Frequently Asked Questions
To see our General Information & Policies page, click here.
How do I register for a tour?
First, read the itinerary carefully, paying particular attention to the Physical Requirements & Pace section of the itinerary to be sure you are right for the tour and the tour is right for you. Then call our office at 800-728-4953 (USA or Canada; 1+512-263-7295 from elsewhere) or email our office using the “Contact Us” link above or the “SPACE REQUESTS” link on a tour’s page to confirm availability on the departure you’ve selected. Once we have confirmed that there is space, we will hold that space for you for two weeks pending the receipt of your registration form and deposit check (deposit requirements are listed in the itinerary). Note that the itinerary for each tour is accessible from the page for that tour, which you can find by clicking on “Tours” above and finding the tour by region, date, or guide, or you may use our “Search for Tours” link in the right sidebar of this page.
Is small-group travel for me?
Group travel, managed well by our professional guides, offers a social framework in which to share the excitement of birding. You help others, others help you, and at the end of the day there are numerous common experiences to share. There are more eyes helping to spot birds, and travel to some remote areas is less daunting and the cost more reasonable. If your goal is to maximize your birding enjoyment under expert guidance, to share your excitement with other birders, and to leave the planning, logistics, and troubleshooting to someone else, one of our birding tours is the way to go.
Who goes on Field Guides tours?
Lots of great folks from all walks of life with various levels of birding and travel experience, from beginner to old hand. We get lots of queries to the effect of “Am I experienced enough for one of your tours?” The answer is an unequivocal “Yes.” Most of our tours will be rewarding for birders of all levels of experience. A select few are more specialized and tend to attract folks who have already traveled widely in the country or region and thus might not be your best choice for a first tour to that area; there are usually one or more alternatives in our schedule for such a first-time visit. The nature of the tour should be evident from our tour descriptions and itineraries, but if you’re not sure, just call or email us and we’ll be happy to talk you through it. You want the right tour match for you, and we do too.
How do I know what a specific tour is like?
Our catalog and website offer a general description of each tour. For day-to-day activities and more detailed specifics about our birding route, routine, accommodations, and the pace and physical requirements of the tour, our complete itineraries include a wealth of additional information and are available directly from each tour’s web page or upon request from our office. We also have triplists available from previous departures (also online or by request) so you can get an additional feel for the birds seen and tour highlights. Our office is happy to discuss any tour with you and will put you in touch with the tour’s guide if you have further questions.
WHAT ARE A TOUR’S PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS?
You can make sure a tour will be a good fit for your physical abilities by carefully reading the Physical Requirements & Pace section in our itinerary. Since fall 2019, as they are released, our itinerary updates are being reformatted to allow you to find the details on a tour’s physical requirements more easily. As each fresh itinerary is published, it includes a bullet-point section with a brief text description of key physical aspects of the trip, such as Trails & Walking, Potential Challenges, Pace, Elevation, Weather, Vehicle Seating, and more. Here you should find the info you need; of course, if you have any questions or concerns about your ability to do the tour, we encourage you to contact our Austin office. By the end of 2019, all of our more than 135 itineraries should be fully updated with this new format.
Do you limit the number of participants on a tour?
Group size as well as guide-to-participant ratio are important factors in a tour experience. We consider location, logistics, fixed costs, and the particular tour’s dynamics to help determine what might be best for the circumstances. We have numerous small group tours in our schedule limited to nine, eight, or even six participants. Tour limits are noted on our website and on the detailed itineraries.
Do I need to tip the Field Guides leaders? Do I need to tip local guides?
Tipping at group meals and for drivers, porters, and local guides is included in your tour fee and will be handled for the group by your Field Guides leader(s). However, if you would like to recognize your Field Guides leader(s) or any local guide(s) for exceptional service, it is entirely appropriate to tip. We emphasize that such tips as a reflection of your appreciation are optional and not expected.
HOW CAN I PAY FOR MY TOUR?
Visit our PAYMENT OPTIONS page for a full description of how to pay for your tour.
Do you have short tours to fit my schedule?
Indeed we do. We have various tours that fit in a work week and two weekends, or two work weeks and three weekends. Click on the “Tours” link above, then on the “Short Tours” link in the secondary navigation bar that appears in order to see our listing of itineraries of 16 days or less.
Do I need travel insurance?
We strongly recommend you consider purchasing trip cancellation (including medical emergency) insurance to cover your investment in case of injury or illness to you or your family prior to or during a trip. Find out more about coverage and costs by visiting this page on our website.