Customer and staff safety is the single most important factor in everything that Explore does. We always consider the safety of our tours, and have extremely experienced Senior Management and Operations teams who know intimately the countries in which we operate. We monitor and assess the threats operating in every country as an integral part of our work.
UK Foreign Office advice
For up-to-the-minute travel updates, we liaise closely with the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) Travel Advice Unit (www.fco.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice), whose travel advice we not only follow to the letter, but discuss in detail with them. The FCO issue different types of travel warnings, which can at times include advising against travel to particular areas or countries.
Explore rigidly monitor FCO travel warnings and advice, and where it considers it appropriate to do so, may cancel tours prior to departure, or terminate, re-route or otherwise make changes to tours operating in or through the country or part of the country concerned. Any such decision made by Explore will always be made in the interests of safety and security, taking into account our 30 years of experience and unrivalled local knowledge. Occasionally we will pre-empt the FCO and decide to leave a region based on our own feedback from tour leaders or local agents on the ground. We make no apologies for this - safety always has and always will come first.
We strongly recommend that customers visit the FCO website to read the comments on the country they are planning to visit, at the time of booking and also prior to departure. The FCO website provides a travel summary for every country, together with advice on safety and security including crime and terrorism, local laws & customs, entry requirements and health, as well as general information. It also has contact details for embassies and consulates of those countries where lone parents may require extra documentation.
Staying safe - cancellation of tours
Where tours are cancelled prior to departure, Explore will offer the choice of a refund of all monies paid or an alternative tour. Where an alternative tour is taken, any price difference will then be paid by, or refunded to, the customer as appropriate.
Where tours are already operating, Explore may terminate, re-route or make other changes. The decision will be made in the light of safety and organisational/logistical considerations. Where a tour is terminated in mid-operation by Explore, we will refund such monies which relate to those parts of the tour that have not been delivered where we are able to obtain refunds from the supplier(s) concerned. Where trips have been re-routed or otherwise changed and it may reasonably be argued that the essential travel experience offered on that tour has been provided, then no refunds will apply.
Every country has its own issues with crime, and when on holiday we tend to be more vulnerable – partly due to being in a more relaxed frame of mind. It is therefore important that you are extra vigilant in areas where thieves may operate.
• Take care not to flaunt your wealth – such as jewellery, cameras, phones and computers
• If you are carrying a bag, make sure its securely fastened to you and not loosely slung over your shoulder
• Unless you are required to do so, never carry your passport and flight tickets with you on the streets, and only take as much money as you need. Your money and valuables will be much more secure in the hotel safety box. If you can, scan your important documents (such as passports) and store them on your webmail account.
On many Explore tours, we include a variety of different activities which have been thoroughly checked by us. However, some tours do also include free time for customers to do their own thing. Customers should use their discretion when considering optional activities, and safety should always be the key consideration.
Some of our tours take place at a high altitude, reaching elevations of 2500 metres or more. We allow time for acclimatisation and usually the body acclimatises well to spending extended periods of time above this altitude, however it is difficult to predict who is at risk from altitude sickness. Effects of altitude on the human body begin to appear at 1500 meters above sea level, and can lead to AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness) also known as altitude sickness. In more serious cases AMS can progress to High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) or High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE). Both HAPE and HACE are potentially fatal. It is very important therefore that all travellers are aware of, and able to recognise, signs and symptoms of altitude on their body.
Common mild symptoms include headache, fatigue, nausea, stomach illness, dizziness, sleep disturbance and shortness of breath. More serious symptoms include fever, dry cough, vomiting, bluish color on lips and fingers, difficulty breathing even when resting, lack of balance, loss of consciousness.
For those travelling with pre-existing medical conditions, we advise customers seek advice of their doctor regarding travelling in high altitude, especially travellers with heart or lung conditions, anaemia, asthma, high blood pressure or on the pill.
Your fitness and ability to participate
All Explore adventures require some level of active participation. It is in the interests of all members of the group that everyone should be capable of fully participating in the activities of their chosen tour. With this in mind, travellers should be aware, if it is felt that any customer is not able to participate in a tour without endangering the health or safety of themselves or any other person (including other group members), or that the presence of the customer on the tour means we will be unable to provide the tour in whole or part to other members of the group as advertised and contracted, the Tour Leader at any stage has the right to require them to leave the tour.
To ensure that this is never necessary, please make sure that you have fully understood the level of fitness and ability required to complete the tour on which you are booking. Tour Trip Notes are quite specific about the level of fitness and ability required on any given tour. It is your responsibility to let us know if you have any concerns related to this subject. If you have any medical condition or disability that may affect your tour arrangements in any way, you must provide us with full details at the time of booking.
In certain circumstances, usually on more strenuous tours, we may require you to provide proof of medical fitness before travelling.