We have put together this Travel Handbook to give you all the information you could possibly need to get the most out of your tour with Equatours.
Even experienced travellers may find some useful hints and tips in this section, so we recommend that all our guests read this prior to departure. If your questions are not answered here, please give us a call on +44 (0) 20 3239 3235, or send us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
PASSPORTS & VISAS
When travelling to any of our destinations you will need a 10-year passport and it must be valid for at least six months after the date of departure. If you are applying for or renewing a passport, please do it with plenty of time to spare. You can get advice from the UK passport service website: www.ukpa.gov.uk.
The same applies to Visas; we will do our utmost to advise you on visa requirements, but are regrettably unable to apply for any visas on your behalf. Further information on travel visas can be found at the following website: www.fco.gov.uk
Please note - The entry requirements for British Citizens may differ to those for British Subjects, British Dependant Territories Citizens, British Nationals (Overseas Citizens), British Protected Persons or any other British passports. Please check your passport carefully and if you are not specifically a British Citizen you must check passport and visa requirements with the Embassy or Consulate of the countries you are travelling to, or through.
We take the greatest care when making your travel arrangements and only choose highly recommended airlines and suppliers, however, things can go wrong and therefore suitable travel insurance is vital. Covering things like illness, loss of luggage/valuables, and personal accident or injury, travel insurance removes any “what if” scenarios so you can enjoy your holiday to its fullest.
It is a condition of booking a tour/holiday with Equatours that you are fully insured through our recommended insurer Cover More or through an insurance provider of your choice.
MONEY & CREDIT/DEBIT CARDS
In our opinion, debit and credit cards are the best form of currency to use in foreign countries. Major credit cards such as Visa and Master card, along with popular debit cards such as Visa, Maestro and Master are all widely accepted throughout the countries we visit, and may be your safest option for transporting money.
You should always advise your bank that you are going away if you intend to use your Debit/Credit cards as some banks block cards when they see unusual transactions as a safety measure. It is also wise to ask what fees you will be charged for cash withdrawals abroad, as it may make financial sense to opt for a prepaid card instead.
If you prefer to carry cash, Euros and US Dollars are the most popular choices, although £ Sterling can be exchanged in most major cities and hotels.
We recommend that you keep a copy of your credit card issuers contact details so that in the unlikely event that your debit/credit card is lost or stolen while on holiday, you can contact your bank immediately.
Note: Credit Card skimming has become a problem in some countries, whereby your card is passed through an electronic skimming device to steal your information. A duplicate (fake) card is then produced and used by criminals to purchase goods. While instances are rare, we strongly recommend that you do not let your credit/debit cards out of your sight, and pay close attention to the person processing your payments.
FLIGHTS AND TRANSPORTATION
As all of our destinations sit below the equator, a long flight is part of our journey to get there. Using only recommended airlines, we endeavour to make your trip as comfortable as possible, and recommend that you drink plenty of water, limit your alcohol intake and try to do some simple exercise during your flight.
We use only high quality ground transportation, driven by qualified drivers. When joining an escorted tour we do not assign seats and ask that you move around the bus during the duration of the tour so that everyone has the opportunity to sit at the front. Our drivers stop regularly for those who wish to smoke, stretch their legs or visit the bathroom.
Car rentals booked via Equatours are offered with unlimited miles and standard insurance policies. Should you wish to upgrade to a zero excess policy, add additional drivers or request a GPS system, please advise us as time of booking.
If you decide to book a rental car while away please read all the terms and conditions carefully before signing on the dotted line, as you may be subjected to contract fees and liable for large excess premiums, in addition mileage fees and one-way fees.
Many foreign countries require that you own a valid International Driving License, so if you need to apply for one please allow plenty of time before departure.
While most countries we visit have excellent road networks, we recommend you only use routes recommended by Equatours or your travel guide, and ensure you adhere to all speed limits. All countries have zero tolerance to drink driving and enforce severe penalties.
HEALTH & MEDICATION
While your travel/medical insurance should cover the costs of any unforeseen trips to the doctors while you are away, you can help prevent such trips by observing some basic precautions before you go away and while on tour.
Firstly, if you do have any medical conditions or take medication we recommend you visit your GP well in advance of your departure date and advise them of the trip you intend to make. Your GP will then be able to advise you of any vaccinations required, and give you advice regarding your medication (please note, some medications are considered illegal in foreign countries so please contact the embassy of the country you intend to visit if in doubt).
Please not the Europe & EHIC card (European Health Insurance Card) is not valid outside of the EU and will therefore not cover your travel to any of our destinations.
We recommend you only drink bottled water in the destinations we promote, tap water may be safe to drink but as different countries use different chemicals to purify their water supply, you may find that it gives you an upset tummy.
While enjoying different foods is part of your travel experience, we recommend that you be cautious with street vendors and only eat food cooked while you wait.
We highly recommend you pack mosquito repellent and use it generously when visiting mosquito infected areas. We visit game reserves in both malaria risk and malaria free zones, and will advise you at the time of booking.
Sunscreen or suntan lotion is vital and we highly recommend you take a bottle with you, no matter what time of year you are going away. The sun is exceptionally strong in the countries we visit below the equator, and it is easy to get burnt on cloudy days, so we recommend factor 30 sunscreen for adults and factor 50+ for infants and children.
The countries we visit below the equator such as South America and South Africa may have been subjected to bad publicity in the past, but with huge events such as the World Cup taking place, they are now safer and better policed than ever before.
In theory, you are no more at risk of being a victim of crime in any of these countries than you are at home, and by keeping your guard up, avoiding overt displays of wealth, and using your common sense, you will get the most out of your travel experience.
Simple rules we recommend you observe are:
• Never leaving your baggage/valuables unattended (not even for a second)
• Only use taxis booked and recommended by your guide or your hotel
• Do not take shortcuts and stick to routes/streets recommended by your guide or hotel
• Keep your drinks firmly insight and avoid becoming over-intoxicated in an unfamiliar area
• If in doubt – get out of the place and/or situation you are in
In the unlikely event that you are the victim of a crime, you must obtain a police report and notify your insurance company immediately.
Tipping is observed in most countries in the world, and you will be expected to tip waiters, taxi drivers, safari game drivers, foreign tours guides, drivers on escorted tours, and your mountain crew on Kilimanjaro. What you decide to tip is up to you (please see the KPAP recommended tipping guide for Kilimanjaro crew on our website), we are happy to provide you with guidelines should you require guidance.
PACKING – WHAT NOT TO WEAR
When packing for your trip please consider the luggage allowances as shown on your flight ticket confirmation. Most long-haul airlines allow one piece of hand luggage and one piece of checked baggage per person. Airlines strictly enforce their rules on excess baggage and their prices are high, so if you want to avoid paying in excess of £20 per kilo, we recommend you pack wisely.
The destinations we visit below the equator have opposite seasons to us in the Northern Hemisphere i.e. when we are in winter they are in summer. While most destinations enjoy a mild winter and warm summers, we recommend the following packing guides for all seasons.
Layers are definitely the way to go, often enjoying 4 seasons in one day, we recommend you take comfortable clothes that you can mix and match, such as:
• A combination of long-sleeved & short-sleeved t-shirts/shirts
• A couple of sweatshirts, fleece jackets or warm jumpers/cardigans
• Lightweight, comfortable trousers/skirts
• Lightweight jackets
• Smart casual evening attire
• Smart evening attire
• Comfortable shoes for walking, trainers for fitness fans and a pair of shoes for the evening
• Umbrella, hats and sunglasses
Most of our destinations have a smart casual approach to fashion during the day. In the evening, depending on which hotel you are staying and in which location, you may be asked to dress smart casual or smart. In major cities you will rarely be asked to wear a suit jacket and tie, unless treating yourself to one of the many 5* restaurants or clubs available. If in doubt, ask you concierge to check the dress code before you arrive.
As we only recommend superior hotels, laundry facilities are available at an extra cost.
For those taking early morning or evening excursions such as game drives, we recommend you wear long trousers, long sleeves, comfortable shoes and a warm jacket. A hat or baseball cap is ideal for excursions and boat rides during the day.
“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page” ̴ St. Augustine