We’ve tried to answer the most common questions you might have. But, we aren’t mind readers, and you might not want to read through this long list! In that case, shoot us an email or pick up the phone and call us (888-758-8687) We always love the opportunity to look smart!
Are your vacations running during the pandemic?
At the moment we are not running any tours through January 15. As of that date, we will again be offering private tours (to our one winter location, Snowshoeing in Yellowstone). For our public group Snowshoeing in Yellowstone Vacation scheduled for February 22 – 26, we will require all participants to have a negative result from a COVID-19 test.
We will only run vacations if it is allowed by the state and/or local governments. Please see our document on traveling to Montana during the pandemic. In addition, even if it is allowed, we will not do so unless we believe we can operate a tour safely. Please see the safety procedures we have in place.
What is the difference between private and public tours?
Most of the vacations we run each year are Private Tours. The benefits of private vacations are you can travel with your own group, with a minimum of four people, on dates of your choosing to any of our Montana vacation locations. Our private vacation groups can be a family, couples traveling together, a group celebrating a milestone, a company treating their employees, or anything else.
We offer a limited number of public tours each year. These have set trip dates and participants are travelers from around the country and even the world. Although many people are nervous about joining a vacation with people they don’t know, our alumni often rate the group experience to be as rewarding as the actual tour itself. It is what keeps our alumni coming back on group tours each year. Which of our vacations we offer each year as public tours will vary. You can sign up to receive our emails to be the first to know when we add a new public vacation. If you are interested to participate in a public tour on a specific itinerary, please let us know. Please note most public tours we run are operated in partnership with our sister company, Zephyr Adventures.
How difficult are the activities on your tours?
All our tours are designed to be active. We think that is the best way to travel. However, our tours are also designed to accommodate people of all ability levels and interests. So, really, no expertise or fitness level is required. For private tours, we can adjust our itinerary to make the tours as active or inactive as you wish, including removing the physical activity entirely.
Where can I find information on specific vacations such as arrival details, what is included, etc?
Please click on the More Details tab of each tour page.
Will there be changes to the itinerary once I book?
While everything under “What is Included” on the More Details tab for each trip will remain the same, the actual restaurants, hotels, and activities listed in our itineraries are subject to modifications. Changes that are out of our control are common – a restaurant closes or loses its awesome chef, a hotel gets remodeled, or a trail undergoes construction. In addition, especially in the two national parks and during the peak season, hotel availability for private tours will depend on when you confirm your registration.
You are entrusting us to create an outstanding vacation for you and so we may take the liberty of making necessary changes (even at the last minute, during the guides’ scout trip) to the itinerary that will improve your overall trip experience. If there is any one experience that is going to make or break your trip, please discuss this with us in advance! We attempt to keep our website itineraries as current as possible and communicate any major changes with you in the weeks prior to the tour.
When Should I Book My Vacation?
Over 50% of our travelers book their vacations by October of the preceding year. Some travelers book more than a year out. While this is a long time ahead to be planning, there are good reasons to do so: 1) Our public group tours often fill up well in advance. 2) For private tours, we do not make your hotel reservations nor assign a guide until your group is confirmed and the date selected.
You certainly can check in with us at late notice to see if we have space available on a public tour; cancellations can happen and spaces do become available. You can also request a private tour with little notice; however, in this case, please realize our answer will depend on whether we have a guide available and the hotels we use will depend on availability.
Am I fit enough for these active vacations?
While some of our vacations are more challenging than others, most are designed to accommodate participants of ALL ability levels. We usually have multiple route options of varying distances, allowing you to choose where you want to fall on the exercise-relax seesaw for that day. Because we also have a support van available to give you a lift when needed (and where possible), our vacations are suitable for almost all abilities. For private vacations, we will plan to adjust the difficulty level to match your group.
Should I be concerned about the trip price?
Price is a legitimate concern on any major purchase like this. If you just add up the basics such as hotel, meals, and transportation, our trip prices might seem high. However, our vacations include three “unquantifiable” and yet extremely important benefits:
1) You simply need to show up. You don’t have to spend time planning, booking, or trying to determine the best places to stay, eat, and do your activities. We have spent countless hours doing this for you, so you can just arrive, and have an awesome time.
2) We are the Montana experts. You are unlikely to be able to create as meaningful and rewarding a vacation in Montana on your own, without our expertise and guides.
3) On our public tours, spending time with a group of other active people who love to have fun is an experience that most people are simply unable to create on their own. Our guides are experts at creating group fun and those who have never been on a group trip don’t realize how important this aspect can be…until they’ve experienced it. Even on private tours, our guides help facilitate group dynamics and decision-making so the group organizer does not have this job.
What is a single supplement?
Our trip prices are based on double occupancy. If you are coming on a public trip solo, we will find you a roommate of the same gender. Many tour companies require you to pay a single supplement on their public tours if they can’t find you a roommate. We don’t! If we can’t find you a roommate on our public tour vacations then you may end up getting your own room at no charge (although this is pretty rare). You also have the option to pay the single supplement to get your own room if you don’t want a roommate. Please see each individual tour page for the single supplement cost.
On private tours, single supplements will be charged for all single rooms if, for instance, you have an odd number of participants in your group or travelers in your group would like their own room.
What is your maximum and average group size?
This is a key question in the outdoor tour industry. The truth is, we have done the number crunching and there is no correlation between group size and participant satisfaction on our tours. Small groups can be fun when everyone bonds and large groups can be fun because they allow you more opportunities to meet new friends. The important thing is to get it right on each tour and that depends on a number of factors such as tour activities, lodging, transportation. Our minimum group size on private tours is four travelers while for public tours it varies from six to ten travelers. Our maximum group size on public tours is 16 participants — however we have planned trips for private groups of over 40 people! Our average group size last year was 13.
What is your average participant like?
On our public tours, the average age of our participants is 48 years, with ages normally ranging from late 20s to 70s — however it is not uncommon to have kids and octogenarians on our family trips. The gender gap is fairly evenly split with slightly more women than men. The majority of our participants come from North America but we get travelers from all over the world. About 40% of participants sign up alone, 40% sign up with a partner (friend or spouse), and 20% as a family. Most important, however, is this: most people who join us for the first time are nervous about the “group tour” experience but our alumni rate it as one of the best parts of their vacation. You’ll never know until you try.
For private tours, of course, the group makeup depends on your group! We have groups consisting of three-generation families, retired friends, young couples, friends celebrating milestones, and much more.
We welcome travelers of all races, religions, nationalities, and sexual orientations.
Are Solo Travelers welcome on public tours?
Of course! 40% of tour participants on our public tours are solo travelers and you should not be concerned about fitting in. If you have questions about a specific vacation, please email or call us.
Do you offer any discounts?
We do offer discounts for both children and groups. See our Booking Details page for details. In addition, once you travel with us once, you are automatically in our Alumni Club and eligible for further discounts each year.
Do you recommend travel insurance?
Absolutely! Travel insurance is crucial. Every year we have many people who have to cancel a trip at the last minute, losing their trip payment and airfare. See our travel insurance page for more information.
What are your deposit and cancellation policies?
Please see our Booking Details page.
Can I purchase a gift certificate for a friend or family member?
Why, how thoughtful of you! Yes, you can. Please visit our Gift Certificate page.
Main Image Credit: Montana Office of Tourism and Business Development