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General Travel FAQs

You only need to decide where you want to go and when. Then leave the rest to us. From pick up with a sign at the airport to drop off again to catch your flight home, we will take care of everything you need.
We compiled this list of Frequently Asked Questions to help your planning, noting we have an even longer list of FAQs specific to COVID-19 HERE.
Let us know if we missed anything or if your questions are not answered below.
Just click on the “+” to the left of the question for the dropdown answer.


How do flight bookings work?

For the time being, international flights will be left out of all trip packages, allowing you to pay for flights with points, accrue points, choose the flight times that make the most sense for you, as well as add on days or otherwise. This also provides you with the security that if a cancellation is required, airlines will be the best positioned to provide refunds to you directly. We strongly recommend you book your flights through a travel agent or directly with the airline, rather than through a third party online booking platform.

Online discount booking agents generally do not provide the option of making changes or getting refunds.

How many pieces of luggage can I bring?

You will want to keep your luggage down to a minimum, as able. It will just make your trip that much easier. You will likely need to carry your own luggage at certain points. Baggage allowances and restrictions also vary across different airlines. Luggage allowance on flights into the Amazon and Galapagos is often restricted to one piece, for example.

Will I need a visa to enter the country?

You are responsible for ensuring you have the appropriate visas, travel permits and certificates for the countries you are travelling in, and that your passport is valid for six months (or possibly more), as required. EarthTreks is not responsible if a customer is refused entry to a country because of incorrect travel documentation. It sounds harsh. We don’t mean it to.

Who will my Tour Leader be?

EarthTreks’ Tour Leaders are experienced, knowledgeable, nationally certified, highly trained guides – most importantly – with wonderful personalities! Your Tour Leader will ensure the entire trip goes as smoothly as possible for you. They will help make sure everything goes smoothly, ironing out any problems as they arise for you. They will also try to arrange additional things to see and do along the way. Having said all that, we may not know who your exact Tour Leader will be until a month or two prior to departure. We would be happy to let you know then though – just ask.

How much spending money should I take?

It’s hard to advise on how much money you might need to take along on this trip. You know your spending habits best. The more you have, the more you can spend (obviously), and the more fun you may have… It also depends on what is included in your specific itinerary (meals, activities and otherwise). It is a good idea to have access to more money, via an ATM or otherwise, in case you do need it – noting travellers cheques are no longer recommended. Credit cards are also a great way to go, although not always accepted in smaller shops and restaurants outside of larger centres. If you want more information and tips on money specific to this trip, please GET IN TOUCH, and we will send you a detailed one-pager overviewing it all.

Should I have money for tipping?

Tipping for good service is always recommended. About 10 – 15% in restaurants is generous, and tipping your local guides, drivers, and Tour Leader is always very appreciated, although not mandatory. As a general guideline, $10 CAD is a great tip for someone joining you for the day, and as a rough suggestion, $40 CAD per person per week is a solid tip for your guide. More than that is generous, and shows that you think they did a really great job. We hope they did!

Do I need to purchase travel insurance for the trip?

Travel insurance is a requirement of participation on all EarthTreks trips.

We do not currently offer travel insurance – so please go ahead with your own travel insurance arrangements – noting that you may already be covered – so be sure to check first!

You may have travel insurance coverage provided on the credit card you use to book your trip, through your extended workplace benefits, your CAA membership or otherwise. Be sure to explore any options you may have and if you do find you have coverage, make sure it will be adequate.

Travel insurance must cover against personal accident, death, medical expenses and emergency repatriation with a recommended minimum coverage of $200,000 CAD coverage for each of those categories. We strongly recommend that your insurance further cover trip cancellation, curtailment, personal liability, loss of luggage and personal effects.

If you have credit card insurance, we will require proof of purchase of the trip (a receipt showing your credit card number or your credit card statement), noting that the credit card must be in your name. Contact your bank for details about their participating insurer, the level of coverage and emergency contact telephone number prior to joining the trip.

If you don’t have travel insurance, you may be prevented from joining your trip. And trust us – you don’t want that to happen!

Will I need shots to travel and will there by access to health services?

EarthTreks is not qualified to provide you with medical advice of any kind. The best is to consult your family physician or a travel clinic to get the most accurate and up-to-date advice. We are able to tell you where health services can be accessed along the tour route if you need to know (just GET IN TOUCH), as some of our travels include fairly remote areas. It is important to note that our Tour Leaders are unable to provide any kind of medical assistance, administer any kind of medicine, or otherwise.

On the lighter side: there is a tremendous amount of local wisdom about natural plant-based medicines along some of our trips (particularly the Amazon). Your Tour Leader may be able to connect you with someone with such knowledge, so be sure to ask.

How safe will the trip be?

We are all about safety! All of our activities as well as the accommodations you will stay are vetted with extreme scrutiny.  Wilder activities, such as zip lining, are not even given as options. You will have to source those out in your free time. Some adrenaline sports – such as whitewater rafting or mountain biking down the tallest active volcano in the world – are included though, as we can offer them with an absolute assurance of safety.

When in any big city – pretty much anywhere in the world – it’s important to be street savvy. Heed the same advice you would anywhere when in larger urban areas. Don’t walk the streets alone late at night. Avoid dark alleys. Keep your stuff out of sight and out of reach.

We have yet to experience an incident while traveling in our small groups, as there truly is power in numbers, but it’s always a good idea to keep your eyes open, use common sense – like locking your luggage. You may also want to leave your expensive jewelry at home too, and avoid flashing wads of money in public either.

How old do you have to be to join a trip?

All travellers are required to be at least 18 years of age or be accompanied by a parent or guardian to participate in EarthTreks trips. A minimum age of 12 is required for most trips, and there is no upper age limit.

Will you pick me up at the airport?

When your arrival transfer is included in the trip price – or has been otherwise arranged in advance (always easy to do) – that means someone will be waiting for you at the airport with an EarthTreks sign with your name on it. You just need to let us know all of your flight details two or more weeks prior to arrival.

If for some reason you are unable to make your flight, please CONTACT US as soon as possible. If for some reason you were unable to find our sign upon arrival at the airport, please use the emergency contact number you were provided specific to your trip.

Just don’t panic – that’s all we ask. Someone will find you, promise.

What are the hotels EarthTreks uses like?

We use various different types of accommodations on this trip – always locally owned and operated, as a key part of our SUSTAINABILITY POLICY. The accommodations we choose are as unique as the people and places we visit – and whether it is an upgraded or budget trip. Our main criteria for choosing accommodations is… location, location location! Meaning usually – walking distance to the good stuff. It can also mean a view though. You will be informed of your joining hotel prior to departure, including contact information. Any other questions (such as if you hotel offers oxygen when visiting the higher climes of Lake Titicacac) – just GET IN TOUCH!

How many meals are included in the trip price?

Enjoying local dishes along the way is part of getting to know a culture, and a wonderful part of the experience. We have included meals in the itinerary where it makes sense and left them out when eating independently makes more sense. Either way, you can count on your Tour Leader for suggestions of both local dishes and good restaurants to try out. Details on which meals are included in your itinerary can be found in the detailed Tour Plan.

Are trips physically demanding?

Some of our trips can be very high energy and require a certain level of physical ability. Others are more relaxed. This is your vacation time, so be sure to let us know what you are looking for so that your trip is the right mix of adventure and relaxation. We have also tried to describe the activity level within the Tour Details of each trip.