Please take the time to read and understand the passenger safety guidelines set out below prior to booking a trip with Horizon Journeys. This is to ensure you understand the itinerary and style of the trip you are undertaking.
Safety in the Field
Horizon Journeys is committed to execute an effective safety and environment program, which adopts a risk management approach to passenger’s safety and environmental impacts. Horizon Journeys has a responsibility to ensure that all reasonable precautions are taken to provide work and travel conditions are safe for all parties. Travelling and operating tours throughout India carries inherent risks for Tour Guides and passengers. Some reasons for these risks are:
Alcohol, drinks, drugs and prostitution
Drug taking and possession are illegal in India. Alcohol may be consumed in suitable environments, but is prohibited on public places and transport. In some religious cities alcohol is prohibited, and we ask you to respect this. If in doubt, seek advice from your Tour Guide. For the sake of your own safety and of the rest of the group, we ask you to refrain from accepting any offers of alcohol or illegal substances from local people or fellow travelers. Group members found to be in possession of illegal substances or being involved with prostitutes will be asked to leave the trip without any refund.
In many states smoking is prohibited in public places. Smoking is also prohibited on public transport (buses and trains) so please refrain from smoking in these environments, even if you see others breaking the law.
Taking care of belongings
As always, no matter where you are, look after your belongings and beware of pick- pocketing, especially on buses. Keep your valuables, jewelry, tickets, excess traveler’s cheque and passport photocopy somewhere at safe place. Always keep your passport and money on your body in a money belt or in a sack around your neck and under your shirt. Never leave them in a bag or in a pocket. Remember to photocopy all your documents (insurance, passport, traveler’s cheque etc.) and keep them separately from the originals.
Acceptance of food
Do not expect local people to know what will make you sick; it is your responsibility to choose carefully what you eat and drink. It is often difficult to say no to people who offer you a glass of water or serve you some raw vegetables. Do not let politeness make you sick. Simply thank them and firmly say no. You can also take help of your Tour Guide if you are on a small group tour. For safety reasons, always avoid accepting food from strangers on buses and trains.
It is important to cover yourself well in India as people are conservative about dress. Knees should be covered, and women should additionally cover their shoulders (i.e. tank tops may be considered too revealing in some areas). Horizon Journeys advise against above the knee shorts or skirts. Men should also avoid going bare-chested, and should cover their shoulders in some situations. When visiting a religious place there may be additional requirements. Dressing appropriately helps you to make a good impression and will make your trip easier.
Dealing with locals
As you travel you may meet local people who want to be your friend. As is the case anywhere, please be cautious about becoming close to people too quickly. The majority of people are genuine and helpful, but you may meet those who wish to take advantage of your openness, so please exercise some caution. Please be mindful that openly discussing your values and attitudes towards relationships and sex may be interpreted as showing an interest, which may lead to situations you, would rather avoid. It is best to be conservative and cautious in your interactions with people to avoid negative experiences.
Horizon Journeys suggests not wearing heavy jewelry, as it may attract thieves.
Role of the TOUR GUIDE
Horizon Journeys ensures Tour Guides support our commitment. Tour Guides are appropriately skilled and trained by undertaking induction through to job specific training to enable travel throughout India is undertaken safely and minimizes risk. Remember that no set of guidelines can anticipate all possible conditions that may arise. Tour Guides are expected to evaluate each situation as they arise. Tour Guides are employed for their demonstrated sound operational judgment and this extends to the application of safe travel practices.
Tour Guide Responsibilities
Accommodation is selected from a choice of hotels which has been prequalified prior to engagement of services.
Travelling on any vehicle can be a tricky experience with the existence of an invisible middle overtaking lane that doesn’t exist on western roads.
Chartered vehicles are selected from a choice of local operators which have been prequalified prior to engagement of services. The pre-qualification process assesses the following:
Seat belts are not always available on transport on either charter or public vehicles. However when seat belts are available they must be used.
Public transport is often crowded and chaotic. If your itinerary lists the use of public transport, passengers shouldn’t be expected to stand for long distances (greater than one hour travelling time) and share seating.
Motorcycles are a high risk form of transport. Motorcycle hire should only be as an optional activity to those who are competent and hold an appropriate license. Any passenger who does ride a motorcycle should check the terms of their travel insurance before doing so, as it will most likely exclude motorcycle injuries unless they are licensed riders.
Boats and Ferries
Boats and Ferries must have life jackets available at all times. Life Jackets must be available to all passengers including adult and children sizes [applicable for family trips]. The following will apply:
Additional activities are popular and may be included in our itineraries, but involve a degree of risk. The following guidelines are designed to inform Tour Guides and passengers of the minimum safety standards.
Water based activities can be in either flat water [calm and level] or vigorous water [rapids and waves] and can include snorkeling, swimming and diving.
The group must be given basic safety instructions by local guides prior to commencing any activity. The briefing should cover techniques, what to do if an incident occurs and emergency plans. If in doubt about the safety of any activity, whether it is mentioned within these guidelines or not, the safest option should always be taken.
When riding elephants or camels, helmets are not available to passengers. Therefore it is important to ensure that only slow and trained animals are provided by the operator.
The following are considered technical activities:
Due to the high risk nature of these technical activities, specialist operators engaged by passengers is at the passengers own risk and discretion. Such activities must be conducted outside of the trip itinerary and after the passenger has completed and signed the Optional Activity Release Form.
Hiking and walking in low altitude
Hiking and walking may involve travelling to remote areas that attracts a greater degree of risk and requires an increased level of fitness. The following guidelines apply:
Remember to protect yourself from the elements:
When hiking and walking we must bring out everything we take in.
Ensure you have appropriate equipment for hiking and walking i.e. suitably sized backpack, footwear, plastic bags for water-proofing, rain and sun protection, water / snacks, thermals, repellent etc. Any trekking activity requires technical expertise and local knowledge and should only be arranged with a government approved agency including appropriately qualified instructor and guide.
Optional Activity Release Form
If you elect to participate in an adventure-based activity, we emphasize that these activities or operators are not part of the Horizon Journeys itinerary. We make no representations about their safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them.
Passengers with Medical Conditions
Medical conditions must be disclosed upon booking your trip and with the Tour Guides [at the initial group meeting]. Passengers are asked to disclose any pre-existing medical conditions, medication they are taking etc. For safety reasons, if passengers disclose a condition which means unsuitability for a particular activity, the Tour Guide has the discretion and authority to refuse participation.
First Aid Kits
First aid kits must be carried by the Tour Guide at all times. As a minimum, passengers should also carry their own first aid kits including prescriptions and medications. Tour Guides will not keep be carrying any type of drugs or medication or are legally allowed to distribute to passengers.
Horizon Journeys Emergency Contact
Horizon Journeys Office can be reached on +91-9414361158 during business hours (10.00am to 8.00pm).