Unique tours, special places

Read some of our most commonly asked questions …

We have put together a list of our most frequently asked questions and recently added some more information due to covid-19.

How fit must I be?

What you are about to undertake is a holiday, but is often a complete change from your normal routine. There is a reasonable amount of physical activity in the form of walking, and the walking is not always flat. To ensure that you are fit and fully enjoy your tour we would recommend that you should walk for an hour most days for the month leading up to your departure date.

How much knowledge of a foreign language is needed?

You don’t have to become fluent in another language, but carrying a phrase book and knowing the basics will help you get around better in non-English speaking countries.

How much money will I need?

Please refer to the tour itinerary for full details of what activities are included, which meals are included and what is excluded. We recommend budgeting approximately €25 to €40 per day (this excludes optional excursions and more significant discretionary spending).

How to prepare for a flight?

Always wear comfortable loose clothing on your flight, with a change of some items in your cabin bag, so you can freshen up before arrival at your destination. Unless in transit – invariably the flights arrive at your destination in the morning and you will not arrive at your hotel until the evening/night of that first day of the tour.

It is not always possible to cater for particular health or religious dietary requirements, however advise us immediately and we will contact suppliers to try to arrange for you.

It is recommended to minimize alcohol consumption while in flight due to possible dehydration and this also can disrupt sleep patterns. During the flight do gentle exercise by moving your legs, arms and head. Refer to the airline magazines – they often have a guide to this. Also try to take a stroll around the plane at a suitable time. Some travellers recommend pressure stockings and Jet Lag pills – but these are at your discretion. If possible take a nap during the flight.

On arrival adopt the local time to get your body clock back in tune with the new hours. Avoid sleeping during the day as you will find it hard to sleep that night.

Cabin pressure changes can affect some people. To clear your ears try yawning, pinching your nose while blowing, or suck on a sweet. Another common cabin pressure is wind – remember to eat and drink alcohol in moderation, but do drink plenty of water. If you have any (other than normal) pains or tenderness in your legs and redness or swelling let the cabin stewardess know, or arrange for a doctor immediately upon arrival.

What about hospitals and healthcare?

Take sufficient of your regular medication with you to cover your requirements throughout the totaltime of your time away as it is not always possible to get prescriptions filled while away.

Take a list of the type, description and strength of each, so that you can get replacements just in case you lose yours enroute and a signed copy of your prescription.

Many countries check for drugs on entry and as some prescribed medication have the potential to be misused in the wrong hands, it is recommended to keep the copy of your prescription in your hand baggage with your medication just in case you are asked by customs/security.

The prescription and written details of your condition, symptoms and medication dosage should be kept in a container with the medication itself so that these can be referred to should you become unwell and need assistance or further medication while away.

Drugs for dysentery/stomach upset are also handy, along with Panadol/Disprin, indigestion tablets or other medication you normally have on hand at home.

If diabetic – normal advice is to keep as close as possible to home time routines enroute.

Be prepared for the fact that you will be touring from the time of arrival and that hotel rooms are generally only available from mid/late afternoon on the day of your arrival as the hotel staff are cleaning following the departure of guests who utilized your room the previous night, so you will need to carry sufficient medication in your day bag, as suitcases will not be accessible.

Any special dietary requests (not already advised) for flights need to be forwarded to us upon registration as these need to be booked well in advance.

When travelling in tropical locations you need to minimize exposure to mosquitoes that may be disease carriers. Generally the following hints and sensible precautions will minimize the potential risk of bites:

  • Wear light coloured, long sleeve shirts and long pants at evening and night times.
  • Use mosquito repellents with DEET where available.
  • Refrain from wearing scented toiletries or perfume.
  • Turn lights off in rooms if windows are open.

Vaccinations or preventative medicines – check with your doctor or travel nurse regarding the medication he/she considers is best for you to take. Please enquire about side effects, as in some cases these could impact on your ability to travel and the enjoyment of your trip. Take a copy of the vaccination certificate with you overseas.

Depending upon individual government health requirements or travel advisories some vaccinations are compulsory or highly recommended when travelling in remote areas. To obtain specific medical travel information please refer to your local GP orvisit:www.traveldoctor.co.nz or www.travel-essentials.co.nz

Please do this at least one month prior to departure.

What about tipping?

While on our escorted tours we cover tips for the main tour operators, however tips may be given directly by group members to the hotel porters, the tour escort, coach driver and local guides who rely on this as a part of their income – at your discretion. Budget around US$10 per person per day in total for this.

Above all – travel is a broadening experience for us all. We learn so much about many different cultures, languages, religions and people. Expect things to be very different from home but at the same time you will experience a world of simply amazing and spectacular sights and scenery.

What clothes should I bring?

Take clothing that you can wear “in layers” and add to or remove as the daily temperature varies – e.g. when cold rely on layering (e.g. put a tee shirt on under another shirt or top) so that you can shed layers as the day warms up. Don’t take bulky jumpers or jackets as this will limit your packing capacity. Remember LESS IS BEST.

In tropical countries it is recommended to take light weight and light coloured clothing – this is not just for comfort but also does not attract mosquitoes as much as darker colours.

Overseas the standards regarding footwear are often more rigid than at home – unless at resorts it is not acceptable in most countries to go barefoot or wear jandals/thongs, other than at the beach or around the pool.

If in doubt about any item – leave it out. Remember that clothing bought while away can also be worn while on tour. Here are suggested items to include…

Women’s clothes:

  • One pair of sneakers/walking shoes (don’t buy a new pair, your old faithfuls are the best or if new, make sure you break them in well at home for at least a month before leaving to avoid sore feet)
  • One pair of sandals/cut away shoes
  • Four pairs of walking socks
  • Another pair of other casual shoes suitable for both walking and evenings
  • One pair lightweight long trousers or below knee length skirt (a must when entering religious or cultural sensitive sites)
  • One pair evening trousers/skirt
  • Five tee shirts / tops, plus one for the evening
  • One item to cover upper arms (a must for religious or cultural sensitive sites)
  • Light non bulky jacket
  • Undergarments and socks for seven days
  • Swimming togs (trunks) – if travelling to coastal locations

Men’s clothes

  • One pair of sneakers/walking shoes (don’t buy a new pair, your old faithfuls are the best or if new, make sure you break them in well at home for at least a month before leaving to avoid sore feet)
  • Spare pair of casual shoes suitable for both walking and evenings
  • One pair lightweight long trousers (a must for religious or cultural sensitive sites)
  • One pair long shorts
  • Five polo or tee shirts
  • Four pairs of walking socks
  • One short sleeved shirt for evening wear
  • Light non bulky jacket
  • Undergarments and socks for seven days
  • Shaver with recharge cord
  • Swimming togs (trunks) – if travelling to coastal or tropical locations.

Other important things to include

  • Bring your mobile but check with your mobile phone provider that you have international roaming (and cheap roaming/call option). Even if you don’t plan on calling friends/family while away it is important to have this with you in case of emergency
  • Spare passport photo
  • 2 plastic bags (supermarket type) for laundry, etc
  • Camera, spare photo chip and spare battery
  • A small pack of moist hand wipes
  • Kleenex re-sealable pack tissues
  • Small personal first aid items
  • Lightweight day pack
  • Money pouch or wallet worn inside clothing (not a purse)
  • Light crushable (plastic) raincoat or parka
  • Lip screen, sunscreen and crushable sunhat
  • Your travel documents, tickets, travel insurance, passport and visas – in your cabin bag
  • Travellers clothesline and washing soap
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, hair shampoo, insect repellant (refer Chemist for most suitable), deodorant and medication sufficient for your trip plus few days reserve
  • Glasses and Sunglasses
  • Sturdy sandals if travelling to beach areas
  • Pen (for use on plane to complete arrival and departure documentation)
What documentation should I bring?

There may be a delay in the receipt of your documentation. The reason for this is that for all group tours we are obliged to process travel arrangements for the group as a whole, not as individual bookings, consequently we cannot complete all final arrangements until each participant has confirmed and paid in full.

Please read and check your travel documents the day that you receive them. If you are unsure of any items do please contact us immediately.

Also check that your passport is valid, that it is in good condition and has at least a full six months still to go after your return home date.

Please also check you have the required visas for the countries you are visiting or passing through and that they are valid for the dates you are travelling. Take any supporting documentation where this is required.

If on a passport other than New Zealand, ensure you have a valid NZ re-entry permit.

Put air tickets, passport, pre completed departure card, itinerary, vouchers and other travel documentation, plus a pen, in your cabin bag and have these readily accessible.

For added security we suggest you take two photocopies of the first two inside pages of your passport (plus pages showing any visas relevant to this trip) to help you get replacements should your passport get lost or stolen. One copy is to be packed somewhere separate from your actual passport.

In addition take a photo or screenshot of your passport and itineraries on your smart phone and email them to yourself. This provides an extra virtual copy of them in the event of loss or theft. If you’re an iPhone user you can even save them to your iBooks.

What funds should I bring?

If you do not already have a credit card we would strongly recommend that you apply for one straight away. Ensure you have a PIN number loaded on to the card as this will enable you to withdraw cash from most ATM (hole in the wall machines) throughout the world. Your tour leader will be on hand to help anyone with the machines on the trip if you are unused to using these. But it is important to ensure you try it out here BEFORE you depart to make sure it is working correctly.

We recommend you travel with two different credit cards, one of them being VISA. The first is used to put purchases on and pay for when you return home and the second is to ‘put into credit’ with an amount you feel is adequate, to use to withdraw cash against when and where you need it. Allow approximately $100 per person per day for meals and refreshments. If the card is not in credit before you leave and you withdraw cash from it the bank may charge you $8.00 or more per transaction. The second card is also a safety net if the first is lost or stolen. Keep the two cards in separate places to avoid misplacing or losing both. Check with your bank on what would be the most suitable option for your needs. They will be able to advise you on the best option.

Don’t carry large amounts of currency on you while touring. If you do have currency break it up into at least two portions and only carry enough on you for 2 to 3 days at a time. Get some cash (small denomination bank notes) of the country (or recommended currency) you are visiting for a coffee, porter or other bits and pieces when you arrive.

When travelling the best rule of thumb is to expect food and drink prices to be about the same amount – ignoring the exchange rate – as you would pay in tourist areas at home.

For tours going to South America and some other destinations we recommend you take US Dollars. Mastercard and American Express are not universally accepted at many destinations in South America, so also take a VISA card.

Check with your bank to see the currency they advise taking for the destinations you are travelling to.

What liquids can I carry on a flight?

Aviation Security have now stopped manning the check-in queues with brochures and spare security bags for approved size cosmetics, liquids and gels (LAG’s). Instead, airlines will be reminding passengers of the security requirements as they check-in, but no longer provide the transparent, re-sealable bags required to check any LAG’s through customs. Customers may purchase clear plastic bags either prior to arrival. If not obtained in advance, retailers may have security approved plastic bags available for purchase at the international airport.

Regulations have become stricter so please ensure you comply with all local and international requirements as delays in processing will affect the processing of all group members.

What luggage should I bring?

The limit for luggage in the aircraft hold is one item totaling 20kg including the suitcase. Werecommend that you have a practice packing session and try to limit contents to 15 kgs to allow space for any new purchases while overseas. Overall length, width and height dimensions should not exceed 158cm. These limits are subject to variation without notice.

Airlines will either not let you board the airplane if you bag is over the limit and will demand that you dispose of excess weighty items, or may charge you a high excess luggage surcharge.

All bags must be labeled inside and out with your name, address and phone number and be tagged with the ribbon and/or labels provided. Ideally the phone number on your bag tags needs to be your mobile number with country prefix e.g: +64 21 000000 so that airlines, etc can contact you in the event of lost luggage. Also include email if you can access this from your smart phone.

Bags with wheels are essential, remember you will be responsible for carrying all your own bag’s, so don’t over pack and make it tough on yourself. Good, easily handled bags are a wise investment.

In addition to the suitcase going into the aircraft hold, you are allowed one carry-on item. We recommend a small/light backpack as this leaves your hands free at the airports while negotiating customs, etc. There is a 5kg maximum for this and it has to be small enough to go in the overhead locker or under the seat in front. We would recommend you pack one days change of clothes, your medication and toiletries (subject to the current Carry on Liquids and Gels Restrictions), documentation, passport, etc in this, as you will need some of these in-flight or in transit. Overall length, width and height dimensions for this should not exceed 110cm.

Bags don’t often go missing enroute, but just in case – if travelling as a couple don’t pack all “his” in one bag and all “hers” in the other. Put some in each so that you both have some clothes to wear while you are waiting for the other bag to turn up.

There are only a limited number of porters in most hotels – if any, so all baggage is your responsibility. Tipping of porters is at your own cost.

What to expect from a hotel?

It is standard practice for hotels to require you to give an imprint of your credit card on registering to cover any incidental costs incurred. You may also be asked to hand over your passport, as in some countries the police require that passport details are recorded and made available to them.

Be prepared for the fact that hotel rooms will only available from late in the afternoon of the day of your arrival as the hotel staff are cleaning following the departure of guests who utilized your room the previous night.

As soon as you are checked in at each new hotel get a card with the hotel address and telephone number, to use when away from the hotel and could need a taxi or directions back to your hotel.