Mont Blanc Circuit Trip Notes

Traverse over dramatic passes, through flower-filled alpine meadows, beneath glaciers and pass through France, Italy and Switzerland on this rewarding walking adventure around the awe-inspiring Mont Blanc Circuit.

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Last Modified: 15 Jan 2013
Mont Blanc Circuit
Trip code: AZXM
Validity: 01 Jan 2012 to 31 Mar 2013
While some of our competitors offer shorter versions of this itinerary, experience has taught us that 15 days is the ideal duration in which to truly appreciate this iconic trek. With the perfect balance of 10 days trekking and 3 rest days, our itinerary allows you not only complete the circuit, but also to enjoy some optional activities, further exploration or to simply relax along the way. The Tour du Mont Blanc itself links the seven valleys that surround western Europe's highest mountain, offering an unusual variety of spectacular scenery and varied walks. The route crosses three borders (from France into Switzerland, then into Italy and back to France), climbs over six passes, traverses beneath huge glaciers, and meanders through beautiful alpine meadows and picture-book villages. Lead by our qualified International Mountain Leader (IML), we are rewarded with dramatic views of some of the Alps most beautiful peaks; Mont Blanc (4810m), Aiguille Verte (4122m), Les Drus, Grand Jorasses and many more. To lighten our load our baggage is transported between each hotel by support vehicle, leaving us free to enjoy the inspiring scenery found only on this classic trek.
The operator for this trip is our experienced sister company Exodus. Your group will therefore be a mixture of Intrepid booked passengers and other international like-minded travellers.
Table of Contents
StyleImportant notesEmergency contact
ThemesGroup sizeEmergency funds
MapYour fellow travellersVisas
ItinerarySingle travellersIssues on your trip
Itinerary disclaimerAccommodationWhat to take
Culture shock rating Meals introductionHealth
Physical ratingMealsSafety
Included activitiesTransportTravel insurance
Optional activitiesGroup leaderResponsible Travel
Money ExchangeJoining point A couple of rules
Spending moneyJoining point instructionsThe Intrepid Foundation
TippingArrival complicationsFeedback
Departure taxFinish point
Style
Basix
  • The best value journeys on the planet! On a Basix trip you can expect amazing experiences, but none of the inclusions that you may not want. Which means budget (1-2 star) accommodation, plenty of free time, activities that are optional and the freedom to choose meals to suit your budget. On some trips you may be camping and required to set up your own tent. You'll also have access to a group leader to offer advice and help you uncover the region's hidden gems. On a Basix journey, the way you travel is all a part of the adventure. Depending on the destination and the itinerary, you could find yourself travelling on anything from a donkey to a bus or a private safari vehicle. These trips are ideal for first-time travellers seeking fun and independence with the support of a group leader. They're also ideal for independent travellers looking to make the most of their travel time with minimum hassle and maximum experiences.
Themes
Walking
Map
Mont Blanc Circuit
Itinerary
Day 1 Les Bossons
Arrive at any time today and join the group at the campsite at Les Bossons, just outside of Chamonix. Our campsite has wonderful views of Mont Blanc and the dramatic crevassed Glacier des Bossons, especially at sunset. This evening there will be an introductory briefing by the trek crew.
Accommodation
Camping (with basic facilities) (1 nt)
Day 2 Les Frasserands
From Les Bossons (1,012m) we have a short bus journey to Chamonix from where we take the téléférique to Plan Praz (1,999 m). The trail today is named the 'Grand Balcon' and is on the opposite side of the valley from Mont Blanc, affording excellent views of the whole massif lying to our south. Initially we contour and then climb to reach the high point of the day, Lac Blanc (2,352 m). The trail descends and then contours high above the valley before dropping steeply to the hamlet of Les Frasserands (1,371m).
Accommodation
Camping (with basic facilities) (1 nt)
Day 3 Trient
We begin by climbing steeply to the Aiguillette de Posettes (2201m), descend a little and then ascend to the Col de Balme (2,191m) where we walk across the border from France to Switzerland. Excellent views all morning of Aiguille d'Argentiere and Aiguille du Tour and its glacier. After lunch we descend past the shepherds' huts at 'Les Herbagères' to the small hamlet of Trient (1,296m). Good views of the Trient Glacier.
Accommodation
Camping (with basic facilities) (1 nt)
Day 4 Champex
This is a longer walking day. We climb first to the Col de Forclaz (1,525m) from where we can look directly down into the Rhône valley and the Swiss town of Martigny. Following the 'Bovine route' (1,986m) we walk through high alpine pastures to the charming town of Champex (1,486m) set beside a picturesque alpine lake.
Accommodation
Camping (with basic facilities) (1 nt)
Day 5 La Fouly
Now on the east side of the main Mont Blanc massif we walk south, descending through woods to the Val Ferret and on to Issert (1,055m) and other small, pretty alpine farming villages. This is also quite a good day for flowers earlier in the season, including orchids. We continue up the valley to La Fouly (1,593m). This lies at the foot of Mt. Dolent, whose summit marks the meeting point of France, Switzerland and Italy.
Accommodation
Camping (with basic facilities) (1 nt)
Days 6-7 Planpincieux
Still following the same valley and the river 'La Drance', we pass the hamlet of Ferret and then climb to the 'Grand Col Ferret' (2,536m), the highest pass on the trek. We have stunning views from the pass of the south side of the Mont Blanc massif particularly of the Grandes Jorasses. Now in Italy, the valley is also called 'Val Ferret', and we continue down to Planpincieux (1,600m).
The following day is a free day.
The nearby ex-spa towns of Courmayeur and Entrèves have picturesque older sections, which are worth a visit, especially for the keen photographer. There is a téléphérique from Entrèves to Point Helbronner (3,461m) and on across the glacier to Aiguille du Midi (and in fact on down to Chamonix). This is a splendid (optional) excursion, which gives close-up views of all the big peaks.
Optional Activities
  • Bus to Courmayeur - EUR2
Accommodation
Camping (with basic facilities) (2 nts)
Day 8 Courmayeur
We climb steeply from the valley to Mont de la Saxe (2,346m). The views of the south Mont Blanc massif are exceptional as are those of the towering and rocky peak 'Grandes Jorasses' and the glaciers which crowd the northern flank of the Val Ferret. Look for reflections of the mountains in small ponds along the ridge on early season treks. This is also a particularly good day for wild flowers. We make a longish steep descent initially on an old mule track to Courmayeur (1,230m) from where we take a short bus ride into the spectacular Val Veny.
Accommodation
Camping (with basic facilities) (1 nt)
Day 9 Les Chapieux
The trail climbs gently along the Val Veny beneath the moraine of the massive glacier du Miage and passes Lac Combal before the gradient becomes steeper as we follow the old Roman road across today's pass, the 'Col de la Seigne' (2,516m), marking our re-entry into France. A fairly steep descent brings us through La Ville des Glaciers (1,789m) and finally to Les Chapieux (1,553m), a small hamlet which is only inhabited in the summer months. This is one of the longer walking days.
Accommodation
Camping (with basic facilities) (1 nt)
Days 10-11 Val Montjoie
We have now reached the southwest corner of the circuit and turn north to climb once again. First we make a steep climb to the Col de la Croix du Bonhomme (2,478m) and then contour around to the Col du Bonhomme (2,328m). We then descend (again on a Roman road) into the Val Montjoie.
The following day is free to explore.
There are short and long optional walks in the area. Time can be spent visiting the half day market in Les Contamines, or simply relax around the town.
Accommodation
Camping (with basic facilities) (2 nts)
Day 12 Chamonix Valley
We walk through Les Contamines, ascend to Chalets du Truc (1,720m) and then descend to the Chalets de Miage (1,560m). From here we take the trail that climbs steeply to the Col de Tricot (2,119m) before descending very close to the snout of the Glacier de Bionnassay. Good views of the north of Mont Blanc massif. Eventually we make another short ascent to reach the Col de Voza (1,652m) where we re-enter the Chamonix Valley and descend to the village of Les Houches (993m).
Accommodation
Camping (with basic facilities) (1 nt)
Days 13-15 Les Bossons
We cross to the north side of the Chamonix valley and climb through pine forest. The high point of the day is Brevent (2,525m) from where there are panoramic views of the Mont Blanc Massif and the Chamonix valley. We descend to Plan Praz and then descend by téléférique to Chamonix and then on to Les Bossons and to our original campsite (1,021m). This is a long walking day but probably affords the best views of Mont Blanc and its neighbours that we will have on the whole trek.
The next day is free in Les Bossons.
There are several good walks around Chamonix. There are also spectacular (optional) excursions by téléphérique or mountain railway. Other optional activities in the area include tandem paragliding, canyoning and mountain biking.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time. Please check the 'Finishing Point Hotel' section for checkout times and luggage storage possibilities.
Optional Activities
  • Teleferique to Aiguille du Midi - EUR41
Accommodation
Camping (with basic facilities) (2 nts)
      Itinerary disclaimer
      Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. For the latest updated Trip Notes please visit our website: www.intrepidtravel.com
      Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route.
      Culture shock rating

      At times local life here will be familiar to that of back home, and at times very different. Services are available most of the time, English may not be the native language, and there may be some cultural differences.
      Physical rating

      Be prepared for some serious physical activity. The majority of activities included on this trip will be challenging. The fitter you are, the more you'll enjoy your holiday.
      Included activities
      Included activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary, all other activities are optional and at your own expense. If you choose not to participate in the included activities on this itinerary, the cost will not be refunded.
      Optional activities
      A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are for entrance only and don't include transport costs to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. Optional activities aren't necessarily endorsed or recommended by Intrepid nor included in price of this trip. If you do any optional activities, you do so at your own risk and it must be clearly understood that your participation is your own decision and doesn't form part of your contract with Intrepid. You may be required to sign/complete a waiver form or a receipt for some optional activities.
      Money Exchange
      The Euro (EUR) is the official currency in the following destinations: Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain. All other European countries still have their own national currencies.
      The most convenient and cheapest way to acquire money is via an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) or Bancomat as they are often referred to. Check with your bank in advance concerning the suitability of your account / card overseas and any international fees that will be applied.
      You can obtain local currencies easily at airports and major train stations, but be sure to bring some extra emergency cash in a major currency that can be exchanged if the ATMs are not functioning.
      When leaving home don't forget your PIN and make sure you know the telephone number for cancelling your card if it is stolen. Keep this in a safe place.
      Credit cards are not always accepted in stores and restaurants. While travelling we recommend you carry some cash to pay for restaurant bills and other services. Change can be difficult to obtain so throughout the day, try to gain as many small denominations as you can.
      You might be advised to take some of your money as travellers' cheques from a major financial institute. Travellers' cheques have security advantages, however please be aware that the exchange rates may not be favourable and that it is difficult to change Travellers' cheques in most countries. Be particularly aware that after hours money exchanges and hotel receptions carry high commissions- sometimes up to 20%.
      For money safety we recommend that you carry your cash and credit cards in a secure money belt or pouch concealed under your clothes.
      Spending money
      Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
      Tipping
      If you're happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. Please note we recommend that any tips are given directly to the intended recipient by a member of your group as our group leaders are prohibited from collecting cash for tips.
      The following amounts are based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:
      Restaurants: Local markets and basic restaurants - leave the loose change. More up-market restaurants we suggest 5% to 10% of your bill.
      Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your leader. We suggest EUR1-2 per person per day for local guides.
      Your Group Leader: You may also consider tipping your leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline EUR3 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
      Departure tax
      All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.
      Important notes
      TRIP PROFILE:
      10 days walking
      Although some of the days are quite long, often involving an ascent of 900 - 1000m followed by a similar descent, the paths are well maintained and there is very little rough terrain underfoot. This trek is graded as a B/C as several of the walking days (especially the last two) are greater than walking up and down Scafell Pike or Ben Nevis.
      This trek is based on the 'supported camping' concept, with a vehicle doing all the hard work of transporting luggage, equipment and supplies.
      Whilst camping you are expected to erect and dismantle your own tent (these are modern pop up style tents that are very easy and quick to erect and dismantle) and the whole group generally helps to load the support vehicle on the days when we move camp. On 1/2 of the nights we eat in camp, you should expect to help with the washing up.
      LOCAL PARTNER:
      This trip is operated by our trusted local partners, Exodus.
      AGE RESTRICTIONS:
      The minimum age of clients on this trip is 16 years. Please note that teenagers aged 16 or 17 must be accompanied by (and share accommodation with) a parent or legal guardian.
      Group size
      Maximum of 16 travellers per group.
      Your fellow travellers
      As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part.
      Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure. However you can download Intrepid's FREE Meet Up app to chat with your fellow travellers before your trip. Meet up, discuss your upcoming trip and share the excitement of planning for your adventure. For more information visit:
      www.intrepidtravel.com/meetup
      Single travellers
      Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.
      A single supplement is available on this trip, please refer to your booking agent for further information.
      Accommodation
      Camping (with basic facilities) (14 nts)
      We use roomy, easy to erect, two person tents, staying wherever possible (which is almost everywhere) at comfortable campsites with modern facilities, hot showers, electricity to recharge batteries etc. To make the route sensible it is necessary to camp rough on two occasions. Facilities at these rough camps are minimal with public toilets and cold running water only. There are no showers at the rough camps.
      Meals introduction
      While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. On our camping trips we often cook the region's specialities so you don't miss out. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though.
      Meals
      14 Breakfasts, 10 Lunches, 13 Dinners
      Please budget for additional meals and expenses while on your trip. Our suggestion is based on past traveller feedback but you may choose to spend more or less.
      EUR 275.00
      TYPICAL MEALS:
      Breakfast: Will usually consist of coffee, tea, cereal, yoghurt, fresh fruit, bread, and conserves.
      Lunch: Picnic style lunches will normally include bread, cold meat, cheese, sometimes boiled eggs or tinned fish, fresh salad vegetables and fresh fruit.
      Evening meal: Whether in camp or in a nearby restaurant will consist of, a first course of soup, salad or charcuterie, a main course of meat with one or two vegetables or rice or pasta and a dessert course. Beer, wine, bottled water, coffee, tea or other drinks are not included in the price of evening meals taken in restaurants. Coffee and tea are included with the evening meal when we eat in camp and beer and wine are also available for purchase at a modest cost. Please be aware that, as this is a camping trek, cooking facilities are necessarily limited.
      Restaurant meals are usually arranged as a 'menu' for the whole group and as they are based on special negotiations made by us represent better value than eating independently.
      VEGETARIANS:
      We do make an effort to cater for vegetarian diets but you should not expect the variety of food that you may have at home. In Europe most hotels and restaurants are not geared up to provide separate vegetarian menus, especially smaller establishments in the mountains. Vegetarians will usually find that there is little difficulty, as long as they are prepared to be reasonably flexible.
      Transport
      Cable car
      All transport mentioned in the itinerary and téléphériques (except where these are marked as optional) are included. Transport and excursions on the three static days are not included.
      Group leader
      There will be a local leader and drivers and local guides where needed.
      We provide a walking leader to escort the group on each walking day plus a support driver.
      Joining point
      Camping Les Marmottes
      140, Chemin des Doux
      Les Bossons
      FRANCE
      Joining point instructions
      Chamonix is easy to reach by train or alternatively it is possible to get a train direct to Les Bossons. The campsite is a short walk from the station. Timetables and fares are only published 3 months before departure.
      If flying into Geneva it is very easy to book a shared minibus transfer with a local company and you should do this at least a week before your departure date. A shared transfer (with others who have booked with them also) can be as little as €25 one way if booked in advance with our a company such as Mountain Drop Offs. Book on their website - www.mountaindropoffs.com and quote the following promotional code EXO13.
      Those arriving/departing on non-group flights can join the group transfer free of charge (by prior arrangement only) if your flight arrives before or, at the end of the holiday, departs after the group flight. Please speak to our sales team for more information.
      Pre and post accommodation is available for this trip, however it will be at the Richemond Hotel rather than at the campsite. It is easy to get a taxi from the hotel to the campsite.
      Arrival complications
      We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your group trip as scheduled, please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your group leader.
      If you have pre-booked an airport transfer (where available) and have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the starting point hotel, following the Joining Instructions in these Trip Notes. Should this occur, please apply to your travel agent for a refund of the transfer cost on your return.
      No refund is available on missed transfers or portions of your trip owing to a different flight arrival or delayed flight arrival. Any additional cost incurred in order to meet up with your group is at your own expense.
      Finish point
      Camping Les Marmottes
      140, Chemin des Doux
      Les Bossons
      FRANCE
      Emergency contact
      In the case of genuine crisis or emergency please call our partner EXODUS on their 24 HOUR EMERGENCY NUMBER Tel: +44 (0) 1582 644 100.
      For all other enquiries please contact our Reservations department which is open 24 hours, 6 days per week. For further contact details please use the following page:
      Emergency funds
      Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$400, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
      Visas
      Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.
      We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.
      EUROPEAN COUNTRIES ON THIS TRIP (EXCLUDING RUSSIA, UKRAINE, TURKEY):
      Australia: No - Not required
      Belgium: No - Not required
      Canada: No - Not required
      Germany: No - Not required
      Ireland: No - Not required
      Netherlands: No - Not required
      New Zealand: No - Not required
      South Africa: Yes - in advance
      Switzerland: No - Not required
      UK: No - Not required
      USA: No - Not required
      Issues on your trip
      While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.
      We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.
      You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
      What to take
      What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage and although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes), we recommend keeping the weight under 10kg / 22lb.
      Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.
      You can find Intrepid's Ultimate Packing List on our website. It should be used as a guide only and isn't intended to be a complete packing list.
      CLIMATE & CLOTHING:
      From late June to early October fair weather is to be expected, but all mountain ranges create their own weather patterns and the Alps are no exception. It can and does rain and especially on the high passes it can be surprisingly cold at times. Expected daytime temperatures are in the range of 15 to 25ºC in the valleys (although it can sometimes reach 30ºC in July/August), 5 to 15ºC on the passes (though it will feel colder if wet and windy) and 5 to 15ºC in the valley at night; possibly a little lower early and late in the season. There is always the possibility of snow, even in August, and in September trips may find snow on the passes. Please note that on late season treks (September) the days are shorter and we will need to make early starts to make the most of the available daylight hours.
      You will need the following:
      - Walking boots (trainers are not an alternative)
      - Good quality waterproof and windproof jacket and over trousers
      - Daysack of 30-40 litre capacity
      - Hat and gloves (even in August)
      - Warm 2/3 season fleece jacket and torch
      CAMPING EQUIPMENT:
      All camping equipment is provided except for your own sleeping bag and mat: the equipment we use is of a high standard and includes easy to erect, roomy two person tents, dining tent, stools, lighting, all pots, pans, stoves, crockery and utensils. The support vehicle carries the camping equipment and your luggage from campsite to campsite whilst on the trek for all days. The support driver collects fresh supplies of food each day and will normally have the dining tent up and the kettle on by the time the walkers arrive in the afternoon.
      You will need to bring:
      - 3 (preferably 4) season sleeping bag
      - Sleeping mat
      - Walking boots (trainers are not an alternative)
      - Good quality waterproof and windproof jacket and over trousers
      - Daysack of 30-40 litre capacity
      - Hat and gloves (even in August)
      - Warm 2/3 season fleece jacket and torch
      WATER BOTTLE:
      Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion ends up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. Although it can be difficult to avoid bottled water when travelling, please consider water purification techniques such as iodine or micropur and use the water dispensers which are provided at some of our accommodation. When unable to avoid bottled water it is better to buy the largest available and distribute into your smaller bottle for the day
      Health
      All Intrepid travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.
      You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.
      Safety
      Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.
      We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
      Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your group leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.
      For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:
      FIRE PRECAUTIONS:
      Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.
      TRAFFIC AND DRIVING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD:
      Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware!
      PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY:
      While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.
      Travel insurance
      Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
      When travelling on a group trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.
      If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
      Please go to our website for links to various travel insurance providers:
      Responsible Travel
      We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller:
      In general, there are few dress restrictions in Europe. Note when visiting churches that modest dress is required - shorts or skimpy tops may not be permitted.
      A couple of rules
      Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
      The Intrepid Foundation
      Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.
      The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$5,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your group leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:
      Feedback
      After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.
      Remember that once you’ve left your feedback you’ll automatically be entered into our monthly draw for a US$500 (or equivalent in your local currency) travel voucher.