The following is a list of details to include and note in a trip plan that can be filed with an official agency such as the National Park you are visiting or the local or state law enforcement, and with family, friends, and the backcountry pilot you fly with or tour operator you traveled or booked with. Leave this information with one or more responsible people, as it will be their responsibility to inform the agency to initiate search and rescue procedures if you are overdue. While the National Park Service does not monitor or track your progress, all of the following information you provide will be critical in your rescue if you are reported overdue or request a rescue.
Items to include in a trip plan:
Who is going
What you're doing
Method of travel: foot, boat, canoe, kayak, raft, ATV, dogsled, snowmachine, ski, snowshoes, bike, airplane
- Distinct identifying characteristics of method of travel: color, model, etc
- Where and when you're going
- Include route details and intended camping locations
- When you'll be back
- When to initiate search and rescue: If party has not returned to (location) by (time) on (date), contact (agency or person) at (phone number).
All group member's:
- Contact information
- Emergency contacts
- Medical conditions/medication
- Jacket, backpack, tent, or other gear or personal identification methods (gender, ethnicity, glasses, beard, etc)
- Communication and signal methods carried
- VHF, radio, EPIRB, PLB, Spot, InReach, satellite phone, flares, mirror, whistle, cell phone, phone number/radio number monitored
- Survival equipment carried
- Personal survival kits, life boat, personal flotation devices, water filter, spare food, extra clothing, first aid kit, repair kit, shelter, lighting, fire starter, map, compass, GPS, emergency blanket, climbing gear, rescue gear, bear canister, bear spray, weapon & type
- Number of days of food and stove fuel
- Vehicle description
- Make, model, color, license plate number, where parked
Type of trip: hiking, floating, fishing, hunting, camping, photography, biking, climbing, skiing, other
- Commercially guided? (Company name, phone number, and number of guides)
- Air taxi or shuttle service? (Company name, phone number, airplane or vehicle type)
- Departure date and place
- Route in and destination
- Route out and return date, time, and place
- Daily itinerary specifics
- Alternate itinerary
- Your back-up plan, if your main plan changes.
- Known alternate options or variations to your intended trip.
- Same info as main itinerary.
- Risk management considerations and factors that may delay or deviate your trip plan and/or return
- Glacier travel, airplane/helicopter operations, adverse weather, river crossings, solo travel, ice or water, known communication dead spots, etc
- Describe the above factors in detail and where they are located on your route
- Scheduled check-ins
- Times, method, and with whom (include contact info for both yourself and the outside contact)
- Additional group or trip information