Frequently Asked Questions

How long have you been in business and what niche do you fill?
We have been in business since 1995 but until recently have provided information to internet users on some great adventure and ecotourism spots we've found.  We're now gearing up to provide very specialized custom trips for small groups of like-minded people.  Over the years I've made some very interesting alliances around the globe and it's these out-of-the-way suppliers that help us develop these trips.

Who will answer my calls and questions when I call you, both before and after I sign up?
Your primary contact throughout and after your trip will be the Country Manager who created the trip in the first place, scouted it, and sent the scores of e-mails, faxes, and letters it took to hammer it into shape. Country Managers are hardworking experts, but they're also enthusiasts, which is why we don't hesitate to advise you to question them freely.

What is your maximum group size?
We only cater to small groups, so 10 is our maximum, and our minimum is highly flexible. 

Can you arrange air transportation and post- and pre-trip extensions?
We can book a complete range of domestic and international flights. We work closely with our suppliers who are familiar with booking procedures for even the most obscure carriers  and we can and very often do arrange the most complex customized travel arrangements and extensions throughout the world.

Do you include trip insurance?
Our suppliers automatically include $10,000 medical expense,24-hour medical assistance, and $75,000 evacuation insurance for every trip participant. (Trip cancellation, trip interruption, and baggage insurance are optional.)

Why can't I do these trips on my own and (presumably) save money?
You often can do our tours and treks on your own, if you have large quantities of time, patience, and money, and you're willing to forgo some measure of safety.
Time: rustling up a permit to cross the Turugart Pass into the Kyrgyz Republic, for instance, finding a reasonable guide and Land Cruisers to the border, and somehow arranging for transportation on the other side takes a tremendous amount of time. One more example from a world full of them: try ticketing a flight from Urumchi to Tashkent over the internet, or (that being iffy) try buying one in Urumchi.
Patience: you may have time to burn, but, as seasoned travelers know, it can take hours and days of waiting in line, dealing with bureaucrats and triplicate forms (not to mention baksheesh), trying to get a taxi to the third office in a row that will send you to the fourth.
Money: while you're waiting for the skies to clear so that flight out of Gilgit can at last take off, your hotel is gleefully toting up charges (we know how to quickly get reliable ground transportation to Islamabad). And how much will it cost to fix that Land Rover that looked so stylish in Nairobi? Our kind of travel is like the long tax form: try to do it on your own and you're likely to spend a few days drinking bad coffee with an IRS agent.
And that last thing, safety. Who will be there for you if that gnawing abdominal pain turns out to be appendicitis? Will the insurance you may or may not have bought provide a USA-board-certified emergency physician to help manage your predicament and get you home on a reliable medevac? Does your travel company maintain 24-hour coverage in the event of an emergency in the field? Will the eager and personable guide you hired in Kathmandu shovel snow for 13 hours to get you over that crucial pass? Our travel is as safe as we can make it, and on the few occasions it isn't, we have one of the best safety nets in the business.

How can I protect my travel investment?
There are unscrupulous or unwise travel companies, internet or otherwise out there. This is a valid concern, and we recommend that you take the following precautions (in order of priority):

1. Charge your entire trip on a credit card. 
2. Check out the company's references. 
3. Purchase trip cancellation insurance that provides coverage for operator and supplier default.
4. Check out the company's memberships and affiliations. (We maintain active memberships in the National Association of Certified Travel Agents, and also participate in California's Seller of Travel Consumer Protection Program.)  In addition we can provided information on any of the suppliers we deal with 

How difficult are your tours?
We grade our tours with a grading system of I to V.  

Do you have age-based cutoffs?
No. Some of our hardiest travelers and trekkers are in their 60s or 70s.

What should I do if I'm interested in a trip?
We have a lot more to say about our destinations than we can possibly fit into this website. So we encourage you to call us at (415) 567-5900, or e-mail



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