About Your Passport:
All travelers: Please keep your passport with you at all times while traveling – do not pack it in your checked bag. It is wise to have a photocopy of the picture page of your passport and extra passport photos with you while traveling (store them separately from your passport). These items will help to expedite the replacement process should your passport be lost while you are abroad. If your passport is lost during your trip, please immediately notify your tour manager and contact the nearest U.S. Consulate for instructions on how to proceed.
U.S. Citizens: Your passport must be valid for 6 months after your scheduled return date.
Non-U.S. Citizens: You must carry a valid passport issued by your country of citizenship. To re-enter the United States you will need to present your Green Card to Customs officials at your point of entry. It is imperative that you notify TWT if you are traveling with a passport issued by a country other than the U.S. It is your responsibility to check with the consulate of each country included in the tour program regarding entrance requirements for citizens of your country. Individual visas may be required. Obtaining the appropriate visa(s) is the responsibility of the traveler, and the process can take up to 6 weeks. Please plan ahead!
In Case of Emergencies:
Your final document packet contains two copies of your itinerary and hotel contact list. The phone and fax numbers on the hotel list are written exactly the way that you would dial them from the USA. If there is an emergency and someone needs to reach you during your trip, they should contact the hotel directly.
About Your Luggage:
Each traveler is allowed one checked bag and one carry-on bag per person. The combined total dimensions (length + width + height) of your checked bag must be 62 inches or less, and the bag must weigh no more than 50 pounds. Your carry-on bag must fit under your seat or in an overhead compartment (maximum 45 total inches - length + width + height). Some airlines also impose weight restrictions on carry-on bags. You will be charged for excess baggage by the airline if your luggage exceeds their size or weight limits. Please consult your tour itinerary for specific luggage restrictions for the airline you are flying.
All baggage must have identification on the outside of the bag, and it’s also a good idea to have identification on the inside, in case the outer tag is lost. We recommend that you pack one change of clothes in your carry-on bag in case your checked bag is delayed for any reason. Never place your travel documents, money, cameras, medication or other valuables inside your checked luggage. Keep them in your carry-on bag in case your luggage is lost or delayed. Due to TSA security regulations your luggage must be unlocked (or locked with a TSA-approved lock) so the security personnel are able to search it as needed.
Please note: When luggage handling at hotels is included in the cost of the tour, this applies only to your one checked bag. Your carry-on luggage is your responsibility for the entire tour. Never ask the porter to move additional bags without first speaking to your tour manager.
If you wear glasses it is wise to take an extra pair with you. If you take prescription drugs please be sure to bring more than you need for the trip. All medications (including over-the-counter medications and vitamins) should be carried in the original containers with labels intact. It is also a good idea to bring copies of your prescriptions in case there are any questions at security checkpoints. If you take prescription drugs that are considered controlled substances or if you are carrying syringes, please ask your doctor for a letter explaining why you need them. Please provide TWT with a copy of this letter so that we can advise the airlines.
While on Tour:
1. Please wear your TWT name tag. It will help your tour manager get to know you and will help him or her keep track of the group.
2. Please be sure that the color-coded paper baggage tag is always on your large, checked suitcase (from the time you check in at the airport until you arrive back home). This tag assures easy luggage identification for your tour manager and baggage handlers, and it identifies you as belonging to a specific group.
3. The white plastic baggage tag should also be used on your checked luggage. This tag is sturdy and meets the requirements of the airline. Identification on the outside of your suitcase is mandatory. Identification on the inside of your luggage is highly recommended.
4. Please be prompt when your tour manager announces times for coach departures, dining, sightseeing, etc. Departure delays can spoil the enjoyment of the trip for the group members and can actually destroy the schedule for the entire day.
Your Tour Manager and Coach Driver:
A good tour manager increases enjoyment for passengers and turns a good trip into a great trip. We have made every effort to provide your group with an experienced and personable tour manager who will make each day of your tour special. Our tour managers are professional men and women whose livelihood is often dependent on escorting groups such as yours.
Your coach driver also considers his position as a profession not just a job. While your driver may or may not have mastered the English language, he has been hired because of his ability to master an expensive motor coach that will be carrying a group of very valuable people (you and your fellow travelers!).
Both of these people deserve your respect and cooperation. Treat them in such a way that they will always want to do their very best to maximize your enjoyment. In many ways, they translate our plans into reality.
TWT uses 3, 4 and 5-star hotels that are chosen on the basis of location, cleanliness, excellent service and, when possible, are typical of the local area. Normally you will find 3 & 4 star hotels in Europe and 4 & 5 star hotels in the Middle East, Asia, Africa and India. Many of the hotels are located in buildings that were originally built for another purpose and have been converted to hotels at a later date. For this reason, you will often find that the rooms within the same hotel are not of uniform shapes and sizes. All will have private bathroom facilities, although some may have a tub and others may have a shower stall. All will have similar amenities. Please be aware that single rooms, where available, are often very small, and the third bed in a triple room will often be a cot.
If you have charges to your room for personal items such as beverages, mini-bar purchases, phone or internet, laundry services, etc., please settle your bill with the front desk prior to checkout.
Meals and Beverages:
Your final itinerary will outline the meals that are included in your tour program. If there are any foods that you cannot eat due to health reasons, please notify our office. While we cannot guarantee the availability of special diets, we will forward your request to the appropriate airline, hotels and restaurants.
Beverages with lunches or dinners are rarely included in the cost of the tour. If you order beer, wine, soda, coffee or mineral water, you will receive a bill at the end of the meal.
Tips for your drivers, guides and housekeeping staff are not included. Please check your final itinerary for suggested tipping amounts. Tips to drivers and guides are usually presented at the end of the tour.
Smoking is strictly prohibited on airplanes, buses, trains and most other modes of transportation. Many hotels do not allow smoking in the rooms. Please smoke only in designated smoking areas.
What to Pack:
We recommend that you check www.weather.com for the cities that you will visit. If you start checking the 10-day forecast a couple of weeks before your trip, it will give you an idea of what kind of weather to expect during your journey. Comfortable clothing and walking shoes are the rule, and most people find it best to dress in layers to allow for temperature fluctuations during the day. It is advisable to pack clothes that can be easily washed in the sink of your hotel room, since public laundry facilities may be difficult or impossible to find. Hotel laundry service, where available, is often very expensive. You should also be aware that most hotels do not supply washcloths – be sure to pack several if you wish to use them during your trip. Most hotels have hair dryers in the rooms, so consider leaving yours at home. Finally, don’t leave home without a waterproof jacket and/or umbrella, sunglasses, hat, sunscreen, spare camera batteries and a pocket calculator.
* Plan your wardrobe around a basic neutral color. Then choose accessories that add color and frills.
* Keep in mind that stain repellent and wash-and-wear fabrics are easier to maintain.
* When traveling, dress as conservatively as possible. Simplicity is the key to being well groomed.
* Admittance to some religious sites may be denied if you have a low neckline or if you are wearing short pants or a sleeveless top. Slacks and jeans are acceptable. Your tour manager will notify you if you will be visiting a site with rules regarding conservative clothing.
Keeping in Touch:
Using your hotel room phone to place calls to the USA can be very expensive. We recommend the following alternatives for keeping in touch with friends and family.
If you are hoping to use your cell phone during the tour, please call your cell phone provider and ask them if your phone will work overseas. If so, you should ask them if you have international calling capability as part of your current plan. If your phone will work but is not currently set up for international calling, you can ask if it is possibleto have theinternational capability turned on just for the period of time that you will be using it overseas. Also be sure to ask what charges will apply for international calling and texting.
If you have a smart phone, please be sure to turn OFF your data-roaming feature. You can still use the Internet via your phone when you are connected to Wi-Fi, but it is very expensive to use your data-roaming feature while you are traveling.
There are several apps that will allow you to use your cell phone for free (or deeply discounted) calls and texts while you are traveling. Viber is one option - if you download the Viber app you can make free calls and send free texts to anyone else who has the app on their phone (so make sure your family also downloads the app). WhatsApp and Skype are two other options that you might want to consider. All of these apps are great options that you can use whenever you are connected to the Internet.
Most hotels do offer Internet access, although there is often a charge for this service. Since you are on vacation, we hope you will be able to leave your computer at home! Most hotels will have a business center or a lobby computer for the use of hotel guests. This will allow you to keep in touch with friends and family via e-mail. Internet cafes are also very common in major cities abroad.
It may be possible to purchase a phone card in the local currency (usually available from a tobacco kiosk or news stand). These phone cards can be used from public phones within the country for which they are valid, and they are often quite cost effective. Sometimes they can also be used when calling from your hotel room. Please ask your tour manager for his or her recommendation regarding phone cards.
Credit cards (especially Visa and Mastercard) are widely accepted and are a wise choice – especially for major purchases. You will also want to carry some local currency for smaller purchases such as snacks, drinks, souvenirs, etc. ATM machines are readily available in the areas that you will visit, so consider using your debit card to withdraw money in the local currency. Credit cards andATM withdrawals usually offer the most favorable rates of exchange. Don’tforget to bring your 4-digit PIN if you plan to withdraw money from ATMs.
We recommend that you call your bank or credit card company prior to travel to make sure that your card will work internationally, to advise them that you will be using your card overseas and to ask about fees associated with international purchases or withdrawals.
You can also exchange currency at banks or currency exchanges, although the exchange rates are not always as favorable as the ATM machines. If you do plan to travel with US Dollars to exchange into the local currency, we advise using new bills in small denominations ($20 or less). It is increasingly difficult and expensive to exchange travelers’ checks in Europe, so we no longer recommend using them.
As you reach the end of your stay in each country, please try to spend all of your coins. Paper currency can be converted into other currencies, but most places will not exchange coins from one currency to another.
Using Electrical Appliances:
The electrical current in most foreign countries is 200-240 volt – almost twice as strong as the 120-volt electricity that we use in the USA. To use your small appliances during your trip you will need to purchase an adapter and/or a transformer (also called a converter). An adapter will allow the plug on your appliance to fit into the outlet in your hotel. Some appliances are dual voltage (they will say “dual voltage” somewhere on the plug or it will specify 110 – 240v). Some may have a switch that allows you to change from 120 volt to 240 volt. If your appliance is dual voltage, then you only need the adapter. However, if your appliance is not dual voltage, then you will need both the adapter and a transformer. The transformer will convert the electricity supplied by the hotel to the lesser voltage required by your appliance. If you use an adapter without converting the voltage of the electricity you may cause serious damage to your appliance. Adapters and transformers can be purchased at travel specialty stores as well as the electrical appliance sections of many department and discount stores. If you have questions about whether your appliance needs a transformer, we recommend that you contact the manufacturer.
Thank you for choosing to travel with Trans World Travel – we look forward to having you on the trip!