Before you go
Questions about COVID-19 travel? Read our COVID-19 FAQs for answers to help you feel informed and confident when booking your tour.
1. ACTION BEFORE YOU TRAVEL - REGISTRATION
Registration for your trip may be completed by visiting insightvacations.com/myinsight. Registration only takes a few minutes and you will be asked to enter your contact details such as an email address, a mobile phone number and the contact details of a nominated person we can call in the event of an emergency. We also invite you to share details of any specific dietary requirements and travel preferences, find all your itinerary details, be able to download your e-documents and meet your Travel Director on line.
2. KEEP UP TO DATE WITH THE MOST RECENT TRAVEL AND HEALTH GUIDELINES
It is important to stay well-informed about travel restrictions and guidelines for the countries you wish to visit. To help you stay up-to-date, Insight Vacations has provided a powerful and easy to use tool that provides a wealth of information all in one convenient place. Simply select your passport and destination to view travel requirements for your trip. As travel guidelines tend to change quite frequently, it is best to check for the most current travel restrictions as you get closer to the departure of your journey. Try it now.
3. AIRPORT INFORMATION
YOUR DEPARTURE Generally, check in times require guests to arrive at the airport a minimum of two hours before a domestic flight and three hours prior to departure for international flights. This allows you plenty of time to check in and pass through security to the boarding area. Online check-in means you can save time and fuss at the airport by checking in for your flight via the website prior to your arrival at the airport.
Please allow enough time to get to your flight - be aware that during busy travel periods or at airports with heightened security you may experience longer queues. Boarding usually starts 30-45 minutes before departure and the gate generally closes 20 minutes prior to departure. Check with your airline to see what time check- in counters open.
AIRPORT CHECK IN Everyone traveling, regardless of age, needs their own set of travel documents. All guests including children must have a machine –readable passport valid for six months after your trip return date along with any applicable visas. International travel doesn’t have to be tricky – just make sure your travel documents and required paperwork are in order. When you travel internationally, you are responsible to make sure you have the correct documents to enter and pass through any countries during your trip, and then make your way back home.
Note: Always use the information exactly as it appears on your passport (to book and fill out any documents).
AIRLINE TICKETS Please check your airline tickets carefully as many airlines have code share agreements with another airline. This means that you may travel from point of departure to point of destination using more than one carrier. If your ticket states “Flight operated by (airline)” you will need to check in with that airline and not the airline listed as the original carrier.
AIRLINE CONNECTIONS Traveling internationally may require you to change planes in major airports and your airline will provide you with details of the minimum connection time required to transfer from one gate to another at each specific airport. We recommend that you check any connection times carefully and familiarize yourself with the airport layout prior to landing. When checking in for your flight ensure you check in to your final destination so you do not need to claim luggage and re check it during flight connections.
AIRPORT SECURITY Before flying, you will go through airport security. These measures are in place to help maintain your safety, so familiarize yourself with the rules: this will help you pass through the security checks as quickly as possible. Restrictions on what you can take on board and in hand luggage varies from time to time and country to country, so we recommend you read the latest security advice before traveling.
Please remember that although all airports must adhere to relevant aviation security requirements, security procedures may vary from airport to airport. More information can be found on the website of the airport you are flying from, and usually from that of your airline or travel company.
4. ARRIVAL AND DEPARTURE INFORMATION
All Insight Vacations guests benefit from complimentary arrival and departure transfers by shuttle coach on the arrival and departure day of their guided holiday. Times are specified on the individual itinerary pages. If your flight times do not coincide with the shuttle coach transfer timings you may choose to book and purchase a transfer.
In addition, guests who arrive before or leave after the scheduled holiday may also book a transfer through Insight Vacations providing they also purchase the additional pre and/or post- holiday hotel night(s).
Insight Vacations provides complimentary airport transfers in the Eastern Mediterranean region at any time on the first and last day of the holiday or on other days in conjunction with pre and / or post-trip accommodation booked through Insight Vacations. Flight times must be provided to Insight Vacations at least twenty one days before flight departure.
You will find specific joining instructions as to where you will locate an Airport Host or Travel Director at the scheduled transfer times in your travel documents.
Note Exception: When traveling to London, transfers are chargeable from London Heathrow and London Gatwick Airport to your Insight Hotel.
LOST LUGGAGE Should your luggage be delayed by your airline, it is the airlines responsibility to ensure that it is delivered to you while traveling and claims for reimbursement for delayed baggage should be addressed to the airline directly. We suggest that you complete a claim form at the airline desk upon arrival and prior to passing through passport control and customs. You may wish to provide a copy of your hotel list so the baggage may be forwarded to you directly.
5. BORDER CROSSING VISA REQUIREMENTS AND PASSPORTS
Each guest must ensure that their passport is valid for at least six months beyond the conclusion of their trip and that all necessary visa and permits for the trip have been acquired. Multiple –entry visas may be required if you are entering a country more than once on your vacation.
Guests are advised that only the countries you plan to visit can provide up-to-date information about their specific visa requirements. Travelers should contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of the countries they plan to visit well in advance of travel. Check your itinerary carefully and remember that requirements vary based on passport place of issue and the process can take time.
Check that multi- entry visas have the correct entry dates and destinations before you travel. Please be aware that with some itineraries you may travel through a country without making an overnight stop, but will still require a visa to enter/exit.
Please ensure that you carry proper identification with you at all times as entry documents and passports will be required at border crossings. Usually crossing borders is a very straightforward process that is managed by your travel director, however, be advised that you may be required to open luggage and answer simple questions regarding the length of your stay, purpose of travel etc.
6. HEALTH AND MEDICAL NEEDS
In order to ensure a healthy and enjoyable trip we strongly suggest that you pack a plentiful supply of any medication that you may need while on vacation. All prescriptions should be filled up- to- date and in their original packaging. Always pack prescriptions in your carry-on bag with copies of your prescription paperwork as your checked luggage may not always be easily accessible, particularly in the event of delays, lost luggage etc.
You might be concerned that enhanced airport security measures concerning the quantities of liquids which you can carry aboard an aircraft will prevent you from taking your medication on flights. You needn’t worry - provided your medication is accompanied by the relevant documentation from your doctor (a doctor’s note or letter should be fine), you are entitled to take it with you on board your flight.
We would always advise you to research the rules around taking your medication to your destination country and what proof of treatment you’re expected to bring with you. For example, you can avoid any issues at airport customs in Spain by having your prescription drugs and doctor’s letter readily available. However, not all European countries have the same regulations.
Everyday over the counter medicines are not carried on the coach. Your Travel Director will be able to advise you where to purchase items if needed.
Please contact your doctor or health care provider before traveling to determine which vaccinations or other health precautions are recommended for your travels. Most countries in which we travel do not require any special vaccinations; however requirements can change at any time and we strongly recommend that you check for more detailed and current information before you travel. Each guest must comply with entry, health and other requirements of the countries visited during your trip.
You can keep informed of current health news by visiting travelhealthpro.org.uk.
Guests should advise of any dietary or health related issues that might affect them during their travels. For example if a guest carries an auto injector for nut or other allergies etc. or has a condition requiring special attention.
Please notify Insight Vacations of any disability requiring special assistance prior to traveling. This enables us to make reasonable adjustments in order to accommodate specific requirements of those traveling with a disability. A companion should always accompany those guests who require individual assistance to walk, get on and off the motor coach and other vehicles and for personal needs such as dining, dressing etc.
Whilst traveling in Europe you can expect to enjoy a variety of hotel accommodations. Hotel room sizes, facilities and services may vary from country to country and region to region and are often local in style. Whilst you may find yourself enjoying a stay in one of the well – known hotel chains for part of your trip, a stay in a traditional unique hotel that reflects the local area may also be included.
On occasion we may substitute hotels listed in an itinerary and will always endeavour to ensure that any alternative hotel will be of an equivalent if not higher standard.
There may also be some slight differences between hotels in Europe and other parts of the world and these generally are as follows:
- In Europe, the first floor is often considered the first floor above ground level and the lobby considered level zero.
- Room size is generally slightly smaller than you may be used to. Space is a precious commodity in Europe and especially in its busiest cities. Many of the buildings will have been in existence for hundreds of years and were not built with the modern traveler in mind. The upside is that usually they are in excellent locations and have a fascinating story to tell.
- Bed sizes may also differ. In Europe King and Queen – sized beds are very rare. Here Double beds are the norm and you may often find that a double room consists of two twin beds pushed together instead of a full bed, but made up with one set of linen. You may also find that twin beds will be placed very close together.
- Hotel accommodation usually consists of bathrooms with combination bathtubs and showers. In place of a shower curtain there will often be a door that extends half the length of the tub. Simply ask at reception if you require a non- slip bath mat, which most hotels will deliver to your room. Bathroom linens rarely include face cloths/wash cloths as an amenity. If you use a washcloth or loofa be sure to pack those and bring them with you.
- Electricity in Europe is mostly 220-240 voltage. You may wish to bring a travel adapter and a power converter with you. Items that normally require converters are mainly larger devices such as computers, hair dryers, sleep machines etc. We always recommend that you try to minimize the number of items you plug in at one time as for safety reasons most hotels have sensitive triggers to electrical surges and overloading items could lead to a blackout. You may also need to change adapters when changing countries, as electrical outlets can vary.
In European bathrooms, sockets are usually for razors only.
- Tea and coffee making facilities are not usually provided in your hotel room in Europe, however the exception to this rule is the UK, where tea and coffee making facilities are commonly found.
- Europeans are very socially and environmentally conscious and air conditioning in Europe is often quite different from air conditioning in other parts of the world. Europeans generally have a different mind-set and are acutely aware of both the expense and potential damage to the environment. While you may find AC in large public spaces and in the larger hotel chains which may enable you to control the temperature in your room manually, other hotels control the temperature automatically, while some unique historic buildings cannot be retrofitted easily to allow for air conditioning at all. There are often local and national laws and regulations in place which prohibit use at night or in low season (October – May)
CHECKING IN TO YOUR ARRIVAL HOTEL Official check- in times varies from hotel to hotel. Should your flight arrive in the early morning into the city where your trip begins you may find yourself arriving at the hotel before noon and it could be early afternoon before your room is ready (2pm/3pm). Hotels try to prevent this from happening, but check in times cannot be guaranteed. The hotel will be able to suggest how any spare time could be used to enjoy the local restaurants, sightsee or relax while your room is made ready.
When arriving at your first hotel, check in at the main Reception desk where the reception staff will need to know your name and that you are traveling with Insight Vacations.
When your trip begins, check-in will be managed by the Travel Director, who will advise you regarding procedures and hotel features prior to arrival. They will secure keys and oversee delivery of your luggage to your room.
PHOTOCOPIES OF DOCUMENTS Some European hotels are required to keep your passport at reception throughout your stay owing to government, country or local laws. You are therefore recommended to bring a photocopy of your passport and any visas with you when you travel.
A useful tip is to photocopy your airline tickets, credit cards and your driver’s license etc. as this can speed up replacements on those rare occasions when the originals are lost. Even easier is to scan your documents and send them to yourself as attachments to your e-mail so that you have access to them if needed.
KEYS Many hotels use magnetic key cards. These may be required to use the elevator. The first digit of the room number usually indicates the floor level to select. In many European hotels key cards also operate the lighting and air-conditioning. The card is usually inserted into a slot or box located just inside the room in order for the electricity to function and it is a great way to save energy!
CHECK-OUT Always make a last minute check of safe deposit boxes, drawers, wardrobe and bathroom before departing each hotel and returning your key. If you have consumed any items from the mini bar or accessed pay–TV etc. you are responsible for ensuring that incidental expenses are paid prior to departure. We recommend settling any bills in the evening to ensure a smooth departure the following morning.
8. INSURANCE / TRAVEL PROTECTION
Insight Vacations recommends that all guests purchase comprehensive Travel Insurance. Certain countries have a requirement for visitors to have valid medical insurance on entry and in Europe you may find that doctors surgeries, dentists and hospitals often require payment in cash prior to providing services. Whilst rare, medical evacuation can be exceptionally expensive. Insight Vacations cannot be held responsible for denied entry if a guest is unable to provide details to authorities of insurance or denial of entry for any reason.
In addition, no responsibility is accepted for damage, loss, or delay to baggage or any of a guest’s belongings throughout the duration of the trip. For these reasons and for your peace of mind when traveling we suggest that your policy should cover the following;
- Cancellation or curtailment of your vacation due to medical or other reasons
- Loss or damage to your property and baggage
- Loss of cash, credit cards etc.
- Medical costs and personal accidents.
Do remember to bring a copy of your policy, contact phone numbers and details of how to claim.
Traveling with Insight Vacations entitles each guest to travel with one suitcase not exceeding 30kg (66lbs) in weight, with the dimensions of 77.5cm x 56 cm x 32cm (30.5” x 22” x 12.5”) Guests may also bring one item of hand luggage that is small and light enough to be carried onto the coach and fit underneath the seat, or in the small overhead compartment above. (Luggage with adjustable handles and wheels will not fit)
In Europe coaches must comply with strict weight restrictions and laws regarding manual handling, therefore in order for your driver and the hotel porters to safely lift and transport your suitcase throughout your vacation, we strongly recommend that you test the weight of your baggage prior to travel. You should be able to lift and comfortably transport it for short distances.
Baggage allowances vary from airline to airline and you should check with your chosen carrier for details prior to travel.
PORTERAGE For ease and comfort porterage is included for each guest’s suitcase throughout the trip (one item per person) which means that you only have to bring your hand luggage on and off the coach each day. The porters will deliver all suitcases to the coach where the Travel Director will check them and the driver load them into the baggage compartment. Your Travel Director will provide a blue luggage tag which we advise you to use as this assists with identification and security.
On arrival to each hotel, suitcases will be delivered to your rooms by the hotel porters. We suggest that you may wish to pack toiletries and any personal items you may want immediately on arrival in your hand baggage where they are instantly available.
10. MEALS AND BEVERAGES
Your chosen trip itinerary will provide details of all included meals. Where included there may be a table d’hôtel menu (set), buffet or a typical regional menu. You and your traveling companions will generally dine together at a designated time. Tables will often vary in size and free seating enables you to dine with family members or new traveling companions each evening.
When a choice of menu is offered, it is possible that you may be required to make your meal selection in advance.
Iced water will be provided during your meal with tea and coffee will be served afterwards. Some Insight Vacations dinners will include the choice of a complimentary glass of wine, beer or soft drink. Any additional beverages may be purchased at your own cost and any bills settled at the end of the meal.
A Breakfast buffet is included daily and will reflect the local regions tastes and culture. Breakfast items may also include some familiar favorites such as eggs, bacon, bread, muffins cereals, fruit, yogurt and cold meats and cheese. Very occasionally an early departure may result in a packed breakfast for you to take away.
Lunches are sometimes included but are usually an opportunity for the guest to enjoy some free time to visit a local café, bar or restaurant and eat where the locals do. Your Travel Director will be able to provide you with a range of options to suit all tastes and preferences.
Please refer to your itinerary for details of all included meals and planned dining experiences.
SPECIFIC DIETARY REQUESTS We encourage all guests to advise us about any specific dietary needs that they may have (vegetarian, diabetic, gluten free, etc.) and will strive to accommodate these.
We kindly request that you advise us of any dietary requirements by completing registration on insightvacations/myinsight. Where possible, we will endeavour to make arrangements with our suppliers.
It is important to discuss any special dietary requirements with your Travel Director at the beginning of the trip, as hotels and restaurants do need to be advised in advance. Suppliers will do their utmost to provide an alternative to the menu. However, such requests cannot be guaranteed on every occasion.
WATER The majority of countries in Europe do have safe drinking water. In Western Europe all water is safe to drink and when traveling through Eastern Europe you may find that bottled water is recommended in some areas. Not all European countries belong in the EU and may not meet the same standard regarding drinking water however your Travel Director will advise you when the use of bottled water is recommended.
SALE OF WATER ON COACHES At Insight Vacations we are committed to removing single-use plastics from our operations by 2022. In 2019 we have banned the sale of single-use plastic water bottles on all our coaches. Wherever possible we will be selling an alternative (cartons or tins). However we encourage you to bring a refillable bottle for your trip.
Modern air conditioned coaches with generous legroom have been selected with your comfort in mind. Your Travel Director will introduce the driver, explain any safety information in detail and familiarize you with all of the features on board. A washroom is fitted for your comfort and well-being, however, please rest assured that regular stops are made for you to stretch your legs, take refreshments and use the facilities. For safety reasons any hot drinks consumed on board must have a lid. As our coaches are non–smoking, rest stops also provide an opportunity for those who wish to smoke or vape.
SEAT ROTATION To ensure fairness and to enhance your coach experience Insight Vacations practices a daily seat rotation system which your Travel Director will facilitate. This enables guests to enjoy the panoramic views from a different seat and provides opportunities to get to know your fellow travelers and make new friends each day.
COACH COMFORT AND COURTESY In consideration for your fellow travelers we respectfully ask that you do not disturb others when using a mobile phone, playing electronic games or listening to music through headphones. Please also be aware of obstructing the view of those behind you when using tablets to take photos or video footage.
Wi-Fi Complimentary Wi-Fi is generally available on coaches. Using 3G mobile network, it means that connection is slower than standard broadband and at times may not be available. It is good for checking emails, web browsing and updating social media accounts, but less so for streaming video or large photo uploads.
The weather in Europe varies by region, proximity to water, altitude and time of year so we suggest that you pack layers of clothing that can be added or removed as necessary. A comfortable pair of flat shoes /trainers for walking is essential as you will be visiting cities and sites with cobbled streets and uneven terrain. A light waterproof jacket may also be useful and a sun hat during the summer months.
Bear in mind that some excursions will take in visits to Cathedrals or other religious locations where more modest attire, covering the shoulders to below the knees, is appropriate. There may be a restriction on shorts / mini-skirts and bare shoulders at some religious sites, where both men and women are required to cover up. A scarf applied across the shoulders is perfectly acceptable. This is particularly important in countries such as Italy where standards of dress are rigorously enforced but is also respectful elsewhere.
A SMART OUTFIT You may wish to bring a dressier outfit for visits to the cabaret, theatre or an elegant restaurant. Smart casual clothes are usually acceptable attire for other evening activities.
Other useful items that you may wish to pack can include:
- A small travel alarm so that you do not have to worry about booking wake up calls at your hotel.
- Tea and coffee making facilities are not usually provided in your hotel room (Except in the UK) and so if an early morning cuppa is important to you, you might wish to pack a small travel kettle.
- A travel iron if you prefer clothes to be pressed.
- Wash cloth and carry bag.
- A copy of your hotel contact list so should your luggage be mislaid by your airline you can be reunited with it easily. We would also suggest that a change of clothes and essential travel toiletries should be packed in your hand luggage for the same reason.
- A photograph of your luggage contents in case of loss.
- Scented soap, fabric softener sheets or scented sachets can be packed to keep your clothes smelling fresh and clean throughout your trip.
13. SAFETY AND SECURITY WHILE TRAVELLING
Relaxing and being able to switch off from everyday concerns is all part of the holiday experience and your Travel Director is there every step of the way to ensure that things run seamlessly. However it is good to be aware of issues that could affect your enjoyment of your holiday and it’s our job to remind you to take certain precautions when you’re traveling.
Take a good look at the following guidance, as well as any other information that’s given to you or is on display throughout your trip. That information may be provided by us, our travel Directors or suppliers, either before you go, or when you arrive in your destination and at your hotels.
The Foreign & Commonwealth Office and National Travel Health Network and Centre have up to date advice on staying safe and health overseas.
On arrival at your hotel, your Travel Director will provide you with their contact number that you can save to your mobile phone or write down and keep somewhere safe and accessible.
PERSONAL BELONGINGS Many of us carry the latest phones, cameras and tablets. Be wary of showing them off in crowded places and never leave them on the table in restaurants, bars, hotel lobbies and public places.
BAGS Keep bags with you at all times and if possible wear the strap across your body. When visiting crowded places, ensure the bag is worn on the front of the body. Never keep money or valuables in your suitcase.
PASSPORT Make sure your passport is always safe. Keep it on your person on travel days. Many hotels provide safety deposit boxes for your use on longer stays but be sure to reclaim them before checking out. Make a photocopy of your passport and important documents and keep them separately from the originals and make a note of emergency numbers for any credit/ bank cards that you use.
CASH Conceal a few notes on your person for emergency funds should you mislay your purse/wallet or bag and avoid excessive displays of wealth. (Only carry sufficient cash for your daily needs.)
HOTELS When leaving your room, securely shut all windows and close the door to your room as you exit, with enough force to ensure it properly locks. Remember to keep your room key safely on you.
On arrival at a new hotel familiarize yourself with escape routes and locate the nearest fire exit to your room. Always know how to raise the alarm.
ROAD SAFETY Please take care when crossing roads. In Continental Europe motorists drive on the right while in Britain and Ireland motorists drive on the left. Before exiting the coach, please check the traffic direction and note the drop from the last step to the ground. This can vary in depth at each stop and is especially important later in the day when the lights may be fading.
SITUATIONAL AWARENESS Avoid confrontational situations and large gatherings and if at any time a situational doesn’t feel right walk away.
HOSTILE SITUATIONS In the very unlikely situation you find yourself in the vicinity of a hostile incident, leave immediately and contact the police – call 112 in Europe/999 in the UK. If you are unable to leave, find somewhere to hide, lock the door and keep as quiet as possible. (Remember to turn your phone to silent) and contact the police.
Be as alert to current security issues on vacation as you are at home. Your Travel Director will keep you informed regarding the areas in which you are traveling and provide gentle reminders and suggestions to ensure your safety and well- being throughout each day of your vacation.
14. SIGHTSEEING TIMELINESS AND TRIP TALK
At Insight Vacations, we plan to show you a great deal and always endeavour to make the most of every day of your vacation. In order to make that possible, we thank you in advance for your punctuality which affords all our guests the opportunity to enjoy their time with us to the fullest.
Departure time is the time when everyone is seated comfortably and the coach is pulling away from the hotel or rest stop .The savvy traveler will always allow themselves enough time for bathroom visits, settling bills and slow elevators. Your Travel Director will choreograph the day to enhance the itinerary and go out of their way to ensure that those all-important timings are clearly explained. They will also provide you with a contact number should you be in need of assistance.
Sightseeing is included in your itinerary and will generally involve a fair amount of walking and standing as well as sitting. Some of the areas visited may be pedestrian only with some steep inclines and cobblestones and so we would suggest bringing suitable footwear for your ease and comfort. Many streets in Europe are narrow and coaches may not be permitted to drop guests off at the entrance. Although we will always try to get you as close as we can, some walking should be anticipated. The amount of walking will vary according to the itinerary but could be as much as two hours plus per day.
There are a number of terms used to describe sightseeing activities in the itinerary and there are slight differences in their meaning.
- A day to relax – No planned activities; time for Optional Experiences or other independent activities. Your Travel Director will be able to assist you with providing ideas and suggestions to match your interests and get the most out of the day.
- Orientation tour – Places of interest are pointed out, allowing you to go and explore them on your own.
- See – Observe sights while passing by on your coach, cruise or train.
- Sightseeing tour A Local Expert will accompany you on a tour of a city or site
- Time to relax and discover – Free time on your own
- View – A brief stop to enjoy the sights and take some photos
- Visit – A stop with time to enjoy a specific site.
- “Why not see” or “perhaps enjoy” – These phrases refer to Optional Experiences not included in the trip package but which are available for an additional fee and your Travel Director will be happy to provide you with information regarding these or other ways in which to spend your free time.
OPTIONAL EXPERIENCES To enable you to personalize your Insight Vacations experience you will find a number of Optional Experiences designed to complement the itinerary. These are designed to offer a deeper insight into the culture and character of the areas to be visited and provide some wonderful highlights to your travels. The optional program is designed to let you experience more of what interests you and to get the most from your vacation without replacing or overlapping with anything included in an itinerary.
The majority of Optional Experiences will be offered to you by your Travel Director at the beginning of your trip. Some may be subject to change, depending on the time you are traveling or local circumstances including weather and days of the week. Further information will be provided by your Travel Director.
Usually most Optional Experiences will be priced in the local currency but please read through the details of individual optional experiences for specific information. Exact payment options will be advised locally by your Travel Director/Local Representative for each Optional Experience, but in many cases cash, Visa, MasterCard and American Express are all accepted. Please be sure to advise your credit card provider that you will be traveling in Europe, before you leave home.
Children who are aged 17 and under are entitled to a 25% discount on all European-operated Optional Experiences (some Eastern Mediterranean trips excluded).
15. STAYING CONNECTED WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS
You may wish to bring a smart phone with you, if so ensure you contact your service provider to inform them of your travel itinerary and dates prior to departure. Most companies will have an international plan which will allow you to make calls outside your home country. If you do not already have this we recommend you purchase it prior to leaving and make sure that your phone and access service will work in the country/countries you are traveling.
Making long distance calls from hotel rooms may be possible but is very expensive. Please be advised that even if you use a “toll - free” calling card a surcharge may be applied so always check beforehand to avoid a costly surprise. If purchasing a calling card for use while traveling, ensure that the card covers the country/countries in which you will be traveling. A list of counties should be clearly displayed on the card or packaging.
INTERNET Complimentary Wi-Fi is available in many guestrooms and/or public areas of most hotels. On some occasions it may require an access code from hotel staff. Your Travel Director will provide you with details when checking in to each hotel.
16. TIPPING AND GRATUITIES
Tipping etiquette varies by country, culture and the situation and it is a gesture that shows appreciation for the quality of service that you received.
When traveling with Insight Vacations we have pre-paid certain tips and gratuities for you. Baggage handling at hotels, service charges and tips for hotel wait staff (for included meals) will be taken care of by your Travel Director. There are however a few instances where individual tipping is welcome.
TAXIS Usually rounding up the fare for gratuity for the driver is more than adequate in most countries. Always ask hotel or airport staff for recommended taxi companies and ensure that pricing is clearly indicated prior to departure. If possible pre-negotiate any fares with the driver.
RESTAURANTS There is no obligation to leave a tip, but between 5% and 10% is normal in most European restaurants, although make sure to check that a service charge hasn’t already been added on! You’ll more often than not find that it has been. Also bear in mind that tipping is only necessary at a table service restaurant. When eating out at the likes of a pub or fast food outlet where you order your food from a counter, tipping isn’t necessary or in any way expected.
In general, if you’re unsure on tipping, don’t go any higher than 10%, unless of course that the service was so fantastic you feel you want to do so! Servers may not receive tips when left on a credit card, so always try to tip in cash whenever possible.
HOTEL SERVICES It is customary to tip hotel staff for room service delivery if the charge has not already been added to the bill. Where ice machines are not available, and you receive ice from the bar, a small tip to the bartender is always appreciated.
LOCAL EXPERTS It is customary to show appreciation for the insights, stories and know how shared with you by the local Experts and we suggest a gratuity of €1-2 (Euro) £1-2 (GBP) in UK per person per half day.
DRIVER Gratuities for your driver are not included in the trip cost and the suggested gratuity of €3.50(Euro) £3 (GBP) in UK per day per person is recommended in appreciation of a job well done.
TRAVEL DIRECTOR At the end of your trip you may wish to express appreciation to your Travel Director for their excellent service and the personal attention you received. Gratuities are given at the discretion of each guest, but it is customary to give an amount of €6( Euro) £5 (GBP) in UK/person/day.
17. TRAVEL MONEY
When planning how much money to bring we suggest that you consider such things as spending money for meals that are not included e.g. lunches and beverages, alcoholic drinks etc. Any Optional Experiences/sightseeing trips that you may wish to purchase, as well as shopping, gratuities and any incidentals such as laundry or dry cleaning and so on.
When planning to use credit and debit cards in Europe we recommend that you notify your bank and credit card company prior to your departure to provide them with information regarding where you are traveling and to obtain PIN codes if you do not already know them. This ensures that your provider will not deny payment because they think the transaction could be fraudulent. It is also good practice to have an overseas contact number for your bank and/or credit card company with you in the event that you need their assistance when traveling.
Throughout Europe ATMs are available to withdraw cash. There will be a fee, but these are still the most cost effective method of cash withdrawal and ATMs can usually be found in the customs arrival hall or airport terminal building. Your Travel Director will also be able to advise you regarding the location of banks/ATMs etc. as you travel.
When using ATMs please remember to, only insert cards into machines bearing the logo of your particular card. Most machines have a maximum withdrawal limit and debit cards are preferable to credit cards as transaction fees are less.
While most major credit cards are generally accepted by shops and hotels throughout Europe, you may find that there is a minimum charge for using them. It is also becoming more common for identification to be requested when making payments by credit card, so remember to carry your passport or drivers license with you. When making purchases with your credit card you will be charged in local currency by the vendor and your credit card company will convert the charges based on the exchange rate that they implement. A fee is charged for this. Visa, American Express or MasterCard are widely accepted in most shops and restaurants.
If you plan to purchase local currency before you travel we suggest that you request notes of smaller denominations as many local stores and restaurants may not be willing to accept the higher ones. For example if purchasing Euros, request denominations of €50, €20 and €10 that way you will have the right amount to offer payment for anything from a cup of coffee to a three course lunch!
18. YOUNG PEOPLE AND CHILDREN TRAVELING
At Insight Vacations, our younger guests are just as important as our older ones, so we’ve taken care to craft action-packed itineraries that’ll impress the young and we welcome children aged five years or older to travel on our guided vacations. All children and young people under eighteen years old must however be accompanied by an adult who will be responsible for their supervision and welfare.
Some countries have established practices to prevent international abductions of children and because of this it is recommended that you secure a “Child Travel Consent” prior to departure if you are traveling with a minor who is under eighteen years of age. This documents that a minor has permission from his or her parent(s) or guardian(s) to travel and may be requested by authorities and officials when a child is traveling internationally:
- With one parent or guardian
- Without a parent
- With an adult who is not a parent or guardian.
If the traveling parent has sole custody, he or she will require a notarized true copy of a court order or equivalent proving custody. If both parents have custody, or the non-traveling parent has custody, the traveling parent will need notarized consent from the non-traveling parent. We recommend that you contact relevant consulates and airlines for additional information and guidance.
19. YOUR TRAVEL DIRECTOR
We know that the human touch is what differentiates unforgettable travel experiences from those that are simply good. Your Travel Director will manage all of the logistical details and planning of your holiday to ensure that everything runs seamlessly throughout your trip, but they will also be your friend as you travel. Their support and care enables you to be relaxed and comfortable as you experience new places and cultures. They will skilfully navigate you through each day’s planned itinerary and help you to get the most out of your free time, while responding to any problems or issues that you might experience on the way.
Our Travel Directors are as interested to hear your story as they are passionate to share their own stories and anecdotes of life past and present in these magical places, so as to anticipate your needs and provide those personal touches that surprise and delight our guests whenever they travel with Insight Vacations.
20. Your Well-being Director
Insight Vacations' trips* now include a specially trained and dedicated Well-being Director to provide additional support and assistance during your travels.
The Well-being Director takes a proactive approach to your welfare and dedicates their attention to the latest hygiene and physical distancing protocols throughout your trip. Up to date with the latest regulations from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), World Health Organisation (WHO) and local government authorities, they are always available to overcome any concerns. Your Well-being Director will support your Travel Director and driver in making your holiday perfect for you, so you have peace of mind to enjoy your experience fully.
*Well-being Directors are not available on Australia and New Zealand trips. Well-being Directors can be arranged for Custom Groups for a supplementary charge