Sri Lanka Frequent Questions | Red Dot Tours

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Frequent Questions

Why should we trust Red Dot to arrange our holiday?

We offer independent, knowledgeable and efficient advice to devise the holiday that you need at a competitive price. Our flexible approach gives you the holiday you want and our Operations support and fair Booking Conditions protect you if things go wrong. Our caring approach has been highly praised by the overwhelming majority of our clients since 2001.

Do you sell outside the UK?

Yes, we do. We sell worldwide, and accept payment in GBP£, US$ and Euros. The Colombo-based sales staff in our Sri Lanka company, Red Dot Lanka Pvt Ltd, design holidays for anyone, anywhere. Our Delhi office provides the same service. [If you book a UK flight holiday, your holiday booking will be with Red Dot Tours, a UK company, which provides the additional benefits of EU travel regulations and ATOL protection].

How safe are Sri Lanka and India?

We retained enormous faith in holidays in Sri Lanka long before the end of the terrorist conflict in 2009. Since then Sri Lanka tourism has prospered and can still offer quite wonderful value as well as infinite variety. There was no history of tourists being targeted at any stage of the terrorist conflict. Violent crime is extremely rare. Hygiene standards are also good. Tourists are warmly welcomed.

India is a vast and diverse country. Check your country's official travel advice, such as that provided by the UK at foreign-travel-advice/india for regions suffering from political unrest. There are times when the hassle in tourist areas, the unpredictable driving standards and a lack of personal space can feel exhausting and overwhelming. But the country, by and large, is friendly, gentle and welcoming. Take sensible precautions, especially at night. Concerns have been expressed about the safety of women travelling alone after highly-publicised sexual attacks but statistics suggest attacks on foreign travellers are rare: Red Dot takes the safety of all its travellers seriously.

What is the best way to make contact about my holiday?

The main Sri Lanka sales and operations teams for Red Dot Tours are based in Colombo. We also have a support network in India. This enables us to offer up-to-the-minute advice and highly competitive prices, as well as supporting the local economy. We can deal effectively with enquiries from anywhere in the world. We prefer that you contact us initially by email by using the Contact Us form (or for simpler enquiries on This method is not as impersonal as it sounds! Whenever you need to discuss your holiday with a consultant, simply phone one of these numbers:

Worldwide IDD for Sri Lanka holidays: +94 117 895 810. Normal international rates apply. Ask for call-back. UK customers for Sri Lanka holidays: 0870 231 7892. (10p a minute from UK landline, cost for mobiles and non-UK calls varies, request ring-back if you wish). Worldwide IDD for India holidays (or for Sri Lanka holidays for India customers): +91 11 6592 4883.

Note: Our UK office deals in admin, management, financial and marketing and does not normally offer a holiday sales service.

What do you advise about money?

Credit cards are widely accepted in bars and restaurants. However, credit card fraud is increasing. Booking in advance with Red Dot and paying in cash for extras if you are ever unsure is your safest alternative. Red Dot also operates a strict anti-fraud policy; ask for details. In Colombo, and other major centres such as Galle and Kandy, there are an increasing number of ATM machines. You should not rely on this option in more far-flung destinations. Note that Scotland and Northern Ireland notes are NOT accepted. Travellers cheques are still widely used, but are not accepted as direct transactions in bars and restaurants. If you are cashing a travellers cheque, bank rates are better than hotel rates but the process can take longer. The banks in the airport arrivals hall offer excellent value and our ground agents will wait until you have made the transaction. As anywhere in the world, guard your money, credit cards and travellers cheques safely and use safety-deposit boxes if possible. You cannot buy Sri Lankan rupees in advance.

Do you have a brochure?

Our holiday brochure is our unrivalled and frequently-updated Internet site at, but we also offer a downloadable pdf brochure at Sri Lanka Online Publications. Please take time to surf around. You will be surprised by the extensive information on offer. We believe that extensive use of the Internet allows us to respond flexibly to changing circumstances, such as price cuts and last-minute offers, and offer a wider range of accommodation and specialist tours, while keeping our costs to a minimum. That is reflected in our prices.

How should I prepare before I contact you?

The more we know about your likes and dislikes the more we can help. Try to have a good idea of what most interests you -- and what doesn't. All the pre-planning you do is to your advantage as it helps us provide the exact holiday you need. Changes of mind are inevitable, but it can be frustrating for you when hotels and flights can become unavailable while itineraries are being fine-tuned. However, if you have no ideas at all, tell us your budget and we will make suggestions.

Do I need a visa in Sri Lanka, the Maldives or India?

Sri Lanka has introduced a compulsory online visa system for all travellers arriving in Sri Lanka from January 1, 2012. Visitors must apply for the Electronic Travel Authorization via established in the Department of Immigration and Emigration. There is a small fee for the visa. Citizens from Singapore and The Maldives are excepted. More details at Visas Immigration. The Sri Lanka Tourism Board website lists countries exempt from visas at Visa Rules.

All foreign nationals, including children, require a visa to enter India. Indian Government has rolled out its first phase of Tourist-Visa-on-Arrival scheme for 43 countries so far (please check Indian Visa Online). Although any genuine visa applications should proceed routinely, please be aware of the potential non-refundable costs in case your visa is not accepted. For the nationals of countries who are yet out of the list, would request you not to finalise your travel arrangements to India before ascertaining your visa requirements. Indian visa arrangements have now been outsourced in many countries. UK travellers should contact or read our visa advice at for more details at India Visa and Immigration

For The Maldives, holders of passports from the vast majority of countries, including UK, Ireland, United States, Germany, France, Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, Sweden and India, can holiday as bona fide tourists for up to 30 days.

In all cases, it is advisable to have more than six months left on your passport at time of travel.

Are you ATOL registered for my extra protection (UK only)?

Yes. Red Dot Tours offers full ATOL protection to UK customers who buy flight-holidays from us. Our flight prices are shown independently and are highly competitive. Our ATOL no is 5517. The Air Travel Organisers' Licence is the UK government-backed scheme managed by the Civil Aviation Authority and gives security for all air packages sold by UK tour operators. If a company stops trading, you'll get a refund. If you're abroad at the time, you'll be able to finish your holiday and fly home. Discover why you should protect yourself at Like a large majority of independent, small travel company, we are not members of ABTA. Please note that non-flight deals are not covered by ATOL-bonding.

Is the information that I provide to you safe?

Information provided in our payment centre is protected by Optimal Payments' secure servers. We never spam or pass on your information to any third party. We have a strict and clearly-stated anti-fraud policy. We shred documents holding personal information. We shall only send you occasional information, such as a free quarterly emailed newsletter, if you specifically request it. We advise you never to email us your credit card details.

Many companies talk of imagining their "perfect client." What is yours?

Somebody who shares our affection for Sri Lanka or India, or who is enthusiastic about discovering its many attractions. Somebody who believes in working with us to devise a suitable and satisfying holiday and to solve together any difficulties that may arise from time to time.

I don't want a full tailor-made holiday. Are you flexible enough to help?

Red Dot values independently-minded customers. We believe that by buying flights, accommodation and transfers from us you receive many advantages. But we are happy to provide as little as one night's accommodation. Just tell us what you need. (Note: An accommodation-only deal can give UK travellers less protection than a full package holiday. Please familiarise yourself with ATOL protection and our booking conditions).

When is my holiday actually confirmed?

Travel industry regulations demand that you receive a Travel Voucher once your holiday has been agreed and booked. This confirms your holiday. You must then arrange payment as laid down in our booking conditions (see next question). Until then, there is no contract between you and Red Dot. You will also receive other useful information.

How can I pay for my holiday?

Payment must normally be made within seven days of the issue of the Travel Voucher. This payment may be required immediately in the case of last-minute bookings, or in special cases, in which case you will be informed of this. Red Dot offers payment by the following methods:

(i) On-line credit card or debit card payments: Credit or debit card payments should be made in GBP£, US$ or Euros on the website on a secure payment site. Access it via the top of the home page. We accept these credit cards: Visa, Mastercard, American Express (transactions in GBP only). We accept these debit cards: Maestro, Visa debit (UK), Solo, Electron.

Debit cards carry no extra charges. Credit cards carry an additional charge of 1 per cent. This contribution towards our credit-card charges helps to keep our base price low.

(ii) UK cheques: Cheques should be made out to Red Dot Tours Ltd and incur no extra charge.

(iii) Bank Transfer:

Payments in GBP(£): Bank name: Barclays Bank Plc, South London 3, Leicester, Leicestershire, UK LE87 2BB Name of Account: Red Dot Tours Limited Acct no: 00510203 Sort-code: 20-29-63 BIC Code: BARCGB2113U IBAN: GB36 BARC 20296300510203 CHAPS BIC Code: BARCGB22XXX

Payments in USD($): Bank name: Barclays Bank Plc, South London 3, Leicester, Leicestershire, UK LE87 2BB Name of Account: Red Dot Tours Limited Acct no: 69222666 Sort-code: 20-29-63 BIC Code: BARCGB2113U IBAN: GB85 BARC 20296369222666 CHAPS BIC Code: BARCGB22XXX

Payments in EURO(€): Bank name: Barclays Bank Plc, South London 3, Leicester, Leicestershire, UK LE87 2BB Name of Account: Red Dot Tours Limited Acct no: 74859011 Sort-code: 20-29-63 BIC Code: BARCGB2113U IBAN: GB33 BARC 20296374859011 CHAPS BIC Code: BARCGB22XXX

Note (1): Customer should pay all bank charges for bank transfers. Failure to do so may lead to you being rebilled.
Note (2): Name and Travel Voucher number must be included on bank transfer details
Note (3): In all these cases, we levy no hidden charges such as postage or booking fees.

What protection do I have if I have to cancel my holiday?

Our stated policy is to return all recoverable costs, above and beyond the minimum shown in our Booking Conditions. We respond as quickly and fairly as we can. We expect our customers to take their holiday bookings as seriously as we do, but we recognise that holidays are occasionally cancelled for valid reasons. Our Booking Conditions give full details. We operate under EC travel law. If you fail to tell us that you no longer wish to travel, unrecoverable costs rise. So please do not avoid the issue – get in touch.

Do you pre-book flights and accommodation, in the way that many package-holiday companies do?

Rarely. We may do at peak times such as Christmas or the summer holidays, when availability is scarce. Pre-booking would tempt us to promote a hotel to our clients that may not be suitable, just to fill the space. When an itinerary is finalised, we then confirm availability of flights and accommodation. That is why we advise early bookings (see next question). Delays risk rising prices and unavailability. We can – and do – offer excellent late deals, but booking about four-six months in advance, especially for Christmas and Easter, offers the best chance of satisfaction.

Can I pre-book seat numbers or request extra leg room on the flight?

Different airlines have different policies. We do try to help where we can, but this can never be guaranteed. Members of Frequent Flyer programmes often have an advantage in this respect.

I have a medical condition that may need special assistance on the flight or during my stay. What should I do?

We recommend that you contact your doctor, at least a month before departure, and request that full details of your condition are provided in writing. We will then forward this information to the airline, ground agents, or hotels as appropriate.

I am interested in one of your specialist tours, but I want to make changes. Is this possible?

Red Dot offers total flexibility and can respond to all requests to adjust itineraries. We will advise if we believe changes these to be realistic. On occasions, these adjustments will involve a change in price. We do not levy a charge to tailor-make holidays

When will my flight tickets arrive?

Our flight etickets are either ticketed by the airline or an agent. These may only arrive about 10 days before travel, especially in peak periods. They are emailed to you and, for UK residents, are also posted to the address shown on the travel Voucher. If you require different arrangements, please give us as much notice as possible. If your address or email details change, please tell us!

Why have we not received any hotel vouchers? Is our booking confirmed?

Red Dot does not supply vouchers to customers before travel. This simply increases admin costs, and brings you no tangible benefit. Our operations team has booked the hotels as shown on your Travel Voucher. All necessary hotel vouchers will be sent directly to the hotels concerned. Showing your Travel Voucher and passport at check-in is all you need to do.

Can I drive my own car in Sri Lanka or India?

In common with other travel companies, we advise our clients not to undertake self-drive car hire unless they are highly experienced in driving conditions in this part of the world. However, we offer competitive self-drive car hire with a reputable company in specific circumstances.

Will we be met at the airport?

If you have booked airport transfers, you will be met by our ground agents at the airport. They can be found, normally with Red Dot board, just outside the arrivals hall. We do not arrange airport meet-and-greets in your own country, except in overriding circumstances. We provide a mobile phone number for your driver a few days before your holiday departure.

If I book a car and driver, will I be hassled to make excursions or shopping trips?

Uniquely, our drivers are in possession of a strict Drivers' Code, in which your safety and satisfaction are the priority. We recommend that you contact our Colombo or Delhi office if you have problems in this regard. (See our transport section for full details). The driver knows your itinerary and is expected to follow it. How much he also acts as a guide depends upon your individual wishes. He may offer additional excursions or shopping visits, but must immediately respect your decision to say 'no.' Additional excursions may require an extra charge. Read the customer feedback for comments about our drivers.

Can you recommend any shopping outlets? provides information as part of a general service. But please note that Red Dot Tours cannot take any responsibility for the quality of goods sold. Any opinions expressed by Red Dot drivers do not constitute company recommendations. The sole exception to this is where goods are ordered directly through us (eg cricket clothing). If you make a purchase, you should be aware that you may face unexpected extra costs for tax, handling charges, customs, and delivery fees. In Australia, for example, fumigation certificates may also prove a problem.

Can I change my itinerary when I am in Sri Lanka or India?

Our Colombo / Delhi office is willing to respond to requests for changes of hotel or a sudden change of itinerary. We recognise that new discoveries can bring the temptation for a change of plan. In some cases, however, it must be understood that such changes may prove impossible. Others will necessarily accrue a surcharge. Read your departure letter for contact numbers.

I have heard that return flights have to be reconfirmed? Is this true?

If you have booked a holiday, including flights, with Red Dot, our ground agents will take care of any flight reconfirmations that may be necessary. If you have arranged your own flights, it is your responsibility to check directly with the airline or flight agent.

What if people need to contact me in an emergency?

We provide a contacts sheet, upon your departure, with TEL. Nos. for our team in Sri Lanka and India. We can also provide a list of hotel phone numbers on request. Mobile phones operate in all major areas and you can buy low-cost pay-as-you-go Sri Lankan / Indian SIM cards on arrival. We can also provide these. The Colombo office can pass on emergency messages. Leave contact numbers, plus a copy of your itinerary, with appropriate friends or relatives.

I'm looking for a low-season holiday to obtain the best prices. At what time of year can I find the best deals?

In Sri Lanka, consider late June and early July, perhaps using the East coast rather than the deep South. October to early December offers good value for the West and South - and monsoon rains occur largely from late afternoon. Avoid Christmas, Easter and school summer holidays. Watch our Special Offers section which has all-year-round special offers. India advice depends on which region you wish to visit: contact us for details.

Please also read our Sri Lanka and India advice, Booking Conditions and Why Red Dot? Any further questions can be answered by e-mail. Last updated: 16/10/2014

Red Dot Tours Ltd is registered as a Ltd. Company at Companies House. Company No: 4007363. Directors: C Austin, D Hopps, K Munasinghe, D De Silva, A Samaraweeja 01/12/14