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Frequently Asked Questions

Home Icon Find the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions from our customers

  • How do I book with Distant Journeys?

    Booking is easy. Call us on the freephone number at the top of this web page. We will take you through the booking process in about 10 – 20 minutes. It would be useful if you have your passport and insurance details handy at the time of booking. If you don’t have these, don’t worry, we can always take those details at a later date.

  • Do I need travel insurance?

    It is a condition of travel that you take out sufficient and appropriate travel insurance. We recommend you do this at the time of booking so that in the event of cancellation, providing covered by your policy, your deposit (less any applicable excess) is covered.  Distant Journeys has partnered with Staysure, so for a quote on a holiday insurance policy just visit Staysure and enter the code DJ15 at the checkout for a 15% discount on your base premium.

  • What is my baggage allowance?

    You’re entitled to carry one suitcase per person with the total sum of its length, width and height not exceeding 160cm (63 inches) and weight 20kg (44lbs). In some instances, this may be less than the airlines’ permitted allowance. Luggage is restricted to accommodate for coach capacity, domestic flights and where applicable local health and safety laws. Personal and valuable items such as cameras, medication, money / credit cards etc. should be carried in a travel bag or on your person. You must ensure that luggage meets the weight requirements as overweight or oversize items will not be carried. If travelling on our Wonders of Australia or Very Best of Australia tours it is important to note that due to space restrictions on The Ghan passengers are required to carry an overnight bag for all your requirements whilst on board. The remainder of the luggage will be checked into a dedicated luggage compartment.

  • How is my luggage transported throughout the tour?

    Hotel porterage for one piece of luggage per person (weighing no more than 20kg) is included in the price of your holiday.

  • Can I book my seat preference on the plane?

    With many airlines you can pre-book your seats prior to check in to guarantee your seating and give you a wider choice of seat selection. Please note, many airlines now charge for this service.

  • Do you operate a seat rotation on coaches?

    We offer a fair system of seat rotation to allow all passengers to experience a variety of views. Exceptions cannot be made to this policy.

  • I have a pre-existing medical condition. What should I do?

    If you have any pre-existing medical conditions or walking difficulties, you should inform us at the time of booking.

  • Can I take my medication?

    It is your responsibility to ensure that any medication you are carrying is permitted to be taken into the countries you are visiting. We recommend you consult with your GP and relevant embassy before booking or travelling. Always carry medicines in their original, labelled packaging and in your hand-luggage along with a copy of your prescription. Whilst we recommend only carrying enough for the duration of your time away, a small spare supply can be useful. Check that the expiry dates of your medicines will be valid for the duration of your visit abroad.

  • Can I smoke on tour?

    Smoking, including electronic cigarettes, is not allowed at any time onboard our coaches or any flight. Within hotels, smoking and the use of electronic cigarettes may be restricted to designated areas. We’ll endeavour to ensure there are frequent stops on any coach trip, however we can’t guarantee smoking facilities will always be available. It is also worth noting some countries are beginning to ban the use of electronic cigarettes. We recommend you check for up-to-date information before you travel.

  • What are Freedom Days?

    During your tour, you can book onto a range of additional excursions. These tours are at an additional cost, subject to availability and seasonal operations, and may be subject to minimum / maximum numbers. Where possible we allow for these to be booked locally with your Tour Manager, however, in some instances pre-booking will be required. You will be advised in advance of your departure from the UK if any excursions require pre-booking. All Freedom Day experiences may be found on our website alongside the itineraries of each individual tour.

  • When will I receive my travel documents?

    Your full travel documents which include electronic tickets, a final itinerary, luggage labels and holiday information booklet will be sent to you approximately 2-3 weeks prior to your departure.

  • Is my holiday protected?

    Yes, all the flight-inclusive holidays on our website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. Our ATOL number is 10913. When you book, you will be supplied with an ATOL Certificate. For more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to www.atol.org.uk/ATOLCertificate

  • Can you help with UK airport hotels and parking?

    To help you put the finishing touches to your Australia & New Zealand holiday, Holiday Extras can supply a range of UK airport hotels, UK airport lounges, UK airport parking and airport transfers.

    For more information click here

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  • Australia

    • Is there a time difference?

      Perth GMT +8hrs, Sydney GMT +10hrs

    • What is the currency?

      Australia Dollars

    • What will the weather be like?

      Australia’s seasons are opposite to those in the northern hemisphere. Weather patterns around the world are also becoming less predictable, however, as a general guide; Australia enjoys temperate weather for most of the year. The tropical northern states (Cairns and Darwin) typically experience very warm weather and can be very humid in the Australian summer. You can find out more by reading our dedicated Australia climate guide The southern states are typically warm and sunny.

    • What clothing should I take to Australia?

      Dress for our tours is generally relaxed and informal during the day, dressing to suit the weather conditions and the activity you are undertaking. It’s likely there will be occasions when exploring you’ll be walking on uneven surfaces, so we recommend sturdy and comfortable walking shoes. Wearing layers of clothing means it’s much easier to deal with potentially varied weather conditions and it’s always advisable to carry a waterproof. Any included evening dinners are also informal, with smart casual dress being the norm. We would also recommend taking good insect repellent, a high factor sun screen lotion and a hat for protection from the sun.

      When visiting Australia’s Red Centre, some guests appreciate taking a fly net which can be placed over a hat to keep the flies away.

    • What is the best way to pay for things in Australia?

      Major credit cards and cash machines are widely available throughout your tour and your tour manger will be on hand to help you find the best places to exchange your money. When travelling to Australia, a currency card is a simple way to buy currency and lock in a great exchange rate before you travel. Distant Journeys recommends the ‘Global Traveller’ MasterCard, provided by Caxton FX, for our guests’ currency requirements. The MasterCard is a convenient way to pay at over 35 million outlets worldwide, and is ‘chip and PIN’ secure. It is also simple to set up and use. For more information please see: https://partners.caxtonfx.com/currencycards/distant-journeys

      We also recommend advising your bank of your travel plans in advance so you do not encounter potential problems when trying to withdraw cash.

    • How much should I tip in Australia?

      It is not customary to tip in Australia or New Zealand however, as in the UK, if dining in restaurants you may wish to tip up to 10% for good service. Tipping for taxi drivers is not expected however, rounding up the final fare is appreciated. If you have received great service from your Tour Manager, guides or driver you may wish to tip them for their service. We are frequently asked for guidance on this and would suggest a minimum of £2-3 per person per touring day, dependent on your level of satisfaction.

    • What are the entry requirements for Australia?

      The following information on entry requirements, passports and Visa’s is for British citizens only. Holders of a British Subject passport, non-British citizens and holders of a passport endorsed in any way should check immigration requirements with the relevant embassy or consulate of the country to be visited, as should clients with dual nationality or renounced citizenship.

    • Do I need to renew my passport?

      A valid ten-year British passport is required for all holidays, valid for a minimum of six months after your return date to the UK. If you are not currently in possession of a valid passport please make sure you leave plenty of time before your holiday to apply for this document. Our recommendation is that you should apply at least three months before your holiday.

    • Will I need a visa to enter Australia?

      Visitors to Australia will require an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA). Applications for ETAs will be processed by Distant Journeys for a charge of £25 per ETA. An ETA is valid for 12 months and allows you multiple entries into Australia with a maximum duration of three months per entry. An ETA is equivalent to a visa but there is no stamp or label in your passport. For more information on passport information and entry requirements please visit the Government Passport Office website: www.gov.uk/browse/abroad/passports and the Foreign Office website: www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

      It is important to note entry requirements may change and it is your responsibility to ensure you are in possession of all necessary travel, passport, visa, other entry requirements before departure. All costs incurred in obtaining such documentation must be paid by you. We regret we cannot accept any liability if you are refused entry onto any transport or into any country due to failure on your part to obtain and carry all required documentation.

    • The Reciprocal Health Care Agreement

      The Reciprocal Health Care Agreement (RHCA) between the Australian Government and the United Kingdom Government, covers visitors for any medical treatment required due to ill-health or injury occurred during your stay in Australia only. While this agreement means visitors may receive treatment in Australia, we’d like to emphasise that this should not replace the need for having adequate travel insurance to cover potential medical expenses. Please note there are certain requirements that you must fulfil before departing from Australia: you’ll need to discuss any charges with the hospital staff or doctor that is treating you, and you must enroll at a Medicare office in Australia at the earliest opportunity. To enroll in Medicare you will need your passport with a valid visa and identification to prove that you’re enrolled in your country’s national health scheme. If you receive treatment before you enroll, you may be required to pay for treatment costs in advance.

    • Do I need to have any vaccinations for Australia?

      Health facilities, hygiene and disease risk vary worldwide. You should take health advice from your GP or local travel clinic about your specific needs as early as possible and ensure that vaccinations or preventative measures are taken early enough (which may be a month or more prior to departure) to be fully effective by the date of travel. For more information on health and vaccinations please visit the Foreign Office website www.gov.uk/foreign-traveladvice and NHS Travel Vaccinations website on: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/travel-vaccinations/

      Advice may change and you should check the most up to date position with your GP or local health / travel clinic in good time before departure.

  • New Zealand

    • Is there a time difference?

      Auckland GMT +12hrs

    • What is the currency?

      New Zealand Dollars

    • What will the weather be like?

      With seasons the opposite to those in the northern hemisphereNew Zealand is blessed with mild temperatures, moderate rainfall, and many hours of sunshine. The Bay of Islands in the far north has subtropical weather during summer. The New Zealand climate guide has more information about what to expect.

    • What clothing should I take to New Zealand?

      Dress for our tours is generally relaxed and informal during the day, dressing to suit the weather conditions and the activity you are undertaking. It’s likely there will be occasions when exploring you’ll be walking on uneven surfaces, so we recommend sturdy and comfortable walking shoes. Wearing layers of clothing means it’s much easier to deal with potentially varied weather conditions and it’s always advisable to carry a waterproof. Any included evening dinners are also informal, with smart casual dress being the norm. We would also recommend taking good insect repellent, a high factor sun screen lotion and a hat for protection from the sun.

    • What is the best way to pay for things in New Zealand?

      Major credit cards and cash machines are widely available throughout your tour and your tour manger will be on hand to help you find the best places to exchange your money. When travelling toNew Zealand, a currency card is a simple way to buy currency and lock in a great exchange rate before you travel. Distant Journeys recommends the ‘Global Traveller’ MasterCard, provided by Caxton FX, for our guests’ currency requirements. The MasterCard is a convenient way to pay at over 35 million outlets worldwide, and is ‘chip and PIN’ secure. It is also simple to set up and use. For more information please see: https://partners.caxtonfx.com/currencycards/distant-journeys

      We also recommend advising your bank of your travel plans in advance so you do not encounter potential problems when trying to withdraw cash.

    • How much should I tip in New Zealand?

      It is not customary to tip in New Zealand however, as in the UK, if dining in restaurants you may wish to tip up to 10% for good service. Tipping for taxi drivers is not expected however, rounding up the final fare is appreciated. If you have received great service from your Tour Manager, guides or driver you may wish to tip them for their service. We are frequently asked for guidance on this and would suggest a minimum of £2-3 per person per touring day, dependent on your level of satisfaction.

    • What are the entry requirements for New Zealand?

      The following information on entry requirements, passports and Visa’s is for British citizens only. Holders of a British Subject passport, non-British citizens and holders of a passport endorsed in any way should check immigration requirements with the relevant embassy or consulate of the country to be visited, as should clients with dual nationality or renounced citizenship.

    • Do I need to renew my passport?

      A valid ten-year British passport is required for all holidays, valid for a minimum of six months after your return date to the UK. If you are not currently in possession of a valid passport please make sure you leave plenty of time before your holiday to apply for this document. Our recommendation is that you should apply at least three months before your holiday.

    • Will I need a visa to enter New Zealand?

      You are required to apply for an NZeTA before travelling to New Zealand. Applications can be made online on the government’s immigration website and cost $12NZD, or by its smartphone app for a slightly lower cost of $9NZD. In addition to the fee for the NZeTA, you will also be required to pay an International Visitor Levy (IVL), at a cost of $35NZD. This will be processed at the same time as your NZeTA

      For more information on passport information and entry requirements please visit the Government Passport Office website: www.gov.uk/browse/abroad/passports and the Foreign Office website: www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

      It is important to note entry requirements may change and it is your responsibility to ensure you are in possession of all necessary travel, passport, visa, other entry requirements before departure. All costs incurred in obtaining such documentation must be paid by you. We regret we cannot accept any liability if you are refused entry onto any transport or into any country due to failure on your part to obtain and carry all required documentation.

    • Do I need to have any vaccinations for New Zealand?

      Health facilities, hygiene and disease risk vary worldwide. You should take health advice from your GP or local travel clinic about your specific needs as early as possible and ensure that vaccinations or preventative measures are taken early enough (which may be a month or more prior to departure) to be fully effective by the date of travel. For more information on health and vaccinations please visit the Foreign Office website www.gov.uk/foreign-traveladvice and NHS Travel Vaccinations website on: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/travel-vaccinations/

      Advice may change and you should check the most up to date position with your GP or local health / travel clinic in good time before departure.

  • South Africa

    • Is there a time difference?

      Cape Town, Johannesburg and Victoria Falls are all GMT +2hrs

    • What is the currency?

      South African Rand

    • What will the weather be like?

      Weather patterns around the world are becoming less predictable. However, as a general guide, in the Western Cape areas of Cape Town and the Garden Route, summers tend to be warm, cooled by ocean breezes, with rain falling occasionally. Durban and Ubizane, found in KwaZulu-Natal can have very hot summers and you should consider adequate protection, including sun-hats and high factor sunscreen. Johannesburg and Pretoria are situated at altitude on the highveld plateau and generally enjoy a hot climate with the occasional thunderstorm. Due to the altitude evenings can be a little cooler. Read the South Africa climate guide for more details.

    • What clothing should I take to South Africa?

      Dress for our tours is generally relaxed and informal during the day, dressing to suit the weather conditions and the activity you are undertaking. It’s likely there will be occasions when exploring you’ll be walking on uneven surfaces, so we recommend sturdy and comfortable walking shoes. Wearing layers of clothing means it’s much easier to deal with potentially varied weather conditions and it’s always advisable to carry a waterproof.

      Any included evening dinners are also informal, with smart casual dress being the norm. We would also recommend taking good insect repellent, a high factor sun-screen lotion and a hat for protection from the sun. Whilst on safari in South Africa, is it recommended to wear natural colours such as khaki, green or beige as bright colours can attract insects and cause diversions for the wildlife. For the safaris (which take place in the morning and evening in open vehicles) we recommend sun lotion and hats as well as warm clothing, as it can get very cold. If you have them, binoculars will provide a great opportunity for closer wildlife viewing. If travelling on Rovos Rail, evening attire is more formal – for gentlemen, a jacket and tie is a minimum requirement, while for ladies a cocktail /evening dress or suit is suggested.

    • What is the best way to pay for things in South Africa?

      Major credit cards and cash machines are widely available throughout your tour and your Tour Manger will be on hand to help you find the best places to exchange your money. If travelling to Zimbabwe on our Victoria Falls extension, we recommend taking US dollars. A currency card also offers an easy way to buy currency and enjoy a great exchange rate. Distant Journeys recommends the ‘Global Traveller’ MasterCard, provided by Caxton FX. The MasterCard is simple to set up, easy to use, a convenient way to pay and is ‘chip and PIN’ secure. For more information please see distantjourneys.co.uk/currency-cards/ Local currency is always recommended for small purchases and tipping. Coins and small bills are ideal. When you change money, ask for some small bills and keep these separate from the larger ones, so that they’re readily accessible. We also recommend advising your bank of your travel plans in advance so you do not encounter potential problems when trying to withdraw cash.

    • How much should I tip in South Africa?

      Tipping is common practice in most destinations and should ideally be paid in the local currency. In South Africa generally tipping is expected. For restaurants 10%-15% is the norm unless a service fee has been added to your bill. In these circumstances tipping is optional, but of course still well received if offered. Hotel porters would normally expect a tip of 10-20 Rand. If you wish to tip other hotel staff, similar amounts should be offered. Tipping for taxi drivers is not expected, however rounding up the final fare and leaving the driver with the change is appreciated. If the driver has gone out of his way to help maybe consider tipping up to around 10%. If you have received great service from your Tour Manager, guides or driver you may wish to tip them for their service. We are frequently asked for guidance on this and would suggest a minimum of £2 per person per touring day, dependent on your level of satisfaction.

    • What are the entry requirements for South Africa?

      The following information on entry requirements, passports and visas is for British citizens only. Holders of a British Subject passport, non-British citizens and holders of a passport endorsed in any way should check immigration requirements with the relevant embassy or consulate of the country to be visited, as should clients with dual nationality or renounced citizenship. If travelling with a child aged under 18, there are additional immigration rules that apply. Please call us for further details and refer to the

      Foreign Advice website as shown below.

    • Do I need to renew my passport?

      A ten-year British passport is required for all holidays, valid for a minimum of 6 months after your return date to the UK. When travelling to South Africa you must allow two blank pages for immigration. If you are planning to join our Victoria Falls extension, we recommend four. If you are not currently in possession of a valid passport please make sure you leave plenty of time before your holiday to apply for this document. Our recommendation is that you should apply at least three months before your holiday.

    • Will I need a visa to enter South Africa?

      Currently no visa is required to enter South Africa. If you are considering our Victoria Falls extension you will be required to obtain a visa for entry into Zimbabwe. This is usually arranged on arrival at Victoria Falls Airport. The cost is approximately US$55 per person for a single entry. If you are considering taking a trip to neighbouring Botswana (for Chobe National Park), we recommend purchasing a Kaza UniVisa, which allows multiple entry into Zimbabwe, for 30 days. The cost is approximately US$50. Payment for both visas is made on arrival at Victoria Falls Airport and we recommend you have the correct amount is US Dollars, as change is not always available. Currently a visa is not required for any customers entering Botswana. For more information on passport information and entry requirements please visit the Government Passport Office website: www.gov.uk/browse/abroad/passports and the Foreign Office website: www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice It is important to note entry requirements may change and it is your responsibility to ensure you are in possession of all necessary travel, passport, visa, other entry requirements before departure. All costs incurred in obtaining such documentation must be paid by you. We regret we cannot accept any liability if you are refused entry onto any transport or into any country due to failure on your part to obtain and carry all required documentation.

    • Do I need to have any vaccinations for South Africa?

      Health facilities, hygiene and disease risk vary worldwide. In South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana, many of the main tourist areas we visit are malaria free. However, some of the areas we visit may pose a low malaria risk. You should take health advice from your GP or local travel clinic about your specific needs as early as possible and ensure that vaccinations or preventative measures are taken early enough (which may be a month or more prior to departure) to be fully effective by the date of travel. For more information on health and vaccinations please visit the Foreign Office website www.gov.uk/foreign-traveladvice and NHS Travel Vaccinations website on: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/travel-vaccinations/

  • India

    • Is there a time difference?

      Delhi GMT +5½ hrs.

    • What is the currency?

      Indian Rupee

    • What will the weather be like?

      Weather patterns around the world are becoming less predictable. However, as a general guide, during the main travel season to India, between October and March, the days tend to be mild and sunny with comfortable cool evenings. We recommend checking up-to-date weather forecasts before you travel.

    • What clothing should I take to India?

      Dress for our tours is generally relaxed and informal during the day, dressing to suit the weather conditions and the activity you are undertaking. It’s likely there will be occasions when exploring you’ll be walking on uneven surfaces, so we recommend sturdy and comfortable walking shoes. Wearing layers of clothing means it’s much easier to deal with potentially varied weather conditions and it’s always advisable to carry a waterproof. Any included evening dinners are also informal, with smart casual dress being the norm. We would also recommend taking good insect repellent, a high factor sun-screen lotion and a hat for protection from the sun.

      It is always worth being aware of local customs when visiting sacred places. As a general rule, when visiting such places, it is recommended that arms and legs are covered. Women may also wish to take a shawl to cover their shoulders and all visitors should wear long trousers, skirts or shorts that reach below the knee. Taking off your shoes is also a prerequisite before entering many sacred places. Indians adopt a very conservative standard of dress and we suggest dressing modestly. For our safaris in Ranthambore National Park, we recommend layered clothing including something warm as it can be cold on early morning drives. If you have them, binoculars will provide a great opportunity for closer wildlife viewing.

    • What is the best way to pay for things in India?

      Major credit cards and cash machines are available throughout your tour and local currency is always recommended for small purchases and tipping. We recommend advising your bank of your travel plans in advance so you do not encounter potential problems when trying to withdraw cash. In India, cash withdrawals are limited to R10,000 (approx. £110) per day and you cannot obtain Indian currency before arrival in the country. There are occasional problems withdrawing cash from ATMs, so it’s worth taking some sterling or US dollars that can be changed locally at money exchanges. Don’t forget your tour manger will be on hand to help you find the best places to exchange your money. When you change money, ask for some small bills (Rs 10s and Rs 20s) and keep these separate from the larger ones, so that they’re readily accessible.

    • How much should I tip in India?

      Tipping is common practice in most destinations and should ideally be paid in the local currency. In India and Dubai a service fee is often added to your bill in restaurants and hotels. In such instances tipping is optional, but of course still well received if offered, with 10% being the norm. Hotel porters would normally expect a tip of 50 Rupees in India. If you wish to tip other hotel staff, similar amounts should be offered. It’s not mandatory to tip taxi or rickshaw drivers, but it’s good practice to tip drivers who are honest about the fare. If you have received great service from your Tour Manager, guides or driver you may wish to tip them for their service. We are frequently asked for guidance on this and would suggest a minimum of £2 per person per touring day, dependent on your level of satisfaction.

    • What are the entry requirements for India?

      The following information on entry requirements, passports and Visa’s is for British citizens only. Holders of a British Subject passport, non-British citizens and holders of a passport endorsed in any way should check immigration requirements with the relevant embassy or consulate of the country to be visited, as should clients with dual nationality or renounced citizenship.

    • Do I need to renew my passport?

      A valid ten-year British passport is required for all holidays, valid for a minimum of 6 months after your return date to the UK. When travelling to India you must also allow two blank pages for your visa. If you are not currently in possession of a valid passport please make sure you leave plenty of time before your holiday to apply for this document. Our recommendation is that you should apply at least three months before your holiday.

    • Will I need a visa to enter India?

      You are required to obtain an e-Tourist Visa (e-TV) before travelling. You can apply online for your visa within 30 days of travel on the government of India’s e-Tourist Visa website, www.indianvisaonline.gov.in/evisa/tvoa.html Your visa is valid for 30 days from the date of entry. You must have applied for your visa no later than four days before you depart. Alternatively, you may prefer to use a visa agency to obtain your visa. We recommend The Travel Visa Company.

      For more information on passport information and entry requirements please visit the Government Passport Office website www.gov.uk/browse/abroad/passports and the Foreign Office website: www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

      Please note entry requirements may change and it is your responsibility to ensure you are in possession of all necessary travel, passport, visa and other entry requirements before departure. All costs incurred in obtaining such documentation must be paid by you. We regret we cannot accept any liability if you are refused entry onto any transport or into any country due to failure on your part to obtain and carry all required documentation.

    • Do I need to have any vaccinations?

      Health facilities, hygiene and disease risks vary worldwide. You should take health advice from your GP or local travel clinic about your specific needs as early as possible and ensure that vaccinations or preventative measures are taken early enough (which may be a month or more prior to departure) to be fully effective by the date of travel. For more information on health and vaccinations please visit the Foreign Office website www.gov.uk/foreign-traveladvice and NHS Travel Vaccinations website on: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/travel-vaccinations/

      Advice may change and you should check the most up to date position with your GP or local health / travel clinic in good time before departure.

  • Sri Lanka

    • Is there a time difference?

      Sri Lanka is GMT +4½ hrs.

    • What is the currency?

      Sri Lankan Rupee

    • What will the weather be like?

      Sri Lanka’s climate is tropical and consists of distinct wet and dry seasons. Generally speaking, the coastal areas of Sri Lanka enjoy temperatures averaging 28°C (82°F) while the upland areas are cooler and more temperate, with a yearly average around 16-20°C (60-68°F). Our tours of Sri Lanka operate in January, February and March, which is agreat time to travel across the whole country. Sri Lanka is generally basking in sunshine and relatively dry throughout these months. Temperatures will be warm, although it is noticeably cooler up in the hill country around Nuwara Eliya. We recommend checking up-to-date weather forecasts before you travel.

    • What clothing should I take to Sri Lanka?

      Dress for our tours is generally relaxed and informal during the day, dressing to suit the weather conditions and the activity you are undertaking. It’s likely there will be occasions when exploring you’ll be walking on uneven surfaces, so we recommend sturdy and comfortable walking shoes. Wearing layers of clothing means it’s much easier to deal with potentially varied weather conditions and it’s always advisable to carry a waterproof. Any included evening dinners are also informal, with smart casual dress being the norm. We would also recommend taking good insect repellent, a high factor sun-screen lotion and a hat for protection from the sun.

      It is always worth being aware of local customs when visiting sacred places. As a general rule, when visiting such places, it is recommended that arms and legs are covered. Women may also wish to take a shawl to cover their shoulders and all visitors should wear long trousers, skirts or shorts that reach below the knee. Taking off your shoes is also a prerequisite before entering many sacred places, and as floors can sometimes be wet or very hot, a few pairs of spare socks will be very useful. For our safaris in Yala National Park, we recommend layered clothing including something warm as it can be cold on early morning drives. If you have them, binoculars will provide a great opportunity for closer wildlife viewing.

    • What is the best way to pay for things in Sri Lanka?

      Major credit cards can be used throughout your tour in most places, and local currency is always recommended for small purchases and tipping. We recommend advising your bank of your travel plans in advance so you do not encounter potential problems when trying to use your card to make a purchase or withdraw money. ATM’s are available to withdraw money in most major cities, but it’s worth taking some sterling or US dollars that can be changed locally at money exchanges. Your tour manger will be on hand to help you find the best places to exchange your money. When you change money, ask for some small bills and keep these separate from the larger ones, so that they’re readily accessible.

    • How much should I tip in Sri Lanka?

      Tipping is common practice in most destinations and should ideally be paid in the local currency. In Sri Lanka a service fee is often added to your bill in restaurants and hotels. In such instances tipping is optional, but of course still well received if offered, with 10% being the norm. Hotel porters would normally expect a tip of 100 – 200 Rupees. If you wish to tip other hotel staff, similar amounts should be offered. It’s not mandatory to tip taxi or rickshaw drivers, but it’s good practice to tip drivers who are honest about the fare. If you have received great service from your Tour Manager, guides or driver you may wish to tip them for their service. We are frequently asked for guidance on this and would suggest a minimum of £2 per person per touring day, dependent on your level of satisfaction.

    • What are the entry requirements for Sri Lanka?

      The following information on entry requirements, passports and visas is for British citizens only. Holders of a British Subject passport, non-British citizens and holders of a passport endorsed in any way should check immigration requirements with the relevant embassy or consulate of the country to be visited, as should clients with dual nationality or renounced citizenship.

    • Do I need to renew my passport?

      A valid ten-year British passport is required for all holidays, valid for a minimum of 6 months after your return date to the UK. If you are not currently in possession of a valid passport, please make sure you leave plenty of time before your holiday to apply for this document. Our recommendation is that you should apply at least three months before your holiday.

    • Will I need a visa to enter Sri Lanka?

      You are required to obtain an ETA Tourist Visa before travelling to Sri Lanka. You can apply online for your visa within 90 days of travel on the government of Sri Lanka’s e-Tourist Visa website. Alternatively, you may prefer to use a visa agency to help you obtain your visa and we recommend The Travel Visa Company. We also suggest referring to the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) website, for up-to-date entry requirements.

      For more information on passport information and entry requirements please visit the Government Passport Office website and the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) website.

      Please note entry requirements may change and it is your responsibility to ensure you are in possession of all necessary travel, passport, visa and other entry requirements before departure. All costs incurred in obtaining such documentation must be paid by you. We regret we cannot accept any liability if you are refused entry onto any transport or into any country due to failure on your part to obtain and carry all required documentation.

    • Do I need to have any vaccinations?

      Health facilities, hygiene and disease risks vary worldwide and may change at any time. You should take health advice from your GP or local travel clinic about your specific needs as early as possible and ensure that vaccinations or preventative measures are taken early enough (which may be a month or more prior to departure) to be fully effective by the date of travel.

      We also suggest referring to the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) website, and the NHS Travel Vaccinations website.

  • Japan

    • Is there a time difference?

      Japan is GMT +9 hrs.

    • What is the currency?

      Japanese Yen

    • What will the weather be like?

      On Japan’s island of Honshu (the main island) you’ll find a climate that is mostly temperate, with four distinct seasons. Spring and autumn are generally mild throughout the country. The best time to visit Japan is usually from March to May, the cherry blossom season; equally September through to November are popular for the spectacular autumn foliage.We recommend checking up-to-date weather forecasts before you travel.

    • What clothing should I take to Japan?

      Dress for our tours is generally relaxed and informal during the day, dressing to suit the weather conditions and the activity you are undertaking. It’s likely there will be occasions when exploring you’ll be walking on uneven surfaces, so we recommend sturdy and comfortable walking shoes. Wearing layers of clothing means it’s much easier to deal with potentially varied weather conditions and it’s always advisable to carry a waterproof. Any included evening dinners are also informal, with smart casual dress being the norm. We would also recommend taking good insect repellent, a high factor sun-screen lotion and a hat for protection from the sun.

    • Japanese etiquette

      Japanese people are extremely polite and welcoming (one of the best things about visiting Japan), but many visitors worry about accidentally offending them by saying or doing the wrong thing.

      Bear in mind is that Japanese people don’t expect you to know all of their customs and etiquette, but a few basics are useful. Here are a few helpful tips:

      Chopsticks(Ohashi)
      There are many rules around the use of chopsticks, but here are a few key things to keep in mind; Never point your chopsticks at another person, wave them in the air, or spear food with them and avoid putting your chopsticks upright into a bowl of rice.

      Handing over money when paying
      In Japan, money is rarely passed directly from hand to hand. This means that when you purchase an item or service, you won’t hand money directly to the cashier. Instead, you’ll place your payment (whether cash or credit) on the small tray provided. If change is due, your change will be placed here for you as well.

      Removing your shoes
      In Japan, it’s common to remove one’s shoes before entering certain buildings, such as ryokans (Japanese-style inns), temples, and at traditional restaurants. Bring shoes that slip on and off easily, and neat socks, too – they’ll be on display often!

      Bowing
      Japanese people bow when greeting one another. If you’re used to shaking hands when meeting people, it may be difficult to get used to bowing instead of shaking hands. But don’t worry: many Japanese people are accustomed to shaking hands when meeting non-Japanese. Bowing is also used when thanking someone. At hotels, ryokans, shops, and restaurants (particularly at higher-end establishments) it’s common for staff to bow deeply to customers.

    • How much should I tip in Japan?

      Tipping is not nearly as common in Japan as it is in most parts of the world. This means you truly don’t need to even think about tipping at restaurants or bars, or anywhere else where you may normally tip. It may feel slightly uncomfortable to receive the gracious service that Japan is known for and not leave a tip, but just bear in mind that tipping is really not expected and trying to leave a tip may lead to unnecessary confusion.

    • What are the entry requirements for Japan?

      The following information on entry requirements, passports and visas is for British citizens only. Holders of a British Subject passport, non-British citizens and holders of a passport endorsed in any way should check immigration requirements with the relevant embassy or consulate of the country to be visited, as should clients with dual nationality or renounced citizenship.

    • Do I need to renew my passport?

      A valid ten-year British passport is required for all holidays, valid for a minimum of 6 months after your return date to the UK. If you are not currently in possession of a valid passport, please make sure you leave plenty of time before your holiday to apply for this document. Our recommendation is that you should apply at least three months before your holiday.

    • Will I need a visa to enter Japan?

      No.

      For more information on passport information and entry requirements please visit the Government Passport Office website www.gov.uk/browse/abroad/passports and the Foreign Office website: www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

      Please note entry requirements may change and it is your responsibility to ensure you are in possession of all necessary travel, passport, visa and other entry requirements before departure. All costs incurred in obtaining such documentation must be paid by you. We regret we cannot accept any liability if you are refused entry onto any transport or into any country due to failure on your part to obtain and carry all required documentation.

    • Do I need to have any vaccinations?

      Health facilities, hygiene and disease risks vary worldwide and may change at any time. You should take health advice from your GP or local travel clinic about your specific needs as early as possible and ensure that vaccinations or preventative measures are taken early enough (which may be a month or more prior to departure) to be fully effective by the date of travel.

      We also suggest referring to the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) website, https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice  and the NHS Travel Vaccinations website, https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/travel-vaccinations/

  • China

    • Is there a time difference?

      Beijing GMT +8hrs

    • What is the currency?

      Renminbi (commonly known as Chinese Yuan)

    • What will the weather be like?

      Weather patterns around the world are becoming less predictable. Our tour of China covers different provinces so the weather can be changeable, however as a general guide, during Spring and Autumn the weather tends to be warm and dry and a little cooler in the evenings. We recommend checking up-to date weather forecasts before you travel.

    • What clothing should I take to China?

      Dress for our tours is generally relaxed and informal during the day, dressing to suit the weather conditions and the activity you are undertaking. It’s likely there will be occasions when exploring you’ll be walking on uneven surfaces, so we recommend sturdy and comfortable walking shoes. Wearing layers of clothing means it’s much easier to deal with potentially varied weather conditions and it’s always advisable to carry a waterproof. Any included evening dinners are also informal, with smart casual dress being the norm. We would also recommend taking good insect repellent, a high factor sunscreen lotion and a hat for protection from the sun. It is always worth being aware of local customs when visiting sacred places. As a general rule when visiting such places, it is recommended that arms and legs are covered. Women may also wish to take a shawl to cover their shoulders and all visitors should wear long trousers, skirts or shorts that reach below the knee.

    • What is the best way to pay for things in China?

      Major credit cards are widely accepted in all hotels and on your cruise. ATMs are widely available in major cities, but less so in more rural areas. We do recommend that for any purchases outside of the hotel, including restaurants, especially outside of the major cities you use cash, as some establishments will not accept credit cards. Local currency is always recommended for small purchases. When you change money, ask for some small bills and keep these, along with coins separate from the larger ones, so that they’re readily accessible. If changing currency locally your tour manger will be on hand to help you find the best places to exchange your money. Keep your exchange receipts as these will be needed if you want to exchange any remaining currency you have at the end of your trip. We also recommend advising your bank of your travel plans in advance so you do not encounter potential problems when trying to withdraw cash.

    • How much should I tip in China?

      Tipping in China is generally uncommon. International hotels operate on more westernised principles, and small sums of five yuan for bell-boys, waiters in restaurants and cleaning staff is acceptable, but not expected. When eating in restaurants, a service charge of 10-15 percent will already be included in your bill. Tipping for taxi drivers is not expected however, rounding up the final fare is common. If you have received great service from your Tour Manager, guides or driver you may wish to tip them for their service. We are frequently asked for guidance on this and would suggest a minimum of £2-£3 per person, per guide and per driver per touring day, dependent on your level of satisfaction.

    • What are the entry requirements for China?

      The following information on entry requirements, passports and Visa’s is for British citizens only. Holders of a British Subject passport, non-British citizens and holders of a passport endorsed in any way should check immigration requirements with the relevant embassy or consulate of the country to be visited, as should clients with dual nationality or renounced citizenship.

    • Do I need to renew my passport?

      A valid ten-year British passport is required for all holidays, valid for a minimum of 6 months after your return date to the UK. When travelling to China you must also allow two blank pages for your visa. If you are not currently in possession of a valid passport please make sure you leave plenty of time before your holiday to apply for this document. Our recommendation is that you should apply at least three months before your holiday. A standard, 30-day single-entry visa can be issued in four to five working days.

    • Will I need a visa to enter China?

      To enter China you will are required to obtain a visa before you travel. You are required to obtain an L visa type and you apply for your visa via the China Visa Application Centre http://www.visaforchina.org/

      We recommend applying for your visa at least one month before your intended travel date. The cost of a single entry visa is £85.00 however, please note the China Visa Application Centre levies an extra administration fee of £66.00 for standard service, £78.00 for a 3 day express service and £90.00 for a postal service. Standard service and express service require you to submit and collect your visa in person, by appointment only. As part of the application process you need to show proof of an air-ticket booking and provide accommodation details. We will provide this information for you once your booking is confirmed. Please be aware our normal cancellation fees will apply if you are refused a Chinese Visa. More information can also be found on the Chinese Embassy website: http://www.chinese-embassy.org.uk/eng/visa/ Alternatively, you may prefer to use a visa agency to obtain your visa. We recommend The Travel Visa Company. For more information on passport information and entry requirements please visit the Government Passport Office website: www.gov.uk/browse/abroad/passports and the Foreign Office website www.gov.uk/foreign-travel advice It is important to note entry requirements may change and it is your responsibility to ensure you are in possession of all necessary travel, passport, visa, other entry requirements before departure. All costs incurred in obtaining such documentation must be paid by you. We regret we cannot accept any liability if you are refused entry onto any transport or into any country due to failure on your part to obtain and carry all required documentation.

    • Do I need to have any vaccinations?

      Health facilities, hygiene and disease risks vary worldwide. You should take health advice from your GP or local travel clinic about your specific needs as early as possible and ensure that vaccinations or preventative measures are taken early enough (which may be a month or more prior to departure) to be fully effective by the date of travel. For more information on health and vaccinations please visit the Foreign Office website www.gov.uk/foreign-traveladvice and NHS Travel Vaccinations website on: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/travel-vaccinations/

      Advice may change and you should check the most up to date position with your GP or local health / travel clinic in good time before departure.

  • Vietnam

    • Is there a time difference?

      Vietnam GMT +7 hrs.

    • What is the currency?

      Vietnamese dong

    • What will the weather be like?

      As the country is long and thin, it has three distinct climatic areas.

      North Vietnam (Hanoi, Halong Bay &NinhBinh)

      Hanoi and North Vietnam has distinct winter and summer seasons. The cool but mostly dry winter lasts from November to April when temperatures average 17-22°C. Summer lasts from May to October when it is hot and humid and the region experiences its highest rainfall. July to September are often the wettest months of the year.

      Central Vietnam (Hoi An, Danang, Hue)

      Central Vietnam’s summer season lasts from January until the end of August. The weather is hot and dry, with temperatures between 21°C and 35°C. Conditions between September and December are much wetter, although temperatures remain balmy. Hue is often cooler than Hoi An, especially early in the year.

      South Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh City, Mekong Delta)

      Southern Vietnam’s hot and dry season starts in November and finishes at the end of April, with temperatures often reaching 30°C. Rain falls between May and early November, but the weather still remains warm, usually between 25°C and 32°C. Throughout much of the wet season rainfall is generally heavy but short lasting, often occurring in a mid-afternoon heavy downpour.

      We recommend checking up-to-date weather forecasts before you travel.

    • What clothing should I take to Vietnam?

      Dress for our tours is generally relaxed and informal during the day, dressing to suit the weather conditions and the activity you are undertaking. It’s likely there will be occasions when exploring you’ll be walking on uneven surfaces, so we recommend sturdy and comfortable walking shoes. Wearing layers of clothing means it’s much easier to deal with potentially varied weather conditions and it’s always advisable to carry a waterproof. Any included evening dinners are also informal, with smart casual dress being the norm. We would also recommend taking good insect repellent, a high factor sun-screen lotion and a hat for protection from the sun.

      Mekong Cruise

      The dress code on board our Mekong cruise is relaxed and casual, with no requirement for formal attire.

    • What are the entry requirements for Vietnam& Cambodia?

      The following information on entry requirements, passports and visas is for British citizens only. Holders of a British Subject passport, non-British citizens and holders of a passport endorsed in any way should check immigration requirements with the relevant embassy or consulate of the country to be visited, as should clients with dual nationality or renounced citizenship.

    • Do I need to renew my passport?

      A valid ten-year British passport is required for all holidays, valid for a minimum of 6 months after your return date to the UK. If you are not currently in possession of a valid passport, please make sure you leave plenty of time before your holiday to apply for this document. Our recommendation is that you should apply at least three months before your holiday.

    • Will I need a visa to enter Vietnam?

      If you are travelling on our Very Best of Vietnam and Cambodia tour, you need to apply for an e-visa online. Please note you will be required to upload a passport photo as part of the application process. A visa on arrival service does exist, but may involve a lengthy wait on arrival.

      At the time of writing, if you are travelling on our Highlights of Vietnam tour no visa is required, as the duration of your stay is less than 15 days.

      For more information on passport information and entry requirements please visit the Government Passport Office website www.gov.uk/browse/abroad/passports and the Foreign Office website: www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

      Please note entry requirements may change and it is your responsibility to ensure you are in possession of all necessary travel, passport, visa and other entry requirements before departure. All costs incurred in obtaining such documentation must be paid by you. We regret we cannot accept any liability if you are refused entry onto any transport or into any country due to failure on your part to obtain and carry all required documentation.

    • Do I need to have any vaccinations?

      Health facilities, hygiene and disease risks vary worldwide and may change at any time. You should take health advice from your GP or local travel clinic about your specific needs as early as possible and ensure that vaccinations or preventative measures are taken early enough (which may be a month or more prior to departure) to be fully effective by the date of travel.

      We also suggest referring to the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) website, https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice  and the NHS Travel Vaccinations website, https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/travel-vaccinations/

  • Cambodia

    • Is there a time difference?

      Cambodia: GMT +7 hrs.

    • What is the currency?

      The US dollar is the main currency in Cambodia but in hotels, shops and restaurants items are now usually quoted in US dollars and Cambodian Riel. Whilst out and about if you purchase small items such as bottles of water using USD, you may receive your change in Cambodia Riel.

    • What will the weather be like?

      Cambodia has two seasons and a tropical climate with warm temperatures throughout the year.

      The best time to visit Cambodia is between November and April, when it sees very little rain. The northeast monsoon season runs from December through to April, when it brings sunny and dry weather, especially in January and February.

      We recommend checking up-to-date weather forecasts before you travel.

    • What clothing should I take to Cambodia?

      Dress for our tours is generally relaxed and informal during the day, dressing to suit the weather conditions and the activity you are undertaking. It’s likely there will be occasions when exploring you’ll be walking on uneven surfaces, so we recommend sturdy and comfortable walking shoes. Wearing layers of clothing means it’s much easier to deal with potentially varied weather conditions and it’s always advisable to carry a waterproof. Any included evening dinners are also informal, with smart casual dress being the norm. We would also recommend taking good insect repellent, a high factor sun-screen lotion and a hat for protection from the sun.

      Mekong Cruise
      The dress code on board our Mekong cruise is relaxed and casual, with no requirement for formal attire. 

    • What are the entry requirements for Cambodia?

      The following information on entry requirements, passports and visas is for British citizens only. Holders of a British Subject passport, non-British citizens and holders of a passport endorsed in any way should check immigration requirements with the relevant embassy or consulate of the country to be visited, as should clients with dual nationality or renounced citizenship.

    • Do I need to renew my passport?

      A valid ten-year British passport is required for all holidays, valid for a minimum of 6 months after your return date to the UK. If you are not currently in possession of a valid passport, please make sure you leave plenty of time before your holiday to apply for this document. Our recommendation is that you should apply at least three months before your holiday.

    • Will I need a visa to enter Cambodia?

      Your border crossing between Vietnam and Cambodia is on the Mekong River, whilst on the Mekong cruise. Your Cambodian visa will be processed here, so you do not need to apply before you leave the UK. You will also be required to provide one passport photo and should arrange to have these taken before you leave the UK.

      For more information on passport information and entry requirements please visit the Government Passport Office website www.gov.uk/browse/abroad/passports and the Foreign Office website: www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

      Please note entry requirements may change and it is your responsibility to ensure you are in possession of all necessary travel, passport, visa and other entry requirements before departure. All costs incurred in obtaining such documentation must be paid by you. We regret we cannot accept any liability if you are refused entry onto any transport or into any country due to failure on your part to obtain and carry all required documentation.

    • Do I need to have any vaccinations?

      Health facilities, hygiene and disease risks vary worldwide and may change at any time. You should take health advice from your GP or local travel clinic about your specific needs as early as possible and ensure that vaccinations or preventative measures are taken early enough (which may be a month or more prior to departure) to be fully effective by the date of travel.

      We also suggest referring to the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) website, https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice  and the NHS Travel Vaccinations website, https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/travel-vaccinations/

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