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Preparing for your trip

Passports

British nationals require a full passport for all holidays with Exodus and this should be valid for at least six months after the date of your scheduled return home. If you are not a British national, other regulations may apply to you and you should check with the nearest embassy of the country you intend to visit.

Please note that for certain trips, we will require your passport details prior to accepting your booking. Furthermore, if you renew your passport after you have booked, it is important you advise us of the new details as soon as possible and you may be required to take your old passport with you to maintain the validity of the trip.

Visa requirements

Full details of current visa requirements for British passport holders are given in the trip notes and in the confirmation documents that are sent to you on booking. Other nationalities should check with the embassy of the country they are due to visit, or with our visa service, Travcour. Obtaining any visas that are required is your own responsibility. Be aware that visa regulations can change, and may do so at short notice and sometimes without announcement.

Where we become aware of changes to regulations, we will notify you as soon as possible but providing we have made our best effort to advise you of requirements or to assist you in obtaining visas, we cannot be held responsible for mistakes by embassies, third parties, sudden changes to regulations or actions of border officials that are beyond our control.

Travelling to or via the USA?

Please note that not all nationalities have the same eligibility for travel to or via the USA, and you may not be covered by the visa waiver programme below. If you do not hold a British passport, please check the visa requirements with your local US embassy.

If you are travelling to or via the USA, the US authorities have introduced a requirement for passengers travelling under the Visa Waiver Programme (VWP) to register for Electronic Travel Authority or ESTA. For additional specifics, please consult the VWP information on the U.S. Embassy London website.

The US customs and border protection department have announced that from 8th September 2010, there will be a charge of USD14 to apply for an ESTA. All payments must be made by credit card.

Passengers who have not applied for and received travel authorisation via ESTA prior to travel may be denied boarding, experience delayed processing or be denied admission at the US port of entry. However, neither possession of a visa nor meeting the basic requirements for travelling visa-free on the VWP, guarantees admission to the United States. As with most countries, the final determination of admissibility is made by immigration officials at the port of entry.

Important reminder: If you are refused boarding or denied admission at the US port of entry you will still be subject to our cancellation charges in accordance with the terms of our contract with you.

We recommend that you carry your ESTA approval with you when you travel. All queries in relation to this requirement should be addressed via the US Embassy Consular department.

Travel insurance

It is an essential condition of joining an Exodus holiday that you have a valid travel insurance policy to cover the cost of any emergency medical treatment. You are strongly advised to take out your policy at the time of booking to protect your holiday payments in the event of cancellation. If you would like to purchase Adventure Travel insurance, details of the cover and costs are available here.

Packing and equipment advice

What to pack?
We do not produce a comprehensive individual packing list for each tour, as each person's needs and requirements vary, even for the same trip. But we do help you in the following ways:

  • We publish a Universal Packing List which will detail many of the items you should consider, as well as prompting consideration of items you may have forgotten.
  • The trip notes for your holiday include a What to Take section, which will mention items specific to your holiday. Please ensure you check the list carefully, as anything beyond normal travel and clothing requirements will be shown here.
  • The FAQ section for each trip on our website may well contain some advice about what to take. The Reviews section also often contains useful tips from clients who have been on the trip previously.
  • Finally, if you still have questions, you can contact the area expert in our Customer Operations Team, and they will be happy to offer advice and guidance on what is required.

Of course no list is foolproof. We may encourage you to take waterproofs, and it will turn out to be the driest year on record. But if we don’t suggest it, you can be sure its going to rain!

If you have a technical query about specialist equipment such as walking boots, sleeping bags or down jackets, then we recommend speaking to a specialist retailer. However, we are happy to offer general advice if you contact one of our experts.

What to pack your gear in?
For some trips, it is important you use a type of luggage that is suitable for the type of travel. For treks where porterage is included (human or animal) we include an Exodus kitbag in the price of the holiday. A few trekking or mountaineering trips will require a specialist backpack. For some of our trips we may recommend a soft hold-all or kitbag, rather than a suitcase. For the vast majority of trekking trips, it is possible to leave a bag at the start hotel. Any trip specific advice is contained in the trip notes.

Exodus Kitbags

For some trekking trips we provide an Exodus kitbag free of charge, to aid the porterage of personal bags. You can also purchase an Exodus kitbag for any trip. Find out more about our kit bags.

Flying with a bike
If you have hired a bike from Exodus in the UK, are taking your own bike or are carrying a hire bike overseas to complement our local fleet, please refer to the following sheet for information on flying with a bike.

Equipment hire

From Exodus
Exodus offer a ‘local pick-up’ hire service for key items needed for altitude trekking in Peru, Tanzania (for Kilimanjaro) and Nepal. Normal hire items available for hire are down jackets and down sleeping bags, but other items may be mentioned in the trip notes. Prices vary, and are confirmed in the trip notes.

  Tanzania Nepal Peru
Down jacket Yes Yes Yes
Down sleeping bag Yes Yes No
Other items Yes No No
For advice & booking Customer Operations Customer Operations Customer Operations
Pick-up place and time Arusha, day 2 Kathmandu, day 2 Day before trek

Equipment hire from TrekHire UK
If you wish to hire other equipment we recommend the services of TrekHire UK who offer a full range of equipment to hire from the UK before you travel. They offer a quick and efficient service and have good quality equipment available. They can be contacted on 01483 209559.

Training and fitness

For our active trips, we are often asked ‘what kind of fitness levels are required?’ or ‘what kind of training do I need to do?’ Of course, if you have booked a trip that is at the upper end of your capabilities, you want to know that you have done all you can to prepare. Unfortunately however, these questions are often the most difficult to answer. Only you know your current fitness levels and capabilities, and can prepare according to the options available to you.

Where altitude is involved, your ability to acclimatise is going to have a much greater impact on your progress than your fitness. However, poor fitness and preparation is certainly not going to increase your chances.

It is always best to make your preparation as close to the real thing as possible. There is no point in relying on your weekly squash game (short bursts of explosive energy) to prepare for several consecutive days walking with major ascents and descents. Of course, its tough to replicate the major mountain ranges in the UK, but make sure you include ups and downs if you are preparing for a mountain trek. If you are still unsure about your fitness, or the difficulty of the trek or ride, we suggest you refer again to our grading system or talk it through with one of our experts.

Travel health and vaccinations

Health advice
Exodus does not give specific health advice, but our trip notes do mention any compulsory or suggested vaccinations, and will recommend our clients take malarial prophylaxis for known malarial areas. Exodus recommends all clients contact their GP or Nomad Travel Health for all up to date advice on all vaccination and malarial issues for the country they are due to visit. Please note there is a wide range of advice available and you may find conflicting information for the same areas, but we always advise you seek qualified medical advice.

Water purification
Plentiful clean drinking water is of course a requirement to stay healthy in any country. For the vast majority of our trips, we arrange for treated, boiled or bottled water to be available at all times. Certain trips in remote areas may require our clients to provide a system of water purification themselves; if this is the case, it will be clearly explained in the trip notes.

Travel in the developing world or into remote locations exposes all travellers to an increased risk of low level stomach infections. Your tour leader will outline the basic precautions, but even the most careful travellers can still pick up bugs. Personal hygiene and sensible eating and drinking are the best precautions, but you may wish to take rehydration salts to aid your recovery should you become unwell.

Your own first aid or medical kit
For all remote or active trips, your tour leader will be first aid trained, and will carry an adequate first aid kit or medical kit. However, we recommend that clients carry a small first aid kit for personal use.

For some items you may need to consult your doctor for a prescription. If you are travelling to remote areas in developing countries, you may also like to consider taking a sterile needle kit (please be careful to pack this in your hold luggage for airport security).

The following list is intended as a guide only:
Plasters (including blister plasters for walking trips); sterile dressings and bandages; simple pain killers e.g. paracetamol or ibuprofen; antiseptic cream; antihistamine cream (for insect bites); sunburn cream; anti-diarrhoea pills e.g. Imodium or Lomotil; rehydration salts e.g. Dioralyte.
Please ensure you carry any essential personal medication in your hand luggage rather than checked in bags.

European health insurance card or EHIC (formerly known as E111)
If you are a UK citizen and are travelling in Europe you should obtain the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).You can apply for this card, free of charge, by:

1. Calling 0845 606 2030
2. Picking up an application form from your local post office
3. Online at www.ehic.org.uk

Each member of the family or individual requires their own card. For more information, a copy of ‘Health Advice forTravellers’ is also available at the post office. Please be aware that this cover operates with only certain member countries of the EU. EHIC cover should not be considered a substitute for travel insurance.

Travel money and currency

You will need to take enough money to cover the cost of meals not included in the trip cost and of drinks, tipping and other incidentals including shopping and optional activities. Advice on the amounts required and the best currency to take is given in the trip notes.

Many countries have ATM machines, particularly in major cities, and this can be an ideal way to access cash abroad, although bank charges are sometimes quite high. In addition, credit cards are now very widely accepted, particularly in larger cities. Travellers cheques can also be useful in certain destinations, but are often time consuming and costly to exchange.

For the latest information on world currencies, visit the International Currency Exchange (ICE) website to order commission-free foreign currencies with next working day delivery.

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