We make travel to foreign countries as effortless as it can be, both in urban centers as well as the many out-of- the-way places we visit. Knowing our destinations well, eliminating travel's scheduling and schlepping complexities and having knowledgeable guides and staff to oversee every trip detail is our formula for how to create the vacation of a lifetime. We start by making vacation planning as streamlined as possible for our customers. Our first contact is usually by email from our website. We answer questions and discuss alternative itineraries on-line or by phone to help you figure out what trip is right for you.
Booking a Trip with Us
Deciding where and when to go
Our website contains information about what weather to expect any time of year when you travel to our destinations as well as frequently asked questions about our trips in general and about our trips to each country. Our travel specialists are happy to go into more detail about these subjects or answer questions not answered by our website.
Deciding whether to take a pre-packaged or a customized trip
We arrange both trips with pre-set departure dates and tours for private groups of two or more travelers. For private groups, trips are scheduled according to the group's specifications, depending on lodge/hotel availability. Our specialty is private customized departures. Once we know something about your interests and those traveling with you, we suggest trips to suit you and your group.
How far in advance to book
How far in advance to book depends on the destination and the season. Please see our country-specific frequently asked questions for suggested lead- time.
Booking the trip
When a person is ready to book a trip, we first determine availability of the desired itinerary and accommodations. The next step is to fill out a tour application form which can be downloaded from our website. We require a $500 deposit per person to hold the reservation. As soon as we receive the deposit and application from all members of the party, we secure the accommodations and make the other trip arrangements through our in-country office. We notify our customer as soon as we receive confirmation of the hotel accommodations.
If a hotel or the tour is filled by the time we receive your order
If the first choice of hotel is not available, we contact the customer to discuss the alternatives. We are almost always able to substitute an equally pleasant accommodation. If the tour itself has filled by the time we receive your application and deposit, we do our best to arrange a different tour, either on another pre-scheduled departure or as a private trip. Full payment for the trip is due 60 days before departure.
If the passenger cancels
If you cancel more than 60 days before departure, you receive a full refund minus a $500 per person administrative fee. If you cancel between 30 and 60 days before departure, you receive a 50% refund. If you cancel less than 30 days before departure, there is no refund.
If enough people don't sign up for the trip
This situation rarely arises because we keep our group tours small. We have different minimums for different trips. In the event that the minimum number of passengers do not sign up for the trip you've booked, 30 days before departure, we reserve the right to either cancel the trip or offer you a different date.
Services We Provide To Our Passengers
Before the tour
Several weeks before departure, we send our booked passengers a detailed pre-departure packet containing comprehensive tour information including details about the country, recommended restaurants in the major cities and a suggested packing list.
On the tour
We give our passengers personal attention from the beginning of the tour to the end:
- Our trip services begin when our passengers arrive at the international airport of their first destination. Our driver, accompanied by an informative guide, transfers them to their hotel and assists with check-in. They do the same for all other airport transfers during the trip.
- A guide familiar with the destination accompanies the group on most tour segments.
- Except for scheduled "free" periods, we provide all meals and transportation.
- Unneeded luggage is stored.
- We hold on to tickets (except for E-tickets obtained pre-flight) and any hotel vouchers until the day they are needed.
- To ensure the safety of our travelers, our guides are linked with outside services 24 hours a day in all locations to provide assistance when necessary.
Health issues are paramount during international travel. Below is link that will help you assess whatever health needs you might have in preparation for your travel. It is very important that you consult your doctor, local Traveler's Clinic, or County Health Department before you begin your travels.
We highly encourage you to research your destination spot before you actually arrive there. Reading books ahead of time can only add to the excitement of your adventure. Our website contains some articles about the literature and films of different countries. Click on the links below for specific destinations to find reading lists compiled by Longitude Books.
Every Southern Explorations destination spot requires a passport for entry into the country. CIBT will answer any questions you might have about obtaining a valid passport, in time for your trip.
The following link is an easy and accurate currency exchange calculator.
TravelGuard While Southern Explorations and its operators take all precautions to ensure that your adventure is safe and enjoyable, certain risks are involved while traveling. We recommend that you assess these risks and purchase short-term travel insurance. Cost effective and simple, travel insurance covers you and your equipment from any problems that might arise, such as damage or loss of baggage, health problems, cancelled or delayed trips, and other unanticipated disturbances. We encourage you to call Southern Explorations with any questions you may have and also if you wish to purchase travel insurance.