Festivals & Villages of Ladakh

14 days
from
2,655 CAD
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Traveller ratings
5 / 5 from 6 reviews >
Trip code: 
AIZ
Way to Travel:
Guided Group
Activity:
Culture & Discovery Holidays
Min age:
18
Group size:
4–16

Find rich culture and rare wildlife on a winter journey into the Indian Himalaya

Snowy Himalayan peaks stand with clarity amidst crisp mountain air, whilst rivers crack and creak as they freeze to a standstill. This is Ladakh in winter time - a truly unique and magical experience. The hardy people of Tibetan stock practice ancient traditions to survive, whilst the wildlife descends into valleys in search of food. Monasteries dot almost every hilltop and become the centre of the social and religious calendar at this time. The festivals witnessed on this trip bring hundreds of people together to see the monks perform ritual masked-dances, dressed in brightly patterned brocade robes.

Highlights

  • Visit Ladakh in winter when it is cut off from the rest of the world
  • Witness a monastic festival and see the monks perform ritual masked dances
  • Wonderful winter walking in the foothills of the Indian Himalaya
  • Chance to spot wildlife such as Ibex, Blue sheep and maybe a Snow leopard
  • Stay in village homestays and enjoy the hospitality of the Ladakhi people

Key information

  • 7 nights hotels and 6 nights basic homestay
  • Three gentle winter walks plus additional optional walks
  • Group normally 4-16, plus leader. Min. age 18 yrs
  • Time spent at altitude (above 3,500m)
  • Travel by minibus, jeep and two internal flights
  • Attend a colourful monastic festival

What's included

  • All breakfasts, 11 lunches and 11 dinners included
  • All accommodation 
  • Arrival and departure transfers
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Visas & vaccinations
  • Single supplement

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

Delhi
to
Delhi
  • Day 1

    Start Delhi.

    The tour starts at our hotel in Delhi. There are no planned activities today; you are free to explore Delhi or rest after your flight. The group flight arrives into Delhi in the morning and those travelling on them will be transferred to the hotel. Those who have made their own flight arrangements may join us at the hotel throughout the day. Rooms may not be available until noon but it is often earlier than this.

    A welcome briefing is usually held in the hotel lobby at 12 noon - please check the notice board upon arrival to confirm the briefing time. If you arrive after this time please ask at the reception desk where the leader will have either left a message or his phone number for you.
    Standard Hotel

  • Day 2

    Spectacular mountain flight to Leh (3500m); afternoon free.

    It's often a very early start, leaving the hotel at around 2am to drive to the airport for the spectacular flight over the Himalaya to Leh, the capital of Ladakh. Incredibly beautiful in winter, we fly over the huge expanse of snow-capped peaks. Landing in Leh the temperature will drop dramatically and we will need our down jackets at the airport. If the weather is good and the flight goes on time we should be in Leh by early morning. We recommend you relax or catch up on some sleep for the rest of the morning to help acclimatise to the altitude (3,500m). In the afternoon there will be an optional gentle orientation walk around Leh and its bazaars.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 3

    Visit Phyang and Spittuk monasteries.

    Ladakh is a land dotted with monasteries, and today we visit some of the most important ones in the region. A twenty to thirty minute drive brings us to Spittuk Monastery, one of the largest ‘yellow hat’ (a sect of Buddhism) monasteries in Ladakh. We then continue by road to Phyang. Depending on your interests, there is a large monastery you can visit here, or there’s the option to go for a walk up the valley towards the grazing pastures in search of some winter wildlife (Snow leopards have been spotted in this valley). At the top of the valley is an ancient hermitage which houses some wonderful 11th century paintings. In the late afternoon we drive back to Leh.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 4

    Full day at a monastic festival.

    Once a year every monastery in Ladakh holds a festival where the monks dress in elaborate brocade and silk costumes and re-enact century old stories of the Tibetan Buddhist religion. People come from all over Ladakh to the festivals and these are a great social as well as religious occasion. The whole day will be spent at the festival (the masked dances usually start late morning and in the late afternoon we return to our hotel in Leh).

    The departure that leaves the UK on 7th March 2017 will visit Matho Festival (where there is the chance to see the state oracles), whereas the departure that leaves UK on 2nd November 2017 will visit Tikse Festival.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 5

    Second day at a festival; optional jeep safari to Husing (a Snow leopard spotting campsite).

    A second day at either Tikse or Matho Festival (depending on your departure date). At the festival in Tikse there are colourful masked dances in the morning and in the afternoon a torma (figurine) is ceremoniously burnt. At Matho there are masked dances and then the oracles (monks who go into a trance and predict the future of Ladakh) usually appear.

    For wildlife enthusiasts there is an alternative optional jeep excursion towards Husing, where we camp on our Snow leopard trips. There is a chance of spotting Blue sheep, Ladakhi urial, Woolly hare, Red fox and perhaps the elusive Snow leopard. Your leader will have the cost of the jeep excursion and will arrange any permit required. In the evening we return to our hotel in Leh.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 6

    Drive to the coppersmiths' village of Chilling; homestay.

    We leave Leh behind and drive west along the mighty Indus for a short while to its confluence with the Zanskar River (a great viewpoint). Branching off, we follow a new track along the side of a gorge above the Zanskar to the tiny village of Choksi. There's time to explore this self-sufficient Ladakhi village and have lunch, before continuing to Chilling, a large well kept village on the edge of the icy Zanskar River. This fascinating village is home to the last remaining coppersmiths in Ladakh, who originally came from Nepal in the 18th century. They married and settled in Chilling and the families still practice this ancient art.

    We stay in homestays in Chilling.
    Basic Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 7

    Gentle trek to Skiu in the Markha Valley, home to Blue sheep and Red foxes; homestay.

    Today we have a short 3.5/4.5 hour walk to Skiu village in the Markha Valley. There is now a jeep track to the village so the walking is easy and is almost level on a wide trail. We must first cross the Zanskar River in a box bridge (flying fox), after which we leave the Zanskar River and follow the Markha River to Kaya, stopping at a local house here for tea. A little further on we come to Skiu.

    In the winter months Ladakhi people spend their days collecting wood and water and taking their sheep and goats out to graze on the little vegetation that is left. We can spend time with the local women’s group, or for those more interested in wildlife you can spend the afternoon in a side valley scanning the hillsides for Blue sheep, Red fox, wolf or possibly a Snow leopard. In 2015 a Snow leopard was spotted close to Kaya village. The guide will carry a spotting scope.

    We stay in homestays in Skiu.
    Basic Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 8

    Walk back to Chilling; homestay.

    We trek back through the beautiful landscapes to Chilling, spending time either exploring Skiu en route, or Chilling when we get there.

    We stay in homestays in Chilling.
    Basic Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 9

    Drive to Yangtang; walk past multi-coloured rock formations to Ullay.

    We drive back to the main road and head west towards Likir, then further on to Yangtang (3,683m). From here we set off on foot, walking northwards surrounded by spectacular rock formations, to Ullay. Ladakh is a mountainous desert and the multi-coloured hills are magnificent in any light. For the first couple of hours of today's walk we will come across some interesting erosional features, including pinnacles with rock boulders precariously balanced upon them. From Ullay there are wonderful southerly views over the village to the Zanskar Range. In the afternoon we can explore the village or scan the hills for ibex.

    Approximate walk profile: Yangtang to Ullay, 3.5-4 hours walking / 6km (3.7mi).

    We will stay in a homestay in Ullay for the next two nights.
    Basic Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 10

    Explore Ullay, known for Ibex and Snow leopard sightings.

    We spend the whole day in Ullay. This area is well known for ibex and Snow leopards have also been spotted in the area. The guides will go out in the early morning with scopes and see if they can see any tracks. There is plenty of optional walking around Ullay, either further up the valley to the grazing pastures used in summer or into a quiet side valley on the way to Hemis Shupachen.
    Basic Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 11

    Drive via Likir Monastery to Mangyu, a treasure trove of early Kashmiri Buddhist art.

    We walk back to Yangtang where our vehicles will be waiting to drive us to Mangyu, stopping to visit Likir Monastery en route. Mangyu is set in a side valley hidden from the main road and is an oasis of calm. The village contains one of the 108 temples built by Rinchen Zangpo in this area and is a treasure trove of early Buddhist art in the Kashmiri tradition, a style quite different from the Tibetan art found in Ladakh’s other monasteries. There is time for wildlife spotting and exploring the village.

    Tonight we will stay in a homestay in Mangyu.
    Basic Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 12

    To Leh via Basgo Fort.

    We drive back towards Leh and stop at Basgo Fort en route. Now mostly in ruins, it is spectacularly situated amongst the wind-blown rocks. We spend some time here exploring the ruins and temples before driving back to Leh, arriving by lunchtime. The rest of the afternoon is free in Leh for last minute sightseeing or shopping.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 13

    Fly to Delhi.

    We fly from Leh to Delhi. The rest of the day is free in Delhi. You may want to visit the colourful bazaars and the Red Fort in the heart of Old Delhi or visit some of the Mogul monuments dotted round this ancient city.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 14

    End Delhi.

    It is time to say our farewells this morning as the tour ends after breakfast. Those travelling on the group flights will be transferred to Delhi Airport for your daytime flight back to London.

    If you have not been to India before you may wish to book additional nights in Delhi, from where it is possible to travel to Agra and visit the Taj Mahal in a day trip (subject to availability of services). Alternatively if you have a little more time to spare we also offer a five day Golden Triangle extension - please see the Extension Section below for details.

    Meals included: Breakfast

Extend Your Trip

Golden Triangle extension

Code: XBS

A visit to the incredible Taj Mahal and other great Moghul cities close to Delhi is an excellent way to begin or end a visit to Northern India. The five-day Golden Triangle extension can be booked before or after your main itinerary. The Taj Mahal in Agra was built by the Moghul Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died in 1631, and is one of the most beautiful sights on earth. Close by is the imposing Red Fort of Akbar with its beautiful courtyards and palaces and let's not forget the deserted royal city of Fatehpur Sikri. The extension also visits the Pink City of Jaipur, capital of Rajasthan, which is one of the most attractive and colourful cities in India.

Essential Info

Visas

India: Ladakh

Visas are required if you are British and for most other nationalities. Visa information changes regularly for India; for the latest information on applying for a visa please follow this link: http://www.exodus.co.uk/assets/travelink/India-visa-information.pdf

If your trip visits Ladakh, in the very north of India, or Sikkim in the north east, do not mention this on your Indian visa application. This can sometimes slow down or even cause the embassy to reject your visa.

If your flight arrives into Delhi Airport and you have an e-visa, please follow the overhead signs to the e-visa booth at the back of the immigration hall. You will need to fill out an additional form at the booth. Please make sure that you have the details of your start hotel ready. These details can be found on your Final Joining Instructions.

Vaccinations

India

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Hepatitis A. The risk of malaria is slight but you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice. Dengue fever is a known risk in places visited. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Some of our India trips spend time at altitude. In regions over approx. 2000m, there is low to no risk of mosquito-borne diseases. For trips going to altitudes of over 3000m there is a risk of being affected by Acute Mountain Sickness. Our itineraries are designed to enable everyone to acclimatise to these altitudes, but you should be aware that it is still possible for you to be affected. Please see the TRIP NOTES for further information.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 11 lunches and 11 dinners are included.

Lunch and dinner is not included in New Delhi but your leader will recommend and book restaurants for the group. In Ladakh all meals are included. In Leh the food will be a mix of Ladakhi, Indian, Tibetan, Chinese and Continental. We take our own cook to the homestays to prepare our food. Main meals typically include soup to start, followed by a hot dish such as potatoes/chips, vegetables, curry, pasta, rice, dhal and paneer (cottage cheese). At dinner time a dessert such as tinned fruit and custard, fritters or pancakes may also be served.

Weather

Please note that the weather charts show average temperatures only. Ladakh in winter is very cold. In November and March the days can be sunny with temperatures of up to 8°C but there will be a chill in the air. The early mornings, evenings and night times will be very cold. You must be prepared for temperatures well below freezing. There is sometimes snow around in November or March. You must be adequately equipped and prepared to deal with the cold on this trip. Please read the equipment section thoroughly. In Delhi the weather will be mild with daytime temperatures of up to 15°C.

Leh

Is this trip for you?

This is an adventurous tour and you need to be flexible in your approach to the trip. The trip takes place in Ladakh in winter and although days can be bright and sunny, temperatures are close to zero in the daytime and will drop below zero at night. What makes this trip challenging is the climate in Ladakh at this time of year. Although the hotel in Leh is comfortable, water pipes can freeze in winter and water (both hot and cold) may be provided in a bucket. Outside of Leh we stay in basic local Ladakhi houses. The tour is designed to enjoy traditional Ladakhi culture in a relaxed atmosphere. There is sightseeing, a masked dance festival, wildlife spotting and easy walks planned. The walking distances each day will be moderate. Most of the walking will be optional. Internal flights to Leh are operated throughout the winter when the weather is clear. Delays and cancellations cannot be ruled out. This trip spends considerable time at altitude and we therefore ask you to refer to the Practical Information section within the Trip Notes.

Accommodation

Hotels and Homestays

In Delhi we use a good standard hotel which offers air-conditioned en suite rooms. In Leh we stay in a simple hotel with en-suite facilities. Please note that in Ladakh in winter the water pipes in the hotel may be frozen and water (hot and cold) is usually provided by bucket.

Elsewhere in Ladakh (Chilling, Skiu, Ullay and Mangyu) we stay in homestays. These are authentic local Ladakhi houses. The bedrooms are multi bedded with 3-4 people per room. There are comfortable mattresses on the floor with blankets but you will need to bring a sleeping bag. There will be a basic local toilet and dining room. Food will be cooked by our own cooks and eaten in the dining room of one of the homestays where there will be a heater. Single rooms are not generally available in the homestays and occasionally there may be 3 or 4 guests to a room. If you want more privacy at night, we carry a few tents with us and it is possible to sleep in a tent. Ask your leader on arrival in Leh if you would like this option.

A single supplement is available for hotel nights only from £220 - please request this at the time of booking.

Expert Blog Entries

The mountains will always draw us back to this majestic country: and now, with the return of a very special trip, the

  • Reviewed March 2017
    Carol Rockett
    This was my third trip to Ladakh, I just can't keep away, despite spending five weeks there on my second visit, there's still more to see! Festivals & Villages was a really special trip, it was very peaceful and Ladakh always has something different to offer at different times of the year. The Buddhist festival was colourful and it was a great privilege to see such a spectacle that was real and not performed for tourists. The scenery was breath-taking and it's a great time of year to see the villagers, busy with their crafts. We saw lots of different bird species and a few mammals, which is always a real treat.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were so many, but I loved wandering through the little villages and seeing the people with their farm animals and sharing a moment over a cup of tea.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Valerie is the perfect tour leader. She is always so calm, always has a smile and is so knowledgeable and passionate about Ladakh and the culture and the people.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Ladakh is a very special place and I really recommend visiting more than once, at different times of the year. The scenery will be different and the villagers have very seasonal tasks so working the fields in the summer and crafts in the winter, for example. Take it slowly and soak it all up. Prepare to be amazed.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Can't wait to go back!
  • Reviewed March 2017
    Dorothy Leddy
    This trip to Ladakh was inspirational, exciting, educational, beautiful and fun. I have visited Ladakh several times before, and each time I find something new to discover and enjoy. This trip combines the quiet beauty of the countryside and its wildlife, the industry of the hardworking and welcoming people, and the awesome spectacle of the religious festival at Thikse monastery. The terrain is extensive and a wonder to see and travel over, with the multi-coloured mountains rising above the fast-flowing Indus river. Our homestays with the local people in their remote villages enabled us to meet them in their homes, and to get a small taste of their life in that harsh and (in winter) very cold environment. Something that stays forever in my memory is the fabulous night skies – the cold and rarified air of Ladakh in winter reveals a myriad of stars and planets to anyone who looks upward from a rooftop in the middle of the night.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Making felt along with the local women who had gathered in our host’s home to learn this valuable skill, which Valerie, our leader, is teaching them to help augment their income. We all worked and laughed together as we tried out the techniques.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Valerie is without question the best leader you could have. She is extremely knowledgeable about all aspects of the Himalayan region – the geography, the people and their way of life, the Buddhist religion, political and social matters, and the wildlife – and explains it all very clearly. She is caring and considerate of her group and of her staff, and of the local people whom we met and visited. She is an excellent organiser, enthusiastic, decisive and efficient – and fun to be with.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take plenty of warm clothes on this trip – it can be very cold, especially at night, so wrap up well.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The staff on this trip were skilled, hardworking and kind, and did a wonderful job in transporting us, feeding us, spotting wildlife for us to see, and ensuring our comfort throughout the trip.
  • Reviewed February 2017
    Kay Palmer
    This was my first visit to Ladakh and it didn't disappoint. Leh was a joy to wander round and quieter with it being the winter time. The Tikse Festival was a true spectacle. But it was the scenery and remote villages that I loved the best. The people still live to the rhythm of the seasons, and subsistence farming is still the norm. It was brilliant to see that the women of the villages are earning their own money, whether it is from felting items to sell to the tourists, or running their own village eco cafes in the summer.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Sitting in my host's living room/kitchen drinking tea and talking with her through smiles and gestures. Timeless.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Val is a fabulous leader, very aware of her group's needs and so knowledgeable about the country and its people. She has led in Ladakh for many years and it was clear to us all what a wonderful working relationship she had with the whole team, from the guides to the cook team that accompanied us. Val has also been instrumental in helping the women of these remote villages earn their own money, by providing them with practical help, such as felting needles, as well as advice on what tourists want to buy in the eco cafes.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do visit in the winter when few other visitors are there. At times we felt we were the only travellers in Ladakh. Don't pack too much for the village stays - no need to dress for dinner!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If you want to escape from it all then visit Ladakh. I loved the fact that I couldn't access my phone or emails whilst we were in the villages. It was a proper escape from work, from Brexit and from Donald Trump, and reminded me of what travelling was like before we were all so connected!
  • Reviewed January 2017
    Mave Tyas
    This is a splendid trip to explore this remote area of Ladakh and experience the way the hardy inhabitants live. The scenery is breathtaking and it is hard to believe as you journey towards the villages that you will find anywhere possible to cultivate. Yet you arrive in small communities of lovely friendly people who welcome you to their homes. The ancient monasteries and temples (some as early as 8th) in these extremely remote areas are just fabulous with every inch of the walls covered in paintings.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The Festival at Thiske was wonderful, colourful and awe inspiring. The monks welcomed us and gave us tea and special seats on the edges of the dance floor. We were close enough to chat to the musicians and soon had our feet and legs warmed with the crush of local people enjoying the festival. However although this was an inspirational day or two, I felt just as uplifted when listenning to the villages sing to us in Skiu.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Valerie Parkinson is a wonderful woman. She knows so much about the peoples of the Himalya and their religious beliefs. She has so much to impart and I am too old to remember what she tells! Her leadership skills are impeccable and she is a truly kind and generous woman.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    My main piece of advice is relax and enjoy. But remember to readthe trip notes and pack appropriately, you can not get away without a 4 season sleeping bag. I think I would have liked some slip on plastic shoes to use to go to the loo. At one homestay they were provided and it was so much easier than booting up for the earth closet.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This trip was fabulous, I did not really know what to expect even though I have been to Ladakh before. We were emersed in the culture as soon as we arrived. Nothing was too much trouble in the hotel in Leh and the villagers did everything possible to make us comfortable in their oft spartan homes. The supporting staff with Valerie worked so hard to get us to the villages, cook for us and lead us to areas to find the wildlife and ensure we would all return home safely.
  • Reviewed December 2016
    Carole & Neil Mahoney Bowman
    This was our fifth visit to Ladakh and must rate as one of the most comprehensive. It's ideal for anyone who wants to gain an insight into the many aspects of Ladakhi life and culture. The sheer variety of experiences could not be bettered, from the flight into Leh, the stunning scenery, interaction with local people through the homestay arrangement and Exodus's community projects, wildlife spotting and a spectacular two-day Buddhist festival at Tikse Monastery.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The two days spent at the Tikse festival, where we were among a very small number of foreign visitors, was a truly moving and at times spiritual experience. It felt a privilege to be so close to the masked dancers and musicians as well as all the Ladakhis who filled the monastery courtyard. The atmosphere was totally absorbing and uplifting.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The legendary Valerie Parkinson is second to none, as is her breadth of knowledge of the region and its culture, as well as her ability to share it generously.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go with an open heart and mind. The local people are extremely welcoming and friendly and the homestays are basic but comfortable and great fun.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Thanks to our wildlife spotter, Tamchos, who spared no effort in finding good sightings of local mammals and birds for us, and to Johnny the cook and his team for creating food that would credit a top-quality restaurant!
  • Reviewed November 2016
    John Cross
    This trip would be a great introduction to someone coming to Ladakh for the first time especially if they were not familiar with Tibetan Buddhism. The festival at Tikse (Thikse?) is a riot of colour and sound with Ladakhis of all ages and backgrounds attending. The homestay is a fascinating insight into how these people live and function.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    For me the festival at Tikse monastery and the unveiling of the huge Thanka was the most inspirational moment of the trip. The music, the incense and the monk's chanting brought tears to the eyes of all of the tours members who witnessed this. An emotional and deeply spiritual moment and one I shall remember for years to come.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    This was my fifth trip with Valery Parkinson and was a major factor in deciding to come on the trip. The depth and breadth of her knowledge of the Himalayan region is astounding I just wish I could remember it all as effortlessly as she does! She is an exceptionally capable administrator and has the knack of anticipating peoples needs before they have even realised it. Tamchos (the wildlife spotter) has eyesight that would shame an Eagle, he could see things that were difficult to see through his scope, let alone with the naked eye.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Gents, bring a Pee bottle. Ladies, investigate the alternatives too, the nights are long and the toilets are cold.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This is my third visit to Ladakh and was much more relaxed than the last two. The flight into Leh is always a delight and this one was no exception as it was not too early in the morning. The Lotus hotel is warm and cosy with oodles of hot water in the shower and the sinks. The homestays are rustic but comfortable. Jonny's Mutton curry is the real deal

Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

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