Availability in the National Parks this summer, up to 30 percent savings for a limited time at some lodges and resort.
“There is rare availability in the national parks this summer,” observes Betsy O’Rourke, the Chief Marketing Officer for Xanterra, the company that runs the concessions, lodging and many of the activities in national parks including Death Valley, Grand Canyon (South Rim), Zion. There are even the occasional cancellations, and thus availability of lodging in Glacier and Yellowstone.
“The fact is, people come from all over the world to experience the U.S. national parks, and with limited air travel and closed borders this year, those vacationers are not able to come, freeing up rooms in some of the greatest outdoor places on earth.” Now that parks are officially opening, for a limited time savvy travelers can book and save up to 30%
For information about what’s open, what services will be available, reservations as well as any travel guidelines in this post-quarantine world, access HERE.
For example, vacationers can stay on the south rim of the majestic Grand Canyon in the renowned and historic El Tovar hotel and receive 30 percent off for a limited time. Even the legendary Grand Canyon Railway that runs from Williams, Arizona on Route 66 to within footsteps of El Tovar and the South Rim of Grand Canyon is 30 percent off. The same is true at The Oasis in Death Valley, a true American
oasis with water bursting from the ground (the resort even has a golf course, the lowest on earth) and bask in a 30 percent savings. And Zion Lodge is also offering 30% off for a limited time.
So, pick your park, save up to 30 percent and take advantage of what nature has to offer, and rare summer openings when the skies are quiet and we’re all looking for someplace great to go that’s outdoors, beautiful and happens to be the trip of a lifetime. Visit HERE for reservations and information.
The trail blazer of women-only travel has created two itineraries where few travel. On five departures in 2018, Wild Women Expeditions immerses women in the physically challenging, poignantly stunning landscape of Newfoundland in the remote northeastern corner of Canada.
Two distinct, week-long adventures engage guests on Newfoundland’s western shore, separated from Quebec by the Gulf of St. Lawrence that eventually pours into the North Atlantic.
This is home turf for Wild Women Expeditions that offers more active travel departures for women only than any other tour operator in the world. The company was founded in Newfoundland and maintains its headquarters here. Owner Jennifer Haddow grew up near Gros Morne National Park where many of the itineraries’ activities take place.
“This is a place of stark ancient beauty, where the ground beneath your feet tells the story of Earth’s geological history. It’s also a place where icebergs stroll up and down coastal waters and where fjords claw their way into the interior,” explained Haddow, noting that few other adventure travel companies offer tours here.
Indigenous peoples predated the Vikings who arrived some 1000 years ago. England first raised a flag on the North American continent in the late 16th century in what came to be called Newfoundland. Fishermen soon discovered some of the Atlantic’s most productive waters here. The park’s Long Range Mountains testify to this once geologically charged world rife with volcanos and glaciers. These mountains are part of the Appalachian chain rising from Georgia through Maine.
“Gros Morne National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is as important to Plate Tectonics Theory as Ecuador’s Galapagos Archipelago is to the Theory of Evolution,” Haddow added. “The challenges of this environment become metaphors for the challenges faced by the women who choose to travel with us.”
Hiking first through a barren landscape, women discover where the peridotite ends and ancient oceanic crust begins. They hike through a boreal forest to the rugged coastline where pillow lava and sea stacks dominate the shore. They move to the rich marine wonderland of Bonne Bay and a landlocked lake before summiting Gros Morne Mountain in a hike of up to 10 hours.
Following are two 2018 Wild Women Expeditions’ itineraries in Newfoundland. Daily challenges reflect the company’s philosophy that women can discover and build on their own inner strengths by mastering hurdles in the safe company of other women.
Newfoundland Gros Morne Multi-Sport Adventure is a seven-day hiking and kayaking expedition in one of the wildest places in Canada. In 2018 there are three departures: July 21-27, Aug. 11-17 and Sept. 8-14. The $2,695 CAD per person rate includes professional local female guides, all meals, six nights shared accommodation in oceanside cabins, fully outfitted sea kayak day trip on Bonne Bay, guided hikes, ground transportation, park pass and Western Brook Pond Fjord boat tour.
Guests walk on rugged trails over the Earth’s mantle that supports little to no vegetation, explore fossil remains, visit an artsy village, kayak in a sheltered fjord, witness Minke whales, eagles, terns, and kingfishers in the bay and on land; caribou, Rock ptarmigan and Arctic hare. There’s also time to relax on a boat tour of a land-locked fjord accessed through bogs and limestone ridges. For trip details see http://wildwomenexpeditions.com/trips/newfoundland-multisport/.
Icebergs and Arts Adventure is an eight-day wilderness immersion with a hefty dollop of culture on two departures in 2018: June 3-10 and July 6-13. The per person rate of $2,695 CAD includes professional female guides; all meals; seven nights shared accommodation in an authentic house and suites, a wilderness lodge and seaside cabins; guided and fully outfitted sea kayak day; guided hikes and interpretive walks in Gros Morne National Park and along the Great Northern Peninsula; Western Brook Pond Fjord boat tour and iceberg and whale watching boat tour; interpretive tour and lunch at the French Shore Museum in Conche; and a visit to L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site, a UNESCO World Heritage Site where Viking history comes alive.
At Port aux Choix National Historic Site guests hike to Philips Garden to explore the ancient remains of one of the largest Dorset Paleoeskimo settlements in the Eastern Canadian Arctic. They also visit the Myra Bennett Heritage House, the home of a nurse known along the 200 miles of coast simply as “the nurse.” This remarkable woman brought her life-saving skills to what was then an isolated, rugged Great Northern Peninsula. See: http://wildwomenexpeditions.com/trips/newfoundland/
“Canada is a country designed for adventurers. For women who want it all, Canada delivers the goods,” said Haddow. “We’ve been trailblazing outdoor adventures in Canada for over a quarter of a century. Increasingly women want to feel the freedom of connecting with wild space in its finest form. In Canada are some of the wildest and grandest natural treasures on the planet.”
Wild Women Expeditions’ Canadian programs are prototypes for the baptism-by-wilderness experiences that Haddow’s team arranges in 26 countries this year. These journeys reflect that…
Women need opportunities to just be themselves, together;
The wilderness helps women connect with elements of their psyche that may be lost in the daily hustle and bustle;
Pairing women and wilderness often encourages women beyond their comfort zones, leading to increased confidence;
These ingredients can be transformational, perhaps leading to answers to the question that Poet Mary Oliver poses: What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
Founded in 1991, Wild Women Expeditions is the world’s largest women-only travel company. Its initial focus was on canoeing on remote Ontario waters. Through an unwavering focus on Canada, one of the wildest, most pristine countries in the world, Wild Women Expeditions became Canadian experts in a pioneering niche that introduced small groups of women into wilderness settings. Even though the company now hosts guests all over the world, it retains a national focus with more trips and more women-only, backcountry camping adventures in Canada than any other women’s travel company in the world.
Book by Nov. 1, 2018, Receive Discounts of up to 15 Percent on Most Itineraries
Poseidon Expeditions, the go-to company for Arctic and Antarctic cruises, has a jump on the 2019 and 2020 seasons with new destinations, additional departures of favorite journeys and if booked by Nov. 1, 2018, discounts of up to 15 percent on most itineraries.
The company maintains two vessels, the 114-guest Sea Spirit, recently fully refurbished, and the 128-guest 50 Years of Victory, purpose-built as an ice breaker for expedition cruising. Both are in northern climes in the North American summer; Sea Spirit moves south in the winter for explorations of the Southern Ocean and Antarctica.
New 2019 Sea Spirit Itineraries
A brand-new itinerary launching for 12 days June 3-14, 2019, is From Scotland Highlands to Arctic Glaciers. Guests depart on Sea Spirit from Leith (Edinburgh), Scotland, and cruise to Norway’s Longyearbyen (Spitsbergen), tracking routes of Vikings who invaded Scotland’s (among other) coastlines in search of arable land – and gold. Guests visit:
• Skara Brae, a 5,000-year-old village and UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Orkney Islands
• a birder’s paradise (over 345 species recorded) on Fair Isle (think sweaters) in the Shetland Islands
• Denmark’s Faroe Islands (think salmon) that National Geographic Traveler has designated as “Authentic, unspoiled and likely to remain so”
• Norway’s stunning and wild Jan Mayen
• and the High Arctic wilderness of Svalbard, with ghosts of whaling camps and trappers’ cabins and very present polar bears, reindeer, walrus, whale and more, all frisky in Nature’s 24-hour days.
The per person double rate is from $5,396 in a Main Deck Suite, after the discount.
A second brand-new Sea Spirit itinerary, a 12-day May 21-June 3, 2019, Best of the British Isles cruise(web link and more details to come), is also a new direction for Poseidon Expeditions because this adventure has nothing to do with either the Arctic or Antarctica. This trip begins in Plymouth, UK, and proceeds along the magical Scottish coast among legendary islands of both Scotland and Ireland, ending in Leith (Edinburgh), Scotland. Many stops will introduce designated birding – including puffin — habitats. Like all of its journeys, an expedition team that specializes in exploration of the natural world will be aboard to curate the adventure for guests. Also figuring into this journey:
• the high cliffs of Scotland’s St. Kilda (think sea bird eggs harvested for human fodder)
• the basalt columns of Ireland’s Giant’s Causeway
• castles and monasteries (including Iona Abbey)
• Waterford (crystal)
• Snowdonia National Park and a 13th century castle in Wales
Under the Dome of Northern Lights. This 11-day trip departures in 2019 Sept. 6-16 and Sept. 15-25. This cruise – round trip from Reykjavik – has sold out for four consecutive seasons. The per person double rate inclusive of an early booking discount is from $7,556.
There will also be two departures of the unique Franz Josef Land Archipelago – Russian High Arctic cruise, a 14-day program exploring the Russian High Arctic that is not available through any other expedition ship operator. Departures in 2019 are Aug. 1-14 and Aug. 13-26. The per person double rate inclusive of an early booking discount is from $12,056.
Sea Spirit in Antarctica 2019-2020
For the 2019-20 Antarctic season, Poseidon Expeditions again offers a variety of classic Antarctic Peninsula programs as well as three longer Antarctica, South Georgia and the Falkland Islands voyages, all utilizing Sea Spirit. The season begins with the 23-day Falklands, South Georgia & Antarctic Islands“Antarctica Awakening” program Oct. 20-Nov.11, 2019, embarking in Montevideo, Uruguay, and ending in Ushuaia, Argentina. The final voyage of the season, also 23 days, includes the same Southern Ocean destinations, February 25-March 18, 20 embarking in Ushuaia and disembarking in Montevideo. Please see: http://poseidonexpeditions.com/antarctica/ for itinerary and information on early booking offers.
Sea Spirit guests enjoy the freshness of a brand-new $1 million refurbishment of all 55 guest suites (square footages up to 463) and public areas. There are two multi-purpose lounges for educational programming and entertainment, a restaurant that can accommodate all passengers in one seating, a well-stocked library, and ample outdoor deck space to enjoy the polar landscapes and wildlife. Activities directed by a team of experienced polar guides and educators include Zodiac excursions, hiking and optional kayaking and camping, along with informative presentations aboard. The ship’s expedition staff-to-passenger ratio of 1:9 is one of the best in the business.
50 Years of Victory and 2019 at the North Pole
Poseidon Expeditions will offer three prime season departures in 2019 – July 7, July 18 and July 29 – of its signature Expedition to the Top of the World, a 13-day voyage to the North Pole aboard the nuclear-powered 50 Years of Victory. The gateway is Murmansk, Russia. The voyage north includes sightseeing helicopter flights across a frozen land and seascape. After celebrations at the North Pole, on the south-bound voyage Poseidon Expeditions brings passengers through Franz Josef Land, an archipelago of 191 uninhabited, volcanic, mostly glaciated islands (part of the Russian Arctic National Park). The per person double rate inclusive of an early booking discount is from $28,495.
Powered by two nuclear reactors generating 75,000 horsepower and capable of crushing a clear path through multi-year ice up to three meters (10 feet) thick, 50 Years of Victory is the largest and most powerful icebreaker ever built. This 525-foot working vessel offers comfortable accommodations, all with exterior views and en suite facilities; a dining room; aft salon for lectures, presentations and socializing; a bow-facing bar and lounge; library; a gym, two saunas and swimming pool with heated seawater. The ship is equipped with a modern clinic and physician.
With offices in the US, UK, Germany, Russia and China, Poseidon Expeditions is a leading provider of polar expeditions in the cruise industry. The company is committed to safe and environmentally responsible polar travel. It is a member of the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) and the Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators (AECO)
An award-winning adventure company, Austin Adventures, is tapping a nationally recognized, award-winning female guide to facilitate and lead three brand-new, action-packed itineraries created for women-only in 2018.
These journeys through wild and challenging landscapes of national parks in North America and in Costa Rica are designed to address a growing demand for women-only adventure travel, said Kasey Austin, Lead Guide and Vice President of Operations for Austin Adventures. As the designated host and facilitator for these new programs, she will bring to each trip her leadership and inspirational skills that include, among others, the annual training of each of Austin Adventures’ guides. Included in her many accomplishments, Outside Magazine recognized Kasey as the World’s Top Family Guide in 2014. She holds an undergraduate degree in Education from the University of Montana in Missoula where she was distinguished as a Presidential Leadership Scholar.
Women-only travel is on the rise according to industry expert Marybeth Bond, author of The Gutsy Traveler. “Whether we are single or married, career women or stay-at-home moms, traveling with other women is empowering. Statistics show that 75% of all those who take cultural, adventure or nature trips are women,” Bond reports. Furthermore, “…24 percent of American women have taken a girlfriend getaway in the past three years, and 39 percent of American women plan on taking one in the next three years. Women are traveling to more exotic destinations, doing more adventurous activities and increasingly traveling alone.”
Kasey Austin concurs. “Over the last few years, we’ve seen a trend in everyday women taking on the world of adventure travel by storm. There’s nothing more empowering than taking a trip with other like-minded women who challenge you to push just beyond your comfort zone,” Austin said. “Women used to be portrayed as delicate figures who booked a spa vacation with the ladies for a week. Now they are looking to challenge themselves and their friends by pushing their limits together.”
Suitable for women age 16 and older, the new line-up of Austin Adventures’ women-only trips include:
Costa Rica – Tortuguero to Cahuita National Park, March 17-25, 2018: Over nine active days, women kayak the canals of Tortuguero National Park, paddle class II-IV rapids of the Pacuare River, rappel thundering waterfalls, zip line through canopies, snorkel in Caluita National Park and bike along the beach in Puerta Viejo. The per person double rate is from $3,498. For more information see:
Utah – Bryce Canyon & Zion, May 20-25, 2018: For six days in the heady landscape of other-worldly rock formations capped with pure air and star-filled nights, women bike and hike together while being treated to one breath-taking view after another. The per person double rate is from $2,798. For more information see:
Glacier National Park Vacation Package, July 1-6, 2018: Over six days women cozy up to what the Native Americans call “Shining Mountains,” a region close to the heart of Kasey Austin and her company that has roots deep in this Montana soil. Ladies hike backcountry trails, raft the unspoiled waters of the Flathead, bike and even cruise by train through the mountainous scenes of the premier UNESCO World Heritage Site of northwestern Montana. The per person double rate is from $3,198. For more information see: http://www.austinadventures.com/packages/montana-glacier-np/
“I am the biggest advocate for girls ‘getting after it’ and proving they can do anything the boys can do when it comes to adventure. My goal is to get women hooked on adventure by overcoming obstacles like Angel’s Landing in Zion or biking over Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier, together!” she added.
All itineraries provide, among others, double occupancy rooms with private baths, all breakfasts, most lunches and dinners, the services of an all-female crew of guides, including Kasey Austin, and of knowledgeable local partners, vehicle support and land transportation during the trip, Austin Adventures T-shirt and luggage tags, and pre-departure and packing information. See: http://info.austinadventures.com/women-only-adventures.
Exhilarating outdoor adventures that blend with cultural interactions are intrinsic to other new itineraries in Africa, Asia, Europe and South America. Austin Adventures’ close-to-home programs continue to embrace US and Canadian national parks. See: http://www.austinadventures.com/new-2018-departures/.
To help plan, Austin Adventures’ 2018 catalog is now out and available upon request. Please order ONLINE or call 1.800.575.1540. For a full roster of 2018 trips please visit http://www.austinadventures.com, call (800) 575-1540 or email email@example.com.
About Austin Adventures
Based in Billings, Montana, Austin Adventures has spent more than 40 years building an international reputation as a top provider of luxury, small group, multisport tours for adults and families to the world’s most captivating destinations. Creative itineraries feature exceptional regional dining, distinctive accommodations and all-inclusive rates and services. In addition to scheduled group departures, Austin Adventures offers customized trip planning and a money-back satisfaction guarantee
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