One of the best resources for information regarding your next adventure destination is the U.S. State Department. Here you will find general information about travel abroad, passports, country information for your destination, and travel warnings. Visit the U.S. State Department here.
Many destinations require that travelers obtain entry visas. We recommend the use of Zierer Visa Services.
Heightened security in airports has become standard around the world. Familiarizing yourself with TSA restrictions and following these in all countries will help ensure a problem-free experience. Be sure to pay close attention to any restrictions/allowances for medications (such as insulin). View TSA restrictions here.
While on tour, carry photocopies of your passport, visas, and airline tickets, and at least two extra passport-sized photographs in a separate location from your actual passport. Should you lose your original documentation, this will help speed replacement.
Our tours tend to have very full itineraries. You can expect to be "on the go" from early morning until dinner. Access requirements for people with disabilities are not the same as here in the U.S. Please work with your physician to ensure you are physically able to participate in all aspects of the tour you are considering, and make the tour operator aware of any physical limitations you may have. They will be able to determine what may be available to accommodate your needs.
Common colds and intestinal distress can quickly affect the enjoyment of your adventure. Pack enough vitamins and medications that you normally take for common ailments (colds, allergies, upset stomachs, motion sickness, headaches, etc.) as the drugs you are familiar with may not be readily available in the country you are visiting. Bring enough of a supply of all prescription medications you take regularly. Ensure you bring enough to last the entire trip, including unexpected delays. All prescription medications need to be in their original packaging.
Travel health is a great concern. For up-to-date information regarding immunization requirements and suggested prophylactic medications for your destination, visit the Centers for Disease Control. Be sure to work with your personal physician to determine what is best for your personal health concerns.
WorldWild Tours provides emergency medical and evacuation insurance for all of its tour participants at no additional cost. We highly recommend that all of our travelers purchase additional insurance coverage, including supplemental medical, lost luggage, and trip cancellation insurance. Purchase additional coverage through Travel Insurance Services here.
Be advised that most foreign medical providers do not accept payment through an insurance company. In the event of a medical emergency, you may be required to pay cash for any services you incur and then file a claim with your insurance company for reimbursement. Check with your insurance company to determine the extent of your coverage and any territorial exclusions.
Travelers who only have Medicare coverage should seriously consider purchasing additional coverage since most Medicare policies do not cover medical expenses outside the U.S. You may purchase additional coverage through Travel Insurance Services here.
Be sure to check the plugs, voltages, and currents in the country you will be visiting. The U.S. uses 110 volts. Other countries vary from 220 to 230 or 240 volts. To check voltage and converter/adapters you may need for your tour, visit: Voltage Valet.
Our tours are casual. No sports coats, ties, or dresses are needed or required. We highly recommend you leave valuables (such as jewelry) at home.
Many of our tours have strict in-country baggage restrictions well below the restrictions of international flights. This has presented a challenge for many travelers as they begin to plan their packing needs. Over the years, many tips and tricks of "packing light" have been shared by our travelers for these in-country flights:
• Carry your toiletries, camera equipment, and one change of clothes in your carry-on bag. In some countries, carry-on bags are not weighed or considered in the "luggage" allotment.
• Plan to wear each of your outfits more than once while on the tour to help conserve luggage space, and use a laundry service each time it is available.
• Wear your heavier clothing items (jackets and hiking boots) for flights when possible to help reduce the weight of your luggage.
• Check availability of hair dryers at the hotels. This way you don't have to bring your own.
• Leave behind books you may finish during the trip, as well as old shoes/ clothes, etc., once you no longer need them. This will free up room in your luggage for souvenirs when you head home!
Currency conversion websites can be a very useful tool to determine how much cash you may need during your trip: www.xe.com will give you up-to-date conversion rates. The site also has a currency converter program to help process calculations.
Tips are always at your discretion and useful suggested tipping charts are included in tour final documents for guidance. Some travelers find it helpful to separate their tips into envelopes before leaving on their trip—this way all their tip money is already separated from their spending money. Travelers Checks are no longer readily accepted around the world and can be hard to cash even at hotels. Use your credit card as much as possible, which will reduce the amount of cash you will need to carry. Be sure to notify your credit card company that you will be traveling and what dates and destinations you will be visiting. Also check to see if they will charge any transaction or conversion fees. It is also important to let them know if you have a spouse who uses the same account but is not going on the trip with you. This will help reduce any problems, such as if the company suspects fraudulent charges and freezes your account.
Many times you will receive a better exchange rate when you exchange money upon arrival in the country you are visiting. However, it is a good idea to have a small amount of money already exchanged. Through Travelex, you can order money and have it delivered right to your home before you leave on your trip! Visit Travelex online.
Since 1991, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has worked with zoological institutions to educate travelers and raise awareness about the devastation caused by the illegal wildlife trade worldwide. Tourists to other countries need to understand why biodiversity is so important and how their souvenir buying habits can contribute to conservation. Working in conjunction with the World Wildlife Fund, the USFWS developed an informative brochure, "Buyer Beware!" Download PDF Here.
• Have a plan for spending your time on the long international flight. Example: Board, eat dinner, watch a movie (or two), and then plan to sleep. Having a plan can help you relax and pass the time more easily. Also, be sure to get up and move around or stretch during the flight.
• Don't drink the local water! Bottled water is always readily available during tours. Stay hydrated with water you know is safe to consume. Also, in some countries you will even need to brush your teeth using bottled water. Avoid cold drinks, such as iced tea, or those made with ice cubes, as these can be unsafe to drink. You may have to avoid salads, as they are washed in local water, or many fruits as well.
• Take a washcloth with you. When you arrive at your hotel, place your washcloth over the faucet in the bathroom. This will serve as a reminder to you not to drink or use the water from the faucet to brush your teeth.
• Do not feel you have to do it ALL. Taking an evening off or skipping a group meal so you can have some personal time is just fine. Be sure to communicate this to your national guide and your Zoo escort so that no one worries about you.
• Never, ever, go with a vendor, child, or any person who may want to show you "a good deal" or items for sale. There have been cases of travelers being mugged or being unable to easily leave once following someone down an alley or to the back of a building. Nothing you can buy is worth putting yourself at risk!
• Purchase your film and digital memory cards in the U.S. They may be available in the country you visit but tend to be more expensive—and you don't want to miss that shot of a lifetime because you ran out of film or memory. A good rule of thumb is to guess how many photos you will take and then double it!
• When exploring on your own, take a card from your hotel with you when you leave the hotel. If you get lost, you can always hand the card to a taxi driver and have them take you back there.
• Cell phone service will vary by destination. Check with your service provider to see if they have coverage in the area you are visiting and ensure you have a plan that allows international calling or data transfer. You will also want to check with them about your phone's restrictions: while some service providers have overseas coverage, not all of their phones will work out of the U.S.
• When visiting destinations such as China or Africa, carry a tissue pack in your day bag, just in case you have to use an "eastern style" toilet or "go in the bush."
• Use hotel safes (if available) to store any valuables, including cash and documents, and always close and lock your bags when left in your room.