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About Us

FAQs

Flights

Q. Are flights from North America included?
No, our small group tours and tailor-made vacation prices do not include the cost of your flights from North America. This is so we can offer you the freedom to choose which airline you’d like to fly with and find you the best deals available at the time of your booking.
Q. Can you book our flights?
Yes, our Asia specialists have access to a wide range of airfares. Contact us for an up to the minute quote on the best airfares for you.
Q. What airlines do you work with?
We can book any full-service airline to Asia for you, but find the best network and deals for our range of destinations in Asia are with Asiana Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Korean Airlines, United, Delta Thai Airways, Singapore airlines and Air China
Q. Can we stopover?
Yes, we can arrange stopovers throughout Asia, with the most popular being Bangkok, Singapore and Hong Kong. We can also arrange stopover accommodation and sightseeing in any of the eleven countries where we operate.
Q. What is the luggage allowance?
Generally airlines allow each passenger 44lbs/20kg of checked luggage plus a carry on weighing around 15lbs/7kg, however this can vary from one airline to the next, so please check with your airline for details. If you have booked a low cost carrier yourself then you will need to pay additional fees for checked luggage.

Travel Insurance

Q. Do we need travel insurance?
If you are traveling on one of our Small Group Journeys you will need to have travel insurance cover arranged prior to departure. If you are traveling on one our Private Vacations, travel insurance is not compulsory but we highly recommend it. Having comprehensive travel insurance helps ensure your safety and financial security should the unexpected happen while you’re traveling or before you leave.
Comprehensive travel insurance covers instances such as: Medical expenses and repatriation; Cancellation or delays prior to departure; Trip curtailment; Luggage, personal items and money; Personal accident cover; Personal liability; Legal expenses..
Q. Where can we get it?
There are a number of travel insurance providers available. Insider Journeys has worked with MH Ross/Trip Mate insurance for many years and have negotiated special rates for our clients. Our Asia specialists can give you a quote for the cover you need.
Q. What if I already have insurance?
Fantastic. Our Small Group Journey travelers will need to provide the details of their insurance before traveling. It is important that you check that your travel insurance includes medical services and repatriation fees for the places you will be visiting. You may also want to verify that your policy covers you while overseas and clarify the deductible amount on your policy.

Financial Protection

Q. What financial protection is there once I have paid?
STOA - United States Tour Operator Association. Insider Journeys is an active member of the United States Tour Operator Association. To become an Active Member of USTOA, a tour operator is required to have a total of 18 references from a variety of industry sources and financial institutions and must meet specific minimums in terms of tour passengers and/or dollar volume. The company must also be in business at least three years under the same management in the US and must carry a minimum of $1,000,000 professional liability insurance.
Another important membership requirement is adherence to USTOA's strict code of ethics, which is framed by a pledge to encourage and maintain the highest standards of professionalism, integrity and service. In addition to these requirements, all USTOA Active Members must participate in USTOA's $1 Million Travelers Assistance Program.
Insider Journeys shares the coverage available under the USTOA $1 Million Travelers Assistance Program with affiliates of Stella Travel Services USA, who, as an active member of the USTOA, is required to post $1 Million with USTOA to be used to reimburse travelers, in accordance with the terms and conditions of the USTOA $1 Million Travelers Assistance Program, the advance payments of Insider Journeys customers in the unlikely event of Insider Journeys bankruptcy, insolvency or cessation of business.
Further, you should understand that the $1 Million posted by Stella Travel Services USA and shared among its affiliates may be sufficient to provide only a partial recovery of the advance payments received by Insider Journeys. More details of the USTOA Travelers Assistance Program and a list of affiliates may be obtained by writing to USTOA at 345 Seventh Avenue, Suite 1801, New York, New York 10001, by email to information@ustoa.com or by visiting their website at www.USTOA.com.

Tipping

Q. What is the tipping policy in the country I plan to visit?
In general, tipping is widely accepted as a way to show your appreciation of good service in Asia, but is not compulsory. This can vary, so for detailed information on the country you are visiting please click the country name below.
Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Burma, China, India, Japan, Mongolia, Sri Lanka, Bhutan
Q. Is tipping included?
On our Small Group Journeys all incidental tips are included, such as porters, boat pilots, and other local service providers. If you are happy with services provided by your local guides, drivers and tour leader, a tip is appreciated, but not compulsory. Tipping is not included on our Private tours.

Amendments and Cancellations

Q. What if I need to change or cancel my travel plans?
If you need to change or cancel your plans for any reasons, you can contact our Asia specialists or see our booking conditions here to find out if penalties will apply.
Q. What if Insider Journeys amends or cancels my trip?
We infrequently need to make minor changes to our itineraries for operational reasons, but our guests’ safety and comfort is always a priority and these changes rarely affect our travelers’ enjoyment. On very rare occasions we need to make necessary amendments which are significant to our Small Group Journeys. A significant change is one that alters the start or finish city of your tour or affects the duration of your tour. If this happens you will be advised as soon as possible and offered the choice of accepting the amendment, changing to another trip or accepting a full refund.
On both Private Tours and Small Group Journeys amendments are occasionally made by our local suppliers, including hotels, airlines and cruise ships. In these instances we will contact you as soon as possible and discuss your options with you.
See our booking conditions here for full details.

Responsible Travel

Q. What is Insider Journeys’ policy on responsible travel?
Insider Journeys practices a thorough, realistic responsible travel policy. We believe that travel should entail an exchange of knowledge and perspectives, a sharing of wealth, and a genuine appreciation of Asia’s beautiful natural environments.
This philosophy underpins the heart and soul of our style of travel. It drives all that we strive to deliver to our travelers, and shapes the contact we have with our supplier colleagues in Asia. We recognize that poorly planned itineraries or poorly informed tourists contribute less to cross-cultural understanding and less to the livelihoods of local people. We also recognize that we largely work in a developing part of the world.
Political and social factors sometimes impede the short term implementation of our responsible travel initiatives, so we do not make blanket, unrealistic statements about the achievability of our goals - doing so would make us irresponsible. We aspire to short or medium-term implementation of our policies where this is realistic and to incremental change where there are constraints of a governmental or cultural nature.
As well as having offices in Australia, the United Kingdom and North America, Insider Journeys has offices in several cities in Indochina. Our direct presence in Asia means that we are much better able to control the content of our itineraries, the actions of our guides and suppliers, and the style of our Small Group Journey and tailor-made travel arrangements. In short, our offices in Asia give us leverage in implementing our responsible travel policy.
We encourage you to look at our full responsible travel policy, which outlines our mission and the many responsible travel initiatives in which Insider Journeys is involved throughout Asia.
Q. Which causes do you support?
PURKAL YOUTH DEVELOPMENT SOCIETY: Insider Journeys has supported this center for educational and personal development of disadvantaged youth in Northern India by sponsoring school uniforms, a library, and a school-wide drama and performing arts program.
STREETS INTERNATIONAL: Streets International develops and operates sustainable vocational training programs for vulnerable, orphaned, and other disadvantaged youth to prepare them for careers in culinary arts and hospitality service. Most of our journeys to Hoi An include a walking tour of the markets with the workers which helps them to develop their communication skills and confidence.
ANGKOR HOSPITAL FOR CHILDREN: Over a number of years, Insider Journeys has paid for the training and employment of a nurse at this Siem Reap hospital, which provides healthcare to needy children, with a focus on primary intervention and on the training of local healthcare workers.
ASIA INJURY PREVENTION FOUNDATION: Asia Injury Prevention Foundation since 1999 has worked to reduce traffic injuries and fatalities in Southeast Asia through educating citizens to be safer road users and promoting helmet use among motorbike users. AIPF has conducted training sessions with our local guides in Vietnam to discuss road safety issues and to help them assist our clients in being safe road users whilst in Vietnam.
LORETO VIETNAM-AUSTRALIAN PROGRAM: Loreto operates a number of projects aimed at assisting disadvantaged, poor, and disabled children through the medium of education. Over the years, Insider Journey has funded school kits, a library, and travel costs for teacher trainers to come from Australia.
SPIRAL FOUNDATION: The Spiral Foundation runs the Healing the Wounded Heart workshop in Hue, Vietnam. Here, disabled artisans produce crafts from recycled materials and are able to generate an income. All proceeds go towards fair salaries for the disabled employees and funding heart surgeries for poor children in Hue. Most of our journeys that go to Hue visit the workshop and guests can meet the workers and make their own souvenirs to take home.
BOOKS FOR CAMBODIA: An initiative created by Insider Journey, Shinta Mani & Phare Circus to bring books and educational toys to Cambodia for distribution to rural school libraries and disadvantaged communities in Siem Reap & Battambang. More information.
AFESIP LAOS: is a French non-governmental organization working to combat the causes and consequences of trafficking and sexual exploitation of women and girls in Laos. Insider Journeys has sponsored the provision of ‘Professional Starter Kits’ enabling rescued women to start their own business back in their village.
Q. How can I help?
Before your departure, we suggest you download and refer to our tread lightly booklet, containing traveler tips for more responsible travel in Asia, and the 'Chip in for a charity' section in this booklet, which suggests ways you too can give something back to developing Asia. In addition to our responsible travel policy, we have developed a position on visiting orphanages in Asia which we encourage you to read and consider before your travels.

Traveling Solo - SGJ

Q. Which tours are best for solo travelers?
All of our Small Group Journeys are suitable for single travelers, and offer a Willing to Share option. Call one of our Asia experts, to find the perfect vacation for you.
Q. What is Willing to Share?
We offer a Willing to Share option for solo travelers that don’t want to pay a single supplement and are willing to share a room. If there is another traveler of the same gender on your tour that has also chosen the Willing to Share option, you will share with them. If not, you will have a room to yourself at no extra cost.
Willing to Share is available on all of our tours, but not available for Gold Accommodation Upgrades. If you don’t want to share a room, a single supplement option is available on all tours.
Q. How many solo travelers are on your Small Group Journeys?
Around 30% of our travelers are solo travelers, however this can vary from one trip to another.
Q. Will I have to pay a single supplement?
It is your choice. We offer a Willing to Share option for solo travelers that don’t want to pay a single supplement and are willing to share a room. If you want your own room, a single supplement option is available on all tours. The Willing to Share options is guaranteed if booked more than 45 days prior to departure, otherwise it is on a request basis. Willing to Share is not available for Gold Accommodation Upgrades.
Q. Who will I be traveling with?
Our solo travelers can look forward to joining like-minded travelers from the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Our small group tours are most popular with travelers in their 40s, 50s and 60s who have a genuine interest in other cultures, looking for authentic experiences as well as a relaxing vacation.

Small Group Journeys

Q. Who will I be traveling with
Our travelers come from around the world. You can expect to share your experience of Asia with travelers from Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States. Our Small Group Tours are most popular with travelers in their 40s, 50s and 60s who have a genuine interest in other cultures, looking for authentic experiences as well as a relaxing vacation. Most of our travelers like traveling in a small group because they look for comfort and convenience, they enjoy meeting new friends and sharing their experience with others, without giving up on flexibility and independence.
Q. How many people will be on tour with me?
Groups depart with a minimum of two and a maximum of 16 travelers, and our average group size is 12, so you’ll get plenty of personal attention. Groups with less than seven travelers will not be accompanied by a Western Tour Leader, but are well looked after by the local guides in each region. If you’d like to know how many people are booked on your trip, please contact one of our Asia specialists, but keep in mind that traveler numbers can change right up until the last minute.
Q. Will there be a Western Tour Leader on my tour?
A Western tour leader will accompany all groups of seven or more travelers. Groups of six or less travelers are well looked after by our local guides in each destination.
Q. What age travelers take your Small Group Journeys?
Anyone over the age of 12 can join one of our Small Group Journeys with the majority of travelers aged between 40 and 70.
Q. Are there any age limits?
Small Group Journeys are open to all travelers 12 years and over, however they must pay the adult rate. A triple share room is usually available if it is requested at the time of booking. The Willing to Share option is not available for travelers under 18.
There is no upper age limit on our small Group Journeys, however, a basic level of fitness is required. If you are concerned, feel free to contact us to discuss the right trip for your level of fitness.
Q. Are there any fitness requirements?
Our small group tours are graded from easy to adventurous. More adventurous trips may include longer walks or bus trips, more basic accommodation or carrying your luggage short distances. Our trips are designed with mature travelers in mind and even our adventurous trips can be achieved by those with a moderate level of fitness, however if you have any concerns, contact our Asia Specialists at 800 342 1957 who can discuss your individual requirements.
Q. Why don’t you include all meals?
We always include breakfast, but mostly leave lunch and dinner free so travelers can discover the tastes of Asia in their own way. Our local guides and tour leaders can recommend restaurants based on your needs, and most evenings you can choose to dine with the group, or on your own. When a meal is an integral part of your destination, or an exciting local experience, we will include it in the price, for example lunch in a local home in Beijing, or a seafood feast aboard your Halong Bay cruise.
Q. Will there be free time?
Our tours are designed to travel at a pace which allows you to get the best from your destination. While some days include lots of touring so you don’t miss out, there will always be some free time. We’ve also listened to our travelers and in destinations where they asked for more free time, we have allowed up to a whole day for you to explore independently.
Q. What transport do you use?
Traveling between destinations shouldn’t be a chore. We include internal Asian flights in many of our itineraries to allow more time to enjoy each place. When traveling overland, our modern mini-buses are air-conditioned and spacious. But we also know that traveling like a local can be an experience in itself. Whether riding a camel in the Indian desert, zipping through Hanoi on a cyclo, or floating though canals along the Mekong in a sampan, you’ll see Asia like an insider. We pride ourselves on our modes of travel because with us, you’re always on a journey and each part counts.
Q. What is gold accommodation?
Stay in some of Asia’s finest hotels with our gold accommodation upgrade option. You’ll get the same great touring every day, but will retire in the evening to some of the best hotels available in the region. This might include a former French residence, a Maharaja’s Palace, or a luxurious eco-lodge on a river bank.
Q. What is a guaranteed departure?
Each of our Small Group Journeys are guaranteed to depart with a minimum of just two travelers. If you are a solo traveler and would like to know if your trip is guaranteed, please contact one of our Asia Specialists on 800 342 1957.
Q. How much luggage can I bring?
We recommend keeping luggage under 44lbs/20kg as this is the limit on most internal flights within Asia. As space on vehicles is limited, this is a good size/weight even if there are no internal flights on your tour. The best type of luggage to bring is a bag with wheels and a handle as you may be required to carry your own luggage within the airport, or at times when porters are not available.
In Japan, your luggage is often couriered to your next destination as there is no luggage storage on many of the trains. It is important you bring only one bag, plus an overnight bag to keep with you.
Q. Where can I get more information about the tour?
Call or email our Asia specialists on 800 342 1957, or see your local travel agent and they can discuss your individual needs or send you an in-depth itinerary of your tour.
Q. Do you have discounts
Yes, if you have traveled on one of our Small Group Journeys in the past, are booking six months or more before your departure or have a group of five or more travelers, we’ll give you 5% of the cost of your tour. These discounts cannot be combined. Periodically throughout the year we may also offer other booking specials.  Check with your travel agent or our Asia consultants.
Q. Do you cater for special dietary needs?
As we don’t include all meals, travelers with special dietary needs have more flexibility to eat where and what they like. Our local guides and tour leaders can help you find the best food for you and communicate your needs. Please let them know at the beginning of your tour any special dietary requests.
Q. Are airfares from North America included?
No, our small group tours do not include the cost of your flights from North America. This is so we can offer you the freedom to choose which airline you’d like to fly with and find you the best deals available at the time of your booking.
Q. Can you book our flights?
Yes, our Asia specialists have access to a wide range of airfares. Contact us for an up to the minute quote on the best airfares for you.

Private Travel

Q. Who will I be traveling with?
Our private itineraries are designed just for you and your party, so you will not be traveling with other guests. The itineraries contain touring which may be private, where your party will be accompanied by one of our local English-speaking guides or in some locations you may choose join-in touring where you will join one of our guides and other guests for the duration of the touring.
Q. Will there be a tour leader or guide on my Private tour?
Trips that include touring will include a local guide for the duration of the touring only. There will not be a Western tour leader on your Private itinerary. Trips that include touring will include a local guide for the duration of the touring only.
Q. Are there any age limits?
No, our private touring can be arranged to suit the needs of your group, regardless of age or fitness.
Q. Are there any fitness requirements
No, but if you have concerns it is best to discuss these with our Asia specialists when making your booking, so they can tailor your trip to best suit you.
Q. Where can I get more information about the tour?
Call or email our Asia specialists on 800 342 1957, or see your local travel agent and they can discuss your individual needs.
Q. Are airfares from North America included?
No, our private tours do not include the cost of your flights from North America. This is so we can offer you the freedom to choose which airline you’d like to fly with and find you the best deals available at the time of your booking.
Q. Can you book our flights?
Yes, our Asia specialists have access to a wide range of airfares. Contact us for an up to the minute quote on the best airfares for you.

Before you go

Q. When is the best time to visit my destination?
We have detailed information on the climate and best time to visit each of our destinations. Please click on the link below to find out more.
Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Burma, China, India, Japan, Mongolia, Sri Lanka, Bhutan
Q. What information do I need before I travel?
For all the information you need prior to travel including visas, health, what to pack, currency information and more, see the useful information section that relates to your destination. Simply click on the country you are interested in below to be redirected to this information.
Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Burma, China, India, Japan, Mongolia, Sri Lanka, Bhutan
Q. When will I get my travel documents?
You will be emailed confirmation, a final itinerary and pre-departure guide upon receiving final payment. Printed travel documents will be mailed to you approximately 2-3 weeks prior to departure. If you are concerned that you have not received your documentation, please contact one of our Asia specialists on 800 342 1957.

Contacting us

Q. Who do I contact in an emergency?
If you are on the ground in Asia and need to contact us urgently, the details of who to call are printed on the back page of your pre-departure guide, which was sent to you with your final documentation.
Q. What are the opening hours?
If the matter is not urgent, you can contact one of our Asia specialists on 800 342 1957 from 9:00am to 5:00pm Mountain-time, Monday to Friday.
Q. How can I book?
You can make a booking by calling one of our Asia specialists on 800 342 1957, by emailing info@insiderjourneys.com or visit your local travel agent.
Q. How do I order a brochure?
You can view or download our brochures online here, or order one to be sent to you for free using our online order form or by calling one of our Asia specialists on 800 342 1957.
Q. When will I get my travel documents
You will be emailed confirmation, a final itinerary and pre-departure guide upon receiving final payment. Printed travel documents will be mailed to you approximately 2-3 weeks prior to departure. If you are concerned that you have not received your documentation, please contact one of our Asia specialists on 800 342 1957.
Q. Can I book through a travel agent?
Yes, you can book any of our trips through your local travel agent.
Q. How can I get regular news from Insider Journeys?
Subscribe to our newsletter, like our Facebook page, or follow us on Twitter.

Special Interest Groups

Q. What types of Special Interest Groups do you cater for?
We cater to all sorts of groups, and have years of experience designing tours for school groups, veterans, gfamilies, Probus groups, conferences, women-only groups and more. Whatever sort of group you have, if you’re looking for a trip to Asia, Insider Journeys is the expert you are looking for.
Q. Why should I book with Insider Journeys?
Insider Journeys is North America's the Asia specialist, nobody knows Asia like we do. With over 20 years of experience in the region, the solid relationships we have with our local suppliers and the intimate knowledge of your destination means we will design the best experience possible for your group. Our dedicated groups staff have over 15 years of experience and with seven offices in Asia we are there for you, before, during and after your trip
Q. How can I get more information on Special Interest Groups?
Contact us at 800 342 1957 or email info@insider-journeys.com to discuss your individual needs.
Q. What size groups do you book?
Our special interest groups range from 10 travelers right up into the hundreds. For groups smaller than ten people, our reservations team would be happy to help.