Safety Guidelines

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 Group Leaders and passengers. Some reasons for these risks are:

  • The laxity of local Laws and regulations governing transportation and infrastructure and the travel industry. [especially in less developed countries]
  • The potentially volatile political environment where we operate.
  • The nature of the itineraries which commonly involve physical activities and / or in remote locations.

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 local guide or tour leader. 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.

Smoking

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 leader if you are on a small group tour. For safety reasons, always avoid accepting food from strangers on buses and trains.

Female safety

Clothing

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.

Jewelry

Horizon Journeys suggests not wearing heavy jewelry, as it may attract thieves.

Role of the Group Leader

Horizon Journeys ensures Group Leaders support our commitment. Group leaders 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. Group Leaders are expected to evaluate each situation as they arise. Group Leaders are employed for their demonstrated sound operational judgment and this extends to the application of safe travel practices.

Group Leader Responsibilities

  • If a Group Leader considers there to be an unreasonable risk to personal safety in any aspect of the trip itinerary they will consult with the Operations Manager prior to starting the trip.
  • If during a trip the Group Leader or passengers are exposed to any danger the Group Leader will immediately proceed to a place of safety and not complete part of that itinerary.

Accommodation

Accommodation is selected from a choice of local run business which has been prequalified prior to engagement of services.

Transport

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. If your Group Leader thinks a bus driver is driving dangerously he or she will ask the driver to slow down or stop the vehicle (be the case on a public transport). Group Leaders and passengers are to be seated on the inside of vehicles at all times. If there is not enough space inside the vehicle then we are not permitted to travel.

Chartered Vehicles

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:

  • That the driver has the appropriate local license to drive the vehicle.
  • That the vehicle is regularly serviced [at least once every 6 months] and;
  • That the vehicle meets local roadworthy standards (seatbelts, windscreen etc) and is insured and registered.

Seatbelts

Seat belts are not always available on transport on either charter or public vehicles. However when seat belts are available they must be used.

  • For chartered vehicles which travel off-road (such as gravel tracks, sand, dirt tracks) seatbelts must be available in the vehicles.
  • If there is no other option available, the itinerary will be revised.

Public Transport

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.

  • For public transport we rely on providers and operators to maintain their vehicles in a roadworthy condition.

Motorcycles

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:

  • Group Leader/guide must locate life jackets and ensure these are easily accessible.
  • Cabin doors and corridors are not locked from the outside [overnight trips].

On smaller craft where the risk of capsize is higher or the seas is rough or after dark, the Group Leader/guide may request passengers to wear life jackets.

Additional Activities

Additional activities are popular and may be included in our itineraries, but involve a degree of risk. The following guidelines are designed to inform Group Leaders and passengers of the minimum safety standards.

Water Based

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.

  • Passengers must take into consideration their own pre-existing medical conditions, concerns, water skills and abilities before proceeding with water-based activities.
  • Activities undertaken are at passengers own risk and conditions of travel insurance.The risks associated with water activities can include:
  • Inhalation of water and breathing difficulties.
  • Losing snorkel and mask.
  • Hit by a canoe / kayak or by another object (such as a floating branch).
  • Drifting or pulled through a strong current of Hypothermia from falling into cold water.
  • Change in depth of water.
  • Shallow waters, rocks and other rough surfaces can cause injury.
  • Sun reflecting off water can increase the risk of sunburn.

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.

Animals

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.

Technical Activity

The following are considered technical activities:

  • Hiking
  • High altitude trekking
  • Caving
  • Bike rides – on and off road
  • Hit by a canoe / kayak or by another object (such as a floating branch).
  • White-water rafting & kayaking
  • Horse riding
  • Bungee Jumping
  • Paragliding

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:

  • Notify the Group Leader/guide of any pre-existing medical condition they have and any medication they may be taking before commencing the activity.
  • If you are suffering from any pains or discomfort during the activity, advise the Group Leader/guide immediately.

Remember to protect yourself from the elements:

  • Wear appropriate footwear and clothing as the weather can turn quickly.
  • Carry water and small snacks to sustain your energy [and eat at regular intervals].
  • Wear sunscreen, hat and sunglasses.
  • Carry a first aid kit, hand sanitizer and wipes.

When hiking and walking we must bring out everything we take in.

  • Take a plastic bag to store and carry your personal rubbish.
  • If no toilet facilities are provided during your hike or walk you must bury your waste [toilet paper should be burnt or carried out].
  • Use existing paths and avoid disturbing vegetation and growth.
  • Avoid feeding and interacting with the wildlife.

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 Group Leaders [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 Group Leader has the discretion and authority to refuse participation.

First Aid Kits

First aid kits must be carried by the Group Leader at all times. As a minimum, passengers should also carry their own first aid kits including prescriptions and medications. Group Leaders 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 +91-7014829143 during business hours (10.00am to 8.00pm).

For all other enquiries please email info@horizonjourneys.com or horizonjourneys@gmail.com

Contact us

  • Mobile no. +91-7014829143
  • Email:horizonjourneys@gmail.com
  • info@horizonjourneys.com

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