I have so many questions, what do I do?
Travelling abroad is, for many people, an exciting and mysterious step into the unknown. You land in a foreign country, the locals don’t speak your language, the sights and smells are all different… You have so many questions. What do you do now?
One of the best ways to prepare for your adventure of a lifetime abroad is to read through our frequently asked questions below. We have more than 10 years of experience helping travellers just like you to find their perfect experience. In the FAQ below we cover many of the questions that we often get asked about our travel experiences, we hope you find them useful.
What if my question wasn’t answered?
If you can’t find the question and answer combination that you are looking for then why not use the quick question form to send us your question? One of our friendly team members will get back to you as soon as possible.
Have fun planning your perfect adventure, we can’t wait to see you soon!
What’s included in my fee?
Your fee includes a variety of things that make our tours unique and some of them vary depending on which tour you choose. As standard all of our tours and experiences include –
- Airport pickup.
- Shared accommodation for the duration of your trip.
- Welcome meeting and orientation.
- Transportation to places included in the itinerary (including daily transportation to and from experience location).
- Daily support from our local coordinators and guides (except for some of our adventure tours which may have some unguided days).
- 24 hour emergency in-country support.
For a more comprehensive list of what is included be sure to check out webpage of the tour you are interested in.
What does “Pay Deposit” mean?
It means reserving a space without paying in full right now. Paying a deposit gives you time to research flights, arrange passport information, make plans with your travel buddies, etc.. It’s also a great way to secure your place on a trip if you don’t have all the money available right now.
How do I pay my deposit?
There are two ways to pay your deposit: online or by contacting us directly by email. Our secure online booking form allows you to “Pay Deposit” for all of our Thailand trips. Once you have paid your deposit you will receive a confirmation from our team and be provided with further information about how to pay the remainder of your balance.
Can I book my place without paying a deposit?
Unfortunately due to the popularity of our tours we generally do not hold places without receiving a deposit. However, if you call our team and ask to secure your place on a trip they may be able to reserve your place for up to 24 hours until you pay your deposit.
What payment methods are accepted?
Our secure online booking system uses Paypal to process all payments. Paypal accepts a wide range of payment options such as Visa, Mastercard, American Express and many other major credit cards. You can also pay with a debit card or even use the funds in your Paypal account if you have one. A Paypal account is not required to pay through our booking system.
Do I need insurance?
We strongly recommend all of our travellers purchase insurance prior to their tour. Although it is unlikely that you will need to use it, it is always better to have the piece of mind and safety net that insurance gives you should anything go wrong.
How do you send out travel documentation?
All documentation is sent electronically by email. Shortly after we receive your payment we will send you your initial documents.
Can I pay for my trip in full right away?
Absolutely. Our online booking system gives you the option to pay in full and is very straightforward to use. If you’d rather be invoiced for your booking then please email us and we will arrange that for you.
Am I too old or too young to join a trip?
With the exception of our medical experience, age, experience, qualifications, sex, race, religion, background are not important. You just need to be physically fit and have the desire to do something amazing.
Do I need experience to join a trip?
Experience is great to have, however, it is not required to take part in our adventures. We use trained professionals to oversee all aspects of our projects to ensure quality and efficiency. Those who have relevant skills and experience, are encouraged to take a leadership role and share their skills with both our team and other travellers.
Do I need a Criminal Records check?
Depending on what experience you choose to do this is likely. If you are unsure before you book get in touch and we will let you know.
When do I book and when do I pay?
You can book anytime you want for however far in advance that you like. Once your booking is made we generally request that we receive your full payment within 30 days. However this is not always possible and we can be flexible. Your booking will act as a reservation until full payment is made. In our blog we will be showing you ways to fund your trip and other great tips so be sure to check it out. All we request is that we have received your booking form and full payment no later than 30 days before you are due to start your project.
Will I need a visa?
Visa requirements vary greatly depending on what country you live in so we always recommend getting in touch with us so we can guide you in the right direction. Depending on your country of origin and the destination country, you may need to arrange a visa before arrival. This is a straightforward process and we can offer some support. Ultimately we cannot be responsible for your visa and obtaining the correct visa to cover the duration of a stay is your responsibility.
Do I need any vaccinations?
Vaccinations are generally recommended for travel abroad, please contact your local GP/doctor to obtain information about vaccinations.
Where will I sleep?
Travellers will generally stay in basic twin or triple share rooms that include beds, bedding, basic storage, a fan, and electrical outlets. At many of our project locations we rent housing from the local community. Each house has several bedrooms, bathrooms, a kitchen and a living space. The houses are located close to amenities including supermarkets, markets, internet cafe’s, ATM’s, medical facilities etc..
Do I need to speak the local language?
Not at all, but learning it can be fun. Your guides will help you translate but knowing a few simple words is a great way to show your appreciation to the locals. A simple “hello” or “thank you” in the country’s native language will go a long way to forging new friendships and opening new doors. If you want to learn some new words just ask your guide.
Why do I have to make my own way back?
In order to make our trips as flexible as possible we do not offer return transportation once your tour ends. Many people wish to extend their trip by either continuing travel on their own or signing up for one of our trip extensions. Here’s an example of typically what would happen at the end of your tour – If you were to join our Elephant project in Surin your trip would begin in Bangkok. Our team would then travel with you to your project location in Surin and stay with you for the duration of your project. Once your trip came to an end you would have to arrange your own way back to Bangkok from Surin. Travel in Thailand is often very inexpensive and, with the help of your guide, easily arranged. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.
What if I want stay longer?
At Starfish we try to be as flexible as possible – it’s very common for travellers to enjoy their time on our tours so much that they want to stay longer. During your tour if you want to extend your trip then just send us an email and we will help you extend your adventure.
How can I find out who is in my group before I arrive?
Starfish tours are mostly made up of solo travellers, with a ration of solo travellers to others (couples, friends travelling together, etc) of roughly 80:20. For privacy reasons, we can’t share information about your soon-to-be travel buddies ahead of time. Our tours appeal to all kinds of fun-loving people from all over the world who want to experience a unique way to travel responsibly. Our tours are conducted in English and often attract travellers from the United Kingdom, Europe, North America, Australia, and New Zealand.
Are travellers mainly women or men?
Most of our trips are made up of around 70% female travellers, however this varies depending on the trip itself. Our adventure tours often average roughly a 50/50 split of genders. Whether you choose our experience tours or our adventure tours you will have the opportunity to make new, likeminded friends from all walks of life.
What happens in the evenings?
On most evenings, your guide will organise a group activity – usually something social, like going out for a meal together. It’s pretty flexible and you are given a lot of freedom; it’s up to you whether you want to dine with the group or go off by yourself and do your own thing. Other nights, your guide may recommend a few restaurants that are closeby for you to try. But again, it’s up to you whether you want to stick with the group or go it alone.
What’s the age range of a group?
Our groups are often a good mix of ages, while popular with travellers in their early-20s it’s not uncommon for fun-lovers aged 60 and over to enjoy our tours too. Our small group tours give you the unique opportunity to befriend expand your horizons and befriend people you may never had chance to before. Over the years, we’ve found groups with a good mix of ages often adds to the experience.
Is this kind of travel safe for solo travellers?
Yes! Travelling solo can be intimidating, especially when you are in a country where you don’t speak the language. Our small group tours are the perfect remedy to this because, although you have a lot of freedom to experience things your own way, you are taken care of by our friendly and professional guides. As well as teaching you about local customs, translating conversations and deciphering menus our guides are also there to make your trip as care-free as possible. What’s more, feedback from our solo travellers has told us that by travelling as part of a small group solo travellers were given the confidence to explore places they may not have if they were on their own.
What if I want a room to myself?
All of our tours offer shared accommodation as standard, we also ensure that female travellers are put in a shared room with other females and males share a room with other males. We want to make your trip truly special, and for some people that may mean private accommodation. This can usually be arranged for all of our tours for an additional supplement but sometimes depends on the style of accommodation available. For more information contact us with your room requests and we will do our very best to accommodate them.