Everything is on the line in November’s election and Political Tours is heading to a must-win-state for both Biden and Trump; Pennsylvania.

The Democrats won in 2020 but Trump seized the traditionally blue state in 2016. Whoever wins it this time is likely to win the White House.

The tour takes in a wide range of places and views: from urban Philadelphia to industrial Pennsylvania, from the drug epidemic to the hollowing-out of America’s heartland, from white working-class communities swept up by Trump to liberal progressives fearful of another four years of MAGA.

In Washington DC we look at the national picture and take in rural Virginia, a Republican redoubt. And crucially we’ll take advantage of campaign events as they arise. We’ve seen Trump, Biden and Obama all speak in previous years.

Local communities, senior political players and great analysts combine to make this an amazing experience.

DATESWednesday 30 October – Wednesday 6 November, 2024
DESTINATIONPennsylvania, Virginia & Washington, DC
Led by US based correspondents
DURATION7 nights
INCLUDED
All AccommodationMeals and Water
Local TransportationExpert Guide
COSTCost: £5900.00
Single supplement: £850.00

Book Your Tour

Our tour is focused on live events – so much of the itinerary is dictated by the timing of rallies and candidate appearances. These are arranged at short notice. The itinerary is adapted to make the most of these events.

Please note – This tour is by far our most popular and places sell out quickly.

We recommend you fly to New York or Washington and then connect with Philadelphia Airport – hotel details will be sent out 2 months prior to the tour.

Book Your Tour

Day 1

Wednesday, 30th October: Philadelphia

Meet in the lobby of the hotel. We’re in Philadelphia for our first night – but our focus is statewide, where we will meet experts and voters to learn about the crucial battleground states. Republicans have high hopes to flip the longtime blue state red, and potentially pick up seats in the Senate and House as well.
Day 2

Thursday, 31st October: Philadelphia

It’s an hour’s drive north to the Lehigh Valley. Once an industrial heartland, Mack trucks were made in Allentown, and Bethlehem Steel produced armor for the US army. Now, it is home to distribution warehouses and a major gambling concession.

Some analysts are saying the state will be decided in Philadelphia’s suburbs and exurbs. Bethlehem, which sits both in Lehigh and Northampton Counties, went red in 2016, when Trump won the state, and blue in 2020, when Biden won it. After years of high inflation and escalating culture wars, Republicans are hoping to flip it read again.

But Biden has invested heavily in winning over such counties. This January, the White House released a statement touted the success of Bidenomics in Allenton, citing the return of industry, record-low unemployment, and a boom in new business registrations.

We will meet campaign organizers from both parties, tour downtown enterprises that have navigated years of disruptions due to the pandemic and high inflation, and meet a range of different voters. Dinner in Bethlehem and a late return to Philadelphia.

Our trip also coincides with Halloween in America. Bring your scariest costume!
Day 3-4

Fri-Sat, 1st-2nd November: Philadelphia

Philadelphia is a deep-blue city in a red state. It was the city and its suburbs that carried Biden to victory in 2020, and 2024 is setting up for the same dynamic.

However, Philadelphia is also a battleground between different factions of the Democratic party. We take a look at local politics as well as the economic and social issues facing many of the city’s residents. Sadly, Philadelphia suffers enormously from gun violence and has one of the country’s highest murder rates per capita. The city is also a hotspot in the nationwide debate over US support for Israel’s war in Gaza.

Polls suggest support for Biden among Black voters, particularly Black men, is fading, threatening one of the Democratic Party’s key demographics. President Biden knows that and has visited Philadelphia several times this year to reverse that decline. Meanwhile, the Trump campaign has spied an opportunity and opened its first office in Pennsylvania in the city under the banner, “Black Americans for Trump.”

Overnight in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Day 5

Sunday, 3rd November: Philadelphia & Washington DC

It is Sunday, so to church in Philly: Religious communities here help run voters to the polls; who says what under these roofs matters.

Next we head to Washington DC (two-hour drive) in time for a late lunch. We’ll meet with a range of analysts and media commentators for their take on the national picture ahead of Tuesday’s polling.

Dinner and overnight in Washington, DC.
Day 6

Monday, 4th November: Virginia

There’s a decidedly more conservative flavor to this day – as we head out of DC towards rural Virginia.

We will head to Culpeper, Virginia, a rural town of less than 20,000 people southwest of Washington, DC. Unlike the capital’s coastal elitism, Culpeper has a much different flavor: At the juncture between the Virginia Tidewater and the Appalachian Mountains, it represents the American heartland that feels forgotten by the politicians in Washington, DC. The county went red in 2016 and 2020. We will travel there to learn more about why.

Last-minute political rallies usually occur on Sunday, and we will attempt to attend one.
Day 7

Tuesday, 5th November: Polling Day, Washington, DC

Election day! We will head to polling stations around Washington, DC to see voting underway.

A national TV and radio station will give us insights into their coverage of the election and which states they’re watching.

We’ll have a mid-afternoon break before heading to watch the vote count and results come in.

Stay up as late as you wish – or head to bed – as we’ll review major results in the morning.
Day 8

Wednesday, 6th November: The Day After

We review the previous night’s results over breakfast. Followed by check out and farewells.

Flights home.

Tour Ends


Book Your Tour

What’s Included

All of your accommodation and meals with water are included, as well as local transport (except during your free time).

Flights are not included in the price and need to be arranged by customers themselves or with an agent.

Following the news

Like all our tours the itinerary is focused on current affairs. Events on the ground may change and the final schedule may be adjusted accordingly.

Group size

As on all our expert-led tours the groups are deliberately small and will not exceed 14 people. Frequently we travel with 10-12 people. Limited spaces are available.

Visas

The United States runs a visa waiver system for the UK, Europe, Australia and New Zealand (ESTA or ETA). Canadians are exempt from visa requirements. It is always good to check with the embassy in your country for latest advice regarding visa requirements. Travelers from most countries will need to register online with the Department of Homeland Security before you travel. Please get in touch and let us know what passport you are traveling on so we can help advise you on any visas you may require.

Travelers who have previously been to Iran are now required to get a tourist visa for the United States.

Weather

It will be fall in Pennsylvania, so prepare for temperatures ranging from 60 degrees Fahrenheit during the day to 30 degrees Fahrenheit at night (15 and -1 degrees centigrade, respectively).

Dress

Come prepared with cold weather clothes, although it is probably best to bring lighter layers for possible daytime warmth. Waterproof clothing and footwear is recommended.

Secondly we have a range of meetings with politicians and senior officials where we are expected to be more formally dressed. We will advise you when meetings are coming up.

Men: Will need a jacket for some of the meetings.

Women: The female equivalent; jacket or blouse.

Currency

US dollar

Electricity

Plugs are North American 2 flat pin and 110v

FCO Website

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office publishes regularly updated travel information on its website www.fco.gov.uk/knowbeforeyougo which you are recommended to consult before booking and in good time before departure. Where it considers it appropriate to do so, the FCO may advise against all but essential travel to particular countries or parts of particular countries. Similarly, the FCO may withdraw any such previously given advice. Where the FCO issues such advice, we may as a result cancel your tour or make changes so as to avoid the area concerned (see clause 10). Alternatively, we may ask you to sign a form confirming you wish to proceed with the tour notwithstanding the FCO advice. It is in the nature of the itineraries we offer that the FCO may have issued such advice in relation to the country or parts of the country we are intending to visit prior to confirmation of your booking. In this case, you will be asked to sign the above form before we confirm your booking.

Medical Requirements

Advice on health requirements may be obtained from your GP, or alternatively from the Department of Health leaflet Advice on Health for Travelers, or the Department of Health in the UK. For further information on vaccination requirements, health outbreaks and general disease protection and prevention you should visit http://www.fitfortravel.scot.nhs.uk/destinations.aspx

We suggest you visit your own doctor or local travel clinic who will have the most up-to-date travel advice, and be able to recommend any vaccinations prior to travel based on your medical history.

Book Your Tour

On all of our tours you are accompanied by a leading political journalist or academic. Together with your tour expert you will meet a range of speakers, analysts and ordinary people with a huge range of views and experiences.

The overall aim is to give you a nuanced and comprehensive overview of the country you are in, and an exceptional one at that.

Don’t just take our word for it …

“The main reason to travel really is the “being there” factor – the experience of seeing the reality for ourselves is what made the difference and gave us a context for the valuable inputs from the experts and propagandists we met. The tour’s openness to some unscheduled encounters with “ordinary” people on both sides provided further insight. I ended more sympathetic to them than I had been – and far less sympathetic to their leaderships.” AR

“The access you obtained was outstanding – really amazing.” AN

“It is a short but thorough exam of what makes a country tick – or not tick. An immersion class into the nuts and bolts of the area. I love it.” JG

“It sounds like a cliché, but the tours really take you beyond and behind the headlines, providing you with unexpectedly profound insights about the country.” EL

“To see so much and meet with so many people in so short a time, and to absorb so much information in depth, was very stimulating.” PF

In the Press:

“Who better to take people behind the headlines than the person who spent ten years writing them?” British Airways Highlife Magazine

“I had underestimated their high-mindedness… During the week-long tour there are talks and conversations with more then 20 guest speakers. The holiday makers are an equally impressive bunch.” The Financial Times, on a tour

“An eye-opening 10 days!” Sydney Morning Herald

Email us for a full list of speakers and meetings on this tour: info@politicaltours.com or call and ask to be put through to one of our staff.

Book Your Tour

US Elections

Rave Reviews from our tour in Iowa – January 2020

Would I go again? Absolutely, even if it means snow and wind and a crazy election process.”
SC, Iowa February 2020

The Trump rally was the perfect beginning. I never thought I’d quote Joe Walsh, the Republican standing against Trump in Iowa, but he’s right – beating Trump should be the ONLY priority for the Democrats, and watching the President in action that night was a clarifying reminder of just how tough that’s going to be. Economic growth messages were warmly welcomed by the Trump crowd, but it was the raw meat subjects of guns, god, immigration and abortion that really got the crowd on their feet. This set the context for what we were to learn and witness over the coming days as the Democrats lined up to win the support of Iowans to take these issues, and this President, on in November.

Getting out of Des Moines was essential and we couldn’t have had a better guide that Dave Swenson. What a brilliant, engaging teacher! I learned more from him in that bus drive north than I think I ever have in a similar few hours anywhere. Again, this deep examination of the economic and social forces that are changing rural America, and the way its votes, was absolutely fascinating and enlightening. Art Cullen, the small town newspaper editor out of central casting, was the icing on the cake. Storm Lake will stay with me for a long time.
RC – Iowa Caucus Tour 2020

Political Tours genuinely gives the most stimulating groups of any of the companies I travel with which is a fitting return for the work which goes into the programmes.
AR Iowa Caucus 2020

Intelligent and good fun companions and hosts. Lots of exposure to the politics from many different angles. Variety of perspectives – political, economic, geographic, academic, media, candidates – national & local – was excellent. You could not get the access and insight if you travelled on your own “DIY” political tour – so a real selling point. The tour exceeded my expectations. Fascinating!!
PG – Iowa Caucus Tour 2020

Book Your Tour

The Blue Wall

In 2016, Donald Trump turned the Democratic electoral playbook on its head.

Pennsylvania was one of eighteen states that formed the “Blue Wall” because they reliably went Democratic. Between 1992 and 2012, the Democrats carried the Wall in every presidential election, propelling Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama to two terms apiece. Going into the 2016 election, Democrats leaned heavily on the assumption that the Wall would hold strong.

Yet in one of the greatest electoral shocks in decades, Trump flipped three Blue Wall states – Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin. His appeal to white, working-class voters in America’s post-industrial heartland forced the Democrats to rethink their playbook in the 2020 election.

Joe Biden’s path to the White House in 2020 relied on him flipping Pennsylvania blue again, which he did by winning back predominantly white voters in Philadelphia’s suburbs. Strong turnout propelled him to victory, but by a razor-thin margin: 80,500 votes, or 1.17% of the vote.

The 2024 election will likely be decided by the winners of Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin, which polls suggest are all toss-ups. Both candidates are expected to spend millions of dollars advertising across Pennsylvania, making their case to undecideds and swing voters about why they are better for the state. President Biden has already shown his hand in the state, emphasizing the successes his legislative agenda, including investments in infrastructure and green energy, have had on working-class voters. Meanwhile, Trump is expected to go on the offensive, hoping to flip undecideds and those who are dissatisfied with Democratic policies.

What to Watch

Neither major candidate is particularly well-liked in Pennsylvania.

Per a recent Quinnipiac University poll, 55% of voters view Biden unfavorably, and 58% Trump. Polling suggests the race is a dead heat, with either candidate leading by one or two points depending on the week.

Yet the election is still far away, and much can change. Over the coming months, President Biden and his Democratic Party will have to convince voters that a Democrat in the White House will improve their lives while warning them about what four more years of MAGA could do to the country. Yet Biden faces significant headwinds: Recent polls suggest he is losing support among young and non-white voters, both of which were essential to his 2020 victory.

Meanwhile, Trump, now a convicted felon, will face the challenge of directing the narrative on Biden’s perceived failures and away from his own legal and reputational troubles. Trump is expected to campaign in the state on winning Republican issues, such as immigration and inflation, while avoiding hot-button issues like abortion and his court cases.

Like in all US elections, voter turnout is key. Will Biden be able to inspire voters to attend the polls by reminding them of the turmoil of Trump’s presidency? Or will Pennsylvanians – buffeted by years of high inflation – choose the candidate who reminds them of better economic times?

The stakes couldn’t be higher for the future of American politics. The path to the White House goes through the Keystone State, and polls suggest it’s either candidate’s state to win.

Book Your Tour