Deep South & Delta Blues

12 days
from
£2,299
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Leisurely
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Trip code: 
AFMA
Way to Travel:
Guided Group
Activity:
Cultural Wonders
Min age:
16
Group size:
1–13

Experience the vibrancy of the Deep South on this inspired 12 day round trip.

Trace the roots of American music in the Deep South along the mighty Mississippi and experience the unique cultural landscape that gave birth to the blues, country and rock `n' roll. Days move a little slower in the south, as you pass the time with a sweet tea or a Jack and Coke, taking in the sights and sounds of Music Row in Nashville, Beale Street in Memphis and along Bourbon Street in New Orleans. Savour authentic cuisine and enjoy Southern hospitality as you float down the Mississippi on an included river boat cruise.

Highlights

  • Visit Elvis' birthplace and Graceland
  • Take the Mississippi River Road to Natchez
  • Vibrant Bourbon Street

Key information

  • Travel by private minibus
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Group normally 1 to 13, plus leader
  • 10 hotel nights in twin share accommodation and 1 historic property

What's included

  • All accommodation
  •  10 breakfasts and 1 dinner
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout

What's not included

  • Flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
  • Arrival & departure transfers
  • Optional activities
Call for general departures:
0208 772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

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 Atlanta.

    Welcome to Atlanta and the Southern state of Georgia for the start of your Deep South USA tour. The day is free for you to explore before an evening welcome meeting at 18:00 hrs in your hotel. A self-guided walking tour of downtown Atlanta is highly recommended and if you fancy a bite of Southern cuisine, stop by Empire State South.

    Optional Activities:
    • Atlanta History Centre US$17
    • Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site US$free
    • Atlanta Botanical Garden US$19

    Standard Hotel

  • Day 2

    To Birmingham; hear about the influential history of the Civil Rights Movement.

    Head west into Alabama and to the state's largest city - Birmingham. This city was the primary site of the Civil Rights Movement and where Dr Martin Luther King Jr. began his campaign of civil disobedience. Make a visit to the Civil Rights Institute for an excellent introduction to the region's volatile history as you start your journey through the South.

    Optional activities:
    • Civil Rights Institute in Birmingham, Alabama US$12

    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 3

    Head to the lively New Orleans for three days; take in the Cajun culture and the vibrant Bourbon Street; dine on a Mississippi river boat; visit Preservation Hall.

    Welcome to the cultural melting pot of the Deep South, New Orleans. Otherwise known as the `Big Easy', the eclectic mix of European, Creole and Cajun culture manifests in every aspect of the architecture, cuisine and musical scene. Take in the sights and sounds of Bourbon Street, relax in the Garden District and absorb the ambience of the French Quarter, known also as 'The Quarter'. Founded by French traders in 1718, there are many layers of history in this city, and all its many attractions combined make it one of the most visited cities in the USA.

    Step back in time to when life was gracefully slow and enjoy an included Mississippi riverboat dinner cruise, dining on a delicious local cuisine buffet that is directly influenced by the myriad of cultures that together make up Louisiana. Your evenings in New Orleans will be easily spent as there is much to do, not least of all continuing your indulgence and appreciation of American music by enjoying some of the many live performances that take place nightly in this vibrant city. This includes the famous Preservation Hall where top-drawer jazz musicians play every evening to a small audience in an intimate space - but be prepared to queue! There will also be the chance to step out of the city and explore the wild river swamplands of Louisiana, where you can head out by boat beneath the cypress trees in search of wildlife.

    Optional Activities:
    • Alligator swamp tour, New Orleans US$23-$40
    • Mardi Gras World in New Orleans US$20
    • New Orleans Voodoo and Graveyard tour US$20
    • New Orleans Preservation Hall US$15-$20
    • New Orleans jazz clubs US$10-$20
    • Scandalous Cocktail history tour US$25

    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Second day exploring New Orleans.

    Second day exploring New Orleans.

    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 5

    Third day exploring New Orleans.

    Third day exploring New Orleans.

    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Moving on to Natchez; learn about the city's colourful history; overnight at in the historic Eola Guesthouse.

    This morning you enjoy an included visit to Houmas House Plantation and Gardens. This antebellum estate was completed in 1828 and with 38 lush acres of gardens, ponds and a majestic live oak alley, Houma makes for a wonderful stop. Next you follow the river road north to the very first established settlement on the Mississippi River. The original capital of the Mississippi Territory, Natchez, was at the heart of the slave trade and is the birthplace of the Mississippi riverboat. Why not go on a self-guided walking tour through the streets of Natchez' historic district with over 50 antebellum homes and historic churches. Worthy of a visit is the `Under the Hill' area made famous by Mark Twain, or explore one of the most interesting cemeteries in the South. You'll overnight in the historic Briars B&B which offers the charm of the 'Old South'.

    Optional Activities:
    • Elvis Birthplace Museum, Natchez US$12
    • Antebellum mansions, Natchez US$12-$25

    Historic Property

  • Day 7

    To the birthplace of Elvis and our first introduction to the Delta blues; learn about the evolution of the cotton industry.

    Next it's onto Clarksdale and the Hopson Plantation, which is the former home of legendary blues pianist Pinetop Perkins. It is also where they tested the International Harvester automated cotton picker. Your leader will give you some history including the system of sharecropping and the evolution of the cotton industry that shaped life for so many in this region. Clarksdale is also home to the infamous `Crossroads', where legend has it that blues musician Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil. Within the town you'll find the Delta Blues Museum, a literal blues shrine of artefacts and memorabilia, as well as actor Morgan Freeman's Ground Zero Blues Club. Red's is definitely worth a visit for live music - an authentic `juke joint' where you'll be transported to the real heart of the South!

    Optional Activities:
    • Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale US$10
    • Ground Zero Blues Club, Clarksdale US$7

    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Days 8-9

    Spend two days in Memphis; visit the iconic 'Graceland', Sun studios and Gibson Guitar Factory.

    See the humble beginnings of `The King' with a visit to the birthplace of Elvis in Tupelo, before crossing into Tennessee. Located near the Mississippi River, Memphis has a long and colourful past. Legendary forefathers such as Louis Armstrong, Muddy Waters and the late B.B. King helped to put Beale Street on the musical map. A highlight of your stay in Memphis is an included excursion to Graceland, the home of Elvis Presley, who influenced country, blues and rock 'n' roll music.

    You also have the chance to visit the iconic Sun Studio which opened in 1950 and is a place where many great names have passed through, from Howlin' Wolf to Johnny Cash, and you may like to visit the Gibson guitar factory to completely immerse yourself in the fascinating musical heritage of this city. There's also an opportunity to hear gospel music on Sunday morning (*excluding New Orleans Jazz Festival departure). Outside of music, the National Civil Rights Museum located in the former Lorraine Hotel, at the site where Martin Luther King was assassinated, is well worth a visit.

    Optional Activities:
    • Civil Rights Museum in Memphis US$15
    • Sun Studio in Memphis US$12
    • Stax Museum of American Soul Music, Memphis U$12 (closed Mondays)
    • Gibson guitar factory tour, Memphis US$10

    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Days 10-11

    Spend two days in Nashville.

    From Memphis you make your way to Nashville - the undisputed capital of country music. Home to the Country Music Hall of Fame and the famous Wildhorse Saloon, Nashville offers the perfect opportunity to try some line dancing. Broadway is lined with honky-tonks and intimate live music venues playing not only country, but all genres of music.

    As well as its indelible country music links, Nashville is also the capital of Tennessee and the state's second largest city after Memphis. Situated on the banks of the Cumberland River it was established as a major river port by settlers in 1779. Your time in Nashville is free for you to indulge in your choice of the many music and entertainment options available (entrance fees apply). The Grand Ole Opry is the world's longest running radio show and a recommended highlight. You can enjoy performances at the famous Grand Ole Opry House located 24 km east of the city. Book before you arrive to avoid missing out as these shows are popular!

    Optional Activities:
    • Country Music Hall of Fame, Nashville US$25-$40
    • Ryman Auditorium tour, Nashville US$20-30
    • Grand Ole Opry tour, Nashville - US$32-$90

    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 12

    To Atlanta; end Atlanta.

    Make your way towards Atlanta where you have the option of stopping in at Lynchburg where you can pay homage to Tennessee's most famous drink by enjoying a tour of the Jack Daniel's Whiskey Distillery for a serving of Southern hospitality.

    Your tour of the Deep South ends in the modern day metropolis of Atlanta, known as the New York of the South. If you're staying on be sure to stop by Glady's Knight's famous Chicken and Waffles restaurant.


    This tour ends at our gateway hotel at approximately 17:00 hrs. We can book your post-tour accommodation at our gateway hotel if required. If you are planning to fly tonight, please do not book a flight that departs before 21:00 hrs.

    Optional Activities:
    • Jack Daniel’s Whiskey Distillery US$17-22

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

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 and 1 dinner included

On hotel based tours you will usually eat out in restaurants. To help you budget for your 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 also be aware that a tip of approximately 15%-20% is added to group meals in restaurants. Applicable taxes will also be added to all listed menu prices.

Your tour leader may offer your group the option to operate a ‘lunch only’ food kitty, this has proven to be a popular alternative to three daily restaurant meals. Your leader will explain this option while on tour, and the whole group will have to agree for this system to run.

Please make sure we are aware of any special meal requirements before travelling. We will do all we can to accommodate various dietary requirements but in parts of North America certain food types can be limited.

Weather

Spring and autumn is the best time to visit the deep south as the temperature is milder, averaging at around 20 degrees. The summer months can be hot and humid reaching highs of mid 30s, thunderstorms are common due to the sub-tropical climate.

Atlanta weather chart

Atlanta weather chart

Is this trip for you?

Activity Level: 1 (Leisurely)

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 discovery tour is suitable for people with all levels of experience and fitness. It has a more relaxed pace with an emphasis on sightseeing; discovering local culture, visiting main attractions and enjoying beautiful surroundings. There will be a variety of optional activities available so you can tailor your tour depending on your interests.

There are opportunities for optional activities during your tour. Your tour leader will organise these on your behalf and you will pay locally in cash. You’ll find the main optional activities listed above under each itinerary day description, along with guideline prices. It may not be possible to do all optional activities listed on each tour. If your plan is to visit the Grand Ole Opry when you are in Nashville, it is advised to book in advance and directly on their website. The shows change most nights but if possible, it’s best to book for the second night in Nashville.

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, bad 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.

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.

Call for general departures:
0208 772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotels and historic property

10 nights in twin share accommodation and 1 historic property

Accommodation will be clean and comfortable, chosen for their friendly atmosphere and proximity to the highlights of the region. You will be roomed with a fellow passenger of the same sex on a twin share basis (two people per room) unless you are travelling as a couple or with a friend. In the event that you cannot be matched with another passenger there will not be a single supplement charge.

Call for general departures:
0208 772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

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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]

For anyone leaving from the UK we would be pleased to book your flight in conjunction with your tour. Please contact us for competitive prices on flights departing from most UK airports.

If you are booking your own flights, you are free to arrive at any time on day one but it is advisable that you arrive in plenty of time to reach your joining hotel and attend your welcome meeting. We also suggest that you book your return flight the day after your tour finishes. If you do have to return home on the day your tour finishes, please make sure that your flight does not depart before 21:00 hrs.

Please note that we cannot be held responsible for any delays, cancellations, changes to your flights, or any missed flights. We are unable to delay a tour, or finish a tour early due to your flight times.

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Call us on 0208 772 3936