The Wild Wildlife of Sri Lanka & Blissful Blue Maldives

March 28 – April 7 or 10 (with extension), 2024


Price listed below the daily itinerary

“Here’s a 13-day vacation for island lovers to two exotic places that leap beyond imagination. First, we go deep into Sri Lanka, the “Pearl of the Indian Ocean, “ because you asked for this! Our focus is on pure nature and wildlife. It’s an animal lover’s dream with elephants, primates, perhaps tigers, and March is Whale season to witness 4 different species of the largest whales on the planet. If you crave captivating history, vibrant culture and scenic wonders, this trip is for you.

The former Kingdom of Ceylon reveals 9 UNESCO sites centuries old. Travelers visit for the ancient temples, the spices, teas and handicrafts, as well as Ayurveda spas in this Buddhist land of tranquility. Our past groups loved it. This year we add animal sanctuaries, nature hikes, cave temples, jeep safari, boat cruises, tuk tuk tour, cooking, zip lining to ballooning and more.

Sri Lanka is now the top emerging vacation destination for affordability of the rupee to our dollar. Revel in our luxury hotel and resort at an incredible price. From Colombo to Sigiriya, Yala National Park to Tangalle, the activities and sites will leave you spellbound. Marco Polo described it as “the Finest island country in the world”. So easy ( no visa) , so exotic, so remarkable!

Maldives Escape of Serenity – Cast your cares away on our indulgent extension to the Maldives, a slice of paradise with 1194 coral islands scattered like pearls over fifty shades of blue ocean. It’s “barefoot luxury“ here in your overwater villas. From your private deck, slip into warm iridescent waters of a magical lagoon. It’s like entering your own aquarium with vibrant fish and amazing marine life. Past AFSers even saw graceful sea turtles and majestic manta rays. At night, let the waves lull you to sleep.

Our exclusive all-inclusive resort lies at the tip of an atoll with easy access to visit the capital of Male. Enjoy water sports, scuba diving, find cuisines, the friendliest Maldivian staff and golden sunsets. Since so many of our travelers have been here, we offer this as an add-on option, but who wouldn’t want to visit again! Surrender to the temptation. You deserve to be swept away in total bliss.

Some things only come around once and this unique two-country vacation experience is it. Come ignite your wanderlust into island gems for memories of a lifetime!”



Our Glorious Itinerary

Mar 28 – Fly USA to Colombo Sri Lanka. Many airlines to choose. Air details to come in trip tips.

Mar 29 –  Welcome to the beautiful island country of Sri Lanka! (Land begins in Colombo). You’ll love this land of teas, spices, gems and incredible wildlife.  Transfer to our first-class hotel located on the seafront. One group airport pick up for group. Relax by the pool or explore nearby sites. See all the great amenities here at the Movenpick.

Overnight Movenpick Colombo

Mar 30 –   Colombo – Sigiriya

After breakfast at 9 AM, we head out to fabulous Sigiriya, a simple village where elephants roam free! Drive time around four hours with stops along the scenic route. Enroute we stop to visit a must see – mystical Dambulla Cave Temple with rich religious and cultural heritage. This UNESCO site is a complex of five separate cave temples carved out of rock. See the reclining Buddha and stunning Buddhist rock murals. It’s one of the top tourist attractions set in a landscape of lush green hills.

Enjoy our boutique resort for three glorious nights… delicious food, infinity pool, Ayurveda wellness spa and unique experiences like e-bike tour, cooking, pottery, safari with the naturalist and more.  Welcome Dinner tonight to get to know your fellow travel lovers with a special welcome surprise by Sri Lankan drummers. Our past groups loved this resort where sweet dreams await.

Overnight:   Aliya Resort in Sigiriya  B,D

Mar 31 –   Lion Rock, Tuk tuks, Primate Centre

This morning embark on a fun tuk-tuk jeep adventure to the majestic Sigiriya Rock Fortress. This World Heritage Site is a masterpiece of engineering, irrigation and artistry. You can slowly walk up the citadel partway or climb to the top for amazing photos. The historic mountain top palace ruins and frescoes have earned it worldwide accolades. Return back to our resort later to rest, swim or enjoy all the activities offered by the staff.

At 6:30 PM, proceed to the primate center for our enchanting “Lorries by Night Tour.” This small forest oasis is home to an exclusive group of slender lorries. It’s a unique experience to see one of the world’s rarest mammals. These tiny primates are endangered and are the most elusive creatures in the wild who live solitary lives. At dusk, hear their piercing screeches to each other. Follow our field guides over walkways, always staying together in silence. Nocturnal lorries are active with feeding and socializing. Guides spot them with red lights as they move. You may also see mouse deer, civets, fruit bats, owls, lizards and the rarest fishing cat in this night forest.

Overnight at Aliya Resort, Sigiriya         B


Apr 1  – Ballooning, Boats, Villages

Experience Hot Air Ballooning in Sri Lanka:  Sri Lanka is an epic country for hot air ballooning. Its variety of terrain offers visual treats of lakes, lush hills, and wildlife. Rise early for the best views at sunrise. Assist the crew in setting up your launch for a stunning bird’s eye view determined only by the wind. There is an optional $285 reservation available during the booking process.

Around 9:30 AM, return to resort for full breakfast. We journey onto quaint Hiriwadunna Village, nestled in colorful Habarana town. The tour starts with a traditional Bullock Cart Ride around the scenic pond. After a walk around the paddy fields, gardens and village farms, we board a boat for a ride to a village house. Engage in a cooking demonstration with introduction to Sri Lankan spices, followed by a light lunch.

Back to the resort to explore the scenic surroundings and for poolside cocktails at sunset.

Overnight at Aliya Resort, Sigiriya.      B,L

Apr 2 – Ziplines, Tea Plantation, National Park

Rise and shine early to embark on a 245 km drive to Yala. (Around seven hours total, but we break it up with activities and scenic stops along the way. Overland is the only way to see the best parts of this country.)

Zip-lining adventure –Flying Ravana  Zip Line at 98 Acres Resort get ready to soar like an eagle over beautiful mountains. It’s adrenaline pumping fun to soar a half kilometer up to 60 mph for stunning views of mountains!  (Max weight 220 lbs).  Those who prefer not to zip line can relax at Ravana Pool Club with bars, café and infinity pool in the mountains. 

The next stop is an award-winning Tea Factory, one of the world’s largest Ceylon tea producers. Guided tour of the estate to learn about tea making magic. Plenty of tea tastings and a tea shop for your purchases. Lunch at Ceylon restaurant, the first tea themed café with fusion food and finest selection of tea infused cocktails, mocktails, single malts and wines.

Time permitting, visit Suphulpawwa ancient monastery and the Magul Viharaya Buddhist caves, both pilgrimage sites.   Continue journey to Yala National Park, a sprawling expensive forests, lagoons and grasslands hugging the Indian Ocean. Rich in wildlife like leopards, elephants, crocs and hundreds of birds species, Yala is an explorer is paradise. At dusk, check into fabulous Cinnamon Wild Resort for dinner and so much more here. (Sri Lanka produces 92% of the world’s cinnamon)

Overnight at Cinnamon Wild/Yala       B,L,D.

Apr 3 –  Yala Jeep Safaris

Yala is home to an amazing variety of wildlife, including the worlds highest concentration of leopards. Board jeeps for our game drives, both morning and evening,  when animals are most active! You may witness elephants, buffalo, deer, sloth bears, leopards and more. The lagoons of Yala hold 20 different types of fish with an abundance of crabs and crocs.

Overnight  Cinnamon Wild/Yala.       B, D


Apr 4 –  Whale Safari,  Tangalle Anantara

Early wake up for an exciting day ahead as we board our boats for dolphin and whale watching! In March, you may see Fin Whales, Brydes Whales, Sperm Whales and Blue Whales, the biggest creatures on earth. Also, look for orcas, whale sharks and leaping dolphins off Sri Lanka’s north coast. Our sea voyage may last 4 hours. There’s no guarantees with nature, but our chances for sightings are excellent for some incredible photos.

Return to resort to check out and drive two hours to our five-star luxury beach resort – Anantara Peace Haven! There aren’t enough superlatives for this 5-star resort set on a golden beach lined by coconut palms. This luxury tropical sanctuary overlooking the Indian ocean will pamper you beyond your dreams.  There is a huge pool, yoga, tennis, nature trails and award-winning Ayurveda spa.

Overnight Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle Resort/Tangalle    B

Apr 5 –  Free at Last

It’s your day to hang on the beach to chill and relax or be as active as you like.  Anantara has all you need with jet skis, paddle boards, snorkel gear, bikes and more. Download their leisure experience brochure for all the excursions. Bells signal when local fisherman bring in their catch each day, there’s a white tea plantation, agro park, organic garden market, turtle watching tour, Hummanay Blowhole and more.

Overnight at Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle Resort/Tangalle      B


Apr 6 – Fort town Tangalle – Colombo

After breakfast, we head out 3.5 hours to Galle to visit UNESCO site Galle Fortress, built by the Portuguese in 1588. Arrive afternoon to the capital city of Colombo for a City Tour of iconic landmarks. There is so much diverse religious heritage here – see the intricate Gangarama temples, the lively Sea Street Hindu temple, Davatagaha mosque, then to Independence Hall and the Dutch Church of 1749.

Later we dive into the bustling Pettah Bazaar, a vibrant market filled with aromatic spices. Sri Lanka has exquisite handicrafts and shops like Lanka Hands and Laksala for some retail therapy. It is also called the “gem capital of the world,” most famous for its natural blue sapphires. Discover a dazzling array of local stones at Gem Gallery. Our past groups had custom pieces crafted here for a most memorable souvenir.

Farewell Dinner tonight to toast each other goodbye after an epic adventure together.

Overnight Movenpick Colombo   B,D.

Apr 7 – Depart Colombo

Transfer to airport for a flight home. Those extending onto the Maldives, transfer to airport for a flight into Male! Dates April 7-10.


Sri Lanka Land price $2595  based on 22 participants.  Gratuities $95 added to invoice for easy distribution.  Deposit:  $500 and final payment due December 28, 2023

Includes- first-class accommodation, buffet breakfast at all hotels, meals as listed in the program, all transfers and sightseeing tours by private air-conditioned coach, one bottled water per person on vehicle per day, welcome dinner by drummers in Sigiria, evening visit to Loris by Night, tuk tuk ride to Lion Rock, Hiriwadunna Village tour, zipline, cooking with lunch, zip line at 98 acres, lunch at tea factory in Ella and farewell dinner, 4 x 4 jeep safari in Yala, whale watching tour by private boat, tour manager on entire tour, English-speaking guides on city tours, AFS GTL, entrance fees to monuments as per program, all taxes and service charges.

Not Included –  Air

You have two packages to choose:  Sri Lanka only or Sri Lanka with Maldives extension.   



7 April  Colombo – Maldives Extension by Flight

Early morning transfer to Colombo International to catch your flight for Maldives.  Depart Colombo at 0720 Hrs by Srilanka Airline UL 115. Arrive Male at 8:15 AM  Flight Price $TBA

If you have the time, we offer an optional extension to The Maldives because we are that close. The Maldives is a pristine haven for an exceptional holiday. Days are spent basking in the golden sun, swimming in clear lagoons, and frolicking on powdery sandy beaches.

Adaaran Club, aka ARC, is a delightful luxury resort, reached by a brisk 45-minute speed boat ride over the turquoise sea. It’s all-inclusive – enjoy impeccable dishes of fresh fish and fruits and excellent service. There’s complimentary use of snorkel gear, canoes, paddleboards, as well as beach volleyball, daily live bands, sundowner DJ music, and the Chavana Spa. There are opportunities for a sunset photo cruise, island hopping, local village visits, dolphin cruises, and fishing at night and early morning. The water sports center caters to divers, with night dives being particularly fascinating. Our little island provides easy access to Male if you’d like to explore the museums, markets, and scenic sites. Maybe you’ll just prefer to rest and chill in this beautiful place!

(Please note- 97% of resorts with overwater villas do not have twin beds. As with all our past groups to the Maldives, an extra small bed will be provided in your villa. Take turns. Also note that some resorts can exceed over 2K per night. Our resort is voted by Maldives tourism as one of ‘the top 10 best value’ options on their list. Same waters, same amenities, but far better value for wise travelers!)

April  8-10


Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Adaaran Club

April 10 – Morning free to relax. Late afternoon transfer to Male International airport


1.   Sri Lanka Only Land price $2595 Gratuities $95 added to invoice for easy distribution.  No extension to Maldives.   No single room for Sri Lanka Only

2.  SRI LANKA and MALDIVES EXTENSION in OVER WATER BUNGALOW –  $4375 ($2690 Sri Lanka + 1398 Maldives + $295 Sri Lanka Airlines Colombo to Male).   Gratuities of $130 for entire trip will be added to invoice  for ease of distribution.

3.  SRI LANKA and MALDIVES in BEACH VILLA.   $4125 after $250 discount is applied.  AFS is waitlisted for another overwater bungalow. You can guarantee your place on this trip by reserving a Beach Villa.  You will automatically be added to the waitlist for an overwater bungalow. Once one becomes available, you will have the option to switch to the overwater hut or stay in the beach villa with a $250 discount off your trip cost.

Packages 2 and 3 includes Sri Lanka land package plus  All-inclusive  Maldives resort with air round trip Sri Lanka to Maldives

Deposit for Sri Lanka with Maldives $800. Final payment due December 28, 2023.

Price includes Roundtrip Air Colombo to Male  $295.  However, a new fee of $44 for your checked bag and taxes will be added to your invoice.

Fly Dubia
APR 7 FZ-1026 CMB – MLE 10:35 AM to 11:25 AM
APR 10 FZ – 1025 MLE – CMB 7:45 AM to 9:35 AM

$130 gratuities will be added to invoice before your final payment.  This is for license national guides, drivers, porters, lodge staff throughout trip.

(Please be informed that your internal air seat from Colombo to Maldives has been reserved, and a nonrefundable deposit of $70 per person is required. It is important to take this flight to the Maldives. Once you reach the Maldives, you are free to pursue your own activities. However, please note that if you choose to deviate from the group, a $70 fee will be charged.)

Includes: all-inclusive stay for three nights, round-trip speedboat transfers, all Maldives taxes, including the green tax. Not included – internal flight from Sri Lanka to Maldives coming soon, gratuities.

Have you read the Trip Tips yet? It’s one tab over.  

Sri Lanka and Maldives trip tips 2024

Prepare to be thrilled by Enchanting Sri Lanka & The Dreamy Maldives. In Sri Lanka, the wildlife will amaze you with great photo ops and its fascinating history. Our itinerary is it an explorer’s delight with ancient temples, mystical Buddhist sites and active fun each day and scenic wonders! Our past groups here raved as “best AFS trip ever”. You were wise to book these places with our group, as they are challenging to do on own.

Trip Tips are designed to answer trip-related questions. It’s your responsibility to read this information.  Updates and addendums will be posted here.  Some travelers have lost their entire trip for not reading what we send on visas, air details, inoculations, etc.  Check back from time to time.

  • FINAL PAYMENT DUE DEC 28, 2023    Wetravel is our data management company, it allows you to pay by check electronically without a fee. Simply follow the instructions. Credit cards will be assessed a processing fee at time of purchase.  As a small business, this helps mitigate costs and allows us to give you the very best price.   If you prefer to use the mail, make your payment to AFS or Adventures For olo Travelers, 1907 Daniel Green Ct., Smyrna GA 30080

Your fearless GTL (Gracious Trip Leader, not a guide but a liaison between our guides and group to ensure things run smoothly.)

Deanna PurdieDeanna Purdie:  Based in Atlanta, making her way around the globe with over 60 countries visited…mostly solo until finding out about AFS in 2017.  With degrees in Photography and Graphic Design from SCAD, she enjoys helping others capture and create interesting posts for Social Media that your friends are sure to envy. Also, with a background in IT/Communications, she is able to help solve any tech issues you may have with your devices or apps.  She enjoys a healthy active lifestyle of working out, skiing, snorkeling and hiking.  Always researching and learning…she has been studying and speaking French for the past 8+ years and will be sure to have at least 2-3 new Travel Hacks and tips for you each trip!

Deanna is a great asset to AFS, not just because of her capable skills in leadership and her wisdom, but it’s her joyous enthusiasm in guiding others in exploration!

Trip Prep:

  • Read the revised Heading Abroad with AFS, especially if you are new to AFS.
  • Ensure your passport is valid 6 months after return date with two blank pages – these are Visa pages, not addendum pages.  We recommend renewing your passport well ahead of any planned international travel. Take a photo of your passport to store in the cloud or bring a copy. If you lose your passport, US embassies now except a digital copy from your email.  Also good to scan any docs, Covid test, trip tips, etc.
  • To speed through US Customs download Mobile Passport.  Look in your App Store for details.
  • Notify bank and cc company of travel dates so they don’t block charges.
  • All airline rules differ.  It is imperative to read your airline rules on their website to ensure a smooth departure! Always check your flight before departure.

Visa Requirements: Ensure you have the appropriate visa to enter Sri Lanka. You can obtain an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) online before your trip.

I tried their site out and found it slow loading times even with a fast Wi-Fi connection. The cost of their Visa is $20.  If you prefer a faster and more user-friendly alternative, you can consider using a paid service like or google others but you’ll probably pay close to $50 to get the visa and other such services. While they charge more, their website is easier to navigate and loads rapidly. The choice is yours, and both options will facilitate your visa application.  (No visa for Maldives.)

  • It is crucial to note that you should not obtain the visa just yet, as it is only valid for 30 days. Wait until March 1 to purchase the visa. We will also send you a reminder.   When you do apply, please ensure you complete the application accurately, make the payment using a credit card, and remember to bring a copy of the visa with you during your travel.  You will need a copy of your passport valid at least six months with two blank visa pages, a digital passport photo 2”x2”.  You can take one you can take a headshot selfie against a blank wall and crop it accordingly and a credit card for payment.

Fitness level – 2   No trouble walking as not to unnecessarily slow up the group. Most of our days involve extensive walking, sometimes on uneven pavement. Know your limits.

General Air Info –  Route changes can happen now. Airlines must notify you of such and protect you if problem with flight.  Consider flying in early to ensure you’ll be there once trip begins.   Always download and use your airlines app! Use app to track your booking, delays, bags, to show boarding pass and to contact them. If you have a flight problem go to the airline’s website “contact us” page or reach them by text, social media, Skype or call their international number.  Also, premium credit cards often offer many air perks, assistance, insurance, lounge passes, global entry and more. Read more at for best cards.  Many say they want to fly business class but don’t realize fare range from 4K to 9K. We do have two good contacts that can get the sea seats at nearly half cost. or ali@business– Tell them Suzy sent you.

Important Air Dates Main Group – March 28 USA to Colombo (CMB) on  April 10 return from CMB .   

Fly Dubia
APR 7 FZ-1026 CMB – MLE 10:35 AM to 11:25 AM
APR 10 FZ – 1025 MLE – CMB 7:45 AM to 9:35 AM (arrange flight to USA after 12 noon or later.)

(To the six people on Sri Lanka only, just book round-trip air USA to Colombo March 28 to April 7.)

Many airlines fly these routes such as Turkish, Emirates, Air France, Qatar and more. The best schedules and fares are on Qatar (QR)

Group Air:  None. I know we will not meet the minimum required to make a group booking since this is a small group. See below on how to do your own air which gives you more flexibility.

Internal flight – all 22 people will fly together from Colombo to the Maldives April 7. $295 has been added to your bill.

Doing Own Air– Sometimes we offer group air but find few people book sometimes find better rates on own direct from hometown.  This provides you better flexibility to go early or extend at trip end.   Also, you can consider upgrading seat to business class but know prices average 6 to 9K. No group air tickets can be upgraded. (see below).   We recommend you now book flexible air tickets that can be refunded or changed.

We like Google Flights.  3rd-party booking engines like Expedia, make it easy to book, but it is nearly impossible to handle air problems.  Buy direct from airline or pay a travel agent to ticket you.  If you need help air,  our guy Delhi can help, email with your exact air dates, destination, passport name and details with birthdate.

Also, Above9Travel or SkyLux can help you with business-class seats by combining award points and cash at half the cost.  Ph. (855) 777-6336 x1015 or Alen Monvel at SkyLux Travel, Direct Line: 844-207-1756.

Airport Transfers-

We will have one group airport pick up to accommodate as many people as possible. If your times fall outside the group, simply take a taxi to the Movenpick address 24 Dharmapala Mawatha Colombo 03, Tel: +94117450450 Contact email:  If you fall outside the group transfer time, here is a link that will allow you to schedule a transfer on your ownövenpick-Hotel-Colombo

With travelers arriving and departing on different days and times, it is insurmountable to manage. Group air airport transfers are based on set time. Without group air, there can no longer be any pick-ups or drop-offs.  Unfortunately, now like other tour companies, transfers are your responsibility. (We’ve spent weeks each trip making spreadsheets of each person’s air to send to the supplier and then flights change. We then hire a guide, driver and pay airport parking fees. Last year in groups only half showed up as guides waited hours looking for others. Sometimes no AFSers showed up without informing us.) Transfers are not expensive. First, google your arrival airport website to see transfer tab. Suggestions to appear like airport bus, taxi details, Uber and more. Then connect on group Facebook page to set up sharing transfer cost if you like.  If you go early and check-in AFS hotel before group arrives, it’s your responsibility to change rooms with your roommate if necessary day one when trip begins.

Meet Up With Group- On Mar 29 a time will be set to meet the group at the hotel for a briefing. More on this later.

Baggage– Think light to ease your burden, not like you’re fleeing your homeland.  You change hotel properties several times. 1 carry-on bag & 1 medium suitcase not to exceed 45lb checked bag – weigh on a bathroom scale.  If you overpack by adding pre-or post-trip luggage, make prior plans as to where to stow the excess luggage. You may be responsible for any overage charges. Apple AirTags work great to track checked bags when the airline cannot, also good for carry-on.   Leave space for great souvenirs. Be sure to attach ID inside and out of carry-on and checked bag.


Google weather in Colombo a week prior departure – should be in the 80’s.   This is the best month to visit these tropical places but be prepared for humidity and possible brief rains.

This trip is so easy. Simply pack summer clothing with a light jacket for nights and long flights.  Umbrella, hat, comfy sneakers, all hotels have hair dryers.

Read Packing 101 in Heading Abroad with AFS

This trip is so easy and totally casual. Simply pack summer clothing with a light jacket for nights and long flights. Think umbrella, daypack, wide-brim hat, sunscreen, comfy sneakers, … swimsuit, beach gear, wet shoes.

(Ladies – it is respectful to dress modestly add some religious sites. This means shoulders covered two knees and bring a headscarf. Guide will advise win. Dress as you like at the Maldives resort.)

Cool travel hacks from our AFSers! Pack overnight outfit in your carry-on, liquid IV packets to hydrate, use packing cubes, downy wrinkle spray, Apple AirTags, extra nylon bag to check laundry home, tons of US dollars for extra tips, fully charged travel banks, less is more, get global entry.

Electric– Don’t forget a portable backup charger, cords, gadgets, etc. Cell phones and tablets do not need a converter; you only need an adapter plug.  AFSers often leave charger cords in room, so be sure to double-check your room before check out. All properties have hairdryers.  See

Money Matters – Always bring some cash!  You will need some cash for personal tipping, meals, and shopping. $400 cash should suffice.    Change currency on arrival at airport, bank, or hotels or withdraw local currency from an ATM.  Note -independent ATMs are risky due to skimmer scams. Safest ATMs are at airport and banks. Always shield your pin number when entering.  Bring newer bills 2016 on as some countries won’t take old or slightly damaged bills.

Master Card and Visa widely accepted.  Amex rarely accepted.   Credit cards are far safer than using your debit card. I use my credit card for most purchases.  Many cards now offer no foreign transaction fees. (Some countries in Africa and Asia require new bills dated after 2016. Older bills not accepted when changing money.) The US dollar is stronger than ever before now in Sri Lanka for your exchange to the Sri Lankan rupees!

Gratuities –  It’s protocol to tip our local guides, assistants, porters, wait staff, drivers and ground staff. Guidelines have increased globally. A $130 total will be added to your invoice doing Sri Lanka with Maldives and $90 for those opting to do Sri Lanka only. Please understand this is only the suggested minimum.  For ease of distribution, your GTL will tip the different ground services for the entire group each day.

Tipping on own – If service is stellar, feel free to give more directly.  All we tourists leave behind is our reputation. I carry a stash of US ones in an envelope to draw from as needed. Porters – AFSers roll bags to their room.  If you use a porter, please tip.  For group lunches or dinners included, please leave $2 for waitstaff!

Click for More Trip Tips with info on communication, travel insurance, cancellation, emergency contacts, Facebook group page, and more…

Click to go back to Essential Trip Tips

More Trip Tips

Communication– Internet is available. With smartphones, be sure to check with your provider for rates and coverage for international phone plans before departure. Data Roaming rates can be expensive. To reach home – Texting, iMessage, WhatsApp, and Facebook messaging when using WIFI. Be cautious using public Wi-Fi without using VPN. Without VPN never open attachments or view financial or personal accounts on the Internet while abroad.  Phone calls, text messages, and data usage of all kinds, it is crucial to understand that, unless you are connected to Wi-Fi, every use of your phone incurs a data toll. That means that viewing and downloading email, browsing the web, viewing social media, and mapping all incur data charges, as do applications that we sometimes assume to be “free,” such as Skype and WhatsApp. Unless you are connected to Wi-Fi, however, WhatsApp is using cellular data, so you are getting charged at your provider’s international roaming data rate.  Facebook Messenger Phone is an easy free way to make calls.

Get Smart: Avoiding Hackers on Vacation.  Thieves not only want your money but also your data.    Change passwords often. Check device security settings before you leave for your trip. Back up, update, and encrypt your devices and data using a virtual VPN. Since 1989, your safety is our primary concern. Our local teams are experts, constantly monitoring any issues with your destinations. They can access real-time safety issues and will keep us informed if necessary.

  • Bottled water is always best abroad, as our gut isn’t accustomed to local tap water.  Stay hydrated.
  • Remind full of pickpockets in big cities, especially at night.  Never carry your passport outside of the room.
  • Grab a business card from hotel before heading out on own to show taxi driver where to go.
  • Travel health – Drink bottled water. Avoid street foods. Bring Imodium or anti-diarrhea medicine.  Bring sunscreen.  Load up on antioxidants like vitamin C to zinc.

Health – Bring Imodium just in case. All our meals are pure and water is filtered. Bottled water provided throughout. Don’t use ice outside hotels. (Poverty – you may witness an eyeful of poverty omnipresent. The beauty is found in its humanity with dignity inherent in the spirit of the people here who possess virtues of simplicity, hard work, gentleness and perseverance. No beggars will harass you. Humbling to see them so happy with so little.)

Photography – Before taking pictures of locals, know it is polite to ask.  Your AFS Private Facebook Group Page is a great way to share your best shots with each other. AFS loves photos with group participants (not typical churches, monuments, or any shot that looks like you pulled it off of the net, etc.) for our website. The best photos are ones that include a group member with a local, children, animals, or at iconic sites in the same frame! Note, there may be some restrictions with photos in Buddhist places and religious sites. Guide will advise.

Retail Therapy – Sri Lanka -Excellent shopping – World’s finest teas, spices, batiks, unique handicrafts and gemstones – wholesale rates on rubies to sapphires.  Bargain all!  Your guide will advise the best places.

Chewing-  Distinct Indian fusion fare.  Totally fresh food.  Try the seafood, mild curry dishes, roti breads and appa or “hoppers” or coconut crepes.  They are famous for pastries and cakes.

Accommodations –Accommodations – Our itinerary has links to each hotel.  Note that hotels can change, but it’s rare.

Roommates –  Single supplements have significantly increased in price– if available at all.  Save money and buy yourself an awesome local gift. We all live alone, but save money when traveling by rooming together. Suzy spends a lot of time on roommate matching.  99% of our clients are wonderful and you’re only in your room to sleep at night.   The best option is to invite a friend.  Note, kindness begets kindness.  Many of our seasoned travelers bring headsets to drown out any excess noise.  We share rooms only to sleep at night.  (please understand if  the AFS room list ends up with unbalanced gender, and forces a single room, we will offer it to all in group or share the added cost. If none want it, if you were the last to book we may have to remove you from the trip.)

AFS Optionals: Sri Lanka balloon ride you can access your booking details following this link There you can add the balloon ride. We will also send you an email later verifying that we have everyone’s choice whether it’s a yes or no.

Leisure Time –  For your free time, it’s best to arrive and ask our local expert guides for suggestions.  We notice many newer clients pre-plan many activities on the AFS trip well before they arrive, often with disappointing results.  Our daily itineraries are pretty full, but there will be some free time. Expert travelers revel in the element of surprise in a new destination and allow the wind to blow them where it will. Use Google Maps on your phone to find everything nearby.

Amending tour pre-or post-trip. We honor your independent spirit, but encourage you to extend more days at the trip’s end when you’re acclimated well to the destination.  If you add another country, we often see many AFSers on Facebook urging others to join them what do you consider the cost of tours, transport, hotels, etc.  Stopovers are great to add, but understand AFS has no responsibility for the quality of your trip.

Private Facebook Group Page  –  The benefit of the Private FB Group Page is that you have an opportunity to introduce yourself to your fellow travelers before departure and share trip photos during and after the tour.  The link can be found in your Wetravel welcome letter after your initial deposit.  (We found that some never read the Trip Tips jumping right to the Private FB Group Page assuming they will get all trip info needed. Often, they only receive rumors or misinformation. All important information is ALWAYS emailed to each participant and posted in Trip Tips under UPDATES. Nobody misses a thing.)

Emergency Contact – AFS phone or text 770-432-8225, or email us at    More contacts will be provided with your Final Docs email 2 to 3 weeks before departure. Your guide can handle a call home for a true emergency. Do not expect to use your trip leader’s cell phone; you’ll need to use your own.

Cancellation Penalty –  At booking, we sent you our terms and conditions. Click here for our Terms & Conditions  and here for for Cancellation refund policy   In part it states “a written request for cancellation through email or text with your name and cancellation specifics to 770-432-8225. Please be aware that when a refund is due, a $155 administrative fee will be charged for each cancellation. Any cancellation after November 28, 2023 there are no there are no refunds for any cancellation after November 28, 2023 refunds.

Travel Insurance– While travel insurance is optional, in today’s world we highly encourage you to get standard coverage to cover trip interruption and cancellation.  Best source for all is   CFAR or cancel for any reason covers Covid but is expensive.  Note that no company covers cancellation due to fear.

Preexisting conditions – If you would like the security of travel insurance and have a pre-existing condition (elderly parent, medical, etc.), you must purchase insurance within 15 days from your initial trip deposit in order to assure full coverage.  The trip cost can be amended or adjusted as needed after your initial purchase (eg. like adding an air ticket cost later). You can buy travel insurance at any time, just know that there may be some possible limitations if purchased outside the 15 day period.  We like TravelSafe, Allianz or Seven Corners.

Travel Psychology 101  – Prepare for your departure joyfully with no contempt before investigation upon arrival. Please understand that with travel, things are not like at home and changes may occur. Great trips work best for those with an open mind, flexible attitude and adventuresome spirit.  If changes occur, embrace them with serendipity. Who knows?… The unexpected may prove to be a better experience.  Adapt and go with the flow with a laid-back attitude.  Be spontaneous. Be tolerant of foreign cultures in respecting their centuries of traditions. Embrace the differences. Be curious, not shy. Smile – locals will sense your energy of kindness and kindness always begets kindness.  Our common goal is to experience different cultures, make new friends, get great photos, have large fun, and return home safely with memories worthy of recollection.

The best spirit of an Explorer requires the openness of a child – Suzy

“When traveling, remember that a foreign country isn’t designed to make you comfortable.  It’s designed to make its own people comfortable.” – Clinton Fadiman

Please note that AFS is non-partisan – With our homogeneous groups, we all want to focus on the common denominator – our love of travel.  In today’s divisive world, we suggest members not discuss politics and if you must, please practice my rule of TOK:  Tolerance, Open-mindedness and Kindness.

Please be advised that the operation of some tours may need to be rearranged or modified to suit local conditions, but all activities stated will be included.  We are here for you to address any questions about your trip. In time, we believe travel will begin to normalize with less rules and we appreciate your cooperation until then.  Now more than ever before, travelers value the privilege of travel to explore our world. You’ve been waiting so long, it’s time for recess!

Please be advised that the operation of some tours may need to be rearranged or modified to suit local conditions, but all activities stated will be included.  We are here for you to address any questions about your trip. In time, we believe travel will begin to normalize with less rules and we appreciate your cooperation until then.  Now more than ever before, travelers value the privilege of travel to explore our world. You’ve been waiting so long, it’s time for recess!