Travel Tips & Frequently Asked Questions
|US Department of State||http://travel.state.gov|
|Vatican web site||www.vatican.va|
|EL AL Israel Airlines||www.elal.co.il|
Frequently Asked Questions
All participants are required to have a valid passport for entry into all foreign countries. Those who already have a passport should check that it is valid for at least three to six months (depending on your travel destination) beyond your planned date of return. Please renew your passport if it is due to expire within this time frame as many countries require this validity for entry and exit. Information on passport validity requirements and to renew or obtain a new passport can be found at www.travel.state.gov.
Visas, health certificates, and vaccinations are not required for travel to most destinations we service for U.S. citizens. Citizens of countries other than the United States should check with the local consulate of the country you are traveling to regarding valid visas, alien registration cards (i.e. green cards) or other travel document requirements that may be necessary for travel. Those requiring a visa are responsible for securing their own visa from the appropriate consulate. Peter’s Way Tours will provide information regarding necessary travel documentation when requested by the participant.
We recommend leaving your passport in the hotel room safe. Otherwise, we suggest that you keep your passport in the Peter’s Way Tours travel wallet, designed to be worn around your neck. You will only need your passport at airports, border crossings, for currency exchange and for Value Added Tax (VAT) refunds. Should your passport be lost or stolen, it will be necessary to complete a police report and contact your national embassy to replace it. We recommend that you bring a photocopy of your passport, as well as other important documents, with you and leave a copy with a trusted friend or relative.
Prior to departure, you will receive a set of Peter’s Way Tours travel documents including a drawstring backpack, travel wallet, luggage tags, name badge, hotel information, flight schedule and land itinerary.
Please put a Peter’s Way Tours luggage tag on your checked luggage and your carry-on. Be sure to include the following information: name of tour, your name, home address, and the hotels at which you are staying, including dates. This will facilitate identification of your luggage at airports and hotels.
Peter’s Way Tours requires that you travel light with one piece of luggage to check and one piece to carry-on due to space on the bus. Your carry-on must be able to fit under the seat in front of you or in the overhead bin on the aircraft. Both carry-on and checked baggage limitations of pieces, weight and dimensions vary by carrier. Standard airline baggage policies for international travel usually allow one free checked bag up to 50 pounds & 62 total inches (L+W+H) and one free carry-on bag up to 45 total inches (L+W+H) (weight varies by carrier). For domestic travel, many airlines charge baggage fees for checked and/or carry-on luggage. It is important to check with all airlines before departure for their current baggage policy. Luggage in excess of these requirements can cause major delays and unecessary expenses.
We suggest that you pack a change of clothing in your carry-on bag in the event that your checked luggage is delayed. Always keep medication in the original perscription bottle and with you in your carry-on bag, never in your checked luggage.
Only your valid passport is required to check-in at the airport. Group airline contracts do not permit online check-in. Boarding passes and seat assignments will be obtained during check-in at the airport. The airlines will reserve a block of seats for the group and can accept individual requests at check-in.
Upon arrival at your overseas destination, everyone must pass through Passport Control. Next, you will collect your luggage from baggage claim and proceed to Customs. Outside the Customs area, you will be met by your Peter’s Way Tours representative. Depending on your destination, a tourist visa may be given to you at the airport. Please retain this form and keep it with your passport as it will be needed to exit the country you are visiting.
If your luggage has not arrived or has been damaged, notify an airline representative immediately and fill out a claim form with the airline involved prior to leaving baggage claim and the Customs area. This is required to initate the search and recovery of your luggage or to verify a damage claim.
Upon return, you will pass through Passport Control, claim your luggage and proceed to Customs where you will declare items you have purchased overseas. Remember, Passport Control and Customs processing will occur each time you enter a country. When you return, it will occur in the airport where you first land within your country of origin.
For passengers continuing on a connecting flight, you will be able to re-check your luggage, with the assistance of airline employees, to your final destination immediately after clearing Customs.
Please note, it is important to check the allowed duty-free limits. If you are arriving with purchases valued at more than what is allowed, you may need to declare your merchandise and pay duty. For more information regarding duty-free limits, visit www.cbp.gov.
Major credit cards such as Visa, Master Card and American Express are widley accepted. Please contact your credit card company in advance of your departure to advise them of your travel destination and dates. It is best to use your ATM card to get money when you are abroad because you generally get a better exchange rate than through a bank or merchant. Please contact your bank for specific information on using your ATM card (e.g. obtain a 4-digit pin number prior to your departure) and possible foreign transaction fees. We recommend that you bring a photocopy of your cards or write down your account numbers in the event that a card is lost. A mixture of cash, ATM card, and credit card will ensure that you have the most funding options in any situation.
The final documents you will receive prior to departure will list the approximate exchange rate of the local currency. Upon arrival at your international destination, there will be currency exhange kiosks located near the Baggage Claim and Customs areas. Currency exchange kiosks in airports tend to have less favorable exchange rates than banks in cities. Your Peter’s Way Tours tour manager will direct you and time will be given for currency exchange.
It is also possible to exchange money to the currency of your destination at your local bank prior to departure. We recommend exchanging around $300USD to cover expenses not included in your package price (e.g. tipping, meals, beverages, incidentals). Try to use all of your foreign coins before returning home. Banks will exchange paper money, but most refuse to exchange change. It may be convenient to carry change with you for tipping, church donations, purchasing small items or using public restrooms.
Do not exchange currency at your hotel unless absolutely necessary. Banks give the official exchange rate. Our itinerary will keep you very busy and it is likely that you will be touring when city banks are open. Check with your Peter’s Way Tours tour manager as to the location of the nearest bank and their business hours.
It is customary for restaurants abroad to include a service charge as a separate item on your check. Some state on their menu that service charges are included. An additional tip to the waiter of 5 - 10% is generally expected, depending on the quality of service.
Gratuities may not be included in your tour package. Please refer to the inclusions listed on your tour brochure. Although voluntary, gratuities are a supplemental income that the service industry relies on. For good work, we recommend 4,00 Euro per person per day for your tour manager; 2,00 Euro per person per day for your bus driver; 1,50 Euro per person for a local guide when applicable. Tips for your tour manager and bus driver are normally given as a group at the end of the tour. Other gratuities are usually handled individually. All service charges and local taxes as imposed by hotels are included in the program rate. Although service charges at the hotels are included, it is customary to leave 1,00 Euro per person for your waiter following dinner at the hotel and 1,00 Euro per person per day for the maid or housekeeper. If traveling to a destination outside of the Euro, calculate the approximate suggested tipping equivalent in the local currency. In the Holy Land, we recommend $7.00USD per person per day for your tour manager and $3.00USD per person per day for your bus driver.
We recommend that you pack light, bringing casual and comfortable clothes that can be layered. Layers of clothing will allow you to adapt to any weather changes that might occur during the day while touring. You will be doing a considerable amount of walking so be sure to bring comfortable walking shoes and a raincoat or umbrella in the event of rain. Weather information including average temperatures for your destination and dates of travel will be included in your final documents and can be found on our website.
Style of dress is casual. There may be only a few instances when you will want to be more formally dressed (e.g. concert performance, scheduled Mass, Papal Audience, farewell dinner). When visiting churches, shorts and tank tops are not permitted, as knees and shoulders must be covered. Remember, most churches are not heated. While we enjoy the respite of these structures in the summer months, during the winter, it may be colder inside than outside. Please keep your season of travel in mind when packing.
Hotel accommodations used in our programs maintain private facilities in each room (unless stated otherwise). Shampoo, conditioner, soap and towels are ususally provided. Please note, laundry service at hotels is expensive, please pack accordingly.
Bring an adequate supply of all medication. Always keep medication in the original prescription bottle and with you in your carry-on bag, never in your checked luggage. Pharmacy labels should clearly indicate your doctor’s instructions. It is advised to carry a copy of all prescriptions for medication with you. Always carry notification of any allergies or medical problems and make sure a group member is aware in the event of an emergency.
If you are bringing a CPAP machine, syringes for medication or other medical equiptment, please contact the airline directly for proper travel instructions and necessary documentation.
If you wear eyeglasses or contact lenses, you may want to bring an extra pair or enough additional contact lenses in case of loss or damage. If you do not have an extra pair of eyeglasses, we recommend bringing a copy of your prescription in the event that you need to replace your eyeglasses.
Bring an adaptor/converter for any electrical items you intend on using, including your phone charger. Your local electronics store can direct you to purchase the appropriate items for the country you are visiting.
Check with your cell phone provider before departure to ensure your phone will work properly while traveling overseas. It may be necessary for your provider to set you up with a temporary international calling plan and/or a different sim card. The most economical way to call home is to purchase a pre-paid calling card upon your arrival overseas. Your tour manager will be able to assist you with local language instructions. Do not use the phone in your hotel room unless absolutely necessary as hotels charge high rates for international phone calls.
When dialing overseas from the U.S., it is required to dial 011, followed by the country code, then city code, then number. When dialing the U.S. from overseas, it is required to dial 001, followed by the area code and number.
Bring all the film/memory cards and batteries you think you will need for your trip. While they can be purchased overseas, they may be expensive and not readily available at the moment you need them. Please ask airport personnel for the best way to safely transport film through security.
No immunization vaccinations are required. Should you begin to feel overtired or under the weather, do not hesitate to take time off. It is better to miss a day than the balance of the tour. If any problem arises, please inform your tour manager.
We recommend drinking bottled water. You will find it convenient to have a bottle with you while touring. Remember, walking makes you thirsty and frequent drinking will help avoid dehydration. When ordering water in restaurants, if you would like tap water instead of bottled water, you must order it as such. Ice may not be available everywhere you travel.
Please keep in mind that the local diet may be different than you are used to. Participants should consider the traditional cuisine and plan for dietary supplements if necessary. If you have specific dietary needs, please notify us at least 2 weeks prior to departure so we can advise the airline, hotels and restaurants.
Many cities in popular destinations have preserved their past by creating beautiful pedestrian promenades where there once were winding, narrow streets. This limits motorcoach access and involves a considerate amount of walking to see their main attractions. In addition, touring churches, museums, castles and other historical sites frequently involves stairs. While society has become increasingly more sensitive and responsive to the needs of the physically challenged, some sites visited do not always accommodate wheelchairs. Walking may be required to fully experience many historic sites. An individual who cannot travel independently and who needs assistance with walking, dining, or personal needs must have a companion able to assist them.
The package price per person is based on two persons sharing twin bedded rooms with private facilities in hotels throughout your tour (unless stated otherwise). Double bedded rooms for married couples are subject to availability and must be requested. Triple rooms may be available for family or friends traveling together. We discourage triple room accommodations because they are normally not spacious and there is no discount for triple occupancy. Triple rooms usually are regular twin or double bedded rooms with a rollaway bed added. Single rooms are limited but may be requested at time of booking for an additional charge as noted in the tour brochure. While single rooms provide privacy, they are often smaller than twin bedded rooms and may be located away from the group in some hotels. We will make every effort (if you so desire) to match you with a same gender roommate when we receive your application, but we do not guarantee a roommate can be matched. If a single room must be assigned due to your roommate's cancellation, incompatibility or for any other reason (even at the last moment or while on tour), we must charge you the tour's single supplement or pro-rated amount.
We suggest that you do some research concerning your destination. Fodor’s, Frommer’s, Rick Steves and Michelin produce excellent travel guides which may help you plan some activities during leisure time and perhaps provide more detailed, advance knowledge that will enhance a guided sightseeing session.
In most cities, there should be no problem finding someone who speaks at least a little English. However, it is recommended that you invest some time, prior to travel, mastering a few simple phrases for daily use to speak in the local language. Your sincere attempts at communicating in the native language will be much appreciated and reflect respect for the culture.
Peter’s Way Tours will be happy to assist you with travel arrangements for your deviation from the scheduled group air and/or land itinerary. Restrictions may apply depending on the airline confirmed for the group. All deviations must be submitted in writing at least 90 days prior to departure (unless otherwise noted on your tour brochure). Additional fees will be determined by the changes requested.
Land Only packages do not include any portion of the group airfare. This includes any flights booked within the group itinerary. All airline tickets will be your responsibility to book independently. A passenger choosing the Land Only portion of the package must notify Peter’s Way Tours, in writing, at least 100 days prior to departure (unless otherwise noted on your tour brochure) or a penalty fee will be assessed. Please be advised, passenger(s) opting for the Land Only package or who are deviating from the group itinerary will be responsible for their own transfers to/from hotel/airport. However, if you arrive at the same time or earlier than your group, you are welcome to join the group on the bus. Additionally, if you purchase your own air transportation and the group does not materialize or you cancel your package for any reason, Peter’s Way Tours will not be held responsible for the cost of your airfare or other arrangements booked independently.
We recommend that you wear your name badge at the airport and during scheduled group activities, especially where entrance fees are necessary. This will facilitate group check-in at airports and hotels, as well as identify you as a member of the group with all Peter’s Way Tours representatives.
Never leave anything of value out in your hotel room. Instead, use the hotel room safe or the Peter’s Way Tours travel wallet, designed to be worn around your neck.
Take a small notebook for keeping a travel journal and personal notes. Your observations and recorded impressions of your tour will become your most valued souvenir in the years to come.
You may arrive overseas at your first destination in the morning hours, local time. Since hotel rooms frequently are not ready early in the morning, many arrival day tours involve up to a half day of activity, most often bus sightseeing.
For your comfort between cities, the bus will stop often with usually no more than two hours between service stations. Modern public facilities will be available while touring. It is customary to leave change in local currency to an attendant if on premises.
Please keep in mind that business hours of various establishments may differ from home. Please consider that afternoon siestas are quite common abroad. Also, businesses are more likely to be closed on Sunday.
For those participants traveling to Vatican City, please remember to bring any religious articles to the Sunday noon Papal Blessing in St. Peter’s Square and the Wednesday morning Papal Audience in St. Peter’s Square or Paul VI Audience Hall, if included in your itinerary.
Please consider others by being on time. Fifteen minutes wasted four times a day is an hour that can never be made up without taking time away from other stops. Such delays are frustrating for everyone, and result in late hotel arrivals and delayed dinners. Please observe the announced departure time and location at each stop. Your traveling companions will be grateful for your consideration and your trip will run more smoothly. Your tour manager will request a group wake-up call each morning and advise of breakfast and departure times.
Your tour manager is a guide, lecturer, manager, problem solver and a friend in times of need. They try their best to keep everyone happy, taking into consideration individual opinions, likes and dislikes. Should you encounter a problem or have an emergency, please notify your tour manager immediately so that it may be resolved.
It is strongly recommended that all participants purchase insurance when they travel since the tour operator is not responsible for non-refundable payments, damaged luggage or trip interruption. Peter’s Way Tours offers an optional travel insurance policy. These benefits and services help insure the well being of the passenger while traveling worldwide. The plan payments are based on total package price, including taxes, fuel surcharges, single supplements, deviation fees, etc.
The optional travel insurance policy includes coverage for the following: trip cancellation/interruption/delay, accident/sickness medical expense, emergency medical evacuation/repatriation, lost baggage/personal effects, accidental death & dismemberment and 24-hour Emergency Travel Assistance Services. Upon claim approval, reimbursement is up to 100% of the non-refundable payments for your trip.
PLEASE NOTE: For complete details of coverage, terms, conditions, exclusions, and pre-existing conditions for this optional travel insurance policy, refer to the policy brochure which you will receive upon tour enrollment.
Frequently Asked Questions by Travelers
Yes. Click here for the credit card authorization form. A discount of $100.00 per person will apply for payments made entirely by personal check, money order or certified bank check.
See your brochure for details. For most groups, from the time your deposit is received up to 130 days prior to departure, there is a $250.00 nonrefundable cancellation fee per person. From 129 to 100 days prior to departure, there is a $350.00 nonrefundable cancellation fee per person.From 99 days prior to departure up to the day of departure, there is a nonrefundable cancellation fee of 100% of all payments made per person including departure taxes & fuel surcharges, single supplement, deviation fees, travel insurance payments and any other costs incurred. Travel insurance is offered as protection for cancellations due to medical reasons such as illness or injury, please see TRAVEL INSURANCE. Travel insurance payments are nonrefundable upon receipt. Tour participation is nontransferable. Names cannot be transferred on reservations or airline tickets. Refund requests can only be honored when submitted in writing to Peter’s Way Tours. All refund requests are subject to cancellation restrictions as set forth above. No refund will be made for any accommodations or services included in the tour that you do not use.
Your group manager will send your flight packet with your final documents approximately two to three weeks before your departure date.
Provide your frequent flyer program account number upon check-in at the airline counter. Verify that your number has been input on your record. Retain your ticket receipt and boarding pass stubs until proper credit is received from the airline via your frequent flyer account.
The airlines provide a block of seats for the group. They will accept individual requests at check-in only, however, this is a courtesy, and we cannot guarantee that the airlines will honor those requests made at the time of check-in.
The single room supplement price varies for each trip. Please refer to the back of the promotional brochure, terms and conditions section, under "accommodations".
All rooms have private facilities. Other amenities vary by hotel. Ask your group manager for the web site listing of your confirmed hotel(s) for further information.
Most hotels used in our programs provide hair dryers, however all European and Middle East countries run on a 220-volt current, therefore electrical adaptors and converters are required if you plan to bring your own appliances (hair dryer, etc.) For specific information on converters/adaptors for the country you are visiting, visit: http://www.travelproducts.com/electricity_guide.htm
You will receive this information with your final documents, about two to three weeks prior to departure.
Most rooms are equipped with two unconnected twin beds. If you would like to share a double bed with your spouse, we will request one on your behalf, subject to availability.
Triple Rooms, for family or friends traveling together, may be available at your hotel, but they are limited at most destinations. We discourage triple room accommodations because they are normally not spacious and there is no discount for triple occupancy. Due to European safety standards, quad bedded rooms can be found only in very rare instances, though they may exist in suite arrangements.
See your brochure for details.
Please include this information on your emergency contact form which you will receive with your welcome documents. We also advise that you release this information directly to your tour manager upon arrival so that they can alert the dining staff appropriately.
Yes, in most countries it is safe to drink tap water. However if you have concerns or if you have had an unpleasant experience in the past, you should consume bottled water, which is readily available at all our destinations.
You are welcome to carry packaged snacks in your bags. However, while traveling between countries, you may not transport fresh fruit and other perishable commodities, due to agricultural restrictions.
The motor coaches you will be transported in may not have a restroom. However, for your comfort between cities, the bus will stop often with no more than one and one-half to two hours between convenience stations. Modern public facilities will be available while touring. It is customary to leave change in local currency (about Euro 0,25) with an attendant if there is one on premises. Upon each bus disembarkation, your tour manager will advise of the nearest facilities.
When traveling, by air, bus, or otherwise, you should keep your medicine, and all other essential items in your hand-carried bag. Never put medicine in your checked luggage.
Your tour manager and bus driver have access to first aid provisions. For more serious illness or medical emergency, please notify your tour manager immediately. A determination of hospital transport or a visit by an attending physician will be made. A list of participants that purchased medical insurance is kept with the tour manager including provider 24-hour service numbers.
Time differences vary depending upon your destination and time of year. For example, European destinations are five to six hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time. This information will be provided in your final documents.
The most economical method is to purchase an international pre-paid phone card once you arrive at your destination. Prepaid calling cards purchased in the U.S. or Canada may not correspond to foreign telephone systems.
Please review your brochure itinerary to consider what meals may not be included, beverage consumption while touring and at dinner, and incidentals such as gratuities and souvenirs. Small shops and restaurants, as well as street vendors may not accept credit card payment. We recommend a mixture of cash, credit card, and ATM card to cover all possibilities.
You may exchange your currency in advance of your tour, upon arrival at your initial destination (airports have official banks), an initial bank stop as per your tour manager, or a currency exchange facility found in city centers. However, be aware that the bank hours in other countries may be shorter than you are accustomed to, so you may not be able to visit a bank every day. See our section on Travel Tips for more details about financial issues abroad.
In general, for good work, recommended (but voluntary) tipping to your Tour Manager/Escort is Euro 4,00 per person per day; to your Driver is Euro 2,00 per day; to the local guide (if one is assigned in addition to the escort) is Euro 1,50 per person per day. Tips for the tour manager/escort and bus driver are normally given as a group at the end of the tour. Other gratuities are usually handled individually. Suggested gratuities for maids and after provided meals is Euro 1,00 per person, per day.
Call our New York office at 1-800-225-7662, or 516-605-1551 (inside NY)
Dress should be respectful and modest. Shoulders must be covered. Shorts are not permitted. Women are not required to wear head coverings. Slacks are fine everywhere.