To ensure your journey is comfortable and enjoyable with Insight Vacations our on-trip tips to help minimise jetlag and how to keep your things safe and secure during your travels.
Plan for your trip in advance, making sure the last couple of days prior to leaving you are completely relaxed and well rested. Otherwise if you are rundown and fly there is a higher chance you will get sick and will spend the first part of your trip trying to recover.
Reset your clock. When you board the plane change your watch to the local time of the destination you are traveling to. Try to stay up that bit longer or go to sleep earlier to get your body clock onto this new time schedule.
Eat, drink and rest. Opt for lighter meal options and drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration. Either take a couple of bottles of water onto the flight or continuously ask for drinks throughout the flight. Stick to water or fruit juices, avoid caffeine, alcohol and high sugar drinks. While those in-flight movies are tempting, opt for sleep instead. You may wish to take your own fold up travel pillow for extra comfort.
Regularly stretch and walk around the plane.
When you arrive at your destination, try to stay awake until early evening. Don’t sleep otherwise you won’t be able to sleep at night. If you are absolutely exhausted then have an hour-long nap as soon as you arrive however set your alarm or order a wake up call. The best method to stay awake is to stay active. The adrenalin of being on an exciting Insight trip should keep you awake!
Everyday over the counter medications are not carried on the coach. Your Travel Director will be able to advise you on where to purchase these items if needed.
Hotel Check-In & Check-Out
Arrangements are made to ensure that check-in and checkout procedures at hotels run smoothly. All room allocations are done by the hotel prior to arrival. On departing the hotel, always remember to return your room key to the front desk.
Personal Hotel Expenses
Any additional costs incurred during your stay at the hotels are your responsibility. Please make certain that your account is settled on the evening before departure to ensure a smooth and speedy check-out.
Unless specified, these are at your own expense. Always remember to drink enough water to avoid dehydration, especially in hot climates. Bottled water is available for sale on coaches. In some European 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.
Minibars: Some hotel rooms have small refrigerators stocked with drinks and ice, but check the price list before consuming as they can be expensive.
Breakfasts: Consist of a full American breakfast served at the hotel (unless otherwise noted on your itinerary).
Lunches: People have varying requirements at lunchtime, so lunch is usually not included but we will ensure that you have inexpensive and healthy options across the continent.
Included dinners: Feature a variety of menus to reflect local cuisine, to give you a real taste of North America. When dinner is not included your Travel Director will have a number of suggestions, just right to fit your taste and budget.
Daily breakfasts following local traditions are included. On trip in Britain and Ireland you will enjoy a full cooked breakfast. In Scandinavia and mainland Europe, you’ll enjoy a buffet style breakfast.(On very early departures a breakfast box may be provided). Please do not take food away from the dining rooms - this is not permitted and you may be charged if you do.
Lunch: People have varying requirements at lunchtime, so lunch is usually not included.
On travelling days, snack/meal stops are made where there are sufficient facilities to cater for groups. Your Travel Director’s choice of meal stops will be made by taking all factors of the day’s planning into account.
Dinner: The Insight meal plan includes an evening meal on most travelling days with hotels offering a range of international food. There is also lots of opportunity to enjoy local specialties, fine dining and regional wines when dining independently or on our Dine Around and Celebration Dinners.
Special Dietary Requirements.
It is important to discuss any special dietary requirements with your Travel Director at the beginning of the trip, as hotels and restaurants need to be advised in advance. Most places will do their best to provide an alternative to the menu. However, such requests cannot be guaranteed on every occasion.
Tap water is perfectly safe to drink throughout the United States and Canada, with few exceptions. Alternatively bottled water is available on your coach.
Since every passenger has different interests and priorities, it is neither possible nor desirable to include every activity in the itinerary. To enhance your experience, we offer a range of optional visits, activities and local meals. These can be booked and purchased through your Travel Director.
Please note: Optional Experiences and their prices may vary due to seasonal conditions and minimum passenger participation, and are subject to change without notice.
Holidays & Changes
During local or national holidays, certain facilities such as scheduled meals, sightseeing, other included activities and shopping may be limited, so we sometimes have to make slight itinerary adjustments.
There will be many opportunities for shopping. Your Travel Director can direct you to local markets and shopping areas, but cannot guarantee to find you the lowest price.
Purchases made by credit card may be charged at the exchange rate the time the credit card company invoices you, many banks also charge an exchange fee.
Various tax concessions and duty free shopping may be available to overseas visitors; however, it varies depending on the amount spent and you must present documentation (passport and/or visa) that you are a foreign national or non-resident. Your Travel Director will be pleased to assist with information, but Insight Vacations cannot be responsible for any subsequent queries.
In North America, it is customary to tip for a variety of services. Whether you agree or disagree with the practice, tipping is a way of life in America. As a guide, if the service was of good quality, a restaurant is usually tipped 15-20% of the total bill before tax. In bars and pubs, the bartender and cocktail server usually earns between $1-$2 per drink depending on the price of the drink. Other services from taxi drivers to hairdressers normally receive 10%. Your Travel Director can also answer any questions you may have regarding when and how much to tip.
Many passengers also ask for guidance on the amount to tip your Travel Director and Driver to express your satisfaction with the service received. The recommended amounts are: Travel Director per person per day $6-7, Driver per person per day $4-5.
In Europe, it is customary to tip for a variety of services. As a guide, in a restaurant you would usually tip 15% if the service is good. Your Travel Director can answer any questions you may have regarding when and how much to tip. Many passengers also ask for guidance on the amount to tip your Travel Director and Driver to express your satisfaction with the service received. The recommended amounts are: Travel Director per person per day €5.00 (£ Sterling 4.00 Driver per person per day €3.00 (£ Sterling 2.50).
Please note that making telephone calls from your hotel room can be very expensive. A pre-paid calling card is an easy way to save money when making telephone calls. Calling cards are readily available for purchase in most stores - please ask your Travel Director for further information.
Many Insight hotels offer complimentary WiFi available in public areas or guest rooms. Cellular based Wifi may also be present on your Insight coach. Your Travel Director will advise you on availability.
Security On Your Trip
While your Travel Director is always there to guide you, it also helps if you take your own precautions.
If you are exploring on your own, tell someone where you are going and don’t go down poorly lit or narrow alleys.
During you free time, make sure you don’t leave the hotel without writing down the address and phone number of your accommodations.
Do not leave money & valuables in your hotel room while you are out. Where possible use the hotel safe.
Do not leave valuables on the coach (even during short stops).
Avoid scam artists by being wary of strangers who approach you and offer to sell you something at bargain prices.
Beware of pickpockets. They often have an accomplice who will: Jostle you; Ask you for directions or the time; Point to something spilled on your clothing; Distract you by creating a disturbance.
Wear your bag across your chest and walk with the bag away from the road to avoid drive-by bag snatchers.
Try to be as inconspicuous as possible – wear appropriate clothing that does not make you stand out and look purposeful when you move about. Even if you are lost, act as though you know where you are and try to only ask for directions from individuals in authority.
Don’t attract unwanted attention by flashing large amounts of money when paying for bills or shopping.
When traveling, do not leave your bags or belongings unattended at any time.
A money belt worn under your clothing is the safest place to carry valuables. Your money belt should be undetectable under your clothing and should not be regularly accessed throughout the day. What to put in your money belt: Passport: You're legally supposed to have it with you at all times; Spare Credit or Debit card; Cash and Travellers Cheques – Larger bills; Emergency contact lists.
Most importantly stay alert, be aware of your surroundings and listen to your Travel Director who is always looking after your best interests.
Travel Director Tips
Our Travel Directors are experienced travellers, learned historians and culture buffs. Their expertise and years of travel make them the world's best travel professionals so we asked them to add some of their tips for travel:
Ensure you have budgeted for the entire trip, including money for shopping, extra meals and optional excursions.
Research your destination(s) - learning a bit about your destination before you get there is a great way to prepare for your trip - there are plenty of books and online resources.
Learn some useful phrases - your Travel Director will be able to converse in the languages of the places you visit but learning a few phrases can’t hurt and any attempts are usually appreciated by locals.
Hone your photography skills - try out your camera in different conditions and find out what settings work best. Try your camera in different lighting, under various weather conditions. Also try taking the same object from different angles and capture moving objects. A little bit of practice will help you capture better pictures on trip.
Meet your fellow trip mates before you travel. Insight’s online Community section under Bulletin Board on the Insight website lets you meet travellers who are going to be on your trip prior to your trip. You can also get advice on travelling from seasoned travelers and share your memories and stay in touch with friends after your trip.
Prepare your travel journal: a travel journal is a great way of keeping the memories of your trip alive for years to come. Find a journal that is easy to carry and take a plastic sleeve to keep mementoes such as ticket stubs and photos. There are also a lot of online journals that you can use.
Your Travel Director
Your Travel Director is a true expert about each destination. They’ll provide you with a warm and personal service and will use their local insights to help tailor your trip to your own interests. You are encouraged to talk to your Travel Director straight away if something is not right, so any problems can be rectified there and then, and you can continue to enjoy your journey. Your Travel Director will give you a business card with their contact details, please keep this safe.
Your Coach Driver
Your Coach Driver works in close cooperation with your Travel Director and is fully trained, tested and experienced on American roads. Their responsibilities include loading and unloading luggage, the vehicle’s safety inspection, its cleanliness and most importantly, your safety.
Modern, air-conditioned coaches have been carefully selected with your comfort, safety and scenic viewing ability in mind. Your Insight Vacations Team will explain all the safety features of your motorcoach at the beginning of your vacation. A mandatory seat rotation schedule will be explained by your Travel Director. For the comfort of all members, Insight Vacations enforces a noalcohol and no-smoking policy. For emergencies the coach is equipped with a washroom.
For the comfort and enjoyment of all our guests we ask that a few coach etiquette guidelines be observed. Complimentary WiFi is generally available on coaches, however to ensure Internet speed and reliability a fair-use policy applies. Be mindful of others when using audio technology on board and talking on cellphones. Please also be aware of obstructing the view of those behind you when using tablets to take photos or video footage.