Please read carefully the below Passenger Information and the Terms & Conditions.
Before You Go
Passports and Visas
You will require a valid passport with appropriate visas (if required). You must contact applicable government authorities to get the necessary documentation. It is the sole responsibility of each guest to have a valid passport and necessary visas, as well as to comply with entry, health or other requirements of the countries visited.
Travel insurance is a must have! It is imperative that you take out a comprehensive travel insurance policy that covers you the entire time you are away from home. Your policy should cover the following:
- Trip cancellation or curtailment
- Loss or damage to property and baggage
- Loss of cash, traveler’s checks, etc.
- Medical costs and personal accident
Don’t forget to pack a copy of your policy, contact phone numbers and instructions on how to claim in the unlikely event that it is necessary.
Airport Transfers in Italy
On many itineraries, we offer complimentary group arrival transfers from the airport to your hotel at set times. (Please check your relevant itinerary page in the brochure for full details). If your flight times do not coincide with the shuttle bus transfer timings you may choose and book a private transfer.
This is restricted to one large suitcase per person with dimensions not exceeding 30x19x10” (76x45x25 cm) and a maximum weight of 50 lb (23 kg).
Hand luggage should be one piece per person and small enough to fit under your coach seat or on the small overhead shelf compartment. This is your responsibility and should be carried on/off the coach with you. Please note that luggage with an adjustable handle and wheels will not fit in the overhead compartment of the coach and cannot be accepted as carry-on luggage.
Your understanding and cooperation is appreciated, particularly as it is necessary for your safety and comfort. If a second suitcase is carried, or if it exceeds the permitted weight and/or dimensions, a charge of €6/£5 per traveling day will be collected by your Travel Director. Airlines may have additional restrictions and may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage. Please contact your airline or refer to its website for detailed information regarding your airline’s checked baggage policies. Loss or damage to luggage or any of your belongings is at your own risk, so please protect yourself with appropriate insurance.
When traveling as a couple, pack each suitcase with day and evening clothing for each person, so that in the unlikely event one of your suitcases is mislaid on your flight, you’ll still be able to manage. Ensure that your personal and vacation details are written on a label inside each suitcase (including name, address, telephone number, departure and return flight details). Write only your name and destination address on outside labels. Make sure that your luggage is in good secure condition, and use a TSA approved lock for US security checkpoints. When carrying fragile items, use a rigid style suitcase for protection. Check-in only your own suitcases. Do not carry items packed by other people. Never accept packages or articles from anyone unknown to you to carry on board the aircraft. There are strict airport security regulations on items that may be carried on board aircraft such as liquids/gels and metal objects. Please consult your airline regarding these and other restricted items and how they must be displayed at airport security checkpoints. We suggest you pack only essential items for daytime use in your handbaggage, both for your flight and while on the coach. For example, your camera, medicines, anything that you use frequently or is particularly valuable. Expensive jewelry, clothing, etc. should be left at home for your peace of mind.
Clothing & Footwear
A general tip would be to make sure you bring comfortable walking shoes as a number of cities in Italy are developing as havens for pedestrians.
What to Bring
This will depend upon your personal preferences, where you are traveling to and the time of year you are traveling. We generally recommend casual, lightweight, drip-dry clothing that requires little or no ironing. Laundry facilities are available at most of the places we stay, however, take sufficient clothing to last for about a week. Below is a list of items to consider packing for your vacation:
Swimsuit, Undergarments, Sandals, Socks, Hat, Sleepwear, Shorts/skirts, Jeans/trousers, Warm jacket, Pullover/cardigan, Waterproof jacket, Shirts/blouses, Good walking shoes.
Spare batteries/charger, Camera/memory cards, Medications & prescriptions, Power plug adapters/converter, Toiletries, Collapsible umbrella, Insect repellent, Sunscreen, Travel sewing kit, Pocket calculator, Plastic bags, Travel alarm clock, Sunglasses, Sachets of washing powder, Money belt or holster.
Passport (& Visas), Travel insurance policy, Airline tickets, Credit cards/pre-loaded currency cards. NB Do not pack your passport or money in your suitcase.
Tip: Weed out your wallet prior to leaving. Only take the essential identifiers like your drivers license and just two credit cards - one to carry, another to be locked in your hotel room safe. Do not carry your social security number on you.
If you are on a regular course of medication or there are medicines that particularly suit you, we recommend that you bring an adequate supply for your entire trip. Identical brands may not be available elsewhere, but also bring a copy of your prescription. For easy access when traveling, please keep all your medication in your hand luggage, not in your suitcases. Carry prescription drugs in their original package to avoid customs questions. We respectfully suggest older passengers and those suffering from any existing medical conditions should have a thorough check-up with their doctor prior to departure. If you wear eyeglasses, you may wish to bring an extra pair or set of contact lenses in your carry-on luggage. If you have any existing medical conditions, dietary requirements or disability that should be brought to our attention, it is essential that you inform us via your travel agent. Medical attention can be very expensive outside your own country, so be sure to take out adequate insurance.
For personal items such as souvenirs, gifts, taxi fares, laundry and gratuities, we suggest you allow €15-€20 per day. In addition, we recommend you budget for the following extra expenses per person:
Lunches are usually not included and individual requirements vary, but we suggest you allow €10-15 per day. Where evening meals are not included, the cost will depend on the type and locations of restaurants used. As a guide, allow €25-€30 per day. You should budget for drinks with meals and refreshment stops during the day. Non-alcoholic drinks cost approximately €2-€3 each.
Experience has shown us that most guests participate in these excursions and you should therefore budget for them in advance. Optional excursions may be purchased direct from your Travel Director who will accept payment in cash in most major currencies, such as US Dollars or Canadian Dollars as well as major credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, American Express). Full details and prices are shown in your itinerary leaflet on arrival.
Since 2002, the Euro has been the currency throughout Italy. We strongly recommend that you buy a small amount of Euros, before arriving on the continent, since there may be no opportunity to exchange money as you enter the country. This enables you to make your initial purchases until you manage to get to a bank. It is also possible at some banks and ATMs to draw cash on presentation of your credit card, though this may incur fees/ interest payments – check with your bank before departure. It is a good idea to deposit sufficient funds into your accounts prior to departure and then use your Personal Identification Number (PIN) to access them. Check with your bankcard company regarding possible ATM availability. Even if you are planning to use your credit card, you may also like to arrange a Prepaid Currency card before you leave home. These are available in Euros and allow you to pre-load any amount you wish. They can be used at ATMs as well as in shops and restaurants across Italy. Please note that we don't recommend the use of travelers checks as these are increasingly difficult to change and often incur fees.
If you have a credit card, we strongly recommend that you bring it with you, since this gives you extra financial flexibility while traveling. The major international credit cards, especially Visa or MasterCard, are accepted by many restaurants, shops and hotels. The bill you sign will be made out in much the same way as at home, except that the total will be in the local currency. This will be converted into your home currency by the credit card company and invoiced in the usual way. Here are some further tips on using credit cards while traveling:
- Check the expiry date of your credit card and the amount of credit available to you (do not forget any credit card purchases made just before you leave).
- Call your credit card company to advise them you will be traveling, as some companies will block the credit card when they notice unusual charge activity.
- Ensure you memorize your Personal Identification Number (PIN); do not write it down.
- Ensure that your credit card is kept in view at all times whe paying for goods and services.
- Ensure that the total amount of your purchase is entered on the sales voucher in the correct currency before you sign it.
- Retain all copies of sales vouchers until you have verified them against your statements.
- Insist that all ‘spoiled’ sales vouchers be destroyed in your presence.
- Make sure your credit card is carried on your person.
- Never leave your credit card unattended in your hotel room, a vehicle or any other place.
- Treat your credit card as you would cash.
- Report immediately the loss or theft of your credit card.
Weather in Italy is very diversified across different regions. For weather conditions pertinent to your travel schedule, visit these websites:
Prior to departing you should stop your mail or arrange for a neighbor to collect it. A full mailbox can be a treasure trove for hackers and identity thieves.
While you are traveling
Your Travel Director and Coach Driver
Throughout your guided vacation you will be accompanied by a professional Travel Director and experienced Coach Driver. A Travel Director is more than just a guide. They are seasoned and experienced travelers, specially selected for their in-depth knowledge of the regions you will visit. They will enrich your experience with informative commentary on the history, culture and natural landscape of the region and reveal the hidden places that only an insider would know. They will also introduce you to your traveling companions and make you feel welcome. Coach Drivers are fully licensed, qualified and experienced professionals who are selected for their impeccable driving skills and record.
If upon arrival at the airport after your flight, your baggage fails to arrive or arrives damaged, go immediately to the airline representative (often situated in the Arrivals Hall before you go through customs) and report your loss/ damage. They will ask you for the numbered baggage receipts given to you when you checked your baggage in for the flight. They will then commence a search for your baggage, and may award you some compensation to buy essential clothing until your baggage is found. You should also contact your travel insurance assistance company, as they may help with the recovery of the bag and offer some monetary compensation depending on the length of time the baggage remains missing.
Our philosophy is that it’s your vacation and you should have the freedom to enjoy yourself as you wish. However, a great deal of planning goes into your itinerary to ensure you see all the main sights in the places visited. We ensure you enjoy a full sightseeing experience in all major towns and cities visited on your itinerary. Local sightseeing is conducted by qualified Local Guides who are eager to share their vast knowledge and love of the local history and culture. In other places, your Travel Director will give you a brief orientation drive or walk to familiarize you with the locality, usually on the way to your hotel.
Most of your sightseeing activities are included in your vacation price. However, there is a wide range of other exciting excursions available, both while traveling and in the gateway cities before and after your trip. To assist you with planning your budget, your travel documents will include a comprehensive day-by-day itinerary with full details and costs of the optional excursions available. Some optional excursions cannot be paid by credit card. Your Travel Director will advise you. Please note that optional excursions are operated by third parties and we accept no liability. All optional excursions are undertaken at your own risk.
During your trip, your Travel Director will post a daily notice with details of the program schedule. Please check this regularly for the most up-to-date information and be ready at the specified times.
Italy is different!
Visiting Italy is a totally new and different experience from life back home. You will find different people, food and customs and a completely different attitude and way of life. While many of its customs may seem strange to a visitor, they are, after all, what makes Italy ‘Italy’. So our advice is to keep an open mind and enjoy the unfamiliar.
Most hotels are centrally located and close to major attractions. As we travel from major cities to remote regions, the standards can vary, but you can rest assured that the hotels we have selected are the best available. Italy has a tourism industry which has developed over several centuries and across many different regions, each with its own culture and traditions. The hotels often reflect that, so don’t expect Italian hotels to be the same as those back home. Not all hotels are air-conditioned, for example. All hotel accommodations have private facilities, but again, this will vary. Most bathrooms have a bathtub with integrated shower, but occasionally only a walk-in shower. Room sizes in Italy are generally smaller than in other parts of the world, and can vary within the same hotel, particularly where the hotel is a historic building. Twin rooms usually consist of two single beds while double rooms contain one matrimonial bed. Triple rooms may consist of one double-bed and the third bed may be a rollaway bed. Single rooms in Italian hotels are generally smaller than twin-bedded rooms, and may contain one single bed. You are strongly advised to book all your pre and post trip hotel accommodations before you travel. In large cities rooms are constantly in demand for tourism and business purposes.
NB: On occasions the hotel may need to relocate its guests into alternative accommodations. This can happen particularly when special events such as major conferences or exhibitions are taking place. It is beyond our control, but we will always do our utmost to minimize any inconvenience and you can rest assured that all sightseeing inclusions will be unchanged.
All hotel rooms are clean and well serviced. Tea and coffee making facilities are uncommon in Italian hotels. Rooms usually contain phone and a television, and may have a mini bar, room service and in-house movies. Wherever possible we select establishments that offer additional facilities too, such as swimming pool, sauna, restaurants and bars. Please refer to the itinerary in your travel wallet for information regarding accommodations at each stop.
Allocation of rooms
We do not allocate the rooms in any hotel – this is done by the hotel staff – nor can we guarantee the position of your room within any hotel. If you are on your guided vacation and you feel that you are receiving a disproportionate number of smaller rooms or rooms without a view, please inform your Travel Director.
Hotel Check-in & Check-out
Arrangements are made to ensure that check-in and checkout at hotels run smoothly, and your Travel Director will advise you in advance of the procedure before arriving at each hotel. On departing the hotel, always remember to return your room key to reception before boarding the coach!
Personal Hotel Expenses
Any additional costs incurred during your stay at the hotels (for example, laundry, telephone calls and bar bills) are your responsibility. Please ensure that your account is settled on the evening before you leave to ensure a smooth and speedy departure the following morning.
When there is a two-night stopover, arrangements can be made for your laundry with hotel housekeeping (at your cost). Please note laundry services are not available on weekends or local vacations.
Once something is lost it is often difficult to find. We cannot accept responsibility for property lost anywhere, although we will do our utmost to try and recover lost items. If you notice the loss while on your trip, you should immediately report it to your Travel Director who will complete a lost property form and give you a copy for insurance purposes.
Modern, air-conditioned coaches have been carefully selected with your comfort, safety and scenic viewing in mind. Your team will explain all the safety features of your coach at the beginning of your trip. For the comfort of all travelers, we enforce a no-alcohol and no-smoking policy on board the coach. Our coaches are equipped with DVD and/or CD players. Please note that antiseptic, bandages and other over-thecounter medications such as aspirin are not carried on the coach. Your Travel Director will be able to direct you as to where these items may be purchased locally should you need them.
Your coach crew is always there to lend a hand and to liaise closely with hotels to ensure efficient handling of your luggage.
Where appropriate, our seat rotation scheme ensures you get to know your fellow traveling companions and enjoy the views from a different vantage point each day.
A Clean Coach
Your driver is responsible for the coach inside and out. Please assist by eating and drinking on board as little as possible.
For the comfort of all travelers, smoking is not permitted on board our coaches, but smokers need not worry – frequent comfort and relaxation stops are made along the way.
Coaches are equipped with restrooms. While you are free to use this facility whenever required, your Travel Director will suggest that you make use of the facilities available at our frequent comfort stops.
Your vacation often includes daily breakfasts following local traditions. On the majority of our Italy itineraries, you will enjoy a cold or hot buffet style breakfast.
While we encourage hotels to provide meals that feature local flavors, most offer fairly plain international fare that caters for the broadest range of tastes. If you have a more adventurous palate, you will still have a number of opportunities to sample local specialties throughout your vacation, either during your free time or on other highlight dining occasions.
Freedom at Meal Times
Our philosophy of a careful mix of free time and organized activities extends to your meal arrangements, and only a limited number of lunches are included on our itineraries. We believe you should be free to spend your time at lunch stops in your own way, maybe trying a local dish or taking a light snack and using the extra time for additional sightseeing or shopping. Occasionally, our daily itinerary may require us to make a lunch stop at a recommended roadside eatery. In certain cities, dinners are not included, giving you an opportunity to dine out on your own, sample regional dishes and eat in typical local restaurants. Your Travel Director will be able to offer advice to help you choose.
When not specified on an included meal, drinks are always at your own expense. In some Italian cafés/bars you pay one price to drink at the bar, and a higher price to sit at a table. Alcoholic drinks can be much more expensive if purchased in hotel bars.
While tap water is perfectly safe to drink in most Italian cities, we suggest you drink bottled water where available. You may also wish to carry a small bottle of water with you throughout the day to ensure you are sufficiently hydrated.
We are confident that by the end of your trip you will have come to appreciate the important role your Travel Director and Coach Driver have played in giving you the best possible vacation experience. If you have been pleased with their services, you may wish to express this satisfaction with a gratuity, as is customary throughout the world. Since this is a matter of a private and individual nature, you should seal your gratuity in an envelope to present to each of them separately at the end of your vacation.
- Suggested tipping rates (per person traveling) for your team in Italy are €4 per day for your Travel Director, €2.50 per day for your Coach Driver, and €2 per half-day for a Local Guide.
- While on your guided vacation, tips and service charges are included for your included meals, accommodations and porterage, but at other times we suggest the following as a guide to general tipping practices in Italy:
Room service waiter: €1 (We recommend that you carry some small change with you, as it is not usual to ask for change when tipping.)
- Taxis: 10-15% of the fare on the meter.
- Restaurants & bars: 10-15% of the total bill. If a service charge has already been added, there is no need to tip as much or at all.
Bring extra batteries and memory cards. Depending on the destination, use re-sealable plastic bags to protect camera equipment from dampness. Never leave a camera in a hotel room or elsewhere unattended.
Staying In Touch
Phoning home from hotels can be expensive. All hotels will add a service charge to the cost of any phone calls you make from your room. This charge can be very high.
Many hotels have wi-fi in the public areas as well as in the rooms and there is usually a charge for this. Some hotels also have one or two computers in the reception area for the use of guests. Internet cafes are also available in many cities. Tip: Be careful with hotel computers. Do not access financial data on hotel or public computers or on public wi-fi networks.
If you plan to purchase heavy items, we would recommend that you have them shipped to your home address, as airline charges are high for excess baggage. This can either be arranged by the shop where you make your purchases, or you can make up a parcel and ship it home.
- Goods may take several months to reach your home.
- You will be liable for import duty on all goods shipped to your home – personal duty-free allowances only apply to goods carried home personally.
- You are strongly advised to insure goods being shipped in case of breakage or non-arrival.
It is important that you take precautions when traveling anywhere. If hotel security boxes are available then we recommend you use them for all your valuables. Do not leave these items in your hotel room. Prior to leaving home, purchase a shoulder or neck holster or a money belt to carry items such as your passport or extra money – make sure it is not visible under your clothing. Be wary of pickpockets! Wallets and purses should be kept out of sight in front/inside pockets; carry your handbags and backpacks around your front. We also recommend that you photocopy your passport and credit card details and leave them in your suitcase in case of loss. If you are unsure about security while on vacation, your Travel Director will provide you with the best advice. If you need to make cash withdrawals, ATMs in bank lobbies are less vulnerable to devices that capture your credit card information - as they generally have camera surveillance.
If at any time on your guided vacation you require a doctor, please inform your Travel Director who will arrange this for you. If you are staying at a hotel prior to your guided vacation commencing, please ask the hotel concierge to call the doctor. Ensure that you keep receipts for the doctor’s visits, medicines and any other expenses incurred, as you will need them to claim on your insurance.
Public Vacations and Changes
During local or national vacations, certain facilities such as museums, sightseeing tours and shopping may be limited, so we sometimes have to make slight itinerary adjustments. Also, local vacations, closing days and other circumstances may change the day of the week for scheduled dining out, gala dinners, sightseeing and other included activities.
Your feedback is always welcomed. Towards the end of your trip, your Travel Director will hand out a feedback questionnaire. We ask that you answer the questions, make any relevant comments and hand it back to your Travel Director. Every sheet is read and a summary of each vacation is given to management, and where necessary, appropriate action is taken to rectify any problems.