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QATAR and OMAN- Winter

Spend your winter break in Qatar and Oman, two beautiful countries on the Persian Gulf on the Arabian Peninsula. The first part of the program takes place in Qatar where you will explore the bustling city of Doha, visit the renowned Museum of Islamic Art, explore different ecosystems throughout the country and visit educational institutions to learn more about the country’s education system. Then we fly to Oman where ancient heritage melds beautifully with modern living. Overnight in the dramatic Wahiba Sands desert after visiting the Ras al Jinz Turtle Reserve to observe the endangered species’ nesting process. Visit Wadi Nakhr, also known as the Grand Canyon of Oman, to get even deeper into Oman’s ethereal beauty – natural and otherwise.

GEEO and Qatar Foundation International (QFI) are working together on this all expenses paid travel program for educators. Unlike other GEEO programs this program is not open enrollment. To apply, you must register in QFI’s Grants Management Portal, FluidReview, at qfi.fluidreview.com. Please click on the "Need to Know" tab below for instructions on the application procedure.


Itinerary

December 23 : Doha

Arrive at any time.

December 24 : Doha (B)

Explore Qatar. Details TBA.

December 25 : Doha (B)

Explore Qatar. Details TBA.

December 26 : Doha (B)

Explore Qatar. Details TBA.

December 27 : Doha/Muscat (B)

Explore Qatar. Details TBA. Fly to Muscat in the Evening

December 28 : Muscat (B, L)

Explore some of the highlights of the city including the Grand Mosque, the Bait Al Zubair Museum, and the historic souk in Muttrah, before heading to Old Muscat and the 16th century Al-Mirani & Al-Jelani forts.

December 29 : Muscat/Ras al-Jinz (B)

Leave Muscat behind and drive along the coast towards the picturesque Bimmah Sinkhole. Continue to Sur, renowned in the past for its dhow shipyards, before reaching Ras al-Jinz on the coast. After an early dinner, visit the turtle sanctuary, where green turtles come from thousands of kilometres away to lay eggs at night.

December 30 : Ras al-Jinz/Wahiba Sands (B, D)

Drive towards Wādī Banī Khālid, a rocky oasis nestled in the East Hajar mountains filled with natural pools. Later, begin your desert adventure through the dunes towards your desert camp, just in time for a sunset. In the evening, enjoy some traditional music over dinner, around an open fire.

December 31 : Wahiba Sands/Nizwá (B)

Leaving the desert behind, we head towards Ibra and visit the impressive Jabrin castle. Continue towards Nizwá, stopping at the historic fortress of Bahla along the way.

January 1 : Nizwá to Al Hamra (B)

Visit Nizwa Fort. Then drive to the town of Al Hamra and visit the renowned mud houses of Misfat Al Abriyeen. Learn about the Falaj network, Oman's ancient water supply system.

January 2 : Al Hamra to Muscat (B)

Explore Jebel Shams and take in view of Wadi Nakhr, otherwise known as the Grand Canyon of Oman. Drive through Wadi Bani Awf and take in the beauty of the steep mountain cliffs before reaching the end point ("Snake Point") of the gorge. Continue to Muscat.

January 3 : Muscat (B)

Depart at any time.

Detailed Itinerary

December 23 : Doha

Today is arrival day and as travelers are arriving from all corners of the world there are no planned activities. You are free to arrive in Doha at anytime. Hotel check in is 2 pm, and luggage storage is available if you arrive before your room is ready.

Qatar Foundation International (QFI) is in the process of developing the itinerary for the group’s time in Qatar. Further details will be added to this website in November.

December 24 : Doha (B)

Qatar Foundation International (QFI) is in the process of developing the itinerary for the group’s time in Qatar. While in Qatar you will visit:

• Museum of Islamic Art
• Qatar National Library
• Souk Waqif and the Falcon Souk
• Zubara Fort
• Tour of Education City
• Education City Mosque
• State Grand Mosque
• Katara Cultural Village
• Dhow Cruise
• Mangrove Kayaking Tour
• Additional Sites To Be Announced

December 25 : Doha (B)

Qatar Foundation International (QFI) is in the process of developing the itinerary for the group’s time in Qatar. Further details will be added to this website in November.

December 26 : Doha (B)

Qatar Foundation International (QFI) is in the process of developing the itinerary for the group’s time in Qatar. Further details will be added to this website in November.

December 27 : Doha/Muscat (B)

Qatar Foundation International (QFI) is in the process of developing the itinerary for the group’s time in Qatar. Further details will be added to this website in November.

In the evening we will fly to Muscat in Oman. After going through immigration we will be transferred to our hotel.

Approx travel time: 4 hrs (transfer to airport, 2 hr flight, transfer to hotel)

December 28 : Muscat (B, L)

In the morning you will meet your Oman tour leader and have a brief introduction meeting. We will then spend the day exploring some of the highlights of Muscat.

We start with a visit to one of Muscat’s finest architectural sites, the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque. Covering an area of 416,000 square meters, this mosque can accommodate 20,000 worshipers and offers visitors a labyrinth of grounds to explore.

Next we visit the Bait Al Zubair Museum. Boasting one of the largest heritage art collections in Oman, it is a must-see for those eager to learn more about Omani culture and history.

Then we go to the Muttrah Souq to take in the colorful sights, and perfumed scents of this winding marketplace. Opt to hunt for authentic Omani artifacts and handicrafts (you won’t have to go far), or sip on an aromatic Omani coffee and gaze out at the local hustle and bustle.

In the afternoon we travel to Old Muscat and take in the sights and sounds of this sleepy coastal area. Visit the forts of Al-Mirani and Al-Jelani to get some perspective on Omani history.

December 29 : Muscat/Ras al-Jinz (B)

We leave Muscat behind and drive along the coast to the picturesque Bimmah Sinkhole. Feast your eyes on one of the world’s most breathtaking sinkholes. Surrounded by the sea and towering mountains, this sinkhole measures 40 meters wide and 20 meters deep. With its glittering turquoise waters, it isn’t hard to believe the local folklore that maintains that the sinkhole was created by a falling star. Jump in and cool off.

We the drive to Sur, home of the last remaining factory that builds Oman’s traditional dhows. The production of these wooden boats have a 6000 year old history, which has established ancient Oman as a prosperous trading port in the region. Visit the shipyard and learn how these ships are made.

After an early dinner, visit the turtle sanctuary, where green turtles come from thousands of miles away to lay eggs at night. The unspoiled shoreline of the Ras al-Jinz turtle sanctuary the is a nesting home of the endangered green turtle (Cheloniamydas). Follow a guide out to the beach and witness the nesting process of these creatures from a safe distance. Observe the turtles digging and covering their nests in the sand. Learn all about the center’s conservation efforts in the area.

Estimated travel time: 3 hrs by 4×4

December 30 : Ras al-Jinz/Wahiba Sands (B, D)

Today we drive Drive through red rock formations and vibrant green plantations and take in the natural beauty of this oasis-like region of Wādī Banī Khālid. Running through this area are the natural blue-tinted springs that receive a constant water flow throughout the year, making it a lifeline for villages of this area. Enjoy lunch before taking free time to explore the area. Opt to take a easy hike to the surrounding waterfalls, or swim in the wadis (natural springs).

We will arrive at the desert camp just in time to enjoy the sun set. Enjoy a traditional meal and learn more about the ancient Bedouin culture. Spend the evening sitting under the stars, around a fire, listening to stories and music from the Bedouin hosts.

Estimated travel time: 3 hrs by 4×4

December 31 : Wahiba Sands/Nizwá (B)

Leaving the desert behind, we head towards Ibra and visit the impressive Jabrin castle. Jabrin Castle is one of best-preserved castles in Oman. Built in 1675 by Imam Bil-arab bin Sultan, this fort was a centre for astrology, law, and medicine.

Continue towards Nizwá, stopping at the historic fortress of Bahla along the way. This impressive walled-city, had some of its oldest parts built as early as 500 BC. Gaining UNESCO World Heritage Site status in 1987, this complex is an grand example of ancient Omani architecture.

Estimated travel time: 3 hrs by 4×4

January 1 : Nizwá to Al Hamra (B)

In the morning you will have time to visit the mid-seventeenth century Nizwa Fort.

We then drive to the town of Al Hamra and visit the renowned mud houses of Misfat Al Abriyeen. Built into the mountainside of the Al Hamra region, this authentic Omani village is known for its unique residential architecture. The homes are constructed using rocks excavated from the mountain and plastered together with mud, making the structures look as though they are part of the mountain. Some houses are still being lived in. Learn about this building method that has allowed this community to stand the test of time.

We also learn about the Aflaj irrigation systems. This water network is made up of ancient channels that used gravity to carry the water from the source to farms and mosques, since 500 AD. This complex system is representative of a system that is still in use in Oman today.

Estimated travel time: 1 hr by 4×4

January 2 : Al Hamra to Muscat (B)

Start off the day exploring Jebel Shams and take in view of Wadi Nakhr, otherwise known as the Grand Canyon of Oman. Drive through Wadi Bani Awf and take in the beauty of the steep mountain cliffs before reaching the end point (“Snake Point”) of the gorge. We then continue to Muscat.

Estimated travel time: 6 hrs by 4×4

January 3 : Muscat (B)

You are free to depart at any time today. Please note that check-out time from the hotel is normally mid-morning, but luggage storage facilities are available.

Stuff You Need to Know

Introduction

Application Process and Deadline:

The application is now closed! We are not accepting any more applicants. Those who applied will be informed later in the summer whether they have been accepted.

To Apply:

To apply, you must register in QFI’s Grants Management Portal, FluidReview, at qfi.fluidreview.com.

Please create a user account and profile. Upon completing your login credentials and user profile, you will be required to take an Eligibility Quiz. This series of questions will determine whether or not you are eligible to apply for this program.

After completing the Eligibility Quiz, please click on the green button at the bottom of your screen titled “View Grants”. This button will provide you with a list of QFI grants for which you can apply. If you are eligible to apply to this specific program, it will show on your screen. Please click on the “Apply Now” button to complete the application.

Applicant Eligibility:

The applicant must:

• Be a current K-12 teacher in a public or public charter school in the United States
• Demonstrate that he/she provides, or intends to provide, classroom instruction on topics related to the Middle East/Arab World

Acceptance and Deposit:

• We will be accepting up to 15 educators for this program
• If you are accepted into the program, you will then fill out the GEEO booking form and place a $250 deposit. After you return from the program and have completed all of the curriculum requirements you will receive a reimbursement check from QFI for the $250.

What’s included:

Airfare
All travel will be arranged and paid for by QFI including:
• Airfare from home destination to Doha, Qatar
• Airfare from Doha, Qatar to Muscat, Oman
• Airfare from Muscat, Oman to home destination

Ground Transportation
• Ground transportation to/from local airport will be reimbursed after the trip’s completion by QFI

GEEO Oman Program Costs
• The cost to attend the Oman portion of the trip will be paid for by QFI

QFI Activities in Qatar
• All activities in Qatar will be pre-arranged and paid for by QFI
• All ground transportation, including airport pick-up and drop-off, in Doha, Qatar will be pre-arranged and paid for by QFI

Visa Fees
• Visa fees to Oman will be reimbursed upon the trip’s completion by QFI

Meals
• All meals in Qatar will be pre-arranged and paid for by QFI
• A stipend will be provided to cover all meals not provided during the tour in Oman upon the trip’s completion by QFI.Pro

Lodging
• All lodging is included on a twin share basis. You will be roomed with someone of the same gender as yourself.

What’s Not Included:

• Any incidentals incurred in Qatar or Oman
• Travel Health Insurance
• Optional tours or admissions not specifically pre-arranged in Qatar or Oman
• Tips or gratuities
• Cancellation Insurance

Terms and Conditions

It is very important for you to visit our Terms and Conditions page before signing up for this program.

We want to emphasize the cancellation policy:

All cancellations must be submitted to GEEO in written form by emailing your request for cancellation to jesse@geeo.org. If you do not receive a confirmation that we have received your written cancellation request, please call us at 1-877-600-0105. Verbal cancellation requests will not be honored.

* Cancellation 60 days or more prior to departure = Deposit is kept on file for future use and all other program fee payments are refunded

* Cancellation between 30 and 59 days prior to departure = 50% refund and your deposit is kept on file for future use

* Cancellation within 30 days of departure = No refund, but your deposit is kept on file for future use

Trip Notes

PROGRAM DESIGN: This program is composed of time in Qatar and Oman. The program (itinerary, hotels, transportation, guides, etc) in Qatar is being arranged by Qatar Foundation International. The program in Oman is being arranged by GEEO and GEEO’s partner G Adventures. You will probably notice the hotel quality to be unusually high due to QFI’s amazing network within Qatar. The Oman portion will be much more like a traditional GEEO trip.

CLOTHING: While visiting mosques and other religious monuments you should dress modestly, cover your shoulders and you shouldn’t wear short shorts or skirts. Outside of capital cities and the more touristic centers, local dress is often more conservative and as a matter of respect we ask that both men and women are aware of this and recommend loose-fitting clothes with your shoulders covered. Ask your tour leader for more specific advice.

DRINKING WATER: Do not drink tap water in Qatar or Oman.

Service Level

Standard:

Step out of the normal tourist mind-set and truly experience the world. Most nights will have you staying in a simple yet clean twin-share hotel or lodge rooms with private facilities, complete with running water and electricity. Occasionally you may have a multi-share night at rustic local guesthouses, with communal bathrooms and the sporadic cold shower. Transportation will be a combination of public transport, private buses and some private vehicles.

Physical Grading

2:

Light walking and hiking that is suitable for most fitness levels.

Minimum/Maximum Group Size

This program is confirmed to run and will have a maximum of 15 participants.

Group Leader Description

The Qatar portion of this program will be led by QFI. More details TBA.

The Oman portion of this program will be led by one of G Adventure’s group leaders, which they refer to as Chief Experience Officers (CEO). The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They will provide information on the places you are traveling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. Our itineraries often have plenty of free time to explore on your own.

While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting – we think it’s the best of both worlds.

Packing List

We suggest that you pack as lightly as possible as you are expected to handle your own luggage. You must be prepared to carry your own bags and be comfortable carrying them between transport and hotels (max. 15-20 mins walking) and up and down stairs. Luggage space is limited so again, smaller is better.

Most travelers carry a large multi-day backpack or rolling suitcase of small to medium size (no XXL ones please!). In general you want a bag that has a capacity of around 40 to 65 liters. If you are asking us for our suggestion, we would recommend a backpack over a rolling suitcase. You will also need a day pack/bag to carry water, cameras and other electronics like smartphones.

Suggested Checklist

Fleece top
Light windproof/waterproof jacket (Chances are it won’t rain much)
Sun hat
Personal clothing for variable weather ranging from the low 60s to low 80s F
Daypack
Sturdy walking shoes
Sport sandals or Flip-flops
Sunblock
Sunglasses
Watch or alarm clock
Flashlight or headlamp
Clothes for religious sites – Knees and shoulders must be covered
Small Flashlight
Toiletries (Your hotels will have soap and shampoo)
Camera
First-aid kit (should contain lip salve, aspirin, bandaids, anti-histamine, Dramamine, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, electrolyte powder, insect repellent, extra prescription drugs you may be taking)

Optional Checklist

Light weight silk sleep sheet
Travel pillow
Money belt
Water bottle
Phone/Tablet for internet (Most hotels have WiFi)
Chargers for electronics as well converters/adapters if needed
Packing cubes
Ear Plugs
Snacks (Packing a few granola bars is a good idea. You can buy snacks when you get there too, so don’t go crazy here.)
Ziplock bags for wet clothing
Reading/writing material
Hand sanitizer/Baby wipes

Document Checklist

Passport (with photocopies)
Travel insurance (with photocopies)
Airline tickets (with photocopies)
EUR/USD cash
Credit or debit card (see personal spending money)
G Adventures vouchers, pre-departure information and dossier
Any entry visas or vaccination certificates required
GEEO Classroom action plans for your group (This is sent 10-30 days before departure)

Laundry

Laundry facilities are offered by some of our hotels for a charge or ask your group leader where the nearest laundromat is. There will be times when you may want or have to do your own laundry so we suggest you bring your own non-polluting/biodegradable soap.

Single Travellers

Half of the people that travel with GEEO are traveling by themselves so please don’t worry if you have no one who can join you on your trip. Our pricing is based on double occupancy, in other words, two people to a room. If you do not have someone that you are traveling with that you would like to room with, GEEO will find you a roommate of the same gender.

Money

Spending Money

Every traveler is different and therefore spending requirements will vary. Some travelers may drink more than others while other travelers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, and tipping. Please look at our “Costs” tab when planning your trip.

Money Exchange

The currency in Qatar is the Qatari riyal. The currency in Oman is the Omani rial (OMR)

There are plenty of banks that can be found in Qatar and Oman. ATMs are found within main cities (mostly in shopping malls and airports) in Qatar and Oman and will generally accept cards on the Visa and Mastercard networks. It is a great idea to travel with both a Visa and Mastercard if at all possible as while there is no hard and fast rule, some banks seem to only work with one brand of card. Please note, your bank will change a fee for overseas withdrawals. Smaller shops and restaurants will mostly only accept cash.

Cash is recommended for times when ATMs are not accessible. Euros, British Pounds and US Dollars are all easy to exchange to the Local currency. Please note that you should bring some cash with you for emergency situations but carrying only cash is a high safety risk. ATM card/s and some cash is the ideal mix.

If you are bringing US Dollars, please make sure that the notes are new and in good condition. Notes older than 1996, or with any tears or blemishes may not be accepted. Be fussy with your bank when buying cash!

As currency exchange rates can fluctuate often we ask that you refer to the following website for daily exchange rates: www.xe.com

Medical Forms

GEEO travel programs bring together people of all ages. It is very important you are aware that, at minimum, an average level of fitness and mobility is required to undertake our easiest programs. Travelers must be able to walk without the aid of another person, climb 3-4 flights of stairs, step on and off small boats, and carry their own luggage. While our tour leaders work hard to ensure that all our travelers are catered for equally, it is not their responsibility to help individuals who cannot complete the day's activities unaided. Please refer to the physical ratings above for more information.

Optional Activities

Information TBA

Costs

Most of the costs for this program are covered through the QFI grants.

Tour Company Fee

$0 USD (We will initially charge you a $250 deposit, but this will be refunded to you by QFI after you complete all of your post trip obligations)

Optional Activities

$0-$400 USD

International Airfare from USA

0$, but you will have to have budget for domestic travel to the departure city QFI chooses.

Insurance

$26-$186 USD
Please note it is mandatory for all of our travelers to have Emergency Medical insurance that covers both emergency evacuation and repatriation to the sum of $200,000 USD. We also strongly recommend purchasing cancellation insurance as well.
See our FAQ for advice on Travel Insurance.

Tipping

We recommend $40 USD for your G Adventures tour leader, plus another $40 to tip drivers and other guides during your optional activities.

Meals Not Listed in the Itinerary

Allow $300 USD for meals not included

Laundry, Drinks, Phone Calls, etc.

(Make sure you budget for these types of expenses)

Souvenirs

$0-????

FAQ

What should be my expectations for this GEEO program?

Before you decide on traveling with GEEO it is important that you read all of the information about the program you are considering. Remember, our programs are quite adventurous.

• The purpose of the accommodation is to provide a safe place for you to sleep. Sometimes you will be pleasantly surprised, but do not expect luxury. Sometimes the accommodation is not air conditioned.

• You must be able to easily carry or roll your luggage, so do not over-pack.

• We recommend always carrying snacks with you because sometimes meals can be far apart.

• Please make sure you understand the role of your tour leader on this trip as they are not the traditional “guide” you may be expecting. While our trips are educational, they aren’t study/lecture trips. We want you to learn through exploring and much of your experience will be based on how active you choose to be in acquiring knowledge and interacting with locals.

Hopefully this is the kind of adventure you are interested in!

Do I need a Passport? Do I need a visa?

All GEEO trips require that the participant have a valid passport. Please see our general FAQ for information on obtaining a passport. As with all of our trips, we try to provide the most accurate information we can, but governments sometimes change visa rules. It is your responsibility to double check the information we provide below by searching here.

When traveling on a U.S. passport, the Government of Qatar does not require prior visa arrangements and travelers my obtain a free visa waiver upon arrival. The waiver is valid for 30 days from the date of issuance and entitles the holder to spend up to 30 days in Qatar, or multiple entries during the 30-day validity. Passports must have a minimum validity of six months.

Oman requires US citizens to apply and purchase a tourist visa. This is done online following these steps:

1. Go to the Royal Oman Police e-visa website: https://evisa.rop.gov.om/
2. Register as a “user” and create a profile by completing the form and following the steps.
3. Apply for a visa
4. Payment is approximately $55 USD per visa.

Is it OK if I am traveling alone? Do I have to have a roommate?

Half of the people that travel with GEEO are traveling by themselves so please don’t worry if you have no one who can join you on your trip. Our pricing is based on double occupancy, in other words, two people to a room. If you do not have someone that you are traveling with that you would like to room with, GEEO will find you a roommate of the same gender.

What is group travel like?

As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of traveling in a group. Your fellow travelers will probably come from all across the US and beyond and are likely to be of a variety of ages too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travelers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part.

Is it possible to get references for GEEO?

Over 2000 educators have traveled with GEEO since we ran our first programs in 2008. We have had an overwhelmingly positive response to the quality and value of the life changing experiences that we provide.

To read comments from past travelers, please feel free to visit a website that reviews non-profit organizations called Great Non-profits. Please click here for those reviews.

Please contact us if you would like to communicate with some of our former participants for a reference.

Who travels with GEEO?

GEEO participants are mostly made up of American K-12 teachers. Each group tends to have a good mix of educators in their 20's, 30's, 40's, 50's and 60's. About half of our participants are coming alone and do not know anyone in the group prior to the trip. We group single travelers of the same gender together as roommates, unless a participant prefers to pay an additional fee for their own room. If we have an odd amount of one gender we will rotate the single room for free among the participants.

GEEO trips are open to all Kindergarten to University teachers, school staff, school administrators, and soon-to-be teachers pursuing their teaching certificate. Our programs are also open to retired educators. Non-American educators are welcome on our trips.

Each educator who participates in our programs is permitted to bring along up to three friends or family members who are not teachers. Each participant must be of adequate fitness level for their chosen trip. If you wish to bring a guest under the age of 18 GEEO will consider your request, but typically we only allow participants over the age of 18.

What vaccinations do I need for this trip?

We legally cannot give you any medical advice. It is very important to consult your doctor or a travel clinic about which vaccinations you will need for your trip. GEEO recommends contacting Passport Health, (http://www.passporthealthusa.com/) who have travel clinics throughout the US. Please take this seriously!

Where do I meet the group? What happens when I arrive at the airport?

Information TBA.

Where can we get a list of hotels for this trip?

Other than the first hotel our partner G Adventures does not provide hotel lists for any of their trips.

The reason for this is sometimes hotels change at the last minute. G Adventures does not want to give out incorrect information because in an emergency that can only cause more issues. Instead we give you 24-hour emergency phone numbers where you and your family can reach staff in the country that you are travelling to or in Canada at G Adventure's headquarters. This way at any time your loved ones can call the emergency contact who can immediately put them in touch with your tour leader no matter how plans have changed.

Is it OK if I arrive a few days early or stay a few days late?

No, because flights are covered by the grant you may not come in early or stay late.

When should I purchase my flights?

Do not purchase any flights until you have been accepted to this trip. QFI will be purchasing your international airfare. You will have to pay for domestic flights in order to meet the group in the departure airport. More information TBA.

Where can I purchase travel insurance?

Please note it is mandatory for all of our travelers to have Emergency Medical insurance that covers emergency medical, emergency evacuation and repatriation to the sum of $200,000 USD. Regular health insurance plans almost never include emergency evacuation and repatriation insurance, so you will almost certainly need to purchase a separate TRAVEL health insurance plan.

You are welcome to use any travel insurance company you like. In order to receive your trip vouchers you must enter your insurance information into our tour operator’s online check-in system, Good To Go. You will receive a login to the Good to Go system roughly two months before departure.

The least expensive travel health insurance plan that we have found is the International Teacher Identity Card, better known as the ITIC Card. They have a $25 BASIC card that includes the amount of travel medical, evacuation and repatriation insurance you need for our trip, plus other trip insurance benefits. The card will also get you discounts and benefits in over 125,000 locations, including many museums and hotels. Another great thing about the ITIC Card is that it covers you for an entire year and can be used for all your international travel during that period. They also have a $99 PREMIUM card which has more generous coverage.

While not required, we recommend purchasing cancellation insurance. Instead of the $25 or $99 card, you may want to consider the $199 EXPLORER ITIC Card, which comes with $3000 of cancellation insurance in addition to the enhanced coverage provided by the Premium card. This cancellation insurance is valid for multiple international trips within a one year period, which means you can use it on other trips outside of the country even if they aren't with GEEO. Please note that the EXPLORER level of coverage is not valid for sale in the following U.S. states: New York, Washington, Massachusetts, Maryland, and South Dakota. If you live in those states you can instead get the Basic or Premium level card.

GEEO has reached an agreement with the makers of this card to pre-approve all GEEO travelers, so you do not need to submit paperwork proving that you are a teacher. Also, non-teachers who are traveling with GEEO can get this same card, which normally is only for teachers.

To sign up for the card please follow this link:

www.myisic.com/orders/GEEO

The ITIC cards are for American residents. If you are not American or are an American living abroad, you will have to find another option.

Will I be eating on my own? With the group? Why aren't all meals included?

Eating is a big part of traveling. Traveling with GEEO you experience the vast array of wonderful food that is available out in the world. Generally meals are not included in the trip price when there is a choice of eating options, to give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat. It also gives you more budgeting flexibility, though generally food is affordable. Our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There is no obligation to do this though. Your group leader will be able to suggest favorite restaurants during your trip. Please refer to the meals included and budget information for included meals and meal budgets.

Is the water safe to drink?

Unless your tour leader tells you differently, only bottled water should be drunk, and this is readily available for purchase. Fruit and vegetables should be peeled, washed in boiled water and in the case of the latter, well cooked. Meat and fish should also be fresh, well-cooked and hot, to avoid possible infection.

What is the weather like?

Qatar and Oman have dry desert climates bringing warm weather all year round. Although we will be their during the winter, temperatures are warm and perfect for an escape in the sun. Temperatures should be in the high 60s to mid 70s. At night, temperatures cool down to the low 60s. There is very little, if any, rain. . If you want to take a dip in the sea, the Gulf’s waters measure a lovely 75 F at this time of year.

Is there Internet access? Should I bring a computer? Mobile phone?

Many of the hotels we use have WiFi (often free, sometime not). There are internet cafes in most of the places we visit and many of the hotels also have computers that can be used. Expect to be able to check your email every two to three days. You can also bring along your mobile phone if you choose. Make sure you check with your phone company before you leave to find out the rates for calling back to the US and if they have any special international plans that are worth taking advantage of. International roaming rates can be extremely high, so you don’t want to be surprised. You can bring a laptop/tablet/smart phone if you wish, but remember, GEEO and G Adventures are not responsible for the damage or theft of your valued items.

Do I need plugs and current converters for my electronic devices?

There are two components to provide external power to your device: adapters and transformers. The adapter is the plug, adapting the prongs on a standard U.S. two to three-pronged power cord to match the prongs required by the local outlets. The transformer changes the local voltage to that required by your device.

Qatar and Oman use a Type G- British-style three square prong plug. Their voltage is 220-240 Volts. U.S. outlets are 120V. Most new devices (phones and laptops) can handle the different voltage rates, but some devices only work on the U.S. standard of 120V. Check your device to see what voltage range it handles. Most transformer blocks will have an “Input” line that defines its voltage capacity. For example, “Input: 100 – 240V” means that it will work on voltages from 100V to 240V. If your transformer can’t handle the different voltage, you’ll need to purchase a voltage converter. You can find world regional voltage converters power packs at various vendors.

How much money in US cash should I bring? Should I exchange local currency in advance?

This is entirely up to you, but we think it is critical for you to bring along $250 USD in cash for emergencies. This is what GEEO's executive director Jesse does in regards to money while traveling:

"I do not exchange any money before traveling to a country but instead bring somewhere between $200-300 USD in cash. I go to a bank before I leave the US and take out the cash there rather than an ATM. I make sure each bill is in great condition with no rips or tears. I like to have mostly 20's, but in some countries you are better off with 50's and 100's. In some countries, it is also good to have about 20 singles for when you have no small bills in local currency. I divide this money between a money belt, my main backpack, and my daypack.

I also bring an ATM card and a credit card. Before I leave the country I call the bank and credit card companies to let them know I am traveling abroad so they don't think the foreign transactions are fraudulent and cancel my cards when I am most reliant on them. Having a second bank account and bank card is pretty handy so that just in case one card doesn't work at an ATM or is lost, you always have a backup account. It's also important to check with your credit card to see if there is an international transaction fee. Some cards charge up to 4% extra for any transactions made out of the US. My Capital One visa card doesn't have any international transaction fee. I just use this card for traveling so if it gets stolen and I have to cancel it I won't have to worry about recurring automated payments. I like to split up my cards between my money belt, wallet, and one emergency one hidden in my main bag.

When I arrive at the airport I make sure to go to an ATM before leaving the airport and typically take out the equivalent of $150 USD in the local currency. I find that ATMs give the best exchange rate so throughout the trip I will use the ATM card to draw out my spending cash. I will ask our tour leader for an estimate on how much I will need if I am close to leaving a country so this way I do not draw out too much money.

I try not to use the US cash I brought with me so that I can use it in an emergency. Typically I will come back to the US with most of that US cash unspent. On a recent trip, I lost my ATM card and was able to get cash by paying for our group dinners with my credit card and having people pay me their share in local currency. I NEVER take cash advances on my credit card as they charge you an arm and a leg.”

Do you have advice on tipping?

Tipping is important in the Middle East. Locals themselves will usually tip anyone who provides them with services. In many cases, people depend on the tips they receive to supplement the low salary and wages of the Middle East region.

While on tour in the Middle East, it is customary and even expected to tip small service providers such as restaurant and bar waiters, hotel staff, reception, cleaning personnel, bell boys, taxis and van drivers. Tipping at restaurants in Qatar and Oman is expected at the rate of 10%. Tips are regarded as an essential means of supplementing income for those working in the tourism industry.

For the Qatar portion of your trip, all of your tips will be taken care of by QFI.

For the Oman portion, to make things as easy as possible and avoid embarrassing situations, G Adventures uses a tipping kitty system where your tour leader will collect a contribution from everybody at the start of your tour and use this kitty to tip anybody who has provided services to the group as a whole. A guideline for tipping is about $5-10 USD per day, depending on the quality of the service (this does not include your G Adventures tour leader). On Day 1 of your tour, your tour leader will be able to advise on the amount required from everybody to form the tipping kitty for your trip. You can pay in USD or the equivalent local currency (preferably local currency). The tour leader will be able to advise you on the exchange rate and the total required in either currency

If at any time you feel that any service provider failed in maintaining or delivering good service, please bring it immediately to the attention of your tour leader so a deduction of tips can take place.

At the end of your trip if you felt that your G Adventures tour leader did an outstanding job, tipping is also expected and appreciated. The precise amount is entirely a personal preference, however $35-40 USD per person can be used as a general guideline.

What is expected from me from an educational stand point?

Please take a look at the "Sharing your Adventure section of our website by clicking here. QFI has separate expectations TBA.

What should I expect in terms of school visits?

GEEO tries to include anywhere from 1 to 3 school visits per program; however these visits are never a guaranteed part of our programming. School visits can be very tricky.

• In many of the countries we visit, schools will be closed for vacation over the summer. In that case we try to arrange an informal meeting with local teachers or a visit to a summer school.

• Some of our shorter programs are so packed with activities and places to see that we feel a school visit would mean the group would have to miss out on something important. In that case a school visit may not be scheduled.

• Many times we spend hours setting up a visit only for the school to cancel on us at the last minute.

• Often arranging school visits is easier if done in person with short notice. Your tour leader will try to schedule ad hoc school visits for your group when possible.

• Each school visit is different. We aim for you to get a tour of the school, sit in on a class and have a Q and A session with some of the staff.

• If we do schedule a school visit it is important that the entire group attend. In the past we have offended schools that were expecting ten visiting educators and only three came.

• Over time we try to establish long term relationships with schools so we can have more predictable, immersive visits that are rewarding for both our guests and the schools themselves.

Is there any safety advice we should know about?

Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travelers' checks, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewelry at home - you won't need it while travelling.

Always keep an eye on your belongings especially in major cities, bus and train terminals.

Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your tour leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Your tour leader will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your tour leader will assist you with options available in a given location please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgment when selecting an activity in your free time. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions.

Protests and Demonstrations- Protests and demonstrations, even those that are well intended, have the potential to turn violent with no warning. Counter protests can also turn violent. Action by security forces to disperse demonstrators and protesters may occur at any time. If you are in an area where demonstrators or protesters are gathering, avoid the temptation of staying for a good photo opportunity and leave the area immediately.

Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards) have a balanced approach to safety. It is G Adventure's policy not to allow our tour leaders to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).

Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk.
Please note: You should be especially careful when wandering about Buenos Aires on your own, particularly at night. Tourists are easy prey for individual pickpockets or groups of two or more people working as a team on the streets. Pay particular attention to anyone who 'accidentally' spills anything on your clothes or belongings (mustard, etc.) and then apologizes and offers to help clean up. They will clean you out instead! Be safe and leave your passport, credit cards, travelers checks and cash funds you won't be using immediately in the hotel's safety deposit box. Most Porteños are honest and genuinely helpful and friendly, but be safe and enjoy the city!

What happens if it becomes unsafe to travel on this trip?

Your safety is our utmost priority and we will cancel a trip if we do not feel our participants will be safe. If GEEO or G Adventures cancels your trip we will issue a full refund of any payments you have made including the deposit. If YOU decide to cancel your trip you will have to abide by the rules of our terms and conditions.

What are the emergency contact numbers for this trip?

Should you need to contact G Adventures during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call their local G Adventures office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.

AIRPORT TRANSFER
Your arrival transfer has been arranged based on flight information provided to us. If you are advised of a flight schedule change within 48 hours of your scheduled arrival time, we will do our best to rearrange your arrival transfer however we cannot guarantee this. If your arrival transfer does not arrive within 30 minutes after you have exited the arrivals area please take a taxi to your start point hotel.

EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures Local Representative (Cairo, Egypt)
During office hours (Sun-Thu,10am to 6pm local time): +20 233 77 88 30 or +20 233 77 88 31
After hours Emergency number: +20 122 221 16 99 (Mohammed)

G Adventures Middle East Manager
Emergency number: : +20 122 221 16 99 -Mohammed (Cairo, Egypt)

If you are unable for any reason to contact G Adventures’ local office they have a toll-free line within North America which will connect you directly with their Toronto office: 1 888 800 4100. Outside of North America, call: +1 416 260 0999

What is the relationship between G Adventures and GEEO? Who is running this trip?

GEEO is an independent non-profit organization that helps teachers travel. GEEO has chosen to work with the tour operator G Adventures. We discount their prices for our participants so they are even more affordable for teachers. GEEO also is able to get our participants humanitarian rate airfare and discounted travel health insurance. GEEO customizes these trips for teachers. GEEO provides educational materials to teachers before and after the trip to help bring the participating teachers' experience into the classroom. GEEO provides each participant with a Professional Development Certificate. For more about GEEO, please see our mission statement.

G Adventures is a tour company that GEEO has partnered with to run our trips. For over 25 years, G Adventures has been sending hundreds of thousands of people abroad and today they are the largest adventure travel company in the world. They design the trips, provide expert tour leaders, ground logistics, and work hard to make sure you have an excellent experience.

Is the itinerary exactly as described on this website?

While it is our intention to adhere to the route described on our website, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The information on our website is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered.

Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.

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What's Included

  • All travel will be arranged and paid for by QFI including:
    • Airfare from home destination to Doha, Qatar
    • Airfare from Doha, Qatar to Muscat, Oman
    • Airfare from Muscat, Oman to home destination

  • Ground transportation to/from your local airport will be reimbursed after the trip’s completion by QFI

  • All ground transportation, including airport pick-up and drop-off, in Doha, Qatar will be pre-arranged and paid for by QFI

  • Many activities in Qatar arranged by QFI
    Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque visit
    Bail Al Zubair Museum visit
    Muttrah Souq visit
    Mirani and Jalali forts visit
    Bimmah Sinkhole visit
    Sur dhow shipyard visit
    Raz al Jinz turtle sanctuary night visit
    Overnight in Wahiba Sands desert camp
    Mud houses of Misfat al Abyreen walk and visit
    Wadi Nakhr (the "Grand Canyon of Oman") visit

  • Guide in Qatar arranged by QFI
    G Adventures Tour Leader in Oman and local guides

  • All meals in Qatar will be pre-arranged and paid for by QFI

  • While in Oman, 11 breakfasts, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner are included. However, a stipend will be provided to cover all other meals not provided during the tour in Oman upon the trip’s completion by QFI.Pro

  • While in Qatar, Luxury Hotel (4 nts) on a twin share basis

  • While in Oman, Hotels (11 nts) on a twin share basis

  • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities by private air-con van, 4x4, flight

  • Visa fees to Oman will be reimbursed upon the trip’s completion by QFI

What's Not Included

  • Incidentals

  • Travel Health Insurance

  • Tips or gratuities

  • Optional tours or admissions not specifically pre-arranged in Qatar or Oman

  • Cancelation Insurance (Optional)