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Planning and Preparations

These passengers were prepared!

Don't get caught off guard! Read this page carefully and prepare yourself before you embark on your Green Tortoise overland bus adventure. Click on a link below for information about that category.

Things to Bring

Keep it simple: if you can't carry it all in relative comfort, you're over-equipped!

You are allowed one checked bag and one carry-on. We really like duffel bags or internal frame packs because they make the best use of storage space. A day pack is a useful carry-on.

Our buses are equipped with enough thick foam cushions covered by form-fitted sheets so that everyone has a spot to relax or sleep, on or off the bus.

After you book your trip we will send you more detailed information about what to bring.

  • a sleeping bag is a must!
  • a tent. most people bring them, however, if you don't have a tent, please know that many folks have done our trips without one. you can pull one of the foam pads off the bus and sleep out right underneath the stars. lovely!
  • a pair of waterproof sandals and well broken-in boots are the best footwear (sandals are good for speedy slip-on/slip-off for those quick trips off and on the bus)
  • a bathing suit
  • clothes you can layer for both those hot days and cool nights
  • a flashlight (torch)
  • a hat with a wide brim, if you're going somewhere sunny — a baseball cap won't be sufficient!
  • rain gear
  • sunscreen (especially for Mexico/Central America — it's much more expensive south of the border)
  • a one-liter (or more) water bottle
  • a photo i.d. or passport, even if we don't leave the United States, a passport if we do
  • a towel
  • a pocket knife
  • insect repellent
  • a camera and extra batteries/film/memory cards
  • a charging cable that plugs directly into a 12 volt cigarette lighter
  • extra money for the occasional meals that we don't cover (see below), nights out on the town, tacky souvenirs, and tipping your humble yet heroic bus driver.

Musical instruments are fun for everyone, and all Tortoise tours offer excellent photographic opportunities. We have been known to exchange free miles for printable photos. Bring your favorite music to play on the bus (but be prepared to compromise!).

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Food/Parks

Everyone pays a food/parks fund for each trip.

At Green Tortoise Adventure Travel, food is a matter of high pride and priority. Everyone shares in the cooking and clean-up, which is coordinated by the two drivers. We enjoy mostly gourmet vegetarian cuisine, prepared from the best and freshest available ingredients, including dairy products and sometimes fresh seafood. Everyone pays the food/parks fund (see individual trips for amount).

For trips within the United States and Canada, the food/parks fund covers park entrance fees, camping fees, and roughly 70% of meals. For trips within Mexico and Central America, the food fund covers camping fees and roughly 70% of meals, but not park entrance fees.

For the additional meals not covered by the food/parks fund, we stop at a variety of restaurants and markets. You will be responsible for your food beyond the roughly 70% provided with the food/parks fund. In addition, if you have special dietary needs you may separate portions of any meal during its preparation.

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Day To Day

On most trips it is possible to have a shower almost every day. There is no shower on the bus, but we do stop to bathe at campgrounds and other public facilities. If no shower is available we often swim and maybe even take no-soap showers in waterfalls, lakes, etc. We stop frequently for restroom breaks and for the comfort of our smokers. On very rare occasions we utilize wilderness sanitation.

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