Can I join the tour from overseas?
Yes. Many of our travellers come from other countries, including countries in Europe, North America and even the Far East, Australia and South Africa. Travellers from overseas can either join our tours in London or join at the destination and receive a ‘land-only' discount. Either way, we can assist with transfers, additional hotel accommodation and securing of visas.
How many people travel on your tours?
Our maximum group size is normally 25. We have, at times, operated tours with as few as 4 people, but our minimum size is usually 8 passengers. The average group size is about 10 - 12.
Is there a tour manager?
If a destination is particularly unfamiliar to us, or if the group's numbers exceed a certain level, we will endeavour to have a professional tour manager traveling with the group. This benefit separates us from many other tour providers, (and as companies have sought to save costs in an increasingly competitive market, many have done away with this role). But we feel it is an important position, which enhances the client's experience and contributes to the smooth and efficient running of our tours. Some of our tour managers are so popular, that our regular clients choose their tours on the basis of who is managing as well as who is lecturing.
Do you repeat tours?
Most of our tours are unique, designed and led by our curators based on their interests and expertise. Sometimes tours are repeated, but more often our regular lecturers will alter their itineraries from year to year.
The hotels range from local guesthouses to five star and an indication is given with every tour description. Some tours use tented, open-air or student accommodation. Tours are arranged many months in advance, therefore itineraries and hotels are subject to change. The flights are booked in advance and may be subject to change. We reserve the right to alter the carrier shown for a tour. We will inform you of any changes in writing. Most costs are included and extras are clearly shown on each itinerary. However, please see Booking Conditions regarding any surcharges. A number of the destinations featured in our itineraries are extremely unusual and have a very weak tourist infrastructure with limited facilities with regard to accommodation, road conditions and available transportation. We endeavour to provide the best possible arrangements in such circumstances, but if you are in any doubt whatsoever, you should consider what standards you can reasonably expect very carefully before deciding to book on such a tour.
What happens if you don’t have a tour to the country I want to visit?
Contact us, as we may have plans for a new tour, or we may be able to arrange a private tour for your group. Alternatively our sister company Steppes Travel can organise tailor made holidays to a wide variety of destinations, including Antarctica holidays and Botswana safaris, or Steppes Discovery organise small wildlife group tours such as Galapagos holidays.
Airport Hotel Accommodation And Parking
Before embarking on your Traveller tour, you may wish to take advantage of the excellent rates offered by Holiday Extras for pre-booking airport hotels and secured airport car parking. As market leaders in this field, they can offer you a choice of over 90 quality hotels at 23 UK airports, including Gatwick and Heathrow, at guaranteed best prices. UK Airport Hotels - all rooms have private bathroom, TV, radio and telephone and many hotels feature leisure facilities as well. We will send you a leaflet when you book on a tour. UK Secured Airport Parking and Direct Airport Transfer - services are also available. To book any of the above or for more details, please call 0870 844 2435. Special offers apply at various times throughout the year. Always check the price before booking and quote reference HX854.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you are fully and adequately insured for the duration of your holiday. Take time to confirm that all activities, excursions and destinations are included. Be particularly careful of any altitude exclusions. Ideally your cover would include, but not be limited to adequate: medical, legal, cancellation, delay and personal possession cover. If you would like to obtain cover for your trip please feel free to contact specialist Insurance Brokers, Campbell Irvine for a quote or read more about Travel Insurance.
Four to six weeks prior to departure we will send you a travel booklet, which provides general information, what to wear and take, a recommended reading list and visa forms, if appropriate. Your tickets and reporting instructions will be sent approximately 1-2 weeks before departure.
Passport And Visa
Please ensure that you hold a full passport and that any visa documentation required has been obtained. The Traveller will notify you of visa requirements. All travellers must hold a full passport VALID FOR AT LEAST SIX MONTHS for most overseas countries we visit. Some countries require British passport holders to have a visa. We have indicated the cost of a visa (at the date of publication) on each tour where applicable. Other nationals should contact their local consulate. Six to eight weeks prior to departure we will send the visa form(s) as applicable to your tour and details of up-to-date information regarding cost and length of application. If you would prefer to have us obtain the visa on your behalf, we can arrange this for UK-based customers for a handling charge of £35 or £45 per person (depending on destination), in addition to the cost of the visa itself. We are normally unable to obtain visas for those resident overseas. For us to be able to carry out this service, we usually need to be in possession of your passport and the relevant visa authorisation forms at 5-6 weeks before the date of travel for a period of no less than two weeks, although this varies. If you are unable to comply with our precise instructions, we regret that we will not be able to assist with visa appropriation and you will need to organise this yourself. We cannot be held responsible if you are unable to obtain a visa for any reason.
Cheques should be made payable to ‘Steppes Traveller' drawn on a British bank account. Passengers may pay by credit card (VISA or MasterCard), bank transfer or International Money Order made out in £ Sterling. Payment in any other currency will be subject to bank charges. We are unable to accept payment by credit card without an additional fee to cover the credit card company's charges (normally 2.5%).
The Traveller will provide guidance on health matters, but it is the personal responsibility of the individual to ensure that advisable precautions are taken. Travellers should be in good health as a fair amount of walking is usually necessary. Although age is not an indication of fitness, we need a medical certificate of ‘travel fitness' for those over 75 (available from your GP).
In certain countries featured in this brochure, vaccinations may be required or recommended by the Department of Health. As regulations frequently change, you are advised to check with your doctor as to what inoculations and other protection you should take for your chosen destination.
A few Traveller tours spend time at altitudes of more than 7,000 feet/ 2,000 metres, sometimes for a number of days. If you suffer from high blood pressure, respiratory problems, epilepsy or coronary disease, it may not be advisable to participate in such programmes. If you are in any doubt whatsoever, we would advise and request that you consult your doctor before making a booking on the tour.
UK Government Foreign & Commonwealth Office Travel Advice
The British Government issues travel advisory notices for overseas countries, a copy of which we supply to tour participants prior to travel www.fco.gov.uk. If the advice is against travel to a destination included in an itinerary, insurance is generally rendered invalid and we may have to postpone, re-route or cancel the tour. You should also check with your travel insurance company to confirm how any government travel notice affects your cover as this varies between insurers.
Lecturers, Specialist Leaders & Guides
Traveller group tours are largely based on the work and knowledge of our accompanying lecturers. The lecturers are chosen for their knowledge and ability to deliver lively and informative talks to tour participants with a general interest as well as those who are more academic. Tours with sufficient participants are also accompanied by an experienced Tour Manager and include a local guide.
Rooms for single occupation are usually more expensive. If a tour participant is willing to share, we will try our best to match them with someone of the same gender. If, however, there is no suitable match, the single supplement will apply. In some instances there are few rooms available for single occupation so, please check and book early.
Porterage is booked wherever possible, but if we are required to spend the night in a guesthouse/local hotel, or in more remote places, this service may not be available.
Any complaints should be made as soon as possible, whilst on tour to your Tour Leader in the first instance, in order to provide the best opportunity to remedy the situation. If the situation is not resolved you should write to us as soon as possible after the tour and within 28 days. We will investigate the grievance and reply at the earliest opportunity (it can take several weeks to gather information from overseas). All proceedings and disputes will be dealt with under English Law and jurisdiction.