You may be aware that I spent the past two months travelling around America with trekamerica, and I cannot recommend them enough! Here are my top tips if you’re considering or have already booked yourself onto a tour.
1) Take a suitcase. You might want to live the stereotypical ‘traveller/backpacker’ dream, but give your back a break (trust me, it will get a workout if you’re hiking) and invest in a suitcase! You can not only fit more clothes in it, you will also have more room for the inevitable souvenirs that you will buy! I personally took a hardshell suitcase which definitely came in handy when there were torrential downpours and some of the tents got flooded!
2) Take insect repellant with at least 50% DEET. Believe it or not, mosquitoes and ticks live in America. And they just love your skin. When you arrive at camp, DEET. When you just come out of the shower, DEET. When you’re in Lafayette, DEET. (I forgot to DEET in Lafayette, and my legs are still recovering now). Just remember to DEET.
sunrise at monument valley
3) Buy a pillow when you get there. If you’re camping, invest in a $2 pillow from Walmart when you arrive. You already have to sleep on the ground, why make it more uncomfortable without a cheap fluffy pillow?
4) Take a head torch (and batteries). You never know when you might need to put your tent up in the dark (as we found out in Jackson, Wyoming). Luckily for me and Polly, we had built our tent about 15 times before then and mastered the art of tent erecting in the dark perfectly. But a head torch does help. It also helps for late night trips to the toilets too…
the girls at niagara falls
5) Invest in a good waterproof jacket. If the rain curse decides to follow you on your tour (like it did ours), a waterproof jacket is a must-have!
6) Take hiking boots. These guys will especially come in handy if you’re visiting any of the National Parks. I bought these waterproof Gelert high top boots from Sports Direct, and they were great not only for walking, but for when you’re cooking in ankle deep water! (as we discovered in Cedar Point, Ohio!)
7) It will get cold. Cold you say!? Yup, it does get cold in America, especially at night! So make sure you pack yourself a comfy hoodie (this will be your campsite and van drive essential) and some fluffy cosy socks to keep those tootsies warm!
the trek family at mt. washburn, yellowstone
8) Flip flops are a must! At first, you will use them for when you visit the showers, but as the trip goes on, they literally become your footwear staple (aside from hiking boots) and you will wear them everywhere! You can thank me for this tidbit later…
9) Be prepared to tip! The American minimum wage is $2.13p/h. Without tips, the amazing waiter who served you your beautiful food won’t be able to pay their rent or even buy food of their own. So don’t forget to tip your waiters (between 15-20%), and to also tip a $1 to the bartender per drink. (Tipping bartenders also ensures you’ll get their attention first and maybe a little stronger tipple in your drink the next time you head to the bar)
the girls at angels landing, zion
10) If you’re gonna start a prank war, make sure you execute your ideas perfectly! As me and Polly learnt on our Northern Trail trip! After a triumphant first round taking the tarp off the boys’ tent, our pranking then went down hill. (Note to self: Flip flops and giggles will give the game away)
11) You will make friends! Most of the people on your tour will be solo travellers and will be in the same boat as you. But after the first van ride, you will become so close (you’re literally spending 24/7 with them), that you will get on with somebody! One conversation starter is: ‘what place are you looking forward to visiting the most?’
There you go! I hope this helps anyone who is considering or has already booked a trekamerica tour! If you have any questions, please feel free to ask them in the comments below!
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