Top Travel Tips

I'm no travel expert & not trying to be but when you go away you pick up on things that will make future trips easier. 
These are some my top tips if you're doing anysort of USA cross-country / camping / roadtrip / Trek America style holiday. 

1. You can take a suitcase. It might not be the same for all companies but with G Adventures we got a booklet after booking with all the trip information in and says to preferably bring either a duffel or rucksack style bag. Now if you've only got suitcases at home and after forking out £££s on a big trip you may not want to part with more money for a duffel you might not use again. Some people on our trip had suitcases and it was fine. The most you're going to have to carry it is from the trailer to your tent / hotel.

2. Buy your sleeping bag & pillow there. Me & Emily did this, mainly because we literally had no room to carry a sleeping bag. On our first day of tour we stopped at a Walmart and everyone had the chance to buy anything they may have forgotten or needed for the trip so we bought a sleeping bag and a proper big pillow for like $30. There was no way I was going to attempt to make a pillow with my clothes or do without; I wanted one luxury item! This can also apply to any toiletries that may add to the weight of your bag - just buy them there. 

3. Buy the right sleeping bag! Our information pack said we needed to take a season 4 sleeping bag. They specify which type for a reason so listen to them. Yes it was hot the majority of the time and I rarely actually used my sleeping bag. But in those national parks it got cold. Some nights I was sleeping in long pjs, a jumper, hoodie, inside my sleeping bag liner AND sleeping bag. I was never cold because I had so many layers on but others did have trouble sleeping due to the cold so make sure you have the right sleeping bag & access to some extra layers you can throw on if it does get too cold. 

4. Deet. Deet. Deet. Lots of deet. All the deet! If you don't fancy masses of bug & mosquito bites covering your body I'd buy a decent repellent! Get one that has at least 70 deet. Mine was 100 and was great! It had been 2 weeks before I got my first bite, meanwhile everyone else was covered. I only got bitten after that because I just kept forgetting to reapply it. And if you do get bitten, make sure you take a bite cream - there's nothing worse than itching the bites and making them worse!! 

5. Learn to sleep in a moving vehicle. If you're like me and can't cope with early starts and getting a lot less sleep than you normally would, the time on the bus is the perfect time to get a few more hours sleep. Yes its a little antisocial but trust me after a few days everyone's doing it! 

6. Your guides won't know everything! Yes your guide will be from America / wherever your trip is based but it is a pretty huge country so will be impossible for them to know everything about everywhere you're going so try not to bombard them with all the questions and don't get pissed if they don't know the answer. Our guides were great and did know loads of info about different places along the way and if they didn't know the answer they were straight onto finding us an answer. 

7. Be prepared to get stuck in. Do not go on one of these trips and expect all your meals to be cooked for you. Everyone gets stuck in and does their bit. We had a group of 14 so spilt into 3 teams and each took it in turns to cook, do dishes and clean the bus. It gets things done quicker and gives you chance to bond with different people in your group. If your not a culinary goddess you will be by the end. One guy in our group had no idea how to even open a tin of beans without a pull string but by the end he was getting right in the action with the cooking. 

8. Tents are actually really comfortable. I've had a bad back for a few years and the worst its ever been was after sleeping in a tent for 4 nights at a festival during university. I was dreading having 4 weeks in a tent (well, 16 nights, the rest we were in hotels) and coming back needing a wheelchair. But that was not the case at all! The tents were so spacious for 2 people and so easy to put up. We were all provided with air mats which were so comfortable and you didn't notice you were sleeping on the floor (apart from when you put your tent on a slope, that was interesting).

9. You can survive without wifi! In this day and age its probably hard to go even an hour without using wifi. But you can do it! We've all been there, after an amazing day of really cool activities you want to filter the shit out of your pictures and post them on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter for all your friends to be jealous of. But in some places along the trip it might not be possible, national parks for instance. But embrace the change and you'll find its actually really nice to just enjoy the company you're in and where you are rather than be staring at your phone all night. Our bus did have 2 wifi devices which worked most of the time but it wasn't an issue when they didn't because we were on the coolest road trip so just look out the window!!

10. Everyone needs to charge their stuff. Everyone will be in the same situation as you. You will all want to charge you phone, ipod, kindle, ipad, tablet, camera etc and there won't be enough chargers. Now if you cba standing in the toilet for hours with your phone plugged in to charge you can use the ports on the bus. A good idea is to all chip in (or each buy your own) different charging ports to plug into the bus to try and get as many things charging at once. We had a few issues on our trip when peoples things would be unplugged so someone else could charge their stuff. Not cool. If someone is on 87% and you're on 5% just ask. One thing to help with this is to buy a portable charger before the trip, make sure it has full charge and use it sparingly through the trip. I bought one off Amazon which had 4 full phone charges on it. And when you get to the hotel stops .... CHARGE EVERYTHING!!  

11. Flip flops are a life saver. If you're not a big flip flop wearer just buy a cheap pair because you will need them. At camp sites sometimes you get lucky and have really nice showers, sometimes not so much. Flip flops are essential during these times so you can wear them in the shower to avoid stepping in god knows what!

12. Sweating is the norm. "Be prepared to sweat. Stop caring about sweat. Accept that everyone is sweating" Emily, Aug 2015. It is hot and humid and you will find you will sweat more in those few weeks than you have your entire life. You will sweat just sitting down on a bus, you will sweat as soon as you're out of the shower. Embrace it.

13. Head Torch!! This will become your best friend. Trust me. If you're like me and pretty messy and unpack everywhere in a tent, you're going to need 2 hands to find things - with a head torch this is possible. It also scared away a skunk that was circling my tent while I was trapped inside. Just sayin.

♡ G


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