TSA will soon require everyone to have an enhanced drivers license for ID. The new term for this is REAL ID. The REAL ID deadline slipped to October 2021 due to the Covid-19 outbreak, however Coach Gunn would like everyone to have your REAL ID/Enhanced Drivers License in hand by June 2021. (Enhanced drivers license have been an available for a few years and can be used for travel to Mexico, Canada and U.S. Territories.)
Everyone is allowed 1 suitcase, 1 under seat carryon and your daypack. Storage is limited on the bus and there will be no empty seats on most trips. Modern buses now have either USB ports or 110v outlets available at your seat. They may also have a WiFi hotspot onboard. However you can expect periods of no signal as we travel to remote wilderness areas. All buses have a toilet, but trips are planned for frequent stops and you are asked to use the toilet as infrequently as possible. We use the bus for over a week and it is a courtesy to our driver and to those in the rear of the bus.
Our hotels are always clean and comfortable but seldom 5 star. Coach Gunn endeavors to provide us an experience that includes the local flavor. He also works hard to keep costs down.
Typically upon arrival for check-in we will get our luggage from the bus (you carry your own. Good to remember when you pack.) and meet Coach in the lobby where he will hand out keys. He will have informed us on the bus earlier of when and where to meet after we get settled into our rooms. If you have any difficulties or problems with your room return to the lobby and inform Coach Gunn. If he's not there then call him.
Check out: It is important that everyone meets the checkout time Coach Gunn will announce (this may vary slightly from the itinerary).
International travel requires a current passport. Coach Gunn insists that for our purposes your passport must not expire within a year of our return date. We had a couple miss their flight to Spain and had to stay in Chicago to renew a passport. They flew later and caught up with us. This cost them several hundred dollars and they missed the first two days of the itinerary.
Coach Gunn will inform us of specific requirements for our Utah trips this Fall when more is known. In general you should plan to get your vaccination as soon as possible with mid summer a possible target for everyone. We will be in close quarters on a bus for hours at a time for several days so we will need to do all we can to assure each other's safety.
Thank you in advance for your understanding and cooperation.
All Coach Gunn itineraries use the local time zone as standard practice. Today your smartphone will update automatically, but it is your responsibility to stay aware as we change locations and not miss the bus or hold it up. (Examples: We depart Michigan time, we fly Chicago time and we land Arizona time.)
Coach Gunn uses your cell number for safety during hikes and for contact during our travel. We keep your information private but do share it with your fellow travelers. (You must inform us if you do not want your phone number or email address shared with fellow travelers.) A contact list with cell numbers and email addresses will go everyone on a given trip prior to departure. Most of our travelers want the contact information earlier during our training hikes as they get to know each other. [Contact: Thom@CairnStoneTours.com]
TIP: Turn on WiFi calling on your phone. Basically this is a way to automatically route phone calls through a WiFi connection rather than through cell phone towers. It is free and fills in dead spots. Contact your provider for details.
Everyone is responsible for their own meals with the exception: breakfast, which is often included at our hotel (see itinerary). Coach Gunn's hiking tours are always a culinary adventure as well as a hiking adventure. He explores the local restaurants during his scouting and setup trips and will often alert the group of the best places to go for a great evening meal or where not to go.
Our shuttle drivers to/from the airport should be tipped appropriately for the travel experience and for handling our luggage. Our destination driver lives with us for over a week and often becomes part of our group. It is not unusual for them to go above and beyond to accommodate us. It is appropriate to tip them generously. it is not unusual for a driver to insist on our group when we return in another year. Coach Gunn never asks or expects a tip, however the consensus of our Cairn Stone vets is that he is very deserving. He takes no income from all he does for us and provides an extraordinary travel experience at cost. Consider a very generous tip in advance. It can be both a thank you gift for your experience as well as seed money for the next adventure.