I am not the same, having seen the moon
shine on the other side of the world.
-Mary Anne Radmacher
Preparing for the Journey
Money & Currency
Packing & What to Bring
Internet & Communications
Travel Documents & Insurance
While on the Trip
Flight & Airline Information
Preparing for the Journey
How fit do I need to be?
We’ll be active every day and our trips are designed to be enjoyed by anyone who is reasonably fit. However, there are some daily excursions that may be somewhat challenging (think cobblestone roads, heat and humidity, dust, inclined walks, etc.) but we will let you be the best judge as to how much you can do, and we will be supportive of your decision to “take it easy.” A gentle reminder that you will need to carry your own bags.
How far in advance do I need to book?
Because space is limited on each trip, we recommend that you book as soon as possible, that way your spot is guaranteed. Additionally, if you see a trip that interests you that is already full, send us a note and we will add your name to a waiting list and can notify you if there are any cancellations.
Can I book through a travel agent?
Not at this time.
Can I just do portions of the trip?
Unfortunately, this is not possible. However, if, on one of our trips, you decide to take an afternoon to yourself, or deviate from any of our meal plans, you are free to do so (expense will be your responsibility). We just ask for a courtesy notice in advance.
Why is the group size limited?
Origin believes that smaller is better so that we can provide a more customized and intimate experience for our guests. Our maximum group number will be 16. We will also have the hosts, local guides, when necessary, and an occasional photographer joining us. One exception is that for the trips under the “Sport Business Tracks” those trips may have higher numbers.
What are the payment requirements?
At booking and up until 90 days prior to the trip start date, a deposit of $1,500 USD is required per person per trip, and the remaining balance is due 90 days prior to the trip date. Deposits are refundable, but cancellation fees will apply. For more information, see Terms and Conditions.
If you find availability on a trip that is within 90 days of the trip start date, booking will require full payment per person at the time of booking.
Are there any age limits to travel with Origin?
At present, Origin trips are geared for adults aged 18 and above. Future Origin plans include development of family-oriented trips, so stay tuned for those to come. On certain trips, we may require a medical consent for participants who are 70+ years old.
Should I be concerned about the political stability of the country we are visiting?
The safety of our clients, leaders and operators is a major priority for Origin. We monitor world events on a constant basis, with particular emphasis on the countries we visit, and we will make operational decisions based on informed advice from U.S. and Canadian government sources. If the advisory from these sources is a ‘Do Not Travel’ warning, Origin will either cancel the trip or reroute the itinerary to avoid the areas concerned.
Packing and What to Bring
What should I pack?
Your travel location will help determine what you need to bring. Once you’ve booked, you’ll receive an Origin Trip Planner that will include suggested items for your consideration. In general, we recommend the tried and true method of dressing in layers and packing as light as possible. Additionally, formal wear will not be required.
Backpack, rolling duffel or suitcase? What about a carry on?
Any of the above will work, the most important thing is that you can carry it as you are responsible for moving your bags through airports, on/off ground transportation, and up/down stairs in hotels if an elevator is not available. We strongly recommend something with wheels, and you’ll have to meet the airline requirements regarding weight, size and number of checked bags, so pay close attention to those details. Additionally, we strongly recommend that you bring a small carry on bag or backpack (it must also comply with the airline size requirements) that should contain anything of importance. Overall, pack smart and pack light.
What medications should I bring?
The Origin Trip Planner that will be sent to you in advance of your journey will contain a suggested list of items to bring such as over the counter medications to treat or prevent common minor ailments (such as headaches, etc.). Guests taking prescription medication should bring an appropriate supply plus a few extra doses in case of unexpected travel delays or emergencies.
Are my personal belongings safe while on the trip?
The best advice we can give is that if something is very important to you, it is best to leave it at home. There are many things you can do to minimize loss of personal effects and they include leaving jewelry at home (wear/bring only a minimal amount) and don’t draw attention to yourself with designer clothing and bags, or by displaying items that are expensive or unavailable in various parts of the world, like laptops.
Travel Documents and Insurance
What about my passport, and do I need a travel visa?
Passport: You will need a valid passport that has an expiration date of at least 6 months past the last day of the intended travel date. For instance, if you are booking a trip for December 1-6, 2019, your passport should to be valid until at least June 6, 2020. You also need to make sure your passport has enough empty pages for immigration officials to be able to add a physical stamp as you pass through the different immigration points. And, if you’ve recently had a name change, you’ll want to make sure that you’ve made those changes as well. The U.S. State Department site can further explain the above information as well as any other issues, so please review it to ensure that your travel documents are in order. https://www.us-passport-service-guide.com/passport-requirements.html
If you are a citizen of another country, please refer to your home nation’s travel requirements.
Travel Visa: These requirements vary widely depending on your nationality and your destination. Once you’ve booked with Origin and have provided us with your nationality, we will advise if you’ll need a travel visa. If one is required, there are visa processing companies that can help you obtain a visa and we will provide you with some recommendations. It will be the traveler’s responsibility to apply and pay for travel visas. You can also go and see for your self any visas informations for US Citizens traveling to: Greece, Italy, Mexico, Peru, Japan, Ireland
Do I need to buy Travel and Medical Insurance?
Yes. Travel and Medical Insurance are mandatory for all Origin trips. State medical insurance and private health plans will not cover you in most overseas countries. There are various companies that offer this coverage including World Nomads, United Healthcare Travel Insurance, and Global Rescue.
Before purchase, check the terms of the policies carefully, especially the limits of coverage (e.g. for replacement of luggage loss, etc.) as well as procedures for making claims. There is generally a time limit based on travel date completion by which claims must be filed.
For all the details about Origins’ insurance requirements, please see our Terms and Conditions page.
What are the specifics required for my Medical and Travel Insurance coverage?
Medical: Your policy must cover medical costs in the event of hospitalization, emergency travel and repatriation. Some activities might include horseback riding, zip lines or other similar activities. Make sure your policy covers these activities.
Travel Cancellation Coverage: Your travel policy must also include cancellation coverage to protect yourself against unforeseen circumstances. Each traveler must submit one copy of their medical and travel policies to Origin at least 30 days prior to travel. The copies must show the policy number and the emergency hotline phone number. Origin retains the right to cancel your trip with no refunds for failure to provide proof of insurance by the trip date.
Accident & Sickness Medical Expense Coverage (minimum $150,000 USD)
Emergency Evacuation & Repatriation of Remains (minimum $250,000 USD)
Accidental Death / Dismemberment
Trip Cancellation Coverage
Suggested Additional Coverage:
Hospital Room and Board
Baggage and Personal Effects Coverage
Trip Delay / Interruption
Visitor to Bedside
It is extremely important that you evaluate your risk, and purchase travel insurance that covers the full value of the trip and personal effects in the case of Trip cancellation, loss or theft of baggage, and emergency evacuation. Origin owners, agents and subsidiaries will not be held responsible for these expenses. It is essential for you to realize that if you experience a delay or find it necessary to cancel or cut short the trip for any reason, you will lose part or the entire sum of the amount paid. See our Terms and Conditions for more information.
In general, travel insurance helps to minimize the risk of monetary losses you would incur in the event of a delay of your departure due to weather, airline strike, missed connection, etc., your inability to travel for reasons such as illness, injury, unforeseen financial complications and other personal circumstances, or if you were required to cut the trip short for medical or any other reasons.
There are restrictions and limitations on any insurance program. For this reason, we recommend that you read carefully the fine print of your insurance policy.
Where can I get travel and medical insurance?
World Nomads, United Health Care, and Global Rescue are companies that provide these services, among others.
Flight and Airline Information
Do Origin trips include airfare?
It is the responsibility of the traveler to arrange and pay for airfare to/from the designated travel site. Take note that in some cases, the arrival and departure cities may be different. If the Origin trip includes an in-country flight outlined in the itinerary, the arrangements and cost for that flight will be covered by Origin.
What is the baggage policy?
Each airline has its own baggage policy which is subject to change; therefore, review your airline’s policy to verify carry-on restrictions, prohibited items, number of bags permitted and weight allowances for your international departure and arrival flights, as there may be penalties for additional/overweight bags.
For in-country flights arranged by Origin and as part of the Origin itinerary, excess and/or overweight baggage fees, if any, will be passed along to the traveler. This fee will need to be paid by the traveler by credit card at the airline check in counter.
What about those liquids in my carry-on?
The TSA requirement still permits liquids in 3.4 oz. (100ml) containers by volume, or smaller, all to be contained in one single, see-through, quart sized zip bag.
What will I need for customs and immigration?
Customs: Travelers must comply with local laws regarding items that may be brought in and taken out of a country, as well as what may be brought back in to the U.S. (or your home country) upon your return. Please familiarize yourself with the customs requirements of the countries you will be visiting, as well as what is permissible to be brought in to the U.S.
Immigration: Airline security measures require that your passport name must exactly match your airline ticket name, or you may be denied boarding or may be required to purchase a new airline ticket.
Money and Currency
How much spending money do I need?
You’ll be pleased to know that once you land at the Origin designated arrival city, and leave from the Origin designated departure city, your lodging, local ground transportation, all meals, tour and site fees and/or spa treatments outlined in the itinerary are included in your Origin trip fee. If you choose to take a meal outside of the Origin schedule or make a purchase from the mini bar, for example, those will be your own expense.
What about tipping?
Origin will cover tips for meals within our itinerary. However, tips outside of this are at your discretion. Full details of tipping are covered in the Origin Trip Planner that you will receive before you embark upon your trip.
Where will my credit card be accepted?
Visa, MasterCard and American Express are accepted in most major shops, restaurants and hotels. However, credit cards with magnetic strips may not work in European automated ticketing machines (such as transit vending systems) as these require chip and pin cards; contact your credit card company for details.
Will I find ATMs (Automated Teller Machines) overseas?
Yes, they are available, but they are not as readily convenient as they are in the U.S., and they are even more rare in smaller towns. When available, ATM’s dispense local currency for internationally accepted ATM cards and/or credit cards, and have a service fee of approximately 3% in addition to the fees your credit card company may charge.
Where can I find more information on money and currency rates?
Currency information and rates fluctuate on a daily basis; check out these or other sites: Google Currency Exchange and XE.
Internet and Communications
What communication facilities will be available?
While connectivity is not in our control, we have selected hotels that have good Wi-Fi, and there are many public places where Wi-Fi is available. Some of our day excursions will take us to remote places where signal coverage is not so strong or not available, so it is advisable that you communicate to your friends/family/co-workers that you may be out of touch for specific periods of time.
Emergency contact info?
If family and friends are unable to contact you in an emergency through email or phone, please give them the Origin phone numbers and emails in advance so they can contact us. This information will be listed in the Origin Trip Planner.
Will my mobile phone work overseas?
Contact your service provider before you depart about activating international phone service coverage and inquire about their global roaming and other costs involved. These plans can generally be activated for short periods of time to cover just the time you will be out of the U.S. We can never guarantee your phone will work as desired, as many of our destinations are out of the way and you may have limited coverage.
While on the Trip
Why is an Origin trip different from those offered by typical tour companies?
We plan our trips exactly as we would want to travel, and we take you to places we love, places we have lived, worked and played. We want to be surprised when we walk into our hotel accommodations to find tasteful, ultra-hip, comfortable and clean rooms with amazing amenities; we want to be wowed when we take that first bite of a mouthwatering and exotic main course at dinner and when we sip delicious and well selected wine; we want to be intrigued and amazed when we are out on excursions visiting archeological sites or museums; we want to see beautiful places where we can’t stop taking pictures; and we want to be surrounded by interesting, smart, passionate and fun travel companions that will become lifelong friends. An Origin trip will deliver this and more.
Will I be met at the airport in the designated arrival city?
Yes, an Origin host will meet you outside of baggage claim to escort you to ground transportation that will take you to the hotel. Your flight will be monitored for any adjustments due to flight delays. If you will already be in country (due to arrival dates prior to Origin’s official trip date start), you will need to arrange and pay for your own transportation to the host hotel. More detailed information will be included in your Origin Trip Planner.
What time is hotel check in?
Hotels generally allow check in after 3 pm. If you arrive earlier than that time and your room is not ready, you can drop your luggage and do some local exploring prior to our evening reception and dinner.
What if I arrive late and miss part of the trip?
Weather happens, we know. When this occurs, or there is any other reason causing a change in your arrival time, please contact Origin so we can adjust accordingly. Unfortunately, it won’t be possible to reimburse you for any missed portions of the trip.
And there local guides?
We’ve sought out the most knowledgeable, experienced and interesting local guides to lead our outings. They are qualified experts, passionate about their homeland and subject matter, and they speak excellent English. They will impart knowledge that you won’t find in travel guides.
Is there any free time?
Each day on our itinerary is action packed, but we have included a few “rest breaks” where you will have a chance to relax or do some exploring on your own. If you want to skip a specific event you are free to do so. We just ask that you notify us in advance, and we remind you that we are unable to reimburse for missed activities.
Is it possible to extend the trip, either on the front or back end?
Yes. You may schedule your arrival earlier than our first scheduled day, and/or you may depart after the last of our scheduled days. Any expenses incurred for either of these scenarios, including lodging, meals, tours, ground transportation, etc., will be your responsibility.
Excuse me but I have to go to the bathroom….NOW!!!
Yep, we know, it’s happened to all of us, the sudden and urgent need to use the facilities. Most places we visit will have western toilets, but you should be mentally prepared for the unexpected. In general, toilets will be readily available and western-style in cities, and they may not be so available in remote areas. We’ll do our best to help you out should you find yourself in an urgent situation.
What about laundry?
Our hotels will offer a laundry services, but these services are often pricey and can take up to 24 hours. Laundry expenses will be your responsibility.
Planes, trains and automobiles?
We will travel in various modes of transportation, including cars, coaches, minivans, ferries and/or planes.
Uber, you ask? It is available in some countries, so if you opt to go out on your own, you may be able to use your Uber account.
Mother Nature and the Weather
Origin has crafted its trips around periods of time that are considered the most favorable weather conditions to visit each location. However, the weather is never a guarantee. We ask for you to be prepared for varied conditions including heat, humidity, rain, wind, and changing temperatures throughout the day, etc.
Charging my Electronic Devices?
In the Origin Trip Planner, we’ll send you the specific information regarding the electrical current and needed electrical converters and/or adaptors you’ll need to charge your electronic devices. And, you’ll need to bring batteries for your cameras, etc.
What about meals?
We’ve put a lot of thought into creative menu planning and exquisite locations to provide guests with exceptional dining experiences. We’ll dine in places where meals are prepared using the freshest farm-to-table products available. Places that are intimate, unique and trendy. We’ve sought out great chefs and have included a perfect mix of traditional and non-traditional dishes. Envision the smell of exotic spices and imaginative fusion dishes, deliciously and beautifully created to be extraordinary in every sense.
Are vegetarian meals available?
We will try to accommodate these requests as best as possible, but in some cases these options may be slightly limited. We’ll do our best to ensure that restaurants can provide vegetarian options.
Can meals accommodate Celiac or others that have food allergies?
We do everything possible to make sure that you will be taken care of with no risk to your health. However, there may be places that cannot cater to you, especially in more remote locations. In those rare cases, we strongly recommend that you carry some non-perishable food for those specific times.