Info for visitors from outside the US:
A trip to the American West from Australia usually involves about 10,000 miles, 20 hours of flying! From Europe, 5000 miles and 8-12 hours) cellphone bill-shock, culture shock, and for sure its a fabulous experience that everyone should try at least once!
Once you are here in Indian Country we will do everything possible to ensure your smooth passage through the West. Until you arrive, here are some tips and information to help make your trip smoother:
There are many easy options for flying and although we don't sell or include flights we can certainly help by:
checking what is available for your chosen trip
giving you information for your flight agent,
giving you online links to flights with the best connections and prices.
Flight destination options for Go Native America trips include:
Billings, Montana (BIL),
Rapid City, South Dakota (RAP),
Sheridan, Wyoming (SHR) (flights are very limited and available only through www.flysheridan.com)
Cody, Wyoming (COD)
Denver, Colorado (DEN)
Phoenix, Arizona (PHX)
FROM AU - Despite what your flight agent may tell you, flights to this part of the world are actually pretty easy to find once you know how. Jump on (not .com.au) to look for flight connections. Australians will usually enter the US via either Los Angeles (LAX) or San Francisco (SFO)
FROM UK - Coming from Europe you can enter the US via many gateway airports, but check you are not being routed via further west than you need to go – which will cost you more in miles, time and currency. From the UK, the most direct routes are usually to be had on BA (London to Denver, then Denver to your destination) or KLM/Delta (UK to Minneapolis, MSP to your destination).
Remember: Before boarding a United States-bound aircraft or vessel, all foreign national passport-holders eligible to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program must apply for an Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA). You are responsible for any visas you may need for your trip and we advise you to check with your embassy for information
Our summer tour season runs from May to October, and our winter tours are between January to March
Almost the exact opposite to the Australian touring seasons! If it’s cold and rainy at home, it is balmy and beautiful in the American West, and while you are sweltering in the Australian summer, we are out looking for wolves in deep Yellowstone snow, and sitting by huge log fires at night.
Food and drink servings in the US are bigger
You can safely assume that one meal may in fact feed two normal European or Australian appetites, but you have two great options here:
sharing with someone can go a long way (remembering that many dishes will come with sides, for example, sandwiches with pickles and a choice of soup, salad or crisps)
In America it is expected that patrons will leave any eaterie with their left-overs in a 'doggie bag' and eating up later.
Food is very cheap in the US – all our visitors from other countries tell us so
But remember your bill is incomplete and think of it like this. The restaurant is only charging you for food. Your waiter (who may be making $3-5 per hour) charges you for his/her time, energy and service. Although you are unused to it, it’s a good system, and it works well. Plus, even when you have added your tip of 15%, you are still paying a lot less for your meal than you would in your own country.
Your cellphone may be your dearest and most useful tool in at home in Europe or Australia, but in the US it can morph into a dangerously expensive item that needs burying until it’s time to leave. Accruing unexpected charges is often due to folks using aps or features of their smartphone that need the internet to work. Checking the weather or looking up directions can rack up huge charges thanks to the very high data roaming fees that some overseas operators charge. Phone rates are per minute and are easy to figure out, but if you are not sure of your data system, have your provider explain the details, or turn it off. So you know, on reservations, in National Parks and in most wilderness areas you will get no cell coverage at all. Some cities like Rapid City, Billings, Flagstaff, etc offer reasonable airtime, but most small towns don't.
Consider downloading an app like WhatsApp or Viber before you leave home so that you can make calls via wifi. (note: you will need to be sure anyone you know you need to be in touch with also has the same app on their phone of course)
It’s a downer! But you can really help yourself with some or all of the following:
At least four days before you leave, you should start moving your eating and sleeping times to match what they will be at your destination. By the time you get there, your internal clock will be right on time.
Cut back on the caffeine during the 12 hours before your flight, and during it. Caffeine can interfere with your overall sleep architecture, causing problems with your sleep cycle long after you ingest it.
No in-flight alcohol - booze on the plane may help you sleep a little, but it’s dehydrating you and can mess with your circadian rhythms, undoing the work you’ve done to get ready.
AUSTRALIANS: Fly overnight. You’ll start in the evening and probably arrive in the morning or afternoon which is the best match to your natural patterns. Sleep on the flight and take advantage of the opportunity to get as much rest as possible so your body will be prepared for the new time zone. Avoid the temptation to sleep early - if you start sleeping early on your first day, you’ll keep doing it and never adjust.
EUROPEANS: You’ll arrive in the evening so stay up until at least 9-10pm, which is the best match to your natural patterns. Avoid the temptation to sleep early - if you start sleeping early on your first day, you’ll keep doing it and never adjust.
Be careful with medications - some medications may help you sleep, but make sure you know how your sleeping medication works before you try it out at 30,000 feet.
Spend time outside once you get where you’re going because sunlight helps your internal clock reset and puts you into the swing of your new time zone faster.
THE TIME DIFFERENCE
From the UK:
When you arrive in the American West you will be 7 hours behind your home country
From most other European countries:
When you arrive in the American West you will be 8 hours behind your home
When you arrive in the American West you will be 18 hours behind your home country
When you arrive in the American West you will be 16.5 hours behind your home country
When you arrive in the American West you will be 15 hours behind your home country
PLEASE DON'T EXPECT YOUR UNIQUE GO NATIVE AMERICA JOURNEY TO BE LIKE AN AVERAGE PACKAGE TOUR
Noel Coward once famously remarked that England and America are two countries separated by a common language. But the differences between cultures run way deeper than language and here you will find things much more relaxed than elsewhere in the world. Nobody is going to hand you an hour-by-hour itinerary, there are very few early starts but there may be late evenings.
And importantly, it doesn’t matter what time we arrive where we are going. It is all about the experience, not the time of the experience!
If in your regular life you are required to live by the clock we know it can be hard to give up that habit. Can we suggest you take off your watch, try to relax and be accepting of this laid back attitude to just about everything. It’s a good thing . . . when you get accustomed to it.