Still got some questions? We've prepared some answers to our most frequently asked questions below.
1. About Stray Asia
What's the difference between a Freestyle Pass and a Freestyle Tour?
Passengers with Freestyle Passes and Freestyle Tours travel together, on our safe, reliable, flexible adventure travel network, with a fun local Tour Leader, exploring amazing destinations.
The main difference is that Freestyle Tours include accommodation and activities in the package price, and so this is sorted up front, and passengers on Freestyle Passes book and pay for their accommodation and activities as they go.
Both Passes and Tours are fully flexible so you can hop-off anywhere and hop back on when you are ready to continue travelling.
How many people travel in a group?
The majority of our groups consist of between 10 and 15 people, with a maximum of 24 (including driver and Tour Guides). Having a small group size not only means we can offer a more personalised service, but it also gives us access to more destinations, activity and accommodation options.
Is it ok to travel alone on Stray?
Absolutely! A lot of our travellers arrive alone, others are with friends or partners. It doesn’t matter because by the end of day one you will have already met some awesome like-minded travellers on the bus.
Each time you hop off, you'll hop back on with a new group of people so you'll meet even more people along the way.
Your Tour Leaders will become a good source of support to you along the way too.
How fit do I need to be?
You don’t have to be an athlete to travel with us – all walks and activities are optional and there is something for everyone.
What does the Tour Leader do?
Each group is accompanied by a Local Tour Leader to inform, enthral and entertain you with facts, stories and unbelievable insight into the local culture. They will also book your accommodation and recommend top notch things to do every step of the way. Our guides are consistently one of the most highly-rated features of our trips - just ask any traveller of ours! They will become a good friend and source of support to you.
What will I eat whilst in Southeast Asia?
Western food is sparse outside the main centres so come open-minded about eating local food. At our stops we will recommend tasty restaurants but when you get into local villages and homestays be prepared to eat simple local fare, with maybe the odd wild-card ingredient (which is part of the fun!). Supermarkets are not the norm but we will point out places where you can stock up on food for the day. Depending what you eat, you can spend US$5 - 15 a day on food.
Please note vegetarian meal options may at times be limited for choice but there is always rice, noodles and soups, and excellent fruit and vegetables are plentiful at the local markets.
I travelled with Stray in New Zealand. Can I get a loyalty discount?
Yes, you sure can! Email us and let us know you'd like to travel with us again and we'll hook you up. You'll get 5% off any Stray Asia pass. Email [email protected] and provide your Stray NZ confirmation/booking number.
How can I check if there is availability on the date I want to travel?
You can check availability by clicking 'Book My Travel' on the pass page, then selecting your preferred start date at checkout.
The checkout shows live availability so if there is space on the tour and you don't want to miss out, you can book with a 20% deposit. You have up to six months to pay off the trip.
What is the average age of Stray travellers?
Our average age is late 20s, BUT Stray is not about age, it's a mind set. If you enjoy being active and meeting people you are right for Stray. Read more about who travels with us.
Help - I just tried to book but my payment failed.
2. Preparing for your trip
How do I get a visa? Can I get one upon arrival?
Since visa requirements vary depending on where you’re coming from and where you going, we recommend that you contact the appropriate embassy in your country of origin. For a general overview, you can find information on visas here.
What should I bring?
Light clothes for the wet season (May – Oct) and something warm for the dry season (Nov – Mar), especially for the north of Laos and Thailand; a good travel medical kit supplied by a doctor (for any inconveniences, dietary or otherwise); your travel insurance details; sunscreen; bug repellent (at least 30% deet content); girls - a sarong for swimming in remote areas, local culture requires modesty; a poncho or light raincoat (it can rain even in the dry season in the north), shoes/trainers for walking, a roll of toilet paper and hand sanitizer is always good, and of course, a sense of adventure!
Do I need travel insurance?
There is no travel insurance cover included in the price of a Stray pass but adequate and valid travel insurance is compulsory to travel with us.
Our preferred insurance provide is World Nomads Travel Insurance which is available to people from over 140 countries. It’s designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.
Why do I need to provide my passport, travel insurance and next of kin information?
The short answer is: to comply with Stray's Health and Safety policy. The long answer involves complying with our Health and Safety policy, Thailand's requirements around insurance should any medical emergency occur and the Laos government's legislation relating to travelling on our buses within Laos and crossing borders in Laos. If you require any further information please contact [email protected].
Do I need to bring a sleeping bag or mosquito net?
You don’t need to bring a sleeping bag but a sleeping bag liner/inner is advisable. You don't need to bring a mosquito net but we do recommend getting bug repellant with DEET (35% concentration or higher).
How much should I budget for?
We suggest you bring up to US$25 each day for food and entertainment.
3. Managing your pass
Is there a limit on the number of times I can 'hop-on' and 'hop-off'?
No, there is no limit. You can hop off at every stop if you want to.
How often does the bus run?
The bus departs each destination twice a week, so if you hop off, you'll have 3-4 days to explore before you hop back on the next bus.
While I'm travelling, how far in advance should I book in my next travel date?
You can book online right up until the bus leaves however in the busy season (December - February) we recommend booking 5 days in advance as the buses do fill up.
I've booked my Stray Asia pass! What happens next?
Yay you booked!
- After booking, you will be emailed a link to allow you to login and manage your travel plans online. If you do not receive your login link, please email us at [email protected].
- Please login and check we have your correct start date and pick-up location.
- When you are ready, you will then need to pre-book each leg of your pass so that we know when you want to hop on and off (you are able to change this as you go).
Each departure date is subject to availability. If you are short on time we recommend you book all your travel in advance to avoid disappointment.
Can I skip out a section of my pass?
Yes, as long as you book your travel accordingly, you are welcome to skip out a section of your pass. For example, our Lot Pass starts in Bangkok but you could start in Chiang Mai (the second destination) if you were already there.
How far in advance do I need to book each part of my pass?
We recommend you book your departure date at least 1 week in advance to secure your seat, especially if you are starting on a train. Once you’re on the bus 48 hours is usually enough notice. However if you are short on time we recommend you book all your travel in advance to avoid disappointment.
When and where does the bus depart from each day?
How long is my travel pass valid for?
You must begin your travel within 12 months of booking, and then all passes are valid for 12 months from your 1st day of travel, subject to visa restrictions.
Is accommodation included in the pass?
Accommodation is 'pay-as-you-go' with Freestyle Travel Passes and included with Freestyle Tours, Journeys and Arrival Packs.
For Freestyle Pass travellers, your Tour Leader can assist with booking your accommodation each night at Stray's preferred accommodation. Alternatively you have the option to research and arrange your own accommodation. Prices vary depending on location and season but expect to pay US$5-8 for a shared room, around US$28 for a twin or double (up to US$60 for top end private rooms in the main cities). Our preferred accommodation is usually in family operated guesthouses, clean budget hotels and hostels. In some of our more remote village destinations we stay in traditional homestays.
For Freestyle Tours, accommodation is included with the package as per the nights specified in your itinerary. Stray does not group un-associated travellers together, therefore if you book a Freestyle Tour 'Twin' you will need to book this with a travel buddy. Alternatively you can book a Freestyle Tour Single Room.
For more information, check out our accommodation section.
Do I need to book my own accommodation?
Your Tour Leader can book your accommodation each night at Stray's preferred accommodation, however you are welcome to make your own plans if you prefer. Stray guarantees a reserved bed for your first night at all of Stray's overnight stops on a no-obligation, pay-as-you-go basis. This saves you the hassle of having to research and pre-book your accommodation before you go. All of Stray's accommodation has been vetted to ensure the best value in terms of cleanliness, comfort, location and price.
Is private accommodation available?
Twins and double rooms are available at almost every overnight stop except for our homestays. In busy periods these may need to be booked in advance but your Tour Leader can help you with this.