FAQ

CAN'T SEE YOUR QUESTION BELOW?

ABOUT LIFE BEFORE WORK

Why should I choose Life Before Work over other tour operators?

That's an excellent question, and we will do our best to answer it! We have been operating tours in the most amazing destinations on Earth for over 12 years now, and we like to think we are pretty damn good at what we do; we aren't alone in that though, as our tours and guides have thousands of 5 star reviews from our travellers! We like to showcase the best of each destination we travel to, whether it's amazing beach bungalows we adore, taking you to our favourite street-food vendors, or hidden viewpoints that even TripAdvisor doesn't know about... we've got all the necessities (and more) covered. Are you are looking for the ideal group that accommodates travellers of all backpacking experience levels between the ages of 18-30, that offers the perfect mixture of culture AND adventure? You're right at home with Life Before Work, where we will happily take you under our wing, and show you how to truly live your life to the fullest.

How do I become an LBW Tour Guide?

Ah yes, the question of the day! We love to hire past travellers who have stuck out to us on tour as being the ideal mixture of organized, fun, adventurous... you know what we're getting at! Our guides are generally our "talent scouts" on tour, and always report back to us if someone looks to be our next top all star.

What are the benefits of being a past traveller with LBW?

All of our travellers receive special discounts on our tours for being part of our LBW Family. The discounts may vary for special events, but we offer a standard 7% discount on our standard adventures across the board. Feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions!

I would love to see some reviews from past LBW travellers, where can I find those?

Absolutely - we want you to be as confident in your decision as we are about our tours! 

Click here to view our Facebook reviews, where you can see feedback from hundreds of travellers about each of the tours that we operate.

Example Testimonials: 

"LBW offers incredible opportunities to get out and see the world in the most fun and safe environment imaginable! You'll make lifelong friends who you'll share the most amazing moments with, creating those epic memories and stories you'll be reminiscing about later in life from the comfort of your rocking chair :)"Shaun Scrymgeour

"Just came back of Yachlife Croatia and had the TIME OF MY LIFE 😍💙 this is my second time doing an LBW tour and you guys never disappoint. I had high expectations for Yachtlife but it was still so much better than I could have imagined. Matty & Bruce absolutely killed it!! I left with amazing memories, experiences I'll never forget, and 30 new best friends. Already planning the next trip #lbwfamily #yachtlifeweek3" - Steph Bogias 

"I've been on two tours now (yachtlife Mediterranean and island life) and will be going on many more!! I am thankful I have gotten to travel with LBW I've met so many amazing people who will be my friends for life. The staff our amazing, inviting, inspirational, friendly and some of the funniest people I've ever met! The experience LBW provides is things you would dream about doing! These trips have been the best experiences I've ever had! I've learned so much about who I am as a person! I am happy and proud to say I am an LBW alumni. Traveling with LBW has made me want to travel and experience more of the world! I can't wait for more adventures with LBW 😘😘" - Chelsea Lee

Is there an age limit to join one of your tours?

Our backpacker-style tours are designed for travellers between the ages of 18-30 to fit with our laid-back, fun atmosphere that putting your Life Before Work entails! That being said, we do offer select trips such as YachtLife and IslandLife that can be suitable for up to 35 year olds. Please contact us at info@LBWtravel.com if you have any questions or concerns regarding this!

Can I join the rep program?

Yes! Anyone is welcome to join the rep program, and it is a perfect opportunity to get your foot-in-the-door with our amazing company! Go to www.lbwtravel.com/jointheteam to sign up for our Adventure Ambassador program!

PLANNING & PACKING

I want to book an LBW tour, but I'm feeling nervous - any advice?

We completely understand how difficult it can be to take the leap, especially on your first backpacking trip on your own! With so many options out there in terms of where to go, who to go with... the stress can be a tad overwhelming. We take pride in being able to take the stress out of travelling for you, so you can just sit back and wait for your adventure of a lifetime to begin! The best part? Even once you're there, the toughest decision you will have to make is what bikini to wear on the beach that day... talk about #firstworldproblems! If you're nervous about coming on your own, rest assured knowing that you will be meeting up with a group of class A humans, and a guide or two, that will grow to be like a family to you along your journey together; about 33% of our travellers come solo - but 100% leave a part of our LBW Family!

How many people are on each of the LBW tours?

It varies greatly! At times we have smaller, intimate group sizes of 6, and then on others (like YachtLife) you will find over 30! On average though, you will find around 8-12 people on each of our tours.

What kind of luggage should I bring?

You are welcome to bring any kind of luggage you want that suits your needs. Please keep in mind that some of our accommodations may require a little walking to get to, so many of our travellers prefer backpacks for that reason.

How much spending money will I need?

Your daily required spending money will vary depending on the location of your tour, but here are some examples of what we recommend for our tours as the very minimum required each day for food and necessities*:

Thailand - $40/day

Central America - $45/day

Europe - €50/day

Bali - $40/day

Philippines - $40/day

Vietnam - $30/day

Peru - $45/day

*Please note that these prices are based on minimums for your every day food and necessities; if you wish to partake in lots of extra, optional activities, do lots of shopping, or buy rounds of drinks for your new travel friends at the bar, then we recommend increasing your daily spending budget accordingly.

Is food included on LBW tours?

We are actively trying to source accommodations that provide breakfast at all of our destinations, but at the moment SOME in Thailand, Asia and Vietnam do, and ALL in the Philippines do. On YachtLife Croatia we provide breakfast and lunch on board, allowing for you to explore local restaurants for dinners!

Can I find out who else will be on my tour?

Once you are signed up, we invite you to a Facebook event group where you will be able to meet and interact with your upcoming travel tribe! Here, you can see if anyone else is departing from t he same location as you, or arriving at a similar time that wants to hang.. oh, the possibilities!

Who will be my tour guide?

Excellent question, and that certainly can vary depending on the location and when you travel! We've got an incredible roster of tour leaders at each of our destinations who will all make sure that you have the trip of a lifetime. If you're looking to travel with a past guide you just loved adventuring with, feel free to message us (or the guide) and see what their travel plans are for the year! Want to get to know our team members better? Check out our Meet the Team page!

Will there be any free time during my tour?

Absolutely! We always have a balanced itinerary that is filled with incredible activities and free time, in order for each of our travellers to be able to experience each area to the fullest. Not feeling up to a scheduled activity one day and/or needing some solo time? No problem! You are free to venture off and do your own thing, or kick it at the hotel/beach... the world is truly your oyster! Our itineraries and guides are there to provide you with the key points of each destination, but it's ultimately up to you on how you want to spend your trip - it's your vacation after all! Just please make sure to let the guides and/or your travel companions know about your plans so that they know how to find you later on.

Where will I be sleeping during my tour?

We have picked out the best hostels, hotels, guesthouses and home-stays in each location, all with either A/C or a fan provided. 

Please note: In Central & South America there will be times where you will be staying in dormitory-style accommodation.

Will I have to share a room while on tour? Can I choose my roommate/room with my partner?

Yes, all accommodations are shared with roommate(s) of the same gender as yourself OR you can absolutely request to be roomed with your travel companion. If you would like a private room for yourself, please feel free to contact us regarding the tour you are interested in and we can provide you with a quote as it may vary depending on the tour and respective dates.

Are airport transfers included in the tour cost?

Airport pick-up/drop-offs are not included on our tours, but can be added to your invoice! Hit us up for a quote as prices vary depending on the tour.

Will I have access to WIFI while on tour?

There will be WIFI available at the majority of the accommodations that we stay at. If you require constant internet, we recommend unlocking your phone before travelling and purchasing a SIM card upon arrival to your destination country. Our guides will be happy to help you point you in the right direction of where to do so, and the best carriers to use once you arrive. Otherwise, if you're happy to unplug over your vacation - even better! :D

Can I be added to a waiting list for sold out tours?

Yes for sure you can! Hit us up at info@lbwtravel.com and we would be happy to add you to the waitlist.

What all will I need to pack?

Once you sign-up and send through your deposit, you will receive an information booklet highlighting everything that you would need for your tour. It is very important that you take a look at the packing list for your tour, and do your best not to overpack, as you will want room in your backpack to bring things back home.

What if I have a food allergy?

On your online sign-up form, we request that all travellers input their medical information so that our guides can remain informed about everyone's individual requirements. For YachtLife, please let us know at least 2 weeks prior in order for the onboard chefs to be able to accommodate dietary requests. If you have a severe allergy when travelling through Asia, we recommend that you research ahead of time particular meals to avoid/seek out in your destination as well as to speak with your guide in order for them to be able to translate your requests to restaurant staff.

Do I need a travel visa for my LBW tour?

You may depending on where it is your passport was issued from, where it is you are travelling, and the duration of your stay. We recommend checking out this website that will allow you to easily enter in this information, and your answers will be provided!

Do I need vaccinations before I travel?

Once you sign-up and send through your deposit, you will receive an information booklet highlighting everything that you would need for your tour, including the list of any/all vaccinations required for the country you are visiting.

COSTS AND PAYMENT

What is included in the tour price?

  • Fun, easy-going, friendly trip leaders
  • Accommodations
  • Transportation to and from each destination
  • All of the activities listed on the tour’s page under experiences
  • A welcome packet with everything you need to know about the trip

What is not included in the tour price?

  • Food
  • Alcohol
  • Any activities not listed on the tour page
  • Travel visas
  • Travel insurance
  • Shopping
  • Any connecting flights between tours, if doing a combo
  • Any transportation to personal excursions and/or activities not included in the tour

When should I book my tour?

We accept sign-ups for most tours right up until 2 weeks prior to departure or until we have reached capacity for the tour. With this being said, we do recommend signing-up at least 3 months prior to departure to ensure we have enough time to sort out your tour (especially if we are booking flights for you) and you have enough time to sort out necessities such as travel visas and vaccinations. Ultimately, if a tour date is listed on our website, that generally means we are still accepting sign-ups for it!

When do I pay my deposit?

As soon as you register for a tour, a minimum 10% deposit is due to reserve your spot. We only process your booking once this deposit is paid, either via credit card or Paypal. At the time of sign up, you will also have the option of paying the tour amount in full, however, just the 10% deposit is needed to get the ball rolling! 

After you make your initial deposit, you can expect to receive your welcome email within 1-2 business days as there is some manual processing required. Although most welcome emails make their way to the inbox of the email used during registration, please keep an eye on your junk mailbox in case it ends up there instead.

What is your general payment plan?

As soon as you register for a tour, a minimum 10% deposit is due to reserve your spot. Your sign-up will not be processed without a deposit. 

Our General Payment Plan*:

  • 10% deposit due immediately during sign-up to secure your spot
  • 50% payment due 3 months prior to departure 
  • Final (40%) remaining balance due one month prior to departure

YachtLife General Payment Plan:

  • 10% deposit due at sign up to secure your spot
  • 50% payment due on January 15th, 2020 **this is needed on time or else you will forfeit your spot on the tour**
  • Final remaining balance due March 29th, 2020

If there is room on a tour, it is possible to sign-up for a tour after the payment deadlines, but you will be required to catch up with the current payment schedule. Registration for all tours closes once tour capacities have been reached and if signing up within 2 weeks of a departure you are subject to a late sign-up fee.

*This is our general payment plan, but can vary depending on tour and time of sign-up. Your exact second and final payment amounts and due dates will be noted in your LBW account or on your invoice copy. Check with us if you have any questions regarding this!

How do I pay?

You can pay your initial deposit by credit card or Paypal, as prompted by our website upon completion of the registration form. 

For Canadians, your second/final payments can be made by cash (if in the Edmonton area), cheque, credit card or Paypal. 

For International Clients, your second/final payments can be made by credit card or PayPal in your respective currency. 

Is my deposit refundable?

Unfortunately, your deposit is not refundable; however, your lifetime deposit is transferrable to any of our tours and is subject to our "2 strikes" policy (see "What does it mean to have a lifetime deposit?"). When you are ready to join us for another adventure, our website requires that you sign up for the new tour along with it's respective 10% deposit and note in the comments section that you have a deposit on file from a previous booking. We will then be able to apply the old deposit as a credit to your new tour.

What if I have to cancel my tour?

All Tours (Except for YachtLife, Philippines and IslandLife)

If a tour is cancelled more than 8 weeks prior to departure, all payments (except for your deposit) are refundable.

If a tour is cancelled from 4-8 weeks prior to the tour 25% of the tour cost is forfeited. 

If a tour is cancelled from 2-4 weeks prior to the tour 50% of the tour cost is forfeited. 

If a tour is cancelled less than 2 weeks prior to the tour, 100% of the tour cost is forfeited. 

If a tour is cancelled less than 72 hours prior to the tour, 100% of the tour cost and deposit is forfeited. 

YachtLife Cancellation Policy

The charges for cancellation are as follows based on the value of your booking:

If a tour is cancelled more than 90 days prior to departure 50% of your booked value is forfeited. 

If a tour is cancelled less then 90 days prior to departure 100% of your booked value is forfeited. 

If a tour is cancelled less than 72 hours prior to the tour, 100% of the tour cost and deposit is forfeited. 

Ship change requests will be accommodated if available at the discretion of LBW Travel. There will be a fee of $150 CAD to change ships.

If you are unable to attend the trip you can transfer your spot to another person to avoid cancellation fees. You must inform LBW of the change in writing and pay a $150 CAD transfer fee to make the name change. (Must be within the 18-35 age range for YachtLife.)

Philippines Cancellation Policy

If a Philippines Islands West tour is cancelled after your second payment is made, there will be a $100 CAD fee to cover non-refundable bookings that will have been made at this time on your behalf; for the Philippines Islands East tour, there is a $200 CAD cancellation fee. If a Philippines Voyage tour is cancelled after your second payment is made, there will be a $400 CAD fee to cover non-refundable bookings. The remaining payments (minus the deposit) will be refunded.

If a Philippines tour is cancelled within 2-4 weeks of the tour start date, 50% of the tour cost is forfeited. 

If a Philippines tour is cancelled within 2 weeks of the tour start date, 100% of the tour cost is forfeited. 

If a tour is cancelled less than 72 hours prior to the tour, 100% of the tour cost and deposit is forfeited.

IslandLife Cancellation Policy

If an IslandLife tour is cancelled up to 90 days prior to the event date, 50% of the total tour value is forfeited as a cancellation fee. 

If an IslandLife tour is cancelled within 90 days of the event date, 100% of the tour value is forfeited as a cancellation fee. 

If you are unable to attend the trip you can transfer your spot to another person to avoid cancellation fees. You must inform LBW of the change in writing and pay a $150 CAD transfer fee to make the name change (must be within the 18-35 age range for IslandLife). If there is a waitlist for the trip, we will put the next available person on the list into your spot and refund you your total payments, minus the name transfer fee of $150 CAD.

Cancelled Flights Policy for all Tours:

If you are cancelling any tour at any time after your flights have been booked by us, you will be subject to a flight cancellation fee that varies depending on the airline, as well as an administrative fee from LBW of $100 CAD.

What does it mean to have a Lifetime Deposit?

Your deposit paid to hold your place on any booked tour is non-refundable; however, it is transferrable to any of our other tours should you need to cancel for any reason. Please keep in mind that we offer a "2 Strikes" policy for our deposits, whereby you are able to book and cancel up to a maximum of 2 tours with a single deposit, after which the deposit becomes null and void. As well, if a booked tour is cancelled within 72 hours of the tour,  you will be considered a "no show" and the deposit becomes null and void. Finally, our tours operate with travellers between the ages of 18-30, so don't wait too long to book your next big adventure with us!

Am I able to change the date of my tour after I sign-up?

Absolutely you are, as long as there is room on the tour you are interested in. Please note that there may be a cancellation fee depending on when it is that you choose to make the switch, as there may have been non-refundable bookings already made on your behalf (please refer to the question above for specific terms.) Once you decide to make your switch, any refundable payments may be applied to your new booking and your deposit is valid only for one more tour switch/booking with it before it becomes null and void (to be treated similarly to a tour cancellation.)

Why do the prices of some tours vary by date (i.e., Seasonal Pricing)?

The reason that some tours are priced higher than others at particular points of the year is due to increased costs during this time. This is predominantly a factor in tours that run through mid December, into mid January, as high season charges apply. All increased costs (if any) are factored into the prices shown in the Dates and Prices tab of all tours.

Am I able to combine discounts, vouchers, or promo codes?

We only allow 1 discount, voucher or promo code to be used per booking. They unfortunately cannot be combined with one another and are non-transferable. However, we will honour whichever is of highest value to ensure you are getting the most savings possible, if you are eligible for more than one discount. For example, if you have won a voucher and wish to sign up while we have another promotion running, we would only allow one of the two (the one of higher value) to be used. 

There can be some exceptions to this rule, however. If signing up for a combo tour, which has a combo discount built into it's price, then you can still apply ONE additional discount or promotion to this booking. 

Another exception is in the case of signing up within a month of your tour coming to a close. You will receive an email upon completion of your tour that will offer a Quick-Rebooking discount that CAN be used in conjunction with your newly acquired Alumni discount.

Does LBW offer group discounts?

Yes! Round up a group of friends and save on the tour of you dreams!

The following percentage discount is applied to each booking (land only), based on number of people traveling within the group:

3+ people = 5% off / person

5+ people = 7% off / person

8+ people = 10% off / person

10+ people = 12% off / person

Click HERE for more info!

If I signed up with a discount or promo code and cancel my booking, what happens to my promotion?

By canceling or switching from your original booking, you would then be giving up any discount or promo code you may have used at the time of sign up. By forfeiting your booking, you are then forfeiting the discount, sale or promotion as well. Your deposit can still be put towards another booking, so long as you are within the 2-strike policy, as stated above.

FLIGHTS AND TRAVEL

How do I book my flights?

Important Information Regarding Flights: 

We currently offer to include round-trip airfare departing from any location; if your location isn’t listed, select ‘other' during your sign-up according to your region, and include your requested departure city in the comments box. We offer to book flights on your behalf to provide a smooth trip for you, but you are more than welcome to book your own flights, in which case you would select a ‘land only’ tour.

The difference in price between the land only cost of the tour, and your package price for the round-trip flights + tour option, is your flight allowance. If the cost of your flight is more than the flight allowance, then that difference will be communicated to you prior to booking the flights, which will then be added to your invoice and booked only after receiving your confirmation. During the months of July, August, December and throughout the Chinese New Year, flights tend to increase in cost substantially, so there will most likely be an additional flight fee to fly during those times; however, please keep in mind that flights fees can occur at any time of the year because the aviation industry tends to have erratic pricing.

Please note that if booking a tour within 1 month of departure, and are requesting flights, please contact us ahead of time as we may not be able to book flights on your behalf in that timeframe, but will be able to offer you an alternative solution.

Please note that due to time zones and travel time, flight departures are normally 1 day prior to the trip start date.

How do I meet my tour group?

We have a Facebook page available for all of our tours, but as far as in person, you’ll meet the group when you arrive on the tour. If we booked your flights, you’ll meet the guide and group at the airport. If you booked your own flights, you will meet the group when you arrive at our hotel. You’ll receive all the information you need two weeks prior to departure.

Please note that if you have purchased a land only tour, and have therefore booked your own flights, that we do not offer transportation to and/or from the airport to the tour's accommodations. If you would like us to schedule an airport pick-up, we can do so and simply add an additional fee* to your final invoice. 

*Airport pick-up fee varies depending on the tour. Please inquire with us prior to booking to confirm the fee amount for your dream tour!

What if I am a solo traveller?

Welcome aboard! You will make new friends instantly and either be roomed with someone of the same gender, or with the group in a dormitory (depending on the tour!) If you want your own room, we can hook you up with a private room for an additional fee, which varies based on the tour; feel free to contact us prior to booking to confirm the additional fee for private accommodations.

What is the average group size?

The group sizes vary drastically depending on the tour, but typically averages between 7-15 people on each tour.

Do I need travel insurance?

Yes! We recommend World Nomads but you’re free to buy from whoever you like. Here is a link to the World Nomads site to estimate the travel insurance costs for your dream tour! -->  World Nomads Travel Insurance.

What's the weather like?

Thailand

In Thailand, May through October is their summer months and you can expect hot and humid weather with the occasional rain shower. The winter months are drier and a bit cooler.

Bali

In Bali, the wet season is between October and April and the dry season is between May and September. The climate is tropical so you’ll see showers from time to time but can expect hot and humid weather pretty much all year round.

Vietnam

Central and Southern Vietnam have high temperatures all year-round, remaining dry and sunny throughout the north monsoon season of October to April, with heavy rains occurring only in the south monsoon season of May to September. Northern Vietnam has a cooler climate year-round, with cloudy periods and light run throughout the north monsoon season (October- April) and heavy rain throughout the south monsoon season (May – September).

Philippines

Although the weather can be generally described as hot and humid due to it's tropical climate, there are two main seasons this region experiences. The rainy season, from May to October, and then the dry season, from November to April. The dry season can be further divided by temperature: cold-dry from November to February and then hot-dry from March to April.

Peru

Peru has a very diverse geography, meaning the weather can be very different depending on the region. On the coast, the winter lasts from June to September. While it is winter on the coast, the mountainous areas are often sunny and warmer during the day then cool off at night. Heavy rains in the mountains and jungle last from December to April. It hardly rains in Lima and most of the coast. The more tropical and warmer weather year round can be found in the northern regions.

Panama

Panama is a tropical destination with temperatures maintaining constant all year-round. The days are hot with the average around 32 degrees Celsius, and nights cooling off to around 21 degree Celsius. The mountains and higher ground are often quite cooler than the lowland throughout the year. The rainy season is short, lasting between October through November. In Panama, the overall humidity is quite high at about 80 percent.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica’s climate is tropical year-round, and is split up into two main seasons: the dry (summer) season, lasting from December to April, is hot and humid; the rainy (winter) season, lasting from May to November is rainy and quite humid. The winter season still has numerous hot days, along with frequent showers throughout these months.

Nicaragua

The Climate in Nicaragua is similar to most other Central American countries, broken down to two seasons: The dry season lasts from January to June with little-to-no rain; the rainy season begins around June and lasts until December. In August and September it often rains once a day, however it doesn’t last long and usually just comes in one big downpour. The eastern parts usually see more rain than the west during the rain season.

Croatia

Croatia offers a warm climate year-round; the coastal region, in particular, offers a more Mediterranean climate. The wet and cooler time falls during the months of January to February, while the hottest time of the year, falling between the months of July and August. The average temperature during these months is around 28 degrees celsius allowing you to soak up all the sun you want.

Greece

Greece’s climate is split into two seasons: the rainy season falls between November to February, where it can be quite windy and cool; the warm, drier months begin in March through September and have little-to-no rain. The summer months see temperatures around 31 degrees celsius and lows around 20 degrees celsius.

Can I join a tour late or leave early?

Yes, you can join a tour late or leave early - the more the merrier! However, you will also be responsible for any additional transportation costs of joining a tour late or leaving early to get to your destination.

If I am already in the area during the dates of one of your tours, can I tag along for some of the activities?

Unfortunately we do not accommodate tag along clients on any of our activities on our tours in order to make it fair for those who are on tour with us currently. Should you wish to join in on our tour, we will be happy to prorate the tour cost on a daily value in order to accommodate you for the daily activities led by our professional tour guide team and organized by our client services department on the days you wish to be with the group, but we will be unable to book single activities for you.

OTHER

I noticed that there are hooks in some of the images with elephants as the sanctuary you visit in Thailand, can you tell me what their purpose is?

We completely understand why you would be concerned about this - and in fact, we are happy you asked because it shows that you love these creatures as much as we do! During the orientation at Elephant Sanctuary, the Mahouts (Elephant Handlers) explain the purpose behind what is called a bull hook, how it was formerly used to break elephants in the circus and/or training camps, and how it is now used in comparison. To summarize, unfortunately a number of the elephants at this sanctuary have been rescued from fairly traumatizing scenarios, and therefore can often be quite temperamental. The Mahouts looking after these elephants carry bull hooks much smaller than the ones used to break elephants only for protection in the event of breaking up fights between elephants, should the rare occasion arise. We are happy to report that a number of the elephants that have been there for quite some time, work with Mahouts that don't feel the need to carry them at all, as the elephants have happily adapted to their new life in a loving environment.

I'm looking for more technical details, where can I find those?

Here is a link to our Terms and Conditions and to our Privacy Policy.