“Kingdom of Happiness”

May 13-21, 2022.    Bhutan Small Group

“The world has few secrets left but Bhutan is one of them” – Kartie Hickman

Price listed below the daily itinerary

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Perched high in the cradle of the Himalayas, Buddhist Bhutan is a magical and mystical land of mighty mountains, sacred lakes, idyllic villages. This is the real ”Shangri-La” or Land of the Thunder Dragan, deemed  as the happiest country on earth.  Come with us on this exhilarating AFS adventures and you’ll be amazed why. Our past groups loved it! Borders are now open.  This is a standalone vacation or post extension to those on our Taj and Tiger trip to India.

For centuries the kingdom’s remote location left Bhutan protected from the rest of the world and blissfully untouched. Only 9000 visitors allowed in each year.  It is like time stood still in much of this tiny remote country. Here you will find a people so welcoming and a sacred culture. Experience the joy that is not just a lifestyle but a moral obligation for the Bhutanese. Bhutan is known for its unique philosophy of an “gross national happiness” and is the only place on earth where the constitution insure spiritual well-being. There is no wonder the seat of the government south is called the palace of great happiness. You’ll feel it too, as you take in spiritual and cultural treasures omit breathtaking beautiful rugged terrain.

We packed so many wonders into this trip. Where else would you find a stunning monastery called Tiger’s Nest defying gravity on the side of a jagged cliff? It’s truly like no other place you’ve ever been. It’s not just for the fairytale like temples and monastic fortresses that dot the landscape. Prepare to have your mind blown over the scenic treasures in an incredibly pristine biodiversity hotspot that is home to indescribable creatures found nowhere else – endangered takins, sloth bears, langurs and even snow leopards.  Bhutan is one of the world’s smallest countries, but it’s a leader in conservation with 73% force cover and considered carbon negative. You can almost taste the purity in the air you breathe.

We’ll explored exquisite shrines of the fertile Paro Valley, take in the spectacular landscape of Tongsa and interact with the devoted monks who are trusted with maintaining these iconic sanctuaries. Watch the colorful prayer flags fly as eagles soar against the backdrop of snowcapped mountains.  Enjoy the friendly smiles of the locals in their bustling markets. Bhutan is an explorer’s still light – a world that could have been lifted straight from the pages with picture book but yet filled with large fun. We’ll try our hand with archery, hot stone baths, immerse ourselves in cultural shows, get our Zen on with a yoga session and experience the adrenaline rush with rafting one of Bhutan’s glacier fed rivers.

May is the perfect time to visit. It’s a complex destination to enter with special air and government rules, but we take care of all the work including your visa.  Bhutan offers the ultimate travel junkie bragging rights because few people can say they’ve been here. Come spin a prayer wheel and grab your spot and what will be a unique adventure. Limited to only 20 travelers.

 

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Our Glorious AFS Itinerary

Click for printable PDF itinerary (Bhutan)

May 13 or 14 –  Those on AFS India will fly from Delhi to Paro on our group flights with Druk Air. Those only doing Bhutan on their own will fly via Delhi. Depart USA May 12 or 13 to meet the group in Delhi by May 14 to join them.

May 14 – Arrive at Paro   Land starts

Welcome to the Kingdom of Bhutan! Be sure to look out the window as you fly into Paro where great snow-capped peaks of the inner Himalayas rise up to the heavens. We will be met by our guide at the Paro International airport and check into our hotel in the capital city of Thimphu.

This evening, we’ll gather at dinner to learn about the country’s history, religion, culture, and spectacular sites that await.

Overnight  Thimpu Pelyang Boutique Hotel    D

May 15  – Thimpu  

After breakfast, we start our day by visiting the acclaimed Painting School – where students learn thirteen different Bhutanese crafts including paper making, masonry, painting, sculpture, embroidery and much more.

Our next stop to visit King’s Memorial Chorten – continuously circumambulated by people, murmuring mantras and spinning their prayer wheels. Construction of this landmark monument of peace was the idea of Bhutan’s third king, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuk (“the father of modern Bhutan”).  Weaving is an integral component of the culture and tradition of Bhutan and we end the day at the Royal Textile Museum and the Royal Textile Academy of Bhutan which preserves and promote this living art.

Overnight Thimpu Pelyang Boutique Hotel      B

May 16 – Thimphu Valley 

We offer an amazing spiritual option of waking early for a Buddhist Meditation and Yoga class.

After breakfast, we experience the best of the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan where we can breathe in fresh air, get calm, go slow, be present and tap into the healing power of nature that Bhutan has to offer. We head to Kuensel Phodrang (Buddha Point) for a stunning overview of the Thimphu valley. You can pay your obeisance and offer prayers to the Buddha, the largest statue in the country and then walk around and take a glimpse of the valley.

Bhutan’s first postage stamps were issued in 1962, the same time the first motorable road was opened.  Ever since then, Bhutan has been known for the unusual designs and materials of its stamps.  We’ll visit the post office where you can see the different stamps available in Bhutan. You can even create your very own personalized stamps with any picture downloaded from your phone. Send a post card to your family and friends stamped with your Bhutan trip memories!

In the afternoon, we head to the Takin Preserve to see the national animal of Bhutan – the Takin… a sort of cross between a cow and goat.

We end with visit the peaceful and scenic Zilukha Nunnery, the largest in Bhutan. Known as Druthob Goemba, we’ll not just meet the nuns and learn of their beliefs and lifestyle, but have spectacular views of the Tashichho Dzong monastery.

Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu. BMay 17   Thimphu – Punakha 

After breakfast, drive to the former capital of Bhutan, Punakha via the Dochula Pass. We’ll stop so you can take in the 360-degree vistas of the Eastern Himalayas. The pass has more 108 stupas or chortens dotting the landscape and is a popular place for locals to come with their families.

Perched on a hill in the center of the Punakha valley, is Chimi Lhakhang, known as the temple of fertility. It is widely believed that couples wanting children will be blessed with a child after praying here. A walk through the village near the temple will give you rare glimpses into the daily life and lifestyle of the villagers.

We’ll visit the 17th century Punakha Dzong or Palace of Great Happiness located at the junction of the Phochu and Mochu rivers. This majestic gold-domed dzong served as both the religious and the administrative center of Bhutan in the past. Inside are courtyards and religious statuary that hint at the depth of history and spiritual tradition embodied here.

Those with a spirit of adventure should take advantage of our optional offering of white water rafting on Mo Chu River at Punakha ($36). The class 2 trip gives you an unsurpassed view of fields and the royal palaces on the river. Keep your eye open for golden hued Mahseer fish which can grow 9 feet long and that frequents the Punakha River. With any luck, you may spot the elusive freshwater Gangetic Dolphin.

Overnight at the hotel in Punakha- RKPO Green Resort. B

May 18 – The Para Valley  

After breakfast, we’ll spend the morning driving to the indescribable Para Valley, stopping by legendary Tachogang Lhakhang. This temple was founded by a Tibetan saint who also designed and erected numerous iron suspension bridges in the early 15th century, making parts of Bhutan accessible for the very first time.

Enjoy lunch at a “castle in the Air,” the Gangtey Palace Hotel where we will also be treated to a cultural show. The palace offers a bird’s eye view of the valley where the majestic Mt. Jomolhari rises at its northern end and its glacial waters plunging through deep gorges to form the Pa Chu (Paro river). The valley’s sides are adorned with lush green terraced paddy fields where the bulk of Bhutan’s famous red rice grows. Encapsulating a rich culture, scenic beauty and hundreds of myths and legends, this is home to many of Bhutan’s oldest temples and monasteries. Main street Paro offers shops, restaurants and offices in richly carved traditional buildings.

You’ll have the afternoon free to explore and shop.

Overnight:  Naskel Spa Hotel B/L

May 19 – Para   

Today we explore an old hilltop watchtower that is home to the Paro National Museum, housed in. Built to resemble the shape of a conch shell, it houses a valuable collection of antique paintings, festival masks, religious statues and stone carvings.

Paro is best known for the splendid Rinpung Dzong, reached via a covered cantilever, wooden bridge that spans the Paro Chhu. The fortress-monastery’s most valuable possession is a giant embroidered tapestry, or thondrol (thangka), depicting the dzong’s founding father, Guru Rincpoche. Don’t miss the unique painting of Milarelpa, considered the master of meditation by the Buddhists. We’ll also have the chance to explore the 7th century Temple of Kyichu, one of the oldest temples in Bhutan.

For fun this afternoon, you can try your hand at the national sport of Bhutan – Archery. Our guide will demonstrate and explain the details of the game using the traditional bamboo bow and arrow.

Also enjoy butter tea (Suja) which is prepared with black tea mixed with butter and touch of cream and Himalayan salt.

Late afternoon you could opt for to dress in traditional Bhutan clothes, something that truly sets the locals apart.  Men wear the Gho, a knee-length robe. The kira is the national dress for women in Bhutan. It is an ankle-length dress consisting of a rectangular piece of woven fabric.

Overnight at the hotel in Paro. B

May 20 – Tiger’s Nest 

A true highlight of this journey is a memorable hike to world-famous “Tiger’s Nest” or Taktsang Palphug Monastery. This is for the adventurous and physically fit as this is truly a nest – located on the face of a sheer cliff above the floor of the Paro Valley. Only accessible by hiking, it is a strenuous uphill climb including over 700 steps. This sacred pilgrimage site is where legend has it the great tantric mystic, Padmasambhava flew on the back of a tiger and brought the teachings of the Buddhist Dharma to Bhutan. The Monastery clings to a cliff soaring 3,000 feet above the valley floor at an altitude of 10,000 feet.

Along the way, you can hang prayer flags for world peace, or for people who are hungry, ill or in pain (in Buddhism, a prayer flag is considered a blessing). Stop for lunch and admire the breathtaking views from the cafeteria before slowly descending.

In late afternoon, you could opt for Hot Stone Bath at local farm to relax the muscles from a hard day’s hike to the famous Tiger’s Nest. Very basic and rustic, river rocks are heated and then immersed in a wooden tub to heat the water known for mineral contents. This experience provides an authentic insight into the traditional hot stone bath practiced by the locals ($36).

For a more luxurious experience, you could hot stone baths at luxury hotels are also available.

Overnight at the hotel in Paro.   B/L

May 21 – Depart Para

Check out from hotel and transfer to Paro airport to board your flight home.

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Deposit and Land Price

Land Price $2975 pp twin share plus New Govt Tax $820 = $3795 plus $689 air roundtrip Delhi to Paro.            Gratuities $60

2023 Bhutan revamps tourism sector with “high value, low-volume” in protecting its environment. Please note the new price increase from Bhutan’s government under the new SDF tax of $200 per person per day added to trip cost. Full details at www.bhutan.travel. (Those on 2022’s Nepal were vetted in with the original price.  Details to come.).

Deposit $500

Based upon 18 participants

Includes:   Bhutan visa, seven nights accommodation with breakfast daily, AFS GTL and Bhutan GNH expert with private session, all transportation and AC coaches, Takin Preserve, archery, cultural show and lunch at Gangtey Palace, prayer flag hosting, AFS GTL with English-speaking guides, entrance fees, all govt. taxes. Not included:  International air from USA round-trip to Delhi.             Click here to view Trip Tips

About SDF Tax:

 

 

AFS Trip Tips Bhutan

Updates will be posted here.  If you want a paper copy, copy and paste this into a document and print.  

 Prepare to be thrilled by remarkable Bhutan, “Kingdom of eternal happiness” nestled in the cradle of the Himalayas! Blissfully untouched for centuries in isolation, the Bhutanese now welcome you with genuine friendliness into this exhilarating destination. This little country is huge in surprises. Our past to AFS groups rated in their “best vacation ever.” You are wise to choose this exotic country with us as it is too challenging to do on your own with all the regulations to follow. We’ve got you covered. Just start reading up on it before you go. The history here is fascinating. Our itinerary is an explorer’s delight with mystical monasteries, ancient temples stunning stupas and active fun.

We have a wonderful group of 17 solo travel lovers so far. We need more so please tell your friends. Some of you are extending after AFS Nepal whereas some have visited Nepal and are doing Bhutan on its own. For now, connect with each other on your private group Facebook page and revel in the anticipation of joy ahead 

Thank you for your trust in booking this AFS trip. Together we will adapt to any new travel norms for the privilege of travel.  Our vetted local teams in each city are fully trained in the latest health and safety protocols and are happy to assist you.  Things are constantly monitored. 

Trip Tips are designed to answer trip-related questions. It’s your responsibility to read this information.  Updates and addendums will be posted here.  Check back from time to time.

  • FINAL PAYMENT DUE FEB 10.    Wetravel is our data management company, it allows you to pay by check electronically without a fee. Simply follow the instructions. Credit cards will be assessed a processing fee at time of purchase.  As a small business, this helps mitigate costs and allows us to give you the very best price.   If you prefer to use the mail, make your payment to AFS or Adventures For Solo Travelers, 1907 Daniel Green Ct., Smyrna GA 30080

YOUR GTL – Deanna Purdie.

Based in Atlanta, making her way around the globe with over 60 countries visited…mostly solo until finding out about AFS in 2017.  With degrees in Photography and Graphic Design from SCAD, she enjoys helping others capture and create interesting posts for Social Media that your friends are sure to envy. Also, with a background in IT/Communications, she is able to help solve any tech issues you may have with your devices or apps.  She enjoys a healthy active lifestyle of working out, skiing, snorkeling and hiking.  Always researching and learning…she has been studying and speaking French for the past 8+ years and will be sure to have at least 2-3 new Travel Hacks and tips for you each trip!

Deanna is a great asset to AFS, not just because of her capable skills in leadership and her wisdom, but it’s her joyous enthusiasm in guiding others in exploration!

Trip Prep:

  • Read the revised Heading Abroad with AFS, especially if you are new to AFS.
  • Ensure your passport is valid 6 months after return date with two blank pages.  We recommend renewing your passport well ahead of any planned international travel. Take a photo of your passport to store in the cloud or bring a copy. If you lose your passport, US embassies now except a digital copy from your email.  Also good to scan any docs, Covid test, trip tips, etc.
  • To speed through US Customs download Mobile Passport.  Look in your App Store for details.
  • Notify bank and cc company of travel dates so they don’t block charges.
  • Vaccines – Bring your vaccine card.  Don’t laminate vaccine card as some countries won’t accept it.  You can take photo of both sides and store on phone.
  • All airline rules differ.  It is imperative to read your airline rules on their website to ensure a smooth departure!  Airlines are in the process of making routing and scheduling changes now. Always check your flight before departure.

VISA –  Bhutan visa –  All US citizens must have a visa to travel to Bhutan, and the visa is required in order to purchase a plane ticket to this destination. However, the only way to obtain this visa is through a licensed tour operator in Bhutan. Only the local tour operator is allowed to submit the visa application directly to the proper authorities in the capital, Thimphu.  More info later. Rules always change. We will advise.

Fitness level– 2   (No trouble walking.)

Air – Land portion begins May 14 in Paro and ends the May 21.

Only Druk air flies into Bhutan, either from India, or Kathmandu. For ease of legalities and connections, we ask you all to fly together from Delhi.  Most are beginning with AFS India. We still have several spaces on our Taj & Tigers trip May 6-14! If you’re not in India, you must fly to Delhi May 12 to land on May 13. For overnight, you may need Indian visa. Text 770-432-8225. Be sure to leave your name. Dozens of airlines fly USA to Delhi. Use Google flights.

Current Druk air fare is $689. We hope it won’t change and will advise. Once ticketed, no refunds allowed.

May 14 DEL to PBH.  4:10 AM to 6:40 AM.

May 21, PBH to DEL 940AM – 11:30 AM

Air – Air challenges today – Many route changes now on domestic flights to get to your international flights. Consider flying in early to ensure you’ll be there once trip begins.  (Watch for new DOT rules to protect you. Soon airlines will be required to refund or issue a credit good forever if there’s a significant change to your flight).   They are required to notify you of changes.  Ask airline to rebook you and cover expenses or get full refund even on non-refundable ticket.  Always download and use your airlines app! Use app to track your booking, delays, bags, to show boarding pass and to contact them. If you have a flight problem go to the airline’s website “contact us” page or reach them by text, social media, Skype or call their international number.  Also, premium credit cards often offer many air perks, assistance, insurance, lounge passes, global entry and more. Read more at www.tpg.com for best cards.

Doing Own Air– We find few people book group air now and may find better rates on own direct from hometown.  This provides you better flexibility to go early or extend at trip end.   We recommend you now book flexible air tickets that can be refunded or changed.  (For decades, AFS presented group air to make your trip totally hassle-free. Guides greet you on airport arrival and if any flight changes, we had your back.  Sadly now, only around 10% want group air and often meet can’t minimum.)  We like Google Flights, Kayak or Momondo.  3rd-party booking engines like Expedia, make it near impossible to handle air problems.  Buy direct from airline or pay a travel agent to ticket you.  Buy travel insurance and have a flight backup plan. If you can afford to splurge on business class, contact our guy: ali@business-class.com   Phone is 305-676-2314.  For economy seats call our friend Raj who’s an air expert at (281) 912-9173 raj8travel@gmail.com  Give him your exact airdates, destination, passport name and details with birthdate.

Meet Up –  All meet May 14 at Pelyang boutique hotel in Thimphu

Baggage– Think light to ease your burden, not like you’re fleeing your homeland.  You change hotel properties several times. 1 carry-on bag& 1 medium suitcase not to exceed 45lbs – weigh on a bathroom scale – are ideal. This weight limit is set for our porterage and luggage vans.   So many cool new luggage trackers with GPS available now to prevent lost baggage!  We like LugLoc, DynoTag, Samsung or Apple Trackers.   The new hard cases are difficult to fit in coach storage. Leave space for great souvenirs. Be sure to attach ID to carry-on and bag to assure your bag never gets left behind. Weight limit on Druk is 30 KG (66 pounds) for both your suitcase and carry-on. Easy.

Packing –Google weather in May in Bhutan a week prior to departure – it should be in the 60-80 degree temps range.
Pack your hygiene kit and munchies in clear plastic bags. Airport and inflight food service may be limited. This trip is so easy. Nothing special is needed. Simply pack spring-like clothing to layer. Bring a warm jacket for nights, long flights and high altitudes. Pack an umbrella, daypack, wide-brim hat, sunscreen, comfy sneakers, swimsuit, and wet shoes for rafting;  (ladies, bring a scarf for temples). Hiking boots may be preferable for Tigers Nest but not necessary.

Electric – This is a 3 prong adapter plug. Don’t forget a portable backup charger, cords, gadgets, etc. Cell phones and tablets do not need a converter; you only need an adapter plug Type 3D prong. AFSers often leave charger cords in the room, so be sure to double-check before check out. All properties have hairdryers.

Money Matters – You need some cash for personal tipping, meals, and shopping. $300 should suffice. Change on arrival at airport, bank, or hotels. Or withdraw from an ATM. Note independent ATMs are risky due to skimmer scams. Avoid using ATM unless it’s an emergency. If you must use an ATM, the safest ones are at the airport and banks. Always shield your pin number when entering. Credit cards are far safer than your debit card. (I know $300 cash is plenty of money for a week for me. I convert half of it upon entry. I use my credit card for most purchases.) Many cards now offer no foreign transaction fees. The USD is readily acceptable at major handicraft emporiums and some large hotels of Bhutan.

Currency Exchange Rate: $1 USD = 80 BTN Follow the link below to create a conversion cheat sheet:
https://www.oanda.com/currency/travel-exchange-rates

Gratuities: It’s protocol to tip our local guides, assistants, porters, drivers, and ground staff. Guidelines have increased globally and we added $60 total to your invoice. Please understand that this is only the suggested minimum. For ease of distribution, Janice your GTL will tip the different ground services for the entire group each day.
Tipping on own: If service is stellar, feel free to give more directly. All we tourists leave behind is our reputation. I carry a personal stash of US ones in an envelope to draw from as needed. Bell staff/porters – AFSers roll bags to the room. If you use a porter, please tip $1. Restaurants, 10%. For group lunches or dinners, please leave a dollar or two for the wait staff.

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Communication – Internet is available. Cell/smartphone – be sure to check with your provider for rates and coverage for international phone plans before departure. Roaming rates (used by Facebook and other apps) are expensive. To reach home – Text, iMessage, What’sApp, and Facebook messaging while using Wi-Fi are best! I don’t know anyone who makes calls home nowadays. Stay off of public Wi-Fi without using VPN if possible. If you do so, never open attachments or view financial or personal account information. In Bhutan, small hotels should have Wi-Fi but use is limited. Our guides live by their cell phones.

Get Smart: Avoiding Hackers on Vacation. Thieves not only want your money but also your data. Change passwords often. Check device security settings before you leave for your trip. Back up, update, and encrypt your devices and data using a virtual VPN.
• In hotel rooms, hide iPods or laptops to avoid “evil maids” that want to clone your tech.
• Bottled water is always best abroad, as our gut isn’t accustomed to local tap water. Eat clean food and avoid street vendors.
• Pickpockets are everywhere now, especially at night. Never carry your passport outside of the room.
• It’s wise to grab a business card from the desk before heading out on own. To get back just show the card to a taxi driver- no memory or English needed.

AFS Optionals –  We will get headcount later.

RAFTING – Punakha is the most popular location for rafting  especially  along Mo Chhu (female river) or  Pho Chhu (male river) .As per guests preference, the rafting  can either be arranged at Pho Chhu river, 16km stretch with 15 rapids of grade 2 – 4.  Pho Chhu river is one of the most popular rafting spots amongst guests. You’ll pass through stunning landscapes of Punakha valley and see rare exotic birds such as White-Bellied Herons and Kingfishers. Rafting will meander along the upper Pho Chhu with a series of Class IV rapids immediately below the village of Wangthangkha. Further downstream, experienced rafters will enjoy the Class III rapids as the fast-flowing river eases and slows. Prior to September 2018, rafters can even raft pass the majestic Punakha Dzong taking in its glorious presence. As of September 2018, rafting in front of Punakha Dzong is not allowed.  The rafting takes about 1.5- 2 hours to complete. ($36)

Hot Stone Baths – The tradition of a hot stone bath dates back centuries and is derived from ancient Tibetan medicine and Indian Ayurvedic practices. A traditional Bhutanese hot stone bath uses rocks taken from the river that are heated till red hot and then placed in the bath water. The rocks then crack and steam, releasing key minerals into the water which alleviate aches and pains and are said to have broader medicinal properties.  The hot stone bath is a ritual in itself and traditionally these baths were taken close to rivers from where the best stones could be sourced. These days the practice is offered countrywide and you can opt for a luxurious version, or go for a more earthy version in a local farmhouse where the bath is laid on by your hosts. Either way it makes for a very relaxing and restorative experience.  ($36)

Retail Therapy – Even non-shoppers will find themselves tempted by the local handicrafts like; cane and bamboo baskets, wall-hangings, carpets, mats, wooden masks, colorful paintings, Bhutan honey, and paper products, The best shopping is in Thimpu.

Smoking – AFS has very few smokers, but if you do know that Bhutan is the only country in the world that completely bans the sale and production of tobacco—and naturally, smoking is banned in public places.

Photography – Before taking pictures of locals, know it is polite to ask. Your AFS Private Facebook Group Page is a great way to share your best shots with each other. AFS loves photos with group participants (not typical churches, monuments, or any shot that looks like you pulled it off of the net, etc.) for our website. The best photos are ones that include a group member with a local, children, animals, or at iconic sites in the same frame!

Websites of Interest – Great stuff found at www.tourism.gov.bt , www.bhutan.travel , www.drukair.com
• www.lonelyplanet.com (Bhutan)
Cuisines – Bhutan cuisines are fabulous!…Organic, fresh, and tasty with an Indian influence. The core of Bhutanese cooking is rice – both white and red rice, chicken, eggs and dried yak meat, and pork are popular dishes. Bhutan Glory – Amber Ale is the local beer and Zumzin Peach Wine is common.

Accommodations– Please see hotel links on the itinerary.

Roomies – Single supplements have significantly increased – if available at all. Save money and buy yourself an awesome local gift. We all live alone, but save money when traveling by rooming together. Suzy spends a lot of time on roommate matching. 99% of our clients are wonderful and you’re only in your room to sleep at night anyway.
Leisure Time – For your free time, it’s best to arrive and ask our local expert guides for suggestions. We notice that many newer clients pre-plan many activities on the AFS trip well before they arrive, often with disappointing results. Our daily itineraries are pretty full. Expert travelers revel in the element of surprise in a new destination and allow the wind to blow them where it will. Use Google Maps on your phone to find everything nearby. For free days, we like to use www.Viator.com.

Amending tour pre -or post-trip or arranging private tours on free time; we also see others on Facebook urging others to join them to countries around our trip. Stopovers are great to add, but understand AFS has nothing to do with this. AFS is not responsible for these trips that may not be up to AFS standards.

Emergency Contact – Email – admin@diversedestination.com or call Smita in India +91 124-2354836‬ Your guide can handle a call home for a True Emergency. Do not expect to use your trip leader’s cell phone. You’ll need to use your own cell phone.

Travel Insurance– While travel insurance is optional, in today’s world we highly encourage you to get standard coverage to cover trip interruption and cancellation. Call to ask what Covid coverage they have. Some companies cover Covid related issues. Best source for all is www.insuremytrip.com. CFAR or cancel for any reason covers Covid but is expensive. Note that no company covers for fear.

Preexisting conditions – If you would like the security of travel insurance and have a pre-existing condition (elderly parent, medical, etc.), you must purchase insurance within 15 days from your initial trip deposit in order to assure full coverage. The trip cost can be amended or adjusted as needed after your initial purchase (eg. like adding an air ticket cost later). You can buy travel insurance at any time, just know that there may be some possible limitations if purchased outside the 15 day period. We like TravelSafe, World Nomads and Seven Corners.
• Click here to Purchase Travel Insurance online
• Phone them at 888-885-7233
• Click to learn about Travel Insurance 101.
• Or copy this link https://www.afstravelers.com/solo-travel-trip-insurance-101/

Travel Psychology 101 – Prepare for your departure joyfully with no contempt before investigation upon arrival. Please understand that whenever you travel, things are not like at home. Things may not go exactly as planned. If changes occur, embrace them with serendipity. Who knows? – The unexpected may prove to be a better experience. Great trips work best for those with an open mind, flexible attitude, and an adventurous spirit. Adapt and go with the flow with a laid-back attitude. Be spontaneous. Be tolerant of foreign cultures in respecting their centuries of traditions. Embrace the differences. Be polite to the locals knowing that kindness begets kindness (This goes for your roommate, too; we all live on our own, but share when traveling together). Be curious, not shy. Smile – locals will sense your energy. Our common goal is to experience different cultures, make new friends, get great photos, have large fun, and return home safely with memories worthy of recollection. The best spirit of an Explorer requires the openness of a child. – Suzy
“When traveling, remember that a foreign country isn’t designed to make you comfortable. It’s designed to make its own people comfortable.” – Clinton Fadiman