Pre-Trip Information

Please read through our Pre Trip Information closely. It will help you to prepare for your trip to Mongolia with Alpha Team Tours and adds to the information provided on the rest of the website. Our goal is to provide you with the most outstanding trip experience possible. This information is designed to help us (and you) with achieving this goal.

Pre-Trip Questionnaire
Please return our Pre-Trip Information Questionnaire within 2 weeks of making your reservation. You can fill out our Pre Trip Questionnaire Online, or you can download it and email (or regular mail) it to us. Submit Pre-Trip Questionnaire Online.

You are responsible for knowing and understanding all of this information prior to your trip participation. If you have any questions let us know.

I. General Information

Reservation Confirmation
Reservations will be confirmed upon the receipt of a deposit of $200 per person for 7-day trips, and $300 per person for longer tours and for river tours. Deposits may be paid for with a credit card, personal/ traveler check or money order and are on a first come first served basis. No reservations can be held without a deposit.

Final Payment
Full payment for all tours is due 60 days prior to departure. If Alpha Team Tours is notified in writing:

60 days prior to departure: $50 administration fee per person is retained
30-59 days prior to trip departure: 25% of trip cost is retained
29 or fewer days prior to departure: 50% of trip cost is retained

Cancelled and/or Altered Trips
Alpha Team Tours reserves the right to cancel or alter any trip prior to or during your tour for reasons beyond our control. Reasons include, but are not limited to weather conditions, changes in train schedules, road conditions, and wildlife unpredictability. Alpha Team Tours is not responsible for expenses incurred as a result of these changes. In the rare event that we have to alter your trip in the field Alpha Team Tours will offer a reasonable alternative and no refunds will be granted. In the rare event that Alpha Team Tours cancels a tour prior to departure a full refund will be granted.

Not Included
Not included in the tour price are; airfare to or from Ulaanbaatar, accommodations before or after your trip, optional activities, guide gratuities, alcoholic beverages, and items of a personal nature. Two meals per 7-10 day trip are also not included and are taken at restaurants (some of our favorites).

Many of our guests ask us about gratuities. Guide gratuities are common in the recreation industry and can range anywhere from 5-20% depending on the length of the trip and/ or activity, the guide’s level of involvement, and ultimately your satisfaction. Gratuities are always appreciated.

Acknowledgement of Risk
All trip participants will be required to sign an “Acknowledgement of Risk” form prior to trip participation. If you would like to read our Risk Form prior to your arrival in Mongolia please contact us and we would be happy to send it to you. Participants under the age of 18 years require parent or guardian signatures.

Many of the tour operators that will conduct your independent day tours will also require signed Acknowledgement of Risk forms. Please contact us if you would like to receive a copy of any of these.

Anyone under 18 who is not accompanied on the tour by a legal parent or guardian must have their parent/guardian complete this form and mail it to Alpha Team Tours prior to their tour. Please request a copy from us and we will send it to you.

Hotel Accommodations
We have a special arrangement with a few hotels in Ulaanbaatar that give our guests a discount off of standard room rates ranging from 20-25%. Contact us for details.

If you plan to make other hotel arrangements let us know as soon as possible. We will arrange to pick you up from your accommodations at a time other than 9:00 am.

Travelers may also arrange a pick-up directly from the airport on day 1 if desired.

We will return to Ulaanbaatar approximately 5:00-5:30 pm on the last day of the tour and can drop you off at your hotel or at the airport.

Combination Tours
Combination tours include a hotel stay in Ulaanbaatar the night between trips. Dinner is not provided on this evening. A continental breakfast will be provided by the hotel.

Pre Trip Departure Questionnaires
All trip participants must submit pre-trip departure questionnaires. These forms gather information concerning your medical history and dietary habits and will benefit us in preparing for your trip. This information should be submitted to Alpha Team Tours shortly after making your deposit.

Safety
Medical attention may be hours away at certain locations. It is very important that group participants maintain a high level of safety awareness at all times and avoid potential accidents. Our guides are certified in First Aid and CPR.

Our Travel Style
Our trips travel self contained with a passenger van and trailer to carry all of our equipment and your belongings. At our campgrounds your guide, with assistance from trip members, will organize the unloading of the trailer, camp set up and breakdown, post meal clean-up and the like. With a little teamwork, our efficient systems make these tasks quick and easy. “Leave No Trace” minimum impact camping techniques will be followed.

What to Pack
Included with this information packet is a recommended packing list. Please follow the suggestions carefully. Try not to over pack and ensure that you can lift your luggage and can carry it for short distances over moderately uneven terrain. We recommend that you take special notice of the need for adequate rain and foot protection, these are very important for comfortable outdoor travel in Mongolia.

Sleeping Bags and Pads
Sleeping bags should be rated to at least 30 degrees. Early and late season trips (early June and late Aug) bags should be rated closer to 20 degrees. Pads should be durable and comfortable. If you prefer to rent this equipment, you can do so from us ($25 each/ $45 both).

Camping Facilities
Most trips camp at established campgrounds with toilet facilities. Some locations have running water with flush toilets, some do not. We supply drinking water and biodegradable soap for hand and face washing. Showers will generally be available at least every other day and may be pay showers located near our campgrounds. Showers average about $5. Towel rentals are sometimes available, though it is advised to bring your own.

Wildlife Encounters
While it is unlikely that we will encounter wildlife in campgrounds and on trails, it does rarely happen. With proper planning, and group participation, these events can be the highlight of our trip! Your guide will explain proper behaviors and etiquettes concerning wildlife encounters and food handling, and all participants will be expected to follow these protocols for their own safety and the safety of the group.

Day 1 of Your Alpha Team Tours Experience
Your trip leader will arrive at your Ulaanbaatar accommodations at a pre arranged pick up time depending on your location and number of different pick-ups, usually between 9:00-9:30 am.

Please be patient if your guide is a few minutes’ delayed, sometimes unforeseen circumstances arise. Upon arrival they will park and greet you in the lobby or in front of your accommodations.

Be prepared for outdoor activity this day and all travel days. Have a day pack ready with water, rain gear, sweater, and incidentals; I.D., sunglasses, baseball cap, insect repellent, etc. Leave your weather resistant/ proof footwear accessible in the event we encounter inclement conditions (footwear can be tucked under the seats inside the van). All other luggage will be loaded into our trailer and will generally not be available while we are traveling.

The group will make a brief stop shortly after leaving the hotel on the first day allowing everyone the opportunity to pick up last minute items: bug repellent, film, special beverages, etc. These items are harder to come by away from Ulaanbaatar and tend to be more expensive.

Credit Cards, Travelers Checks, and Cash
Almost all service providers in Mongolia accept credit cards. Master Card and Visa are the most widely accepted. Union Pay and American Express less so. Most service providers also accept traveler’s checks, though not all. Cash is good to have for guide gratuities and for minor purchases.

Travel Insurance
We recommend the purchase of travel insurance to protect you in the event of lost or damaged personal items, trip cancellation, or other potentially costly events. Contact us if you need assistance with this.

II. Packing Suggestions

Please do not over pack. The smaller and more manageable your luggage is the better. Keep in mind that you will be moving your belongings at campsites and hotels and will be loading them into and out of a trailer. Sometimes 2 smaller pieces of luggage are better than one that is larger and harder to carry.

Weather in Mongolia can be unpredictable and changes often. It’s not uncommon to experience wind, rain, and sun all in the same day or even the same hour. Dress is very casual throughout Mongolia. The most important consideration for clothing needs is staying dry, warm, and comfortable throughout your trip. Layering is a must.

In order to be prepared to camp outdoors and to participate in activities rain or shine, we recommend bringing the following items on your trip to Mongolia:

1-2 Medium sized duffle bag(s) or suitcase(s) for personal items We recommend 2 medium duffle bags- The type with zippers are especially convenient because they are durable, provide easy access to your belongings, and are very “pack able”. For weather protection line them with plastic bags. Otherwise almost any type of suitcase/ luggage will do as long as it is not too heavy. Your luggage will be exposed to some outdoor conditions.

Sleeping bag and pad Evenings can get down to the 30’s and 40’s. Make sure that your sleeping bag is rated accordingly. Sleeping bags and pads may also be rented from Alpha Team Tours if needed ($25 each one or $45 both for your entire trip).

Small travel pillow Can be used in your tent and in the van on travel days.

Day pack For day hikes, van travel, and other daily activities: to hold raingear, extra clothes, water, and miscellaneous stuff- sunscreen, insect repellent etc…

High quality rain suit (top and bottoms) Heavy duty Gortex or equivalent breathable raingear is best, suitable for multiple hours in the rain if needed. Rubberized rain gear is ok, but doesn’t breathe well when you are active. Rain ponchos provide limited protection, rain suites are better. If you have any questions please ask us.

Whether proof hiking shoes or boots: comfortable, and water repellent/proof Your footwear should be suitable for walking on uneven terrain, and for rainy conditions. Beware: if you purchase new footwear for this trip, plan accordingly. Your footwear must be broken in and comfortable before your trip begins. Spend a few weeks wearing new footwear (or old) prior to the trip to break them in. Blisters are very likely to occur if you don’t.

1-2 quart/liter size water bottles The air is quite dry up here, lots of water is a must. We will provide drinking water, but you should have your own reusable and durable water bottles.

Medium weight-long underclothes (polypropylene, capilene, silk or wool) For use under pants and shirts for extra warmth on cooler outdoor excursions: i.e. ocean cruises, river rafting etc., as well as for extra layering during cool mornings and evenings.

1-2 Fleece or wool sweater(s) and vest Fleece is light weight and dries quickly when wet. Wool is heavier and does not dry as quick. Both provide good thermal protection if wet.

Heavy duty socks (synthetic or wool- NOT COTTON) For day hikes and other outdoor activities heavy duty synthetic socks are best. They will keep your feet comfortable and warm. Add thin sock liners for additional comfort and protection against blisters.

Cotton socks for camp Good for under sneakers or sandals while lounging around in camp, and on travel days.

Fleece pants Warm and comfortable under rain gear for outdoor activities and for lounging in camp.

Pants for daily activities Wool is great; jeans are ok just don’t get them wet. Quick drying hiking pants also work.

Pants for around camp Cotton t-shirts- short and long sleeves, Long sleeves are especially good for bugs., Comfortable in-camp shoe, Sneakers or sport sandals work well., Shower sandals, Fleece or wool hat, A warm one is a must, better if it covers your ears.

Gloves Fleece or wool- if you plan to participate in some of the more adventurous outdoor activities (trips on water especially), consider fleece or wool gloves that are on the thicker side. Ski style gloves don’t work as well in rainy conditions.

Baseball cap Good for bad hair days and for sun protection, especially when on water.

Towel Small bag for toiletries and misc. To minimize odors where we camp, all personal items such as deodorant, toothpaste, snacks etc… are kept enclosed in our trailer instead of our tents. Any medium sized bag can work for this purpose.

Toiletries The air in Mongolia can be very drying to skin; include lip balm, skin lotion, and sunscreen.

Sunglasses The sun can be very bright here, especially important if considering any water activities.

Insect repellent Can be purchased in Mongolia.

Flashlight Early June and late Aug. trips and/or for reading in your tent, headlamps work great

Camera/ extra batteries We carry a power inverter in the van to charge re-chargeable batteries

Travel documents Flight tickets, travel insurance documents, hotels etc.

Personal identification passport/ driver’s license

Emergency contact information Family, friends, lost credit card phone numbers, pet sitter, travel agent, etc

Additionally
Reading material
Alarm clock
CD player/ iPod and headphones
Binoculars
Alpha Team Tours contact information
Ulaanbaatar’s hotel contact information