It’s now been 1.5 years since my trip with Trek America and some places I still remember like it was yesterday. I genuinely think a lot of that is down to the choices I made about how I wanted to see America.
Before booking my trip, I knew I wanted to visit a few places in USA; including LA, San Francisco, New Orleans and New York. But that was all. In terms of length of stay, budget, where to stay, etc – I had no idea and this is where I fell short. By the time I could afford to really travel, I was in a full-time job.
In the end, I chose Southern Sun from LA to NY. Here a few reasons as to why it worked for me:
1| The ground you cover
I chose this route because it was one of the few options that allowed me to visit West Coast (LA) all the way across to East Coast (New York) over the space of three’ish weeks. Going alone, there is no way I would have been able to visit all the states I did. We had a driver/tour guide which was our savior getting us cross-country, while I spent a lot of that catching up on sleep!
2 | Meeting new people
Yes, this is one which ticks both boxes – but with Trek America, I got to meet others in my group beforehand. We had a forum which we could, for one – ask lots of questions about absolutely anything, and secondly e-meet others on my tour. I got to know around 5 of the trekkers beforehand. One girl was even flying out from Manchester – LA (via Chicago). This made me feel so much better about flying solo for the first time. We kept each other company for 12 hours for one, (it was closer to 16 hours because we had a nightmare with delayed flights and switch-overs). With the others we were all out in LA a couple of days before the official trek started meaning I had other’s to go explore the city with. So so much easier than doing it alone.
3 | You have a basic itinerary sorted
With solo travel, you’d have to plan ahead, probably endure high stress levels if plans started to back fire during travelling, cry if there’s no access to the internet to figure out what to do next…
But enough with that drama. I didn’t experience any of that because we had a daily plan. For some, this could appear restrictive but I found it a good way to have some expectations but with the addition of ‘free time’, it gave us a change to be a little spontaneous too. Without the basic itinerary’s, I would’ve spent time planning a route and accommodation for the Grand Canyon, wasted days driving aimlessly through Texas attempting to figure out what the highlights of the state were (it’s a huge state and wasn’t one I was clue’d up on).
4 | No, you’re not a mule
OK. This is a given with most traditional solo back-packing. Just you vs. your 50l backpack, logging it around. It can all get super tiring very quickly. Not with Trek. I packed my roller duffel and popped it in the trailer. That was me sorted for the whole month. The most I ever had to do was take it around for the additional days pre & post trip and also when we’d unpack / pack after each destination. The whole process was just so much easier. I recently did another trip which involved me needing a backpack for 14 days; which I had to carry around myself – yeah, I wasn’t cut out for it.
5 | Budget living, but whose complaining?
For me, travelling on the cheap was a big factor to heading out in America. I knew it was going to be more expensive than a month out in South Asia or Eastern Europe, for example. So looking at options to primarily camp allowed me to spend a lot on other things such as food, activities, nights out. The fact there was a group of us gave us better rates for camping grounds and a no-brainer because I had a group tour – the camping equipment was provided for me. Meaning before we started I didn’t have to go out and buy a tent and other bits that I would have no further use for after this trip.
These are just a few of the things why I think Trek gave me a great experience, going it alone across America just wouldn’t have been practical. Is Trek America or group tours something you’ve looked at for up-coming travel?