“Jungles, Beaches and Elephants” – Pure Thailand

October 21-29, 2022   Small Group!


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From lush green mountain jungles to breathtaking white-sand beaches of the Andaman coast, this is Thailand like you have never experienced. Our unique new Asian offer covers 3 of Thailand’s best regions for total diversity. After the past 2 years, you deserve the best vacation ever, and this unique getaway is it! The draw are the beaches, cultural shows, affordable wellness spas, island hopping and exquisite Thai foods. 

After touring exciting Bangkok, we fly up to Surat for some luxury Glamping.   Prepare to be pampered in such first-class style that most can only dream of. Luxuriate in your deluxe safari tent at the incredible Elephant Hills, so popular we had to pay them a year in advance. Immerse yourself with the resident gentle giants who have been given refuge here as you help bathe, feed and interact with the ellies. They won’t forget and neither will you. On to our unique  Rainforest Camp – untouched, unspoiled, unrivaled. Delight in your floating cabins with all amenities on Cheow Lan Lake, set in stunning Khoa Sok National Park and plenty of jungle activities.  

Finally, experience a tropical wonderland at the exquisite  Keemala Resort few have yet to discover in the Pearl of the South – Phuket. This tantalizing retreat is a world away with magical villas perched high on cliffs overlooking the azure sea. Our 5-star Clay Pool Cottages are distinctively designed to reflect the Thai philosophy of serenity. Ultimate luxury and a plethora of holistic offerings make being here such a rare experience, you’ll be so spoiled you won’t want to leave.  

The entire Thailand adventure combines world-class luxury and pampering with nonstop fun. Sea kayak into silent caves. Glide in a canoe safari on the Sok River. Trek verdant jungle. Cruise the islands of Phang Nga National Park. Ride in our Adventures For Solo Travelers exclusive tuk-tuk parade. Tour gilded temples. Taste succulent seafood. Find unbelievable bargains at a Tarkhun market. Then add the ethical elephant immersion and you have a journey of a lifetime. Nothing can top all that is included on this with a price that can’t be beat.  

 AFS knows Thailand well. This is our 12th group here. You may have been here before but each time, we raise the bar with even more unique places and adventure. Thailand has always been a great value, which helps us bring this trip to a level you’ve never experienced. Our air is so easy roundtrip to Bangkok on Cathy Pacific.  This amazing escape is only available for a small group of 22 travel lovers and will fill fast. Craving the unique? This is the kind of vacation dreams are made of.

 

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Our Glorious AFS Itinerary

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Oct 20/21, 2022   Depart from the U.S.  All air and land details to come in Trip Tips

Oct 22 –  Sawasdee…Welcome to Bangkok  -The Lands of Smiles

Land begins today.  Arrive at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport and after clearing all formalities, our guide will meet and transfer you to hotel for check in.

Well known as the City of Angels, Krungthepmahanakorn is the present capital city and the focal point for Thailand.  It was made the capital of Thailand in 1782, the first monarch of the present Chakri Dynasty.  It is a vibrant city, a national treasure house and Thailand’s spiritual, cultural, political, commercial, educational and diplomatic enter with endless choice of sightseeing and entertainment opportunities.  In addition to the many temples and historic buildings, such as The Grand Palace and Wat Arun, the list of interesting places to visit is endless. There are numerous canal (klong) networks on the Chaophraya River, giving it the name of “Venice of the East”.  In Bangkok, are also bustling markets, Jim Thompson’s House, Chatuchak Weekend Market, Wat Po, new Warehouse 30 Complex, Cooking Classes, Flower Market, Sunset Cruises, rooftop bars and a crazy fun nightlife.  The Skytrain can whisk you anywhere.

In free time, you can get a one hour Thai massage anytime for around $15. If you’re not too tired, the nightlife here is crazy fun – from the incredible rooftop bars to racy Patpong and the all night markets. This city never sleeps.

Overnight:  Avani Riverside Bangkok Hotel    

Oct 23  Bangkok  Tour – Temples to Tuk Tuks    B 

After breakfast, we set out to explore Bangkok and its marvelous temples, starting in Chinatown and the Stunning Wat Trimit. This is home to the world’s largest massive gold seated Buddha, measuring nearly 16 and a half feet high and weighing five and a half tons. Once hidden from invading armies by a covering of stucco and plaster, the gold beneath was discovered by accident when it was accidentally dropped as it was moved.

Thailand - bangkok-1552745_1280Next is Wat Po, which was the first public university of Thailand and is the oldest and most extensive temple in Bangkok. It houses hundreds of chedis and the 3rd biggest colossal reclining Buddha in Thailand. The gigantic gold-plated reclining statue has inlaid mother-of-pearl soles of 108 good lucks and is highly revered among Buddhists. If we time it right, we should be able to witness monks’ chanting in the main chapel. which is not commonly seen by tourists. Since Wat Po is a school for traditional medicine and massage, we may have the chance to enjoy a Thai Foot massage.

We’ll have our own parade of Tuk Tuks as we make our way through Bangkok’s old quarter, past the Grand Palace, the Giant Swing, Bangkok City Hall, Democracy Monument, and on to Rajadamnoen Avenue, with a final stop at Wat Benjamaborphit, commonly known as Marble Temple, built of Carrara marble from Italy. The cloister around the assembly hall houses 52 images of Buddha.   We return to the hotel and have an afternoon free. Our guide can suggest countless options.  Consider dinner tonight at the iconic Cabbage and Condoms. This nonprofit contraception-themed restaurant is always a hoot for our AFS groups.

Overnight:       Avani Riverside Bangkok Hotel

Oct 24  Flight to Surat Thani and Glamping at Elephant Hills      BLD

We include your early morning flight to Surat Thani where we will be met and taken to the spectacular Elephant Hills elephant camp in Kao Sok. After checking into our luxury tents, be prepared for the ultimate Elephant Hills Elephant Experience: Feeding and interacting with these gentle ellies who are Asia’s largest land animal. We will learn how to bathe, feed and care for them in an experience that will really touch your soul in what is an almost untouched environment. In the afternoon, we’ll take in the breathtaking beauty of Khao Sok with a Canoe Safari down the Sok River. Just sit back and relax as the world floats by. In the evening, we’ll have a special movie presentation, dance performances and even learn traditional dishes with a cooking demonstration.  All meals included here.

Overnight:   Elephant Hills (2 Nights  – One on land, one on lake)

Elephant Hills is the most responsible and sustainable Soft-Adventure Tour Operator in Southern Thailand. We respect and value our elephants (hence there is no elephant riding at our elephant park!), but we also take excellent care of the environment at Khao Sok national park, put great emphasis on recycling and resource-saving as well as cooperating closely with the local community by sourcing staff locally and improving education in the area with our Elephant Hills Children’s ProjectElephant Hills is home to the well-known, respected elephants of Thailand. During our amazing elephant experience, you will have the opportunity to get a look in on their daily lives and interact with the endangered Asian elephants in unique way. This is your chance to get close with the adorable pachyderms, feel their thick skin and interact with them and their mahouts, the elephant caretakers. Chop, prepare and feed these special creatures one of their daily feeds, watch them play in our giant elephant bathe and use coconut fibers to polish muddy wrinkles back to a majestic grey afterwards. This elephant encounter is one-of-a-kind, an experience you will certainly not forget!   We can guarantee that our animal welfare is our top priority at our nature park. Our elephants are treated with respect.  Elephant Hills has achieved a 100% rating for its animal welfare from Global Spirit –  Animals in Tourism auditing. We are the first worldwide animal attraction and elephant park to reach a 100% rating within the two-week audit period.

Oct 25      Rainforest Floating Camp            BLD

Following breakfast, we get a look at Thailand’s rural lifestyle with a visit to the local market of Takhun where we can try our hand at negotiating for goods. Ahead lies some spectacular sightseeing on Cheow Lam Lake while riding in a traditional longtail boat. This setting will take your breath away with the massive limestone mountains towering above the emerald green waters. The light changes constantly and so do the views of the lake, Lunch will be at our new home – the Elephant Hills Rainforest Camp.

Our dreamy accommodations for the evening are floating cabins on the lake. If you are up for further exploration of our spectacular surroundings, there are canoes available to head out and take it all in. We will also have the opportunity to do some jungle trekking on foot through southern Thailand’s unique rainforest environment.

Overnight:  Elephant Hills – Floating Rainforest Camp    

    

Oct 26    Keemala in Phuket         B

In the morning, we can go on a canoe safari and do some wildlife spotting. We’ll have lunch at our Rainforest Camp with a chance to swim before we head out on drive 3 hours south to Phuket.

The “Pearl of the South,” this is the largest island in Thailand and is its own province. Known for its great beaches, rocky capes, mountains and forested hills, Phuket offers an amazing array of opportunities to be pampered or to get your adventure on.

Our home for the next three nights is the amazing Keemala Resort. We will have their distinctive Clay Pool Cottages – each with its over-private pool. This retreat is an evergreen wonderland in the lush forests above busy Phuket, offering world-class spa treatments and holistic activities.  Once we check-in, the rest of the day is at our leisure.

Overnight:         Keemala Phuket (Clay Pool Cottage) 5*        

Keemala Phuket – Phuket’s new luxury resort. All rooms type has a private swimming pool.


Oct 27  Cruising Phan Nga  Islands        BLD

After a leisurely morning, we set out in speedboats for a full day to mind-boggling Phan Nga Hong Bay. There are 42 islands in the Phang-Nga Bay National Park and this cruise gives the best view of this fascinating land and seascape. Limestone cliffs rise vertically out of the sea creating a surreal image fit for a mythological legend. We use kayaks to visit the tidal caves and washouts called “Hongs” which are part of the incredible limestone karst formations that have made the area a backdrop for countless international movies.

Besides exploring the area, we also have the opportunity to swim, relax, or even make a Loy Krathong; a traditional decorative float created by the Thai people for celebrations. You can launch your own Krathong under a moonlit, starry night. En-route back to Phuket, we will be entertained by “Star Games” on the starlight deck. A wonderful buffet lunch and dinner will be served onboard.

Overnight:   Keemala Phuket             

Oct 28   Free Day in Phuket      

This is an entirely free day to take advantage of all that the resort including a host of spa treatments and wellness activities. Or you can venture into Old Phuket and get to know the locals in the markets and temples. Phuket’s best-known beaches are just a few minutes drive with free transfers from resort.  Phuket has a wild nightlife of non-stop fun.  Just google Phuket Tourism for dozens of enticements.  Enjoy the incredible nightlife and marina cafes.  Click here for more.

Overnight:        Keemala Phuket                

Oct 29   Heading home           B 

We have much of the day to ourselves before we have to say goodbye to this island paradise and Thailand itself. We’ll head to the Phuket International Airport in late afternoon and then onwards to the U.S. via Bangkok.

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Land Price $2875 pp twin share, includes internal air plus $90 pre-paid gratuities for guides and drivers.

Deposit $400

Based upon 22 participants

Includes: AFS GTL,  all meals and tours listed, entrance fees, transportation, first-class accommodations, guide

Group Air:  $ TBA  Roundtrip LAX – BKK  posting air soon

      • Land prices per person twin share. Trip price based on a minimum number of participants.
      • Single rooms limited with $ supplement.  Cost varies.  Email us for availability.  AFS will find you a roommate.
      • The earliest we present group air is 10 months prior. We’ll send email to ask who wants it.  A minimum number of 12 is needed.
      • Please review AFS Terms and Conditions, Heading Abroad with AFS, Covid Policy.  Travel insurance is important nowadays.  It’s rare, but we reserve the right to modify schedules, tour and hotels.
      • Read Trip Tips on its own tab next itinerary for latest details. 

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AFS Trip Tips Thailand 2022

Prepare to be thrilled in the playground of Thailand, “Land of Smiles”! Of 28 Asian countries, this is always our favorite. You are our 15th AFS group so we know Thailand well. Also, we’ve sent a dozen groups out over pandemic and had zero problems. This destination is so exotic with its colorful culture and unique wildlife. I think it’s my best-designed itinerary and I can’t wait to lead you. There’s incredible diversity with Elephant Hills (there’s a 2-year waitlist to get rooms here), our floating Rainforest Camp in Surat followed by beach activities in dreamy Phuket at luxurious Keemla Resort! I wonder which place your love most?

We have a wonderful group of 26 solo travelers lovers. That’s the maximum we can take, but if your friends are interested tell them to waitlist. On arrival, you’ll be split into two smaller groups side-by-side, with added guides and coaches for better manageability. For now, get to know each other on your private Facebook page. Ask us for the link.

It is your responsibility to read our important emails and updated notes here.  Let us sweat the small stuff as we strive to make your trip worry-free. This may well be the best time to go and fully enjoy your vacation!  Bookmark this page to conveniently find your way back.

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.

Covid Travel Rules are ever-changing depending on country and time of year.  Therefore, I created a single Covid rule page so everything can be up-to-date for participants on our trips.   Covid Rules Click Here

IMPORTANT PAYMENT DATES

SECOND DEPOSIT $1280 DUE APRIL 29  This is required to secure hotels for their second payment due.

FINAL PAYMENT DUE  SEP 30   Our new booking platform by WeTravel 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

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Your fearless GTL (Gracious Trip Leader, not a guide but liaison between our guides and group to ensure things run smoothly.)

Suzy Davis- As a former flight attendant of 14 years with free travel, Suzy has logged over 100 different countries in her 6 tattered passports.  She founded AFS in 1989 to share the world with others.  For the first 10 years, she led ALL solo travel tours but now leads four or five each year. Her favorite group leads are to places outside the boundaries of normal comfort zones where one wouldn’t travel alone because she loves all the challenges. As a cultural ambassador, Suzy is fearless and loves to connect her groups with locals. Her enthusiasm, travel wisdom and patience are extraordinary.

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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. Scan your important documents – Covid tests, trip tips, passport etc. If you lose your passport, US embassies now except a digital copy from your email folder on your phone to re-issue new one quickly.
  • 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 – I got mine feeling it will eventually be necessary for travel. Some countries now are eliminating Covid test and quarantine for vaccinated visitors.  Bring your vaccine card.  Don’t laminate your vaccine card as some countries won’t accept it.  You can take photo of both sides and store on phone or copy both sides and laminate the copy.  Login to your trip file booking form and answer question about Vaccine Yes (or will) or No.  Suppliers want this info.
  • All airline Covid rules differ.  It is imperative to read your airline rules to ensure a smooth departure!  Click here for the latest info on PCR tests required to travel abroad Latest Covid Testing Info.  Failure to get the correct test may cause the airline to turn you away.   It’s your responsibility to know the airline rules that can change right up to departure. They won’t speak to us with reservations in your name. All websites post their Covid rules at top of landing page. All airlines in the process of making significant routing and scheduling changes now as they scramble ramping up hiring for the travel surge to come. How to reach them?  Call direct or request a callback time. Check to see if your questions can be resolved on the airlines mobile app or via Twitter or turn to their social media for assistance. Travelers get best results via Facebook message to the airline.
  • The local supplier and AFS may require you sign a Travel Pledge before departure.  If so, we’ll email a form to you prior.  All Covid rules will be sent to you about a month prior to departure.
  • No visa or meds needed

Covid Testing Rules tend to mutate faster than the virus itself.  Therefore a special webpage has been built so you can get the latest info… Click here  Failure to read this page can result in your airline preventing your boarding your flight!  Read the page, it’s vital  https://www.afstravelers.com/basic-covid-info/

Fitness level – 2   (No trouble walking.)

Air dates Oct 20/21- to 29

  1.  Group Air – is fun and hassle-free to fly together. Too early to book group seats. All Asian carriers fly from West Coast. We’re looking at a great schedule and price on Cathay Pacific Airlines from LAX round-trip. Will advise in December/January.
  2. Doing Own Air–  Trip dates are firm.  Land officially begins October 22.  It’s easy to arrange your own air round-trip USA to Bangkok ( BKK). No rush now. Dozens of airlines fly here. Check Google flights or if you need help later, will put you in touch with Raj, our air expert. You cross the international date line so dates can be confusing. Depart October 20 or 21. Meet up October 22, 3 PM at Avani Riverside Hotel lobby bar Bangkok.

Everyone, check your flights! Airlines are canceling routes left and right now, Many won’t even inform you by email that there’s been a change. If your flight has been canceled, they MUST rebook you book on any other carrier to accommodate your schedule. Stand firm. If you’re not getting anyplace ask for their supervisor.   (Good news, conversely many airlines are adding other new routes which be a better fit for you.)

In today’s air & hotel landscape, avoid booking tickets on 3rd-party booking engines like Expedia, Google Flights, hotels.com and more! It’s too difficult getting refund and it’s nearly impossible to change your ticket. Use sites only to view air prices. Then go directly to the airline or hotel website and book through them for your best protection and price.

Transfers-  We get only one airport transfer in and out to hotels and will give you set times closer to departure. Chosen times will be based on the majority of arrivals of airlines. If your flight time coincides with the group, you may take our single airport group transfer.  It’s your responsibility to find the group as they exit baggage claim.  If your flight time falls outside the group, you’ll need to make your own transfer arrangements.  Consider Uber or sharing taxi ride with group members.

Meet Up With Group- On Oct 22 at 3PM at  Avani Riverside Hotel for a briefing. More on this later.

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.  If you overpack by adding side pre-or post-trip luggage, make prior plans as to where to stow the excess luggage. You may be responsible for any overage charges. 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.   Leave space for souvenirs.

Packing –  Pack your hygiene kit and munchies in clear plastic bags.  Airport and inflight food service may be limited.  This trip is so easy. Simply pack summer clothing with a light jacket for nights and long flights. Bring an umbrella, daypack, wide-brim hat, sunscreen, insect repellent, swimsuit, beach gear, wet shoes, old sneakers for jungle, etc. Google weather a week prior to departure. Temps should be 90 high and 76 low.    Read Packing 101 in Heading Abroad with AFS

Etiquette – Dress conservative in temples. Ladies bring headscarf. Never touch a monk or touch someone on the head. Or point the bottoms of your feet at another person. These are considered huge insults.  Guides will brief you.

Electric– 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.  AFSers often leave charger cords in room, so be sure to double-check your room before check out. All properties have hairdryers.

See https://www.power-plugs-sockets.com

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Money Matters – You will need some cash for personal tipping, meals, and shopping. $400 in cash should suffice. (Venmo may be convenient at home, but useless overseas, ATM may eat your card.  Always bring some cash!  Wise to have new crisp bills.)   Change currency arrival at airport, bank, or hotels or withdraw local currency from an ATM.  Note -independent ATMs are risky due to skimmer scams. Safest ATMs are at airport and banks. Always shield your pin number when entering. Avoid using unless it’s an emergency.  Master Card and Visa widely accepted.  Amex rarely accepted.

Be sure you bring New Bills (dates after 2016) as countries may not accept older bills when changing money.
Credit cards are far safer than using your debit card. I convert half of it upon entry. I use my credit card for most purchases.  Many cards now offer no foreign transaction fees.

Gratuities – (Prepaid)  It’s protocol to tip our local guides, assistants, porters, drivers and ground staff. Guidelines have increased globally, but around $10 to $15 per day should cover all for the trip.  A $95 total has been added to your invoice. Please understand this is only the suggested minimum.  For ease of distribution, 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 personally carry a personal stash of US ones in an envelope to draw from as needed. Bell staff/porters – AFSers roll bags to their room.  If you use a porter, please tip $2. Restaurants – 10%. For group lunches or dinners, please leave a dollar or two for waitstaff!

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Communication– Internet is available. With smartphones, be sure to check with your provider for rates and coverage for international phone plans before departure. Data Roaming rates can be expensive. To reach home – Texting, iMessage, WhatsApp, and Facebook messaging when using WIFI. Be cautious using public Wi-Fi without using VPN. Without VPN never open attachments or view financial or personal accounts on the Internet while abroad.  Phone calls, text messages, and data usage of all kinds, it is crucial to understand that, unless you are connected to Wi-Fi, every use of your phone incurs a data toll. That means that viewing and downloading email, browsing the web, viewing social media, and mapping all incur data charges, as do applications that we sometimes assume to be “free,” such as Skype and WhatsApp. Unless you are connected to Wi-Fi, however, WhatsApp is using cellular data, so you are getting charged at your provider’s international roaming data rate.  Facebook Messenger Phone is an easy free way to make calls.

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.

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!

Retail Therapy –  Thailand is a shopper’s paradise! Art, fine gems, paintings, handicrafts, wooden crafts and jewelry. The silks and cotton cloth here is amazing and the Thai people do spectacular things with it from clothing to tapestries and linens. Spices and oils as well as spa products have scents you will just die for. Plus, they are known for their ceramics and pottery as well as handmade jewelry which ranges from fun, handmade bracelets and necklaces to high-end gold items with jewels. This is the land sapphires.  I can’t tell you how many past AFSers needed an extra suitcase to get home!  Remember you can bargain in many places..  (I plan on doing my Christmas shopping here, like dozens of silk scarves for just $4 apiece.)  Cautious with design or knock off’s passing U.S. Customs.

Websites of Interest:

Fun websites to do some reading up swww.tourismthailand.org/

Chewing-  Thai food is so aromatic and varied! What you have tried in the States pales by comparison. Tom Yum Goong (spicy shrimp soup), Tom khai kai (Chicken in coconut soup), gaeng daeng (red curry), yam nua (spicy beef salad), or the better known pad Thai (fried noodles). The Thai like to spice things up, so make sure you are aware if what you are ordering is spicy. You can ask for mild. 

Accommodations – Our itinerary has links to each hotel.  Hotels can change, but it’s rare.

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.   Note, kindness begets kindness.

Leisure Time –  For your free time, it’s best to arrive and ask our local expert guides for suggestions.  We notice 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, but there will be some free time. 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.

Amending tour pre-or post-trip or arranging private tours during free time.  We often see many AFSers on Facebook urging others to join them to countries before/after our trip. Stopovers are great to add, but understand AFS has nothing to do with this and is not responsible for the quality of these trips.

Private Facebook Group Page  –  The benefit of the Private FB Group Page is that you have an opportunity to introduce yourself to your fellow travelers before departure and share trip photos during and after the tour.  Where can I find the FB link? Ask us for an invite.

(We found that some never read the Trip Tips jumping right to the Private FB Group Page assuming they will get all trip info needed. Often, they only receive rumors and misinformation. All important information is ALWAYS emailed to each participant and posted here in Trip Tips under UPDATES. Nobody misses a thing.)

Emergency Contact – AFS Phone 770-432-8225, or email us at https://www.afstravelers.com/contact-us/  and more contacts will be provided with your Final Docs email 2 weeks before departure.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.  3 weeks prior to departure more details on this will be emailed.

Cancellation Penalty –  At booking, we sent you our terms and conditions. Click here for our Terms & Conditions   Briefly, on land packages as of September 1, 2021  will refund your deposit less 50% until 4 weeks prior trip’s final payment due date.   Any cancellation after this date will result in full forfeiture of your deposit. AFS reserves the right to resell or otherwise use the canceled space at our discretion.

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.

Travel Psychology 101  – Prepare for your departure joyfully with no contempt before investigation upon arrival. Please understand that with travel, things are not like at home and changes may occur. Great trips work best for those with an open mind, flexible attitude and adventuresome spirit.  If changes occur, embrace them with serendipity. Who knows?… The unexpected may prove to be a better experience.  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 curious, not shy. Smile – locals will sense your energy of kindness and kindness always begets kindness.  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

Please note that AFS is non-partisan – With our homogeneous groups, we all want to focus on the common denominator – our love of travel.  In today’s divisive world, we suggest members not discuss politics and if you must, please practice my rule of TOK:  Tolerance, Open-mindedness and Kindness.

Book AFS with Confidence – Thank you for booking! We are blown away by the support from all of you throughout this pandemic. It validates the trust and values AFS was built on over 35 years. As countries reopen, so will we. Travel is a shared experience. Together we press on and travel boldly. Below are new guidelines. We all must adapt and embrace any challenges with confidence for the freedom and privilege to travel.

As in life itself, travel comes with some inherent risk the minute we step out our door.   Travel isn’t dangerous. Being irresponsible is. For your protection we want you to be proactive in following new health guidelines. They involve teamwork and personal responsibility, but they do not preclude you from having fun and enjoying your trip! Things constantly change and it’s a huge challenge for airlines, airports, hotels, cruises and tour companies.  We will do our best to keep you up to date with any adjustments.   Please understand we reserve the right to amend any tour activities if needed. To present responsible travel, we at AFS do our part: Our vetted suppliers uphold the highest standards under CDC guidelines.

Safety measures on a trip; frequent handwashing, (bring personal sanitizer) and wear a mask when applicable. Insurance provides trip cancellation, but not from fear, trip interruption, added medical protection. Call them to understand coverage. We are not responsible for any additional cost to you due to quarantine or illness

Our Pledge to You – Our global, vetted suppliers uphold the highest standards under new CDC guidelines.

  • We ensure that heightened sanitation methods have been adopted in every place we visit and that all hotel properties and vehicles have passed cleanliness protocols.
  • Our guides and drivers must be vaccinated and pass stringent safety measures.
  • Most of our groups will be limited to half the size of normal in the past.
  • We are choosing destinations with wide-open spaces for physical distancing.
  • Some private tours for groups of friends only can be arranged.
  • We’ll monitor your trip closely and provide a 24/7 emergency number if your trip is disrupted.
  • All clients must take the AFS pledge that they are COVID-free and will follow all the safety protocols.

Your Pledge to AFS  – We ask you to assume personal responsibility to protect your health and the well-being of your fellow travelers, guides and locals.  Know the COVID rules of the airlines you’ll fly.  Get vaccinated (if you choose not, it’s your responsibility to follow PCR tests.)

  • Read and print all updated Trip Tips on your trip’s AFS webpage.
  • Get travel insurance with trip interruption
  • Stay healthy with vitamin D and zinc
  • Confirm within 14 days of departure but you have no symptoms of Covid nor being in close contact with anyone diagnosed with it.
  • You agree to assume any risk of participating in trip activities, comply with applicable government, airline and health authorities.  Some suppliers may request signature on waiver of liability.
  • Exercise social distancing and local guides directions whenever possible.
  • Sanitize your hands and phone throughout.
  • Read more here –  https://www.afstravelers.com/terms-and-conditions/

Covid Travel Rules are ever-changing depending on country and time of year.  Therefore, we created a single Covid rule page so everything can be up-to-date for participants on our trips.   Click Here for the latest Covid Travel Rules

Covid travel rules seem to mutate faster than the virus.  To keep groups up to date with the latest information, we created a page that’s up to date.  Set a reminder for yourself to check the Covid page 7 days before your departure. 

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