At Go Native America we know our uniquely relaxed mode of travel and exploration is a part of what brings so many of our tour members back multiple times. Some even come twice in one year. We run our groups exactly the way you'd want to travel independently if you only knew the people, places and stories we know. No huge buses, no 6am starts (unless we are looking for wolves) no hour-by-hour timetables...
Have you ever heard of the concept 'Indian Time!' Of course there are many professional Indian people for whom punctuality is all, but Indian Time is a state of being where things only happen when they happen - it's centuries old, and you can't change it so please, take off your watch, sit back and relax.
How do we travel?
We travel in comfortable, air-conditioned vehicles, ranging from 4-wheel drive vehicles (Range Rover/Jeep Sport Utility or similar) to 15 seater passenger vans. All modes of transport are spacious enough for our tour members to travel in comfort. However, luggage space is of a premium, therefore we urge you to read our 'Packing Checklist' - it is amazing how little you need to take and your restraint will be rewarded when you are not dragging copious amounts of extra luggage and heavy bags in and out of hotels. Please note:
ALL VEHICLES ARE STRICTLY NON-SMOKING ZONES!
Where do we stay?
We stay in a wide range of good quality accommodations on the Go Native America journeys because we know how tiring traveling can be and that everyone needs a good night's sleep. All rooms are en-suite as standard; many have swimming pools and often laundry facilities. We choose from established hotel chains, log cabins in National Parks or properties that conjure the ambiance of the 'Old West', but please note:
WHEREVER POSSIBLE, WE SUPPORT TRIBALLY OWNED AND/ OR OPERATED PROPERTY.
No Single Supplements!
Many of our tour members embark upon journeys solo and, therefore, on select journeys we do not charge single supplements. Neither do we request that anyone on those tours share rooms. However, should you intend to share with a friend or partner, we will endeavor to reduce your Tour Membership Fee and, similarly, if you are traveling alone but in the interests of economy would prefer a room share, please mention this to us upon booking and we will do our best to accommodate your needs.
A good breakfast is important each day because when we get out on the road, unscheduled food stops decrease in priority. It is important to remain flexible about meal times - stopping regularly at eateries is not always possible on the Trails, both because of time, and lack of convenient restaurants. In lieu of this we sometimes order box lunches from the hotels on your behalf. Hotels are predominantly on a bed-only basis but many have restaurants for your breakfast and dinner requirements.
We do not include food in your tour fee. Why? Because flexibility is important on our journeys and if we arrange food, we also have to set and keep times when you will eat it. Imagine for example that you have just caught your first ever sight of a grizzly bear, but dinner is served in 10 minutes and we have to leave! Additionally, meal packages at some hotels can be pricey, and you could finish up eating a $40 dinner nightly when you'd have really preferred a $7 burger. We prefer to leave the choice, and the budget to you. On the Go Native America journeys we offer you the unique opportunity to experience traditional Native American foods or meals in a culturally appropriate environment.
For your own comfort, please leave the kitchen sink at home! With frequent hotel changes and limited room available in the vehicles it is important that everyone travel as light as possible.
The West is very informal, we live in our jeans and dressing for dinner generally means a change of T-shirt. It is also extremely likely that you will return with far more luggage than you left with, so realistically, the less you start with, the less you'll have to carry around. Please bring a soft holdall/sportsbag, and not a suitcase, or worse - a hard suitcase.
You will need:
Your passport Plane tickets Credit card(s) Sunscreen, good sunglasses and a hat, Strong comfortable walking shoes and an alternative.
REMEMBER: Most hotels will have laundry facilities and these are generally bigger and faster than their UK counterparts. You won't need a vast wardrobe!
We do sometimes coordinate additional outdoor activities, for example Jeep trips, horseback riding etc. All are optional and supplementary to the journey itineraries. Costs are minimal, often ranging between $15-80. We will endeavor to let you know about these options ahead of time.
It is a Go Native America policy that we don’t encroach on the livelihoods of Indian people, and where there are Indian-run businesses/guiding services, or individuals who agree to meet with our tour members, we ‘deliver’ you there, and you pay them direct. Some tour operators call this 'ground costs' and actually charge these fees for themselves. We do not.
Remembering that we operate on a Fair Trade basis, the reason we don't incorporate these costs into your tour fee is because we prefer tour members to see exactly where that money goes - 100% of it.
We much appreciate our local guide’s time and expertise, and these are great experiences, which although again are optional, it would be sad for anybody to travel that far and not join in – opportunities like these don’t arise often in your lifetime. Please understand that these costs are not always available until shortly before the tour starts for various logistical and sometimes cultural reasons.
Go Native America itineraries are comprehensive. We know that while most people do return with us, for some this will be the trip of a lifetime and you may not come back again, so we want to be sure you see and do everything while you are here. Please be aware that we do not run our trips on a 9-5 basis, nor do we work by the clock. Most tour members like relaxed mornings so we only do very early departures for specific reasons (eg. bear watching). It is not unusual for our days to stretch into the evenings.
Trips are planned for optimum weather conditions, however please take nothing for granted - across the plains and deserts things can change very quickly. You will need good sunscreen and sunglasses, a sunhat and a fleece jacket. Be prepared, and expect the unexpected. Traveling light does not need to mean traveling unprepared.
Arts and Crafts
Our tour members are often are often attracted by Native American jewelry and art, but please take advice from your guides before you buy since the market is overwhelmed by mass-produced fakes which pour in from sweatshops in the Orient, Mexico and many other areas. The Indian Arts and Crafts act of 1990 (public law 101-644) made it illegal to sell goods under the label Native made if they are not, and yet three quarters of the market comes from foreign and domestic imitations. This erosion of one of the few economic lifelines for many Native Americans is an insidious threat to their very survival, and so on most Go Native America Journeys we facilitate opportunities for you to buy direct from the artists.
We ask that you bear this in mind when buying items, and please do not be tempted to bargain people down for their goods. In all probability, the visitor has forgotten the few dollars saved on a transaction by the time they reach the next town, but the vendor artist may have had to sell himself down the river because he desperately needed a replacement car part to get his children to school. We are members of the strictly governed watchdog body AICA -American Indian Crafts Association, and strongly recommend that if you are not buying art direct, that you buy from members of this excellent organization.
It is our company policy to use hotels that both conserve and recycle water, and you can help conserve resources in many small ways; taking short showers, re-using towels, not asking for unnecessary changes of bed linen, or just mentioning to your servers at meals that they needn’t bring jugs of ice water if you intended to order soft drinks anyway.
The western states of the US have been on drought warnings for many summers now and although the situation affects mainly farmers, and people who raise cattle, sheep etc., native farmers have been badly hit since few can afford to buy in hay for their animals at the presently much-inflated prices; consequently many have had to sell their livestock at rock bottom prices. Traditional Navajos who raised sheep for the wool for weaving are suffering, as are many Plains peoples who are not able to feed their horses.
Please be aware of the situation here, and use water thoughtfully.
You will receive an information pack before you embark upon the journey you choose. Please read it carefully because it will contain information that will help you enjoy your experience.
Please also read our FAQs page... we want you to know as much about how we run our award-winning Native American tours as possible.