Travel to far-flung destinations can be daunting at the best of times - even without unnerving headlines dominating the news! But feeling relaxed and confident about your trip is the key to enjoying it. Hopefully the following will assure you that you are in experienced and safe hands with Explore.
You can also find this information and more in our General Information Booklets, which can be viewed online below.
Is it safe?
Customer and staff safety is the single most important factor in everything that Explore does.
We think about the safety of our tours constantly, and have extremely experienced Senior Management and Operations teams who know intimately the countries in which we operate. We monitor and assess the threats of operating in every country as an integral part of our work.
We liaise closely with the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO), whose travel advice we not only follow to the letter, but discuss in detail with them.
Sometimes tough decisions have to be made to abort a tour at the last minute or to re-route an itinerary part way through. Occasionally we will pre-empt the FCO and decide to leave a region based on our own feedback from Tour leaders or local agents on the ground. We make no apologies for this - safety always has and always will come first.
UK Foreign Office advice
The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) Travel Advice Unit (www.fco.gov.uk/travel) provides a wealth of information on your destination. We strongly recommend that you thoroughly read their comments on the country you are planning to visit at the time of booking and prior to departure. The website provides a travel summary for every country together with advice on safety and security (including crime and terrorism), local laws & customs, entry requirements and health as well as general information. It also has contact details for embassies and consulates of those countries where lone parents may require extra documentation.
The FCO issues different types of travel warnings. They may advise against all travel to a particular country or to particular parts of a country. Alternatively, they may advise against all but essential travel to a particular country or to particular parts of a country . In addition, they issue travel advice bulletins updating previous advice. Explore monitors FCO travel warnings and advice and where it considers it appropriate to do so, may cancel tours prior to departure or terminate, re-route or otherwise make changes to tours operating in or through the country or part of the country concerned.
1) Where tours are cancelled prior to departure, Explore will offer the choice of a refund of all monies paid or an alternative tour. Where an alternative tour is taken, any price difference will then be paid by, or refunded to, the customer as appropriate.
2) Where tours are already operating, Explore may terminate, re-route or make other changes. The decision will be made in the light of safety and organisational/logistical considerations. Where a tour is terminated in midoperation by Explore, we will refund such monies which relate to those parts of the tour that have not been delivered where we are able to obtain refunds from the supplier(s) concerned. Where trips have been re-routed or otherwise changes and it may reasonably be argued that the essential travel experience offered on that tour has been provided then no refunds will apply.
Any decision by Explore whether to operate or cancel a tour or make other changes will always be made in the interests of safety and security and taking into account Explore’s 30 years of experience and unrivalled local knowledge.
Whilst we endeavour to provide as much information as possible in our brochure and individual Trip Notes regarding the areas our tours travel to, we would always recommend that you undertake some background research about the places you will be visiting and the type of climate and local conditions you can expect in order to get the most out of your holiday.
Most crime is basically opportunistic and common sense is always your best safeguard. Your Tour Leader will be able to advise you and your group on local safety - especially if travelling in big cities, where most muggers, swindlers and drug peddlers are most likely to be active.
It's reassuring to know that travelling as part of a group, you are far less vulnerable than being on your own.
A few other thoughts
Explore's local agents and Tour Leaders often have better and more up to date information than other sources.
Having run tours for over 25 years now, we have a very good feel for the politics and current affairs of the different parts of the world. Our relationship with Embassies and Consulates around the world is extremely strong.
Just in case - we have a full crisis procedure laid down, with simulations undertaken regularly. This includes access to specialised professionals such as doctors, counsellors and crisis experts.
Electicity and Plug types
We recommend visiting http://electricaloutlet.org/. You can find out the voltage and plug type for most countries around the world.
If you want to check to check the rules
Limited quantities of some food products including fish, eggs and honey, may be allowed from certain countries.
You can either check www.direct.gov.uk/dontbringmeback or call the helpline on 08459 33 55 77 from within or +44 (0)20 7238 6951 from outside the UK.
You will need to think about vaccinations and immunisations.
When tours visit remote areas or developing countries, we normally recommend immunisation against Typhoid, Tetanus, Polio and Hepatitis A.
Certain countries may require a certificate of vaccination in order to enter - parts of East Africa and South America for example, ask for a Yellow Fever certificate.
Malarial prophylaxis should be taken in many parts if the world - and the advice on which ones to take is constantly changing!
Although we list 'Vaccinations & Protection' recommendations in the trip notes for each individual tour, we really do recommend that you contact your GP or a travel clinic for the latest advice. After all Explore is not a medical body - and the experts should have access to more accurate and up to date information than us.
You may find the following links useful for general health advice:
Fit for Travel - for info on immunisations and Malaria
National Travel Health Care and Centre- provides health information for both health professionals and travellers.
Masta Travel Health - includes details of private clinics across the UK
You might also like to know that Nomad Travel stores have Travel clinics, and as an Explore customer you can get 10% off any products or services.
Please be aware that many inoculations need to be taken a minimum of 7 days prior to travel, and some have to be taken in multiple doses up to 7 weeks prior to - so please leave yourself plenty of time!
A reminder also that malaria tablets need to be taken before you go to an affected area (and for a length of time after you return home) - though timescales vary from one type to another.