Travel FAQs

Please click on the below topics to address your question.  If after reviewing this section you still have unanswered questions please feel free to contact us.

General

Destination

Hotel

Accounting

Air Travel

Tour Guides

Booking

Wineries

Travel Insurance

 

 

 

 

GENERAL QUESTIONS

What is an F.I.T. tour as opposed a tour listed in your brochure?
This is a customized itinerary just for your specific criteria.  F.I.T. is an acronym for “Foreign  Independent Tour”.

 

What happens if I have a problem when I am on the tour?
We have 24 hour emergency service in each location we offer.   

 

Do you book groups of more than 10 people?
Yes, we have a groups department who can handle all independent groups from class or family reunions, golf groups, etc.   We also create a strong communication/marketing operation for the meetings, incentives and event industry catering to Conventions, Associations and Corporations all over the world.

  

Do I need vaccinations when traveling internationally?
Only if you are traveling to infected areas.  We will let you know the vaccinations that are required at time of booking.

 

Do you have any limitations for travelers with disabilities?
We require this information at time of booking so that we can research the destination to see if they are handicap accessible.  Not all countries have the same accessibility laws we have in the United States.

 

Why do you need a copy of our passport?
Some countries require this information at time of booking.  Also, if your passport is lost or stolen, we can help you obtain a new passport through the US Consulate. 


Do I need a visa for travel to Australia or New Zealand? 
Australia requires a visa.  We can help arrange a visa at a nominal fee.


 
Do you work with travel agents?
Absolutely.  We love working with travel agents and they are compensated for their work.

 

Can we use any of your photos found on your web site?
We would require a written request.

 

Do you provide travel insurance? How Much is it?
There is not a standard rate.  Once we are able to price your itinerary, we will be able to  give you quote

 

Do you do anything special for honeymooning couples?
Yes, all of our itineraries are customized. 

 

Do you require clients to sign a waiver for adventure travel?  
Yes.                                                                   

 

Do you offer ballooning excursions?
Yes, we can certainly arrange all types of balloon excursions based on the destination. 

 

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DESTINATION QUESTIONS:

 

When is the best time to visit?

California - - Travel into any of the California wine appellations is generally pleasant throughout the year.  The summer mornings and evenings are typically cooler, with the days warming up into the 80’s and 90’s.  It is rare for the temperature to rise above 100 degrees.  North of Monterey, including the Napa Valley and Sonoma, during the winter months, can be quite wet and chilly at times.  However, the winter time is the slow season and the wineries are more than delighted to have you as their guests.  Weather patterns over the last two years in the state of California have been inconsistent.  Summers have been cool while the winters warm and dry.  Nevertheless, it’s best to expect some rain in the winter and coastal fog in the summer.  During the winter months, it is wise to carry an umbrella.  It is always suggested to dress in layers no matter what time of year you are planning a visit.  

Australia - - The weather in Australia is wonderful throughout most of the year.  Yet, Australia is located in the southern hemisphere, therefore the winter months are May through August.  It does snow during the winter months but the snow is usually isolated to the mountains of New South Wales and Victoria.  Snow can also be found in the higher mountain ranges countrywide.  Spring and fall, which are October to December and March to May, are more often than not, extremely pleasant.  Most of the year, the wine regions will experience temperatures between 65 and 85 degrees.  In Australia, rain is common during the winter and spring months and thus we suggest you bring an umbrella.  Frost is also visible during the winter months, even in the desert-like areas.  The more north you travel in Australia, the warmer the expected weather is, however it usually is wetter due to temperate and tropical conditions.  

New Zealand - - New Zealand has mild temperatures, moderately high rainfall, and many hours of sunshine during the day throughout most of the country. The climate is dominated by two main geographical features, the mountains and the sea.  Although the far north territory has subtropical weather during summer, and the inland alpine areas of the South Island can be as cold as 10°C in the winter, most of the country lies close to the coast, which means mild temperatures, moderate rainfall, and abundant sunshine.  Because New Zealand lies in the Southern Hemisphere, the average temperature decreases the further south you travel. The far north of the country has an average temperature of about 15°C, while the deep south has a cooler 9°C average. January and February are the warmest months of the year, and July is the coldest.  New Zealand does not have a large temperature range, lacking the extremes one finds in most continental climates. However, the weather can change unexpectedly as cold fronts or tropical cyclones quickly blow in. Because of this, you should be prepared for sudden changes in weather and temperature if you’re going hiking or doing other outdoor activities. Most places in New Zealand receive over 2000 hours of sunshine a year, with the sunniest areas in the wine regions of Hawke's Bay and Nelson/Marlborough. Like Australia, the seasons are opposite of the seasons in the U.S and countries in the northern hemisphere.  The winters can become quite cold and wet and snow is definitely plays an important part of seasonal recreation, but stays isolated in the southern and mountainous regions.  areas.  

Chile and Argentina - - At any time of year, Chile and Argentina can offer tourists something special. In springtime (September through November), Santiago and the central area Argentina are splendid, whereas summer (December through March) is the ideal time to enjoy the beaches of Viña del Mar and the natural environment of Torres del Paine National Park, in Chilean Patagonia. Winter (June through August), on its part, offers the ideal season of the year for skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts, who happily coast along the ski runs in the snowy valleys on the outskirts of Santiago and Mendoza, the capitals of Chile and Argentina.   In general, the climate varies according to the geographical regions. In the north, in the world famous desert of San Pedro de Atacama, days are warm (27° Celsius on average in summer and 22° C in winter) and the nights are extremely cold (sometimes nighttime temperatures drop below zero Celsius). The central areas including Santiago and Mendoza have Mediterranean-type climate, with rainfall between May and August and an annual average temperature of 14° Celsius, whereas wind, rain and snow are daily occurrences in Chilean Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego.

Europe - - Located in the Northern hemisphere, the weather and climate of Europe mimics most places located in the United States.  Beautiful springs, summers and falls, with cool, sometimes cold winters.  The weather in Spain, Portugal and central to southern Italy is much like the seasons in northern California.  The mornings and evenings can be cool from coastal fog with the days warming to pleasant day-time temperatures.  It is much warmer in southern Italy, and certain regions in Spain and Portugal during the summer months.  Rain and gray, drizzly days are very common during the winter months.  France is also similar but susceptible to rain through out the year.  Heavy frost and dustings of snow in the northern regions are also common.  Northern Italy, Germany, Austria and Hungary have cold harsh snowy winters, with occasional rain throughout most of the year.  During the months of spring, summer and fall, it is recommended to wear layers of clothing, due to the alpine-type climate.  

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HOTEL QUESTIONS:

 

Can we book hotels only? 
Yes, we book hotels anywhere in the world at a discounted rate.  We do the research based on your criteria and search for the best location and rates for you.           

 

Hotel Types

  • Superior Deluxe: An exclusive, expensive luxury hotel offering the highest standards of accommodations and facilities and providing almost any level of personal service — Guest and public rooms are elegant and luxurious, service is impeccable — A prestige address - Establishments in this category are among the world’s top hotels.
  • Deluxe: An outstanding, expensive, luxury property offering many of the same features as a Superior Deluxe and in many instances may be just as satisfactory — There may be fewer personalized amenities or services — May cater to a more diverse, trend setting clientele.
  • Moderate Deluxe: Basically a Deluxe hotel, but frequently more heavily marketed to business clients or groups - Expect outstanding accommodations and public rooms — May not be as intimate or exclusive or may have less emphasis on atmosphere or personal service.
  • Superior First Class: An above average First Class hotel with some outstanding features and a broad range of services - May have a special focus on design, style and amenities — Guest rooms and public areas are tastefully furnished and very comfortable striving to meet the needs of business and leisure guests. 
  • First Class: This is the full service hotel standard -- A dependable, well-maintained hotel with comfortable accommodations and public areas - Usually provides a full range of services, amenities and facilities - May have superior executive level or wing.
  • Limited-Service First Class: A property offering full first-class comfortable, quality accommodations, but limited public areas, dining and facilities - Usually moderate in size - Some may use a residential scale and architecture, others may feature a unique atmosphere or design - Many offer complimentary breakfast or evening drinks in the lobby or in an informal restaurant.
  • Moderate First Class: Essentially a First Class establishment with comfortable but sometimes simple accommodations- Public areas may be limited - Some first class features may be lacking, but generally provides all the essentials a guest requires.
  • Superior Tourist Class: Primarily a mid-market economy hotel — Accommodations are well kept and functional, some with charming or intimate features - Many with in-room amenities designed for business travelers - Usually public rooms and facilities are limited.
  • Tourist Class: A property for the budget traveler providing basic room amenities, but few services — May have some facilities or features of Superior Tourist Class — Accommodations may be standardized - Often in locations convenient to highways, business or airports.
  • Moderate Tourist Class: Budget properties with a no-frills approach, providing basic accommodations for the traveler.


Is breakfast included in the rate of the hotel?
Not all hotels offer breakfast.  We state on your itinerary under inclusions what meals are included.


Can you book villas?
We can book villas anywhere in the world.  We do a background search to make sure the villa meets our standards as well as yours.


Do children stay for free when booking a hotel?
Each hotel has different rules for children.  We will research the best hotels based on your criteria.  Infants are free in the room.  However, cribs may have a surcharge.


What type of bedding?
There is no standard in the industry.  However, we choose hotels that do offer superior bedding, and certain hotels, such as the Westin Hotels and their Heavenly Beds, have exclusive upgraded bedding.

 

 

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ACCOUNTING QUESTIONS:

What forms of payment do you accept?  
We accept Visa, American Express, Mastercard, Diner’s Club and Discover card 

What are your penalties for itinerary changes?
As a standard rule, we charge $150.00 for changes once you are under deposit.  However, if your itinerary is customized, there may be additional charges from our vendors.

What are your penalties for cancellation?
Our standard charge is:  

  • 50% of total trip cost is forfeited for cancellations made between 44 and 30 days prior to departure.*
  • 100% of total trip cost is forfeited for cancellations made  29 days or less prior to departure. 
  • *Plus applicable third party charges.       

 

Are gratuities included?
Gratuities are not included.  However, you can pre-pay gratuities at your discretion 

What is the penalty for a no-show?
Your trip is  non-refundable 

What does it mean when you say that price may increase due to rate of exchange?
The rate of exchange for each country fluctuates 

Is tax and service charge included in the rate?
We will indicate on each quote whether tax is included.

What does VAT tax mean?
Value added tax (IVA), is 12% on clothing, 19% on luxuries. On most consumer goods, it is already included  in the amount shown on the price tag, whereas on services, it may not be.  To get an IVA refund, when you are leaving the country, take the goods and the invoice to the customs office at the airport or other point of departure and have the invoice stamped. (If you return to the United States or Canada, go through the procedure at customs; if your return is, say, via Britain, take the goods and invoice to British customs.) Shop with your passport and ask the store for an invoice itemizing the article(s), price(s), and the amount of tax. Once back home and within 90 days of the date of purchase mail the stamped invoice to the store, which will forward the IVA rebate to you. A growing number of stores in Europe are members of the Tax Free Shopping System, which expedites things by providing an invoice that is actually a Tax Free Cheque in the amount of the refund. Once stamped, it can be cashed at the Tax Free Cash refund window at major airports and border crossings. 

When do you charge my credit card?
If your trip is outside of 45 days, we will charge your credit card for the deposit of $150.00 plus any third party charges, and the final will be due 45 days prior to date of departure.

 

 

 

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AIR  QUESTIONS:

Can I book my air through WTOTW?
Yes, we have an air department that searches for the best rates at time of booking.  We believe it is to your advantage to book through us so that if you are on your trip and you need to change, we can take care of it for you.

Can I use my miles to upgrade to business and/or first class when purchasing air?
Most fares allow you to use your miles to upgrade.  However, space is capacity controlled with limited space so we advise you to plan your trip as soon as possible.


 
When is payment due for my airline ticket? 
We must follow the rules of the airlines for ticketing.  Most airlines have a 24 hour ticketing rule once reservations are made requiring payment at time of booking.

 

Is mileage accrual allowed?
Yes.  We will ask for your mileage number at time of booking.

 

Are there special airfares from points of origin outside of the U.S.? 
Yes, there are fares we can offer.  We always search for the best fares and if these special airfares exist, we will advise you at that time.

 

Do penalties apply?
All discounted rates have a penalty.  We will advise you at time of booking the penalties for change and cancellation. 

 

What is the luggage requirements?
The standard in the industry is 2 carry on and 2 checked bags.  There is a weight restriction for checked luggage of 50 pounds.  If the weight is over that amount, the airlines will charge you at check-in.  

 

What should I pack?
We will advise you in your final documents as to the type of clothing to take.  Each destination have different requirements.

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TRANSPORTATION QUESTIONS:

With your car, van and bus transportation, how many persons are seated per vehicle?
This varies in each country.  We do a thorough research as to the number of passengers, luggage capability, etc. when we determine your needs at time of booking.

   

What type of vehicles are used for a car and driver?
This varies in each country.  We will advise you at time of booking as to the type of vehicle that will fit your requirements.

 

 

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TOUR GUIDE QUESTIONS:

 Are gratuities included?
No, we do not include gratuities.  However, if you prefer to pre-pay, we can arrange for the guides to be paid.

What are the guidelines?
The standard varies for each country and it is also based on what is required.

What type of guides do you use?
We only use certified guides who speak English without a heavy accent
 

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BOOKING QUESTIONS:

 


Once a reservation is confirmed, can the price of my package increase?
Once you are under deposit, the price of the trip is confirmed in the currency of that country.  If the rate fluctuates, than your price of your trip can either go up or down until final payment is received.
 

 


WINERIES QUESTIONS:

What type of wineries do you offer?
All types.  Small boutique wineries that produce wines that are not distributed which make them rare and unique finds.  Wineries that offer wine education and tours, including food and wine pairings.  Large wineries like Kendall Jackson that also have private tours and tastings.  Off the wine road wineries where sometimes you can find yourself tasting samples from a barrel with the actual wine maker.  Beautiful scenic wineries that offer hiking, lunch spots, and fantastic shopping.  Wineries that you can walk to, or even take a horse drawn carriage to get from one to another.     


Is there someone I can talk to about specific wines?
Yes, we have an in house sommelier that can answer any questions regarding wine.


Can I purchase wine on my trip?
Yes, but due to current airline liquid restrictions, you can not carry it inside the cabin of the airplane.  However, most wineries can ship or sell you an airport safe shipping box.  This is the best way to get wine home.  Simple drop you favorite bottles into a safe shipping box, and check it in as part of your luggage.  This is something to keep in mind while you are packing for your trip.  


Are there any liquor laws I should know about?
The two most important laws to remember are this:  You must be 21 years of age, because when in doubt, a winery staff will ask for ID.  And the most important thing to remember is to please drink responsibly.  Do not drive under the influence.  There are several transportation options in all wine regions as a result of this serious concern.  


Do I have to know anything about wines prior to visiting a winery?
No, and most wineries have fantastic websites.  Dress is casual.  You may wear black tie apparel, or shorts and flip-flops.  Do keep in mind that some wineries give tours that can require walking with steps and steep slopes.  It is also cold in many wineries and caves, due to the fact that wine can spoil in heat.  We suggest you pack comfortable shoes, and always carry a jacket.  

 
How do I begin to plan which wineries to visit?
We have designed a vacation planner that has wine qualifying questions.   This is something you can discus with one of our agents.  We can also put you in touch with our sommelier for suggestions, recommendations, and other miscellaneous wine questions.


If we want to take a break from wineries during our vacation, are there other things to do in the wine country?  
You have no idea, the sky is your limit.  From ballooning to sailing, and everything in between, wine country has it all. 

 


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TRAVEL INSURANCE QUESTIONS:

 To demonstrate the importance of purchasing travel insurance, and emergency travel services, here are 10 common examples of what could go wrong.

1. It's 10 p.m. and you and your immediate family arrive at the airport for a connecting flight, only to find that your flight has been canceled. Who can assist you with finding new flights to get everyone home?

2. Your bag was lost with your insulin inside. You need help to locate your bag as soon as possible and have your emergency prescription filled. Who do you call?

3. Your first visit to Europe, and your passport and wallet are stolen. Where do you turn for emergency cash, and how will you get your passport replaced?

4. You're involved in an accident and adequate medical treatment is not available. Who will help arrange and pay for a medical evacuation?

5. If your sister-in-law becomes seriously ill and you must cancel your trip, what happens to your non-refundable deposits or pre-payments?

6. You arrive in Jamaica and your luggage doesn't. If it's lost, who will help you find it? If it's delayed, who will pay for your necessities? If it's stolen, who will pay to replace it?

7. Your cruise line, airline or tour operator goes bankrupt. Who will pay for your non-refundable expenses? Who will help get you to your destination?

8. You're walking down a street in Rio and twist your ankle. Who can help you find an English-speaking physician?

9. Three weeks before your scheduled arrival, a terrorist incident occurs in the city to which you are planning to visit. Who will pay if you want to cancel your trip?

10. You are at a beach resort in North Carolina, and you are forced to evacuate due to an approaching hurricane. Who will help you evacuate and who will reimburse your lost vacation investment?

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