The difference with a Mat McLachlan Battlefield Tour is the quality of the Historians who guide our tours. We don’t just settle for someone who has a passing knowledge of the battlefields. Our Historians don’t just know about the battlefields — it’s part of their lives. Our Historians are hand-picked by Mat McLachlan and are some of the world’s most respected battlefield authors and guides.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ) - GUADALCANAL
What is the difference between Mat McLachlan Battlefield Tours and other Battlefield Tour Operators?
Why don't the tour prices include airfares?
Two good reasons: Firstly, Mat McLachlan Battlefield Tours attracts customers from all over the North America so for the sake of your flexibility we don’t insist on departure from any particular U.S. airport. Secondly, many of our customers join a battlefield tour as part of a longer vacation. By listing the tour price without airfares, you have the flexibility to simply add a battlefield tour to your itinerary.
Do I need a Visa to enter the Solomon Islands?
Yes. All U.S. citizens traveling to the Solomon Islands require a visitor permit, which is available on arrival at Henderson International Airport, Honiara. For more information on entry and exit requirements, visit https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/SolomonIslands.html
Do I need travel insurance?
It is a condition of travel with McLachlan Battlefield Tours that each passenger is adequately covered by an appropriate travel insurance policy. We strongly advise taking out travel insurance at the time of making your booking to provide full cover. It is useful to note that trip cancellation coverage is not automatic on all travel insurance policies and often carries an extra premium. Please carefully read over your policy to ensure you understand your coverage.
What is my luggage allowance?
Please check with your airline for applicable baggage allowances. On all tours passengers are limited to 1 suitcase which should weigh no more than 50lbs and 1 piece of hand luggage per person. Porterage is not included and is subject to availability especially at some of the smaller hotels in regional areas. All baggage and personal effects are at all times and in all circumstances at the risk of the tour participant. Baggage insurance is recommended.
What medical precautions do I need to take before the trip?
It is important to visit your travel medical doctor or specialist travel clinic several months before you travel to allow time for the accurate recommended courses of vaccinations (if necessary). You should advise your doctor which countries you will be visiting and at what time of the year. This is particularly important if you suffer from any medical conditions. Travelers to the Solomon Islands may be at risk of mosquito borne illnesses such as Malaria or Zika virus. You can find detailed information on vaccinations and other health precautions on https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/list
Health and Safety within the Solomon Islands
The security situation in the Solomon Islands is generally good although, as a developing nation, petty theft can still be a problem. Travellers should not leave valuables unattended (including in vehicles) and should only carry a minimum of cash on their person. Travelers should also be aware of bag snatching and pickpockets and should leave valuables including large amounts of cash, credit cards and jewellery in the hotel safe. It is recommended that women do not go out alone, particularly at night.
Please note that unexploded munitions are common on the Guadalcanal battlefield. If you come across a bomb, grenade or ammunition, do not touch it. Please also be aware that it is illegal to remove war relics from the Solomon Islands, so please do not purchase or collect any war relics.
Are there good healthcare facilities in the Solomon Islands?
Medical facilities, including hospitals and pharmacies, within the Solomon Islands are very basic and limited. For any serious medical treatment, patients will need to be evacuated to Australia or New Zealand, which can cost thousands of dollars. It is recommended to choose a travel insurance policy which includes medical evacuation.
Local laws, customs and traditions
The Solomon Islander people follow conservative standards of dress and behaviour and it is important not to cause offense. Anyone traveling in the Solomon Islands is subject to local laws and penalties, including those which may seem harsh by American standards. For more information on local law, please visit https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/SolomonIslands.html
Where can I find current exchange rates for local currency?
What is the easiest way to pay during my vacation?
Cash: We recommend exchanging a small amount of cash into local currency to pay for incidental expenses such as drinks. On arrival at your destination, you may be able to find current local exchange rates at airport exchange counters, hotel reception desks or at some local banks.
Credit Cards: Credit cards are accepted in most resorts and hotels in Honiara and other major centres, but facilities may not be available outside of this.
ATMs: ATMs are available in Honiara and other major centres, but we recommend you avoid using ATMs on the street and only use ATMs within the airport or banks if possible. You can expect that there will be a local fee for the ATM service, plus your own bank’s charges for foreign withdrawals and currency exchange.
Traveler’s Checks: Traveler’s checks are accepted on a limited basis, and at times, not at all. We do not recommend using Traveler’s checks.
- 1 US Dollar (USD) = 8.01 SBD
- 1 Solomon Islander Dollar (SBD) = 0.12 US Dollar
All rates were correct as of Thursday, 1 November 2018. These rates have been rounded and should not be used when calculating transactions of large value.
How can I get in touch with my family and friends while on tour?
Telephone: Most hotels now have in-room IDD phones. If you have worldwide coverage, you can bring your own cell phone and use it to make local and international calls, however service in the Solomon Islands may be very limited. Check with your cell phone provider for costs before using it abroad as it may be expensive.
Internet: Major hotels these days have wireless broadband access in rooms or public areas although charges may apply in some cases.
In case of an emergency on tour, who should I contact?
When on tour, your guide is the first point of contact. We also have our own operations staff to support you for emergency assistance 24 hours a day. Please see the contact details listed on your travel documentation.
Are there any child rates or restrictions for children?
We believe that our holidays are not suitable for children under 8 years old. Customers aged 18 and under at the time of travel must be accompanied by an adult, parent or guardian aged over 18 years old.
What is the maximum number of guests per room in accommodation?
Rooms are for a maximum of three guests and can be configured as a triple, double or twin share. Single supplements apply for any passenger who wishes to travel solo and not share a room.
How long can I expect to be on the coach and will there be breaks to get off the coach?
Honiara is not a particularly big place, so you should not be on the coach for more than an hour without a break. All our coaches are of a good standard, which means they feature air-conditioning and comfortable seats. All of our coaches are non-smoking.
How much walking is required at the battlefield sites and what should I wear?
There can be a considerable amount of walking on a battlefield tour to Guadalcanal, and it is a tropical island, so dress for hot, humid and wet conditions. Light and comfortable clothing is essential for long days spent outdoors, and hats, sunglasses and sunscreen are a necessity. We will spend much of our time off the beaten track exploring the battlefields, so comfortable walking shoes or boots that can stand up to getting dirty are also essential.
It is recommended to bring a small backpack which you can carry your essentials during the day, consider carrying a light spray jacket in case of rain, insect repellent, a small hand wash or wipes and spare toilet paper may be useful! Do not carry your credit cards or other cards in your wallet, have a smaller wallet for the basic cards you need.
There’s no need to bring formal clothes on the tour. Comfort in a hot tropical environment is the most important consideration, and the Solomon Islands is very relaxed when it comes to dress standards.
Am I able to complete this tour in a wheelchair or if I am mobility impaired?
This tour would not be suitable for someone in a wheelchair or who is mobility impaired
What is the climate?
The Solomon Islands is very close to the equator and is usually hot and humid all year round. Like many tropical destinations, the Solomon Islands has a distinct wet season (November-April) and dry season (May-October), and generally the drier months provide a more comfortable climate in which to visit.
What facilities can I expect at the hotels?
Mat McLachlan Battlefield Tours uses a 4-star hotel in Honiara, with a good standard of facilities and service.
Electricity: The Solomon Islands uses Australian electrical sockets (type I) which is typically 240 volts and 50 hertz. For more information go to https://www.power-plugs-sockets.com/us/australia/
Valuables: The hotel we use offers personal safes in the rooms. Although security is generally very good at the hotels, it is sensible to use personal safes for valuables. It is also a good idea to carry a copy of your passport, and to only carry as much cash as you will need each day.
Drinking water: Tap water in the Solomon Islands is NOT safe to drink and it is recommended to drink bottled water only. Remember to brush your teeth with your bottled water also. Bottled drinking water can be purchased at hotels or local super markets.
Swimming: Our hotel in Honiara has an outdoor swimming pool. There may also be the opportunity to swim in the ocean on some occasions during the tour. For health and safety reasons, we do not recommend swimming in the ocean in the immediate vicinity of Honiara.
Internet access: The hotel we use in Honiara offer wireless internet access, although usage rates are higher than we would expect in USA.
Should I leave a tip?
Tipping is not widespread in the Solomon Islands and is generally not expected. International hotels may include a service charge on restaurant and bar bills.
Tipping your Driver and Historian: All tips to Mat McLachlan Battlefield Tours escorts and drivers are included in your tour price, and they will not expect a tip at the end of the tour.
Who should I speak to regarding my dietary requirements?
If you have any dietary requirements (allergies etc.) you must advise Mat McLachlan Battlefield Tours prior to your departure, and ensure you advise your tour manager upon arrival.
Can I bring medals or military insignia to wear during the tour?
If you have military medals that you would like to wear during the tour, you will have the opportunity to wear these during either/both of the two commemorative services we will be attending on the 7th August and 9th August. As military medals are a significantly valuable item, please ensure that you keep them stored in the hotel room safe when you are not wearing them.
What will happen when I arrive at Henderson International Airport, Honiara?
After collecting your luggage and completing the immigration and customs procedures, you will walk through the exit gate. Your guide will be holding a welcome sign with the Mat McLachlan Battlefields logo. It may be possible that you are sharing the transfer from the airport to the hotel with some of the other passengers in the group.
How can I transfer payments to you? Do you require a deposit for booking?
We are able to hold an option for 7 days then we require a non-refundable deposit of 30% of the booking total to confirm the services for your tour. Payment can be made by credit card or bank transfer in USD.
How to cancel the booking I have made?
If for any reason you need to cancel and have booked directly with Mat McLachlan Battlefield Tours, please contact us. Our booking terms and conditions, and additional terms and conditions, may apply. If you have booked through a travel agent, please contact your travel agent for any cancellations.
Is there a U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the Solomon Islands?
Yes. Please see below details for the U.S. Consulate within the Solomon Islands. The nearest U.S. Embassy is in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.