National Parks hiking vacation in America

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2017: 3 Jun, 17 Jun, 19 Aug, 2 Sep, 16 Sep
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Vacation type
Small group vacations
Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, traveling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week vacation, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travelers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.
What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Simplicity
Make the most of your vacation time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travelers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your vacation.

Solo travelers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those traveling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travelers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
Mythbuster
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travelers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travelers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
No.
Meet a group leader
As well as taking care of all the day-to-day practicalities, your group leader is the one who will turn your trip into an adventure. Leaders are extraordinary characters – the kind of person who has spent 14 Christmas days on the slopes of Mount Everest, runs marathons wearing tiger suits to raise funds for their conservation and thinks nothing of leading an overland trip in Sudan or Afghanistan. Fearless and inspiring, group leaders are as important as the destination itself.

Meet a local guide
No matter how experienced your group leader, they can never make up for the knowledge gained from a lifetime in the destination. That’s why many of our trips work with local guides around the world – who invite you into their homeland with pleasure. As well as doing crazy things like climbing Kilimanjaro 100 times, they also donate their time to local projects supported by travelers – such as rebuilding Sri Lankan villages following the 2004 tsunami.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: National Parks hiking vacation in America

Environment

To help keep the national parks of America beautiful our local guides are trained in minimal impact principles and also provide a responsible travel code of conduct to travelers who participate. Each group size is maximum 11 people which helps once again to minimise our impact on each visit.

Our philosophy since 1975 has been to leave only footprints and take only photographs. To reiterate this, every customer who travels with us receives a copy of our award-winning Responsible Travel guidebook. This detailed book outlines our environmentally sustainable principles, and outlines how each customer can minimize their impact while traveling.

The root cause of Global Warming is society's dependence on emission creating fossil fuel. Planting trees is not going to reverse this trend or cancel our carbon emissions very quickly or effectively. We believe the way to reduce these dependencies is to create clean energy production. Therefore, we support renewable energy projects like wind and solar power, and we are aligned with Climate Friendly, the gold standard setter in effective, meaningful action addressing climate change. So, while we believe that tree planting can play a small role in greenhouse gas abatement, we have gone the extra mile in promoting a longer term solution. Is this cheap? No. Is it responsible? Absolutely.

Community

During the tour we support rural tourism by buying from local outfitters, Native Americans and small, locally owned family run hotels, restaurants, markets and transport providers. By visiting rural communities you are helping local rural development by as the majority of local people are invested in conservation as most towns we visit are attached to national parks.

By traveling on this tour you are also helping to support the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance and Sierra Club as our local operator passed on a donation from every tour to these organisations.

Local cash payments are becoming increasingly popular with many operators in the adventure travel industry. This policy seems to benefit the tour operators more than the local economies or the travelers, as it avoids local taxes and transfers the costs and risks of cash handling onto the travelers. In accordance with our Responsible Travel practices, we have chosen a policy of not asking for such payments.

Reviews of National Parks hiking vacation in America

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the vacations.

I am reborn! Simply the best vacation I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 12 Oct 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The grand canyon

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?




3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental Impacts or supported conservation?


4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Reviewed on 02 Nov 2012 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


There were numerous memorable moments during the whole two week vacation due to the ever changing landscape covered by the trip.We covered nearly 2000 miles in the comfortable people carrier and the views,scenery and walks we superb and not too taxing.The first view of the Grand Canyon was of course stunning but for me the mountain views in Yosemite were breathtakingly beautiful ,the walk along the Panorama trail back to Curry village was awe inspiringly spectacular and the highlight for me. All the locations visited where really interesting and the guide on the walks provided lots of interesting nuggets of information about the walk and it's wildlife.The guide on our trip Marianne was simply great,she went out of her way to make the vacation the best it could be.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


I booked an extra night in the start city Las Vegas to see a show,saw Penn and Tellor which was great. Both the start locations are good places to explore and seems a shame to rush it by spending just one night.I would advise people not to take too much luggage in their suitcase as it is a chew to rack a bulging case on the frequent change of locations.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


The trip visited the Naverro nation at Monument valley and the fees help to maintain the native population and so benefits the Naverro people.Local produce is sold also I bought several items for gifts.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


It was a really enjoyable interesting vacation,superbly planned to get the most out of the areas visited.The locations were truly wonderful,from the desert to the mountains and onto the ocean in San Francisco truly inspiring. The vacation flew over but I look back on it with some wonderful memories. It was as the name suggest simply the Best of the West.

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