Travel in Middle East
At Cox & Kings we believe that a good holiday is not luck but judgment. We have therefore compiled the following advice to outline the nature of travel in the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia and to help you prepare for your holiday. Even with the most meticulous planning, however, minor problems can occur and, whilst our ground staff are always on hand to rectify such occurrences, we do request that you have a patient and broadminded approach to travelling in the region, and respect the local traditions.
On our tours the following carriers will be used: British Airways, bmi, Royal Jordanian, Royal Air Maroc and Uzbekistan Airways. The name of the airline is clearly listed on the tour page, together with the stop-off airport, should this apply. We do not print flight timings in our brochure; however, you will find full details relating to your international flights printed on your confirmation invoice. All flight times as stated on your confirmation invoice refer to local times. Some flight routings involve a change of plane en route to your destination and will entail a transit time in the airport terminal whilst waiting for your connection. Please take note of the flight details as stated on your confirmation invoice as these will show you the amount of scheduled transit time in the stop-off city. Please note that all flight timings are subject to change by the airline. It is important to note the difference between a ‘direct’ flight and a ‘non-stop’ flight. Non-stop flights do not have any scheduled touchdowns en route, whilst direct flights mean that there is no change of aircraft but that stops are possible and indeed probable, as per the airlines’ timetables. Unfortunately, airlines change their schedules regularly and, although we will advise you of any stops or plane changes at the time of booking, we cannot be held responsible for any changes after this date. All our itineraries are based on Economy Class; however, should you wish to upgrade to Business or First Class, this is normally possible subject to availability. If you would like to take one of these options, please contact one of our Tour Consultants, who can often offer an upgrade at specially discounted prices. Baggage allowances vary according to the destination, flight and class booked, although in the majority of cases the allowance for Economy is 20kgs, Business is 30kgs and First is 40kgs.
All the internal flights in this brochure use jet airliners. Occasionally, when travelling on internal flights with local carriers or on light aircraft, it may be necessary for operators to change schedules at short notice and, if this should happen, everything possible will be done to minimise the inconvenience. Such a change may cause a delay to your onward travel arrangements, and require an extra night’s accommodation at your board point, or alternative travel by another airline or another method of transportation may be required. Although these arrangements are at the discretion of the airline, Cox & Kings will endeavour to help in any way it can and ensure that arrangements go as smoothly as possible.
Flight Delays & Insurance:
Unfortunately, due to the increase in air traffic, government restrictions and changing weather conditions, flight delays have become more commonplace. These delays can cause problems with onward connections and / or hotel and holiday arrangements and, whilst the airline will sometimes make alternative arrangements to get you to your destination at no extra cost, additional costs may well be involved in the form of additional accommodation costs, transfers and onward tickets. It is important that your travel insurance covers you against the costs incurred as a result of cancellation or delay to your flight. Unfortunately, since most services are paid for in advance, any services missed due to delays are non-refundable. Please also bear in mind that many international flight tickets are non-changeable and non-refundable. The insurance policy offered by Cox & Kings (see page 89) is designed to mitigate the costs and effects of such delays in certain circumstances and we strongly advise that you are insured against such eventualities.
Cox & Kings will endeavour to request any specific meals or services, subject to availability, on the condition that we are told at the time of booking. Specific seat requests with most major airlines can now only be requested if travelling in Business or First Class. We are able to request general seating preferences. With all special requests, please remember that they are all ‘requests’ and as such are at the discretion of the airline and cannot be guaranteed.
Most of the tours shown in this brochure use special airfares. These have certain conditions, which normally restrict any change of date, route or airline. Any such change made after a ticket has been issued will normally necessitate the purchase of a new ticket at the passenger’s expense.
Airport Departure Taxes:
International UK departure tax is included in the cost of your holiday (unless otherwise stated) when you buy your ticket from Cox & Kings. Some local taxes may have to be paid locally, however, and you will be informed of these before you travel.
Generally, the road conditions you will experience in the Middle East and Central Asia are fairly good. The majority of the roads are sealed and in reasonable condition. However, please be aware that some tours involve offroad driving, which can be uncomfortable, dusty and quite strenuous. The distance covered in some of our tours is also considerable, especially in Libya. If you have any problems with protracted road travel, please discuss this with your consultant. Types of vehicles vary according to the country visited and the numbers on a tour, but generally the following can be used as a guideline for the size of transportation provided: 2-3 passengers, saloon car; 4–6 passengers, mini van; 6–19 passengers, small bus; 20–28 passengers, medium bus. In destinations where conditions require it, off road driving will be in 4-wheel drive Land Cruiser / Land Rover vehicles.
A number of flights to the Middle East arrive / depart early in the morning, and while we will endeavour to schedule your tour with a flight which arrives / departs at a reasonable time, sometimes there is little or no alternative and early check-in / check-out times may be required. Most Egyptair domestic flights are scheduled very early in the morning and can be prone to schedule changes. This is beyond our control. To avoid the heat during the warmer months, early morning starts are often made for sightseeing.
WEATHER FOR MIDDLE EAST
For information on weather in this region please see individual tour pages.
Accommodation standards vary dramatically throughout the Middle East and hotels should not generally be compared to Western European standards. For our tours in the Middle East, we have chosen hotels primarily for their location and the facilities available. We will endeavour to supply any extra information that you may require on these hotels. The hotels listed in the tour itineraries may occasionally be unavailable for the required dates. In this event, we will advise you of the alternative hotels, which will, where possible, be of the same or a higher standard than those featured in the itineraries. There are many new hotels being built in the Middle East and we may upgrade those featured in the brochure if better options in the same category become available. Christmas and New Year dinners are compulsory at some hotels - these will be charged as a supplement when the prices are confirmed. Please note, all rooms reserved on your tour are standard; however, if you wish to upgrade your room (e.g. to a de luxe, pyramid view or suite etc.), please speak to your tour consultant, who will be able to advise you about the options and the applicable supplements.
Check-In / Check-Out:
For all group and individual tours, hotel check-in / out time is normally 12 noon, but this does vary between hotels. Early checkins and late check-outs cannot be pre-booked, but can sometimes be negotiated on site.
In most cases, prices for individual arrangements and tour extensions are quoted excluding a guide. Pre-booked guides are expensive, and local guides are available at most major sites at a lesser cost. The supplement for a guide is available on request. For logistical reasons, some extensions are on a shared basis based upon a minimum of two passengers and not on a private basis.
Many of the sites in the Middle East are quite spread out and our tours consequently necessitate a reasonable amount of walking. Whilst the walking is normally easy going, a full-day sightseeing can be quite tiring and sometimes strenuous.
Please be aware that tourism is a relatively new concept in many parts of the Middle East, and that much of the region is still extremely traditional. Please respect local customs and dress codes.
At certain times of year, particularly during winter, the day-by-day cruise itinerary is subject to change due to low water levels on the Nile. On the longer cruises, visits to Qena may not always be possible. Due to the large numbers of cruise boats operating on the Nile, delays can occur when passing through the Esna Lock, sometimes necessitating sailing at night. Embarkation and disembarkation of both Nile and Lake Nasser cruise boats usually involves descending and ascending a flight of steps. Cruise itineraries are based on full board, but all drinks will be charged as extras.
FOREIGN & COMMONWEALTH OFFICE TRAVEL ADVICE
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) produces a wide range of material about overseas countries that may be visited by British citizens, to ensure that travellers are properly informed about any overseas destination, particularly in relation to political unrest, crime and health issues. Where the FCO considers that British citizens would face unjustifiable risks to health, it actually advises either against travelling to the country in question or against non-essential travel to that country. Full details of all FCO advice can be obtained on the FCO website: www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice
VISAS AND HEALTH FOR MIDDLE EAST
We work with Visa Swift, a company that specialises in visa processing. Please visit its website to find out if you require a visa, download visa application forms, follow links to important embassy websites or make general inquiries about its visa service. Visa Swift also offers a full range of passport services including passport renewals, second passports and replacement passports. The Visa Swift service is easy to use: simply go to the website and follow the steps to apply for the visa that you need. Once submitted, you can track the progress of your visa application online. Please telephone 020 7025 4744 for more information or visit the Visa Swift website: http://www.visaswift.com/coxandkings.aspx
For information on inoculations you will require in this region please click here »