When I was 22 I was fresh out of University and I was living in hope that the perfect job would fall at my feet. The job market was pretty pants but I didn’t think I’d be one of those graduates who doesn’t get a job. I didn’t think I’d be a statistic and I certainly didn’t think I’d be living at my parents for 18 months. These things happened though and at 22, I took on the worst job I’ve ever been in and lived a really unhappy life.
The job was a very basic administration role and it did get me the job I do today. With the job came an office full of very catty girls who took a disliking to me. There were many times where I thought about handing in my notice but the job was only until September. It had an end point and it wasn’t forever. I tried applying for jobs whilst I was in this job but I’d always get to the final interview and never get it. I was told I was a lovely girl but not enough experience or technical knowledge. After about six months in this job, I re-evaluated my situation. My job was going to end in September either way, I was in the perfect opportunity to save some money and I’d always wanted to go travelling. Why didn’t I just go? What was stopping me for going for a few weeks? Nothing except myself.
I came across Trek America whilst browsing on places to go. I didn’t want to go for very long as I only had a few months to save the cash and I also didn’t want to organise anything. I just wanted to turn up, see some sights and make some friends. I wanted to go with a group as no one had to spare cash or annual leave to go with me. Luckily, I found Trek America and it fitted the bill perfectly. After finding the perfect trip for me and e-mailing their sales team, I was booked onto a 2 week trip in November.
I flew to LA a few days after my twenty third birthday. It was the longest flight I’ve ever been on. I was feeling pretty nervous of what was going to come but the moment I landed on California soil; I felt free. It was something I hadn’t felt for a long, long time and I instantly knew I was going to have the best time of my life. I wasn’t wrong, I honestly had the best 2 weeks of weeks of my life. Each trip offers freedom, a bunch of like minded people, a tour guide with amazing knowledge of everywhere you go and best of all, memories.
When I was booking my trip, I was clueless on what to pack and what to expect. Surprisingly, there’s no many articles out there offering future Trekkers a guide on what to expect. So, I’ve devised my top 6 tips that I learnt on TrekAmerica
- Buy a fleece/hoody
If you follow one piece of advice, follow this one. Please take a fleece or a hoody with you. Before I went, my Mum got me the most ugly looking fleece from Marks and Spencer’s. It was plain black but it was the warmest thing I have ever owned and to be honest, I still wear it when I walk Rufus in the morning. When my Mum bought it home, I didn’t think I’d need it but I did – it’s bloody freezing in the desert at night. I honestly spent a good few days wrapped up in my fleece and everyone was pretty jealous about it. So please go and buy a bad boy like this. You will not regret it.
2. Make sure you bring enough $$
Before I went on my trip I worked out how much each activity was. TrekAmerica tell you what activities there are in each trip and give a rough price. I calculated the higher end of each activity I wanted to do. Then you need to add about $10 per day for pit stops and an extra couple of dollars for tipping. You spend a lot of time in the van and it’s surprising how many snacks you buy. Naturally, every snack is a novelty but be aware of how much you spend!
3. Don’t fill your case up before you even get there
You don’t need to take every single essential with you. I filled my bag up with my sleeping bag, shampoo, straighteners, conditioner – the absolute works, when it reality I could have just stocked up in Walmart and bought more things from America back home with me. Trust me, it was a total nightmare trying to fit all the present I bought back in my case. Besides, everything in Walmart is super cheap, I grabbed a pillow in there for $2 and it was honestly the best pillow for sleeping in the van and the tent.
4. Bring campsite essentials
One of the things I wasn’t sure of when I booked this trip was how I’d get a long with camping. I really really hate camping. I’m not a girl who sits well in the cold and I’m not a huge fan of the toilet facilities. Also, I probably didn’t like it even more because I was massively under prepared. I didn’t have a torch or flipflops. But I did have one of these super camping towels which save you a shed load of room in your luggage. So, take some anti bac, get some cheap flip flops for the toilets and get yourself a torch then you are already doing better than me.
5. Consider going alone
I booked my trip alone and I’m really glad I did. A lot of people do these trips alone and I feel you are more likely to make friends on your own. On my trip the group consisted of 4 British, an Australian girl, an Irish guy, a lovely guy from Korea, 2 friends from the Netherlands and 2 best friends from Norway. It’s a great way of getting to learn about other cultures too. You just need to remember that everyone is in the same boat and are willing to get to know each other. A bonus of Trek America is that a few weeks before your trip, you can connect with your camp friends before you fly out on their social media site. It’s a real bonus when booking with Trek America.
6. An open mind
It’s not very often that you go on a trip with so much freedom. It was one thing that made me book with Trek America. All I literally had to do was get to this hotel in LA and have a holiday of a lifetime. Each city you visit comes with so many activities and opportunities. If you can, I would say take them all as a lot of them are once in a life time. Go horse riding in the desert, get ridiculously drunk in Vegas, take the helicopter tour around the Grand Canyon, go on each and every hike. Make memories that last because you’ll soon be back in the UK before you know it.
If any of you are off on a Trek America trip then I’m really jealous. I’d give anything to do another trip. If you have been on one before, what would your top tips be?