Frequently Asked Questions

Have a question? Below are answers to some of most Frequently Asked Questions. If the answer you are looking for is not there, please feel free to call or email us.

After I make a booking, what happens?

When you make your booking and pay your deposit we send you a confirmation letter, booking form (where you complete your essential information) and travel insurance information

Three months prior to travel (four months for some tours) you will receive a comprehensive letter from us that provides additional information about your tour. At this time we will also send you the visa forms to be completed and returned with your passport. One month prior to travel you will receive some additional information including the day by day activities you can expect whilst on tour.

Two weeks prior to travel you will receive your air tickets and travel documents including your passport with the necessary visas inside. Of course your appointed Tour Sales Consultant, or anyone within our office, is always available to answer any questions you may have.

Are all meals included?

We include all of your meals – each breakfast, lunch and dinner. On a number of occasions on most tours we offer dine-around evenings, where you can select from a choice of restaurants and dine from the a la carte menu. At other times we may have dinners that feature regional entertainment.

Do you include alcoholic drinks with meals?

Wine, beer and soft drink are included at all lunches and dinners.

Can I elect to travel on only part of a tour?

Captain's Choice tours are designed to be experienced in their entirety. However, on occasions, there may bet opportunity to take only part of the tour. This varies for each tour, please contact us for further details.

Can I extend my trip at either the start or the end of the tour?

Yes, you can leave Australia before the group departure date and meet at the hotel on the day the group arrives and/or you can stay on in the country after the tour has been completed. Charges may apply if travel is not on group flights, please speak to one of our Tour Sales Consultants for full details. Your Tour Sales Consultant is happy to make any additional arrangements that you require.

Can I use a different airline and/or use my frequent flyer points and join the tour at the international starting point?

Yes, it is possible to travel with another airline or use your frequent flyer points. Please see the Land Only, Cruise Only or Private Jet Only price of each tour; this price does not include transfers to/from the airport or travel insurance.

Do I have to pay to see the Tour Doctor?

No charge applies for seeing the Tour Doctor but medicine prescribed by the doctor may be at a nominal cost.

Do I need to carry small change to tip hotel porters, tour guides, etc.?

All Captains Choice tours are inclusive of all tipping and taxes. In some circumstances you may wish to tip for exceptional service but it is not expected as your Tour Manager will tip guides, drivers, porters, restaurant staff, etc. on your behalf.

Do I need vaccinations before I travel?

Prior to departure you will receive a letter from the tour Doctor, outlining recommended vaccinations and medications to take on your holiday. Generally speaking, you will be required to have your tetanus/polio and Hepatitis A/B vaccinations up to date. We strongly advise you talk with your own doctor and consult the Traveller's Medical & Vaccination Centre (TMVC) in your area about vaccinations and any health concerns you may have.

Do the tours have many early mornings?

Most of your touring days will begin between 9am-10am. On travelling days the time of departure is dictated by the distance to cover to the next destination. Where possible we avoid having very early mornings however sometimes an early morning is necessitated by an airline or train schedule. If you are planning on participating on game drives in Africa you can be assured that there will be some very early starts.

Do you have many solo travellers on your tours?

We know sharing the experience is an important part of travel but for many reasons people travel alone. On an average Captain's Choice Tour approximately 35-45% of our guests leave as a solo traveller, but all return home with many new friends and companions. To make meeting new friends easier we hold a special welcome reception at the start of each tour for single travellers. This enables you to get to know others travelling alone as well as providing a great opportunity to meet the Tour Host Team. In addition to your fellow travellers, members of the Tour Host Team are always available to dine with and chat to, so you should never feel alone on your holiday.

How many guests are on each tour?

The number of guests per tour varies greatly depending on the tour. On average our tours carry a maximum of 24 passengers (some carry even less and are more exclusive) but our private train and private air charters carry more guests. We do not fill coaches to capacity, enabling you additional room to relax and view out of the windows.

How much money do I need to take and in what currency?

Captain's Choice is fully inclusive of all travel costs, it is possible to complete a tour without spending an extra cent! However if you would like to buy souvenirs, extra drinks or do some laundry, this is at your own expense. Generally speaking, the best option is to purchase US dollar or Euro travellers cheques and/or currency (in small denominations) before you leave home, these can be exchanged for local currency whilst overseas. Travellers cheques you have left over can be changed back into your local currency. Please bear in mind, some countries travellers cheques can be extremely difficult to exchange. More specific information on what currency to take on your holiday will be provided prior to departure of each tour.

I am travelling alone, do I need to pay for a single room?

Captain's Choice guarantees to match solo travellers with another person of the same gender at no additional cost (with the exclusion of cruise and train tours). If you do not wish to share with a stranger you can guarantee your own room by paying a single supplement; we keep our single supplements as low as possible. On cruise tours and tours involving overnight train travel we will endeavour to match you with another traveller however this cannot be guaranteed and occupancy of a single cabin by choice or circumstance will require payment of a single supplement.

Captain's Club discounts

All guests who travel on a Captain's Choice tour automatically become members of the 'Captain's Club'. Members who have completed 1-3 tours receive a $250 reduction per person off their next tour. Members who have completed 4+ tours receive a $500 per person reduction off their next tour.

What if I have special dietary requirements?

Generally speaking we are able to cater for most dietary requirements, e.g. diabetic, vegetarian, celiac. We also make small cards for you to take on tour, providing the translations into the local language about your dietary needs. However it can sometimes be difficult in places, such as China, to provide varied and nutritious meals for people with strict dietary restrictions. We will do our utmost to cater for all dietary needs but if your dietary requirements are strict we suggest you bring some of the essentials from home (bearing in mind customs restrictions of some foods).

Is there free time on tour?

On each tour we do try and incorporate a number of free afternoons (and sometimes mornings) so you have the freedom to 'do your own thing' - be that shopping, individual exploration or resting. Please refer to individual itineraries for details.

What about laundry facilities whilst on tour?

On each tour there will be several occasions where there is normally ample time to have your laundry done by the hotel (own cost). If you wish to hand wash small items we recommend that you take a small travel clothesline on which you can dry items overnight in your room. On most ships there is a self service laundry onboard where you can wash and dry your own clothes at no additional charge, alternatively you can have your laundry sent out (own cost).

What about photography?

Taking photos is one of the great joys of travel and you are sure to find many great photographic opportunities on your holiday. Whether you are an aspiring professional or a 'click and shoot' photographer we strongly recommend you purchase sufficient film, batteries and memory cards prior to departure as these can sometimes be difficult (and unreliable) to obtain overseas.

We also recommend that, particularly when exploring a city independently, that you carry your camera safely in a bag rather than around your neck. When taking photos of people it is always good practice to first ask their permission. Some cultures have a strong aversion to being photographed and others are simply timid about having a foreigner take their photo. If you are using a digital camera you can overcome many barriers by showing them their image on the display; this also provides a great opportunity to interact with the local people.

What about tourist visas for certain countries?

Many of the countries featured on our tours require visitors to have a visa in their passport prior to entering the country. Captain's Choice arranges the relevant visas on your behalf. Visa costs are not included in the tour price as many of our guests have passports of various nationalities, each with their own visa requirements and cost structures.

What advantage are the personal headsets?

Personal headsets are provided for use on most sightseeing tours whilst on tour, they are particularly advantageous for walking tours and museum visits. The personal headsets allow you to listen to our guide's live commentary at your preferred level of sound. The headsets also allow you to move a small distance away from the group to investigate something of interest whilst still hearing the commentary. Personal headsets are provided on all our road and rail tours. Please email or call one of our Tour Sales Consultants if you would like more details or to find out if they will be included on your specific tour.

What are the luggage restrictions?

Captain's Choice includes porterage of one suitcase size of luggage per person. You should also consider airline's weight restrictions, normally 20kg in Economy Class and 30kg in Business Class and First Class.

There are some tours, where we use smaller regional aircraft, when all guests may be limited to 20kg per person - of course this would be advised prior to travel. Excess luggage charges must be paid by the guest.

What electrical plugs should I take?

You can purchase electrical voltage adapters and corresponding plugs for use in other countries from many stores - including department stores, luggage shops and duty free outlets. We recommend purchasing a worldwide adapter which can be used in most countries, and bringing along a power board that will fit your electrical items. This way you can charge your phone, camera and tablet all at the same time without having 3 different adapters for each country.

What forms of payment do you accept?

Captain's Choice accepts all major credit cards (AMEX, Visa, Diners, Mastercard) there is a 1% to 3% credit card fee depending on the card. We also accept personal cheques, bank cheques and direct deposits into our bank account.

What happens if I pay my deposit but cannot obtain travel insurance for any reason, e.g. pre-existing condition?

We require a deposit to confirm your place on a tour. If our insurance company decline to cover you for travel insurance and you are unable to find travel insurance through another provider we will refund your deposit. The refunding of your deposit is contingent upon your effort to apply for travel insurance within two weeks of your booking.

What if I have my own travel insurance?

Travel insurance is very strongly recommend and  Captain's Choice include this for you. However for those who wish to take out their own travel insurance we will refund the insurance cost off the total payment due for your tour, (the cost of insurance is dependent on the length of the tour). If you elect to use your own travel insurance we strongly urge to you read all of the fine print and ensure you are completely covered.

What is the benefit of travelling aboard a Private Jet?

Travelling aboard your private jet enables you to reach the destinations you wish to visit with ease and speed. It eliminates much of the time you would normally spend waiting at airports as we can often arrange expedited Customs and Immigration arrangements (dependent on local conditions). Private jet travel also provides you with direct connections between cities for which no scheduled services fly, often the time (and cost) saved is enormous - giving you more time to spend your holiday relaxing and sightseeing. The camaraderie between guests, Tour Hosts and crew aboard the private air charters makes it a very pleasant way to travel - completely unlike an ordinary flight!

What level of health and fitness will I require to be able to participate in a tour?

Our tours travel to remote and exotic destinations but do not entail high degrees of physical activity. However, to ensure the enjoyment of the tour for all guests we do have a minimum fitness level requirement, according to basic fitness criteria, for all of our journeys. The criteria have been established with your best interests in mind and in consideration of your fellow travellers. If you are not of a certain level of fitness it may result in spending less time at places of interest, which can detract enjoyment from the tour for your fellow passengers. These 5 Criteria are in the form of a 'Fitness Agreement' which will need to be completed and signed before we finalise your booking. · Walk 2 kilometres (with stops) comfortably (in hot, humid conditions) · Walk up 2 flights of stairs comfortably and unaided · Walk comfortably along uneven and loose surfaces · Embark/disembark boats, trains and buses unaided · Carry your own hand luggage. If you are unable to fulfill all activities listed above it may mean that  Captain's Choice  is not suited to your needs. We encourage you to talk to your personal GP or contact our office to receive further advice about the level of activity on a specific tour. The Fitness Agreement must be completed, signed and forwarded to our office within 7 days of your booking confirmation.

When does my Tour Host Team get selected?

Your Tour Host Team will be selected and advised to you one month prior to travel. The details of each Tour Host will be in the Tour Compendium (sent one month prior to travel).

Who will be on the tour with me?

On each tour we take a Tour Host Team. The size of the Host Team depends on the number of guests we have on each tour. On a tour of 20 people we have a Tour Manager and a Tour Doctor. On a tour of 40 people we have a Tour Manager, a Tour Host and a Tour Doctor. You will also be in the company of fellow travellers. The majority of our guests are Australians but we also have a number of people from New Zealand, UK, other European countries and the USA who travel with us on each tour.

Of course we welcome people from all countries to join our tours.

Why do you say we stay at five star or best available hotels?

Where there is a five star hotel available and suited to a group Captain's Choice will utilise the five star hotel. Because we specialise in travel to remote destinations, there are sometimes simply no five star hotels in the area - this is when we stay at the best available hotel (often 3 or 4 star).

On many occasions we may stay in luxury tented camps when in Africa and on safari.

Why does a Doctor travel on each tour?

Captain's Choice often visits countries where English is not widely spoken and where healthcare facilities often do not meet western standards. Having a doctor travel with the group provides reassurance and enables travel to continue uninhibited if minor health concerns, such as colds or stomach illness, arise. The Tour Doctor provides immediate but limited medical assistance for tour guests if the need arises. The Tour Doctor does not provide extended care for pre-existing conditions.

Why should I take the whole tour package including flights rather than purchasing the Land Only package?

We have selected the most appropriate flights considering airline's schedules, airline's reputation and price according to each itinerary. When you purchase the full package from  Captain's Choice it includes your travel insurance and your transfers to/from the airport to the hotel - the Land Only/Cruise Only/Private Jet Only price does not include transfers or travel insurance. In addition you will be escorted from Australia by a member of the Tour Host Team. (Dependent on total passenger numbers from each city, it is possible you will meet your Tour Host half way or at the airport in your final destination.) You will still accrue your frequent flyer points if you are a member of the airline's frequent flyer program. (On rare occasions some airlines may not allow this. Unfortunately on our private jet tours frequent flyer points cannot be used for flights nor does the airline allow frequent flyer points to be accumulated.)