It’s August, its wet and miserable here in Scotland, and for the past few weeks I’ve reminisced of my Trek America travels.  My feet are getting itchy. My friends are in New York and I’m not jealous at all. With that it didn’t take me long to decide I needed to feed my need to travel, trek style. A few days ago I booked onto my first BLT Tour, the Northeastern BLT. You may be wondering what a BLT tour is, and no, it doesn’t stand for ‘Bacon Lettuce Tomato’ but actually it’s trek’s lodging alternative to camping tours, aka a budget lodging tour.

If your new to the blog, hello, I’m Ross! Thanks for coming along for the journey. I’ve previously travelled with Trek America in 2014 on the Best Of The East – a camping tour and The Westerner in winter 2015 (a mix of camping and lodging). I’ve blogged about pretty much everything you need to know about a Trek America trip!

Camping Vs BLT Tours

Having travelled before on two camping trips which also included some lodging, in the summer and winter on both sides of the country, I feel like I’ve experienced both styles enough to make an informed opinion on the BLT style of tour, and I’m excited to be travelling on the Northeastern BLT in April 2017.

What exactly is a BLT tour? Put simply, it means that every night you will have a roof over your head! That might mean a nice posh hotel like the Golden Nugget in Vegas (I had an entire room to myself here!), to motels like the Red Feather Lodge at the Grand Canyon with big comfy beds, to a dorm bed in a nice hostel – Hi Chicago or Yosemite Bug anymore? On most BLT tours you also don’t need to bring a sleeping bag which means more room in your bag! But you should check the website for your tour as some cabins will need a sleeping bag.

Choosing a BLT Tour

I do like camping tours don’t get me wrong, the nights spent around the camp fire under the stars are some of the best I’ve had on tour. But, I’m getting older now (scary to think!) and I really appreciate having a bed on tour. The days are often long and action packed full of awesome activities with everything from whitewater rafting to hiking. This is great, and it’s one of my favourite parts of trek. But it can also be tiring. So for me, having a real bed to go to is ideal.

On driving days on camping tours, the starts can be early (i.e. around 7am). This allows us to get to our destination nice and early. On a BLT Tour, it’ll be much more relaxed in that aspect, a case of get up and go. Whereas with camping, I’ve found myself having to be up extra early to pack up camp and wrestle with my sleeping bag to get everything packed away! The extra time in bed will be worth it! (Noticing a theme here!)

The weather in the USA on a trek can be really varied. I’ve been lucky and mostly the weather has been kind to our groups. There has been a couple of nights on trek where we’ve been caught out camping under the stars without our tents, not Treks fault at all, just unfortunate and a risk you take. I’ve then had to find somewhere to take shelter! With a BLT tour your guaranteed a bed with a roof over your head every night!

If you want to experience Trek the traditional, original style, definitely go on a camping tour. In my experience camping is great for getting to know your fellow trekkers. You’ll be cooking and shopping for food together, setting up and putting down camp, taking it in groups to complete various tasks. Some of the best group bonding happens around the camp fire. I love spending time in the outdoors. I’ve discovered over the last couple of treks that after a long day of exploring and taking part in awesome activities, I prefer my home comforts at the end of the day, and I’m sure I’m not alone!

Cherry Hill Campsite (iPhone Photo)

For this tour I’m travelling in April and its going to be chilly in some of the places we’ll be hitting in the north-east, possibly even below freezing in the likes of Stowe and Boston. I’m looking forward to a nice warm place to sleep on those chilly nights. The Northeastern BLT doesn’t need a sleeping bag either so will be nice having the extra room in my luggage for warm clothes and goodies!

What should you choose?

If this is your very first trip with Trek America and don’t mind the odd night roughing it, I’d probably recommend you try a camping trip. You’ll experience the original trek style and have loads of fun bonding round the camp fire – smores anyone? If you prefer your home comforts and prefer a bed at night a BLT Tour might be a better choice!

Have you travelled on a BLT and camping trip? What would you recommend? Share your thoughts in the comments!