Trek America :: Tips and Tricks


I'm going to assume that if you're reading this you've either already booked or are thinking of booking a trek with Trek America. If you're in the already booked category, be prepared to have one of the best times of your life. If you're still pondering over the thought and have resorted to Google to see what other people think, open a new tab right now and book it.

I've had a few questions recently about Trek America, my experiences and what you should pack ready for your trip. I spontaneously booked my trip in the last few weeks of my 3 months working at Walt Disney World, so definitely felt unprepared and overpacked for my Trek. Every trek is different, but here's what I'd recommend from my experience on the Western BLT trip:

1. Pack comfy shoes - As the name suggests, there's quite a few opportunities to do some hiking during your trek. Although they aren't too strenuous, trainers would be the most practical option. Don't forget to pack some shoes for exploring the cities, beach days and nights out too.

2. Pack for each location - Make sure you check out the weather forecast for each place you're visiting before you leave. I got a massive shock at how cold San Francisco was when I arrived and you could do with a jacket for the early mornings in places like the Grand Canyon and Yosemite too. Don't get a swimming costume either!

3. Pack light - I had so much stuff with me after living in Florida and oh how I wish I didn't have 3 months worth of packing with me. The lighter you can pack the better. For starters, you're in a mini van, so if you want enough leg room try to keep any hand luggage as small as possible. Ideally just a bag that can carry a camera, phone, snacks and water.

4. Water bottle - Take a reusable one with you if possible. Trek America is all about good RT (responsible travel). If not, buy a big bottle at one of your supermarket stops and refill it when possible. You don't want to get dehydrated on your hikes or feel thirsty when you're driving through the desert on van appreciation days.

5. Take a camera- You'll regret it if you don't! You're going to see some amazing sights, meet amazing people and you're going to want to annoy as many people as possible with the photos of your trip when you get home.

6. Update your iPod/Phone for music - A good playlist is essential for your time in the van. There's going to be some very early mornings and long journeys, so some good songs make these more bearable. There's still songs I can't listen to without feeling I'm back in the van. Going to Vegas? It's pretty much essential you recreate this scene, so make sure you download Kanye.

7. Take two towels - This isn't a completely necessity, but 2 towels may be a good idea. One for showers, one for recreational stuff like beach trips and river swimming.

8. Spending money - I'd recommend getting a travel card such as a Fair FX. Don't forget some cash too for tips and gambling in Vegas. Trek recommend about $50 per day of your Trek to cover food, tips and other items. Don't forget to account for any extra activities you might want to take part in whilst you're there. 

9. Sleep - Get as much sleep as you can on the plane over as you're not going to get much of it over the next week or so. Most of my sleeping was done in the van from place to place, so if you can't fall asleep at the drop of a hat like I can, it might be worth packing a eye mask, ear plugs, neck rest etc.

10. Ditch the technology - Don't bother taking your laptop/iPad etc. You're going to be having way too much fun to care about having those with you, so save the weight and space. 

A few other questions I always get asked:

What are Van Appreciation Days? - The affectionate name given to those days where you're in the van for 4 hours+ travelling from place to place. They're not as bad as you'd think, so don't let this put you off. They're a great chance to get to know your fellow trekkers, catch up on sleep, sing along to your amazing playlist, play games or in our case complete some pictures in our colouring books. These days are normally broken up by your trek leader stopping at petrol stations and points of interest along the route so you can stretch your legs and grab some snacks.

How does food work? - Every trek seems to do this a bit differently. In our group, most of us put about $20 a day into a kitty. We used this to buy breakfast and lunch for each day of our trip. This gave us more than enough food and also some alcohol. Evening meals we paid for ourselves, either as a big group sharing pizza's in Yosemite, eating at the hotel or finding nice restaurants in Vegas.

What is accommodation like? - Much better than we all expected! I did a 'BLT' tour, which stands for Budget Lodging Tour. From 'budget lodging' I expected cheap, basic motel style hotels and hostels, yet on the most part they were actually really nice hotels. The only 'motel' style accommodation was in the Grand Canyon and the only hostel was in Yosemite. Aside from the Yosemite hostel where we were all in the same room, you got paired with one other person on your Trek to share your hotel room with. Here's the hotels we stayed at during our Trek:
San Francisco: The Good Hotel
Yosemite: Yosemite Bug
Las Vegas: Bally's (I know a lot of Trekkers stay at the Golden Nugget)
Grand Canyon: Red Feather Lodge
Laughlin: Harrah's
Los Angeles: Hacienda Hotel

I'm afraid I can't comment on camping experiences on Trek as mine had no camping involved, but there's plenty of info on what you need to take on these treks online if you need it.

Should I travel alone? - 100%! Don't let the fact you'd be travelling alone put you off. Our trek was half solo travellers, half people travelling with a friend or partner. It's an ideal way of going travelling solo, with the safety and company of other people.

If you want more information on your specific trek, Trek America have also put together some Trek specific tips here.

I hope this helped with your upcoming trip, you're going to have an amazing time. If there's any other questions you need answered, just leave me a message below and I'll do my best to help! 

1 comment:

  1. Great blog, thanks for all the tips. I'm doing the Western BLT in a couple of weeks. So excited!

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