Essential Travel Information
Before booking your BOA trip, please ensure that you have read both this information and BOA Booking Conditions.
- Who travels with Best Of Asia Overland
- Group size
- Travelling on a group tour
- Our crew and guides
- Dietary requirements
- Accommodation on tour
- Overland travel and security
- Responsible tourism
- Cultural considerations
- A couple of rules
- Pre and post trip accommodation and connecting flights
- Adventure and safety
- General health and age concerns
- Included activities
- Optional activities
- Contingency emergency fund
- Once you have booked
- Arrival & joining information
Essential information to know
Who travels with BOA Overland?
Anyone and everyone travel with BOA. We have people from all over the world, all ages and all backgrounds. In fact the more nationalities we have, quite often the more interesting the trip will be. One common bond most of our passengers have (as well as crew) is a passion for travel.
Even though we have seating for 14 passengers, we only run our trips with a maximum of 12 passengers; however we need to have at least 64passengers for the trip to run in the BOA vehicle. If we do not reach 4, we are able to still run the itinerary, but in locally chartered vehicles.
Please note that there is an overlap of 2 trips between Agra, Jaipur and Delhi. Those joining in Delhi will be escorted from Delhi to Jaipur by private vehicle. Should numbers exceed those available on our vehicle additional transport will be arranged to accompany our us.
On some occasions there is also an overlap of 2 trips in Chitwan NP, those joining in Kathmandu will be escorted from Kathmandu to Chitwan by private vehicle and those finishing in Kathmandu will be escorted in the same vehicle.
Traveling on a group tour
As you travel on a group tour 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 globe and likely a range of age groups too. We ask that you 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 just takes a little effort on your part.
Prior to departure BOA will set up a private Facebook group which you are welcome to join and meet your fellow passengers.
Our crew & guides
Our crew are passionate about travel, Asia and always up for adventure. It takes someone special to become a BOA tour leader. All of our crew have had years of experience working for other reputable companies.
We have a crew of two, one local driver and one local tour leader who keep the passengers informed with local knowledge, including culture, language and cuisine! Both of the crew are responsible for the group and the day-to-day running of the trip and will accompany you for the duration.
With many of the sites and cities we visit, we also have a resident English speaking guide accompany us. Their extensive local knowledge and real insight into the lives of the local people are invaluable to fully experiencing a destination.
Meals on our tours are as per the itinerary, however most breakfasts and many lunches are included. We realise there may be times when someone may want a bit of time out from the group and go off to do their own thing so evening meals are not generally included unless there is either a buffet at our hotel and or we have a group meal somewhere special.
On drive days we either take a packed lunch with us and set up our kitchen in an appropriate spot... or stop at a roadside restaurant.
If you have any dietary requirements please tell us at the time of booking and tell your crew at your welcome meeting. As we will be eating in restaurants most of the time there should be something on the menu to suit your needs. Indian and Nepal cater well towards vegetarians and vegans with almost all restaurants having a veg and pure veg section on the menu.
It must be remembered that the variety of dishes may be severely limited in comparison to those available to others. If there is anything in particular you require in your diet, that you would miss from home, or because of an allergy would miss out on, it would be best to bring this with you. Depending on your particular requirements, you may need to allow yourself some extra spending money to purchase other food items.
Accommodation on tour
Our tours are designed for either twin shared/double accommodation. If you are travelling alone and wish to twin share, we will do our best to arrange this with another group member of the same sex, however this can’t always be guaranteed. In some case we may use a triple share. If you are travelling alone and don’t want to share accommodation, single supplements can be made available.
Accommodation in the Indian Sub-continent is as varied as the countries themselves. Standards may not equate to standards at home and it's best to approach each accommodation with an open mind. Service can be slow in places, especially when travelling with a group. Some hotels may not have heating so in the winter months or at altitude it can be chilly and if you feel the cold you may wish to ask for extra blankets. Hot water is not always available 24 hours a day in some of the smaller properties, especially when travelling with a group who all want to shower at similar times. Power cuts can and are regular occurrences in many places.
Having said all that, most of our hotels range from beautiful five stars with excellent facilities to three stars with facilities that are quite acceptable and we endeavor to ensure the facilities include a swimming pool in the hotter areas. However, some of the destinations we get to are quite removed from the normal tourist path and when this is the case, we use the best accommodation available... not 4 or 5 stars!
The 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.
Throughout the trip we request that our lodgings 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. Instead, we can keep the luggage on the vehicle and explore our new destination.
Overland travel, security and comfort
One of the advantages of overland travel is that the vehicle provides a very real level of security when travelling. There is no doubt that a properly equipped overland vehicle, with a safe, fully lockable doors and windows is an obvious advantage when travelling in Asia.
We recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt whilst travelling for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items (although most of these can be locked in the safe whilst you are on the trip) and advise passengers to leave any valuable jewellery, watches etc at home. External bum bags can be a magnet to would be thieves and opportunists. BOA doesn’t recommend them!
Generally speaking, you will not be travelling on local public transport (though we do utilise a train in India and a ferry in Bangladesh) and will have the added security of travelling in a group with experienced crew on hand to offer advice. Remember our crew have had years of experience on the road and their advice is invaluable. Sometimes a question may sound silly or over the top, but believe us, it won’t be.
Please note that any personal effects that are left on the truck, even if they are stored in the safe, are left at your own risk and BOA cannot be held responsible for any damage or theft that may occur.
BOA’s all terrain Mercedes Benz coach style overland vehicles have been designed by us for comfort and spaciousness. Standard features include air conditioning and heating, extra wide reclining seating, tables, a library, on board computer(s) and Internet facilities, plenty of storage space for personal effects, windows that open and close, a refrigerator, 240V and 12V charging facilities and kitchen facilities! As mentioned earlier, we don’t have more than 14 seats and 12 passengers on our trips, vehicles our size usually pack in 23 plus; we have ample legroom and aisle/storage space!
BOA is committed to ensuring that we have a positive impact on local communities and that we implement policies to minimise any negative impact on the local environment.
We are dedicated to making sure that we adopt a responsible attitude to the areas through which we travel and believe that our trips should benefit the local people and their environment. BOA recognises that we are guests of local communities and strive to make these communities our partners.
Travelling responsibly is all about making good choices. It's about ensuring you have a great trip while also having a positive impact on the local environment, community and economy you're travelling in. Here's a few tips:
- Bring a refillable water bottle and use the chemically sterilised water stored on the vehicle. You are free to refill your bottle as many times a day as you like.
- Be an animal friendly traveller. Only go to venues that respect animals be allowing them to live normally in their natural environment. Steer clear of venues that use animals for entertainment or abnormal activities and / or keep animals in poor or unnatural conditions.
- Eat at local restaurants, buy from regional artists and support social enterprises so you can contribute directly to the local economy
- Always be respectful of local customs and culture.
- Learn a few words of the local language and engage with the people around you.
- Carry a reusable bag so you can avoid plastic bags.
Elephant performances & elephant riding
Elephant trekking, or elephant riding, has long been on the Asia traveller’s bucket list. Whether learning how to be a mahout in Thailand, tracking rhinos and tigers through the jungles of Nepal or riding a rescued elephant in a Sri Lankan sanctuary. However, BOA Asia does not include elephant rides or unnatural performance activities on any itinerary.
The more questions that are asked about elephant riding, the clearer it becomes that not only is this not an ethical means of conserving elephants, but it is, in fact, precipitating their extinction in the wild. No more than 45,000 Asian elephants remain in their natural environment, scattered across 13 countries in ever decreasing patches of land; they are classified as endangered throughout their range.
The more elephants that are taken from their natural habitat to supply temples, sanctuaries and camps, the smaller their chances of survival. These days, no animal lover would dream of purchasing ivory, yet riding an elephant while on holiday could ultimately have the same impact on elephant populations.
If you would like to learn more here is a link to an excellent guide book by Horizon Travel Press
Its not just a question of respecting other cultures, we are also representatives of our own culture. As part of our policy regarding responsible tourism we strongly encourage our clients to be culturally aware.
Conservative dress is a good idea for the most part. Especially when visiting religious sites. In the more touristy areas T-shirts and shorts may be fine but you never know when you might come across a temple in which you may choose to have a closer look.
As for photography, it is well known that in some cultures, photographs are believed to take away the soul. That aside it’s also rude to shove a camera in someone’s face and expect a smile; however, having said that, many from the Subcontinent (especially the children) will be happy to oblige, but it’s always best to ask. Also by asking, you may end up meeting some very interesting people.
Some people may want some money for the privilege of taking their photograph, IF you decide to pay them a little something, please don’t over do it, and don’t let them con you out of more, which quite often they will!
A couple of rules
All passengers are required to obey all laws of the countries through which we pass. This particularly applies to the smuggling of contraband and possession of narcotic drugs, firearms, antiquities and ivory. The local law deals with all offenders equally... no exceptions.
Any passenger found contravening such laws or customs may be required to leave the trip immediately with no refund of the trip price.
Equally BOA will not tolerate any violence, threat of violence or sexual harassment towards local people, other group members or any member of our staff. Everyone has the right to feel safe and secure on their trip. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if they use prostitutes, abuse children, use violence or threaten violence without a refund of the trip price.
Pre and post trip accommodation and connecting flights
All of our trips have a city tour at the start of the trip and if the trip finishes in a different city, at the end. So unless you want to spend extra time in any of our joining/finishing cities, there is no need to arrive before the trip start date unless you would like a bit of time to acclimatise to the local culture or shake off that jet lag.
BOA can pre-book extra accommodation at our joining/finishing hotels trips if you wish. We will need to have your flight arrival details to ensure smooth airport transfers.
BOA does not book airline flights unless a flight is included with the trip, for example: Lhasa to Kathmandu.
Adventure & safety
The safety of our passengers, leaders and operators is a major priority of BOA. With this in mind we monitor, not only Asian events very closely, but the whole world. By the very nature of the adventure travel that we take, there are risks and hazards that are inherent in our itineraries. BOA makes operational decisions based on informed advice from a number of sources...
- Foreign Office travel advice
- Reports from other travel companies and local suppliers
- Leaders reports from off the road
- Local contacts
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. It’s a good idea to always make yourself aware of the travel advice before you book and again before you travel. Below are links to some of the websites.
Britain: UK Gov Foreign Travel Advice
Australia: Smart Traveller AU
New Zealand: Safe Travel NZ
United States: US Department of State
Canada: Gov of Canada Travel
We also recommend you check out UK Travel Aware for up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. It offers straight forward information security, local laws, passport and visa information.
General health and age concerns
You must be at least 18 to travel on a BOA tour but apart from that we don’t have any upper age restrictions, if you have a passion for exploring new and interesting places and feel you are up to the rigors of overlanding, we won’t hold you back. We do however ask all of our passengers to declare any pre-existing medical conditions that could affect them on the trip.
When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to participate in any included activities.
Passengers should be prepared for long driving days and very often, limited facilities. When travelling in very isolated and remote places quite often the medical system isn’t of the same standard one would expect if they were in their home country.
Vaccination may be required so it’s also a good idea to consult a travel advice centre in your local area for advice on recommended vaccinations and any anti-malarial requirements. This should be done well in advance of your trip departure as come vaccines require more than one dose.
If you will be traveling in a malarial region keep in mind that the mosquito usually bites between dusk and dawn, covering up during these hours by wearing light-weight long sleeved shirts, long trousers and mosquito repellant can greatly help.
You should be issued with an International Certificate of Vaccination. Always carry this with you on your travels; it could provide essential information for doctors in the event you fall ill.
For additional information please visit:
Britain: Travel Health Pro
Australia & New Zealand: Travel Doctor - TMVC
It is a condition of booking that you have comprehensive travel insurance gainst medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs and air ambulance or helicopter rescue services where appropriate) . Without evidence of valid travel insurance you will not be allowed to start the trip.
Whatever policy you choose, you must ensure that it is designed for adventure/overland travel. As such it must cover you for adventure activities such as white water rafting, trekking, horse-riding and that the 24 Hour Emergency Assistance Company must be experienced in handling situations in developing countries – for example they have the ability to arrange repatriation from remote areas such as the Tibetan Plateau or if you were trekking in the Himalayas.
BOA does not accept travel policies that come with a credit card. These policies have many conditions and quite often the bearer of the card is confident of full travel insurance but in fact, when it comes to a claim, if one of these conditions hasn’t been met, the claim in all likelihood will be rejected. BOA has a firm policy with credit card insurance and no one will be allowed on our vehicles with this type of insurance.
We recommend that any policy have the following minimum levels of cover:
- Medical (incl. repatriation) US$5,000,000
- Personal Liability US$2,000,000
- Cancellation and Curtailment US$10,000
We strongly recommend the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment, loss of baggage, personal effects, money and other inclusions however, these are down to personal choice.
While it is our intention to adhere to the route described in the itinerary exact night stops an inclusions cannot be guaranteed. There is a certain amount of flexibility built in and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. This may be for a variety reasons - climatic, road or bureaucratic conditions may demand it.
Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary from time to time. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable.
Included activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary, all other activities are optional and at your own expense. Should you choose not to participate in an included activity, the cost will not be refunded.
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 approximate and are for entrance only, they do not include transport to and from or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability and the time available at each destination.
Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operator whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. This means that it may be possible that you find a cheaper operator for the same activity, however BOA cannot vouch for their safety or quality and as such our staff cannot assist you with any bookings. The decision to partake in any activity or with another operator not listed is at your own discretion and risk.
Contingency emergency fund
We try to plan for every eventuality but sometimes, civil or political unrest, or other reasons beyond BOA's control (e.g. severe weather or a natural disaster), can mean that an itinerary is disrupted and we have to make a contingency plan. This may involve hiring alternate transport or even the whole group flying over an area. Although BOA will help organise alternative travel arrangements, in circumstances outside BOA's control, it’s a good idea to be prepared to pay for unexpected costs and therefore we ask you to bring along a 'Contingency Fund' of USD400. In almost all cases trips run smoothly and this fund is therefore rarely used.
We also recommend that you take along an internationally recognised credit or charge card with a healthy limit in case of emergencies, such as medical treatment en route, or even the need to be repatriated; though these occurrences are rare. Remember that travel insurance policies usually only refund you for expenses after you have already paid out.
Tipping is very much a part of the culture in the Indian Sub-Continent and is usually expected. Tipping can often be an awkward affair, especially when in an unfamiliar country when you are not sure when or how much to tip.
Often we also use a local guide as well as our BOA crew and it is usual to tip them when they have finished utilising their services, however, BOA have already taken care of all tipping of local guides as well as any other help along the way, so please do not feel you have to tip.
In regards to the BOA crew... if you feel you have received excellent service, please feel free to give a little extra at the end of the trip, but don’t feel obligated, a tip is something that should be earned... not expected.
Once you have booked
Once you have booked
Download our country travel guides, these documents will provide you with in-depth information on the following:
- Country Info
- Passport/Visa information
- Money matters
- Health, immunisation & medical kits
- Food & drink
- Phone & WiFi
- Time & Voltage
- Emergency contact
You can also download our detailed 'Travel Checklist' to make sure you are fully prepared for the trip.
Arrival & Joining information
Six weeks before departure you will be sent the following information:
- Arrival/Joining information
- Airport transfers
- Pre / post- trip accommodation