It’s only just over a week until I head off to the States for my very first Trek America tour so countdown Hawaii is well and truly on on now. It still hasn’t really sunk in that in a few weeks’ time I’ll be jetting off alone thousands of miles away from home to spend 8 days or so with a bunch of strangers. I’ve done an organized tour before but this is going to be on another level as I have a lot more traveling to do than when I went to Morocco with Exodus, and it’s going to be a totally different type of holiday.
Anyone who’s doing an organized trip knows how much you need to be prepared, especially when you’re braving it on your own like me *gulp*. If you hadn’t guessed it I am one of those super duper prepared people who likes to have everything sorted as early in advance and paperwork was something I could do way ahead of time. If you’re heading to the States you’ll need to make sure you have:
- A valid passport with at least 6 months’ additional time on it. If your passport runs out less than 6 month’s after travelling you may not be able to board your plane.
- An ESTA which is a visa for the States valid if you’re there for under a few months. Once you apply these can last up to two years’. While you don’t need a print out of this I always think it’s handy.
If you’re going on an organized tour you’ll also want to make sure you have:
- A print out of the tour notes. These are useful as they give you a rundown of where you’ll be each day/ night, the starting and ending times and locations and other useful information.
- Two printouts of your travel insurance information. Most tour organizers will only let you join if you have valid travel insurance and chances are they’ll want a copy so always print one for you and one for them.
- Vouchers for the trip/ hotels. I booked an additional nights hotel at the beginning and end of my tour so I can arrive the night before the tour starts and have an evening there before I leave so I have vouchers which I’ll need to present to my hotel when I arrive.
Other things you’ll want to look into before heading away are:
- Phone contracts. I know for a fact I will probably get limited Wifi in Hawaii but EE who are my providers charge such a lot for roaming (like £4 a day) so I am going to look into a Three Mobile phone contract for while I’m away. It might be a pain to have a different number but it could save me a hell of a lot of money and enable me to contact my loved one’s and make everyone jealous with photos on Instagram.
- Currency. Of course, anywhere you head outside the UK you’ll need some local currency but in more remote locations like islands, or off the beaten track you don’t want to rely on cash points so make sure you think about your expenses and ensure you have enough currency for your trip. With Trek America, we have to put into a kitty to cover the cost of general food and drink so you have to have this in cash on arrival.
While what you take on each tour will vary and always include similar things like clothes, toiletries, sunglasses and suncream Trek America are slightly different in that they’re predominantly a camping tour so essentials such as a sleeping bag, pillow, head torch and travel towel are even more essential here than anywhere else.