I’m having trouble reaching you over the phone, you never seem to be available?
During the season, especially during the summer months, we spend most of the time either guiding the tours, or scouting and preparing itineraries for new tours in wilderness areas of the Balkans countries, where 40% of the territory where we regularly drive doesn’t have any mobile coverage, and another 40% has coverage that is so weak that it’s insufficient to establish a stable connection. So your best chance to contact us is by e-mail. We’ll get back to you as soon as we establish a connection good enough to exchange e-mails. In practice, you should never stay without an answer for more than 2-3 days (we do our best to answer on the same day whenever possible). Same applies to your questions sent by instant messaging to our pages or personal profiles on social networks.
How do I book a tour?
You just fill out the booking form on the page of the tour that you want to book, and click on “Submit”. We will shortly contact you to verify that it is really you who sent the booking form, and upon confirmation we will prepare an invoice for your booking right away. Upon completing the advance payment for the tour your booking is official. Please do not send tour bookings only to ask questions about tours, use the form on the Contact page instead.
When will you send me the information about the meeting point?
The exact waypoint and time where the group meets to start the tour, as well as all other data relevant for a quality tour experience is being sent by e-mail to the participants approximately one month before the tour start (plus, minus a few days – sometimes we’re conducting a tour exactly one month before the beginning of another one, and we’re out of range on the exact date). So please be patient – you’ll receive all the information timely, and won’t be forgotten. Keep in mind that, at the time when you’re expecting to receive your information, we’re probably doing our best in conducting another tour!
When is the deadline for booking?
There’s no official deadline. As long as a tour isn’t fully booked out, you can book it up to the tour start. If you book the tour more than 2 months in advance, a payment of 150 Euros is sufficient for the booking. For bookings within the last 2 months, the entire sum is required to be paid at the booking time. Approximately 50% of our tours get booked out, and the other half still have available spaces at the tour start.
Do I get my money back if I cancel the tour?
The 150 Euro advance payment is non-refundable. Everything else that you have payed you will get back if you cancel more than 2 months before the tour start. For cancellations in the last 2 months there are no refunds (the only exception is if you find a replacement candidate for the tour – in that case you can count on a full refund).
Can we negotiate the tour price?
No, our tour prices and not negotiable. However, we do have our discount rates, that we will grant those customers who are elligible for them. Our returning customers can count on a loyalty discount in the range between 5 and 20% (depending on the number of Rustika Expeditions tours attended), and organized groups of 4 or more vehicles (paying as a group with one invoice) can also count on such a discount. Please contact us for details.
We just need guidance services for tours organized under our brand. Do you offer such services?
In principle, no. We always guide tours as Rustika Expeditions, with the possibility to do joint venture tours with our foreign partners, if we reach such an agreement. Our policy is that we have only one partner per country. So if we already have a partner company in your country, no further partnerships are possible.
We would like to buy tracks for our tours. Do you sell tracks?
Not any longer. It is a practice that we have abandoned as we feel that our extensive knowledge base (containing more than 150.000 km of material) should be an exclusive privilege of Rustika Expeditions and our partner’s customers, thus making us distinctive in the market.
Are your tours too hard (or too easy) for us?
Although we try to give every of our tours a clear difficulty level, we look at the tours through their geographic, rather then technical goals. Measured on the German offroad union (VDORD) scale, most of our tours fluctuate somewhere between difficulty level 2 and 3, with occasional short passages that reach difficulty level 4 (but never 5). For most tours winches and snorkels are not a prerequisite, but are welcome. As most tours are conducted on natural ground surfaces, rainy weather conditions can greatly influence their difficulty – something that is a relaxed and routine drive in dry weather can suddenly become a real challenge in serious, long lasting rain. So we advise you to be prepared – it’s better if the tour is easier than you expected, than more difficult than you expected. We’ll do our best to make them a pleasent and relaxed experience, but travelling through true, uninhabited wilderness requires an adventurer’s heart, and attitude.
So to cut the long story short – to the overland travel beginners, our tours will probably seem a little bit harder than they expected, and the die-hard offroad adrenaline junkies will probably be disappointed by how easy they are. However, we think that nobody will be disappointed by the breathtaking beauty of the wilderness where we’ll be taking you, and that is the real meaning of our tours!
Am I going to scratch my car in your tours?
Most likely, yes. Except for a few tours conducted in southern Balkans where we rarely leave the wide open highlands (such as the Montenegro tour), most other tours will quite often take us through dense portions of Balkan jungles, on long abandoned forest trails where fight with the vegetation is often very real. Sorry, in these man-forgotten places there are no gardeners to take care of the width of our trails! So if you have a problem with that we strongly advise you to cover the paint of your vehicle with protective syllicone foil – good for up to 3-4 seasons, and when you take it down your paint is 100% preserved. Or simply adopt an attitude that “battle scars” on your offroad rig are a thing to be proud of, that differentiates you from the fake offroaders.
I have a brand new SUV. Can I take part in your tour?
If you’ve bought your SUV to use it as a true adventure vehicle, and it’s technically suited for serious offroading, nothing is stopping you. However, take great care about one thing – PLEASE no tyres with a lower profile than 60! Low profile tyres (50, 55), no matter of their type or brand, are an absolute disaster for offroading. In serious terrain they will rip on daily basis no matter if you over or under-inflate them, and make your (and our) lives hell. And you surely don’t want that, do you? So if you can’t acquire rims and tyres for your model enabling you to have a profile of at least 60 (70 or more would be even more welcome), please keep it on tarmac.
Are the nights in the Balkans cold?
Well, even in mid summer, nights in the mountains (where we usually camp) are quite much colder than in your hometown, so good quality sleeping bags and warm clothing will be put to good use. In higher altitudes, towards the end of the season, night time temperatures can drop as low as zero – so although the temperatures might jump some 15-20 degrees in the first hour after sunrise, even having some active heating inside your vehicle/tent (such as Webasto, Planar or other) is not a bad idea!
Do you have vehicles for rent? We live too far to attend the tour with our own
No, but we can connect you with companies in Serbia that do (even fully equipped camping rigs). So hopefully, you will find a solution to attend one of our tours.
We have a group of 30 (50, 100) tourists that we’d like to organize a single day offroad safari in Serbia for. Can you do that?
No, we can’t. That is a totally different type of service than what we do. We’re specialized in offering wilderness guidance with wild camping to small groups of individuals – overlanding enthusiasts who consider that type of travel as their main freetime activity. We do not offer mainstream tourist services and products.
What is the risk of landmines in Serbia?
There is ABSOLUTELY NO risk of landmines in Serbia! Regarding landmines, Serbia is just as safe as your own garden. We suppose that this very frequent question comes from a memory of the Balkan wars in the 1990s and the lack of detailed insight what was really going on and where. Serbia is in the Balkans, but no war was going on on it’s territory – the wars were taking place in Croatia and Bosnia. So, no war, no landmines!
I don’t have 10(14) days of time to take part in a tour. Can I stay shorter?
Yes, we can make an arrangement for you to attend only a part of the tour. Just tell us your desired date range, and we’ll calculate a price, and escort you to the nearest tarmac road from where you can easily find your way home (or arrange a custom meeting point to join a tour late).
None of your dates (tours) suit us. Can you organize a custom tour for us?
As long as we’re available in the date range that you find suitable and our custom tour price suits you, it can be arranged. However, if you want to arrange a custom tour with short notice, it probably won’t be possible, because our schedule is usually filled up an entire season in advance. Contact us to discuss the details.
As we come across more typical questions, we’ll add them to this list.