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New Jersey to Texas- USA Road trip with @TrekAmerica

Have you ever thought about going travelling around America but didn’t want to plan every step of the way, or even worried about travelling solo? Whichever it is there are many aspects that can make traveling stressful if you aren’t used to stepping out of your comfort zone. I’m here to tell you about all the amazing group travel options.

As you guys may have read on my last post, I worked the summer out in the USA, so I was already there when I started my Trek adventure. I flew direct from Chicago to La Guardia, New York to then get on the train to New Jersey, where I was staying the night in an Airbnb. There are many tours that start here as well as the “Atlantic Dream” that I was booked on.

On top of the basic trip you have optional extras you can book such as hotels the night before your trip. These tend to be around one hundred dollars, however if you call the tour company you may sometimes be able to do a room share with someone already on your tour. This can be a great way to make friends and feel more comfortable in the morning when meeting all your travel buddies, but if you want to save a whole lot of money you can do what I done and hire one bedroom in a flat for the night for the tiny amount of $15. Obviously this can be daunting for some people just make sure you check the reviews before hand. I found mine on good old Airbnb, just a ten minute drive from the meeting point.

So what makes Trek America tours stand out? The fact that the tours they run are all targeted at young travellers aged 18-30. This means you are almost guaranteed to have a good time as everyone is all kind of there for the same reason... to make memories! If you are worried about the ages, you can always check when you book the trip who’s already on it- and even get chatting to them months before if you login to your Trek America online account. The company is known for the small groups with a maximum of twelve. This results in getting to know everyone really well and becoming a little family on the road. If you go towards the end of summer you will find that 90% of the people have come fresh out of summer camp work just as I did. If you are a bit nervous about solo travelling these tour can be a great way to ease yourself into the idea- plus it’s a great way to meet new friends.

There is something called the ‘Food kitty’ this is where everyone is obligated to chip in around $10-$15 per day (depending on the trip). It may seem like a lot on top of what you have already paid, however it will save you a lot in the long run as this includes breakfast, deli style lunch and a hot cooked dinner then whatever money is left in the kitty at the end is shared out between the group. You all go shopping together so you are able to decide what to have a work around any dietary requirements.

So on the Atlantic dream trip that I was booked on to I got to go to 9 different states however some we only took a pit stop in. The ones that we spent time to officially visit were Pennsylvania, Maryland, Washington DC (although this isn’t an official state), Virginia, Tennessee, Louisiana and Texas. This gives you great coverage of the USA for the money you paid without flying out to go visit them individually. If you go to book on the website you will find two of each tour.

One, the original and the other ‘plus tour’. This basically is exactly the same, but the accommodation is all normal hotels instead of budget hotels and camping. Personally I think the original tours are a better recipe for a real good laugh. Some of my best memories are from the bad weather, and not being capital of putting up a tent correctly.

My tour was originally supposed to be finishing in Florida down in Miami. As some of you may know, from those that following me, this didn’t happen and there was a devastating hurricane called Dorian. When in Louisiana our tour leader decided it was in everyone’s best interest to divert it and howdy down to Texas instead. I was low key pleased about this as it wasn’t somewhere I’d been before. We drove through Houston then stayed a couple of nights in San Antonio, which is one of my new favourites. Then eventually finished the tour in Houston, Texas.

You never have to worry about a thing whilst having a reliable tour leader on the road.... Shout out to you Hank.

They are all certified experts of basically the whole of USA and all the sights you see.

I definitely take my hat off to them because on the two Trek tours I’ve been on there have been some challenging people I must say, and still through it all, the leaders manage to stay friendly, drive us for hours on end and get even get involved in the parties. The only thing they aren’t there to do is clean up after us! It may be a holiday but it is also travelling. Everyone is on a rota of cleaning/cooking and other camping chores. It isn’t anything to huff and puff about but it just means when everyone pulls their weight, it all runs smoothly and enjoys their time equally. It’s also a great opportunity to just have a good chat with the 3/4 people in your rota team.

The dynamics of my tour were almost as good as you can get. Everyone got along so well and I even ended up speaking to people I wouldn’t normally have. The 13-person limit is perfect because there’s less chance for cliques and everyone kind of sticks together. With the diversity of people of all parts of the world, it broadens your horizon of cultural knowledge. Call it a little family for the duration. Nothing at all like a school trip!

I call it stress free camping however moving around campsites everyday or too can definitely be hard work but at least it burns all the yummy American food you’ve been indulging in. What’s convenient is that all the camping equipment is provided except the sleeping bag and pillow. My best advice is don’t bother flying one over from your own country. Avoid extra luggage costs and hit a Walmart as soon as you arrive.

I think another point that makes these tours perfect for young people is that you get lots more free time than other tour companies and flexibility to split off if people have different interests. If there aren’t any plans set in stone, the tour leader sometimes will kindly work around everyone and drop people to different locations then arrange a pick-up time/ discuss options for getting back. We even managed to stop at the Six Flags Texas. This has been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember, then found myself at a local underground rave that night! Even if you meet people along the journey that aren’t in your tour group you have the freedom to party till the sun rises - these are some of my best memories, but just make sure you are back to the camp site in the morning or you could end up stranded... On a free day you could even just stay at camp for a day and chill out if you’ve had a busy few days or just low on money- which I know some of my group struggled with (including me) so do make sure to bring lots of spare pennies to avoid missing out on anything.

When it comes to the campsites, Trek America really outdone themselves. Every single one has been hand picked for the perfect location and facilities to make the stay as homely as possible. Hot showers on hand and even some with a swimming pool and an outdoor cinema, how unreal!

Pack right and Pack light is the saying to go by. I warn you now these trips may not be for the beauty queens, as appliances must stay at home. The duration of the trip I let my hair dry naturally. Unfortunately for me I had all my belongings from the whole of summer and I’m pretty sure I lost many items from the amount of packing and unpacking I did. Not fun but it is what it is.

I’m glad to have these forever lasting memories imprinted in my brain. The mischievous nights of partying in New Orleans and everyone dreading when I’m the DJ on the aux chord. I’m thankful.

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