If you’re a fan of Victoria (inthefrow) or Brogan Tate, you’ve more than likely heard of TrekAmerica. Offering group tours of the USA to people between the ages of 18 and 36, TrekAmerica has a reputation for showing people the best of the USA. One of my friends Gemma went on a TrekAmerica tour for two weeks a few years ago and after seeing her amazing photos, I knew at some point I’d love to go on a similar trip. Faced with a relatively free Summer last year, I booked myself onto the September Deep South BLT (Budget Lodging Tour) and I set off for an incredible 10 days in America. On one of the Trek minibuses, 12 of us plus a tour leader travelled around Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi and Louisiana.
Now in March 2016 it’s a year since I booked my tour, so for today’s post I’m talking you through some of my tips for booking and preparing for your first TrekAmerica tour.
1. Choosing the perfect tour
I wanted a tour that was not too long, but would also include cities I’d never have the opportunity to visit otherwise. Ever since watching Princess and the Frog, I’ve so much wanted to visit New Orleans, so seeing it as the base city for the Deep South BLT was what convinced me to choose this tour. Make sure you pick the tour that is both the right length for you and one that has the most places you want to visit.
2. Choosing the time of year
The Summer months are usually the most expensive time of year to go on a tour, but if you want to get the best of both worlds and still have good weather, go for September! It was still 30 degrees in most of the cities on our trip, but the tour worked out a lot cheaper than going in July or August.
3. How long do you want to go for
Our tour ran from a Sunday to the following Sunday, departing from and returning to New Orleans. I thought a week was too short a length of time to be in America, so I decided to fly out a couple of days earlier. It can take quite a while to get used to the time difference in America, so I’d definitely consider travelling out a bit earlier, that way you’re not exhausted on the first few days of tour.
4. Choosing flights
You can book your flights through TrekAmerica direct or find your own. Before deciding which to opt for, have a look at skyscanner.net: a price comparison website for flights. Alternately, book your flights during Virgin Atlantic or British Airways sales. You can find some fantastic bargains!
If you opt to stay extra nights before or after Trek, book into TrekAmerica’s base hotel. That way on the first day of Trek, you’ll be in the location where the minibus departs from. The Best Western French Quarter Landmark is the base hotel in New Orleans and it’s beautiful. It’s only footsteps from Bourbon Street.
6. Extra Days
If you choose to stay in America for extra nights, you’ll want to make the most of the days. I had an extra day in New Orleans and it meant I got to see more than just the French Quarter and the hotel. Grayline offer amazing city tours and hop-on hop-off buses are always a good option if you’d rather not just explore on foot.
7. Budgeting for extra activities
You’ll have probably read on the TrekAmerica website that there are several optional activities available in each of the cities. These vary in cost and you can do as many of these as you wish. Make sure you budget in advance for these and keep the money separate, that way you’ll have enough money for trying the local food and buying souvenirs whilst you’re out there.
8. Write lists of where you’d like to visit
Before you go, write a list of everything you want to see whilst you’re on your tour. That way, if your tour guide gives you free time or asks your group where you want to go, you know where you’d like to visit. Some of our group visited the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville on a free afternoon.
9. Getting ready for your trip and making the most of it
Whatever happens, you want to have the best experience possible on tour! Do your research before, try and find fellow trekkers on TrekAmerica Live and read all of TrekAmerica’s advice on their website. Doing this made me feel much more prepared and ready for my trip. I even met one of my fellow trekkers that I’d spoken to on social media for breakfast on my extra day!
So last but not least is packing. What should you take?
An assortment of different clothes, appropriate for both wet and warm weather
A few evening outfits
A travel wallet. I kept all my travel documents, my passport and insurance details in one of these.
US dollars/a currency card
Student ID if you have one. You might be entitled to discounted tickets at some of the attractions!
Smaller bag (perfect for the evenings)
There you have it, my ten tips for booking and preparing for your TrekAmerica trip.
I hope this helps if you’re considering going on a tour.
Thank you for reading my blog today.
Love Mouse Chick ♡