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Frequently Asked Questions 


 

 

General Questions

 

 

• Do I need previous backpacking or camping experience?
• If I have a certain amount of outdoor experience, is there a trip with Explorations & Adventures that is best for me?
• Can I be in contact with friends and family during my trip?
• Can I call home once my trip has started?
• How much spending money should I bring on my trip?
• What about doing laundry on our trip?
• What kind of food do we have on an Explorations & Adventures trip?
• Do you have special arrangements for vegetarian or other restrictive diets?
• How  much hiking do you plan to do a day?
• Do we spend a lot of time driving?
• What are the usual sleeping arrangements?

 

 


 

 

Instructions on How To Enroll in an Explorations & Adventures trip

 

 

• First, which exploration & adventure trip is best suited for me?
• How soon do trips fill up?
• Now that I've picked an exploration & adventure, how do I enroll?
• What happens if my first-choice adventure is already filled up?
• Can I plan on more than one exploration & adventure in a summer?
• When is the balance of the tuition due?
• Can plan my trip with a friend?

 

 


 

 

Students of Explorations & Adventures

 

 

• What are the backgrounds of  the students?
• How do you assure that students of similar ages are in a group together?
• What is the ratio of males to females among our students?
• Can I contact any of the students assigned to my group before the trip begins?

 

 


 

 

Taking International Trips

 

 

• What about passports?
• Do I need a visa to travel abroad on an Explorations & Adventures trip?
• What kind of immunizations should I have for trips abroad?
• Can I make telephone calls home while on the trip?
• What if I don’t speak a foreign language?
• After my trip with Explorations & Adventures, can my family join me in that particular country?

 

 


 

 

Preparing  For Your Exploration & Adventures

 

 

• Are all the items on the equipment list really necessary?
• What is your recommendation regarding hiking boots?
• How about backpacks?
• How is the best way to prepare myself physically for the trip?

 

 


 

 

Travel Day and Arrangements for your Exploration & Adventures

 

 

• How do I plan my travel?
• Does the price of the exploration & adventure include airfare?
• Will I be met at the airport on the first day of the trip?
• If I am already in the city where my trip begins, where will I meet my group?
• At the end of my trip, before returning home, can my family meet me?
• What if I am a minor and have never traveled alone before?
• Will my parents be notified of my safe arrival on travel day?

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 


General Questions

 

1- Do I need previous backpacking or camping experience? (Return to top)
No previous experience is necessary.  Most trips with Explorations & Adventures are designed for students who have little or no experience with the outdoors. In many of our trips, for the first few days of your exploration & adventure, your leaders will help you with the basics:  packing a backpack, cooking, setting up a tent, map reading, and being comfortable in the back country.  Throughout the trip, you will practice these fundamentals, as well as learn about astronomy, archeology, plant science, meteorology , geology, natural history and conservation. After three weeks of learning and reinforcing the basics of exploration in the back country, students usually return home eager to show their family and friends what they have learned.   Students who return summer after summer are able to build on their solid foundations of knowledge of  the outdoors, and often emerge as future outdoor leaders.



2- If I have a certain amount of outdoor experience, is there a trip with Explorations & Adventures that is best for me? (Return to top)
Yes, if you have outdoors experience and wish to participate in a more extensive back country adventure,  Explorations & Adventures has several expeditions designed for that purpose.  These trips, suited for students wanting greater leadership opportunities and experience in the outdoors, are the expeditions to Southern Africa, the Amazon, Galapagos and to Australia. If you would like more information on these trips, please call our office and we'd be happy to discuss options with you.


3- Can I be in contact with friends and family during my trip? (Return to top)
Family and friends are encouraged to write to you during your trip by e-mail.  By mid-May, you will receive a day-by-day itinerary of your trip, on which will be dates and places for people to write you.  You will be able to make phone calls to friends and family during your trip, but there is no reliable way for them to call you.


4- Can I call home once my trip has started? (Return to top)
Once trips have started, Explorations & Adventures groups usually have time in between activities for students to place phone calls.  We cannot guarantee, of course,  that students will call on a certain day or time since groups often have many, and sometimes unscheduled,  preparations and errands to run during the time they spend in towns.  If you plan on calling home during your trip, we suggest bringing an AT&T or MCI calling card since they facilitate long-distance calling. Pre-paid calling cards are another good option as well.


5- How much spending money should I bring on my trip? (Return to top)
You may want to buy souvenirs, post cards, and gifts for friends and family on your trip. We suggest bringing about $60 for each  week of your trip.  This has been in general, more than adequate for the majority of our students in the past.  It's a good idea to carry this money in traveler's checks rather than cash.


6- What about doing laundry on our trip? (Return to top)
We will schedule time for laundry stops during your trip. A 22-day trip will generally have two laundry stops, while a 28-day trip will generally have three laundry stops.
 

7- What kind of food do we have on an Explorations & Adventures trip? (Return to top)
Tasty food and a well-balanced menu is an important part of the program.  We also  understand that good nutrition is essential to keep us in the best physical condition during our excursions.  We, therefore,  spend a great deal of time on food selection and on preparation to ensure an appetizing and well-balanced diet.  Each participant will be assigned, on a rotating basis, to a cooking team.  The team will be responsible for the selection, preparation, and cleanup of your group's meal, giving you the opportunity to learn and practice your outdoor cooking skills.  The food we provide is selected with an emphasis on freshness and variety. Some examples of meals you will prepare are roasted meats, pasta dishes, campfire pizza, salads, chicken, French toast, omelets, and pancakes. We always buy extra and sufficient food to ensure that no one goes away hungry.

8- Do you have special arrangements for vegetarian or other restrictive diets? (Return to top)
There is generally no problem with vegetarian diets as they usually are a normal component of the daily menus.  Special diets, however, require notification in advance  so that we can arrange and prepare for them.


9- How  much hiking do you plan to do a day? (Return to top)
The normal day involves hikes ranging between 2 and 5 miles a day.  Distance, of course, depends on the type of ground covered and the desirability of  exploration stops or side-trips for special studies.   In the back-country, in particular, such overnight exploration stops may be scheduled.  Ultimately, however, the group leaders set a reasonable pace, doing their best to accommodate both fast and slow hikers.


10- Do we spend a lot of time driving? (Return to top)
Exploration & Adventures itineraries are carefully selected so that a minimum of time is spent on the road.  Naturally, this factor is balanced with the desirability of covering a wider range of territory in the interests of enhancing the educational value of the trip. 



11- What are the usual sleeping arrangements? (Return to top)
Outdoor tenting is the usual arrangement.  Each night of your Explorations & Adventures trip  will be spent sleeping in a tent in an attractive campground.  Usually this will be along a mountain trail, next to a stream or river, or on a beach.   Explorations & Adventures provides lightweight, four-person tents for all students.  Tent assignments are single-sex, and students usually have the option of setting up the tents each night or sleeping out under the stars.  Depending of the country alternatively we utilize Inns, hotels, log cabins, bungalows and rondavels, even under the stars if desired. Thin sleeping mats are provided, but clients may bring inflatable mattresses for further comfort.


Instructions on How To Enroll in an Explorations & Adventures trip

 

1- First, which exploration & adventure trip is best suited for me? (Return to top)

Excursions with Explorations & Adventures are carefully designed to offer a variety of activities and experiences for everyone.  You can experience everything from ice climbing on glaciers to basking on beaches, from backpacking in the savannas of Southern Africa to rafting in jungle rivers of Costa Rica.  Our staff would be happy to discuss which trip is right for you.  Call us and we would be happy to answer your questions and guide you to the appropriate exploration & adventure.

2- How soon do trips fill up? (Return to top)

Enrollment is limited on all Explorations & Adventures trips. We encourage you to call our office when you have decided on a specific trip and dates. We can notify you of trip availability and reserve a spot for you on a trip while your application and deposit are being sent in the mail.

3- Now that I've picked an exploration & adventure, how do I enroll? (Return to top)

You need to call our office once you've picked an exploration & adventure to check as to the availability of that specific trip.  We can reserve a spot for you while you send in your application and deposit.  An application can be found in the back of our catalogue, as well as on this web site.  Fill out the application and send it in with a $750 deposit. Upon receipt of your application and deposit, you will be sent an enrollment package, containing more detailed information about your specific exploration & adventure, as well as several forms for you to fill out and return to our office.

4- What happens if my first-choice adventure is already filled up? (Return to top)

Since many trips are fully reserved by May, there is a chance that your first choice will already be full.  We do have a waiting list for all trips, dates, and age groups.  Many students sign up for their second-choice trip and put their name on a waiting list for their first choice.  The trip deposit and final balances can be moved about between trips.  There is a surprising amount of movement and changes of plans among registered students throughout the spring. 

5- Can I plan on more than one exploration & adventure in a summer? (Return to top)

Some of our students schedule in several trips in one summer.  Since most of our excursions have several starting dates, it is easy to accommodate students who would like to take more than one trip.  If you would like to discuss the possibility of combining two or more trips, please call us and we'd be happy to assist you.

6- When is the balance of the tuition due? (Return to top)

A $750 deposit should accompany your application. The balance of your tuition is due May 1st. If you sign up after May 1st, full tuition must accompany your application.

7- Can plan my trip with a friend? (Return to top)

Certainly you may plan on a trip with a friend.  Most if not all of our students, however, come alone and we find that this is best for encouraging group experience on the trip. If you do decide to attend with a friend, you will find that the leaders will encourage you both to interact with the entire group.

 


Students of Explorations & Adventures

 

1- What are the backgrounds of  the students? (Return to top)

The students participating in our excursions come from many different countries and backgrounds.  Actually, we strive for diversity as it provides an enriching experience for participants. 

2- How do you assure that students of similar ages are in a group together? (Return to top)

We believe strongly that students in similar grades should be grouped together. To allow this, each Exploration & Adventures trip date has several groups departing at the same time. We divided our trips a 7th and 8th grade group, a 9th and 10th grade group, and an 11th and 12th grade group. Each group did identical activities, but in a slightly different order and generally did not see any other group members.

3- What is the ratio of males to females among our students? (Return to top)

We strive for a balanced 50:50 ratio of males to females in each scheduled excursion.  In some cases there may be slightly more of one that the other, but generally the balance is no different than can be found in most any school in the United States.

4- Can I contact any of the students assigned to my group before the trip begins? (Return to top)

Well before your excursion begins, you will receive a list of participants in your group.  You may find something in common with one of them and may want to contact them or even meet them prior to your departure.  The list of participants will also give parents a better idea of the make-up of your particular group.

 


Taking International Trips

 

1- What about passports? (Return to top)

All students traveling internationally (to Australia, Southern Africa, Ecuador-Galapagos, Dominica, Mexico, Dominican Republic and Costa Rica) must have a valid passport.  Applications are available at your local post office.  If you do not already have a passport, you should apply for one as soon as you begin enrolling in your international trip.  It normally takes four to six weeks to process a passport application.  It can be optioning sooner if you pay extra charges.

For trips to Puerto Rico, since it is a U.S. Commonwealth, a driver's license or photo identification will suffice for American.

2- Do I need a visa to travel abroad on an Explorations & Adventures trip? (Return to top)

No visas are required for citizens of the United States participating in trips to Puerto Rico.   If you are not a US citizen, please contact us for more information on traveling to these countries.  If you are participating in the Australia Exploration & Adventures, you will receive an Australian visa application form with your enrollment package. You should return this application with the rest of your forms to our office.  We will process all visa applications together as a group, so don’t worry about it.

3- What kind of immunizations should I have for trips abroad? (Return to top)

On trips to foreign countries, as on all trips domestic or otherwise, Explorations & Adventures required that students be current on their tetanus vaccinations and be protected against Hepatitis A.  This can be done, as your physician will know, by two options: using an immune serum globulin (IG) injection (formerly called gamma globulin), or using the Hepatitis A vaccine.

4- Can I make telephone calls home while on the trip? (Return to top)

For those of you who want to be in contact with your home, we suggest bringing a pre-paid international phone card or calling card.  Our experience is that AT&T or MCI calling cards are the best.  Both companies have operators in all countries involved in trips by Explorations & Adventures.   If you cannot arrange for a calling card, contact your long-distance operator for information as to how best use their service while away from home.

5- What if I don’t speak a foreign language? (Return to top)

You don’t need to speak the language of the country you are visiting since your expedition leaders will manage all contacts and help you with your own use of the language.  If you do speak the language, such as Spanish, or have some familiarity with it, you will have ample opportunity to speak it in Costa Rica, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Ecuador and other Latin-American countries.

6- After my trip with Explorations & Adventures, can my family join me in that particular country? (Return to top)

If you are a student on an international trip with Explorations & Adventures, and would like to meet your family in any of the capital cities of the country at the end of your trip, we would be glad to coordinate and assist in the arrangements.

 


Preparing  For Your Exploration & Adventures

 

1- Are all the items on the equipment list really necessary? (Return to top)

Our equipment lists have been developed over the years based on our experience and on the suggestions of students and leaders.  Although the list  may seem long, each item on the list is there for a reason.  We ask that students follow the list as closely as possible when packing for their trips.  If you have questions about specific items, or would like to know why a certain item is on the list, please call us and we would be happy to answer any questions you have.

2- What is your recommendation regarding hiking boots? (Return to top)

Hiking boots are one the most important items of equipment that you will have on your trip.  Boots that don’t fit properly can be the cause of great discomfort and distress, even on short hikes.  We strongly urge students to try on several pairs of boots before deciding which one is best for them.  Once you have decided on a pair of boots, give them extensive use  before the start of your trip.

3- How about backpacks? (Return to top)

Like hiking boots, backpacks come in all sorts of brands, models, and designs.

We don't recommend a specific brand or model, rather encourage students to spend time in an outdoor specialty store and try on as many different packs as possible. 

In the past, most students come with internal-framed packs, as opposed to external-framed packs, although both work equally well on most  Exploration & Adventures trips.  If you have more specific questions about your pack or about shopping for the right pack, please call us.  It's important to come on your trip with a pack that is comfortable and which fits your body size.

4- How is the best way to prepare myself physically for the trip? (Return to top)

You want to be in your best physical condition for your trip.  You should plan your personal  physical conditioning program well in advance.   At least, starting four weeks prior to your trip, you should run, swim, hike, or bike from thirty minutes to an hour a day, five days a week.  Arriving in good physical condition will help you meet and enjoy the physical challenges and activities of your trip. It will also allow you to concentrate on learning skills, gaining experience, and enjoying the natural beauty of the wilderness.


Travel Day and Arrangements for your Exploration & Adventures

 

1- How do I plan my travel? (Return to top)

Once you have enrolled in an Explorations & Adventures trip, you will be sent detailed information on flight departures and arrivals connected with the trip.  It is your responsibility, of course, to meet us at the designated location, usually an airport, at least before noon of the first day of the expedition.  On the final day of the expedition, we usually plan to depart before 10 am.  It is important for students to meet these guidelines since the expedition groups may have several hours of travel from the destination airport on the first day.  Your travel arrangements should be make well in advance so that you can be sure to get space on the flights you need.  If you have questions about whether or not your travel plans are compatible with the trip schedule, please call us.

2- Does the price of the exploration & adventure include airfare? (Return to top)

Some Exploration & Adventure trips includes airfare. The tuition on the Southern Africa Explorations & Adventures trip includes airfare to and from New York to Johannesburg, South Africa.  The Australia Explorations & Adventures trip  includes airfare to and from Los Angeles, CA and Sydney, Australia. For more information sea our Packages information or call us.

3- Will I be met at the airport on the first day of the trip? (Return to top)

When you sign up for a trip with Explorations & Adventures you will be sent  a Travel Guidelines package which will indicate when we would like you to arrive and depart from the specific city.  Then, once your family has made your travel plans, you should send all of your flight information back to our office.  This information is then given to your expedition leaders who will meet you at your gate of arrival at the airport.

4- If I am already in the city where my trip begins, where will I meet my group? (Return to top)

If you will not be flying on the first day of your trip, we still ask that you meet your group at a designated airport.  We will arrange a specific meeting place and time for leaders and students to meet.  Once you enroll in an Explorations & Adventures trip, we will notify you on details about meeting your leaders on the first day.

5- At the end of my trip, before returning home, can my family meet me? (Return to top)

If you would like to meet your family at the city of departure on the last day of your exploration & adventure, arrangements can be made through our office.  We will have arranged a specific meeting place and time in each airport of departure for students and their families.  Your leaders will escort students to the designated meeting area and wait with them until they have united with family members. 

6- What if I am a minor and have never traveled alone before? (Return to top)

Many of our students travel alone, without friends or family, to the destination meeting place for their Explorations & Adventures trip.  If you so desire, airlines can assist you as an  “Unescorted Minor” and provide an airline representative, usually a stewardess,  to escort you during boarding and arrival.  You must, however, provide them with the name of the specific leader from Explorations & Adventures who will meet you upon arrival at the destination city.  Another possibility is that  there might be another student on an Explorations & Adventures trip  on your flight, especially if you are coming from a major city. If you would like to see about coordinating  travel plans with a fellow student, please call us and we can let you know if there are other students coming from your area on travel day.

7- Will my parents be notified of my safe arrival on travel day? (Return to top)

The first priority of your Explorations & Adventures leader, after you have been met and have claimed your baggage, will be to call your parents to let them know that you have arrived safely and met your group.


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