FAQs related to Luxury Volunteer Travel With Hands Up Holidays
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you tailor-make a trip for me?
Absolutely! We love to create trips that meet your exact requirements. You can read more about this by clicking here.
Why do the trips have no scheduled departure dates?
This is because the itineraries you see are only suggestions, which we expect to adapt to meet your exact requirements.
And if the itinerary as stated is exactly what you are looking for, you can choose your own departure dates! If there are two or more of you booking the price is as stated. Even if there is just yourself booking, we can run the trip for you, although a supplement generally applies.
Why are your trips priced as they are?
Our adventures are not the cheapest around, but we are confident that you will agree that they are good value, and money well-spent once you have participated in one. However, we know that we need to persuade you now, not after your trip, so here are some reasons:
- We invest a lot of time and money into ensuring that you are safe, in consulting with local communities to check that the volunteer work you are doing will be of benefit to them, and to providing you with enriching experiences that will last a lifetime;
- We are committed to providing you with a truly excellent vacation – your satisfaction is our top priority;
- We include the costs of any materials used whilst volunteering in the trip price;
- We use only the best local guides, and we pay them above the market rate;
- We keep our group sizes limited to 12 people, which provides you with a more intimate, engaging and personal experience;
- Our trips are priced so that with just two people traveling, the trip is guaranteed to go ahead;
- The accommodation for most of our trips are at the 4-5* level mark.
Also, if you would like to be put in touch with some of our existing clients to get their input, please let us know by emailing us at email@example.com
How far in advance do I have to book?
For most trips, booking 2-3 months in advance is sufficient, but a lot depends on the time of year and whether it is peak season in your chosen destination. We will do our utmost to ensure that you can get on a trip, and will even run a second trip if your group is full, but encourage you to book as far in advance as possible.
What are the ways to pay, and by when do I have to pay?
You can pay by credit card online or bank transfer (or by cheque if you live in the UK or New Zealand and there is more than 60 days before your trip is due to commence). Paying by credit card incurs up to a 3.95% surcharge, depending on the type of card you use. These charges apply to debit cards as well. You can pay with a 20% deposit to secure your booking, with the balance due 60 days prior to your trip start-date.
What is the minimum number required to guarantee that a trip will depart?
For almost all our trips, we require just two people to book and then the trip is guaranteed at the price as stated. In fact, with two or more people, you can choose your own departure date! What’s more, even if you are travelling on your own, and you are the first person to book a trip, you can choose to pay a surcharge to guarantee that the trip will go ahead.
How are the Volunteer Projects selected?
Our Volunteer Projects have been sourced through consultation with the local communities to identify in which ways a small group of foreigners without necessarily any specific skills could be of benefit to them.
I live in a city, how on earth can I help people in disadvantaged communities in a hands-on way?
With a positive attitude, yes! If you are able bodied or can speak conversational English, you will be amazed at how much you can do to make a difference in the lives of others in a short period of time. And, as the following answer shows, even your urban professional skills are able to be utilised with certain Community Development organisations!
I do have expertise (such as medical, engineering, construction, teaching, and IT) – can I use these skills in the Volunteer components of the tour?
In your registration form, you will be asked if you have any specific skills, and wherever possible, we will strive to ensure that you can put these to good use if you so desire. On occasion, even marketing, accounting and IT skills can be of great benefit to certain organisations.
I want to make a difference, but am not keen on “roughing it” – is this ok?
Absolutely. We recognise that for many of our guests, this is your first time volunteering, and you appreciate having a solace to return to at the end of a day’s volunteering. As such, most of our trips are 4-5* in accommodation, including whilst you are volunteering, where this is available.
Don’t I have to volunteer for weeks of months in order to be of benefit?
No. Naturally, the longer you volunteer, the better, and we hope that after travelling with Hands Up Holidays, you will be inspired to volunteer for longer periods of time (overseas or in your home town), but we have carefully selected projects in consultation with the communities that enable you to make a positive impact. What’s more, your trip price includes any costs associated with your volunteering (including administration time), so there is no concern about being a burden on the community.
Are international flights included in the price?
No, but we can arrange these for you as well. If your trip involves domestic flights, then these are generally included in the trip price.
Is my money safe with you?
Yes. Your funds are safe in a client trust account, which we cannot access until you return home. We are also ATOL bonded.
Please be aware that the TTA is NOT a travel insurance policy. The Stand Alone Safe Seat Plan will only protect the money that you have paid to Hands Up Holidays. You will need to take out a seperate travel insurance policy to provide cover for cancellation, medical expenses and lost baggage etc.. We can provide you with a travel insurance policy.
Will I be safe?
Your safety is a primary concern for us, and we will take all reasonable steps to ensure that you are safe. We only go to areas with excellent track records for safety. However, no trip can be guaranteed to be one hundred per cent safe, and each guest must recognise that travel to developing countries is, in general, less safe than travel to developed countries. Hands Up Holidays has a 100% safety record.
What if I get sick?
Our pre-trip information pack will provide you with how to minimise the risk of falling ill, and our guides will also brief you on hygiene. Additionally, we strongly encourage you to take out comprehensive travel insurance that will cover the event that you fall ill. This coverage should certainly include all medical-related expenses, and emergency air lifts where required.
If I am building a house, will it get completed in the time I am there?
The time allocated to building a house on each trip is expected to be sufficient to build a house when its foundations are already laid.
However, delays can occur, which could result in the house not being completed during the Community Development component of the trip.
Will someone pick me up from the airport?
Yes. This is included in the price. You will be met on arrival by one of our staff, who will transfer you to your accommodation. You will also be transferred to the airport at the conclusion of your trip (this is also included in the price).
Can you arrange accommodation for me on the nights immediately prior to and after my tour?
Yes, gladly. Please indicate on your booking form that you would like this, and upon payment of the additional cost, this will be booked for you at the hotel where your tour begins or ends.
Where do I meet my tour guide and the rest of my group?
You will be given detailed information on exactly where your tour will commence. Generally this will be at a hotel. If you are arriving the day before your tour begins, the simplest option is to be transferred to the hotel from where your tour commences.
Wherever possible, we will arrange a welcome drink at a nearby bar the evening before your trip commences to meet your fellow travellers.
Do I have to share a room with another group member?
Yes, unless you pay for a single supplement, which is available on most trips. Sharing a room will be with someone of the same sex.
Are there special dietary allowances, e.g. for vegetarians?
We will strive to meet any dietary requirements you may have, and will ask you to declare these on your booking form.
However, please bear in mind that your choice of meals may be considerably lower than what you are accustomed to in your home country.
Can I assist at a project for an extended period after my tour finishes?
Should you wish to assist for, say, one month after your tour, we can assist you with this, however is it not always possible and ultimately is the decision of the Community Development project itself. Additionally, there may be legal and visa restrictions on Community Development for longer than the amount of time contained in our trips, and these are your responsibility to arrange, as are changes to flight and other bookings.
Why is a police report required for some Volunteer Projects?
The safety of the people in the communities in which we care doing volunteer work is of major importance to us. Where the project involves significant time with children, one way of minimising the risk to children is to the require a police report. If the police report reveals that there is a misconduct relating to children, the individual will not be permitted to participate in our tours.
Is there a minimum age?
People under 18 need to be accompanied by their parent or guardian.
Is there a maximum age?
No, but we do encourage you to be guided by the Activity Level rating, and for our more physical trips, you may be required to submit a medical certificate if you are over 60.
My days of backpacking are gone now – am I too old?
Not at all – as per the previous question, there is no maximum age, and because most of our trips are 4-5* accommodation, you can still make a difference whilst volunteering and have a good night’s sleep.
Are any tours suitable for families, and if so, which ones?
We agree with our customers that our tours are life changing experiences, and that whole families can be transformed on a Hands Up vacation. However, not all projects are suitable, nor are our more physically demanding tours (such as in Peru, Vietnam (cycling), Lombok, Borneo).
We feel that the most appropriate projects are environmental ones, and those that involve teaching in schools or repair and maintenance work of orphanages, because your children can benefit from the interaction with the local children.