California, Nevada and Arizona holiday

“Combine big city thrills with the best of mother nature on this small group tour of the western United States.”


Los Angeles | San Diego | Joshua Tree National Park | Grand Canyon National Park | Las Vegas | Death Valley | Yosemite National Park | San Francisco

Description of California, Nevada and Arizona holiday

The western US is home to incredible natural beauty, fascinating history and dynamic cities, and this California, Nevada and Arizona holiday will take in some of the region’s top highlights. Outdoorsy types can trek around the Grand Canyon, bake in the searing heat of Death Valley, marvel at the otherwordly rock formations in Joshua Tree National Park and walk beneath Yosemite National Park’s centuries-old sequoia trees.

There’s plenty on offer for urbanites too, from the bright lights and unapologetic kitsch of Las Vegas, to beach life and top-notch Mexican eats in San Diego, to the glitz and glamour of Los Angeles.

This is a well-balanced and exciting trip that will leave you energised and ready to come back for more.

Travel Team

If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. The Travel Team.

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20 Jul 2021
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Holiday type

Small group adventure

What is a small group adventure?
It's a great way to travel! Whether you are travelling on your own, with a partner or with friends, a small group trip is a fantastic way to see the world. You'll travel on a fixed itinerary that has been designed to help you discover the best of region. From the known highlights, the hidden gems that you won't find in the guidebooks.

Itineraries run on set departure dates, accompanied every step of the way by an English speaking local group leader. You chose the itinerary and the date that suits you best and you book on.

Why travel on a small group adventure?
Small groups allow us to explore where larger tour groups can't. Our maximum group size of 16 travellers allows us to use local transport to get from A to B, to visit rural villages, spend time with the locals and even stay at a local home overnight, and it allows us to give our travellers genuine, real life experiences of the countries we are visiting; what you'll be doing and how you'll travel depends entirely on your chosen itinerary.

Is an adventure right for me?
The word adventure means something different to everyone, and our range of trips reflects that. Whether you want to explore local markets, visit out of the way temples and meet local people or go on an early morning safari drive searching for the 'big five', we'll have a trip for you. If you are looking for a physical challenge such trekking the Kokoda Track or summiting Kilimanjaro, we can help with that too.

So what can I expect on this trip?
This is one of our Basix trips, designed specifically for budget travellers who still want the security of group travel without lots of added inclusions. These trips don't have many included activities and meals are rarely included in the price, giving you the opportunity to search out local restaurants and sample regional specialities to your heart's content. The amount of free time in these itineraries means that the Basix trips often appeal to younger travellers looking to explore independently and tailor the trip to your own interests. You often won't spend too many days in any one place and you'll pack lots of different locations into your holiday.

As you might expect, accommodation on a Basix trip will be fairly basic! We'll stay in 1-2 star accommodation, often including homestays and there may be nights where the group stays somewhere multi-share / in a dormitory-style. Most accommodation however will be twin share; with solo travellers automatically roomed with a fellow group member of the same sex, this means that there are no single supplements on Basix trips.

On camping trips you will be expected to help out around the camp; putting up and taking down your own tent, helping with meals and other camp duties. We often find the nights where we are without a few creature comforts are those that are most amazing; wild bush camping in Serengeti anyone?! We'll use local transport where ever possible which is a great way of seeing the country and meeting locals as we travel.

Can I book my flights with you?
Yes! We are a fully ATOL bonded tour operator meaning that we can book flights from the UK as part of your holiday package. Just ask us for a quote including flights when you make your enquiry.

Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.

The very ethos of our style of travel is responsible; small groups on fully escorted tours, experiencing the very best of a region, a culture and a landscape, with a friendly local hand guiding the way. Our itineraries are designed to give our travellers real life experiences without compromising the part of the world we are exploring; to travel responsibly is at the heart of our commitment as a global tour operator.

We believe that responsible travel is about the attitude you take with you and the choices you make when travelling - to respect and benefit local people, their cultures, economy and the environment. We travel by these values wherever our groups go; whether exploring remote regions of South East Asia to road trips like this one from LA to San Francisco, exploring the famous National Parks along the way.

This trip takes in some outstanding wilderness areas including the Grand Canyon, Joshua Tree, Yosemite and Death Valley National Parks. We not only take the opportunity to explore these stunning landscapes but also assist in the conservation efforts of these amazing natural wonders through the entrance fee we pay for access and through the camping fees we pay to stay overnight. We ensure that our visits leave no trace, taking away our rubbish, recycling where possible and staying at approved campsites within the parks with the infrastructure to support our small groups. There will be much opportunity during your park visits to explore on foot, and again in order to protect these conservation areas you’ll be asked to follow and stick to the paths while hiking.

These small steps combined make a big difference to the overall responsibility of touring holidays and you’ll notice other measures we take en route too. For example, you’ll be encouraged to travel with a refillable water bottle during the trip rather than purchasing a new plastic bottle each time you want a drink. The overuse of plastic bottles is becoming a massive problem and one which our travellers can easily stop contributing too.


The Impacts of this Trip

As well as your local, American group leader and driver who will be with you for the duration of the tour, we also employ local site guides at certain points en route. Employing locally not only contributes financially to the local economy and assists employment opportunities, but it gives our travellers experiences those travelling with a UK group leader just can’t match. Exploring Monument Valley in the company of Navajo guide, offering fascinating insights about the largest Native American tribe in the US, whilst revealing the secrets of a region where more than two hundred thousand Native Americans currently live, is a truly memorable experience.

This trip involves a lot of camping and as such many meals will be prepared by the group as a whole using a food kitty system to buy supplies en route. We encourage the use of local, smaller suppliers who have often sourced the fresh foods they are selling regionally, reducing the food mile carbon emissions of our food. When eating out, we’ll tend to lean towards smaller, family run restaurants for the same reason. Not only does this allow us to sample local specialities, but it helps keep the money our visit is generating with those who will see the benefit from it most.


2 Reviews of California, Nevada and Arizona holiday

4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 16 Aug 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The Bright Angel walk in the Grand Canyon, seeing the sunset from the South Rim of the GC and the Nevada Falls hike in Yosemite.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Involve yourself with the other tour members, joining in the group activities in the camp sites and excursions, and help create a team with your fellow holiday makers and tour leader.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Only in so far as we stayed in campsites run by local people. At other times we were in hotels and shopped in big stores.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Good memories, good experiences.

Reviewed on 23 Aug 2014 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The time spent in Monument Valley was probably the most memorable for me, despite the (lack of) facilities for our overnight camping. Also quiet times in Arches National Park and an early morning walk by myself along the rim of the Grand Canyon. I loved being with the group, but having personal space sometimes is important for me.

Memories of my fellow travellers will last. We had fun.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Be prepared for anything, go with the flow as far as you can and know there are always options if you want to stand aside for a while. Everyone does.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

It supported indigenous people in Monument Valley and local hotel/motel owners in small towns. It didn't proactively reduce environmental impact - we were burning fuel and drinking water which is in short supply.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

This was an excellent last-minute choice for me and was one of the highlights of my two-month journey across the USA. I am very pleased I did this.

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