FAQ’s 

GENERAL QUESTIONS

WHAT’S INCLUDED?

Every trip is different as it is customized for each traveler and each hotel and supplier is different too, but we guarantee always being transparent and putting in writing what’s included.

On our opinion and experience the ideal trip is designed and booked with us from end to end, so we know all about it and have better leverage with suppliers, hence dramatically increasing the chances of success.

Our focus is for you to Surf, Eat, Drink, and Sleep without a care in the world, except how the swell is going to be like tomorrow.

Please note that at this point we only book Hotels, Villas, Boats, Guides, Photographers, Transfers and Tours. We don’t book Airtickets and Travel Insurance yet.

 

ARE NON-SURFERS WELCOME ON THE TRIP?

Of course! Travelers with companions who prefer not to surf can still experience our favorite destinations in style. Varying according to the destination, non-surfers will experience the best of the region has to offer: discover local culture, hike, visit a local yoga studio, learn the language or cooking local food, wine tasting, shop or make the most of hotel pools and spas, the options depend greatly on where you’re going, a boat in the Mentawai will be more limited than a trip to Brazil or California, for example 

Since guides are focused on supporting surfers, alternate transportation may be required for non-surfers. Our guides are happy to help with these arrangements and much more, after all, Shades of Seas was created exactly to allow surfers to travel the world doing what they love with whom they love. 

 

ARE CHILDREN WELCOME? 

Absolutely! We encourage all families with children to be adventurous and open minded, but also aware and responsible for such important decisions. Even our most exotic destinations can accommodate kids and they’ll always find something to have fun with, but (i) they must be prepared to live a different life “off the grid” for that time and (ii) parents must acknowledge that medical facilities, hospitals, clinics and even doctors are sometimes hours away from these places, imposing risks that must be weighted before a decision is made.

 

ARE ELDERS WELCOME?

Different from kids, elders can be a lot more challenging and fragile to the elements, some of our destinations are great for them, others (boats and islands for example) are not recommended, as they will have difficulty moving around and the staff may be more limited to cater for some special needs, especially those not communicated in advance.

Conversely, those destinations where we feel elders will have a good time, offer the perfect setup for multi-generational reunions, around the passion for traveling, surfing, nature and each other. 

  

CAN WE TRAVEL AS A GROUP OF FRIENDS? ALUMNI REUNION? CORPORATE RETREATS? 

Sure! We will put the same energy on each of you and some more on the group as a whole, creating memorable experiences to be shared and remembered forever.

 

HOW DO YOU ACCOMMODATE VARYING SURFING ABILITIES?

Everything we do is driven by a spirit of fun and adventure. For some, that means seating in the channel for a while before venturing on the line-up, for others, it’s about finding mellow and forgiving waves, while others may want to charge hard.

Since our trips are customized and often private, you will essentially do everything you want and nothing you don’t, so we can easily accommodate all levels of ability and experience. On group situations (like boats for example), we will also respect everyone, but prioritizing the best surfers and the best waves first and going for other options later.

  

HOW DO YOU ACCOMMODATE DIETARY RESTRICTIONS?

We go above and beyond to meet your dietary needs and communicate your restrictions, allergies, and preferences for restaurant meals, cooking classes, and culinary experiences. When booking a trip, we recommend discussing dietary restrictions with your Surf Travel Advisor to ensure your destination is a good fit based on local cuisine. Once you’ve booked your trip, we gather detailed information about your dietary preferences to alert your guides in advance. 

 

BOOKING A TRIP

 

HOW DO I BOOK A TOUR?

Online, Phone, Email, Smoke Signals (no, just kidding…), you choose. Surf Travel Advisors are available by phone at +1 (619) 866-3900 and email at bookings@shadesofsea.com for questions and bookings. 

Given the logistics of smaller suppliers, exotic destinations and several guides, most of our trips require a little more back and forth of calls and emails, but we’re here to do the heavy lifting and specially to supervise it’s alright.

Once you have submitted your final reservation and credit card details, you will receive either an email confirmation, which means your trip has been reserved according to the terms and conditions stated on the confirmation. We will contact you by the following business day to finalize the details of your booking and preferences.

Our trips require 100% prepayment as at the time of booking. We strive to use smaller “boutique” suppliers whenever possible and they have more restricted policies. For bookings placed with more than 30 days in advance, a payment plan can be setup, as long as it is 100% paid by day 30 pre-trip.

 

WHAT IF I HAVE TO CANCEL OR CHANGE MY TRIP?

Please refer to our cancellation policy for details. 

 

SHOULD I PURCHASE TRAVEL PROTECTION?

We strongly recommend you do. Travel Protection Plans are designed to protect your travel investment, including you, your belongings, and your flights — even if we did not book them.

 

CAN YOU HELP WITH TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS?

Yes! Our team of Surf Travel Advisors are happy to handle bookings for you.

 

PREPARING FOR EXPEDITIONS

 

HOW SHOULD I TRAIN PRIOR TO THE TRIP?

In general, we recommend you surf as frequently as possible prior to your trip, if that’s not feasible, swim as much as possible and for those willing to charge bigger waves, an apnea course is always useful and provides extra confidence. Yoga and Pilates are great support activities as well, both physically and mentally. Furthermore, stretch, eat well, visit your doctor for a check-up and recommendations on exercise and general preparation pre and during your expedition. 

 

WHAT KIND OF SUPPORT CAN I EXPECT WHILE ON AN EXPEDITION?

When you’re on the ocean, our guides are constantly looking out for your safety and advising on best place to go out, go in, where to sit and so on. Our guide will always have water and snacks, as well as great recommendations for the best place to stop pre and post sessions for local flavors. 

Guides will meet you at your preferred location (either at the hotel or directly at the beach). They do not use their cars but will ride on the same transportation vehicle if you choose that they meet you at u your hotel or if you’re changing venues after the original meeting point. They will take you surfing, hiking, shopping or just wandering around getting to know the area, they are respected locals who know everyone and are proud of their origins and willing to share that with you, your friends and family.

Expect to be very well taken care of, our guides will liaise with the hotel, villa or boat staff, drivers, rental car companies and so on, they’ll help you order at restaurants and check the bills, book museum, theater, park and any other experiences you wish.

Throughout the expeditions, our guides also offer a more intangible kind of support. They speak the language of the region, understand the intricacies of local culture, have friends at hotels, restaurants, wineries, surf shops and – most importantly – the surf spots. Professional photographers and/or video makers can be arranged to document the entire trip or part of it, this can be done locally or - preferably - in advance. 

SHOULD I TAKE THE GUIDES TO LUNCH AND DINNER?

It’s your call. They are ready to find and alternative spot for themselves, but if you invite them to join you, make sure to cover their cost as well please.

 

HOW MUCH SHOULD I TIP THE GUIDES?

Gratuities for our guides are much appreciated to thank them for exceptional service, support, and expertise. The industry standard is for each individual guest to tip around 10% of their service price at the end of the trip.