Western Family Discovery

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Trip code: 
FNYA
Way to Travel:
Family Group
Activity:
Family - Culture
Min age:
8
Group size:
6–13

Camp under the stars in this two week western family adventure.

A true American adventure for the whole family. Camp under the stars in the western national parks and explore the Navajo Indian's Monument Valley on this 12 day adventure holiday. Granite peaks sparkle above evergreen forests in Yosemite Valley, swift rivers carve winding canyons in Zion, mysterious hoodoos cast shadows over Bryce, and the earth opens up at the indescribable Grand Canyon. Let your leader take care of the details as you experience these powerful lands, shaped and formed by the forces of nature.

Highlights

  • Enjoy the Waterfalls of Yosemite N.P.
  • Discover Monument Valley by jeep
  • Cruise the Las Vegas Strip
  • Visit Seligman on Route 66

Key information

  • Travel by private minibus with trailer for luggage and equipment
  • Group normally 5 to 13, plus leader
  • 8 nights participatory camping, 1 night motel, 1 night hotel, 1 night in traditional Navajo Hogan

What's included

  • All accommodation
  • 10 breakfasts, 11 lunches & 9 dinners
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Visas or vaccinations
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Optional activities

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Las Vegas.

    Welcome to the neon city in the Nevada desert. This brash, iconic city offers families the chance to explore the over-the-top casinos, see a show, shop or simply indulge in a spot of people watching. A welcome meeting will be held at approximately 6.00pm in the evening with free time afterwards to explore the cityscape at night and see the neon lights in all their glory.
    Standard Hotel

  • Day 2

    To Grand Canyon N.P via Route 66

    Leaving Las Vegas your first stop is a dose of real Americana as you travel along an original section of Route 66 stopping at the quirky town of Seligman. Pick up some souvenirs for friends back at home and treat the kids to an ice cream from the classic Snow Cap Diner before arriving at the mighty Grand Canyon.

    Your family will never forget the moment they lay eyes on one of the world's greatest natural wonders. For the ultimate thrill ride, take a scenic helicopter flight or a nature walk along the rim for some spectacular views. Did you know that only 5% of visitors to the famous canyon ever venture inside? Get your family hooked on being in the great outdoors with a great hike to Ooh Aah Point or Plateau Point for incredible views looking both up and down. After watching a glorious sunset make sure you head over to the Grand Canyon IMAX Theater for an incredible audio-visual experience and learn all about how the canyon was discovered and how the area has developed.
    Basic Camping

    Meals included: Lunch Dinner
  • Day 3

    Grand Canyon N.P; soak up the grandeur on foot, or optional helicopter flight.

    Second day exploring Grand Canyon National Park.
    Basic Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 4

    Navajo guided backroads tour through Monument Valley; overnight in Navajo hogan.

    You've seen the movie; now it's your chance to run like Forrest Gump on the iconic stretch of road en route to Monument Valley! Discover the hidden secrets of this tribal land and learn more about the Native American culture and way of life on your included Navajo guided backroads tour. Arriving in this iconic landscape will have you thinking that you have stepped right into a Western movie set, and with tonight's overnight stay in a traditional Navajo mud Hogan, you'll never forget your time here.
    Hogan

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 5

    Bryce Canyon National Park; walk the Navajo or Queen’s Garden Trail.

    On the road again, and your next stop is at one of the most photographed places on the Colorado River, Horseshoe Bend. Believe us, it is nothing short of impressive. Next up is Bryce Canyon National Park with its fascinating natural amphitheatre of pink, orange and white sandstone spires, known locally as 'hoodoos'. There are a variety of scenic overlooks and trails that range from easy to moderate in difficulty, so depending on what you and your family are after, there's plenty of choice! The Navajo Trail enables you to hike right in amongst the unique rock formations. Some of you may prefer to hike on the Queens Garden Trail or to remain on the rim and photograph the ever-changing colours as the sun makes its way across the wide-open sky. Transfer to the campsite at Kodachrome Basin State Park, named after a National Geographic Society exhibition which came to the park and was amazed by the changing colours of the sandstone chimneys, creating a beautiful spectacle as the sun crossed the sky. This quiet campsite will allow you to experience true desert life and enjoy some quality time with the family.
    Basic Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 6

    To Zion N.P; hike to the Zion Narrows.

    The next destination is Zion National Park, named by the early Mormon settlers of Utah who thought of it as their 'promised land'. Some of the best hiking in this desert terrain of Southwest USA can be found here in and around the fertile Virgin River Gorge. With an early arrival today and two nights here, you'll have plenty of time to explore after setting up camp. The perfect thing to do today is walk along a section of the Virgin River called 'The Narrows', if weather conditions permit. In The Narrows, dry feet are not an option as you are actually hiking through the Virgin River in between towering walls, and as the day heats up, the cool water and shadows of the canyon can be very pleasant indeed and you and your family can enjoy a quick dip.
    Basic Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 7

    Zion N.P; optional activities including biking, horse riding, hiking to the Emerald Pools or Angels Landing.

    You have a full day to further explore the delights of Zion National Park. Hire a bike or enjoy some western horseback riding. For the more adventurous, there's the challenging option to ascend 450 metres (1,500 ft.) to experience unbeatable 360 degree panoramic views from the top of Angels Landing.
    Basic Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 8

    Great Basin Desert and Rachel, Nevada.

    Enjoy a free morning in Zion National Park before journeying down the Extraterrestrial Highway.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 9

    Pass over the Sierra Nevada Mountains to Yosemite N.P

    Today you make a stop in at the town of Rachel and the Little A'Le' Inn, a tribute to all things alien! Then you traverse your way from east to west traversing the 3,000 metre-high (10,000 ft.) Tioga Pass over the Sierra Nevada Mountains. You'll travel past the eerie shores of Mono Lake before arriving at Yosemite National Park, which sits nestled in the Sierra Nevadas of Northern California. Here green forest meets towering granite walls. After a visit to see the amazing Giant Sequoia trees, Yosemite Valley beckons. Here you may cycle, take a dip in the Merced River or wander the meadows. Hike the Mist Trail, arguably one of the most outstanding day hikes from Yosemite Valley. The trail has some superb views as you walk across picturesque bridges up towards Vernal Falls, where the spray from the falls will cool you down on a hot summer's day and create rainbows along the trail. Continue walking to reach another beautiful waterfall, Nevada Falls, and return via the John Muir Trail for perfect afternoon views and - if you're lucky - you may even spot Black Bears and coyotes that sometimes roam the surrounding areas. Junior Ranger programs are available at most national parks which gives kids and families the opportunity to uniquely explore and learn about the national parks and how they can help protect them today and into the future.
    Basic Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 10

    Hiking trail options to see famous waterfalls and granite rock formations.

    Second day exploring Yosemite National Park.
    Basic Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 11

    Visit giant sequoia trees; bike ride or take a dip in river (optional)

    Third day exploring Yosemite National Park.
    Basic Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 12

    To San Francisco

    Make your way through California's historic gold country to the 'City by the Bay', or San Francisco as it's more commonly known! Enjoy a brief orientation tour around the city including a close-up view of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge and the chance to walk across it. Completed in 1937, this iconic suspension bridge stretches for 2.7 km (1.7 miles) and is probably the most photographed bridge in the world. Unfortunately, your tour must come to an end but if you decide to stay on, there's plenty to keep you entertained but the best introduction to the city is to jump on a hop-on-hop-off bus tour or book one of our Urban Adventure tours to introduce you to the fascinating neighbourhoods. If you want to visit Alcatraz on this day, you'll need to book your ticket online in advance with Alcatraz Cruises.

    This tour ends at our gateway hotel at approximately 5pm. We can book you post-tour accommodation at our gateway hotel if required. If you are planning to take fly tonight, please do not book a flight that departs before 9pm.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch

Essential Info

Visas

United States

British, New Zealand, Swiss and most EU passport holders do not need a visa (and enter the country under the Visa Waiver Program), provided they are in possession of an onward air ticket when entering the USA. Visas for the USA are required by some nationalities and it is always best to check with the relevant embassies. All passengers travelling to and from the U.S. under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) are required to hold a machine-readable passport (MRP). A MRP has the holder's personal details, e.g. name, date of birth, nationality and their passport number contained in two lines of text at the base of the photo page. This text may be read by machine. The US now charges $14 for the visa waiver program and must be paid by credit card. The US authorities have introduced a mandatory requirement for all passengers travelling under the Visa Waiver Programme to register for an Electronic Travel Authority. As of 21 January 2016, any person who has travelled to Iran, Iraq, Sudan, or Syria since March 2011, or have dual nationalities of these countries, may no longer qualify for the VWP. For additional specifics about the VWP please consult the VWP information on the U.S. Embassy London website. More information and all necessary Internet links can be found at www.exodus.co.uk/Usvisa

Vaccinations

United States

There are no mandatory vaccinations required for this trip.

Eating and Drinking

10 breakfasts, 11 lunches and 9 dinners

 

On all camping tours, most of the meals are included whilst camping. Your tour leader will coordinate local shopping and assist the group in preparing healthy, hearty breakfasts, picnic lunches and delicious dinners. Occasionally, you will eat out in local restaurants. To help you budget for these meals on average hotel breakfasts cost from US$6-$12, lunches from US$8-$15 and dinners from US$13-$30; this does not include alcoholic beverages. Wine costs approximately US$5 per glass and beer US$4 per bottle. Please be aware that a tip of approximately 17%-20% is added to group meals in North American restaurants. Applicable taxes will also be added to all listed menu prices. Please make sure we are aware of any special meal requirements before travelling. We will do all we can to accommodate for various dietary requirements but in certain parts of North America certain food types can be limited.

Weather

The West is known for its very dry spring, summer and autumn weather and outstanding blue, sunny skies. Being as far south as Southern Europe and Northern Africa, temperatures are normally much warmer than in Northern Europe. However, temperatures vary greatly depending on the elevation you are at. Generally, the higher the elevation, the cooler the temperature. In summer, Yosemite, Bryce and the Grand Canyon offer pleasant temperatures ideal for hiking whereas some of the deserts might experience hotter temperatures. On warmer days, the leader will opt for early morning and late afternoon walks, leaving time for midday rest. The hottest time of day in the desert is actually 3pm, and most nights will be mild to warm. Be prepared for afternoon thunderstorms in the summer months, and look out for the plentiful mountain wildflowers.

Is this trip for you?

This trip is graded as Activity Level: 2 (Leisurely/Moderate).

This tour is operated in partnership with our sister company Grand American Adventures. As such the departures are not exclusive to Exodus and groups may be a mixture of Exodus, Grand American Adventures, and other clients. This trip is booked through Exodus and you will receive the same award winning customer service that you would expect. Grand American Adventures operate with the same core principles used by Exodus and champion the benefits of small group travel.

This is a busy tour aimed at families travelling with children aged 8 and over. You will need to be reasonably fit to do some of the hikes, but all are optional day walks and there are a variety of routes and trails for all abilities.

Please note that due to federal laws in the Grand Canyon N.P your tour leader can't hike with you. They will, however, prepare you for all available walks. The leader will also advise those who do not wish to participate of the other options available in the area. Some of the areas are remote and hiking or relaxing will be the only possible entertainment, so you should be prepared for this.

The trails vary a great deal - in the more developed parks they are well maintained and defined, whilst in the remote parks we might be following a sandy, rocky creek bed or hike cross country over open desert terrain. Crossing shallow streams (Zion) can be expected. Most of the walking is at moderate altitudes and therefore should not cause any altitude-related problems. Hiking options in Yosemite are quite varied and can be strenuous.
This tour will visit many of the most famous National Parks. Driving distances are considerable but we have tried to ensure a steady pace with time for relaxing. On several of the days we will leave early. Please do note that the West is a big place and the distances might seem long compared to Europe!

While camping, members of the group are expected to fully participate, including erecting and dismantling your own tent, and preparing meals and washing up after meals.

Although each tour follows an itinerary, there is a certain amount of flexibility and from time to time your tour leader may suggest changes. This may be due to road conditions, weather or a visit to a special attraction or event that happens to be in progress. Flexibility is key and often a side diversion will be a highlight of the tour. Hikes and optional activities cannot be guaranteed and may vary depending on ability, group interest, local weather conditions and time of year.

All travellers over the age of 70 will be requested to complete a self-declaration of fitness form prior to travel. Our tours are a unique holiday experience and much of your enjoyment will come from the team spirit of your group and the fun you’ll have together, as well as from the local setting. We cannot stress strongly enough the importance of bringing a positive attitude with you on tour; a sure guarantee to enjoying each and every moment, even in the adversity of the odd rainstorm!

Legal Note

All group members joining this tour will be asked to sign a liability waiver at the start of the holiday 'Customer's Acknowledgement of Risk'. This document limits the liability of our main supplier and is standard practice in the United States and on all their tours. As a client of Exodus Travels Ltd, your rights under the Package Travel Regulations (1992) are unaffected, and Exodus remains liable for the actions of our sub-contractors. A copy of this document is available from Exodus if required.

Accommodation

Camping

8 nights participatory camping, 1 night motel, 1 night hotel, 1 night in traditional Navajo Hogan. We use 3-man tents for every two clients. The majority of camp grounds that we use are spacious, with good facilities including flush toilets and hot showers. If staying on wild campsites then we will be more reliant upon nature! Please note that not many campsites in North America allow advance reservations for groups, although this is normally not a problem, there is no guarantee that the group will stay at all of the planned campsites. Most campsites have a quiet time from 10pm to 7am. Please respect your fellow campers who are there to enjoy the peace and tranquillity of camping. Participatory camping involves all group members taking responsibility for several campsite duties in order to ensure a smooth-running, quick and easy camp set up. You’ll be expected to erect and dismantle your own tent and help out with taking down/setting up the camp kitchen. Additionally there is shared responsibility for helping to prepare meals and washing up afterwards. You’ll find that these activities are fun and involving, and create a good opportunity for group bonding. Setting up camp typically takes between 15-30 minutes. Accommodation in the Great Basin Desert will be in clean, comfortable three star hotels/motels with en-suite bathroom facilities. In Monument Valley we'll have the unique opportunity to stay in a 'hogan' - a native Navajo dwelling made of earth and heated by a central burner.

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Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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