Cycle the Camino de Santiago Trip Notes

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Last Modified: 15 Jan 2013
Cycle the Camino de Santiago
Trip code: ZZXS
Validity: 01 Jan 2012 to 31 Mar 2013
The Camino de Santiago de Compostela across northern Spain is one of the world's oldest pilgrimage routes. For more than 1000 years pilgrims have made their way to Santiago and in 1987 it was declared the first European Culture Route. Also known as 'The Way of St James', it originated in the region of Galicia where the tomb of the Apostle James the Great was discovered in the 9th Century. It's the gothic cathedrals, mediaeval monasteries and miles of unspoiled rural scenery that make this section of the route so popular. Our ride begins in the charming city of Leon with a wealth to explore through its winding narrow streets. We then cross the Castillan plains gradually climbing to the highest point of the trip, the 'Iron Cross' (1505m), in the mountain range of Leon. Before entering the gastronomic region of Galicia we visit the beautiful village of Castillo de los Polvazares, where the strong orange coloured stone creates the fascinating local architecture. We ride through fertile valleys full of vineyards and rural country on our way to completing this ancient tradition at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.
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
StyleDeparture taxEmergency contact
ThemesImportant notesEmergency funds
MapGroup sizeVisas
ItineraryYour fellow travellersIssues on your trip
Also available to purchaseSingle travellersWhat to take
Itinerary disclaimerAccommodationHealth
Culture shock rating Meals introductionSafety
Physical ratingMealsTravel insurance
Included activitiesTransportResponsible Travel
Optional activitiesGroup leaderA couple of rules
Money ExchangeJoining point The Intrepid Foundation
Spending moneyArrival complicationsFeedback
TippingFinish point
Style
Original
  • Original trips are classic Intrepid adventures. With a mix of included activities and free time, they offer plenty of opportunities to explore at your own pace and take part in activities that really get beneath the skin of a destination. While the occasional meal may be included, you'll have the freedom to seek out your own culinary adventures. Accommodation is generally budget or tourist class (2-3 star), but you're as likely to find yourself as a guest of a local family as staying in a hotel or camping. Transport will vary as well. Depending on the destination and the itinerary you could find yourself travelling on anything from a camel to a train or a private safari vehicle. It's all part of the adventure! Original travellers have a desire to make the most of their travel time and really get to know a place, its people and cultures.
Themes
Cycling
Map
Cycle the Camino de Santiago
Itinerary
Day 1 Leon
We may have time to visit the city's beautiful gothic cathedral and stroll around its charming winding narrow streets.
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 2 Astorga
We head into the countryside riding across the plains of Castilla through cultivated countryside and quaint villages, with adobe houses and wine caves. We will take lunch in Hospital del Orbigo and on entering the village we cross a stunning mediaeval bridge (one of the longest pilgrimage bridges in Spain). We then ride the final 15km to the beautiful walled town of Astorga, with views of the mountains of Leon in the distance. 48 km
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 3 Molinaseca
Today's ride is the most beautiful of the trip as we leave the Castillan plains behind and climb gradually into the mountains of Leon to the Monte de la Cruz de Ferro (1505m). En route we pass through Castrillo de los Polvazares, known for its very special architecture created by strong orange coloured stone. After lunching in the charming mountain village of Acebo (the main street is a straight line of beautiful balconied houses) we enjoy the rest of our descent into Molinaseca, with stunning views of the surrounding valley. 46 km
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 4 O'Cebreiro
The highlight today is the ride to the beautiful town of Villafranca with stunning views across the green valleys of Galicia and wooded mountains of Leon. After the first easy and mainly flat 25km we have a short climb to Villafranca, which is worth a look for its many monuments and picturesque town square. Once we reach the bottom of the valley on the foothills of Monte de O'Cebreiro we will have a rest before our final push to the top of the mountain and the small village of O'Cebreiro. Here we will be able to appreciate wonderful views of the valleys that surround this peak and admire the charming slate roofed black houses. 60km
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 5 Sarria
As we enter Galicia the landscape changes dramatically and the area is populated by a number of traditional agricultural villages. Each family has small plots of land, which they cultivate for their own vegetables and we will pass by many of the locals working the land and tending to their cattle. As well as a change in culture, landscape and language, the gastronomy of Galicia is famous for using products of high quality and preparing them in simple and not elaborate, but delicious ways. Before ending the day at Sarria there is time to visit one of the oldest monasteries in Spain at Samos. 50km
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 6 Palas de Rei
Today's ride runs through beautiful rural Galician countryside and along tree-lined paths to the town of Portomarin, which was rebuilt on a hilltop in the 1950s in order to construct a reservoir. After trying the local speciality of octopus we head to Palas de Rei, a small town full of the pilgrim spirit. 54km
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 7-8 Santiago de Compostela
Our final day involves a number of short ascents and descents as far as Monte de Gozo, where we take in our first views of the towers of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. As the pilgrims have done for centuries, we wind our way through the city's streets and crowds to Plaza del Obradoiro, dominated by the impressive Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. We then move onto the Pilgrim's Office for those who wish to obtain the 'compostela' (certificate of accomplishment). 67 km
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.
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Also available to purchase
For many of our trips we have other services or experiences that are also available to purchase to extend your trip or to make your holiday a little easier. Below is a list of other travel products you can purchase in conjunction with this trip.
  • ZZXS Bicycle Hire (ZZXS)
    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

    This trip will raise your heartbeat. Moderate physical activities are included and a good level of fitness is required.
    This trip is ideal for occasional cyclists who exercise regularly.
    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
    BIKE HIRE:
    If you need to hire a bike please let us know at time of booking. Your sales consultant will be able to provide you with the cost for bike hire.
    CYCLING PROFILE:
    Average daily distance: 54km (33 miles)
    No. of days cycling: 6
    Vehicle support: 75% - vehicle cannot follow the group on some sections.
    Terrain and route: 50% on quiet minor roads, 50% cycle paths, non-technical tracks and a short off road sections. Some long climbs are to be expected.
    The riding is generally undemanding and on a mixture of quiet minor roads, cycle paths and non-technical tracks. As we are passing through rural communities the roads are quiet with very little traffic, however you will be sharing the route with a number of walkers and cyclists all on their way to Santiago de Compostela.
    There is one long but gradual climb on the second cycling day of the trip and one steep 8 km climb on the third cycling day, but the support vehicle will be on hand if you prefer to opt out. Alternatively, there is the opportunity to walk along the hiking track. There are a few cobbled sections where you should take care, particularly in wet conditions.
    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.
    LOCAL PARTNER:
    This trip is operated by our trusted local partners, Exodus.
    SPANISH SIESTA:
    Please note that shops, attractions, sights and businesses may be closed for up to 5 hours in the middle of the day for siesta time. This gives the locals time to escape the heat and spend time with their families, eat a large lunch or simply sleep through the most uncomfortable time of day. This means of course that people work later into the evening and dinner time can seem quite late: 9.30pm is not uncommon for family dinner time.
    One of the great things about our trips is that we encourage every member of the group to spend time interacting with local people. In order to best be able to do this in Spain, we recommend that you try to do as the locals do - avoid the heat of the day, and stay out later at night.
    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 room (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
    Hotel (7 nts)
    OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION
    The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.
    TWIN SHARE / MULTI SHARE BASIS
    Accommodation on this trip is on a twin/multishare basis. Please note there may be times where facilities will be shared rather than ensuite and rare occasions when you share a room with passengers travelling on different Intrepid trips than your own.
    CHECK-IN TIME
    Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.
    PRE/POST TRIP ACCOMMODATION
    If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.
    In the smaller villages we will use characterful family-run casa rurales and in larger towns we will be accommodated in larger hotels. All will have en suite facilities and will be beside the actual Camino de Santiago.
    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
    7 Breakfasts
    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 300.00
    There are some basic breakfasts included on this trip which may simply include bread/toast or pastries, butter, jam, coffee/tea/juice (or similar.). However, there are generally opportunities to stop for a beverage or a snack along the way.
    Vegetarians should be aware that a meat and fish diet is the norm some areas of Spain. Most vegetarians have not experienced problems, however please be prepared to be flexible.
    Mealtimes in Spain are later than in many other countries; dinner is usually taken between 21:00 and 21.30.
    Transport
    Minibus, Bicycle, Support vehicle
    Whilst cycling the vehicle will carry your baggage and be on hand with assistance or if you choose to 'sit out' a section of the ride. A guide cycles with the group.
    Group leader
    There will be a local leader and drivers and local guides where needed.
    Joining point
    Leon
    Leon
    SPAIN
    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
    Santiago de Compostela
    Santiago de Compostela
    SPAIN
    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.
    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
    LOCAL BIKE HIRE:
    Orbea Dakar (mountain bikes) with 24 gears £90, paid on booking.'In-country' bike hire should be arranged at the time of booking, and the cost will be added to your invoice. Please note that in a few locations, there may be a limited number of bikes available locally. On the rare occasion there is not a bike available, we will inform you of this prior to departure. You would then be required to either bring your own, or hire one in the UK, see below for details.
    BRINGING YOUR OWN BIKE:
    Many people choose to bring their own bikes on our trips. If you wish to bring your own bike, please note that we cannot guarantee against small scratches and paintwork damage involved in the loading and unloading from support vehicles.
    For more detailed information on bringing a bike from the UK (hired from Exodus, or your own), Information Sheet MBX will be sent to you on booking. This can also be found on our website at: www.exodus.co.uk/assets/pdf/MBX.pdf
    EXTRA BIKE BITS:
    You may like to bring your own pedals and saddle (excluding the seat post) or gel saddle cover to fit to the hire bikes. "We encourage this, if it is your preference. However, please note that you are responsible for your own equipment, and removing your saddle/pedals at the end of the trip. We cannot guarantee the return of any bike parts left behind.
    HELMETS & SAFETY:
    Exodus believes that all cyclists should wear helmets in the interests of personal safety, and our leaders are required to do so at all times on all trips. Customers must wear helmets at all times on any 'off-road' cycling holiday and certain 'road'
    cycling trip (where this is applicable it is clearly stated in these Trip Notes).
    On most road cycling holidays, wearing a helmet is strongly recommended, but we accept that some customers will want to exercise their own choice in this matter. Those who decide not to wear a helmet do so entirely at their own risk, and in the knowledge that some 'road' trips may include some 'off-road' sections. If wishing to use a helmet you must bring your own with you as they are not available for hire.
    Cycling of all kinds has its dangers and accidents can happen from time to time. Please ensure that you are properly prepared for the riding you are going to undertake.
    CLIMATE, CLOTHING & EQUIPMENT:
    In April and October expect temperatures in the 40-60F/ 5-15ºC with high chance of rain showers though it could also be simply partly cloudy and more temperate. Temperatures in May and September tend to be about 10F/5ºC warmer than April and October. Expect a combination of sun, showers and clouds. July and August are typically sunny and warm (60-80F/15-25ºC).
    You are required to bring the following personal items, which we view as crucial for the health and safety of our clients:
    - a helmet
    - eye-protection (sunglasses)
    - cycling gloves
    - waterbottles or hydration system (e.g. camelbak).
    Padded cycling shorts (with loose 'over-shorts' where recommended), breathable clothing, and a lightweight waterproof/windproof top. Shoes with relatively stiff soles are better for biking, but are not essential unless you are cycling long distances. Most people want to carry certain items with them during the day while cycling, for this we recommend a large bum-bag or small closefitting daysack. Gloves and shorts, spare inner tube (unless hiring a bike), waterproof jacket, sun cream and lip salve, sunglasses/eye protection, warm jacket for evenings, small daysack and your favourite energy snacks may all be useful.
    Equipment provided includes mudguards, a bottle cage and one large rear pannier bag.
    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! This is so important to us that we'll give you 5% off the price of your next trip if your feedback is completed online within 4 weeks of finishing your trip.