Frequently asked questions
I’m a single traveller – will I feel out of place?
In a word, no. We get a good mix of single travellers and couples on our group tours.
What sort of luggage should I bring?
Generally speaking a soft bag is better than one with rigid sides – they’re easier to fit into vehicles when you’re travelling. We generally don’t recommend hard sided suitcases or anything too big. We ask that you keep your luggage to a maximum of 20kg, and remember that there will be instances when you’ll need to carry it yourself.
What sort of people travel with UD?
There are no hard and fast rules about what type of people travel on Undiscovered Destinations’ group tours – we attract people from all ages, nationalities and walks of life. What you are likely to find though is that travellers share a similar outlook about travel. We tend to attract people with a curiosity about the lesser visited corners of our planet, people who are keen to really get away from the well trodden tourist trail and are seeking new and unique experiences.
Do I need travel insurance?
Yes, you do. We ask that all of our travellers are suitably insured, so that in the unlikely event that a problem arises, you’re covered. If you need help in obtaining insurance for some of the regions that we visit, please contact us and we’ll be happy to assist.
Is my money safe when I travel with you?
Yes it is 100% as we have financial protection through our ATOL and bonding in place with ABTA. Undiscovered Destinations hold an Air Travel Organiser's Licence granted by the Civil Aviation Authority. Our ATOL number is ATOL 7232. Undiscovered Destinations are members of ABTA - The Association of British Travel Agents. You can be assured that we are committed to high standards and practices. See our Financial Protection page for further details.
Are you members of any other travel trade organisation?
Undiscovered Destinations are members of The Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO) with membership number 5168. All AITO members are required to provide the highest level of customer satisfaction by concentrating on three main pillars: Choice, Quality and Service – as enshrined in the AITO Quality Charter.
Do I need to be fit?
For most of our group tours and tailor made holidays you do not need to be especially fit, but you’ll enjoy the tour more if you have a moderate level of fitness. If there are any special requirements we mention these in the country notes. Each tour has a fitnes rating from 1 to 5, with 5 being the most physically demanding.
What’s the accommodation like?
Our accommodation is carefully selected to add to your overall experience, and where possible is very comfortable. However, we believe that often the best option may not be a four star hotel in town but a small guesthouse overlooking a spectacular ravine, a traditional longhouse or a tented camp set amongst exquisite desert surroundings where the shadows of the campfire dance on the rocks behind.
There may be occasions where the accommodation for the group is very basic, perhaps without electricity or running water – this is often the reality of travelling in remote locations, but we believe it is a small price to pay for the rewards that such travel entails. We also, where practical, use hotels with a sense of history and connection with the destination.
What is the difference between 'Available' and 'Guaranteed' when showing availability?
Most of our small group adventure tours have the availability shown as either 'available', meaning the tour is available but not yet guaranteed to depart, or 'Guaranteed' meaning that the group has enough people booked on to operate and is definately going ahead. Even if a tour is shown as 'Available' it may well be that we can guarantee it with just your reservation. Call us to check.
Can I alter the tour?
On our scheduled departures this isn’t possible, simply due to the fact that you’ll be travelling with other people. However if you like the look of one of our advertised trips but want to tweak it slightly, then we can offer tailor made itineraries just for you, to accommodate your specific requirements.
What’s the transport like?
It varies according to the destination. We mostly use private 4wd vehicles or minibuses depending on the size of the group. The standard of these vehicles is not always what we would expect in the UK, however we do not compromise on safety and we typically use air-conditioned, well-maintained vehicles.There will be occasions when travelling by 4WD or minibus is not possible. In these instances we might make use of local trains (although this is fairly rare), or domestic flights. You should be aware that domestic airlines in some of the countries that we operate in, e.g. Democratic Republic of Congo, do not meet European safety standards – although we try to avoid these where possible sometimes there is simply no alternative. We also use a variety of other forms of transport, such as motor boats, canoes and on occasion the odd camel. We prefer to use private rather than public transport as this offers far more flexibility and results in a more enjoyable tour.
Couldn’t I do this on my own?
In some cases yes, you could. In others, for example our group trips in the Congo or Eritrea it would be extremely difficult if not impossible. Undiscovered Destinations specialises in more challenging countries and regions that are generally well off the tourist track – as a result of this the infrastructure is often lacking, making it very difficult for the independent traveller. Using our expertise and valuable regional contacts we can put together trips which get you to some very unique and exciting places, without you having to spend hours trying to contact hotels or arrange transport. In addition to this, our local guides are experts in the regions that they work in meaning that you’ll get far more insights into a country or culture travelling with Undiscovered Destinations than you would do by going it alone.
When do I need to book by?
This is a difficult question to answer – it’s hard to say how soon the trips will get booked up but we would certainly advise you to book your trip as early as possible to avoid possible disappointment. Some of the countries that we operate in have fairly lengthy visa application processes so you need to take this into account as well. In addition to this, the longer you leave it, the more expensive the international flights tend to be.
Can I provisionally hold a place on a tour?
If you need to check whether you can get the time off work or need to check something before committing to a tour, we can usually hold a place for you without a deposit for a maximum of 48 hours unless otherwise advised.
Can I transfer my deposit?
Fully transferable group tour deposits (excluding any flight payments which are always non-refundable). You can cancel your group tour booking up to 10 weeks before departure and not lose your deposit - we will put your deposit towards any new group booking as long as you travel within 2 years of the original departure date.
What staff accompany theses trips?
We use mostly local staff to lead and guide our trips – these people were born in the country that they work in and can offer excellent insights into local culture and traditions that many western leaders simply don’t have access to. However on occasion it may be necessary to send a western group leader, who will be highly experienced and knowledgeable about the destination. Any trips that involve camping are also accompanied by a cook to prepare meals, and some might include a camp crew to set up the camp itself. At certain places we may also use a local guide who is an expert in the particular site you are visiting. Check the tour dossier for each tour.
Is there an age limit?
No. As long as you are fit enough to do the trip then we’re more than happy to host you. If you have any specific concerns then please don’t hesitate to contact us and we’ll be happy to talk you through them. On our group tours you must be over 18 years of age. If you are aged over 80 at the time of travel we will require a medical form to be completed.
When on the first day should I arrive?
We recognise that people might be arriving on different flights from different parts of the world, and so we generally don’t schedule any activities on the first day. The guide will be on hand to meet you in the evening, and will leave a message to let you know when and where to meet.
I prefer not to travel in groups – can I still travel with UD?
Absolutely. If you’d like to travel privately then please contact us and we’ll be happy to arrange a tailor-made trip to your specifications.
Maximum group size?
To really keep our footprint small, our small group adventure holidays operate with a maximum size of just twelve people. Not only does this ensure that when we visit remote areas, we don’t overwhelm them with a sudden influx of many tourists, it also allows us to give each of you more attention and help in getting the absolute most out of your trip. It also means that we can use smaller, more authentic accommodation where appropriate and stay in many out of the way and unique places that simply cannot cater to larger groups. We also offer a wide range of private departures, giving our travellers excellent opportunities to meet and interact with local people.
What happens if my tour doesn’t reach the minimum group size?
Our group trips with some exceptions operate on the basis of a minimum of four confirmed clients. However, as we are a small operator, dedicated to working with and supporting our locally based teams, we believe in running the tour whenever possible. As the destinations we feature currently receive little tourism business, we will work very hard to accommodate smaller group sizes. Therefore, for a reasonable supplement we can normally operate the tour on a private basis, with just two clients. We believe that for tours of this type, given our high standards and the remoteness of the destination, they represent excellent value for money
We try to include as much as possible on our tours and don’t want to mislead our clients with low prices and then ask you to fork out for everything when you get there.
We include entrance fees and excursions as standard, although there might be the odd occasion where there are optional excursions which might not suit everyone – we leave you free to join or do your own thing in this case.
We also include more meals than most other tour companies. Typically breakfast and lunch are included most days, apart from when this isn’t practical, and if you’re staying at a lodge or somewhere which doesn’t offer much choice in the way of restaurants, then we usually include dinner as well. However where there are options for the evening meal, then we might leave this free – we recognize that some people might need ‘time out’ from the group to do their own thing in the evenings.
We always include transfers at the beginning and at the end of your group tour, whatever flight you are arriving and departing on.