Historic Route 66

14 days
from
£3,499
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Culture
Suitable for:
Age 16+
Activity level:
Leisurely / Moderate
Activity Rating - Leisurely/Moderate
Trip code: 
P6X
Way to Travel:
Guided Group
Activity:
Culture
Group size:
6–13
Min age:
16

Travel down the American Mother Road on one of the world's most famous journeys - Route 66.

Immortalised in folklore, film and song, Route 66 remains the iconic symbol of the great American road trip. This is a journey of adventure, discovery and the freedom of the open road. Cruise along 'America's Main Street', the first paved highway linking Chicago with the West. On this Route 66 tour you'll cross eight states and make a small detour for the biggest sight in the West, the magnificent Grand Canyon. From snow-cones and corndogs, to cowboys, country music and rock 'n' roll - it's classic Americana all the way, as you travel from the heartland to the coast on the world's most famous road.

Highlights

  • Explore the Route 66 Vintage Iron Motorcycle Museum
  • Visit the historic Coleman Theatre
  • Entry to Abraham Lincoln's House and Museum
  • St Louis Gateway Arch
  • Stay at the famous and historic El Rancho Hotel
  • See the Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo
  • Crossing the sprawling Great Plains
  • Cruise the Las Vegas Strip on a tour of the city
  • Grand Canyon National Park
  • Visit Pontiac's painted wall murals
  • Visit the iconic Santa Monica Pier
  • Wine and cheese ‘Sundowner’ in an area of natural beauty

Key information

  • Travel by private minibus
  • Variety of daywalks to suit all abilities
  • Some long journeys
  • Group normally 6 to 13, plus leader. Min age 16 yrs
  • 13 hotel nights included
  • Countries visited: USA

What's included

  • All accommodation
  • 4 breakfasts
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • We can include flights from the UK.  Please contact us for a quote.

What's not included

  • Flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
  • Arrival & departure transfers
  • Optional activities
Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for private group trips:
020 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.

Itinerary

Chicago
to
Los Angeles
  • Day 1

    Chicago.

    You've arrived in Chicago, the official start of Route 66. A welcome meeting will be held at 18:00 hrs in your hotel for you to meet your tour leader and fellow travelling companions. If you arrive earlier in the day why not kick off your Route 66 holiday by grabbing a slice of deep-dish pizza before venturing up the Willis Tower, or take to the streets for your very own walking tour along the shores of Lake Michigan.

    Accommodation: Hotel Inn of Chicago (or similar)

  • Day 2

    Pontiac - Springfield

    After leaving Chicago, your first stop on your Route 66 holiday is the town of Pontiac to see the fantastic Main Street murals celebrating Route 66, the Pontiac automobile brand, and local cultural and political history. A collection of more than 150 artists known as the `Walldogs' painted a collection of 18 murals in just four days in the summer of 2009. Then you'll head south to the iconic Route 66 stop of Springfield, the capital of Illinois. Springfield's favourite son was Abraham Lincoln and you'll pay a visit to the Lincoln Home National Historic Site, the home that he lived in with his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, from 1844 until 1861 when he became US President. Springfield is also the birthplace of the corndog and drive-thru restaurants, so make sure you arrive with an empty stomach!

    Accommodation: The State House Inn (or similar)

  • Days 3-4

    St Louis

    From Springfield, Illinois, it's only a couple of hours drive to St Louis, Missouri. St Louis is one of the largest cities in the USA with a metropolitan population of over 2.8 million. Founded in 1764, it became a major port on the Mississippi River and even hosted the Olympic Games in 1904. The Gateway Arch commemorates the settlement of America's West and it was from here that countless pioneers set out to conquer the wild frontier. Stop at Ted Drewes, an iconic Route 66 tour attraction, where you can try a 'Concrete' - an extremely thick, creamy milkshake made from vanilla frozen custard. Spend the evenings checking out the city's vibrant bar and restaurant scene at your leisure.

    Accommodation: Drury Plaza Hotel St Louis at the Arch (or similar)

  • Day 5

    Branson

    Home to Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede and considered an alternative version of The Strip, country music is to Branson what gambling is to Las Vegas. With over 50 dinner theatres, shows and other entertainment oddities, Branson is where it's at in Missouri. It unleashes a hefty dose of pure Americana and a wonderful playlist to enjoy it to.

    Optional Activities:

    • Meramec Caverns US$22
    • Dixie Stampede dinner US$50

    Accommodation: Grand Plaza Hotel Branson (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Days 6-7

    Oklahoma City

    Oklahoma, with more driveable miles of the old highway than any other state, is a mecca for fans of the 'Mother Road'. Oklahoma City is the capital and the largest city in the state. We'll spend a couple of nights here and can enjoy a full day discovering some of the city's many cultural attractions. Visit the Route 66 Vintage Iron Motorcycle Museum and the historic Coleman Theatre - built in the late 1920s in the era of vaudeville and silent films. Oklahoma is also the gateway to cowboy country so what could be a better introduction to the 'Wild West' than an optional visit to the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. Originally established in 1955 as the Cowboy Hall of Fame and Museum, it has broadened its scope to encompass both Western and Native American artwork and artefacts as well as historic photographs. Oklahoma City is a great place to see a baseball game and if you're interested, please mention this to your leader early on. A top tip is to swing by the many food trucks scattered around the city and sample some local flavours at reasonable prices.

    Optional Activities:

    • National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum US$11

    Accommodation: Sheraton Oklahoma City Downtown Hotel (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    Amarillo

    Amarillo in the state of Texas is your destination for today. Before you leave Oklahoma and get on your 'Way to Amarillo', you'll visit the 'official' Route 66 Museum to learn about the legends surrounding the road you're travelling on, and make a short stop at Lucille's Service Station & Roadhouse. Then you make your way to the Big Texan Steak Ranch for a steak meal (optional). If you can eat a 72-oz. steak in less than one hour, you get it for free! This is 'Man Vs Food' for real!

    Accommodation: Drury Inn & Suites Amarillo (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 9

    Albuquerque

    Our Route 66 road trip continues with a visit to the Cadillac Ranch, where 10 classic cars are buried nose-down in the dirt. The owners encourage graffiti, so you can grab a spray can and leave your mark! After a short driving time, we'll reach the Midpoint Café, the midway point between Chicago and Los Angeles, which is famous for hot coffee and rolls. Today we make a stop at Tucumcari Post and Curios, an eccentric souvenir store and drive through the Tijeras Canyon which cuts the Southern Rocky Mountains from east to west.

    Optional Activities:

    • Acoma Indian Reservation & Sky City Pueblo US$25

    Accommodation: Nativo Lodge Albuquerque (or similar)

  • Day 10

    Gallup

    Drive along the Rio Puerco Valley to Inscription Rock, a cliff face at El Morro National Monument where you can observe Native American petroglyphs. Cross the Continental Divide en route to Gallup. Stay at the El Rancho Hotel, a little slice of history which counts John Wayne and Katherine Hepburn amongst its famous guests.

    Accommodation: El Rancho Hotel & Motel (or similar)

  • Days 11-12

    Grand Canyon (South Rim) - Route 66

    Stop at the Petrified Forest National Park to see the different colours of rock layered on top of each other. Pass through Winslow and see the location mentioned in The Eagles' lyric, "standin' on the corner in Winslow, Arizona". The Grand Canyon is the ultimate symbol of the Desert Southwest and a spectacle not to be missed. It's not on the original Route 66, but it's so close it would be a crime to pass it by! This incredible natural wonder is difficult to comprehend. You'll have plenty of opportunity to explore the park at your own pace. In your free time, we highly recommend a scenic helicopter flight over the canyon, which offers perspectives that you simply can't see visiting on foot. Venture down the Bright Angel Trail to Plateau Point, or stroll along the more leisurely West Rim Trail and catch a shuttle bus out to Hermit's Rest. Finish your day by watching the amazing IMAX film, 'The Grand Canyon Experience', and enjoy a spectacular sunset over one of the world's natural wonders!

    Optional Activities:

    • Helicopter flight US$289
    • IMAX Theater US$10

    Accommodation: Red Feather Lodge (or similar)

  • Day 13

    Las Vegas

    The historic Route 66 town of Seligman and its Snow Cap Diner makes for a quirky pit-stop, especially since it’s filled to the brim with pure Americana. Next up is Vegas and if it's gambling you want, you’ve come to the right place, as nowhere else in the world will you find so many casinos per square metre. In Las Vegas, we enjoy a driving city tour to discover some of the best things that epitomise this city, as well as learning about some of its colourful history. In the evening, we stay in Downtown Las Vegas, known for its captivating old Vegas charm.

    Optional Activities:

    • Limo ride US$25-$30
    • Helicopter flight US$104
    • Roller coasters US$25-$40

    Accommodation: Golden Nugget Hotel (or similar)

  • Day 14

    Las Vegas - Los Angeles

    On our final day the endless sunshine of California is in our sights, as we follow Route 66 across the great Mojave Desert to the city of Los Angeles. We'll toast farewell to an epic American road trip and new friends from the iconic Santa Monica Pier.

    This tour ends at our gateway hotel at approximately 17:00 hrs. We can book you 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.

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, Syria, Libya, Somalia, or Yemen 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 on our USA visas page.

Vaccinations

United States

There are no mandatory vaccinations required for this trip.

Eating and Drinking

8 breakfasts are included on this trip

On this tour we eat most meals in local 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 North American 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. Leaders will explain this option while on your 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 for various dietary requirements but in certain parts of North America certain food types can be limited.

Weather

Your tour starts in Chicago, where you will experience a hot but mild climate as you make your way south. The West is known for its very dry 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. Spring and autumn will offer perfect hiking days in the deserts and cooler days at higher elevations. In summer, 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 mid-day rest. Please note the hottest time of day in the deserts is actually 3pm. Most nights will be mild to warm. In the summer months you should be prepared for afternoon thunderstorms. Spring offers stunning displays of desert wildflowers, Summer offers mountain wildflowers and in Autumn the tree colours are beautiful.

Is this trip for you?

This tour has been graded 2: Leisurely/Moderate

We cover some long distances on Route 66, visiting some diverse places along the way! There are opportunities for optional activities during your tour. Your tour guides 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.

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.

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as not suitable for full wheelchair users, but it may be suitable for other persons of reduced mobility. Please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for private group trips:
020 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 & Lodges

13 hotel nights. Accommodation will be in clean, comfortable hotels and motels with en-suite bathroom facilities, 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.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for private group trips:
020 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.

Expert Blog Entries

Have you been on this adventure? Tell others what it’s like by writing a review.

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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