Can I book pre and post tour accommodation? Is my tour guaranteed to run?
Most trips include an arrival day and you can arrive at any time before your early evening welcome briefing. Tours spend limited time at the start and finish city, and your Global Journeys Travel Advisor can pre-book additional hotel nights before and after your trip through Grand American Adventures. Where possible, please make your hotel requests at the time of booking your tour.
Do I get a loyalty discount if I have travelled with Grand American Adventures before?
Select tours are guaranteed to run as soon as you book. However, most tours will be guaranteed as soon as they reach minimum numbers (usually four or five passengers).
How many people can I expect on a Grand American Adventures' tour?
If you've travelled with Grand American Adventures before, you're eligible to join Grand American Rewards and save on your next tour. You'll save 5% on your second and third trip and 10% on your fourth or subsequent trips.
These discounts are valid for you and anyone travelling with you and can be combined with any last minute discount or multi trip discounts, up to a maximum saving of 20%. Please note, the loyalty scheme is at Grand American Adventures' discretion and they reserve the right to amend details or terminate the scheme at any time.
Are there any age limits on Grand American Adventures tours?
Grand American Adventures maintains a maximum group size of 12 to 14 people on most tours in North America (up to 28 on select specialist tours operated by a local partner), with travellers from all over the world sharing the common desire to experience and explore the great outdoors. Group sizes vary. See individual tours for information on the maximum group size.
Are all tours conducted in English?
Tours with Grand American Adventures are designed for adults 16 years and older (under 18 must be accompanied by an adult). While most passengers are 25-65, many people both above and below this range travel with Grand American Adventures. For safety reasons, travellers over 70 will be asked to complete a self-declaration of fitness.
On Family Discovery Tours the average age of children is 13 years old and the minimum age is usually six years old. Minimum ages are specified for each individual tour. Children 16 years and under receive a 10% discount on family tours.
Travellers with Grand American Adventures may come from many countries around the world, but all Grand American Adventures tours are conducted in English.
When will I receive my travel documents? Passport and Visa Requirements
All documentation for Grand American Adventures is sent electronically by email. Shortly after Global Journeys receives your payment your Travel Advisor will send you your initial documents. Final documentation will be sent by email no later than five weeks prior to the departure.
Your travel documents will include trip notes including packing information, joining instructions, a day by day itinerary and a list of optional activities. Trip notes have been prepared to provide you with the all essential details that you'll need to know before your forthcoming trip, however, these are not intended to be a complete guide and your tour leader will provide you with more detailed information en route.
Do I need travel insurance to travel with Grand American Adventures?
It is your responsibility to have a valid passport and all Visa, Permits and Certificates required for your selected holiday. Global Journeys do not arrange Visas however we have provided information here to assist with the process.
Do I need any vaccinations for my trip?
Comprehensive travel insurance is compulsory for anyone joining a tour. Grand American Adventures recommends you take out insurance as soon as your booking is confirmed. You must be covered by insurance that includes adequate coverage for baggage, medical expenses and the cost of repatriation should you become too ill to continue to travel.
In addition to this, Grand American Adventures strongly recommends that you include coverage for tour cancellation in the event that you must cancel your reservation prior to departure because of serious illness or injury to yourself, a member of your immediate family or traveling companions.
If you join a Grand American Adventures tour without adequate insurance, you may not be allowed to continue with no right to a refund. It is a mistake to think that it will never happen to you. Please ensure your policy covers all the optional activities you may wish to participate in.
How much luggage can I bring on tour?
You should consult your doctor before you travel with regard to vaccinations for the specific areas that you'll visit. Illness or dental problems can spoil your holiday, so it's wise to have a thorough check up before you leave home.
How fit do I need to be for my tour?
All luggage is stored in a specially designed trailer or in the back of the vehicle, so please don't bring more than one suitcase, soft holdall or rucksack (maximum 23kg) plus your sleeping bag (where applicable).
Your suitcase/rucksack may get some rough handling, so make sure it's tough. Small hand baggage may be carried inside the vehicle. Grand American Adventures cannot be held responsible for lost or damaged luggage. Before you travel, please check the baggage allowance with the airline you're flying with as this may be less than your tour allowance of 23kg. Some hotels may be able to store your extra luggage.
What if I have limited mobility?
Active tours with Grand American Adventures are suitable for people of all levels of fitness. Active tours embrace the spirit of the explorer and usually include a range of adventurous activities. Walks, hikes and activities cater to everyone from beginner to expert, ranging in difficulty from easy to strenuous. There will often be a wide variety of options available depending on your interests, budget and ability.
If you have concerns about the suitability of a tour, your Global Journeys Travel Advisor will be able to talk you through the best options for your individual needs.
Who will my Tour Leader be? Am I expected to tip on tour?
All tours with Grand American Adventures are accompanied by a professional tour leader, who is there to help you get the most out of your adventure. Grand American Adventures will also use specialist local guides in certain locations, to provide in depth information or expertise. Grand American Adventures provides the right kind of person to handle the multitude of needs that arise throughout any tour. They are very selective in their choice of tour leaders, employing people from many professional backgrounds, who lead active lifestyles themselves.
Grand American Adventures believes that the most important ingredient for the success of any tour is the tour leader and they are extremely proud of the high professional standards set by their leaders. The level of customer satisfaction underscores this. Grand American Adventures' training programme begins with recruiting the right people and developing their natural talents via substantial training in all areas, with special attention paid to group dynamics and leadership. In addition, tour leaders receive various forms of instruction from training and operations teams including first aid, driving techniques, vehicle maintenance, menu planning and emergency procedures. Once leaders complete their initial training, they receive hands-on education in the field from managers and senior tour leaders who can relay years of experience and knowledge.
Please note that US and Canadian law regulates the total number of hours your tour leader is available to work. Grand American Adventures trips are designed to make the most of your time in North America, but please understand that there will be certain times each day that your leader will need to be off duty from work. Due to these restrictions, particularly after the longer driving days, your leader may not be able to join you for some of the daily activities or may need to tend to other work duties. Your leader will provide you with the best information required to enjoy each trip day safely and to its fullest. They will provide maps, suggested activities and restaurants, and may decide to join you and the group on their own time off.
Are all tours operated by Grand American Adventures?
Although it may not be customary in your country, it is normal and expected in North America to tip local guides, waiters, bar staff, taxi drivers and anyone who provides a service for you. Service workers are paid a low wage and depend on tips for their livelihood. It can be embarrassing if you're confronted by a local who is expecting a tip and you are not aware of how much to offer. For this reason, Grand American Adventures has listed guideline prices below.
A 15-17% tip is standard in restaurants and you should also expect to tip $1 per drink in bars, $1-2 per bag for porters and 10% for taxi drivers. It's also typical to tip around 10% for local guides who provide optional activities.
Your tour leader will work long and hard for you during your tour and Grand American Adventures recommends a discretionary tip of US$5-$10 per passenger per day if your leader's performance meets or exceeds your expectations. This is of course entirely optional.
What vehicles are used on tour?
Selected specialist tours in North America are run by well established local tour operators who are trusted partners or one of Grand American Adventures' sister companies. These companies have been carefully selected for their professionalism and knowledge of the region or specialism for that type of tour. They all maintain Grand American Adventures' philosophy of running high quality, small group tours that offer a personal local perspective and unbeatable value for money.
What can I expect on a camping tour?
In North America you'll travel in a comfortable private vehicle which is driven by your tour leader. All of Grand American Adventures' vehicles have air conditioning and excellent stereo systems. All luggage, equipment and other necessities are stored in a specially designed trailer or storage area to maximise space and comfort in the vehicle. Every group is virtually self-sufficient and able to explore the backroads where the crowds can't go. Every passenger will have one seat and safety belt on board their vehicles.
When travelling within USA (excluding Alaska) vehicles are equipped with free Wi-Fi, subject to a set data quota, sufficient for normal usage. Up to five people can be connected to the Wi-Fi at one time. Grand American Adventures operates a fair usage policy to ensure everyone has access, which means you are not permitted to stream films/music or upload/download large documents which may deplete the group's data allowance. Please disconnect from the Wi-Fi network when you're not using it to avoid using up data unnecessarily. Please note, you may not be able to pick up the Wi-Fi in some remote areas. Wi-Fi is also widely available in built-up areas including some accommodation and campgrounds throughout the USA and Canada.
It may be necessary from time to time to utilise an alternative vehicle from the one described in the brochure, or in some cases to utilise complementary public transportation (including trains/airplanes/ferries/buses), as local operating conditions permit. All transport is chosen with the safety, efficiency and comfort of the traveller in mind.
Do I need to bring a sleeping bag?
Camping within and nearby the national parks is an ideal way to access nature's beautiful trails. Grand American Adventures uses high quality dome tents, field kitchens and camp chairs so you can comfortably relax and enjoy the natural surroundings. Grand American Adventures provides all the necessary camping equipment including tents, inflatable sleeping mats, cold food storage containers, camp lights, stoves and other camping accessories.
The only thing you need to bring is a sleeping bag and a pillow. The high quality tents are very easy to set up and take down on your own, and your leader will show you how. Grand American Adventures camp with two people in each spacious tent, which leaves more than enough room for your luggage. If you would like your own tent you can upgrade with an optional Solo Sleeper. Most meals whilst camping are included in the price of your tour (please see your itinerary and trip notes for included meals), and your tour leader will help you to prepare fresh, delicious meals during your trip.
Many campgrounds are situated in stunning settings giving groups opportunities not found by conventional tourists. When camping near major city destinations, nearly all the campgrounds have full facilities such as showers, pools, shops and laundromats. Virtually all national park campgrounds have pay showers, flush toilets and basic facilities. Occasionally, groups will choose to stay in more isolated areas or 'wilderness camps' where the surroundings will quickly make you forget any lack of facilities. Most camping based trips will also spend some nights in hotels during the tour, usually in the cities. This is usually on a twin share basis, but on occasion may be multi share.
Tour leaders will organise food shopping, meal preparation and clean up on camping based tours. With instruction from your tour leader, passengers will set up, pack their tents / kitchen, help prepare meals and assist leaders as requested.
What can I expect on a hotel based tour?
You need to bring your own sleeping bag for all camping based trips. Grand American Adventures recommends a 'three season' bag during the summer months and a 'four season' bag the rest of the year, as some nights can be cool to cold, especially in mountainous and desert areas. Grand American Adventures does not provide pillows on camping tours.
What are my rooming options with Grand American Adventures?
Grand American Adventures hotel accommodation is based on comfortable hotels (typically three star standard) that are chosen for their friendly atmosphere, amenities and location. You may also stay in cabins, guest ranches and other unique accommodation depending on your itinerary. On some tours Grand American Adventures also offers the chance to stay in historic and characterful cabins or lodges that lie within the national parks themselves. On hotel based tours, you'll eat in local restaurants and get the chance to sample local specialties.
What rooming options are available on family tours?
Accommodation on tour is based on twin share, so if you're travelling on your own, you'll share a room or tent with a passenger of the same sex. Grand American Adventures does not charge any compulsory single supplements (except on Alaska Adventure Cruises, Churchill Polar Bear Experience, and Whales & Polar Bear Experience, where a single supplement is compulsory).
However, if you would prefer your own space then Grand American Adventures can offer an optional Solo Sleeper on the majority of tours. This will give you your own room or tent for every night or the majority of nights on your trip. Where this is not possible every night it is usually due to spending the night in unique or remote locations. Tour specific information can be found for each trip in the trip notes or ask your Global Journeys Travel Advisor. The number of Solo Sleepers per tour is limited and is subject to availability so it's best to book early if you would like this option.
Will a tour leader accompany all guided day hikes?
Accommodation on hotel based tours will be allocated on a twin share basis. Anyone under 18 will be assigned a room with an adult. If you have young children, you have the option of requesting a room for three or four people at a discounted rate. These rooms are triple or quad share (sharing two queen sized double beds), rather than three or four bedrooms. This should be requested at the time of booking. If there is one adult and two children under 18 years in your family, you will all be allocated the same room. On camping trips, one tent will be allocated for every two people.
Will there be optional activities available on my tour?
Tour leaders enjoy spending as much time as possible on the trail with their groups. As interests and capabilities do vary, leaders will typically choose to guide day hikes according to each group's needs and the difficulty of the hike. On walking tours with two leaders, depending on their working hours, the leaders will either guide separate hikes or offer additional activities and support. It will not always be possible for every hiker to be accompanied by a guide when groups divide up to explore different trails.
Also please note that in Denali National Park, Death Valley National Park, Grand Teton National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, Mount Rainer National Park and Glacier National Park, regulations do not allow guided hikes. Tour leaders will provide detailed briefings, directions, maps and transportation, although they are not permitted to walk with you on trails.
On each tour there are numerous optional activities and attractions to choose from, which are not included in the holiday price because not everyone will want to participate. This way each member of the group can choose exactly which activities they want to do according to their budget and interests. All recommended optional activity providers have been assessed by Grand American Adventures for quality and safety. For a detailed list and price guide please refer to the trip notes.