What kind of a travel experience can I expect on this trip?
The philosophy of living care “Free” and “Easy” going has been the backbone of our organization from the beginning. We concentrate on creating epic travel experiences by spending an endless amount of time researching and travelling throughout all of our destinations. We seek out the best spots that we feel the average traveler would not find on their own. We’re not your typical “Tour” company….Free and Easy is an organization made up of travelers, travelers who love to travel! We are not people in suits running a business in search of wealth, we’re all constantly travelling because it’s our passion and hey, we’re good at it!! Our trips have their own unique style to them, we don’t show up to a destination and hand out a regimented itinerary…instead we get to know our groups and plan accordingly to what each group’s interests are! Because after all who are we to make you do something you don’t want to while on vacation! We know from experience which activities, day trips, sports, and cultural sights etc etc etc are the best and we offer our advice and we let you plan your own itinerary at each destination with your leaders. By consulting with your leaders once you arrive, you can make your journey as busy as you desire… from all day every day activities or maybe you’re there just to lounge on the beach and catch a tan with minimal activities planned. We understand every type of traveler and we feel that having a pre-planned day to day itinerary set in place before even meeting our travelers would be ridiculous! It’s your trip… and we’re there with you to create the best experience possible!
Is international airfare included in the price?
The prices of the trips here display ‘land-only’ prices. However, it is possible for us to arrange flights and airport transfer for you. If you are thinking of planning your own airfare, please clear all your flight dates with us beforehand to ensure that you aren’t arriving late and departing the group early! We will also provide you with instructions on getting to the guesthouse from the airport to meet up with the others in your group so that your arrival is absolutely worry free!
Can you send me more information about how to prepare for the trip?
After we receive and confirm your deposit, we will send you our ‘Preparations Guidebook’ with everything you need to know about getting set for your epic adventure with us!
Are these trips just party trips?
All our trips are to tranquil destinations that provide a lot of opportunities to party, but if you’re not going for the party, you will have no problem having a great time on one of our trips. Every traveler is coming along for different reasons, and we realize this, so we plan our trips so you can party nearly every day if that’s your thing or you can relax and escape the party as well. Our destinations are places where it’s easy to get lost in the moment so partying can be an essential part of many people’s trip, yet at the same time partying is never something we force onto our groups. We do plan parties for our groups at each destination but they’re never parties where drinking would be forced upon you or be necessary in order to enjoy yourself and have a great time. If you’re worried about your trip being too focused on partying, stop worrying, because there’s so much more to having an awesome travel experience than just the party. We’ve developed the perfect recipe for success with our level of partying for every traveler.
I hear it rains a lot in tropical countries… is this true?
In Thailand, as for the idea of it being rainy season, we have been in Thailand every month of the year and the weather in May is as good as any other time of year. The 2 separate coasts in Thailand experience different weather patterns so that the West coast experiences a higher chance of rain between May and November, and the East Coast has a higher chance of rain between September and March. On our May trips we stagger our destinations accordingly as we visit 2-3 places on the West Coast and 3-4 places on the East Coast to minimize our chance of rain. We go to both coasts because the idea of there being a higher chance of rain when we are on the west coast in May for example, still does not take away from the experience of being there. We emphasize the words ‘a higher chance’. Most of the time the weather is great! And if it does rain, it’s a warm shower, and it’s typically quick rainfalls that rarely last all day. Thailand is so much more than just sitting on the beach, with so many activities you’ll always find you are busy having fun, regardless of what the weather is like. The rain is even part of being in Thailand, and being in a tropical country, and it would almost be a disappointment to have a trip without any. It’s cool when all of a sudden the sun disappears, the clouds come over, and you see a tropical storm come pouring down for 20 minutes, and then it is gone, the sun comes back out, and your day goes on.
So basically, we’ve planned accordingly so anytime you can come on a trip with us will be great – regardless of Mother Nature’s plan you’re guaranteed to go home with a tan (or burn) that all your friends will be jealous of!
I may come on my own, is that okay?
It is pretty typical for us to have about 30% or more of the group being single travelers, and then most of the other people come with 1 or 2 other friends. Everyone who is coming on a trip is excited, so it’s only a matter of time before the group has all become one big group of friends. From past experience, the people who were concerned about this were pleasantly surprised how quickly and easily they made friends with the other group members. Usually the group leaders feel out of the loop with everyone because people have spent the whole first day traveling to another continent together and have gotten to know each other over the course of the day! Once you have registered for one of our trips, as the departure date nears we will ensure a forum such as a Facebook group, or an online meeting point has been set up to provide each group member with some information in the case people are departing from the same city and would like to meet up! Having said that…We think that coming on your own can be an ideal way to do these trips because you have the benefits of having many friends to hang out with, but you are never really obligated to one person in particular.
You might think that showing 20 people around a beautiful, tropical country might be your dream job but not everyone will fit the requirements of being a great free & easy trip leader. Each leader has to go through a rigorous training session for months before actually getting the role and title of ‘trip leader’. These training sessions involve numerous experiments on the quality of sand, weather & temperature in different areas around the globe to make certain our trip members receive the most sunshine & soft sand for their hard earned dollar….. food & beverage testing to ensure maximum deliciousness and hours of pillow punching at numerous bungalows/huts to guarantee ultimate comfort. As well, they are often woken up at random times of the morning and forced to pack their bags, gather twenty people up, get them on a boat, bus, train or plane (whether the people want to leave or not) to the next epic destination while ensuring everyone has all their belongings, travel friends and a smile on their face. It is a tough job and only a select few people will make the cut but if you are interested…let us know and we’ll keep our eye out for you during your trip! We’re proud of our team of leaders in the sense that we are all travelers who have extensive travel experience and we love having the opportunity to share our travel knowledge with our group members!
I have an allergy to peanuts… can I still come?
A lot of food in Asia is cooked with peanuts but you shouldn’t be too worried about it. If you take the appropriate precautions, you will be fine.
In the past we’ve had many other travelers in the same circumstance. What we’ve recommended they do is:
1) Bring an epi-pen and carry it with you at all times. You can also store it at each bungalow we stay in the restaurant’s fridge. Your group leader will be able to help you out with this at each destination.
2) Make sure you are informing other people in the group that you have an allergy and where to find your medication. This way, if anything were to happen…they would know what to do. The most important person to communicate this with is the group leader. Regardless of whether or not your leader speaks the native language they will always be able to direct you to someone who can help you get the allergy written out and translated to avoid any potential problems!
3) For travelers departing on a Thai trip….Usually the people that work at the Thai Consulate where you’ll obtain your 60 day Thai Visa are Thai or at least speak and write Thai. Explain your situation to them (your allergy to peanuts) and ask them to write out on a card something in regards to, ‘allergic to peanuts, please don’t cook with peanuts’. You can then carry this card with you at all time and present it to your server at each restaurant. They will then make sure that peanuts do not come into contact with any of your food. Also, please take use of your leader as many of our leaders have been trained in the Thai language and can help you translate your allergy.
A very usefull website for people with allergies is http://killerpeanut.com – The site provides a free translation service for people with food allergies.
Be sure to let us know about any health problems when you sign up so that we can properly take care of you and ensure you have an accident free adventure!
If for some unforeseen medical, family or personal reason I cannot go, what is the cancellation policy?
If you purchase flight cancellation insurance for your plane ticket (which we highly recommend) and you need to cancel for any type of medical or family emergency, the full cost of the flight will be reimbursed to you.
The other portion of your payments which go towards our costs of preparing the trips, advertising, etc…. are partially refundable depending at what point you cancel your trip. The deposit is non-refundable because we need to have commitments from people, so that we can turn other people away. Each of the following payments are 50% refundable until the next payment is due – at which point they become non-refundable. If you cancel after your ticket has been issued, you will incur a Flight Cancellation Fee along with a Free & Easy Cancellation Fee. For more information on each fee, please contact us directly.
One thing we want to mention is that if you do cancel, we can move any non-refundable amount that you paid to a future trip with Free & Easy so that you don’t lose the money…. and the option to join us again is always available!
I am really interested in culture and history that is completely different from our own and I would like to visit as many temples and such as I can. Are there any of these kinds of things to do except for the one in Bangkok?
One of the most important aspects of travelling is engulfing yourself into a new culture and consequently, learning from it! We encourage everyone who travels with us to join us by taking in the culture whether it is by exploring ancient temples, testing local cuisine, learning local language, helping out the community, or learning about each destination’s history etc. With the help of our awesome leaders and our local contacts, the opportunity to experience a lot of culture and history is continuously offered. It’s up to you and how much you’d like to learn and be involved and no matter what type of traveler you are, there will never be a lack of interesting culture and history surrounding you!
How often will we be expected to get up early? And how long does it usually take to get accustomed to the time change?
DO NOT worry about this at all. We are not your typical regimented travel company, so the idea of the trip is to be living care ‘Free’, and ‘Easy’ going, so we definitely do not plan many early mornings. There may be a couple of early mornings on days that we have to travel, but it is certainly not the norm. Also, we would expect that after a day or two that you are accustomed to the time change. For many people, it takes hardly any time to switch over because as soon as you arrive, you are too excited to be tired.
I hear the water in Asia is not safe to drink… should I bring my own from home?
Don’t laugh… this is a serious question with a serious answer… NO! Although it is not recommended you drink the water out of the tap in the country you are travelling you will be able to purchase bottled water everywhere we go. So no need to pack a suitcase with a full 40 day supply of bottled water for your trip!
Do I need to get some shots (injections) done before I leave?
From the most recent information we have received from local health clinics is that people traveling to SE Asia will require shots for Hep A, Hep B, & typhoid. As well, you may need to get some additional boosters. We’re not doctors and do not know more than your local health clinics so please contact a professional and let them know which region of the world you are travelling to and they will ensure you are prepared for your trip with us!
What type of currency is primarily used there and what is the recommend form (credit card, travellers cheque, cash) that is most accepted and most secure?
There are ATM banking machines in all the countries we operate in, which will dispense to you the local currency and your leaders will be sure to direct you to them! In all our destinations you will be using the local currency. You will need to have a debit card that has the “Plus” or “Cirrus” logo on the back of the card. We suggest having at least one debit card and one credit card. From past experience, many times group members have lost or misplaced their cards while on a trip and usually they have had another piece of plastic to retrieve $$$’s from the ATM. We also suggest signing up for Online Banking if you have not already. This is a great way to transfer funds and juggle your money accordingly to ensure you always have enough cash for food, booze and good times! Traveler’s cheques have become a thing of the past just like the mullet and we do not suggest bringing travelers cheques along with you (mullets are ok). One of the beauties of being with a large group is that we can all look out for each other and you will never be stranded alone in a foreign continent if you were to have a banking issue. Your leaders are knowledgeable travelers who could help you sort out any discretion with your bank.
Generally, how large are the groups?
Group sizes can range from (including leaders) 16-24 people. The average is 18-20. Every trip is different and regardless of the size of the group, you’re assured an awesome adventure.
Everyone who travels with us will need a passport. Wait times vary for passport approval so it is best to begin working on obtaining yours shortly after making your initial trip deposit. This is the most important document you need to enable you to travel, so we suggest ensuring you have one and that it has at least 6 months validity left on it from the date of your departure.
Depending on which adventure you are doing with us your Visa will be different. For Thailand you receive 30-days free visa upon entering the country. However, if you are interested in staying longer in Thailand and travelling with people that you meet on your tour (highly likely!) you may wish to apply for a 60-Day Thai tourist visa, so that you won’t need to mess around extending your visa or doing border runs. By doing this you’re not only saving yourself the hassle of getting an extension during your trip but… also some cash.
Everyone traveling on a Free and Easy trip absolutely needs some sort of medical travel insurance. You will need to provide proof that you have medical coverage before you are allowed to join your trip. Check out our recommended travel insurance for backpackers here.
What is the age of the majority of travelers in my group?
Most of the people in your group will be between the ages of 18 & 27. No matter what the difference in age is… everyone joining us will have lots of things in common and be looking forward to having the most amazing experience of their life! Our travel style is fitting for you regardless of your age… the beauty of travelling is being open minded to new experiences and cultures, therefore, age is rarely a problem with any of our trips!
Each group will have two knowledgeable and outgoing Free and Easy group leaders responsible to show you the best experiences each particular country has to offer. These pairings are usually different from trip to trip as our team is continually changing and getting stronger. For Example: If your friend did a trip to Indonesia with Justin, he may be busy saving puppies and testing sand somewhere else on the globe so don’t expect to have the same leaders as your friends did! You will be notified before your departure date of who your trip leaders will be so that you can add them as a friend on Facebook and secretly stalk them over the internet until you can actually do it in person.
All of our leaders have spent loads of time in the destinations that they lead trips in and will have answers to most of your questions. As well, they are there to provide you with knowledge regarding the culture and language of the country and what there is to do and see in each of your trip destinations. The leaders will also help plan group activities depending on what the group wants to do. Whether it’s scuba diving, rock climbing, muay thai lessons, surf lessons, etc etc etc….. your leaders have been trained by FNEW as well as through their own travel experiences to direct you and ensure you make the best choices to maximize awesomeness on your trip! Your leaders are also there to deal with any issue that may arise whether it’s that the cooler is out of cold beer, you need some assistance stringing a hammock, or you maybe ate the wrong food and are not feeling so hot and need some advice. All our leaders are experienced in the way of Free and Easy…you can feel confident that they are going to be an essential part of your trip and experience!
What if a group of us want to travel together?
During many points throughout the year we are running multiple trips on one particular date. Because of this, we need to know which travelers you would like to be traveling with before flights are booked and trip reservations have been made. Make sure you mention on your online registration you would like to be placed in the same group as your friends so we can ensure you are placed together.
How much spending money should I bring for my trip?
SouthEast Asia is a very cheap place to travel, which is just one of many reasons that makes it so much fun! Your personal spending on the trip will include your food, drinks, shopping, entertainment and any activities outside of those included your FNEZ adventure.
The Hippie: Brings about $700-$9000 for 20 days. Eats local food, bargains well at the market, finds good prices on drinks and picks, and chooses their optional activities wisely! Often likely to continue travelling after their FNEZ trip is complete.
The Backpacker: $9000-$1100 spending money. A bit more frivolous, but is aware of their budget. Takes in most activities they are interested in, without going too extravagant. Likes to party, but always looking for a good deal.
The Rock Star: $1100 – $1300+ Not too worried about their budget, they’ll do almost everything, including lavish amounts of shopping and partying often. There won’t be too much holding them back from activities, as this is their trip and don’t want to let anything pass them by!
To help you work out your budget, here are just a few examples of prices in Thailand. All prices have been converted from their local currency to US dollars. Please expect slight variations.
Big Bottle of Water: $0.50
1 Hour Thai Massage: $6 – $10
Pad Thai from Street Vendor: $1
Local Meal with rice at restaurant: $3.25
Western Meal: $6 – $10
Fruit Shake / Iced Coffee: $2
Big Beer (750ml) at 7/11: $1.70
Big Bottle of Whiskey at 7/11: $7 – $10
Big Beer at Bar/Club: $3
Cooking Course: $21 Half Day or $28 Full Day
Zip Lining: $50 – $75
Live Muay Thai Fight: $10