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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?

    Baggage allowance
    You are entitled to carry one suitcase per person. Total dimensions for each piece must not exceed 158cm (62in) and weight must not exceed 20kg (44lbs). Dimensions for luggage are calculated by adding together the length, height and depth of the piece of baggage. In most instances this will be less than the airlines permitted allowance and is restricted to accommodate for coach and, or train capacity, domestic flights and where applicable local health and safety laws. We are unable to accommodate more than one suitcase per person, or any oversized pieces of luggage. Personal and valuable items such as cameras, medication, money / credit cards etc. should be carried in a travel bag or on your person.

    Australia
    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.

    Canada
    If travelling on our Knight Inlet Holiday Extension, as access to the lodge is by floatplane, you will be restricted to one piece of luggage weighing no more than 14kg. We suggest taking a small bag for this trip and arranging storage for your main luggage.

  • 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 bring my own mobility equipment?

    If you with to take your own mobility scooter or other mobility aid please be aware each airline has their own restrictions in regards to what they will carry. This can include, but is not limited to, battery wattage, size and weight. It is your responsibility to ensure you have checked that you meet the airlines requirements. We cannot accept any liability if you are refused boarding or unable to take intended equipment.

    Australia Tours: If you are taking your own wheelchair when travelling on The Ghan you will be required to use one of the local supplier’s wheelchairs for the duration of the journey on the train.

    Canada Tours: If you are taking your own wheelchair when travelling on the Rocky Mountaineer train it will need to fold down into pieces of 50lbs or less.

    Alaska Cruise: If you are taking your own wheelchair when travelling on board the Holland America Cruise it needs to meet the following criteria Width: 23” Max unless collapsible to a width of 23. Weight: 100 lbs. max excluding battery. Batteries must be gel or dry cell or AGM (absorbed glass mat) only.

  • 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?

    Travel documents, which include electronic air tickets and a final itinerary will be sent to you via the Distant Journeys app approximately 2-3 weeks prior to your departure. Luggage labels will be sent via post at the same time.

    Please Note: If you are travelling on the Alaskan Inside Passage cruise with Holland America, you will need to check in on-line and print off your own luggage labels and boarding pass. We suggest you do this before departing from the UK. For more information about how to check-in for your cruise, please see our Alaska FAQ’s.

  • 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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  • Are your escorted tours suitable for customers with reduced mobility?

    Many of our itineraries include sightseeing tours which may involve walking for medium to long periods of time and over uneven surfaces. Steps may also feature, either as part of a tour or within your accommodation. Different modes of transport, such as safari vehicles, houseboats, sampans and rickshaws may also be used. This is not an exhaustive list and it is therefore a condition of booking that you are fit and able to take care of yourself for the duration of the tour.

    You must have a level of fitness suitable for your chosen tour and must recognise that if you do have any disabilities or walking difficulties you may find access to certain attractions and/or parts of your tour restricted.

    We regret that we cannot provide individual assistance to a customer for walking, dining, pushing their wheelchair, getting on and off motor coaches or other transportation vehicles or other personal needs. Therefore, customers who need such assistance, or customers with disabilities or special needs must be accompanied by a companion capable of providing all assistance required. For any further information, or to discuss a tour’s suitability in more detail, please contact our Reservations Team.

  • 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 Revolut, a digital banking app which offers a pre-paid physical or virtual currency card. It is also simple to apply for, set up and use.

      For more information on the Revolut Currency Card, please click here.

      We also recommend advising your bank of your travel plans prior to departing from the UK so you do not encounter potential problems when trying to withdraw cash.

       

    • How much should I tip in Australia?

      Whilst it is not compulsory to tip in Australia, it is now an accepted practice in many areas. It is the norm, for example to tip in a restaurant if you are happy with the service, usually around 5-7%. For your tour, tipping is discretionary, however, suggested tipping amounts for your driver and guides would be as follows:

      Tour Manager: $5.00 AUD per person per day
      Coach Driver: $5.00 AUD per person per day

    • 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-travel-advice 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 to New Zealand, a currency card is a simple way to buy currency and lock in a great exchange rate before you travel. Distant Journeys recommends Revolut, a digital banking app which offers a pre-paid physical or virtual currency card. It is also simple to apply for, set up and use.

      For more information on the Revolut Currency Card, please click here

      We also recommend advising your bank of your travel plans prior to departing from the UK so you do not encounter potential problems when trying to withdraw cash.

    • How much should I tip in New Zealand?

      Whilst it is not compulsory to tip in New Zealand, it is now an accepted practice in many areas. It is the norm, for example to tip in a restaurant if you are happy with the service, usually around 5-7%. For your tour, tipping is discretionary, however, suggested tipping amounts for your driver and guides would be as follows:

      Coach Captains, Tour Managers & Drivers: $7.00 – $15.00 NZD per person per day

    • What are the entry requirements for New Zealand?

      We recommend regularly checking the most up to date entry requirements and local guidance through the FCDO website: gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

      Whilst we are happy to provide our customers with advice, it is important to note that it is your responsibility to ensure that you are aware of and comply with the entry requirements applicable to your holiday destination.

       

      To Enter New Zealand, You Must Hold:

      1) A valid 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.

      2) Hold a New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority

      The NZeTA costs NZD $17 if applying via the dedicated mobile app, or NZD $23 if completed online via the Immigration NZ website nzeta.immigration.govt.nz. You will also need to pay an International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy (IVL) of NZD $35 when you apply. The New Zealand immigration authorities recommend that applicants allow up to 72 hours for processing.

      3) Complete the New Zealand Traveller Declaration form.

      ALL travellers are required to complete a New Zealand Traveller Declaration. The New Zealand Traveller Declaration collects travel, customs, immigration and biosecurity information and it aims to improve the safety and security of New Zealand. Complete the form via this link: travellerdeclaration.govt.nz and for further detail please see New Zealand Traveller Declaration factsheet.

      At the time of writing, there are no longer any Covid restrictions in place for travel to New Zealand; however, we strongly suggest you take proof of your Covid-19 vaccination status with you when you travel, either digitally on your smart phone or tablet, or as a printed copy of your Covid pass.

      New Zealand has very strict bio-security regulations. It is illegal to import most foodstuffs (meat and meat products, honey, fruit, dairy produce) and strict penalties are handed out to those breaking these rules. If in doubt, declare items to a Ministry of Agriculture official or dump them in one of the bins available at the airport. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in a severe fine.

      Please keep up to date with any updates by checking the FCO website here: gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/new-zealand

    • 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.

  • Canada

    • Is there a time difference?

      Calgary GMT -7hrs, Vancouver GMT -8hrs

    • What is the currency?

      Canadian Dollar

    • What will the weather be like?

      Generally, all our tours travel when it is considered the best time to travel, however it is important to note that climates may vary between different regions so the weather may vary throughout your tour. As weather patterns around the world are becoming less predictable the information we provide should be used as a guide only and is no guarantee of the weather at the time you travel. We also recommend checking up-to-date weather forecasts before you travel.

      Most tours to Canada operate in the summer months which generally means sunny days and pleasant temperatures. If travelling in May, there may still be some chilly mornings and evenings, but the snow has largely been replaced with blooming springtime flowers.

    • What clothing should I take to Canada?

      Dress for our tours is generally relaxed and informal during the day, dressing to suit the weather conditions and the activity you are undertaking. Evening dinners are also informal, with smart casual dress being the norm. 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 – remember it will be cooler at higher altitudes – and it’s always advisable to carry a waterproof, good insect repellent, a high factor sunscreen lotion and a hat for protection from the sun.

      If travelling on our Grand Canadian Rockies & Alaskan Cruise tour, please also refer to our Alaskan FAQ’s.

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

      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 Canada, a currency card is a simple way to buy currency and lock in a great exchange rate before you travel. We recommend the Revolut card, which offers 150 currencies and enjoys favourable exchange rates, making it a perfect card to use for any card payments, such as hotels and restaurants. You can withdraw cash from ATMs whilst abroad, but there is a limit of £200 per month, before paying a 2% fee. For more information on the Revolut Currency Card, please click here

      We also recommend advising your bank of your travel plans prior to departing from the UK so you do not encounter potential problems when trying to withdraw cash.

    • How much should I tip in Canada?

      Unlike the UK, tipping is very much common practice in Canada and whilst mostly discretionary, it is expected. For restaurants you should look to add 15%-20% to your bill. For taxis add 15% to the fare. Hotel porters would normally expect a tip of around. 5-10 CAD and if you wish to tip other hotel staff, similar amounts should be offered.

      For your tour, suggested tipping amounts for your driver and guides are as follows:
      Tour Manager: $5 – $6 CAD per person per day
      Driver: $5 – $6 CAD per person per day
      Local Guides: $3 CAD per person per day

      When travelling on the Rocky Mountaineer, gratuities have been included for the train staff. Any porters or coach drivers are not included and should be tipped appropriately.

      If travelling on our Grand Canadian Rockies & Alaskan Cruise tour, please also refer to our Alaskan FAQ’s.

      If travelling on our Knight Inlet holiday extension, gratuities for your time at Knight Inlet have been included. Any other transfers and porters are not included and should be tipped appropriately.

    • What are the entry requirements for Canada?

      The following information on entry requirements, passports and visas is for British Citizens only. Any visa information covers visa requirements for the duration our tour stays in any given country. If you intend to stay longer you should seek additional information before booking.

      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.

      It is important to recognise that whilst the information below is correct at the time we go to print, all requirements may change and all clients must check the up to date position in good time before departure with the Embassy or consulate of the country(ies) you are travelling through and to.

      We also suggest referring to the UK government’s Foreign Travel Advice website, www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice for advice about travelling abroad, including the latest information on safety and security, entry requirements and travel warnings.

    • Do I need to renew my passport?

      Passports A valid ten-year British passport is required for all our 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.

      A full British passport presently takes approximately up to 10 weeks to obtain. If you are 16 or over and have not yet arranged a passport, you should apply for one at least six weeks before your departure from the UK. The UK Passport Service has to confirm an applicant’s identity before issuing their first passport and will ask them to attend an interview in order to do this. Please note, if you need to apply for visas after you receive your new passport, you will need to factor in additional time for this.

      For more information on passport and entry requirements please visit the Government Passport Office website.

    • Will I need a visa to enter Canada?

      You are required to obtain an ETA (Electronic Travel Authorisation) before travelling to Canada. The cost for this is CAD $7.00 per person. Once approved, your ETA is valid for five years or until your passport expires – whichever comes first. You can apply for your Canadian ETA here.

    • Do I need to have any vaccinations for Canada?

      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.

      In addition to viewing the UK government’s own travel advice website, at least 8 weeks before your trip, we recommend you check the latest health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website.

      Guidance is also available from on the NHS Travel Vaccinations website, and the NHS (Scotland) FitForTravel website.

    • What should I pack for the Rocky Mountaineer?

      We recommend that you bring a day pack which is small enough to fit at your feet as there is no overhead or under seat storage on the train, and you will not have access to your checked luggage while onboard.

      Day pack or bag size guidelines:

      • GoldLeaf Service: 16” x 11” x 8” or 40cm x 28cm x 20cm
      • SilverLeaf Service: 23” x 8” x 8” or 58cm x 20cm x 20cm

      Things to pack in your day bag for onboard the train:

      • Medications
      • Valuables (purse, wallet, passports, jewellery)
      • Personal items (sweater, sunglasses, a book)
      • Medical machines and devices
      • Electronic devices (laptop, tablet, mobile phone) and their charging cords and converter (if required)
      • Headphones
      • Extra camera batteries
    • What should I wear on the Rocky Mountaineer?

      Dress onboard Rocky Mountaineer is casual.

      Here are our recommendations on what you may want to wear onboard the train:

      • Comfortable and cool layers as there are expansive windows.
      • A light jacket or sweater as the air conditioning may feel just right for some, but chilly for others.
      • Flat-soled shoes with grip to help keep you steady with the natural movement of the train.
      • A hat and sunglasses for sunny days.
    • What is the difference between SilverLeaf & GoldLeaf service on the Rocky Mountaineer?

      Both offer amazing scenery, world-class service and complimentary meals, beverages, and snacks.

      SilverLeaf Service: Panoramic views and gourmet meals served to your seat.

      GoldLeaf Service: Panoramic Views, extra leg room, access to outdoor viewing platform, seat on the upper level and elegantly plated meals in a dedicated dining room.

       

    • Is there wifi access onboard Rocky Mountaineer?

      There is no Wi-Fi internet access onboard and much of the train route is out of cell phone range due to the train travelling through remote areas. There is a cell service in Kamloops. It is strongly recommended that guests disable data roaming or switch their device into airplane mode in order to avoid any roaming charges.

    • Does the Rocky Mountaineer accommodate guests with limited mobility?

      If you are taking your own wheelchair when travelling on the Rocky Mountaineer train it will need to fold down into pieces of 50lbs or less. The GoldLeaf Service coaches have elevators for guests who have problems using the spiral staircase.

  • Alaska

    • Is there a time difference?

      Ketchikan GMT -9hrs

    • What is the currency?

      US American Dollars

    • What will the weather be like?

      Generally, all our tours travel when it is considered the best time to travel, however it is important to note that climates may vary between different regions so the weather may vary throughout your tour. As weather patterns around the world are becoming less predictable the information we provide should be used as a guide only and is no guarantee of the weather at the time you travel. We also recommend checking up-to-date weather forecasts before you travel.

      Whilst travelling on our Alaska Inside Passage cruise, daytime highs are mild – generally around 15ºC, while night time lows are around 5ºC. Although it is worth noting that the weather can change quickly in Alaska at any time of year. You should also be prepared for light mist and rain at any time.

    • What clothing should I take on my Alaskan Inside Passage cruise?

      During the day, dress is casual whether you’re on the ship or ashore. Dress to suit the weather conditions and the activity you are undertaking.

      In the evening, unless attending one of the formal nights, dress is smart casual. Slacks, with collared shirts are suggested for men and a dress, or skirt or trousers and sweater with blouse for women. Please be aware that printed T-shirts, swimsuits, tank tops and shorts are not allowed in The Dining Room, Lido Market or public areas during the evening hours.
      There will be two formal evenings on your cruise generally on the evening of the first full day and second to last evening where you can dress up accordingly – ladies wear a cocktail dress or gown and gentlemen wear a suit and tie or tuxedo.

      Orange Party: Celebrated one night on each cruise, Holland America give a nod to their Dutch heritage, with the Holland America Orange Party. An optional night of entertainment to wear you best orange outfits and accessories.

       

    • What is the best way to pay for things on my Alaskan cruise?

      Cash is not accepted for individual transactions, e.g. bars, the shops, spa, shore excursions. Cash is accepted in the onboard casino.

      All onboard purchases and services are charged to your account by using your stateroom keycard, which is activated when you provide a credit card(s) (Visa®, Mastercard® and American Express®) as part of your pre-cruise check-in process. A deposit of $60 per person per cruise day will be taken on embarkation. At the end of your cruise, you will receive a final statement, and your card will be charged only for the actual cost of your purchases.

       

    • How much should I tip in Alaska?

      Unlike the UK, tipping is very much common practice in the USA and whilst mostly discretionary, it is expected. For restaurants you should look to add 15%-20% to your bill. For taxis add 15% to the fare.

      On the Alaskan Cruise, a gratuity of $16 USD per person per day will be added to your onboard account, unless you have a pre-purchased package that includes gratuities. This is in order to recognize the many team members throughout the ship who contribute to the guest experience.

      An 18% service charge is automatically applied to all beverage purchases, bar retail items, specialty restaurant cover charges, all for-purchase a la carte menu items, and all Spa & Salon services.

    • What are the entry requirements for Alaska?

      The following information on entry requirements, passports and visas is for British Citizens only. Any visa information covers visa requirements for the duration our tour stays in any given country. If you intend to stay longer you should seek additional information before booking.

      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.

      It is important to recognise that whilst the information below is correct at the time we go to print, all requirements may change and all clients must check the up to date position in good time before departure with the Embassy or consulate of the country(ies) you are travelling through and to.
      We also suggest referring to the UK government’s Foreign Travel Advice website,  for advice about travelling abroad, including the latest information on safety and security, entry requirements and travel warnings.

    • Do I need to renew my passport?

      A valid ten-year British passport is required for all our 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.

      A full British passport presently takes approximately up to 10 weeks to obtain. If you are 16 or over and have not yet arranged a passport, you should apply for one at least six weeks before your departure from the UK. The UK Passport Service has to confirm an applicant’s identity before issuing their first passport and will ask them to attend an interview in order to do this. Please note, if you need to apply for visas after you receive your new passport, you will need to factor in additional time for this.

      For more information on passport and entry requirements please visit the Government Passport Office website, or see our website for more details

    • Will I need a visa to enter Alaska?

      As Alaska is within the United States, if you are travelling on our Grand Canadian Rockies and Alaskan Cruise tour, you will need to apply for an Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) visa waiver. You can apply for your ESTA on https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/ Once approved an ESTA application is generally valid for two years.

      The cost for the ESTA is USD $17.00 per person, plus a processing fee of $4.00.

      When applying for your ESTA, you will be asked ‘Is your travel to the US occurring in transit to another country?’ Select NO.

      You will then be asked for US Point of Contact Information. For your cruise you should enter the cruise line’s head office address and phone number, as follows:
      Holland America Line
      450 3rd Avenue West
      Seattle, Washington
      Zip Code / Post Code: 98119
      UNITED STATES
      Phone number: 87 79 324 259

      Please note: if you have travelled to or been in Cuba any time since 1 January 2021, you can not apply for an ESTA to travel under the US Visa Waiver Program. You will need to apply for a US visa. For more information on this please consult the US State Department website to determine which US visa you will need.

    • Do I need to have any vaccinations for Alaska?

      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.

      In addition to viewing the UK government’s own travel advice website, at least 8 weeks before your trip, we recommend you check the latest health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website.

      Guidance is also available from on the NHS Travel Vaccinations website, and the NHS (Scotland) FitForTravel website.

    • How do I check in for my cruise?

      You are required to complete a questionnaire in Online Check-In to obtain Express Docs. and complete the Online Check-In process 72 hours prior to your sail date. After you complete the Online Check-In, your Express Docs including your Boarding Pass will be issued. Please do not forget to print them out prior to leaving home. Once completed the online check in, please have the following documents ready at check in: Express Docs including boarding pass, Proof of citizenship, applicable visas.

    • Will I have access to Wi-Fi onboard my Alaskan cruise?

      Guests can purchase and connect to satellite internet 24 hours either by accessing the ship’s wireless network or utilizing the workstations located in the Explorations Café. Internet Plans vary in price, dependant on your needs. Note that satellite connections may be adversely impacted by physical obstacles such as fjords and inclement weather and the speed is notably slower than shoreside connections.

    • Can I buy a drinks package for my Alaskan cruise?

      There are a number of drinks packages available for you to purchase via the Holland America website to enhance your cruise experience.

    • Is there Laundry Facilities available on-board Alaskan cruise?

      There is a full laundry and dry cleaning service on board. In your stateroom you will find laundry bags and price lists conveniently located in your closet.

      Please note: For safety reasons, travel irons, steamers, and electric water heaters/kettles may not be used in your stateroom.

    • How can I find out about and book shore excursions for my cruise?

      Shore excursion vouchers will be delivered to your stateroom on the day of embarkation. There are a number of shore excursions available to book in advance through the Holland America website. Please note that requests are processed on a first come, first served basis. Please see for more information on how to book your shore excursions.

    • What is the best way to pay for things whilst ashore?

      Credit cards, Debit cards and USD cash can be used to pay for things when you are ashore. We recommend you carry smaller denominations such as ones, fives, tens and twenties.

      Please note we do not recommend Stirling traveller cheques as they are not accepted, either onboard or Alaska.

    • Does the Alaskan Cruise accommodate guests who require mobility needs?

      The vessels have limited specially designed staterooms for guests who require mobility assistive features. This is subject to availability and you would need to request this at the time of booking.
      Please note if you are taking your own wheelchair when travelling on board it needs to meet the following criteria Width: 23” Max unless collapsible to a width of 23. Weight: 100 lbs. max excluding battery. Batteries must be gel or dry cell or AGM (absorbed glass mat) only. For more details, please visit Holland America Website.

  • Africa

    • Is there a time difference?

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

    • What is the currency?

      Country / Currency / Additional information
      Botswana / Botswana Pula / Botswana Pula cannot be obtained before entering Botswana
      Eswatini / Swazi Lilangeni / South African Rand is widely accepted
      Mozambique / Mozambican metical / South African Rand and US Dollars are widely accepted
      Namibia / Namibian Dollar / South African Rand is widely accepted
      South Africa / Rand
      Zimbabwe / Zimbabwe Dollar / Zimbabwe dollar cannot be obtained before entering Zimbabwe

      If travelling on our African Rail Adventure when visiting eSwatini and Mozambique, USD will be accepted. When travelling on our Namibian Rail Safari, South African Rand will be accepted whilst on Rovos Rail. No matter which country you are travelling to please take note of the following general advice;

      • ATMs are generally available in major cities, less so in rural areas.
      • Credit cards are generally widely accepted in the majority of hotels, cruises, larger international restaurants and shops, although be aware credit card payments may incur an additional fee.
      • If purchasing small items or purchasing from local shops, restaurants and markets, local currency is always recommended.
      • Outside of major cities, with the exception of hotels, local currency is always recommended.
      • If you are planning to use your debit or credit card whilst travelling, advise your bank of your travel plans in advance so you do not encounter potential problems when trying to withdraw cash or make a payment.
      • 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. Carrying small notes and coins separately is also handy for tipping.
      • It is always worth carrying a small amount of UK Sterling or US Dollars as these can always be readily exchanged.
      • Keep your exchange receipts as these may be needed if you want to exchange any remaining currency you have at the end of your trip.

       

      Currency Cards
      In addition to using Travel Credit cards and Debit cards, a currency card is also a popular way of buying currency for your holiday. You can preload these before leaving the UK and many also offer advantageous exchange rates. If travelling to multiple countries, different currencies can be loaded and used for card payments or ATM cash withdrawals. We recommend the Revolut card, which offers 150 currencies and enjoys favourable exchange rates, making it a perfect card to use for any card payments, such as hotels and restaurants. You can withdraw cash from ATMs whilst abroad, but there is a limit of £200 per month, before paying a 2% fee. For further benefits on using currency cards and more information on Revolut please visit distantjourneys.co.uk/revolut-currency-card

    • What will the weather be like?

      Below is a guide on the typical weather you can expect whilst on tour, however it is important to note that climates may vary between different regions. Note: Weather patterns are generally becoming less predictable so the information we provide should be used as a guide only and is no guarantee of the weather at the time you travel. We also recommend checking up-to-date weather forecasts before you travel.

      Botswana
      The weather is generally hot and humid, with daytime temperatures in Chobe rarely dropping below 30°C, although the evenings and early mornings tend to be cooler. June and July tend to be a few degrees cooler with daytime temperatures in the mid to high twenties. December through to March see the mot rainfall within Chobe, characterised by downpours in the afternoon.

      eSwatini
      eSwatini’s (formerly Swaziland) summer is October-April. Generally, during this period whilst hot and sometimes wet the vegetation is green and there is abundant birdlife. The dry winter months run from May to October. Winter mornings and evenings can be chilly, dropping as low as 5°C June-July.

      Mozambique
      Mozambique has a subtropical climate. The dry season lasts from April to December, with temperatures between 25°C and 32°C, the rainy season runs January to March, when you can expect slightly higher temperatures and an increase in humidity.

      Namibia
      Expect temperatures from 25°C to 30°C during the day in the cooler months of April and May, with little or no rainfall and low humidity. Early morning and evening temperatures will drop to around 13°C or lower. Rain is most likely to occur in the form of afternoon downpours in March and November. Daytime temperatures rise to around 30°C, but with humidity still generally low in these months.

      South Africa
      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. Umhlanga and Bayala, found in KwaZulu-Natal can have very hot summers. 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. Kruger is likely to be hot with occasional thunderstorms in the late afternoon and early evening.

      Zimbabwe
      September to November marks the end of the dry season and the weather is generally hot and humid. The falls are at their lowest level, which gives excellent visibility from the Zimbabwe side. Rains in late October and November transform the terrain into a lush, green oasis. In January to March the height of the summer and rainy season can produce dramatic thunderstorms in the afternoons. The falls are in full flow, although some views can be limited due to the mist produced by the falls.

    • What clothing should I take to 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. Evening dinners are also informal, with smart casual dress being the norm. Whilst on safari in 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. 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 – remember it will be cooler at higher altitudes – and it’s always advisable to carry a waterproof, good insect repellent, a high factor sunscreen lotion and a hat for protection from the sun.

      Rovos Rail and The Blue Train
      If travelling on Rovos Rail, or the Blue Train, 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. On our multi-day rail tours there will be occasional themed evenings where guests can dress up accordingly or opt for smart casual. Bear in mind some countries you will visit adopt a more conservative standard of dress than we are used to in the UK. When visiting sacred 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, or skirts or shorts that reach below the knee. Taking off your shoes is also a prerequisite before entering many sacred places.

    • What is the best way to pay for things in 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.

      Local currency is always recommended for small purchases and tipping. Coins and small bills are ideal for this. 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 prior to departing from the UK so you do not encounter potential problems when trying to withdraw cash.

      A currency card is also a simple way to buy currency and lock in a great exchange rate before you travel. Distant Journeys recommends Revolut, a digital banking app which offers a pre-paid physical or virtual currency card. It is also simple to apply for, set up and use.

      For more information on the Revolut Currency Card, please click here

    • How much should I tip in Africa?

      In Africa, it is customary to offer gratuities, particularly in the hospitality industry, as a way of showing your appreciation for good service. Tips remain discretionary, however if you are happy with the service you have received, we would suggest the following amounts:

      • Tour Manager: R100 – R150 / USD $5.00 – $8.00 per person per day, up to a maximum of R1000 per couple
      • Local Guide: R50 – R75 / USD $3.00 – $4.00 per person per day
      • Driver: R50 – R75 / USD $3.00 – $4.00 per person per day, up to a maximum of R500 per couple Safari’s
      • Ranger: R100 – R150 / USD $5.00 – $8.00 per person per day
      • Tracker: R50 – R75 / USD $3.00 – $4.00 per person per day

      In most safari camps, guides and trackers are tipped directly, with other staff usually sharing the proceeds of the ‘general staff tip box’.

      Rovos Rail & The Blue Train
      Between R100 – R150 / USD $5.00 – $8.00 per person per day There will be a marked envelope in your suite that you can hand directly to the Train Manager who will distribute any amounts on a pro-rata basis among the staff on board.

    • What are the entry requirements for 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 valid ten-year British passport is required for all our 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. A full British passport presently takes approximately up to 10 weeks to obtain. If you are 16 or over and have not yet arranged a passport, you should apply for one at least 10 weeks before your departure from the UK. The UK Passport Service must confirm an applicant’s identity before issuing their first passport and will ask them to attend an interview to do this. Please note, if you need to apply for visas after you receive your new passport, you will need to factor in additional time for this.

      For more information on passport and entry requirements please visit the Government Passport Office website or see our website for more details.

    • Will I need a visa to enter Africa?

      This table provides a quick guide, for British Citizens, to which countries require a visa. If visas are required it is highly recommended you allow for a minimum of two blank pages per visa required, three if travelling to Zimbabwe. If a visa is being purchased locally, we recommend you have the correct amount, in the relevant currency, as change is not always available.

      Country / Visa required / Cost
      Botswana / No
      eSwatini / No
      Mozambique / No / R200 administration cost payable to Rovos Rail
      Namibia / No
      South Africa / No
      Zimbabwe / Yes / USD $55 per person for a single entry USD $70 per person for a double entry

      Applying for your visa
      The below information provides guidance on how to apply for your visa. Alternatively, if you would prefer to have assistance with your visa and have the application process managed by a visa company, we recommend The Visa Travel Company. The below information provides guidance on how to apply for your visa. For more detailed information along with useful links to the Foreign O ce please refer to the FAQ section of our website.

      Botswana
      Currently a visa is not required for any travellers entering Botswana. Important: If travelling to Botswana, as we enter/depart via Zimbabwe, please also refer to information on Zimbabwe visas.

      eSwatini
      Currently a visa is not required for any travellers entering eSwatini.

      Mozambique
      A visa is not required for Mozambique if staying for less than 30 days. A entry fee of 650 Mozambican meticais is payable to enter the country. Rovos Rail will handle on your behalf for an estimated cost of R200 per person.

      Namibia
      Currently a visa is not required for any travellers entering Namibia.

      South Africa
      Currently a visa is not required for any travellers entering South Africa.

      Zimbabwe
      If travelling to Zimbabwe a visa is required.
      If you are extending your holiday to Victoria Falls your visa can be arranged on arrival at Victoria Falls Airport, together with payment. If you are travelling to Victoria Falls on our African Rail Adventure, Rovos Rail will help facilitate whilst travelling onboard.
      If you are only planning to visit Victoria Falls a single entry visa will be required. However, if you are considering taking our day excursion to Chobe National Park from Victoria Falls, or are booking our Chobe, or Victoria Falls & Chobe Holiday extension you must purchase a double entry visa for Zimbabwe.

      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 for 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/

    • I've heard there are power cuts in South Africa. How will this affect my holiday?

      The government in South Africa has ordered the national utility companies to implement a system of controlled power outages, known as load-shedding, to conserve supplies and increase capacity. These outages are in the form of a power cut, typically lasting only a few minutes but occasionally longer. The hotels used by Distant Journeys have back-up generators, so any disruption caused by load-shedding will be minimal.

  • 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?

      Across all major hotels, Visa and Mastercard credit cards will be accepted and we recommend advising your bank of your travel plans so you do not encounter potential problems when trying to use your cards.

      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 is 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.
      You may also wish to consider a currency card to buy currency and lock in a great exchange rate before you travel. Distant Journeys recommends Revolut, a digital banking app which offers a pre-paid physical or virtual currency card. It is also simple to apply for, set up and use.

      For more information on the Revolut Currency Card, please click here

    • How much should I tip in India?

      Unlike the UK, tipping is very much a way of life in India. We have included a number of gratuities into your tour, although for your Tour Guide, Drivers and assistants, suggested tipping amounts are as follows

      Escorted Tours
      Tour Managers: INR200 – INR300 per person per day
      Coach Drivers: INR100 – INR150 per person per day
      Assistant: INR50 – INR100 per person per day

      Private Tours
      Guide: INR1,200 per day
      Driver: INR600 per day

      Holiday Extensions
      Guide: INR500 per day
      Drivers: INR300 – INR500 per day
      Bell Boy: INR100 per hotel
      Restaurants: INR300

      Note: As many our tours visit several areas across India, you may have more than one tour manager, coach driver and coach helper on your tour.

    • 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

      The costs for the e-TV is currently $25.00USD.

      Alternatively, if you would prefer to have the visa process managed by an expert visa company, 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.

      The information provided 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 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 a great 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?

      ou cannot obtain Sri Lankan Rupee before arrival in the country. Opportunities for cash withdrawals from ATMs are limited and restricted to daily limits ranging between Rs40,000 and Rs60,000 (approx. £148 and £220). We recommend taking some sterling or US dollars that can be exchanged locally in Sri Lanka at local money exchanges. When you change money, ask for some small bills and keep these separate from the larger ones, so that they’re readily accessible. Small amounts of US dollar bills are handy for tipping.

      Major credit cards can be used throughout your tour in most hotels. We recommend advising your bank of your travel plans so you do not encounter potential problems when trying to use your card to make a purchase or withdraw money.

      Your tour manger will be on hand to help you find the best places to exchange your money.

      You may also wish to consider a currency card to buy currency and lock in a great exchange rate before you travel. Distant Journeys recommends Revolut, a digital banking app which offers a pre-paid physical or virtual currency card. It is also simple to apply for, set up and use.

      For more information on the Revolut Currency Card, please click here

    • How much should I tip in Sri Lanka?

      Unlike the UK, tipping is very much a way of life in Sri Lanka. We have included a number of gratuities into your tour, although for your Tour Guide, Drivers and assistants, suggested tipping amounts are as follows

      Very Best of Sri Lanka: USD $100 per person to be distributed amongst the Tour Manager, driver and assistant.

      Treasures of Sri Lanka: USD $120 per person to be distributed amongst the Tour Manager, driver and assistant.

      Private Tours
      Driver Guide: USD $25 per day

      Holiday Extensions
      Drivers: USD10 per transfer

    • 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 eVisa before travelling to Sri Lanka. You can apply online for your visa within 90 days of travel on the government of Sri Lanka’s Official Sri Lanka 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 in Japan is not common practice and in most instances such as in restaurants and bars, or taxis, should be avoided as it is more likely to cause confusion, or even offence. There are some exceptions, such as your local guide, where whilst not expected, if you believe it is deserved it will be graciously accepted. Of course, with Japan there is always a little bit of etiquette, so if you do to tip your local guide, we suggest putting clean bills into an envelope and then, using both hands discretely hand to your guide.

    • 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.

    • How much should I tip in Vietnam?

      Unlike the UK, tipping is very much a way of life in most Asian countries and we have included a number of gratuities into your tour. Tipping for your Tour Manager and drivers are not included.

      Tipping is always discretionary, however if you are happy with the service provided, we would suggest the following amounts.

      UK Tour Manager

      £3.00 – £5.00 per person per day

      Local Tour Manager

      $4.00 USD per person per day

      Vietnam Local Guide

      $3.00 USD per person per day

      Driver

      $2.00 USD per person per day

      In restaurants tip 5%-10% for good service, if at a bar, round up your bill, or leave loose change. If you go for a massage, or spa then $5 – $10 USD, in Vietnam, of 10%-20% of your bill in Cambodia for your therapist is good practice. Round up the fare for taxi drivers and add on a few dollars to tip to cyclo (rickshaw) drivers.

      Pandaw Mekong Cruise
      The majority of gratuities are included for your Pandaw cruise. This includes the ship managers, dining, sailors and housekeeping staff. Should you wish, additional tips can be offered at the end of the cruise. Tips for any on-shore excursions utilizing tuk-tuks etc are not included. We recommend $1-$2 USD per person.

      AuCo & Le Regina Legend Cruises
      Gratuities are shared among the cruise team and a tip box is usually located by the front desk. We recommend around £3.00 per person.

      Indo China Private Tours / All Holiday Extensions

      Local Guide

      $10.00 USD per person per day

      Driver

      $5.00 USD per person per day

       

    • What are the entry requirements for Vietnam?

      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?

      From 15th August 2023, British Nationals may enter Vietnam for up to 45 days without needing to apply for a visa.

      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. 

    • How much should I tip in Cambodia?

      Unlike the UK, tipping is very much a way of life in most Asian countries and we have included a number of gratuities into your tour. Tipping for your Tour Manager and drivers are not included.

      Tipping is always discretionary, however if you are happy with the service provided, we would suggest the following amounts.

      UK Tour Manager

      £3.00 – £5.00 per person per day

      Local Tour Manager

      $4.00 USD per person per day

      Cambodia Local Guide

      $3.00 USD per person per day

      Driver

      $2.00 USD per person per day

      In restaurants tip 5%-10% for good service, if at a bar, round up your bill, or leave loose change. If you go for a massage, or spa then $5 – $10 USD, in Vietnam, of 10%-20% of your bill in Cambodia for your therapist is good practice. Round up the fare for taxi drivers and add on a few dollars to tip to cyclo (rickshaw) drivers.

      Pandaw Mekong Cruise
      The majority of gratuities are included for your Pandaw cruise. This includes the ship managers, dining, sailors and housekeeping staff. Should you wish, additional tips can be offered at the end of the cruise. Tips for any on-shore excursions utilizing tuk-tuks etc are not included. We recommend $1-$2 USD per person.

      Indo China Private Tours / All Holiday Extensions

      Local Guide

      $10.00 USD per person per day

      Driver

      $5.00 USD per person per day

    • 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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