For questions relating to the practicalities of daily life on tour, please refer to our Predeparture Information.
In an emergency, how can my family or friends contact me?
It is best that family and friends relay emergency messages through 4T staff, rather than attempting to contact you directly at hotels or while on excursions. Please refer to our Contact Information for specific phone numbers. Please be aware that due to the nature of some programs--particularly those in remote areas, it may take up to 3 days for a participant to receive a message.
In what language are the tours?
Tours can be in either English or Spanish...or both! Please advise us well in advance if you will require guides with other language skills.
What about money? Should I bring cash, traveler's checks, debit cards, or credit cards?
The simple answer is "yes". It is always a good idea when traveling to have all of your bases covered be not relying a single method of acquiring money. In general traveler's checks from a well known financial institution are the safest and easiest form of currency to use. In most circumstances, they can be cashed for Dominican Pesos with just a copy of your passport. Debit cards and major credit cards are widely accepted in major cities and all-inclusive resorts, but are of little use in the backcountry and small coastal tourist towns, regardless of the frequency of their international clientele. The Dominican Republic is very much a cash economy.
Can I get medical prescriptions filled in the DR?
Maybe, so we recommend that you bring more than enough personal medication to last through your trip. With a great deal of searching, prescription drugs can be aquired from local farmacies, but they will most likely be different brand names, concentrations, and contain different fillers than what you are accustomed to. Please take this same advice for corrective lenses and contacts. If you wear corrective lenses, bring at least two pairs. Please bring at least two bottles of contact lense cleaning solution and store then in separate locations.
What if I lose my passport or airplane tickets while in the DR?
It goes without saying, but we'll say it anyway...Don't. In most situations, your Trip Leader will have a safe location for you to keep your important personal belongings. As would be the case in a hotel using the safe in your room, there may be a nominal additional charge for this service. It is absolutely imperative that you make a copy of your passport photo page, other form of photo identification, all credit cards in your wallet, and your airline tickets and/or airline itinerary. Keep a complete set for yourself stored in a separate location than the originals. Please give a second set to your Trip Leader for safe keeping. These documents will be invaluable in the event that you lose your passport, tickets, or wallet.
Is Tours Trips Treks & Travel a US Company?
Tours Trips Treks & Travel is two companies. Tours Trips Treks & Travel LLC has its Articles of Organization filed in the US State of Missouri. While we do have a mailing and billing office in New York, most of our program design takes place in the Dominican Republic where we are most in touch with what is going on in education, adventure, and community service opportunities. Tours Trips Treks & Travel S.A. is a registered business in the Dominican Republic that handles all ground operations.
Is there a lot of crime in the DR?
The Dominican Republic knows next to nothing of the brutal gang and drug related violence that exists in major cities in North America, other than what is portrayed on television and in the movies. It is not to say that crime does not exist, it certainly does. But, it is on the whole of a petty theft and non-confrontational nature. We have found that the standard "away from home" precautions, such as keeping a low profile, not flaunting money, locking doors, buddy system, avoiding unlit areas, etc that we review in orientation and reiterate throughout the program with our participants prevent them from becoming targets of even the most harmless of crimes. As mentioned earlier, safety is shared responsibility and we empower our participants to care for themselves and each other as committed, co-dependent members of an organized tour.
How do the problems in Haiti affect the DR?
When looking at a map of the world, the enormity of the North American continent overwhelmingly dwarfs the size of the island of Hispaniola, home to the Dominican Republic and Haiti. This easily creates the illusion that the two countries are one in the same when, in fact, they are about as similar as the United States and Mexico. The civil unrest and violence reported as news in Haiti is focused almost exclusively in specific neighborhoods of Port-au-Prince and along Route One heading north from the capital city far removed from even the closest border areas between the two countries. Excluding the socio-economic issues related to migrant work forces and stateless refugees in poverty, the problems of Haiti have very little to do with life in the Dominican Republic particularly for foreigners traveling with an organization so dedicated to its guests well-being.
What kind of threat do hurricanes pose in the DR?
The Dominican Republic
enjoys year-round spring like temperatures. Due to the nation's size,
proximity to the paths of trade winds blowing across the Atlantic, and
height of its mountain ranges, its weather can be quirky and depends more
on regional rather than seasonal factors. The threat of hurricanes is
definitely of interest to visitors and those who care for them. Hurricane
season in the DR officially runs between June 1 and November 30. Hurricanes
do not pose a significant threat to program participants, regardless of
the time of year, as modern technology allows us to predict their paths
days in advance with great accuracy. 4T staff monitors all weather conditions
during our programs and has evacuation protocols in place as part of our
risk management plan. The unfortunate deaths reported on international
news from hurricanes are generally not due to unexpected ferocity or path
of travel. They are a sad reality of a country with 25% of its residents
living below the poverty level. The poor tend to be left with only the
most undesirable of land for building their homes, like seasonally dry
river beds and ravines and watershed areas. The dangers of living in these
areas are inherent and unavoidable during tropical storms and hurricanes.
It goes without saying that while we may conduct community service projects
in these areas at certain times of the year, we avoid them with the onset
of hurricane season.
Do you have any references?
The following individuals have offered to serve as references. Please feel free to contact them with any questions regarding the quality of our services.
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