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National Parks and Native Trails of the Dakotas (Black Hills Pow Wow)

9 Day North & South Dakota Tour

National Parks and Native Trails of the Dakotas
9 Days
1 Country

United States

14 Cities

Rapid City, Pine Ridge Reservation, Badlands National Park, Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse Memorial, Rosebud Reservation, Chamberlain, Pierre, Fort Yates, Bismarck, New Town, Theodore Roosevelt North Unit, Medora, Theodore Roosevelt South Unit

14 Meals

2 Dinners, 8 Breakfasts, 4 Lunchs

Active

Faster paced with mix of 1 and 2-night stays in each destination. Requires walking to participate in top sites.

Average group size average 40-45
Tour brand Trafalgar

Trafalgar

If you like hassle free travel with everything handled for you – looking to meet great people, eat great food, enjoy great sightseeing, and have immersive experiences, Trafalgar is for you.  From the iconic not-to-be-missed to one-of-a-kind local experiences, including Be-my-Guest dining and stays with stories, you’ll connect deeper to your destination, and every tour has at least one MAKE TRAVEL MATTER immersive impact experience included advancing one or more of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), offering you the chance to take a deep dive into culture and community. As the world’s leading tour company and trusted by more than 5 million guests, Trafalgar tours are simply the best value for your vacation dollar.

View all Trafalgar Tours

Black Hills Pow Wow Tours

Immerse yourself in the joyous atmosphere of the Black Hills Pow Wow, a yearly gathering held in Rapid City, South Dakota. The vibrant occasion honors the preservation of the cultural heritage of the Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota communities. Witness the dazzling performances by talented dancers and singers, and marvel at the intricate craftsmanship of skilled artisans.

View all Black Hills Pow Wow Tours

This bespoke, culturally-rich itinerary supports the growth of indigenous tribal tourism in the USA , developed in collaboration with local communities in the Dakotas, for an authentic, one-of-a-kind insight into Native American history and heart. Through the power of storytelling through passionate locals you’ll meet, you’ll leave enlightened by your visits to four reservations of the Dakotas, as well as National Parks and monuments to discover first-hand the stark and rich history and future of the people that call it home. Packed with meaningful travel experiences, this is a must-book itinerary supporting culture and heritage of our important Tribal Nations and offers the unique experience of joining in on a traditional Pow Wow in the Black Hills.

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Average group size
average 40-45
Tour brand
Trafalgar
Travel style
Black Hills Pow Wow
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Day-by-day itinerary

Day 1

Welcome To Rapid City

Welcome to Rapid City where we begin our exploration of the Tribal Nations of North and South Dakota on this culturally enriching adventure that leads with authenticity. Meet your Travel Director and fellow travelers this evening at dinner as you ready for an unforgettable journey.

View of Rapid City, USA
Accommodation The Rushmore Hotel & Suites
Included Meals Dinner

Day 2

Exploring The Badlands National Park And Oglala Sioux Tribe

Discover how deeply the Lakota people are connected to their land, customs and ancestors as you enjoy a MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experience at the Oglala Lakota Living History Village. Take in the sights along the iconic Badlands Loop Road, arriving at Pine Ridge Indian Reservation where you’ll meet talented Native artists. Later, visit Wounded Knee Memorial, site of the 1890 Massacre, told in vivid detail by a local storyteller who’ll share personal stories passed down through generations as you look upon the historic lands where it unfolded.

View of Badlands National Park, USA
Accommodation The Rushmore Hotel & Suites
Included Meals Breakfast, Lunch
MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Take a guided walking tour of Oglala Lakota Living History Village, South Dakota, USA
Discover the Oglala Lakota Living History Village

Travel to the past at the Oglala Lakota Living History Village and gain valuable insights into the culture and Indigenous knowledge of Lakota Count...

See More
Included in Trip

MAKE TRAVEL MATTER®

Iconic Experience Travel through the Native American Scenic Byway and see different Indigenous communities and reservations, South Dakota, USA
Scenic Drive through Badlands

Enjoy the spectacular sights as you make your way through Badlands Loop Road.

Included in Trip

Iconic Experience

Dive Into Culture Listen to Wounded Knee Presentation with Tatanka Rez Tours in South Dakota, USA
Presentation at Wounded Knee

Learn the History of Wounded Knee as told by Warren Yellow Hair as you look upon where it happened. Listening to stories told from generation to ge...

See More
Included in Trip

Dive Into Culture

Day 3

Visit Mount Rushmore And Attend the Black Hill's Pow Wow

Head to one of America's most iconic sites, and learn of its complicated past as you stand face to face with history at Mount Rushmore, before heading to the Crazy Horse Memorial, depicting the famous and moving Oglala Lakota warrior. While there we take a locally guided walk to the base of the mountain. Then for the highlight of the day; attend the Black Hills Pow Wow, also known as He Sapa Wacipi, with Stephen Yellowhawk of the the Lakota tribe. A sacred social gathering held by many North American indigenous communities that includes singing, dancing, drum groups, art, athletic competitions, and a variety of other events, all to celebrate and honor their beautiful culture that you get to witness.

View of Mount Rushmore, USA
Accommodation The Rushmore Hotel & Suites
Included Meals Breakfast
MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® See the Black Hills Pow Wow experience in Rapid City, South Dakota, USA
Black Hills Pow Wow Experience

Enjoy an evening at the Black Hills Pow Wow, one of the premier American Indian cultural events in the United States, attracting hundreds of dancer...

See More
Included in Trip

MAKE TRAVEL MATTER®

Iconic Experience Visit the Crazy Horse Memorial in Black Hills, USA
Visit Crazy Horse Memorial

Unlock the history of Crazy Horse Memorial. Learn how construction began in 1948 after Henry Standing Bear, a Lakota elder, commissioned Korczak Zi...

See More
Included in Trip

Iconic Experience

Day 4

Spend The Day With The Rosebud Sioux Tribe

Get an insider’s view from a Local Specialist at the Rosebud Indian Reservation, home to the Sicangu Lakota Oyate Nation, for a deeply meaningful MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experience. You'll learn the history and cultural heritage of the Rosebud Reservation, in addition to understanding the socio-economic issues impacting the Lakota in today’s modern world. Later, sample delicious and authentic Lakota food over lunch at Sinte Gleska University. Founded in 1971, the university's mission is to provide higher education opportunities while preserving and promoting the Lakota culture and traditions. The university aims to integrate Lakota perspectives and values into its academic programs and foster a sense of identity and pride among its students. After lunch, you will meet Lakota elder Victor Douville for a Star Knowledge Presentation.

Rosebud Indian Reservation, USA
Accommodation Arrowwood Cedar Shore Resort & Conference Center
Included Meals Breakfast, Lunch
MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Visit Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota, USA
Rosebud Reservation

Get an insider’s view from a Local Specialist at the Rosebud Indian Reservation, home to the Sicangu Lakota Oyate Nation, for a deeply meaningful M...

See More
Included in Trip

MAKE TRAVEL MATTER®

MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Enjoy lunch at Turtle Crossing and watch REDCO presentation on food sovereignty, South Dakota, USA
Traditional Lakota Lunch at Sinte Gleska University

Join a Rosebud tribal member to learn about life on the reservation and food sovereignty projects, before sampling authentic Lakota dishes at Sinte...

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Included in Trip

MAKE TRAVEL MATTER®

MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Visit commuter campus Sinte Gleska University and learn in Star Knowledge Presentation at Mission, South Dakota, USA
Star Knowledge Presentation with Elder

Enjoy a visit to Sinte Gleska University where you will be given a Star Knowledge Presentation by a Lakota elder, Victor Douville.

Included in Trip

MAKE TRAVEL MATTER®

Day 5

Day Trip To Lakota Youth Development

The future of the Lakota Oyate (Lakota Nation) takes center stage as you meet Marla C. Bull Bear, Executive Director of Lakota Youth Development, a non-profit organization whose mission is to reclaim Lakota language, culture, and spirituality by promoting healthy lifestyle education for Lakota youth through culturally based strategies. Listen to Indigenous storytelling, enjoy a performance put on by tribal youth, and appreciate an Indigenous plant walk all before sharing a meal with tribal members of the Rosebud Reservation. We continue to Chamberlain where you'll witness to awe-inspiring Statue of Dignity, a soaring sculpture of a Native woman standing high on a bluff above the Missouri River.

Visit Lakota Youth Development in South Dakota, USA
Accommodation Arrowwood Cedar Shore Resort & Conference Center
Included Meals Breakfast, Lunch
Be My Guest
Lakota Youth Development with Marla C. Bull Bear

The future of the Lakota Oyate "Lakota Nation" takes center stage as you meet Marla C. Bull Bear, Executive Director of LYD, and the Rosebud tribal...

See More
Included in Trip

Be My Guest

Iconic Experience See Dignity statue sculpture near Chamberlain, South Dakota, USA
See The Statue of Dignity

The Dignity sculpture, a stunning combination of art and history. Specifically designed by sculptor Dale Lamphere to honor the cultures of the Lako...

See More
Included in Trip

Iconic Experience

Day 6

Sitting Bull & Standing Rock Indian Reservation

Travel along the Native American Scenic Byway stopping in South Dakota’s capital, Pierre, for a tour of the town and the State Capitol. Next up, visit Sakakawea Monument & Sitting Bull Monument, believed to be the final resting place of Native American spiritual and social leader, Sitting Bull. Unlock more of the life and story behind Sitting Bull’s grave at Fort Yates Military Cemetery, where Sitting Bull was originally buried. Learn how the US Army abandoned Fort Yates in 1903 and had all the graves moved except for Sitting Bull’s. In the 1950s a group of businesspeople from Mobridge, South Dakota received permission through the Bureau of Indian Affairs to move Sitting Bull’s remains from the neglected grave in Fort Yates to Mobridge in an effort to attract tourists to their town.  

White Sage Smudge Sticks, Lakota, USA
Accommodation Radisson Hotel Bismarck
Included Meals Breakfast
Iconic Experience Travel through the Native American Scenic Byway and see different Indigenous communities and reservations, South Dakota, USA
Native American Scenic Byway

You'll travel through and past the different indigenous communities and reservations in South Dakota.

Included in Trip

Iconic Experience

Must-see Highlights Capitol buliding in Pierre, South Dakota, USA
Pierre Sightseeing

Unlock the best of Pierre, South Dakota over a sightseeing tour with your Travel Director. There’s no better place to discover the town’s history t...

See More
Included in Trip

Must-see Highlights

Must-see Highlights See the Sitting Bull Monument in Mobridge South Dakota
Sakakawea Monument & Sitting Bull Monument

Visit the Sitting Bull and Sakakawea Monuments set in a remote spot overlooking the Missouri River. At this monument sculpted by Korczak Ziolkowski...

See More
Included in Trip

Must-see Highlights

Day 7

Mandan, Hidatsa And Arikara Nation

Our first stop today is the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center for a self-guided visit through engaging exhibits, hundreds of period artifacts, world-class art collections and friendly interpreters who tell the story of the Lewis and Clark Expedition like never before. Then, we head to the MHA (Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara) Interpretive Center for a unique Make Travel Matter experience and traditional lunch followed by a guided tour. Make your way outdoors to experience Earth Lodge Village learning how the organization is dedicated to protecting, preserving and educating the world about their living culture, history and environment.

Native American men in Lake Sakakawea, USA
Accommodation Teddy's Residential Suites New Town
Included Meals Breakfast, Lunch
MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Visit the giftshop of local arts and crafts at MHA Interpretive Center, New Town, North Dakota, USA
MHA Interpretive Center

Explore the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation, located on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in central North Dakota. Spanning 988,000 acres al...

See More
Included in Trip

MAKE TRAVEL MATTER®

Dive Into Culture Take a guided visit and see cultural dance performance at Earth Lodge Village, North Dakota, USA
Earth Lodge Village

Enjoy a guided tour of the Earth Lodge Village and see how the MHA people used to live. You will also try your hand at archery and parfleche painti...

See More
Included in Trip

Dive Into Culture

Day 8

Theodore Roosevelt National Park Sightseeing

Stop at Crows Flies High for views of Lake Sakakawea and the Four Bears Bridge. Take the scenic route to the North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park that climbs through the canyon to must-sees like the Oxbow Overlook. Arrive in Medora for a free afternoon. Your Stays with Stories is the historic Rough Riders Hotel filled with western charm and 1880s nostalgia. Enjoy a last dinner reflecting on the countless impactful moments.

Bison in Theodore Roosevelt National Park, USA
Accommodation Rough Riders Hotel, Medora
Included Meals Breakfast, Dinner
Iconic Experience Visit North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt NP in North Dakota, USA
Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Head to the North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park this morning, the less frequented part of the National Park that should not be missed. T...

See More
Included in Trip

Iconic Experience

Trafalgar Difference Visit Medora Town in the Badlands, North Dakota, USA
Stay at Rough Riders Hotel

Enjoy your Stay With Stories experience at the Rough Riders Hotel. Bask in the 1880s nostalgia and its western charm, as you enjoy a dinner with yo...

See More
Included in Trip

Trafalgar Difference

Optional Experiences
The Teddy Roosevelt Show

The Teddy Roosevelt Show is all that a living history experience should be! The world's best TR repriser, Joe Wiegand, will have you: chasing after...

See More
Additional Cost Applies

Optional Experiences

Day 9

Farewell In Bismarck

End your tour with a drive through a portion of the South Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Say your final goodbyes before arriving at Bismarck airport.

View of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, USA
Included Meals Breakfast
Must-see Highlights See wildlife at Theodore Roosevelt NP South Unit, in Medora, North Dakota, USA
Theodore Roosevelt NP South Unit

Drive through a portion of Theodore Roosevelt National Park South Unit. You'll also have an opportunity to see the Maltese Cross Cabin, once used b...

See More
Included in Trip

Must-see Highlights

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Special Departure

Special Departure

Included Highlights

Top rated highlights

Learn more about the landmarks, history and culture that makes your destination special.

MAKE TRAVEL MATTER®
Discover the Oglala Lakota Living History Village

Travel to the past at the Oglala Lakota Living History Village and gain valuable insights into the culture and Indigenous knowledge of Lakota Count...

See More
Included in Trip
Iconic Experience
Scenic Drive through Badlands

Enjoy the spectacular sights as you make your way through Badlands Loop Road.

Included in Trip
Dive Into Culture
Presentation at Wounded Knee

Learn the History of Wounded Knee as told by Warren Yellow Hair as you look upon where it happened. Listening to stories told from generation to ge...

See More
Included in Trip
MAKE TRAVEL MATTER®
Black Hills Pow Wow Experience

Enjoy an evening at the Black Hills Pow Wow, one of the premier American Indian cultural events in the United States, attracting hundreds of dancer...

See More
Included in Trip
Iconic Experience
Visit Crazy Horse Memorial

Unlock the history of Crazy Horse Memorial. Learn how construction began in 1948 after Henry Standing Bear, a Lakota elder, commissioned Korczak Zi...

See More
Included in Trip
MAKE TRAVEL MATTER®
Rosebud Reservation

Get an insider’s view from a Local Specialist at the Rosebud Indian Reservation, home to the Sicangu Lakota Oyate Nation, for a deeply meaningful M...

See More
Included in Trip
MAKE TRAVEL MATTER®
Traditional Lakota Lunch at Sinte Gleska University

Join a Rosebud tribal member to learn about life on the reservation and food sovereignty projects, before sampling authentic Lakota dishes at Sinte...

See More
Included in Trip
MAKE TRAVEL MATTER®
Star Knowledge Presentation with Elder

Enjoy a visit to Sinte Gleska University where you will be given a Star Knowledge Presentation by a Lakota elder, Victor Douville.

Included in Trip
Be My Guest
Lakota Youth Development with Marla C. Bull Bear

The future of the Lakota Oyate "Lakota Nation" takes center stage as you meet Marla C. Bull Bear, Executive Director of LYD, and the Rosebud tribal...

See More
Included in Trip
Iconic Experience
See The Statue of Dignity

The Dignity sculpture, a stunning combination of art and history. Specifically designed by sculptor Dale Lamphere to honor the cultures of the Lako...

See More
Included in Trip
Iconic Experience
Native American Scenic Byway

You'll travel through and past the different indigenous communities and reservations in South Dakota.

Included in Trip
Must-see Highlights
Pierre Sightseeing

Unlock the best of Pierre, South Dakota over a sightseeing tour with your Travel Director. There’s no better place to discover the town’s history t...

See More
Included in Trip
Must-see Highlights
Sakakawea Monument & Sitting Bull Monument

Visit the Sitting Bull and Sakakawea Monuments set in a remote spot overlooking the Missouri River. At this monument sculpted by Korczak Ziolkowski...

See More
Included in Trip
MAKE TRAVEL MATTER®
MHA Interpretive Center

Explore the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation, located on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in central North Dakota. Spanning 988,000 acres al...

See More
Included in Trip
Dive Into Culture
Earth Lodge Village

Enjoy a guided tour of the Earth Lodge Village and see how the MHA people used to live. You will also try your hand at archery and parfleche painti...

See More
Included in Trip
Iconic Experience
Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Head to the North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park this morning, the less frequented part of the National Park that should not be missed. T...

See More
Included in Trip
Trafalgar Difference
Stay at Rough Riders Hotel

Enjoy your Stay With Stories experience at the Rough Riders Hotel. Bask in the 1880s nostalgia and its western charm, as you enjoy a dinner with yo...

See More
Included in Trip
Must-see Highlights
Theodore Roosevelt NP South Unit

Drive through a portion of Theodore Roosevelt National Park South Unit. You'll also have an opportunity to see the Maltese Cross Cabin, once used b...

See More
Included in Trip

About this trip

An expert Travel Director and professional Driver
Cherry-picked hotels, all tried and trusted
All porterage and restaurant gratuities
All hotel tips, charges and local taxes
Breakfast daily and up to half of your evening meals
Must-see sightseeing and surprise extras
Audio headsets for flexible sightseeing
Luxury air-conditioned coach with Wi-Fi in most countries or alternative transportation (such as rail journeys)
Optional Experiences and free time

What to expect

See Dignity Statue, Sitting Bull & Sakakawea Monument 
View Crow Flies High outlook, The Dignity statue, Sitting Bull and Sakakawea Monuments
Visit Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, Rosebud Indian Reservation, Standing Rock Indian Reservation, Fort Berthold Indian Reservation, Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, Fort Mandan, Oglala Lakota Living History Museum, Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Crazy Horse Memorial, Theodore Roosevelt National Park
Scenic Drive to Badlands Loop Road Drive, Mobridge
Explore Stephen Yellowhawk in Rapid City, Marla C. Bull Bear in Pine Ridge, Rosebud Sioux Tribal Guide, Victor Douville Star Knowledge Presenter in Mission, MHA Guides at Earth Lodge Village
Visit Indigenous communities and learn, see & hear about history & traditions.
Connect with Locals during a lunch at Lakota Youth Development

Optional Experiences

Sign up on tour for additional experiences that have been curated by your Travel Director from their own in-depth local knowledge.

Optional Experience
The Teddy Roosevelt Show

The Teddy Roosevelt Show is all that a living history experience should be! The world's best TR repriser, Joe Wiegand, will have you: chasing after...

See More
Additional Cost Applies

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USA National Parks

The National Park system was launched when Congress established Yellowstone National Park in the Territories of Wyoming and Montana. Since this preceded statehood for both territories, they were placed under federal management within the Department of the Interior. Today, the National Park System administers 419 parks! Here are some quick facts about our top national parks in the USA. 

If you're planning to go on a tour of the USA's national parks, there are several important things to know to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable experience. Here are some key tips:

Pack Appropriately:

  • Depending on the time of year and location, weather conditions can vary greatly. Pack layers, waterproof gear, and appropriate footwear for hiking.
  • Don't forget essentials like water bottles, sunscreen, insect repellent, and a first aid kit.

Stay on Marked Trails:

  • Follow marked trails and paths to protect fragile ecosystems and your own safety.
  • Venturing off marked paths can harm plants, disturb wildlife, and increase the risk of accidents.

Wildlife Safety:

  • Keep a safe distance from wildlife. Use binoculars or a telephoto lens to observe animals from a distance.
  • Never feed wild animals, as it can alter their natural behaviors and potentially lead to dangerous encounters.

Leave No Trace:

  • Follow the principles of "Leave No Trace" by packing out all trash, minimizing your impact on the environment, and respecting the natural beauty of the parks.

Photography Etiquette:

  • Take photos responsibly and without disturbing the environment or other visitors.
  • Avoid climbing on delicate formations for the sake of a photo.

Cultural and Historic Sites:

  • Respect cultural and historical sites within the parks. Do not touch or disturb artifacts or structures.

The climate and weather in the USA's national parks can vary significantly due to their diverse geographical locations and elevations. It's important to note that the weather can be unpredictable in many national parks, so it's wise to be prepared for changing conditions. Always check the weather forecast before your trip, especially if you plan to participate in outdoor activities such as hiking or camping. Additionally, higher elevations tend to have cooler temperatures, and conditions can change rapidly, so be sure to pack accordingly and follow park guidelines for safety.

Here's a general overview of the climate and weather considerations for some of the top-visited national parks:

Yellowstone National Park:

  • Located in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho.
  • Summers are short and cool, while winters are cold with heavy snowfall.
  • Weather can change rapidly, even within a single day.
  • Snow can be present even in summer at higher elevations.

Grand Canyon National Park:

  • Located in Arizona.
  • Summers are hot on the canyon floor, with cooler temperatures at higher elevations.
  • Winters can be mild at the bottom but cold at the rim. Snow is possible at the rim.

Yosemite National Park:

  • Located in California.
  • Mild temperatures in the valley during summer, with cooler temperatures at higher elevations.
  • Winters can bring snow to the valley floor and heavy snowfall at higher elevations.

Rocky Mountain National Park:

  • Located in Colorado.
  • Summers are pleasant, but temperatures can drop at night due to high elevation.
  • Winters are cold with heavy snowfall, especially at higher elevations.

Zion National Park:

  • Located in Utah.
  • Summers are hot, particularly in the narrow canyons.
  • Winters are mild in the lower elevations but can be snowy at higher elevations.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park:

  • Located in Tennessee and North Carolina.
  • Experiences a temperate climate with hot and humid summers and mild winters.
  • Rainfall is common, contributing to the lush vegetation.

Glacier National Park:

  • Located in Montana.
  • Short, cool summers with temperatures varying significantly depending on elevation.
  • Winters are cold with heavy snowfall, and many areas remain inaccessible due to snow.

Bryce Canyon National Park:

  • Located in Utah.
  • Summers are warm during the day and cool at night.
  • Winters are cold with significant snowfall, creating a unique snowy landscape.

Acadia National Park:

  • Located in Maine.
  • Summers are mild and pleasant, but fog can be expected along the coast.
  • Winters are cold, and snowfall is possible.

On-Tour Luggage & Carry-On Bag Size Limits

Luggage: Each guest traveling may bring one suitcase no larger than 30” x 18” x 10" and weighing no more than 50 lb

Carry-On Bag: *Restricted to one piece per person, not to exceed 12” x 11” x 6”

  • *Please note: A "carry-on bag" on a tour coach is not the same as a "carry-on" for a flight. Because our coaches have large windows to enjoy the view, there is minimal space to store large items securely overhead or under the seats. A "carry-on bag" may be a soft-sided daypack, purse, backpack, tote bag, or the like. Because we value our guests' safety, small rolling suitcases or bags with telescopic handles are not permitted. In order to guarantee a smooth trip, guests are not permitted to store an additional "carry-on" bag beneath the coach with the luggage. 

So your driver and any hotel porters can safely lift and transport your suitcase throughout your vacation, we strongly recommend that you test the weight of your baggage prior to travel. You should be able to lift and comfortably transport it for short distances. 

Baggage allowances vary from airline to airline, and you should check with your chosen carrier for details prior to travel.

Packing Tips for Your Tour

Packing for a trip to Alaska will vary depending on the duration of the trip, the time of year, and the activities planned. Still, it requires careful consideration due to the diverse climate and activities you might encounter. Here's a comprehensive list of packing tips to ensure you're well-prepared:

Clothing:

  • Comfortable walking shoes: Sturdy, comfortable hiking shoes or boots with good traction are essential for exploring park trails.
  • Layering is key: Bring a variety of lightweight, moisture-wicking base layers, insulating mid-layers, and waterproof outer layers to adapt to changing weather conditions.
  • A warm jacket: A waterproof and insulated jacket will be essential for colder days.
  • Rain gear: Bring a waterproof jacket, pants, and even a rain cover for your backpack/camera to stay dry during unexpected rain showers.
  • Fleece or sweaters: These provide extra warmth and can be worn over base layers.
  • Quick-dry pants: Opt for comfortable pants that dry quickly if they get wet.
  • Gloves and mittens: Pack lightweight gloves or heavy mittens for colder days.
  • Hats: A warm beanie and a sun hat with a wide brim for sun protection.
  • Polarized sunglasses for glare reduction and eye protection.

Sun Protection:

  • Sunscreen with high SPF. If you're visiting any coastal areas, bring "Reef-Safe" sunscreen formulated without harmful chemicals known to be damaging to coral reefs and marine life. Traditional sunscreens often contain ingredients like oxybenzone and octinoxate, which have been found to contribute to coral bleaching and negatively impact marine ecosystems. Look for sunscreens with certifications such as "Reef Safe," "Coral Safe," or "Ocean-Friendly" to ensure they are environmentally friendly.

Medications and First Aid:

  • Any prescription medications you need. (See more below under Health & Wellness)
  • Basic first aid kit with adhesive bandages, antiseptic wipes, pain relievers, etc.

Toiletries:

  • Travel-sized toiletries, including shampoo, conditioner, soap, and toothpaste.
  • Travel towel (quick-drying and compact).
  • Hand sanitizer and wet wipes.
  • A washcloth and carry bag (often not available in hotels abroad).

Electronics:

  • A camera: You’re traveling to see extraordinary scenery and sites. So that you don't miss a single moment, bring a trustworthy camera. Check out our travel photography tips for capturing the best photos of your trips. If you feel comfortable, you can also try the camera on your phone. However, if you want to zoom in or capture moving objects, a camera might be your best bet.
  • Mobile phone.
  • Chargers for each electronic you bring.
  • Portable power bank for charging devices on the go.
  • Small travel hair dryer (make sure you have the correct converter and adapter).

Miscellaneous:

  • A travel-friendly daypack or bag is useful for carrying essentials like water, snacks, a camera, and any extra clothing layers during excursions.
  • Insect repellent can be essential, especially in parks with dense foliage or during warmer months.
  • Reusable water bottle. At GET, we’re all about caring for our planet, and with that in mind, we always recommend that you pack a reusable water bottle for your trip. Bringing your own reusable water bottle or asking for tap water at restaurants means you can make a difference by reducing your vacation plastic waste.
  • If you have a National Park Pass or any tour-related documents, keep them easily accessible.
  • Carry a copy of your ID, passport, or driver's license, especially if you're staying in lodges within the park.
  • A small travel alarm.
  • A travel iron if you like your clothes to be pressed.
  • A travel pillow.

Optional:

  • Light sleepwear.
  • A new, blank journal to document your trip. Don't know your travel journal style? Find out here!
  • Ziplock bags (storing snacks, toiletries, and keeping things organized).

Remember that the specific items you pack may vary based on the park you're visiting and the activities planned during your guided tour.

Since you are traveling within the USA, you won't need to worry about voltage and plug type differences. Just pack your electronic devices as you would for any domestic trip, and you'll be all set to enjoy your guided tour in the United States!

It's important to keep in mind that the focus of national park lodges is often on providing a comfortable and immersive experience that aligns with the natural surroundings. Depending on the lodge's location and the park's preservation priorities, the amenities offered might differ from what you'd find in a typical hotel. As well, the availability of amenities such as air conditioning and hair dryers in national park lodges can vary widely based on the specific lodge and park you're visiting. 

Here's a general idea of what to expect:

Electricity

  • Voltage and Plug Type: As an American traveler, you won't need a voltage converter or plug adapter for your electronic devices within the country.
  • Compatibility: Since you are traveling within the USA, your electronic devices, such as smartphones, laptops, and camera chargers, should be compatible with the standard voltage and plug type used in the country. You can use your regular chargers and power cords without any issues.
  • Hotels and Accommodations: Most hotels and accommodations in the USA provide electrical outlets compatible with American plugs. You won't need to worry about adaptors or converters within the country.
  • Airports and Public Places: Airports, train stations, and other public places in the USA will have outlets that match the American standard, so you can quickly charge your devices while on the go.
  • On the Go: We highly suggest bringing a portable power bank for charging devices on the go. You can charge it each night and pack it for your excursions during the day. There's nothing like missing that photo when your camera dies!

Air Conditioning:

  • Many national park lodges are located in areas with cooler temperatures or higher elevations, where air conditioning is not as commonly needed.
  • However, some lodges in warmer regions or lower elevations might offer air conditioning, especially if the climate calls for it.

Hair Dryers:

  • National park lodges often prioritize preserving the natural environment and minimizing their ecological footprint, so some lodges might not provide hair dryers in rooms.
  • However, larger lodges or those near more developed areas might offer hair dryers as part of their room amenities.
  • If having a hair dryer is essential, check with the lodge in advance or consider bringing a compact, travel-sized hair dryer.

Traveling by coach

Our modern air-conditioned coaches have been selected with your comfort in mind. Your Travel Director will familiarize you with all the onboard features, including a washroom fitted for your convenience and comfort. Regular stops are made to stretch your legs, take refreshments, fill up your water bottles, and use the facilities.

Airport transfers

Airport transfers are not included or available on tours that operate in the United States. Guests will be provided local transfer options after booking so they can make their travel arrangements from the airport to the hotel and vice versa. Learn more about Airport Transfers here.

So that you can personalize your tour experience, you will find a number of Optional Experiences designed to complement the itinerary. These are designed to offer a deeper insight into the culture and character of the areas to be visited and provide some wonderful highlights to your travels. Optional programs are designed to help you experience more of what interests you and to get the most from your vacation without replacing or overlapping anything included in an itinerary.

The majority of Optional Experiences will be offered to you by your Travel Director at the beginning of your trip. Some may be subject to change, depending on the time you are traveling or local circumstances, including weather and days of the week. Your Travel Director will provide further information.

Exact payment options will be advised locally by your Travel Director/Local Representative for each Optional Experience, but in many cases, cash, Visa, MasterCard, and American Express are all accepted.

Traveling on a guided tour can be an exciting and enriching experience. However, it's essential to prioritize your health and safety while exploring new territories. Staying informed, prepared, and cautious will go a long way in ensuring a safe and enjoyable travel experience. Always stay in touch with your Travel Director and always follow their recommendations.

Here are some health advice and recommendations for travelers:

Visit the Doctor: Before embarking on your trip, schedule a visit with a medicine specialist or your healthcare provider. They can provide personalized health advice based on your medical history and current health status.

Travel Insurance: Ensure you have comprehensive travel insurance that covers medical emergencies, evacuations, and trip cancellations.

First Aid Kit: Carry a basic kit with essential items like band-aids, antiseptic wipes, pain relievers, antidiarrheal medication, and any prescribed medications.  

Stay Hydrated: Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water, avoid strenuous activities during the hottest part of the day, and rest in air-conditioned or shaded areas.

In order to ensure a healthy and enjoyable trip, we strongly suggest that you pack an adequate supply of your prescription medications and carry them in their original packaging, along with a copy of your prescription. Here’s what you need to know about traveling with medications.

Prior to traveling, please notify GET of any disability requiring special assistance or any specific dietary needs that you may have, and we will strive to accommodate these. 

When traveling with GET, baggage handling at hotels, service charges, and tips for hotel wait staff (for included meals) will all be taken care of by your Travel Director. There are, however, a few instances where individual tipping is welcome.

Local Specialists

It is customary to show appreciation for the insights, stories, and know-how shared with you by the Local Specialists, and we suggest a gratuity of $1.00-$2.00 USD per person/half day. You can always ask your Travel Director if there will be any need to bring cash along to tip someone that day. 

Your Coach Driver and Travel Director

The trip cost does not include gratuities for your Travel Director and Driver. At the end of your trip, you may express appreciation to your Travel Director and Driver for their excellent service and the personal attention you received. Gratuities are given at the discretion of each guest, and a suggested amount per person/day is listed in your travel documents.

Hotel services

It is customary to tip hotel staff for room service delivery if the charge has not already been added to the bill. Where ice machines are not available, and you receive ice from the bar, a small tip to the bartender is always appreciated.

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