We hear it often- "How do I make sure that I get on the trip that I want?" Our trips fill up quickly- it's a blessing and a curse. We can't know what trips are going to fill up as soon as we post them and which trips will stay stagnant on registrations until we've posted them. While we have a loose guess, the trends change dramatically from year to year. We always say that if you know you want to take a particular trip, your best bet is to sign up early.
But plenty of things can get in the way of signing up a year in advance, so what do you do when you realize that you want to register for a trip and it's already full? The easy answer is to join our waiting list. It's free and easy and it's your best bet for getting on a trip.
What Are The Odds?
Women often ask us "what's the chance that I’ll actually get on a trip if I register for the waiting list?" While we don't have a scientifically exact answer, we have certainly seen trends.
The further away the trip is, the higher the odds you'll be taken off the waiting list. Most registration cancellations come randomly or at three months before a domestic trip starts and four months before an international trip starts. So as the trip start date gets closer, especially once we've reached the three or four months until start date mark, the likelihood of a spot opening up gets much smaller.
Waiting List to Full Registration
We take women off the waiting list in order of their ranking on the waiting list, which is determined by when they signed up. So if someone cancels her registration on a trip, we try to fill that open spot by contacting the first person on the waiting list. If the first person says yes, we stop there. If that first person on the waiting list no longer wants the spot, though, we check with the second person on the waiting list, the third, the fourth, and so on. If later down the road another confirmed participant cancels, we start the whole process over.
You can always call and see where you are on a waiting list, and we'll give you an honest guess as to the likelihood of you getting onto a trip (but it IS a guess).
Adding Another Departure
Additionally, there are times that a waiting list gets so long that it makes sense for us to open up another departure for a wildly popular trip. In some cases that's possible, and we did it this year with Island Hopping the Greek Isles because the first trip had a full waiting list within just a few days of us posting it. In other cases, especially those domestic trips in popular National Park locations, we aren't able to open up a new departure because lodging is already full for the following year. So while we might open a new departure when a waiting list gets long, it's not incredibly common and you shouldn't hold out for this.
Finding a Similar Trip
While we all have our bucket list destinations, it's also worth looking at trips that are similar to the trip you want most and signing up for those. For example, if you want to do our Hiking Utah trip but you see that it's full, try out the similarly rated and located Hiking the Grand Staircase. You can still be on the waiting list for the trip you originally wanted and if a spot comes open on that trip you can switch your registration (some restrictions apply if it's within a certain date range). Most of our trips have a similarly fantastic alternative- just give us a call and we can help you find the perfect trip.