off on our own and explore. At the Grand Canyon, for example, Helen gave us a run-down of what there was to do, including hikes for the more adventurous among us, but then left us to choose our own activities for the day. I chose the less strenuous laid-back exploring option (you can read all about it here!). In Vegas, we had a whole free day and night to explore the city, as well as evenings in Yosemite, and short stop-offs to look around on Route 66 and places of interest along the way. Trek America is definitely a great mixture of guided adventures and free time to choose your own activities, and I feel like I really made the most of the time I was there.
6 | Expect early starts
Most days, we were up and about at 7-8am, which would normally have me groaning into my pillow. Strangely though, my body clock seemed to adjust really well – maybe it was the time difference, or the fact I was insanely excited for each day – and I woke up fresh as a daisy. And basically, if I wanted a week of lie-ins, I’d just book a week off work and stay in bed. (although, if you’re really worried about sleeping time, there was no wake up call on our Vegas free day!)
7 | …because you’ll see A LOT
It probably also helped that our days were so packed, I was definitely ready for some early(ish, talking midnight here, not silly early) nights. If you’re looking for a relaxing, chilled out holiday, Trek America probably isn’t for you – but I feel like if you’re doing a trip like this, you’ll definitely want to make the most of it. When I got back, and people asked how it was, after blurting OMG SO AMAZING at them, my second statement was usually “and I saw SO MUCH”. Even though we were in each stop for a short time, I feel like I really got my money’s worth in terms of how much I saw and experienced.
8 | It’s worth booking some extra nights at each end
My tour started in Los Angeles and ended in San Francisco – but because of travelling from and to the cities, we actually only spent a couple of hours exploring each city as part of the tour itself. So I arranged two nights in the Custom Hotel, LA – the starting point of my trek – and two nights in the Good Hotel, San Francisco, the end point. If you’re doing the Western BLT, I’d definitely recommend the Custom Hotel as it’s quite out of the way to get to for the 7am tour start, but in San Fran, some of the group stayed in the nearby USA Hostel, where beds in a dorm start at $35 per night.
9 | The long drives? Really not that bad
Our longest drive was from Vegas to Yosemite, which took pretty much a whole day to complete. Even though I’m quite accustomed to long-ass coach journeys, I was a bit apprehensive about this leg as, well, small van, long distance. Turns out, it didn’t feel like it took that long at all. We had plenty of chatting time in the van, regular stop-offs and the chance to explore little places along the way – I barely watched any of the TV episodes I’d downloaded to my tablet. Helen also entertained us on the journeys with music and podcasts, which definitely helped pass the time easily.
10 | You won’t regret it
I spent months and months working my ass off doing extra shifts, saving and planning for the trip – and it was worth every penny, hour and painstakingly double-checked flight itinerary. The Atlantic Dream is next up on my wishlist, taking in NYC, Washington, Nashville, Memphis, New Orleans, Orlando and ending up in Miama. Yep, I’m ready for a Trek with CAMPING. Honestly, my trip was pretty much a life-defining adventure for me, and it’s given me a real appetite for seeing more of the world, as cliche as that sounds. So would I recommend Trek America? HELL YES. DO IT.
Have you ever been on a Trek America trip? If not, which ones would be on your bucket list?