Winter 2017

Australia & New Zealand

Learn More

October 21-23 2017

Slovenia

Learn More

In May of 2010, Calvin started The Monsoon Diaries as his personal travel blog where he would post daily updates to let the world (and his mother) know he was okay. As his readership expanded, a large humble following of good people asked if they could join on his adventures.

So what began with a trip for a few friends now has blossomed 5 years later into the popularly recognized travel style known as monsooning, and has featured on TEDx, The Huffington Post, USA Today, National Geographic, Business Insider, and Rachel Maddow. Every few months Calvin himself, and some of his most dedicated repeat monsooners, will lead scores of international young-at-heart travelers on their premier expeditions around the world.

Take a look at any of the offered trips below and sign up even if you’re just curious about travel; we will take care of the rest!

October 21-23, 2017

Slovenia

October 21-23, 2017

Slovenia

October 21-23, 2017

Slovenia

October 21-23, 2017

Slovenia

Ljubljana, Slovenia

Bled, Slovenia

Škocjan Caves

Postojna Caves

Predjama Castle

Slovenia

October 21-23, 2017

Castles. Caves. Castles that come out of caves. Gallivanting through delightful European cities in warm autumn weather… what’s not to enjoy for a weekend getaway?
  • October 20: Leave for Ljubljana
  • October 21: Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • October 22: Lake Bled, Predjama Castle, and Postojna Caves
  • October 23: Leave for home or Skocjan Caves if time allows!

How do I pay?

A 60% down payment is needed to secure your spot on the trip. We accept credit cards, cash (in person), mailed check, PayPal, Chase Quickpay, Square Cash, or Venmo.

What if I have dietary restrictions?

Let us know if you have any dietary restrictions beforehand and we can totally accommodate.

What are accommodations like?

Boutique, top-end hostels, or boutique hotels all with running hot water, good people, and plenty of amenities.

What days should I book my flights to arrive?

Depends on what part of the trip you sign up for; please confirm with Calvin directly before purchasing tickets!

Do you provide flight advice/support to get the cheapest flights?

Yep! We boast expertise in this area and would be happy to assist you in booking the cheapest flights, finding hack fares, or work with loyalty mile programs to getting you free economy, business class, or first class flights.

I’d love to come, but I’m limited on budget.

Contact us anyway and we can come up with a deal or financial aid packages.

Can I come alone?

Yes, many of our monsooners have joined our trip by themselves and end up meeting a whole new group of friends. We usually attract people who come from a range of backgrounds and have different levels of experience with travel.

What if I don’t usually like traveling with people?

Our trips are designed by independent travelers with independent travel in mind — we want to provide everyone with the opportunity and experience of traveling alone should they choose to. Therefore, there’s zero pressure to stick with the group anytime.

So if you want to venture off to a museum or try a different restaurant, by all means: Do it! The group will only be expected to stay together for transportation between cities.

Will you accommodate food restrictions (vegetarian, vegan, kosher, halal, cardiac, diabetic, lactose intolerant, peanut allergies, etc.)?

Of course. Just tell us ahead of time when you sign up and we can make accommodations easily.

Do I need visas?

Depends on your nationality and type of passport. If you have a Schengen visa or folks with USA and EU nationalities do not need any more visas. Otherwise, we can help you with this if you need any visas. Please ask!

Will someone provide me with a list of tasks I need to complete for visas or pre-entry credentials?

Yes, of course!

Do I need travel insurance?

Up to you! Some credit cards already include some sort of travel insurance (check with them). We tend to find the cheapest ones at: http://www.travelinsurance.com/

Terms and Conditions between The Monsoon Diaries LLC, henceforth called “MD,” and the customer, henceforth called the “customer.” Booking a tour with MD acknowledges customer understanding and agreement to the following terms and conditions.

BOOKING POLICY

  • A 60% deposit is due upon booking confirmation and is non-refundable. The balance of payment is due 4 weeks before the tour commences. Following receipt of deposit customer is required to send relevant details for issuing of relevant permits.
  • Failure to send true and correct information may result in refusal of visa, or permit, and thus results in forfeit of deposit.
  • Should visa, or permit be refused through no fault of the customer, the customer shall receive a full refund minus associated banking costs.
  • In the event of personal injury, or bereavement that prevents the customer taking part on the tour, MD reserve the right to increase the deposit minus associated fees.

CANCELLATION POLICY

All cancellation notices must be received in writing and will become effective as of the date of receipt by MD. Tour refunds will be given according to the table below.

  • 15 – 60 days prior to the tour customers receive a 50% refund, minus associated and unrefundable costs.
  • 8-14 days prior to the tour customers to receive a 10% refund, minus associated and unrefundable costs.
  • Cancellations received on the day of or within 1 week of departure are non-refundable

Note: With all refunds the company shall not be held liable for any bank, and or associated fees linked to transferring refund, with sole responsibility being borne by the customer.

  • MD may change these Terms & and Conditions at any time. MD will notify customers if changes to the booking terms and conditions are made.
  • It is the responsibility of all customers, regardless of nationality and destination, to check with the consulate of the country they are visiting for current entry requirements. As visa and health requirements are subject to change with-out notice, we recommend that you verify health and visa requirements with the appropriate consulate prior to departure.
  • Price quotations are subject to change without notice, until a booking has been confirmed.
  • MD fully reserves the right to change or amend all itineraries on a case by case basis depending on the situation on the ground. MD will always provide a suitable replacement for anything cancelled on an itinerary.
  • Train, and flight tickets are subject to availability. MD reserve the right to change the mode of transport depending on availability.
  • If for any reason, a client does not complete any portion of their tour or abandons their scheduled tour after departure, MD will not grant a partial refund, nor shall there be any credit given towards future travel.

VISAS

As with all travel there is always a minor chance that a visa will be refused. MD has an excellent track record for visas with a relatively insignificant amount having ever been turned down and all were with good reason.

If the customer has provided accurate information to us and their visa is refused and refunded, MD will in turn grant a full refund of any payments made to MD minus associated transfer fees and costs but will not be held responsible for any costs incurred by the customer in traveling to Beijing, Kuala Lumpur or any other location from which their tour was scheduled to depart. In the event you have intentionally misled us in an attempt to enter a country, we will retain your deposit.

FORCE MAJEURE

In the event of an uncontrollable event, such as war, revolution, and or natural disaster, the customer shall be entitled to a full refund.

What constitutes force majeure is decided solely by the company.

Note: With all refunds the company shall not be held liable for any bank, and or associated fees linked to transferring refund, with sole responsibility being borne by the customer.

TRAVEL INSURANCE

Medical treatment in many destinations is not free, and it is strongly recommended that the customer take out their own travel insurance, AND check with the issuer whether it is valid in the country of the tour. MD does not provide, nor imply provision of health/travel insurance.

LOCAL LAWS

  • Customers are required to follow local laws and regulations at all times. In the result of a breach of local law, MD will not be held in any way responsible and the customer will take responsibility for any consequences, financial or otherwise, that arise from their actions.
  • Customers are required to follow the guidance and company rules of MD at all times. MD reserves the right to expel customers from the tour who do not follow company rules, without refund.

 

TOUR ITINERARY

Due to the nature of travel/tourism of certain countries, itineraries do not provide or imply a guarantee of the tour’s contents. Though we will make every effort to keep itineraries as described and to find suitable replacements, the company reserves the right to make changes to the itinerary in response to unforeseeable events.

 

TRAVEL EXCEPTIONS

MD reserves the right in extreme cases to refuse service to anyone we deem unsuitable for one of our tours, in the event that MD deems you unsuitable prior to a tour any payment made to MD will be refunded minus associated transfer costs.

 

TRANSIT VISA

In the event the customer intends to travel to and from a country using a transit visa they bear full responsibility for ensuring the transit visa is organized correctly. MD will of course offer assistance in the event of issues arising with customer’s transit, but will in no case be held liable for any costs incurred in arranging customer exits.

Price inclusive of:

  • All Transportation in the region
  • All Accommodation
  • Listed itinerary
  • Excursion to Predjama Castle, Postojna Caves, Bled, and Škocjan Caves
  • Tour guides
  • Visa guidance
  • Guide fees

Price exclusive of:

  • International Flights to begin and end the trip
  • Food/drink
  • Personal expenses/souvenirs
  • Personal/Optional cab rides, public transportation, and/or Uber rides
  • Optional activities
  • Travel insurance
  • Visa application process & fees

Interested in joining us?

E-mail us at calvin[at]monsoondiaries[dot]com if you want to sign up for updates (replaced bracketed text with appropriate punctuation, obviously).

October 2017

Scandinavia + The Baltic States

Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland,

Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania

Copenhagen, Denmark

Oslo, Norway

Stockholm, Sweden

Helsinki, Finland

Tallinn, Estonia

Riga, Latvia

Hill Of Crosses

Vilnius, Lithuania

The Baltic Circle: Scandinavia + The Baltic States

This October, one of our monsooners — Taylan Stulting — will be repeating our successful Summer 2015 trip to the tee, leading an action-packed trip that takes us around Northern Europe as we explore 7 countries surrounding the Baltic Sea!

 Week 1 (Oct 14-23): Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland

We kick off our adventure in the canals of Copenhagen, Denmark, one of Europe’s oldest capitals and edgiest cities. After crossing the North Sea, we’ll traverse the modern Viking city of Oslo, Norway, before taking a boat ride to one of the country’s grand fjords. Amble along the colorful buildings and shimmering waters of Stockholm, Sweden, before delving into the world-famous subterranean art of the city’s metro. Finally, imagine living among hobbits in Suomenlinna, an ancient sea fortress that looks like it came straight out of The Shire from “The Lord of the Rings.” 

 Week 2 (Oct 23-29): Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania

Cross the Gulf of Finland and seek the road less traveled in three incredible UNESCO World Heritage towns. Lose yourself in the medieval capital of Tallinn, Estonia. Marvel at the unique art-nouveau architecture of Riga, Latvia. Feel your spine tingle when you stumble upon the eerie Hill of Crosses by Siauliai, Lithuania. Watch the world by on a midsummer evening in Vilnius. Then its off to the moated castle of Trakai before we say our good-byes back in Vilnius. 

 I want to come! How do I pay?

We’ll need a non-refundable down payment of 50% is needed to secure your spot on the trip. The balance must be paid before October 1st and we accept PayPal, Chase Quickpay or Venmo. That’s it. If you’re based in or near NYC, we can meet in person to accept payment via credit card, cash, or check.

I can’t come for the full two weeks. Can I join for just a part of the trip?

Definitely. We try our best to work with everyone’s budgets and schedules. Can’t make the whole trip? Join us for one week, or even a few days. We’ll just pro-rate the cost, so you’ll only be paying for the days you’re with us.

What days should I book my flights to arrive? 

The trip officially starts on October 14th, 2017. We suggest that you book your flight to arrive anytime that day or before in Copenhagen, Denmark.

If you are joining us for the 2nd week, book your flight to arrive in Tallin, Estonia on October 23rd, 2017.

In all cases, (especially if you are arriving on days other than the ones listed) just let us know your flight details prior to the trip, so we can coordinate logistics.  

What sort of people come on your trips?

We attract a diverse group of travelers who range in age, backgrounds, and have different levels of exposure to travel. It makes for interesting conversations, awesome travel stories, and a good balance of differences. There’s also no pressure to stick with the group at all times. So if you want to take a day to venture off and explore something on your own, go do it!

Nevertheless, we see a lot of solid friendships form on our trips. It tends to happen when we’re all looking out for each other’s back.

What’s the day-to-day like?

The attractions and activities we plan are usually low-cost or free. But we do like to mix it up by occasionally adding a top restaurant into the schedule or splurging on something extraordinary. Remember, all activities are optional so feel free to opt out if something on the itinerary doesn’t align with your budget or strike your fancy. 

We’re also an active group, so we tend to walk a lot, and most people are ready, willing and excited to try new things and to venture out of their comfort zones. 

And the schedule/itinerary? 

  • October 14-16: Copenhagen, Denmark
  • October 17: Oslo, Norway
  • October 18-20: Stockholm, Sweden (and surrounding areas)
  • October 21-23: Helsinki, Finland (and surrounding areas, including Suomenlinna)
  • October 23-25: Tallinn, Estonia
  • October 25-27: Riga, Latvia
  • October 27: Siauliai (Hill Of Crosses), Lithuania
  • October 27-29: Vilnius, Lithuania (and surrounding areas, including Trakai)

How will we get from country to country?

This trip, in particular, will include an exciting mix of travel via ferries, trains, and overnight buses. (Imagine grabbing a drink on a ferry while passing through a fjord. Or falling asleep in one country and waking up in another!). We encourage packing light so that we can move fast. The price includes all transportation getting from country to country but does not include a few occasions where we may take public transportation within a city.

What are accommodations like?

We stay mostly in hostels and we choose accommodations that are modern and comfortable, but not luxurious. 

What’s the deal with visas?

People with US passports do not need any visas. If you are not from the US, make sure to check the visa requirements of your own country. 

Do I need travel insurance overall? 

This is totally up to you. If you have a credit card, check the terms as it sometimes includes some sort of travel insurance. If you’d like additional insurance, we’ve found affordable options in World Nomads or RoamRight.  

I’d love to come, but I’m limited on budget.

We’ve all been there. Just shoot us an email and we’ll make suggestions on how to find cheap flights or help with any questions you may have on how to budget. 

Week 1

October 14-23
$800/pax
  • Scandinavia: Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Finland!

Week 2

October 23-29
$750/pax
  • The Baltic States: Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania!

Price inclusive of:

  • All Transport between cities including all rail, buses and ferries
  • All Accommodation
  • Listed itinerary
  • Guide fees
  • Some museum entry fees

Price exclusive of:

  • International Flights
  • Food & Drink
  • Personal expenses
  • Public transportation
  • Optional activities/day-tours/excursions
  • Travel insurance
  • Visa Fees (although we will advise you depending on your passport and country of residence)

Interested in joining us?

If the form above doesn’t work, e-mail us at calvin[at]monsoondiaries[dot]com. (Replace with the appropriate punctuation to prove you’re human)

Winter 2017

Australia & New Zealand

Sydney, Australia

Cairns, Australia

The Great Barrier Reef

Alice Springs, Australia

Uluru, Australia

Auckland, New Zealand

Rotorua, New Zealand

Wellington, New Zealand

Christchurch, New Zealand

Queenstown, New Zealand

New Milford Sound, New Zealand

Australia & New Zealand

Winter 2017

In the winter of 2017, we plan to tick off the continent that has long eluded us: Australia.

Although our 2014 trip to East-Timor Leste counts as a visit to Oceania and thus ensuring that we’ve been to all 7 continents, we all know that doesn’t hold us up to snuff until we’ve been to the mainlands of Australia and New Zealand. So come join us on a dream trip of a lifetime as we start our trip by celebrating New Year’s Eve in Sydney before heading off to visit the Great Barrier Reef at Cairns. Then it’s off to see the enigmatic Ayers Rock (aka “Uluru”) in Alice Springs to finish off our week in Australia.

For week 2 we begin north in Auckland, New Zealand from where we’ll take a quintessential road trip southwards, visiting Rotorua, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown along the way. Then we cap off 2 epic weeks with a visit to one of the most photogenic and beautiful places on the planet: Milford Sound.

  • December 30-January 2: Sydney, Australia
  • January 2-5: Cairns, Australia & The Great Barrier Reef
  • January 5-6: Alice Springs, Australia & Ayers Rock
  • January 6-8: Sydney, Australia
  • January 8-10: Auckland, New Zealand
  • January 10: Rotorua, New Zealand
  • January 11-12: Wellington, New Zealand
  • January 12-13: Christchurch, New Zealand
  • January 13-15: Queenstown, New Zealand
  • January 15: Milford Sound
  • January 15-16: Queenstown, New Zealand

How do I pay?

A 30% down payment is needed to secure your spot on the trip. We accept credit cards, cash (in person), mailed check, PayPal, Chase Quickpay, Square Cash, or Venmo.

What if I have dietary restrictions?

Let us know if you have any dietary restrictions beforehand and we can totally accommodate.

What are accommodations like?

Boutique, top-end hostels, or boutique hotels all with running hot water, good people, and great amenities.

What days should I book my flights to arrive?

Depends on what part of the trip you sign up for; please confirm with Calvin directly before purchasing tickets!

Do you provide flight advice/support to get the cheapest flights?

Yep! We boast expertise in this area and would be happy to assist you in booking the cheapest flights, finding hack fares, or work with loyalty mile programs to getting you free economy, business class, or first class flights.

I’d love to come, but I’m limited on budget.

Contact us anyway and we can come up with a deal or financial aid packages.

Can I come alone?

Yes, many of our monsooners have joined our trip by themselves and end up meeting a whole new group of friends. We usually attract people who come from a range of backgrounds and have different levels of experience with travel.

What if I don’t usually like traveling with people?

Our trips are designed by independent travelers with independent travel in mind — we want to provide everyone with the opportunity and experience of traveling alone should they choose to. Therefore, there’s zero pressure to stick with the group anytime.

So if you want to venture off to a museum or try a different restaurant, by all means: Do it! The group will only be expected to stay together for transportation between cities.

Will you accommodate food restrictions (vegetarian, vegan, kosher, halal, cardiac, diabetic, lactose intolerant, peanut allergies, etc.)?

Of course. Just tell us ahead of time when you sign up and we can make accommodations easily.

Do I need visas?

Depends on your nationality and type of passport. People with USA and EU nationalities do not need visas. Otherwise, we can help you with this if you need any visas. Please ask!

Will someone provide me with a list of tasks I need to complete for visas or pre-entry credentials

Yes, of course!

Do I need travel insurance?

Up to you! Some credit cards already include some sort of travel insurance (check with them). We tend to find the cheapest ones at: http://www.travelinsurance.com/

Terms and Conditions between The Monsoon Diaries LLC, henceforth called “MD,” and the customer, henceforth called the “customer.” Booking a tour with MD acknowledges customer understanding and agreement to the following terms and conditions.

BOOKING POLICY

  • A 30% deposit is due upon booking confirmation and is non-refundable. The balance of payment is due 4 weeks before the tour commences. Following receipt of deposit customer is required to send relevant details for issuing of relevant permits.
  • Failure to send true and correct information may result in refusal of visa, or permit, and thus results in forfeit of deposit.
  • Should visa, or permit be refused through no fault of the customer, the customer shall receive a full refund minus associated banking costs.
  • In the event of personal injury, or bereavement that prevents the customer taking part on the tour, MD reserve the right to increase the deposit minus associated fees.

CANCELLATION POLICY

All cancellation notices must be received in writing and will become effective as of the date of receipt by MD. Tour refunds will be given according to the table below.

  • 8 weeks (60 days) prior to the tour customers receive a 100% refund, minus associated and unrefundable costs.
  • 15 – 60 days prior to the tour customers receive a 50% refund, minus associated and unrefundable costs.
  • 8-14 days prior to the tour customers to receive a 10% refund, minus associated and unrefundable costs.
  • Cancellations received on the day of or within 1 week of departure are non-refundable

Note: With all refunds the company shall not be held liable for any bank, and or associated fees linked to transferring refund, with sole responsibility being borne by the customer.

  • MD may change these Terms & and Conditions at any time. MD will notify customers if changes to the booking terms and conditions are made.
  • It is the responsibility of all customers, regardless of nationality and destination, to check with the consulate of the country they are visiting for current entry requirements. As visa and health requirements are subject to change with-out notice, we recommend that you verify health and visa requirements with the appropriate consulate prior to departure.
  • Price quotations are subject to change without notice, until a booking has been confirmed.
  • MD fully reserves the right to change or amend all itineraries on a case by case basis depending on the situation on the ground. MD will always provide a suitable replacement for anything cancelled on an itinerary.
  • Train, and flight tickets are subject to availability. MD reserve the right to change the mode of transport depending on availability.
  • If for any reason, a client does not complete any portion of their tour or abandons their scheduled tour after departure, MD will not grant a partial refund, nor shall there be any credit given towards future travel.

VISAS

As with all travel there is always a minor chance that a visa will be refused. MD has an excellent track record for visas with a relatively insignificant amount having ever been turned down and all were with good reason.

If the customer has provided accurate information to us and their visa is refused and refunded, MD will in turn grant a full refund of any payments made to MD minus associated transfer fees and costs but will not be held responsible for any costs incurred by the customer in traveling to Beijing, Kuala Lumpur or any other location from which their tour was scheduled to depart. In the event you have intentionally misled us in an attempt to enter a country, we will retain your deposit.

FORCE MAJEURE

In the event of an uncontrollable event, such as war, revolution, and or natural disaster, the customer shall be entitled to a full refund.

What constitutes force majeure is decided solely by the company.

Note: With all refunds the company shall not be held liable for any bank, and or associated fees linked to transferring refund, with sole responsibility being borne by the customer.

TRAVEL INSURANCE

Medical treatment in many destinations is not free, and it is strongly recommended that the customer take out their own travel insurance, AND check with the issuer whether it is valid in the country of the tour. MD does not provide, nor imply provision of health/travel insurance.

LOCAL LAWS

  • Customers are required to follow local laws and regulations at all times. In the result of a breach of local law, MD will not be held in any way responsible and the customer will take responsibility for any consequences, financial or otherwise, that arise from their actions.
  • Customers are required to follow the guidance and company rules of MD at all times. MD reserves the right to expel customers from the tour who do not follow company rules, without refund.

 

TOUR ITINERARY

Due to the nature of travel/tourism of certain countries, itineraries do not provide or imply a guarantee of the tour’s contents. Though we will make every effort to keep itineraries as described and to find suitable replacements, the company reserves the right to make changes to the itinerary in response to unforeseeable events.

 

TRAVEL EXCEPTIONS

MD reserves the right in extreme cases to refuse service to anyone we deem unsuitable for one of our tours, in the event that MD deems you unsuitable prior to a tour any payment made to MD will be refunded minus associated transfer costs.

 

TRANSIT VISA

In the event the customer intends to travel to and from a country using a transit visa they bear full responsibility for ensuring the transit visa is organized correctly. MD will of course offer assistance in the event of issues arising with customer’s transit, but will in no case be held liable for any costs incurred in arranging customer exits.

Group A: Australia

December 30th - January 8th
$1900-2300/pax
  •  Sydney, The Great Barrier Reef, Melbourne, and Ayers Rock/Uluru!
  • New Year’s Eve in Sydney is an extra $400 USD ($2100 USD total)
  • Prices may increase after October 1st, 2017 at 11:59pm EST. They may increase even further the longer you wait!

  • You can secure the this lower price by submitting a 30% down payment before then and pay the rest when the trip begins!

Group B: New Zealand

January 8th-16th
$950/pax
  • Auckland, Rotorua, Wellington, Christchurch, Queenstown, and Milford Sound!
  • Prices may increase after October 1st, 2017 at 11:59pm EST. They may increase even further the longer you wait!

  • You can secure the this lower price by submitting a 30% down payment before then and pay the rest when the trip begins!

Price inclusive of:

  • All Transportation AND flights in the region
  • All Accommodation
  • Listed itinerary
  • Excursion to Milford Sound
  • Visa guidance
  • Guide fees

Price exclusive of:

  • International Flights to begin and end the trip
  • Food/drink
  • Personal expenses/souvenirs
  • Personal/Optional cab rides, public transportation, and/or Uber rides
  • Optional activities/day-tours/excursions/scuba dives
  • Travel insurance
  • Visa application process & fees

Interested in joining us?

E-mail us at calvin[at]monsoondiaries[dot]com if you want to sign up for updates (replaced bracketed text with appropriate punctuation, obviously).