The price of some of our tours is split into two payments; the tour price, which you pay before the tour departs, and the Local Payment (for Budget Expeditions and Overland Tours) or Tipping Kitty (for Adventure Tours in Morocco and China), which is paid on the first day of the tour. Structuring the tour price in this way means that we can benefit as many remote, local economies as possible, by injecting cash into communities that do not have access to banking facilities, and thereby do not normally benefit from tourism in their region.
Why do we have a local payment?
The total price of a Budget Expeditions-style tour or Overland Tour comprises of two payments: the tour price and the local payment. The tour price is paid before you depart, and the local payment is paid directly to your tour leader on the first day of the tour, in US Dollars cash (high denomination bills only -100s, 50s and 20s). There are several reasons why we structure the payments in this way:
1) Cheaper tour prices
The local payment helps us keep your tour price as low as possible. In many of the regions in which Tucan Travel operates, transferring foreign currency can be unreliable and expensive, so the local payment helps your tour leader pay for some of the day-to-day expenses of your trip without encountering problems or transaction fees. This helps reduce the overall price of the trip, meaning we can keep our costs down and pass these savings on to our passengers.
2) Benefiting local economies
The local payment means cash can be injected directly into the local community, by using smaller suppliers or shopping in local markets in remote locations without banking facilities. Having this flexibility means we can stay in out of the way places, benefitting as many small, local communities as possible. A local payment helps to keeps money in the country, going to those most in need.
3) A more genuine travel experience
Going directly to local communities and suppliers in this way means our travellers interact with local people in an authentic way. We don’t just go to the big attractions that all visitors can book in advance online; we can visit the smaller sites, use independent suppliers and shop in local markets that most tourists won't get to experience. The local payment helps us to get off the beaten track.
4) Better customer service
As the tour leader has a supply of cash available for the day-to-day expenses of the tour, they do not need to spend so much time searching for banking facilities and exchange services, so they can spend more time assisting the group with their enquiries about a new destination. The local payment also means your tour will continue to run smoothly even in countries where banking facilities are limited or unreliable.
5) More time to save up
As the local payment does not need to be paid until the first day of the tour, it gives you extra time to save up for your trip. Without a local payment, the whole trip would need to be paid in full two months prior to departure.
Tour prices for Tucan Travel's Budget Expeditions and Overland Tours are excellent value for money. We arrange the framework for your tour and take care of the hassle of organising things like transport and accommodation, giving you more freedom to plan your adventure holiday according to your budget and personal interests.
Our Budget Expeditions and Overland Tours are led by an expert tour leader. In South America and Africa, they travel on custom-built overland expedition vehicles, driven by an experienced, qualified driver, with all the essentials such as massive storage space, plenty of leg room and large windows. Cooking and camping equipment is provided (you will need to bring your own sleeping bag and mat). In Asia, our Budget Expeditions use public transport and local accommodation.
Your tour leader has a range of services he or she must pay for using the Local Payment. It is budgeted tightly for each tour to ensure the cost is kept low, and forms an additional and important part of the local cash funds available to tour crew in order to aid the smooth running of the tour. Consequently, no refunds will be available at the end of the tour. The Local Payment goes towards meals which are included when camping and on travel days, and some accommodation which is a combination of camping and inexpensive hotels and hostels as specified on each tour page. It also covers fuel for the truck and other services which in some places can only be paid for in cash.
Please note: You are required to pay the local payment that is current at the time of your tour’s departure. This amount may change throughout the year and we advice clients to check your specific tour page on our website for the current amount if you are unsure about this.
International flights and departure taxes, visas and vaccinations, travel insurance (this is compulsory and a copy of your policy will be collected by your tour leader), sleeping bag, camping mattress, tips for local guides, excursions and restaurants.
For Adventure Tours to Morocco and China only.
A small tipping kitty may be operated by the tour leader in accordance with local customs. The tipping kitty will be collected at the pre-departure meeting at the start of the tour, and will be managed by the tour leader. This takes the hassle out of searching for change and worrying about how much is the norm in a country where tips make up a large and important part of someone's wages. Please note that this tipping kitty does note include a tip for your tour leader, however this is completely at your own discretion.