General Travel Advice
We want you to have the holiday of a lifetime and to do that you need to ensure you are fully prepared. We have put together this general traveller’s guide to help you prepare for your forthcoming holiday.
If you or any member of your party is not a British Citizen or holds a non-British passport, you must check passport and visa requirements with the Embassy or Consulate of the country to or through which you are intending to travel.
Please note it is a legal requirement in many countries to be able to show some form of identification at all times, if requested by the police or authorities. In most cases it should be sufficient to carry a photocopy of the data page of your passport.
Entry and identification requirements for your chosen country can be found here - https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice
To get the latest exchange rates and currency information, please visit http://www.xe.com Most currency is widely available in the UK. Sterling cash and cheques can be exchanged at hotels, banks and exchange offices overseas. Major credit cards are usually accepted in hotels, larger shops and restaurants. We recommend that you inform your bank/card company of your trip. As a security method on your behalf, banks occasionally stop withdrawals in case of fraudulent use abroad. If your card does get decline, call your bank.
You should take more than one means of payment with you (cash, debit card, credit card). Make sure you have enough money to cover emergencies and any unexpected delays.
Some coaches may be equipped with WC and washbasin however this cannot be guaranteed. In all cases, regular comfort stops will be made to ensure a relaxing journey. Please note that smoking is not permitted on any of our coaches and eating hot food may not be permitted on some coaches.
Coach seat rotation policy
We operate a seat rotation policy which the Tour Manager will arrange to suit the itinerary. By doing this you have the opportunity of sitting toward the front of the coach as well as further back and also sometimes on different sides of the coach. We believe seat rotation will enhance your travelling experience and creates a better group atmosphere.
Tipping has not been part of the British way of life but it is a common practice in most destinations. It is a way of saying thank you to someone who has given good service or for a job well done. It is also an important source of income for people working in the tourism industry, whether it is the driver, Tour Manager, local guide, hotel staff or in local bars and restaurants. Your Tour Manager will be able to advise you of what an appropriate amount is and when to give it.
Tipping guidelines specific to your destination can be found in your final itinerary.
An increasing number of countries are now either banning or limiting their use so we recommend you refer to the link below for further information on individual country restrictions. This website is an information forum. Please note the use of Electronic Cigarettes is not permitted on any of our coaches or flights.
Many of our tours take in local shops and markets and some will visit factory shops or outlets, selling a range of goods. We cannot accept responsibility for the quality of the goods you may purchase or for any costs you may incur in having them delivered to your home address.
Please ensure you have a clear understanding of the price you have agreed with the vendor and the conversion rate of pounds to the local currency, before signing for the sale either in cash or using your credit card.
Climate & Clothing
Temperatures can vary greatly depending on altitude, time of year and the region you are visiting.
We recommend checking the weather forecast a few days before you travel, please visit http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/public/weather/forecast/world
If we recommend you take any specific clothing or footwear, this will be detailed in your final itinerary.
To check what plug sockets are used in your destination country please visit http://www.worldstandards.eu/electricity/plug-voltage-by-country/
Please note that travel electrical equipment such as kettles or irons should not be used in your hotel room as they can be a fire hazard. In most hotels, rooms have hair driers.
To find the time zone in the country you are visiting, please visit http://www.timeanddate.com/time/map/
Please note that payment for any extras such as drinks, laundry, telephone calls and meals other than those included in your tour price, must be made directly to your hotel prior to check out.
We strongly recommend that you consult with your GP who will assess your particular health before recommending any vaccines. This is also a good opportunity to discuss important travel health issues including safe food and water, accidents and insect bites. Many of the problems experienced by travellers cannot be prevented by vaccinations and other preventive measures need to be taken.
For specific country health information, please visit http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/country-information/
Traveller's diarrhoea is a stomach and intestinal infection, and the most common illness affecting travellers. It is commonly accompanied by abdominal cramps, nausea, and bloating. Bacteria are responsible for roughly 80% of cases.
Here are some general hygiene tips to help prevent you suffering from an upset stomach whilst on holiday:
- Ease yourself in gently to the local way of eating and drinking. Fruit and fruit juices used in cocktails may have a higher fibre content than at home and local alcohol may be stronger. Local foods may contain ingredients you are not used to.
- Maintain good personal hygiene (wash hands regularly and use hand sanitising, anti-bacterial gel.
- Drink bottled water only.
- In restaurants, insist that bottled water be unsealed in your presence. When in doubt, a bottled carbonated beverage is the safest choice, since it is difficult to simulate carbonation when refilling a used bottle.
- Avoid ice, which may not have been made with safe water.
- Avoid green salads, because it is unlikely to have been washed with safe water.
If you are travelling to a region where mosquitoes are present, we strongly recommend you are adequately prepared before you start your holiday. While the risk of you becoming infected by a mosquito is extremely small, we would not want your holiday spoiled by a nasty bite or illness that is easily preventable with some simple pre-cautionary steps.
We advise (subject to consultation with your doctor) you purchase high performance mosquito repellent before your trip and apply this regularly during your holiday, including when you go to bed. We would also suggest that you take with you a ‘plug-in’ mosquito repellent device for your hotel room as an extra measure. These, along with DEET based repellents, are available from most pharmacies.
It’s best to assume you are at risk of being bitten at any time throughout the day or night. Remember to adequately cover your arms and legs - long trousers and sleeves are definitely a good idea. You can also spray your clothing with DEET products, but their effectiveness is shorter on clothing than on skin.
Further advice on preventing mosquito bites is available from http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/insect-tick-bite-avoidance/
Remember to carry all prescribed medication in your hand luggage and be aware that you may not be able to obtain similar medication abroad and that treatments may not be the same as in the U.K.
Prescription medicines are normally required to be declared at check-in.
EHIC (For European holidays only)
The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) allows you to get state-provided healthcare in all European Economic Area (EEA) countries and Switzerland at a reduced cost or sometimes free of charge.
You can obtain further information and apply for the card free of charge on the official EHIC website (https://www.ehic.org.uk). Other unofficial websites may charge you if you apply through them. The card is valid for up to five years. Please check the expiry date on your card before you travel.
Please note: The EHIC card is not a replacement for Travel Insurance, it will not repatriate you to your home in the event of illness or injury. It is a condition of your booking with us that you purchase sufficient Travel Insurance for the area you are travelling to and have declared all personal details and conditions to your insurers.
Where hotels have their own swimming pools, you may wish to arrange to take your own towels, as some hotels do not provide these. Always familiarise yourself with the depth of the pool before swimming. Diving is not recommended, use the steps provided to access and exit the pool. Always shower before using the pool.
Safety & Security
You should take precautions to maintain your personal safety when abroad. It is recommended that you read the Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice on safety and security for your destination (https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice) and heed any advice given by our Tour Managers or local guides.
Theft is the most common problem faced by tourists overseas. Problems of pick-pocketing of handbags and passports can be common in major cities and popular tourist destinations. We would warn you always to be careful of your personal belongings and not to carry your passports/extra cash/credit cards etc unless necessary. These should be left in a hotel safe where possible. It’s advisable to carry a colour photocopy of your passport with you.
You should be particularly careful of handbags and wallets - where you need to carry money and documents it is advisable to use a money belt under your clothes.
Excursions and activities
We recommend you do not purchase excursions from hotels or street vendors as these may not have been safety checked, may not meet required local standards or have adequate insurance cover. A list of approved excursions has already been sent to you for your information, (in some cases these may include hotels, but where they do we have checked they meet local standards).
If you choose to partake in an activity such you should ensure your travel insurance covers you for that specific activity.
We recommend you heed any additional advice specific to your destination, given to you by your Tour Manager or Local Guide.
For further information on staying safe overseas, please visit http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/personal-safety/
Experiencing a public holiday in your chosen destination can really enhance your travel experience, especially if there are festivals or celebrations happening. It’s also handy to know when the shops are going to be open. To find out the national holidays in your destination, please visit http://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/