Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need travel insurance?
Travel insurance is HIGHLY recommended.
Life is unexpected. Things happen and sometimes trips needs to be cancelled or rescheduled. Sometimes you get sick on a trip and need medical care. Some countries require immediate payment for medical services before being released. Someone back home gets sicks and you need to get home. Travel insurance helps protect you from losses you might incur. All payments are non-refundable.
Please note: In some situations (i.e. pre-existing medical conditions) you need to buy your travel insurance within a certain amount of time after you purchase your trip. We do not sell travel insurance but have recommended a possible vendors. Travelguard.com or insuremytrip.com are vendors where you can compare pricing.
How can I obtain a US Passport?
DOCUMENTATION: U.S. citizens traveling to any destination outside of the United States will be required to present a valid U.S. passport. Passports must be valid for 6 months past the return date. Some countries require a visa for transit or entry. Passengers are responsible to ensure that they have all the proper documents for entry. All names on documents must match the legal name on your photo I.D., and travel document information must match tickets. Please check the State Department website at https://travel.state.gov for further information. Immunizations may also be required. Failure to comply with these regulations may result in denied boarding, denied entry, and/or government imposed fines. If you are a citizen of another country, there may be additional requirements. Check with the nearest consulate or embassy of the destination you are traveling to and find out the entry requirements for non-U.S. citizens.
The United States Postal Service can assist with obtaining your passport. There are several other options. Passporthealthusa.com is a recommended service provider.
How do I find out about visa requirements?
Vaccinations: The country you're traveling to may require proof of vaccinations. Without proper vaccinations, you may be denied entry in the country. We recommend visiting http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/ to find information on health notices and recommended/required vaccinations for the countries you'll be visiting.
Quick Reference VISA Requirements
1. Ghana - YES
2. Togo - YES
3. Benin - YES
4. Tanzania - YES
5. Ethiopia - YES
6. Dubai - NO (US Passport Only) If traveling from a different country, refer to the Dubai embassy to find out if your country requires a VISA to enter Dubai.
7. Brazil - NO (US Passport Only) If traveling from a different country, refer to the Brazilian embassy to find out if your country requires a VISA to enter Brazil.
Where can I purchase the recommended travel items?
Links are to Amazon.com
Travel Adapter - CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE
Travel Belt (Passport and Money) - CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE
Wet Ones - CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE
Purell Hand Sanitizer - CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE
Portable External USB Charger - CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE
Repel Insect Repellant (40% Deet) - CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE
Advil - CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE
Imodium - CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE
Pepto Bismol Caplets - CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE
Can I use points to purchase my airfare?
If you would like to use points for your airfare, you are advised to handle this directly with the airline or the points issuing company.
Can children travel to Africa?
Absolutely. We encourage youth to visit Africa. Here are some important details to note.
Children Traveling with One Parent, or Someone Who is Not a Parent/Legal Guardian, or Children Traveling in a Group: Foreign border officials may require custody documents or written consent from the other parent/both parents. While the requirements may vary by country, here's an example of what the US requires.
Can I use American currency in the countries featured on the tours?
Some places will accept the U.S. dollar or other foreign currencies, while others prefer the local currency. Be prepared to exchange your currency to the local currency to ensure that you do not have any issues.
How much spending money should I bring?
This is up to each guest. We suggest no less than $300 USD
How much should I tip?
Tipping is strongly encouraged on our tours. Many of the people who are serving us rely on tips to supplement their income. It is customary to give 15% as a standard tipping amount.
What should I wear?
Comfortable summer clothing is advised for our subsaharan African, South American and Dubai tours. Wearing flashy jewelry, expensive clothing and accessories is not advised.
Is the water safe to drink?
Our base accommodations are 3 and 4 star hotels. Our platinum tours have 5 star hotel options. They all have potable water to bathe and brush teeth with. We do not advise drinking non-bottled water from restaurants outside of the hotels. Additionally, we do not recommend eating fresh fruits from street vendors.
How large are the tour groups?
Tour sizes vary and can range from 2 people to 40 people. Our maximum tour size for a non-custom tour is 40 people.
What are some other recommended items ?
A travel iron
A hand fan
Extra wash cloths
Preferred bathing soaps and lotions
Bring a bathing suit!
What does “Leave America In America” mean?
For those who are new to international travel, visiting new cultures can be a “culture shock” if they are not prepared for the differences. The bottom line is that things will be different in any foreign country and measuring them next to America could leave someone disappointed.
At Maximum Impact Travel, we place a heavy emphasis on preparing our groups for the cultural differences they might encounter so their trip will be most enjoyable.
From East Coast time, there is a FIVE hour time difference in Ghana, a SEVEN hour time difference in East Africa and a THREE hour time difference in Salvador, Brazil. Dubai can be either an EIGHT or NINE hour time difference based in the time of year. We encourage getting adequate rest prior to the trip. We do not recommend depriving yourself of rest because you may not be able to make it up during the flight.
Food is oftentimes made to order vs microwaved. Guests are advised to “pack their patience” as many of these countries are not microwave societies. You can expect to wait 30 to 45 min for food at most non-buffet restaurants.
Traffic can be very heavy at times and can be more intense than some of the worst traffic in America. This is a part of the daily routine for many countries outside of America. “Pack your patience” and enjoy observing the culture.
The roads can be very bumpy at times. This is a part of the culture as these countries are improving their infrastructure daily.
For the most part, WiFi and 3G service is good. Be prepared for the occasional lapses in service during travel from one location to another. There may be times where the WiFi does not work properly in the hotels. Additionally, be careful to turn OFF your cellular service to avoid unwanted roaming fees.
Be prepared for a very firm mattress at some hotels.
Irons and ironing boards do not automatically come standard with each room but are available upon request from the front desk at most hotels.
Uber and Taxi (in Ghana only) options are local currency cash based. You can use your Uber app but will need to switch it to cash mode. Taxi only accepts Ghanaian currency. Use these services at your own risk.
Currency exchange - Upon arrival, you will need to convert your US dollars to the local currency. There are numerous currency exchange kiosks available. If you are new to currency exchange, it will be important to prepare for the difference so that you can tip properly.
For example, if 1$ USD = $5GHC (Ghanaian Cedis), understanding the difference will be key when purchasing and tipping. A $2.00 USD tip would be $10 GHC. If a $2.00 GHC tip is given, that would only amount to .40 cents in USD. Knowing this will help with any sticker shock that might occur should someone ask $10.00 GHS for a beverage. The actual cost is $2.00 USD
Street vendors can be persistent at some of the locations. Simply tell them “No thank you” when they ask. They will ask again. This is when you should stand firm and say “No, thank you” again or until they stop. They are not threatening. They are trying to earn a living.
Does the food taste the same as American food?
Some food items taste the same while other food items taste very different. Experiencing other cuisines is a part of international travel.