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At Cox & Kings, we believe that a good holiday is not luck, but judgment. We have compiled the following information to outline the nature of travel in the Indian Ocean, and to help you prepare for your holiday. However, even with the most meticulous planning, minor problems can occur and, while our local representatives are always on hand to rectify such occurrences, we do request that you have a patient and broadminded approach to travelling to the region.
Cox & Kings supports the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) Travel Aware campaign to help you stay safe and healthy overseas. Find out more at FCO Travel Aware. The FCO website provides travel information for many countries around the world which includes advice on safety and security, entry requirements and health, as well as general information. Cox & Kings strongly recommends that you, and everyone on your booking, visit the FCO website and read the advice about the country you are planning to visit prior to booking. You should also revisit the advice regularly prior to your departure as it may change frequently. It is also possible to sign-up to receive FCO e-mail updates for your destination so you are aware of any changes to advice they issue and we recommend you do this. There are different levels of advice, and sometimes this includes advice against travelling to certain areas or countries. To check the current travel advice, visit gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice and follow @FCOTravel on Twitter and Facebook.com/fcotravel.
International flights: Our itineraries use a number of reputable airlines and our costs are based on Economy Class unless otherwise stated. Upgrading to Premium Economy on some routes and Business or First Class is normally possible, subject to availability. Some flight routings involve a change of plane en route to your destination, so please take note of the flight details on your confirmation invoice, as these will show the amount of scheduled transit time in the stop-off city. Please also note that ‘non-stop’ flights have no scheduled touchdowns en route, while ‘direct’ flights mean there is no change of aircraft but 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 made after this date. However, if you specifically require a non-stop flight please ensure that you request this at the time of booking.
Internal flights: For internal flights Cox & Kings sometimes use less commercially known airlines, whose service levels cannot be compared to those of an international airline. In-flight catering can be basic and impromptu strikes are often called and this may mean delays to your departure, an extra night’s accommodation at your board point or travel by an alternative airline or transportation method. Although these arrangements are at the discretion of the airline, Cox & Kings will do everything possible to minimise the inconvenience.
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, while the airline will sometimes make alternative arrangements to get you to your next destination at no extra cost, additional costs may be involved for accommodation in the event of an overnight cancellation and also after your arrival at your next destination. These may be in the form of additional accommodation costs, transfers and onward travel. It is important that your 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. The insurance policy offered by Cox & Kings is designed to mitigate the costs and effects of such delays in certain circumstances and we strongly recommend that you are insured against such eventualities.
Flight amendments: Most tours use special airline fares, which normally restrict changes of date, route and airline. Any such changes made after a ticket has been issued will normally necessitate the purchase of a new ticket at the passenger’s expense.
Special requests: Cox & Kings will endeavour to request any specific meals or services, 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 one of the premium classes. We are able to request general seating preferences for Economy Class passengers. However, with all special requests, please remember that they are ‘requests’ and as such are at the discretion of the airline and cannot be guaranteed.
Airport departure taxes: International UK departure taxes are included in the cost of your holiday (unless otherwise stated). In other countries these may need to be paid locally in local currency. Please note that these taxes are subject to change.
Driving in less developed countries can seem hazardous to westerners due to complicated codes of conduct that apply. All our drivers, however, are carefully trained and experienced. Unfortunately, certain roads are not like those in the west and are frequently narrow, bumpy, pot-holed and have stretches which are not sealed or which are under reconstruction. Road conditions can change throughout the year, due to extreme rains and different weather patterns, and journey times can vary enormously at all times of year, which is beyond the control of Cox & Kings.
If we are tailoring an itinerary for you, it is always a good idea to discuss your particular requirements with your travel consultant, who will endeavour to include as much or as little road travel as you require.
Cox & Kings does not organise self-drive car hire on behalf of its clients anywhere in the Indian Ocean destinations featured and advises against self-driving as, in our opinion, it is unsafe. The safety of our clients is of the utmost importance to Cox & Kings and this advice is offered with our clients’ interests in mind. In the event that you do wish to book an independent self-drive, please be aware that this does not form part of your package holiday with Cox & Kings and, as such, Cox & Kings is not liable in any way for this part of your holiday. Please ensure that, if you do make such a booking, your insurance policy covers you.
Some scheduled flights depart and arrive very late at night or early in the morning. Although Cox & Kings will endeavour to book you on a flight that departs / arrives at a reasonable time, often there is little or no choice and some very early check-in / check-out times may be required. Sometimes it is necessary to leave your hotel before 6am in order to maximise the opportunities for sightseeing during your holiday.
Accommodation standards can vary throughout the islands. From hotels which are fully modernised with excellent facilities to smaller local hotels with more basic facilities. Hotels in the region continually try to upgrade their services and many can suffer from building works throughout the year. Cox & Kings will endeavour to obtain rooms as far away from any construction work as possible, but please bear in mind that hotels run on full capacity during peak season and specific rooms can rarely be pre-booked.
Check-in & check-out times: If a flight arrives very early in the morning, you may be taken for breakfast or sightseeing before being allocated your room, as the check-in / check-out time in hotels is usually around 12 noon. Cox & Kings will endeavour to make your room available as early as possible in these instances.
Single supplements: In most occasions single and double rooms at hotels carry the same price, which means that single supplements can seem high. Single rooms cannot always be guaranteed at all hotels and lodges, especially in peak season. Often, the location and standard of single rooms may not be as good as that of doubles. If you are in doubt, we suggest you request a double room in advance, at an additional supplement. If you are unhappy with your room while on holiday, please query this with a Cox & Kings representative at the time.
From time to time, our ground agents may have to amend your itinerary. This could include changes to the order of activities and, in some extreme cases, have to exclude a visit to a particular site. This is largely due to the need to accommodate local conditions, such as increased security around places of interest. Where this information is made available to us in good time, we will advise you prior to your departure. Any changes to your itinerary will be advised by the local ground agent. However, on arrival, if you are either unable to locate the airport representative or are unhappy with the changes, we strongly recommend that you contact our local representatives in the first instance. The contact details of our local offices can be found alongside the documents dispatched with the final itinerary.