If you have booked or are considering The Bali Meetup Tour, this is where you will find the practical information you need from travel insurance and safety protocols to how to pack for a tropical climate in a destination that’s also conservative.
Is this trip right for you?
- Bali’s climate is consistently warm and humid, and exceedingly so during the rainiest months of (November through March), but it can also be sweater weather come sunset on the beach when cool breezes and sometimes stronger winds pick up. Layers by night and loose fitting clothing by day is a good idea.
- Between our daylong island adventures and walks through the rice fields, you can expect to be exposed to the elements at length, so be prepared with a hat, sunscreen, lip balm, and plenty of water. Comfortable shoes are also a must.
- We may visit several sites and communities that live and dress more conservatively than in the tourist areas of Bali. For this reason, it’s important that you pack at least one or two outfits that cover your shoulders and knees.
- Though the risk of infection is low, Indonesia is home to several mosquito-borne illnesses, including malaria, dengue fever, and Japanese encephalitis. You can protect yourself by using insect repellant and wearing long, loose-fitting, light-colored clothing. Also, speak to your doctor about anti-malarial medications and vaccinations before you travel.
For more than 160 countries, a visa is not required to enter Bali for trips under 30 days. At immigration, you will need to show your passport (valid for at least the next six months and with at least two blank pages left) and your onward or return flight ticket.
If you are from a country that requires a visa to enter Bali, please contact your local Indonesian Embassy or consulate for more information on the visa application process or go to Bali’s official immigration website: http://www.imigrasi.go.id/
As rules and restrictions are constantly changing, please check your government’s foreign travel advisory and visit the following website: https://www.imigrasi.go.id/en/covid19-8/
Requirements currently include a negative PCR test taken no more than 72 hours prior to arrival into Indonesia and that you’ve registered with the e-HAC Indonesia health app.
Please also ensure you have a travel insurance policy that covers you for travel to and from Bali as well as medical or COVID-19 related expenses within the country.
Upon arrival we have an escort meeting you at the airport, just look for the sign with the SoFe logo! He will lead you through the visa and immigration process and bring you to your driver waiting outside. The driver will take you directly to the hotel where they will meet our leader.
You need a valid passport to travel internationally. Most countries require that your passport does not expire for at least 6 months after the date you enter. We require your passport details 45 days before departure. When booking your Meetup Tour, please enter your name as it appears on your passport and contact us immediately if there are any errors.
While on your Meetup Tour, local Bali law requires that you always carry identification. We recommend taking a clear photocopy of your passport photo page and photo of your visa (after arriving) to carry with you instead of toting your actual passport around with you.
For this tour, we offer a selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travelers. We recommend to pre-book these activities, to be sure there is availability. It’s rare that only one person signs up for an activity, but you will never have to go alone. A leader or our guide will go with you if no one else has signed up. Last minute booking of optional activities is possible, but depends on availability. Should you choose to book an optional activity while on the tour, we will charge the card we have on file.
We have worked with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed, especially those that are medium to high risk. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator, and therefore, we are unable to help book these activities. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.
As of April 1, 2021, we have updated our policies to require all travelers to show one of the following upon meeting the group on day 1:
-Proof of COVID-19 vaccination, or
– Proof of negative COVID-19 test conducted no more than 72 hours before day 1 of your trip
10 nights in hotels, including 5 nights at a villa in Ubud, 3 nights at a hotel in Gili Trawangan, and 2 nights at a resort in Canggu
Rooms are twin share with an ensuite unless you upgrade to a private room, based on availability.
The accommodation indicated on the webpage is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to lack of availability. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.
In the base cost of the tour, a shared room is included. You may choose to upgrade to a private room for an extra charge as long as there is availability.
Upgrading to a private room once in Bali is more difficult and may result in a higher cost than advertised on the webpage.
Our Bali tour is considered premium accommodation including some villa and resort stays. When we stay in 5 star hotels, the standard may be less than what you are used to in terms of design, facilities, and inclusions. If there is a problem with your accommodation, always alert your tour leader so it can be remedied if possible.
Sometimes it is not possible to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels, especially if you arrive before check in time. We can store your luggage and you can explore the surrounding area. Standard check in time is 4:00pm.
Check out is at 11:00am on the last day.
Extra nights at our hotel are available. You may have to switch rooms at the beginning or end of the tour.
Money and finances
Spending money is a personal choice, and everyone will have different spending habits and needs. It is best to budget a reasonable amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities, tipping, and laundry. It’s always better to bring a little more than you think you’ll need. Please have a thorough look at the itinerary and at what is included so you will be prepared for what isn’t included. Our Meetup Tour is very inclusive, however some meals, tips, and extras are not included. This guide should make budgeting a little clearer.
Many meals are included in this tour, but some are purposefully left out so you can experience different restaurants and dishes to your liking.
Lunch at a local restaurant could cost between $2USD to $15USD. However, local street food is relatively safe and fresh to eat and is normally much cheaper.
Your leader and guide will help you find local options. Meals will cost between $2USD to $30USD, depending on the restaurant.
Food prices in Bali range widely from cheap street food to fine dining. If you have a strict budget, be mindful of your choices and let your tour leader know the type of food you are looking for, so she can direct you to the best places.
Tipping is not mandatory in Bali. However, If you are satisfied with the services provided, a small tip is appropriate and always appreciated. While it may not be a part of your customs at home, it is very valuable and helpful to the people who will be taking care of you on your trip.
While tipping is encouraged, the amounts are small. Please budget about $3USD per day on average for small tips. If you are worried you may not have small change or feel uncomfortable tipping yourself, your leader might suggest the idea of a group tipping kitty, where everyone contributes an equal amount and then your tour leader pays the tips as you go. The leader will keep a running record of all money spent (except restaurant tips). The record can be checked at any time and any money remaining at the end of the tour returned to group members. This kitty does not include tips for your local guide, but tips for your driver and porters at hotels are included in your tour price.
To help you understand tipping culture, we have provided some ideas for amounts. These are suggestions, as tipping is always a personal choice and at your discretion. You may even find yourself at establishments that have a sign that says “no tipping.” Any service charge you see included in your bill typically goes to the government or the establishment, not the staff. When in doubt, round your bill up to the nearest 10,000 IDR and leave it as a tip for the staff.
Restaurants: 5-20% of the total bill amount is appropriate if tipping is welcome at the establishment.
Boat trips: $3USD per person, per day for the boat staff.
Drivers: Our drivers’ tips are included in your tour cost.
Your Tour Guide: You may also consider tipping your tour guide for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is completely at your discretion, however as a guideline $5USD per person, per day is standard practice. Of course, you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
It is not necessary or expected to tip your Tour Leader, but small, sweet gifts, even handwritten notes, are very appreciated if you feel that your Tour Leader improved your experience.
The currency in Bali is the rupiah (IDR). Denominations come in notes of Rp. 1,000, Rp. 2,000, Rp. 5,000, Rp. 10,000, Rp. 20,000, Rp. 50,000, and Rp. 100,000 and coins of Rp. 50, Rp. 100, Rp. 200, Rp. 500 and Rp. 1,000.
We recommend always having small denominations for tipping and small purchases.
- A towel for our visit to the Sumampan Waterfall
- Copies of your travel documents- passport, flight itinerary, travel insurance policy and contact info.
- A hat for the sun
- A light wind or rain jacket for winter months
- Bug spray
- A pair of breathable, solid walking shoes like Keens or Teva, our favorites.
- Loose-fitting pants
- A casual dress or nice outfit you can dance in
- Short sleeve tops, tank tops, at least one shirt that totally covers your shoulders
- A lightweight scarf to cover your head
- A sports bra, especially if you are riding the ATV
- A swimsuit and bathing suit cover-up
- Don’t forget underwear
- Earplugs and an eye mask
- Body soap
- Shampoo, conditioner, hairbrush
- Body wash
- Period essentials
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Plug adaptor
Phone and internet access
There is wifi available in most of our accommodations, but it is not always the most reliable, especially in the more rural areas. We suggest purchasing a prepaid sim card at the Bali airport. This option only works on unlocked phones. Just after exiting the airport, you will find the booths of three mobile phone providers: Telkomsel (simPATI), XL, and Indosat/ IM3 Ooredoo.
Plans and prices can change but expect to pay between $7 to $8USD for a plan that will provide you 4GB of data. You will require your passport to purchase and register your new sim.
Alternatively, ask your home service provider for international plans.
Group leader and guide
All tours with The Solo Female Traveler Network are accompanied by a guide who is with the group for the whole trip. The guide’s role is to be the local expert of the destination and coordinate a lot of the on the ground logistics. They are not always a native of the country, but they are always experienced expert guides.
Most of our tours also include a leader, whose role is to enrich the experience socially. She will help bridge any cultural differences, manage group expectations, and capture the tour in photos and videos for marketing purposes. Some tours will not include a Tour Leader, and in this case, our local guide will act as both guide and leader.
Traveling as a woman
We believe that every woman should dress as she chooses and should feel free to experience the world without extra worry for her safety. Unfortunately, the rest of the word does not practice gender equality as we wish. It’s important to adapt to local customs to be safer and to respect not only the locals, but also your fellow travelers. The likelihood of anything happening on your trip is quite low, but we recommend being aware of the following safety tips:
Street harassment such as cat calls, stares, invitations to get in a car/bar/restaurant/home are common. These are our tips for responding to this unwanted attention:
- Ignore. Don’t even bother smiling. Just keep about your business.
- Wear sunglasses to avoid eye contact.
- Ignore. We mean it, so we said it twice! Ignore them but also ignore your internal commentary on it all. Let it roll off your back and walk on focusing on all the amazing things around you.
- Dress respectfully and you will find both men and women will respond to you in a more respectful manner.
- While it very unlikely to happen, do feel free to stand up for yourself if you feel threatened. Men you do not know should not be touching you at all and if you’re in public, people will come to your aid if you make a fuss.
When not with your guide, we recommend the following:
- Do not walk in isolated areas or at night by yourself
- If hotel staff need to enter your room, arrange to be either on tour or in the lobby, so you are not alone.
- Respect the local customs, which may mean dressing more conservatively than you do at home.
- Do not hire a driver or guide for tours from the street. Always go with a reputable company or ask us to help you arrange any pre or post experiences.
- Do not accept any invitations for anything from random people on the street.
- Always carry your tour guide’s contact information and hotel address with you during solo time.
- Alert your guide of any inappropriate behavior or perceived risk to your safety.
We recommend that you stay up to date on travel safety updates on your home country government website. Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, but they are not required to accompany you on solo time, where you can relax, choose an optional activity, or explore on your own. During solo time, we do not vouch for the safety of the experiences you choose, even if our guide or leader recommends them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Our team on the ground is always monitoring the safety situation and reserves the authority to cancel or change experiences at their discretion if deemed unsafe.
Seat belts are always provided and must be worn in accordance with local law.
Cars may drive on the opposite side of the road than you are used to. Practice extreme caution when crossing the street. Also note that traffic may be much heavier and road rules may be very different from what you are used to. Be careful and aware that pedestrians do not have the right of way.
While most of the tour, especially in major cities, will be with your guide and the group, petty theft is common in any tourist area. Do not walk around alone at night if it can be avoided and hold your belongings close on public transportation. Your local guide will give you some safety tips throughout your tour, and we suggest heeding this advice.
Please do not enter the water without a life vest and a buddy if you are not an experienced swimmer. Alert the leader and guide to your ability level before participating in water activities. Lifeguards are not on duty and our staff are not trained in water rescue.
We suggest checking your government’s advice in relation to the areas you will be visiting for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers.
Travel insurance is mandatory on all our Meetup Tours. We require that at a minimum you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. If you are travelling within your home country or region please confirm before travel that you are entitled to access the public medical system easily should an accident occur. We strongly recommend all travellers have a policy that also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage or personal effects. For international trips, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company’s 24-hour emergency contact number has been sighted by your leader.
If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number, and emergency contact number rather than the bank’s name and your credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
With almost all of our travelers coming on the Meetup Tour solo, we have women from different countries, backgrounds, perspectives, and opinions. This is part of what makes our tours so special and what often leaves our travelers with couches to crash on around the world and even long time friendships. Like any group, especially one consisting of people of different ages coming from all corners of the world, this can also cause clashes in culture and disagreements. We promote an environment of kindness, empowerment, and communication, so certain behaviors will not be tolerated for the benefit of everyone’s experience.
A great group dynamic takes effort, patience, and compassion from every member. Bullying, threatening, and violence of staff, locals, and fellow participants will not be tolerated on our trips.
Use or possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. If you choose to consume alcohol while traveling, we encourage responsible drinking and expect that you’ll abide by the local laws regarding alcohol consumption.
The group guide and leader have final say on all matters that affect the safety or well-being of any traveler or staff member participating in the trip. If you fail to comply with a decision made by a group leader, or interfere with the well-being or mobility of the group, the group leader may direct you to leave the trip immediately, with no right of refund.