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Booking and pre-departure frequently asked questions

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Booking FAQs


Book a group tour with us and, in addition to being financially protected, you'll be joined by like-minded travel companions to share the journey with, as well as a local tour leader with in-depth knowledge of your destination. Our expertly-designed itineraries include once-in-a-lifetime experiences, taking you to the must-see highlights as well as hidden gems not known to the typical tourist and leaving you feeling that you've really explored. Find about more about why you should book with us.

With Self-Guided trips, we design our itineraries to give you the best walking or cycling experience within the region, including some excellent views. We take care of the hotels, transfers and transport of your luggage while you walk or cycle between accommodation. Find out more about our Self-Guided holidays.

Give us a call and we’ll be happy to explain your flight or train options to get you to and from your trip.

For more details visit our Flights page.

Our website as a default gives the price for the tour only, without flights. There is an option within the search filters to show a guide package cost that includes flights, or the starting cost for the flight option is shown in the ‘Dates, prices and booking’ section of the trip page. The package cost including flights may vary depending on your preferences, for example your preferred airport and direct or indirect routes. Find out more on our Flights page.

To find out what is and isn’t included in the tour cost, visit our Trip Pricing page.

It depends on the trip – look out for the ‘Guaranteed Departure’ message in the ‘Dates, prices and booking’ section of the trip page.

We guarantee that for departures advertised on our website as being guaranteed the “Trip Only” itinerary will not be cancelled or significantly changed once the first booking is confirmed unless we are forced to do so by a “force majeure” (as defined in our Booking Conditions). There is no minimum group size. This guarantee does not apply to international or UK domestic flights, which may be subject to change or cancellation in accordance with our Booking Conditions.

Yes on most of our trips.

Most trips are based on customers sharing twin-bedded rooms. If you book a group trip as an individual, you will share a room with someone of the same sex. However, on many trips we offer the opportunity to pay a supplement to pre-book a single room, known as our single room option. On some trips a single room will be provided every night, on others it will be provided on some nights, but for logistical reasons not all – check the trip notes to find out when single rooms are available.

Please note that on rare occasions it may be necessary for customers in single rooms to share bathroom facilities. Due to the nature of the accommodation we use, the single room supplement will guarantee you the sole use of a room, however this might differ in configuration or be smaller to that of a twin share room.

If you book online you can choose the single room option at the checkout and we will confirm the availability when we confirm your booking. Or if you us, please ask one of our adventure travel consultants to look up the single room availability when you book.

For Family trips, we know that no two families are the same, and will do our best to accommodate you in single, twin and triple rooms according to your needs. What's more, we'll never charge you for single room occupancy when you're travelling as a family.

Yes of course. We can arrange extra nights’ accommodation in the hotels we use at the start or end of the tour if you’d like, to make joining or ending your trip easy. Let us know when you book if you’d like to add extra nights and we’ll contact you to discuss.

 

A final invoice will be sent to you ten weeks before departure. This must be paid no later than 60 days before departure. Find out more on the Payments & Deposits page.

Yes you can – please see our booking conditions for details.

All our trips require some level of active participation. This could be on a cultural trip, trek, safari, expedition or voyage. It is in the interests of all members of the group that everyone should be capable of fully participating in the activities of their chosen trip. With this in mind, please be aware that (as detailed in our Booking Conditions) if it is felt that any customer is not able to participate in a trip without endangering the health or safety of themselves or any other person (including other group members), or that the presence of the customer on the trip means we will be unable to provide the trip, in whole or part, to other members of the group as advertised and contracted, the Explore Leader at any stage has the right to require them to leave the trip. To ensure that this is never necessary, please make sure that you have fully understood the level of fitness and ability required to complete the trip on which you are booking. It is your responsibility to let us know if you have any concerns related to this subject. If you have any medical condition or disability which may affect your trip arrangements in any way, you must provide us with full details at the time of booking. In certain circumstances, usually on more strenuous trips, we may require you to provide proof of medical fitness before travelling.

On many of our trips, there will be water based activities, boat excursions or swimming opportunities. For your own personal safety and enjoyment, an ability to swim is therefore strongly recommended. Several trips reach elevations of 2500 metres or more. We allow time for acclimatisation and usually the body acclimatises well to spending extended periods of time above this altitude. It is difficult to predict who is at risk from altitude sickness but if you have a heart or respiratory problem we advise you not to risk extended travel or trekking at high altitudes.

We try to cater for you if you have special dietary requirements but we do ask you to have realistic expectations. In some countries there is a limited choice of food and it may be difficult to cater for all special meal requirements. Please let us know at the time of booking if you have any specific dietary requirements.

There is no upper age limit on our trips. However, should you be 80 or older at time of travel we will discuss the itinerary with you before booking you on the trip and may ask you additional questions about your health and fitness

The average age of children on a Family trip varies depending on the holiday and destination - our trip pages shows the average age for each trip. The ‘ideal from’ age is quite flexible depending on the type of trip but in addition there’s a minimum age which is often applied for safety reasons - this can be found in the 'Family information' section of the trip page. The average child age on our family tours is between 12 and 13. If you'd like to know more about the people already booked onto a certain departure (family size, age of children etc), give us a call and we can help you choose a trip with similar aged children.

We have a wide range of ages nationalities on our small group trips and they come from all walks of life. Our expert consultants can share details on the breakdown of the group so far – the number of couples vs solo travellers, for example, and the age range of the group. For privacy reasons they won’t be able to give any personal details.

Our leaders are expertly trained to react and assist you should something unexpected happen. They’re trained to deal with health and safety issues and will have close communication to the team in our Head Office and our ground agents in country should it be needed. We pride ourselves on our reputation to calmly and professionally deal with unexpected situations; we’ve got nearly 40 years’ experience of doing so.

You’ll also be protected financially. If you’re a UK or EU resident and book a flight-inclusive package with us then you’ll be financially protected by the ATOL scheme. If you opt for the tour only, you’ll have ABTOT cover, which provides for a refund in the event you have not yet travelled or repatriation if you are abroad. Learn more on the Customer Assurance page.

As a UK-based company, we constantly monitor and heed the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) travel warnings and advice. Where we consider it appropriate to do so, we may cancel tours prior to departure, or terminate, re-route or otherwise make changes to tours operating in or through the country or part of the country concerned. Any such decision we make will always be made in the interests of safety and security.

If you’re not a UK national we won’t be monitoring your government travel advice, so we strongly recommend you do so yourself.

Where tours are cancelled prior to departure, Explore will offer the choice of a refund of all monies paid or an alternative tour. Where an alternative tour is taken, any price difference will then be paid by, or refunded to, the customer as appropriate.

Where tours are already operating, Explore may terminate, re-route or make other changes. The decision will be made in the light of safety and organisational/logistical considerations. Where a tour is terminated in mid-operation by Explore, we will refund such monies which relate to those parts of the tour that have not been delivered where we are able to obtain refunds from the supplier(s) concerned. Where trips have been re-routed or otherwise changed and it may reasonably be argued that the essential travel experience offered on that tour has been provided, then no refunds will apply.

Find out more on our Travel Safety page.

The meals included varies by trip – check the trip itinerary to see what meals are included. Most trips include breakfast, but often we don’t include other meals. This allows you to try the cuisine in local restaurants and also to choose what and where to eat and how much to spend. Where there is no option, for example on trips in more remote destinations like safaris, camping or boat-based trips, we will usually include meals.

We don’t usually include drinks, unless listed in the trip notes, so you will need to budget for this in your spending money.

We choose comfortable accommodation in the best locations possible. We opt for small, local and family-run accommodation where we can, as opposed to large chain hotels. We typically use hotels that are the equivalent of European 3-star, and you’ll usually have an en suite room. Occasionally, where we want to get off the beaten trail we may stay in more basic accommodation.

We grade our accommodation using three levels – basic, comfortable and premium. This gives you an idea of what to expect from the accommodation. Find out more on our accommodation page.

Generally yes, for group trips your leader will be with you throughout. There may be occasions when a local representative joins you for a part of the trip, for example for a tour of a particular landmark. Check the trip page for details of the staff who will accompany your trip.

Our leaders’ main responsibility is to make sure that all members of the group are well looked after and return home having had a wonderful holiday with some fantastic memories. It is the Leader’s responsibility to ensure that the trip runs smoothly and that all the logistics are in place; also to oversee the health and safety aspects of the trip. Your leader will be as flexible as possible - within the confines of the itinerary. For example, they can arrange group meals for those that would like to eat with their travel companions. Alternatively, if you would prefer to make your own plans they may offer suggestions for local restaurants.

Find out more on the Explore leaders page.

 


Pre-departure FAQs


This information will be provided in day 1 of the itinerary on the trip notes.

Yes – it is a condition of booking that you are fully insured when travelling with us. See our Travel Safety & Insurance page for more details.

We advise using a pre-loaded currency card. It’s safer than taking cash and doesn’t charge extra fees like with your usual debit or credit card. We recommend the Equals Go travel card, which is a free card that offers fair exchange rates and no hidden fees. You can easily track your spending as you go with the Equals app.

All customers that travel on an Explore group trip will be provided with a complimentary transfer, provided they arrive and depart into the designated airport or train station on the trip start and end dates. Learn more on the Transfers page.

You may, depending on the country you are visiting. Find out more on the Travel Health page.

This depends on the country you are visiting and the country you reside in. Visa requirements are listed in the trip notes, but please note that this information is subject to change.

Find out more on the Passports & Visas page.

You’ll need to check the size and weight restrictions of your luggage with the airline before you flight. Please also check the Budgeting & Packing section of the trip page or trip notes where we list the maximum luggage weight. In this section we also supply guidance on the number of luggage items to take, usually one main piece of baggage and a daypack. You’ll need to carry your own luggage so please don’t overload your bag.

In terms of the type of luggage, in most cases a suitcase will be suitable. We recommend one on wheels to make it easier to move. On some trips, for example trips that feature longer periods travelling by minibus or trips that include camping, we’d recommend a softer bag such as a duffel bag or rucksack. These are easier to pack into buses or trailers and are easier to move around. Check the Budgeting & Packing section of the trip page for guidance.

This will vary depending on the type of trip. We include a basic packing list on the Budgeting & Packing section of the trip page or trip notes. This will also tell you what equipment will be provided, or items that you could hire (often these items will need to requested in advance of the trip).

It will depend on the grade and how fit you already are. Check the trip page for details of the walking or cycling grade and how far you’ll be walking/cycling each day. For moderate or challenging trips in particular we’d recommend doing some walks or cycles before you leave to build up your fitness and prepare you for the distances being covered.

Find out more about how to prepare for a walking holiday.

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