U.S. National Parks
Know Before You Go
For an epic trip with zero stress and infinite holy s#!t moments, get familiar with the information below. Seeing the world should be fun, not stressful, which is why we’ve written this guide for you so all you have to do is travel. Now, it’s time to do a happy dance and make this trip ULTIMATE.
If you have any questions, chat in, or give us a call at 617-619-1411. We’re available to make sure you have the Best. Trip. Ever.
Travel Documents & Tour Preparation
- Identification: A valid I.D. (driver's license) or passport is required for this trip in order to board your inbound and outbound flights
- Insurance: All travelers should bring their insurance cards with them
Talk with your doctor: Although there are no health entry requirements for travelers visiting the United States it is highly recommended that you talk with your doctor about your travel plans. If you are taking any medications, be certain to bring enough to last throughout your trip.
Travelling with allergies? Let your Trip Consultant and Tour Director know of any dietary restrictions/allergies and we will do what we can to accommodate for any included meals.
Cellular Data & WiFi: Cellular data may be intermittent while in the national parks and/or on some of the drives. Free Wi-Fi may be available in your accommodations, but it may vary by strength according to your accommodations on tour.
Get the EF Ultimate Break app: Your trip's group will be able to connect on the app before you meet IRL. Don't miss out! Meet other travelers, get updates from your Tour Director, see flights and accommodations, and more. If you're having trouble, give us a call at 617-619-1411.
Complete you pre-tour checklist: this can be found in your account.
Health & Safety
Staying Healthy while Traveling
Fact: Travel is exhilarating. And FOMO is real. We understand why you don’t want to miss a second of the action, but there’s a difference between maximizing your time and spreading yourself too thin. Here are some tips to stay healthy and happy on tour:
- Sleep: Flying across the country, changing time zones, and being active and on the move can take a toll on your body. Make sure you get the rest your body needs.
- Stay hydrated: During this trip, you’ll traverse through deserts, canyons, arches and more! With so much to see and do, it’s important to drink plenty of water each day; Don’t forget to pack that reusable water bottle and hydrate
- Take time for yourself: Group travel is an amazing experience. That said, it’s okay to take time for yourself to relax and reflect on your experience. Try one of these mindfulness apps while you're on the road:
- Insight Timer: 80,000 free daily meditations to help with sleep, anxiety, and stress
- What’s Up: What’s Up can help you manage feelings of anxiety, depression, or stress with interactive games, forums, and a thought tracking diary.
- Talkspace: Talkspace gives you 24/7 access to real, licensed therapists. You can talk, text, or video chat with them right from your phone.
With a global presence of more than 46,000 people in over 115 countries and regions, we’re fully committed to your safety. From your first flight all the way through to your farewell dinner don’t hesitate to reach out to your Tour Director or your Trip Consultant if you need a helping hand. Keep these extra tips in mind so you can #travelsmart:
- Keep your bag/purse in front of you and your phone zipped inside when you’re not using it. Leave your laptop at home, store valuables at the hotel in locked luggage or the safe deposit box. Refrain from carrying large sums of money or wearing valuable jewelry.
- Use the buddy system. Stay in groups and watch out for each other, especially at night—no one gets left behind!
- Be smart about alcohol consumption. Watch your drinks and don’t accept drinks from people you don’t know. Don’t leave the bar alone with someone you just met.
- Before you go out, grab a business card at your hotel so that you always have the address handy for getting back later.
- At the end of a night out, use trusted transportation like a licensed taxi or Uber, and always have cash on hand.
- Save our 24/7 number in your phone: +1–617–619–1411
Money & Tipping
We recommend budgeting $60-$80 per day for meals, gratuities, shopping, and free time activities. For this trip, that means roughly $600-$800 but you know your spending habits best. If you’re looking to #treatyourself to the max, you may want to budget a little more.
Since you'll be traveling throughout the U.S., you are not required to exchange money before you depart. We recommend you bring more than one form of payment while traveling; Credit/Debit cards are widely accepted across the U.S., and ATMs are also available in most areas for cash withdrawals.
Make sure to talk with your bank and credit card companies to let them know where and when you are traveling to avoid any fraudulent charges or getting locked out of your account.
Currencies used: U.S. dollar
It’s standard to leave 15-20% tip in restaurants, and for taxis. As it is also customary to tip for services provided, we recommend the following for this tour:
- Local Guides: $1-$2
- Bus Driver: $20-$30 given at the end of the trip
- Tour Director: $40-$60 given at the end of the trip
On this trip you’ll be outside, exploring the Mojave Desert and reaching elevations of 9,000 feet above sea level; the weather can change in an instant. Temperatures can reach the 90s by day but can easily dip into the 30s in the evenings.
Your airline ticket does not include a checked bag; We recommend traveling with one small backpack or purse, and a smaller carry-on suitcase (22” x 14” x 9”) or bag, which is included in your ticket. See more packing tips below:
- 1 rain jacket or 1 warmer jacket (layers are key!)
- 1 fleece or warm sweatshirt
- Comfortable walking shoes for days not exploring the national parks
- Comfortable worn-in hiking boots, trail shoes or sneakers with good tread for days in the national parks
- Small backpack or daypack for days spent in the national parks (backpacks that allow bladders of water are ideal)
- Hat and/or sunglasses, sunscreen
- 3-4 pairs long pants
- 3-4 pairs shorts for warmer weather
- 5-10 t-shirts
- 1-2 warmer shirts
- 1-2 nicer outfits for your Welcome &
- Farewell Dinners and time in Las Vegas
- Underwear and socks
- Toiletries, medicine
- Reusable water bottle
- Phone or camera
- I.D. and/or Passport
- Debit / Credit cards and cash
- Chargers for electronics, no adapters needed on this trip
Arrival Information & Transportation
Check your online account 30 days prior to departure for your flight itinerary and confirmation number. Using your 6-digit reservation code, you can reserve your seat (this is typically available 30 days to 24 hours before departure) and check in to your flight 24 hours prior to departure. If you prefer to check in at the airport that’s okay, too. Regardless, plan to arrive 2.5 – 3 hours before departure.
Note: All flight information is online (e-ticket) via your account and the airline’s website. You will not receive a physical paper ticket from us.
- If your flight is cancelled or delayed: Don’t worry! We design the first day of tour as an arrival day in case of flight delays or cancellations. Work with the airline to get rebooked on the next available flight, then let your Tour Director know your new arrival time
- If you sleep in and miss your flight: You should still talk to the airline and see if they can get you on the next available option.
Arriving in San Fransciso
Your Tour Director will communicate through the EF Ultimate Break app, WhatsApp, or email about where to meet them at the airport. This is an important reason to make sure you have the EF Ultimate Break app!
Note: If you have booked your own flight arrangements or have extended your travels before or after the tour dates, you will need to make your own way to the first hotel. Accommodation details will be available in your online account 30 days prior to departure.
Getting from A to B
All transfers between cities are via private bus and can take anywhere between 2-6 hours. Bring motion sickness medicine in case you’re prone to getting carsick.
It’s a good idea to download a few movies or shows to watch sans Wi-Fi/ Cellular Data, bring a great book with you to read, or listen to music to pass the time.
While you are on this great American quest out West, you will room with up to 4-5 fellow travelers from your group. Specific accommodation details will be posted in your online account approximately 30 days prior to departure.
Unless you purchased a private room upgrade, standard rooming is 2-6 EF Ultimate Break travelers of the same gender per room. A few other things you can expect with rooming:
- One private bathroom per room that you’ll share with your roommates
- Wi-Fi connection may vary in strength depending on your accommodation
If you have any questions about your rooming status or want to request a specific roommate you can do so in your online account up to 60 days prior to departure, by chatting in, or by giving us a call at 617-619-1411.
National Parks FAQs
Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park is located in the central Sierra Nevada of California and is know for its granite cliffs, giant sequoia groves, hundreds of wildlife species, over a thousand plant species and 1,169 square miles of land to explore.
You could spend weeks exploring this iconic park, but since we only have a day, ask your TD to help you in selecting the perfect trail for your hiking taste.
Pro tip: Come to terms with the fact that you won’t see everything in this national park. Focus on the parts you can see, and trust us, they’ll be breathtaking.
Pro tip: This place is nothing short of astonishing. Take a moment to really soak it all in and grasp the magnitude of Mother Nature’s skills. And please don’t forget to take some photos—your Instagram followers won’t know what hit ‘em.
Zion National Park
Close your eyes and picture an old cowboy movie. Ok now open them. First, that’s a snazzy new hat you’ve got on there. Second, you basically were picturing Zion National Park. This Utah gem should be a staple on any Western national parks itinerary.
Pro tip: You’re likely going to walk out of here covered in the ubiquitous red dirt of the canyon. Pack accordingly.
Bryce Canyon National Park
A visit to Bryce Canyon National Park is a downright hoodoo hoedown. What is a hoodoo, you ask? It’s a naturally occurring rock that looks like a funky chimney, and Bryce Canyon is chock full of hoodoos (and a hoedown is a joyous group dance, the likes of which you are more than welcome to do here).
To get the full Bryce Canyon picture, we recommend a walking along the Rim Trail, then heading into the canyon itself for full rock formation immersion. It’s the only way to truly appreciate the geology of the park.
Pro tip: The elevation of Bryce Canyon is mostly above 8,000 feet. To avoid elevation sickness, just be sure to take it easy as your body acclimates, stay hydrated, and remember that that post-hike beer is going to hit you harder than you think.
Grand Canyon National Park
The Grand Canyon. That famous big hole in the ground in Arizona. America’s most iconic natural landmark. The Grand Canyon will take your breath away. Stand on the South Rim and peer in a mile deep and try and comprehend what you’re looking at, to say nothing of its width, length, or age. Everything about it is immense.
Hike down as far as you’re comfortable going… but remember you’ll be walking uphill to get back out. Much respect to the Pueblo people who called this wonder of the world home for thousands of years.
Pro tip: It’s better together. Like all hikes, sharing the moment, even in out-of-breath silence greatly improves the experience. Your phone or your DSLR can store the photos but only your trailmates can store the memories.
We’re so glad you chose to travel with us and are now part of the EF Ultimate Break family! We'll look for your post-card in the mail, and your #thisisultimate tags on Instagram. Cheers to the Best. Trip. Ever.