Are the trips "Gay only" or can I bring a straight friend? OTS is about creating a feeling of safety and camaraderie for gay individuals in a non sexually charged environment, where friendships can develop and life experiences shared, its one of "Outside the Square's" point of difference. So our trips are mostly for gay men and their close accepting family and friends. Some are gay men only like our yearly hikes in NZ, some are mixed each trip will be different and is clearly stated.
Solo Women Adventurers I love taking women only trips, there are so many great women out there who are so full of life and so much fun and they are just itching to see the world, and either partnered with a husband who does not want to travel, or are single and looking to explore the world. So ladies lets have some fun, your safe with a gay man, relax and enjoy the company, these trips run as custom trips when a group of women get together and decide lets go do it.
How do I book and find out more about the trip? If you're interested in joining a trip, fill in the contact form and we can start to correspond and I can answer any questions, before booking we set up a time to chat on SKYPE as this is a great way for you to get a feel for the kind of trip planned and if it is what you're after. If after a chat I don't think the trip is for you then I will say so, for me its about matching the independent adventurer with the comradery of fellow adventurers.
How far in advance do I need to book? Trips close as soon as we have a max of 10 individuals confirmed on set departures, so its first in, first confirmed on those trips. Custom trips are dependant on Richards availability.
Do I need to be fit? For all "Outside The Square" word gay trips you need a reasonable level of fitness, to be able to fully participate and enjoy, and for any of the Great Hikes in NZ the more preparation you can do beforehand the more you will enjoy them.
On the New Zealand Great Walks do you walk with us? Our walks in NZ are not guided and sometimes we have to drop you at the start and then drive with your luggage to meet you at the end with a hot coffee, but mostly we join you on the walk as this is what we love best.
Can you also organise flights? We leave booking of flights to you, so you can choose route, class of travel, airline and can use air-miles etc, we start trips on a certain day, so you can plan a few days extra holiday either before or after as you choose, just be there ready to arrive at our designated hotel on by the evening on the first day.
Vaccinations and Visas and Travel Insurance These are your responsibility, get advice and plan ahead, also take out travel insurance at the time of paying your deposit to cover you for any cancellations charges in the event of unforeseen circumstances.
We are a couple and we love the sound of your trips as we like to go off and explore as a couple during the day yet enjoy company and laughter in the evenings, would your trips suit us? Absolutely our trips will be perfect for you, usually there is a nice mix of singles, gay couples and the adventurous half of a couple enjoying separate interest breaks.The common denominator is usually a streak of independence combined with a love of interesting company and enjoyment of company during meals.
What is the Min no of people I need to get together for a Custom trip or to book out a trip just for my group? Actually there is no minimum number, but it may affect the per person price, custom trips work best between 4 and 8 but hey we have done a great trips in the past to Namibia and Cuba with just one delightfully eccentric adventurer .
Outside The Square trips seem so cheap compared to other small group tours, what's the catch? There is no catch, OTS is myself and other volunteers doing what we love, and the overheads are minimal, it's all word of mouth, think a group of friends travelling together where one has been before and organised everything and you will get the concept. We like to think OTS offers exceptional value for what's offered and you would be very hard pushed to do the same trip cheaper on your own with the group rates we have negotiated and the savings that come with sharing minivan, guide and driver, the overseas trips we plan are mostly in a low season which still has good travel weather, We choose local owner operated hotels and negotiate a group price, we also know the local prices which are often much cheaper than the ones touted to tourists, and OTS is small, and based on vision and passion, we pay the accompanying guide a daily wage, and aim to break even on each trip. We want to be accessible to the normal working person, this is not 5* A grade glam, it's comfortable "down to earth" experiential travel, which we believe will leave you with wonderful lasting memories.
I'm a solo traveller and I love the sound of your New Zealand Walks, do you have scheduled departures solo travellers can join? Yes we started these in summer 2015 and will offer a min of one a year, get your own group together and these can be done any time depending on Doc hut availability.
How much extra money do I need to budget for lunches drinks etc?. Everyone is different here, (We had one guy who bought some art in Bali on the first day that was more than the cost of the whole holiday) local food and drinks are usually very reasonable, fine wine in Asia is expensive, but beer and dining is very reasonable, when booking we will send you out a fact sheet with a guideline of what to budget for, and the average costs of some basics.
What are the risks of travelling with OTS rather than a larger company. Small has its positives and negatives, on the plus side, you're being hosted by someone who is passionate about OTS, thats me, what you pay will give you truly great value. You also have independence and flexibility to take time to do your own things on the trip, something not always available on more structured tours. The downside is that it is that there is no big company backing us up, and the risk is if I get sick on a trip, then the participants have to rise to the occasion, there is no backup guide to be flown in last min, it's never happened but nevertheless it is the same risk you take when either you travel with a friend or a small group of friends like OTS. If you're more comfortable with lots of structure, and like the idea of ''backup'' or don't feel ''almost independent'' applies to you, then may be a bigger company would be better for you.