Just a little info, the KM (konica minolta) are siblings of the alpha family. They're like a big brother, and we all share the same lenses. Sony alpha can use minolta af lenses without any problems (ive used some 24year old minolta lens on my a500) and km dynax dslrs can use even the latest Sony alpha lenses.
There are plenty of books in the library and on the web. You can start reading and understand the contents while experimenting with your cam as well. With digital, it would be very easy since the feedback is instant. You can also join the regular outings with our fellow Alpha bros.
not sure if u have gotten used to an SLR before, else do remember to try out and master the basics of photography, as well as proficiency in handling a DSLR.
the dslr can give much flexibility in picture control and extending ur creativity, but can churn horrid and even "worse" shots compared to a PnS in untrained hands. I have seen a dude slamming a dslr ( but only because he got the white balance really awfully wrong ).
so practice practice and practice before the trip so as not to make bad mistakes during the nice trip. the alpha members here are pretty friendly folks, else most of us should be able to assist in basics as well la.