Western USA Family Experience
About United States
Never mind the minivans and cheesy tourist attractions – our 12-day trip across the western United States puts a whole new spin on ol’ America the Beautiful. Your family will breathe free in famous national parks (Zion & Bryce among them), stand in wonder at the Grand Canyon, and bunk at a cowboy camp. With a great mix of culture and activities, this is an ideal trip for families looking to see the USA in a new light.
Entrance fees to all national and state parks with hiking and walking excursions. Half-day rafting trip down the Colorado River. Sunset dinner at Dead Horse Point State Park. Picnic lunches. Sunrise in Bryce Canyon. Self-inflating mattresses and dome tents.
Hike in the natural splendour of Zion and Bryce national parks, learn horseback-riding at a cowboy ranch, visit Canyonlands National Park for sunset, marvel at the sight of the Grand Canyon.
The information in this trip details document has been compiled with care and is provided in good faith. However it is subject to change, and does not form part of the contract between the client and the operator. The itinerary featured is correct at time of printing. It may differ slightly to the one in the brochure. Occasionally our itineraries change as we make improvements that stem from past travellers, comments and our own research. Sometimes it can be a small change like adding an extra meal along the itinerary. Sometimes the change may result in us altering the tour for the coming year. Ultimately, our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience. Please note that our brochure is usually released in November each year. If you have booked from the previous brochure you may find there have been some changes to the itinerary.
VERY IMPORTANT: Please ensure that you print a final copy of your Trip Details to review a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans.
While it is our intention to adhere to the route described below, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The Trip Details document is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered. Aboard expedition trips visits to research stations depend on final permission.
Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.
This trip is designed for parents and children to enjoy together. You will be travelling as part of a group of families with other children. The itinerary has been designed with the needs of the whole family in mind. We have given this trip a minimum age for this trip to allow you to be sure that you have the right trip for you and your family. Minimum age of 8 years for this trip. Please see the activities for any specific minimum age requirements.
1. In order to cover the vast distance in North America to be able to visit several different parks and cities along our trip, we will have a couple of long driving days.
2. All walks and hikes proposed by our CEO will be easy to moderate level. You may choose to participate or not, but exploring our national parks on foot is part of our way of travelling. It’s a healthy way to discover North America’s beauty and landscape.
3. Please note that some trips could be a combination of multiple G Adventure tours. You should expect some group members to join or leave the tour between tour segments.
4. Please note that the legal drinking age in the United States is 21 and in Canada, 19 (with Alberta and Quebec at 18). Many bars and clubs will ask for ID at the door, therefore listening to live music in certain bars or spending a night out in Las Vegas or New Orleans is not possible when you are under the legal age, even if you don’t plan on consuming alcohol. Drinking laws in both countries are strictly enforced and our CEOs are unable to help those under age obtain alcohol of any kind.
While this should not stop those under legal drinking age from booking a tour, it is important to note that if a traveller is under-age there are certain optional nighttime activities that they may not legally be able to participate in. When trying to book the right trip, we recommend that travellers under legal drinking age take this into consideration when booking a tour that visits several big cities.
Group Leader Description
This G Adventures group trip is accompanied by one of our group leaders, otherwise known as a Chief Experience Officer (CEO). The CEO will be the group manager, leader and driver – this person is experienced in the routes travelled and will organize and lead the meal preparations and has experience in cooking a variety of local and international dishes for large groups.
As the group coordinator and manager, the aim of the CEO is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. While not being guides in the traditional sense, you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. They will also offer suggestions for things to do and to see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends.
We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting – we think it’s the best of both worlds.
Group Size Notes
Max 13, Avg 10.
9 breakfasts, 8 lunches, 8 dinners
Most of the meals on this tour are included in the tour price. When a meal is not included, this is because there are often many options available – we would like to give you the opportunity to explore a bit and taste the local cuisine yourself. In these cases, your CEO will be able to suggest some good local restaurants or options for you to choose from.
All included meals will be prepared from fresh local produce. The majority of the shopping for food will be done before the trip departs, and fresh goods, such as meats, fruits, vegetables, and dairy products, will be bought en route during the trip from supermarkets, local shops and markets. Breakfasts will generally consist of breads and cereals, if time allows a warm breakfast may be prepared. Many lunches will be provided en-route and will be light meals such as sandwiches and/or salads. All evening meals will be freshly-prepared hot meals, and will consist of a variety of continental and local dishes.
Our CEO will organize the meal preparation and lead the way here, but will prepare a duty schedule for ensuring a fair, rotating participation from you and your group members in the meal preparation and dish washing duties.
Vegetarian meals and other dietary requirements need to be specified prior to arrival.
Air-conditioned private touring van.
About our Transportation
We use 15-passenger vans for up to 13 people plus the CEO/Driver for all our of our trips in North America. For groups of 8 and more travellers, we also use a trailer to carry luggage and camping equipment.
These vans are durable vehicles that allow us to drive on most types of roads in North America.
Each van has a front passenger seat and 4 benches that will accommodate 3 people each. No standing is permitted in these vehicles, but there is air conditioning to cool things down on warm days and mandatory seat belts to us secure and safe.
This is not a physically demanding journey. However, travelling can be difficult, with long drives and limited space in the van. Please take note of the travel times and distances in the above itinerary. Despite some of the long days, most clients feel that the diversity of the North American landscape, culture and wildlife are all well worth the experience!
We believe single travellers should not have to pay more to travel so our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and do not involve a single supplement. Single travellers joining group trips are paired in twin or multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip. Some of our Independent trips are designed differently and single travellers on these itineraries must pay the single trip price.
Standard hotel (2nts), camping (7nts), basic cabins (2nts, shared facilities).
My Own Room
Please note that if you have booked the “My Own Room” option for this tour, you will receive your own single room for all night stops
This trip uses comfortable 3 to 4 star hotels, well located in cities and in or near park entrances. Our chosen hotels vary in size, character, and amenities, but are of a very good standard, and the rooms are double occupancy, or single occupancy upon request, with a private bathroom.
For details of your joining hotel please refer to your tour voucher, G Account, the G Adventures App or contact your travel agent.
Welcome to fabulous Las Vegas! When arriving at McCarran Airport don’t get tempted to play the many slot machines you already find at every corner; you still have a whole adventure waiting for you on tour! For transportation you have two options for the 5 mile (8km) trip: public taxi and a Shuttle service.
Taxis are available at Terminal 1 (Level 1) at the door exits 1-4 on the east side of the baggage claim (follow signs). Uniformed coordinators are there to help you if you have any questions. The fare will be approximately $18-$20. Most taxis accept credit cards as well but make sure you ask before you want to use it otherwise it’s easier with cash. Be in awe as you see Las Vegas, the city of lights for the first time close up!
All shuttle transportation is located at Terminal 1 (Level 1) on the west side of the baggage claim between door exits 7-13 (follow signs). It really doesn’t matter which one you choose, they all cost about $6-$8 (excluding tip) to all Strip Area Hotels, including the Joining Hotel.
Please note that day 1 is an arrival day and no activities have been planned, though a brief departure meeting will be held in the hotel on the evening of day 1. When you arrive at our joining hotel you will find the time and place of the meeting on a welcome note hung in the hotel lobby. If you are unable to find the note, please just ask the front desk staff.
At the meeting you will meet other tour participants and receive information about general and specific aspects of the trip. If you arrive late and miss the meeting, your CEO will leave you a message detailing what time and where you should meet the next morning.
Should you need to contact us during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call the G Adventures Local Representative. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.
EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures Local Representative (Boston)
During office hours (Weekdays, 6:00am-9:00pm EST)
From outside the USA: 1-412-423-8143
From within the USA: 412-423-8143
After hours emergency numbers
From outside the USA: 1-412-423-8143
From within the USA: 412-423-8143
If you are unable for any reason to contact our local representative, please call the numbers listed below, which will connect you directly with our 24 hour Sales team, who will happily assist you.
Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from UK: 0344 272 0000
Calls from Germany: 0800 365 1000
Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618
Calls from New Zealand: 0800 333 307
Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK: +1 416 260 0999
Finishing Point Instructions
The tour does not finish until 5 pm on the last day of this tour. If you plan to book a departure flight on that day, it must be later in the evening, to allow yourself enough time to get to the airport with ease. Arrangements can also be made at time of booking to book at hotel for the last evening.
What to Take
You will be on the move a lot, so our advice is to pack as lightly as possible.
For days in the outdoors, we recommend the use of lightweight, breathable, moisture-wicking fabrics made of wool or synthetic fibers. Cotton is not recommended for days to spend hiking as it does not allow for heat or moisture to enter or escape, and it will not dry easily once wet.
You will be on the move a lot, so our advice is to pack as lightly as possible. We recommend the use of a duffel bag, soft bag or backpack (whichever you find easiest to carry). Heavy luggage is not recommended for the health of the CEO, who will take a lead in loading the storage trailer. Due to space in the trailer, we will not be able to accommodate more than one piece of main luggage per person. A good size day-pack (20-35L) is also essential to carry your personal gear for the day, as access to luggage between destinations will be limited. This daypack will be used to carry your personal gear for the day, your lunch and a water bottle.
It is important to pack clothes for warm days and cool evenings, as well as a light jacket. A set of smart casual clothes is also advisable.
- Credit and/or debit card (see spending money)
- G Adventures vouchers, pre-departure information and trip details
- Passport (with photocopies)
- Travel insurance (with photocopies)
- Airline tickets (with photocopies)
- Any entry visas or vaccination certificates required
- Camera and memory cards
- Charger for phone/camera/music device
- Reading/writing material
- Hand sanitizers/ antibacterial wipes
- Rain Cover or plastic bags for daypacks
- Small towel (pack towels are good) and swim wear
- Sun hat
- Toiletries (biodegradable)
- Water bottle (at least 2L capacity)
- Watch or alarm clock
- First-aid kit (should contain lip salve, Aspirin, Band-Aids, anti-histamines, motion sickness remedy, after-bite salve and extra prescription drugs you may be taking).
Clothing and Footwear
- 3 or 4 lightweight shirts or T-shirts
- Windproof/waterproof jacket (rain gear)
- 2 pair of shorts
- 1 pairs of long trousers
- 2 pair hiking pants/track pants
- Comfort clothing for the night
- 3 to 5 pair of walking/hiking socks (synthetic or wool)
- Under garments
- Warm thermals/long underwear (fall and spring season only)
- Warm wool hat and gloves (fall and spring season only)
- Good hiking shoes or boots
- Sport sandals (suitable for water if you are planning on rafting)
- Extra comfortable slip-on sandals or shoes for the evenings
-Hiking poles, binoculars, notebook, pens/pencils
Laundry can be done at least once a week while on tour. Some hotels and most cities have laundromats where you can buy soap and wash your laundry in coin-operated machines. Your CEO will advise you along the trip where you will be able to do your laundry.
All countries require a valid passport (with a minimum 6 months validity). Contact your local embassy, or consulate for the most up-to-date visa requirements, or see your travel agent. It is your own responsibility to have the correct travel documentation. Visa requirements for your trip will vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. We keep the following information up to date as far as possible, but rules do change and sometimes without warning. While we provide the following information in good faith, it is vital that you check yourself and understand that you are fully responsible for your own visa requirements.
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
The United States currency is the US Dollar (USD).
Credit cards are accepted almost everywhere in the US and can be used to purchase small and large items. When purchasing products or services with a foreign credit card in the USA, you may be charged additional fees by your credit card company for foreign purchases.
Credit cards and debit cards are very useful for cash advances but you must remember to bring your PIN number (be aware that many ATM machines only accept 4-digit PINs). Both Cirrus and Plus system cards are the most widely accepted debit cards. Both Visa and Master Cards are the most widely accepted credit cards. While ATMs are commonly available, there are no guarantees that your credit or debit cards will actually work check with your bank before you travel. A visit to an ATM can be arranged on Day 1 and other days of the trip.
Do not rely on credit or debit cards as your only source of money. A combination of US Dollars as cash (preferably smaller bills, 5’s, 10’s and 20’s), traveller’s cheques and credit cards is best. Currency exchange is best obtained prior to travel or at the airport, currency exchange is very difficult to find in the USA and most banks do not accommodate.
Always take more rather than less, as you don’t want to spoil the trip by constantly feeling short of funds.
As currency exchange rates can fluctuate often we ask that you refer to the following website for daily exchange rates: www.xe.com
Please also make sure you have access to at least an additional USD $200 (or equivalent) as an ‘emergency’ fund, to be used when circumstances outside our control (ex. a natural disaster) require a change to our planned route. This is a rare occurrence!
It is customary in North America to tip service providers such as waiters, at approximately 18%, depending on the service. Tipping is an expected – though not compulsory – component of your tour program and an expression of satisfaction with the persons who have assisted you on your tour. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels. There are times during the trip where there is opportunity to tip the local guides. Recommendations for tipping local guides would range from $2-8 USD per activity depending on the quality and length of the service; ask your CEO for specific recommendations based on the circumstances and culture.
Also at the end of each trip if you felt your G Adventures Chief Experience Officer did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however as a guideline $5 USD per person, per day can be used.
Optional activity prices are subject to change and can fluctuate in relation to the high/low season and the number of people on a specific excursion. Not all excursions listed here may be available, due to season or weather conditions. As generally not a lot of time is spent in start/end cities, you may want to arrange to arrive early, or stay longer after the trip in order to allow sufficient time to participate in optional activities there.
Please see the full itinerary for information on optional activities, descriptions and estimated pricing.
Safety and Security
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government’s advice for their latest travel information before departure. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers’ cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home – you won’t need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your CEO has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Your CEO will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your CEO will assist you with options available in a given location please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgment when selecting an activity in your free time. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions.
Protests and Demonstrations- Protests and demonstrations, even those that are well intended, have the potential to turn violent with no warning. Counter protests can also turn violent. Action by security forces to disperse demonstrators and protesters may occur at any time. If you are in an area where demonstrators or protesters are gathering, avoid the temptation of staying for a good photo opportunity and leave the area immediately.
Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards) have a balanced approach to safety. It is our policy not to allow our CEOs to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).
Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk.
We take all prudent measures in relation to your safety. For ways to further enhance your personal safety while traveling, please visit:
Our small group adventures bring together people of all ages. It is very important you are aware that, as a minimum, an average level of fitness and mobility’ is required to undertake our easiest programs. Travellers must be able to walk without the aid of another person, climb 3-4 flights of stairs, step on and off small boats, and carry their own luggage at a minimum. Travellers with a pre-existing medical condition are required to complete a short medical questionnaire, which must be signed by their physician. This is to ensure that travellers have the necessary fitness and mobility to comfortably complete their chosen trip. While our CEOs work hard to ensure that all our travellers are catered for equally, it is not their responsibility to help individuals who cannot complete the day’s activities unaided. Please refer to the physical ratings in this Trip Details document for more information.
The medical questionnaire can be found online at:
A Couple of Rules
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on any trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for our travellers. Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter, and in particular the local people who make the world the special place it is. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our CEOs have the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
Travel Insurance: Travel insurance is compulsory in order to participate on any of our trips. When travelling on a group trip, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance has been sighted by your CEO, who will take note of your insurance details. When selecting a travel insurance policy please bear in mind that all clients must have medical coverage and that we require a minimum coverage of USD 200,000 for repatriation and emergency rescue. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. If you have credit card insurance we require proof of purchase of the trip (a receipt of credit card statement) with a credit card in your name. Contact your bank for details of their participating insurer, the level of coverage and emergency contact telephone number.
Planeterra-The G Adventures Foundation
The Planeterra Foundation planeterra.org is a Canadian non-profit organization that helps empower local people to develop their communities, conserve their cultures, and create humane and supportive systems for their endeavours. Planeterra provides capacity building and catalyst grants to get community social enterprises off the ground. These businesses address local challenges by providing benefits for indigenous people, empowering marginalized women, and granting disadvantaged youth access to education, employment, and brighter futures. Planeterra also works to ensure these businesses have a thriving customer base by integrating programs into G Adventures’ itineraries globally.
G Adventures is Planeterra’s largest corporate donor, covering all operating costs so 100% of your donation will bring opportunity to people in need.
G Adventures’ Dollar-a-Day Program provides travellers with the opportunity to give back to the people and places visited on our tours by donating one dollar for every day you are on trip. 100% of these donations go directly to support community development projects worldwide that are implemented by Planeterra.
After your travels, we want to hear from you! Your feedback information is so important to us that we’ll give you 5% off the price of your next G Adventures trip if your feedback is completed on-line within 30 days of finishing your trip. Your tour evaluation will be e-mailed to you 24 hours after the conclusion of your trip. If you do not receive the tour evaluation link in the days after your tour has finished, please drop us a line at email@example.com and we will send it on to you.
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Travel Forum - The Watering Hole
Be sure to stop by The Watering Hole, our adventure travel forum. If you’re interested in meeting others booked on your upcoming trip, check out the Departure Lounge section of our forum and introduce yourself. Otherwise, just drop in at anytime to share some travel tips, ask questions, meet other travellers and quench your thirst for travel. Our forum is located at wateringhole.gadventures.com.
Minimum age of 8 years for this trip.
Check-in times and baggage allowances/restrictions vary by airline and can change at any time. For the most up-to-date information for your flight, please contact your airline. We recommend checking in online in advance to avoid potential delays at the airport.
Chief Experience Officer (CEO) throughout.
PRODUCT_LINE: NUWF, ID: 23278
Day 1 Las Vegas
Arrive at any time.
Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting
Day 2 Las Vegas/Grand Canyon National Park (1B, 1L, 1D)
In the morning head for one of the USA’s most famous attractions, the Grand Canyon. After driving through the beautiful scenery, take time to enjoy the view of the Canyon at sunset.
Note: If you have pre-booked the Grand Canyon Helicopter Ride you will enjoy your 45-50 min ride over the canyon on either Day 2 or 3. This will be determined by your CEO.
Grand Canyon South Rim Visit
Private Vehicle (4.00-5.00 hours, 270km)
Day 3 Grand Canyon National Park (1D)
Take a hike into the Grand Canyon, or take an optional helicopter flight over the canyon.
Note: If you have pre-booked the Grand Canyon Helicopter Ride you will enjoy your 45-50 min ride over the canyon on either Day 2 or 3. This will be determined by your CEO.
Day 4 Grand Canyon National Park/Monument Valley (1B, 1L, 1D)
After a free morning, continue across country today and head for Monument Valley. Switch to a 4×4 for an off-road journey that twists and turns its way through the rugged landscape. Later, learn about some Native American arts & crafts out in the wilderness.
Off-Road 4×4 Tour
Navajo Native Arts and Crafts Learning
Private Vehicle (4.00-4.50 hours, 200km)
Day 5 Monument Valley/Moab (1B, 1L, 1D)
Enjoy the scenic drive where the landscape outside shifts and changes colour along the road.
Dead Horse Point State Park Visit
Day 6 Moab (1B, 1L)
Hike in Arches National Park before a free afternoon to explore the park.
Arches National Park Visit
Day 7 Moab/Antimony (1B, 1L, 1D)
The cowboy way of life is as much a part of this region of the USA as anything else. This is an opportunity for the kids to learn all about how life is like in the wild west.
Day 8 Antimony (1B, 1L, 1D)
In the evenings relax around the campfire and enjoy tasty, hearty food.
Day 9 Antimony/Bryce Canyon National Park (1B, 1L, 1D)
Prepare to be amazed as you enter the heart of the American West! Witness isolated landscape of canyons, plateaus, and valleys while travelling on Scenic Byway 12, located in one of the most beautiful places on earth.
Capitol Reef National Park Visit
Bryce Canyon National Park Visit
Private Vehicle (1.00-1.50 hours, 70km)
Private Vehicle (2.00-3.00 hours, 111km)
Day 10 Bryce Canyon National Park/Zion National Park (1B, 1L, 1D)
Drive to Zion National Park in the morning. After lunch, hike the trails around the park. Explore Zion National Park further, before a free afternoon to try some of the exciting optional activities offered in the park.
Zion National Park Visit
Day 11 Zion National Park/Las Vegas (1B)
After a free morning in Zion National Park, return to Las Vegas, where the rest of the day is free.
Day 12 Las Vegas
Depart at any time.