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
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
What is your maximum group size?
We only cater to small groups, so 10 is our maximum, and our minimum is
Can you arrange air transportation and post- and pre-trip
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
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 email@example.com.