3. HOTEL INFO
Q. Do the airlines have restrictions on the weight of checked baggage?
A. For your flight into Buenos Aires, check your airline’s website before departure as policies tend to change and vary from airline to airline.
We will likely be flying Aerolineas Argentinas from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia, Argentina. We book this flight and you will have one free checked piece of luggage that can weigh no more than 15kg (33 pounds). If you think your luggage will weigh more than this or that you will have a second piece of luggage, please let us know. Closer to departure we can give you the cost of the additional luggage.
Q. What are the carry-on bag restrictions?
A. Every airline is different AND some enforce their policies while others don’t. Check your airline’s website and then hope that if your bag is over their weight limit, they won’t actually check the weight. 😁
For Aerolineas Argentinas, their carry-on bag restriction is as follows: 22in x 14in x 10in and no heavier than 5 kg (11 pounds).
Q. How should I get to the hotel from the airport?
A. We will make arrangements for you to be picked up by a driver/guide assigned by our company. Look for your name and WanderTours on a placard.
Q. What if I can’t find the driver with my name on a placard?
A. Before departure, we will provide you with the emergency number of our local contact in case you need help once you’ve landed. As a last resort, you can take a taxi to the hotel.
Q. Do I need a visa to enter Argentina?
A. For citizens of many countries, you do not need a visa to enter Argentina. Please see our visa page for more details.
Q. Is insurance required for this tour?
A. Insurance is not required for the Buenos Aires portion of the tour, but there is insurance required in order to go to Antarctica. You can read about those requirements on the Antarctica FAQ page.
Q. If I want to arrive prior to the start of the tour, can you book additional hotel nights for me?
A. Yes, we can. As soon as you have your flights booked, let us know which nights you’ll need additional accommodations and we’ll be happy to book those for you (based on availability).
Q. If I want to stay in Ushuaia or travel onward after the Antarctica portion of the tour, can you book additional hotel nights for me?
A. We suggest you book post-tour additional nights on your own as you will get a much better rate going directly through a third-party booking site as we will not be able to arrange for a group discount.
2. WHILE VISITING ARGENTINA
Q. Will bottled water be readily available?
A. At our request, bottled water is not provided because we encourage tour participants to carry their own reusable water bottle to cut down on the number of plastic water bottles that get thrown out daily.
Tap water in Buenos Aires is safe to drink but you may bring a water purifier, such as a SteriPen, if you prefer filtered water. Some tour participants have found it useful to bring an additional insulated bottle like this to keep on the bus as a back up source of filtered water.
Remember that we’ll be in Buenos Aires at the start of their summer so we may have some hot days. Therefore, you’ll want to drink water throughout the day.
Q. What sort of shots do I need for this trip?
A. There are no shots/vaccines that are required for this tour. However, we highly recommend you contact your doctor for advice on suggested shots. Keep in mind that some vaccinations require a series of shots, so you’ll want to get the process started early in case it takes several months to finish the round. You can also check the CDC website for recommendations.
Q. Do I need any special medications or a first aid kit?
A. If you are predisposed to anything (lactose intolerant or you have a sensitive stomach, for example), you may want to bring something for this. Although medications are available at pharmacies in Buenos Aires, you may not be able to find the types of over-the-counter medications that you’re used to at home.
Q. How much walking is there in Buenos Aires?
A. We will be participating in a couple of walking tours in the city that last two to four hours each. While the actual walking may not be far, we will be on our feet for much of that time.
There are times when some of the sights are up a steep incline or along cobblestone streets. You’ll enjoy the trip much more the better shape you’re in, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go if you feel you’re a bit slow. We do a great job of making sure even the slowest amongst the group is having a great time. If there’s a day you don’t feel you can make it to one of the sights, you can always hang back in the hotel or in the vehicle and people-watch, read or nap.
Q. I get motion sickness. Will I be able to sit in the front of the van/bus on the tour?
A. Please let us know on your health form whether you are prone to motion sickness and we can do our best to sit you toward the front of our vehicle while touring in Buenos Aires.
If you do suffer from motion sickness, you’ll definitely want something with you for the Antarctica part of the tour to offset any potential issues so we encourage you to bring prescription medications, ginger candies and/or wrist bands.
Q. Will we be responsible for handling our own luggage throughout the tour?
A. In Buenos Aires, we are only using one hotel and there will be porters (or drivers) available to help with luggage from and to the airport. Even so, the lighter you can pack, the better.
Q. Is English spoken in the areas where we’ll be traveling?
A. Spanish is the official language in Argentina, but you’ll find that many of the people we interact with will also speak English.
3. HOTEL INFO
Q. What sort of hotel will we be staying in?
A. We will be staying in a lovely upscale hotel that’s centrally-located in Buenos Aires. There are lots of activities within walking distance.
Q. Do you know the name of the hotel the tour will be starting from yet?
A. Hotel information is listed on the tour itinerary but we usually don’t have this confirmed until right before the tour (in case there are any last-minute changes). Hotel information will be provided a couple of weeks in advance of the tour start date.
Q. Will hotels have fitness centers and/or safe walking routes and will there be time to get some exercise?
A. The hotel we have booked does have a fitness center and there is free time built into the itinerary to get some exercise on your own.
Q. Will the hotel provide shampoo and conditioner?
A. Yes, the hotel will have the amenities in each room, including shampoo and conditioner.
Q. Is there a hair dryer in the hotel room?
A. Yes, a hair dryer will be available in the room.
Q. Will my items be safe in my room?
A. While hotel room theft is very rare, we recommend you take precautions wherever you go – Argentina or elsewhere. If you leave valuables in the room, keep them in the hotel safe or locked in your luggage. These are good preventive measures and will also give you peace of mind.
4. PACKING INFORMATION
Q. What will the weather be like and how should I pack for it?
A. It will be the start of summer when we are in Buenos Aires. Expect the days to be somewhat warm perhaps in the high 80’s. Pack for the heat, but also bring a sweater or light jacket that you can wear in air conditioning or on cool evenings. We will provide you with a full packing list once you’ve registered for the tour.
Q. Can I wear shorts, short skirts and tank tops?
A. Buenos Aires is a liberal city in terms of dress and you can wear summer clothes such as shorts, short skirts and tank tops.
Q. Will I need a swimsuit?
A. While the hotel does not have a swimming pool, you might consider bringing a swimsuit should you want to take part in the polar plunge once in Antarctica.
Q. Do I need any dress clothes?
A. Not necessarily. Although you might want to wear something a little nicer for dinner(s) out.
Q. Would you recommend taking a rain coat?
A. We may have a little rain in Buenos Aires, but you’ll really want that rain coat for Antarctica, so you’ll have it with you anyway.
Q. What kind of shoes should I bring?
A. You may want a pair of sandals to walk around in during the day and a nicer pair of shoes for the evening.
Q. Should I get small locks for my luggage?
A. We recommend keeping your luggage locked not only if you’re going to check a bag for your flight, but also if you leave any valuables in the hotel room while you’re out. Consider bringing a little lock to secure the zippers of your luggage together to avoid any opportunistic thievery. This will allow you to leave items such as a laptop or iPad in your luggage and not worry about it. While hotel room theft is very rare, it is a good preventive measure and will give you peace of mind.
Q. What tricks do you use to fit all your items into a carry-on bag and still have room for souvenirs?
A. It’s true that if you pack light, you’ll have to do more laundry. But we suggest rinsing out some clothes every four or five nights rather than lugging around a big bag. Check out this article for some secrets to packing light
Q. What sort of power adapter do I need?
A. There are two types of power plugs commonly found in Argentina. Some outlets accommodate a two-pin round plug like this one:
While other plugs may require this type I version:
Q. Will I need a converter for my electrical devices?
A. You will need a converter for any devices unable to handle 220 (ie. your hair dryer, curling iron, etc.). Most laptops and other electronics now have internal convertors, but check on your particular device to be certain.
Q. Can I use my cell phone in Argentina?
A. We highly recommend the use of an e-sim while traveling. You can download an app like Airalo (use the code ELIZAB3290 for $3 off your first order!). Though there are some limitations while using it (you can’t receive calls on your regular number), it’s FAR cheaper than the $10/day that most cell phone providers charge for a travel pass.
If you are going to pay your cell provider directly, first contact them to make sure they have coverage in Argentina and find out the rate. Most providers offer such a plan where you only get charged once you connect to a local network.
You can also use WiFi on your phone for data, text and calls.
Q. Can I bring my laptop?
A. Of course!
Q. What’s the best way to change money in Argentina?
A. VERY IMPORTANT – the Argentine peso is prone to wild fluctuations in value. To get the most out of your exchange, we recommend getting your money changed at a Western Union or other money changer once you’re in Buenos Aires. You will get three times the local currency than if you were to change your money at a local bank. Banks exchange money at a very low rate!
While there are ATMs in Argentina, you will receive pesos at the bank rate which is about 1/3 the rate that you can get if you change U.S. dollars with a money changer (see above). You will get a slightly better rate the larger the bill. In other words, $100 U.S. bill will get you a slightly better rate than a $50 U.S. bill, which will be a slightly better rate than a $20 U.S. bill. But if you don’t plan to spend $100+, then by all means, change smaller bills.
Q. Can I pay for items in U.S. dollars?
A. Some stores will accept payment in U.S. dollars, especially since dollars are highly prized for the exchange rate. If you make a purchase using a debit or credit card, you’ll be paying for the item at the bank rate. So it’s actually better to exchange your U.S. dollars into pesos and then pay in pesos.
Q. If I bring U.S. dollars, do I need to be concerned about what kind of shape the bills are in?
A. It’s best to have newer bills (2006 and later) rather than old or torn bills. Sometimes shopkeepers and money changers won’t take bills that are not in good shape.
Q. Do we tip our guides and driver?
A. For Buenos Aires, we handle tipping for guides and drivers on our end. Having said that, if you think they’ve done an exceptional job, please feel free to tip on your own.
Q. I’d like to bring a gift to our in-country guide and, perhaps, other people I meet along the way. Do you have some suggestions?
A. For small gifts, we suggest something from your hometown or state such as food items (local tea, coffee, for example) or items with logos like a coffee cup or baseball cap. You’ll want it to be easy to carry and something for which you don’t need to worry about sizing.
Q. Will I need to bargain when shopping at markets?
A. Expect to bargain in shops and open-air markets, even where items have prices marked on them. In many shops, there may not be any prices noted in which case you should start a counter-offer at half the price the vendor is asking and go from there. You’ll particularly have luck bargaining if you’re purchasing more than one item from the same vendor.
Having said that, we do recommend all tour participants acquire travel insurance. We have now partnered with Travel Insured International so that you have ability to purchase “cancel for any reason” insurance. We HIGHLY recommend travel insurance (no matter who your provider is) to protect your travel investment from any future issues. Although we are technically not requiring it, if you choose not to purchase it, you will be asked to sign additional paperwork acknowledging the risk of traveling without insurance.
Q. Is there a schedule for installment payments?
A. We don’t have anything formal set up, but you can definitely send in payments on your own schedule. Some people send in monthly payments while other people send in payments when it’s convenient. It’s possible to do this directly through your bank so that regular payments are mailed.
Q. Will I receive a refund if I have to cancel my participation in this tour?
A. Once you have paid your deposit, this is non-refundable due to strict payment requirements from our expedition ship. Our refund policy is covered in our Booking Terms and Conditions and is also outlined on the Registration Form that you’ll receive within 24 hours of registering with a deposit.
For payments other than the deposit, refunds will be sent by check within two weeks of our receiving written notification of your cancellation (email notification is fine). We will respond via email and ask for confirmation of your mailing address for any refunds. Address must be confirmed within six months, otherwise expect forfeiture of refund as we close out our books at that time.
Q. Will you be sending an updated itinerary with our overnight accommodations so we can leave it with folks at home?
A. Yes, you’ll receive the hotel information as well as emergency contact information one or two weeks before departure (note: it is subject to last-minute changes).
Q. What’s the emergency contact info that I can give my family?
A. Along with the hotel contact information, you will be given a cell phone number for your tour escort shortly before departure.
8. SPECIAL COVID CONSIDERATIONS
Q. Will I be required to have a negative Covid-19 test result to join this tour?
A. At this time, you will not be required to provide a negative Covid-19 test result in order to participate in our tours. The exception to this is if Argentina or Antarctica require a negative test prior to entry. We will provide you with any entry information in advance so you will be prepared, but you will not be required to send WanderTours your test results.
Q. Do I need to have a negative Covid-19 test to return home?
A. There are a handful of countries that still require a negative Covid-19 test prior to boarding your flight to that destination. Usually the test must be administered no more than 72 hours prior to boarding the flight. Alternately, in some cases, you may show proof of having recovered from Covid-19.
We will do our best to keep you apprised of this situation but, ultimately, it is your responsibility to abide by the mandates, laws and recommendations put forth by your the government at your next destination. If a negative test is required, we will make time in the itinerary to get tested to ensure that anyone who needs one has results before departure.
Q. Will masks be required during this tour?
A. Masks will not be required during the tour. If, however, you find yourself with any symptoms that are associated with Covid, we ask that you mask up for the protection of others.
There are still inherent risks with traveling while Covid-19 is actively occurring and one’s health cannot be guaranteed by WanderTours.