I. SIGNING UP (Group Tour Registration)
Q. What’s the minimum and maximum amount of travellers you will take on 1 tour program?
We like to keep it comfortable on our coach tours. Public coach programs are typically priced for a minimum of 20 persons, and a maximum of 45 persons on a 55-seater coach. We oftentimes will take up to 8 travellers in a smaller tour van if we get enough sign-ups, which makes for a smaller and more intimate group tour.
Q. Do I need a travel agent to book the tour?
Although you can book your tour directly through us, using our host agency, DH Tour, in Burlington, Ontario, we very much encourage you to seek out your local travel agent to book your tour with us. A local travel agent can assist you in arranging the best flight options for you, as well as your travel insurance, and any other extras you wish to include. We work with agencies across Canada, providing resource and support to assist your travels. If you do not have a travel agent, but are looking for a local agent, get in touch with us and we can help point you in the right direction.
Q. Is there a difference between booking direct with you or through my local agent?
Every travel agency has its own distinct characteristics and benefits to support your travel needs. Choosing a local agency perhaps gives you the benefit of flight options and other support services that speak best for you. Regardless, there is no difference in booking a tour with us direct or through your agent, and rest assured you will receive support for your flight, insurance, and other travel needs either way.
Q. Can I book your tour with any travel agent?
Any travel agency registered with IATA or with a TIDS registration and /or other applicable travel license [(TICO) - O.N. agents, (TIR) - B.C. agents, (ITHQ) - Q.C. agents, etc.] can book our travel programs. Have your agency contact us if we do not already work with their office on a regular basis.
Q. Are your programs guaranteed departures?
We will take up to 8 passengers, converting the program in with a smaller vehicle, but our minimum requirement is usually 20-25 travelling passengers with the pricing advertised. The minimum travellers required for each tour will be clearly outlined beside the daily itinerary.
Q. Do I have to register online?
The Battlefield Tours is apart of the Connection Custom Travel’s internal and private database, so online registration is safe and easy. However, please feel free to call into our offices should you prefer registering over the phone. We use Google Business and external hardware to keep your information off the grid, so if you do choose to register online, you can be sure your information is protected.
Q. Do I have to give my credit card information out online?
Giving your credit card information on your registration form is optional. Your information is saved in our internal and private Connection Custom database, where safe and automatic payments can be made. Should you wish to call in to our offices with your payment details over the phone, please call our offices upon your registration.
Q. What is owed to secure my space on tour? What is my security deposit for, and is it really non-refundable?
Every tour requires a non-refundable payment of $300.00 per person to secure their space on the program. You are not considered a secured traveller until this payment has been made. Payment is due upon registration, and is used to secure our hotel space, coach, and entrance requirements. And yes, your security deposit is really non-refundable - unless the tour is cancelled by us, or if the tour pricing increases by more than 7% (excl. govt taxes). We recommend looking into purchasing trip cancellation insurance, as this may be the only way to cover the cost of your deposit if necessary.
Q. When is my final payment due?
After you have paid your initial payment of $300.00 CAD per person, you will receive an invoice via the e-mail you used to register for the tour. This invoice will show you the final balance owing. Your final payment for the remaining balance of your tour is due 70 days prior to the departure date, which will be clearly outlined in “Payment Instructions” underneath “Pricing Information” for any one of our tour programs.
Q. How long do I have to register for a program?
We like to keep our coach tours small and comfortable, and will close a program once we’ve reached our maximum number of registered travellers. Therefore, we recommend you register as soon as possible to guarantee your space. In some instances we will open a 2nd coach on a program, but only after receiving 20 persons on an interest list for the option.
Q. What if a program is cancelled?
In the unlikely event that a tour is cancelled, our offices will notify you as soon as possible. If a tour is cancelled for lack of sign-ups, we will notify all registered travellers, giving you the option of reimbursement of your deposit, or re-pricing, to account for the smaller number of tour participants. A tour cancellation due to external reasons, resulting in a travel advisory on an included destination (civil unrest, natural disaster, etc.), is coverable by your travel insurance plan.
Q. What information will I receive after I’ve signed up?
After you register, you will receive a Thank You E-mail to confirm your registration with further instruction & info. If you provided your payment information online, we will take your payment and send you the invoice with your final balance showing. If you do not have an e-mail we will keep you up to date over the phone. 30 days prior to departure we will provide you with a custom online PDF info kit of everything you need to know before we travel.
Q. Do I need any vaccinations or Visas to travel?
Every destination is different and vaccinations and visas might be required to travel, especially if travelling to South East Asia. We can assist with providing further information for the required visas, and be sure to ask your doctor if they believe a vaccination would be necessary.
II. BEING ON A GROUP TOUR PROGRAM
II. 1) MEALS
Q. Are meals included on the tour?
Generally, all of our tour programs include breakfast, most dinners, and sometimes even a few picnic lunches! You can see which tour days will include which meals, as they will be marked as (B) - Breakfast, (L) - Lunch, (D) - Dinner.
Q. What should I expect at a group dinner? What about a group lunch?
We like to use restaurants that use quality ingredients, allowing us to sample local cuisine in a friendly and welcoming group environment. All meals are pre-arranged 3-course sets, and the portions can be large, so come prepared! As the meals are pre-selected for the group, your tour guide will review what the evening meal will be daily. Our lunches are usually packed baguette sandwiches with a dessert, fruit, and packet of chips, but can be larger sit-down affairs, such as when we visit Bletchley in London for an afternoon tea.
Q. Can I change what I’d like to have at the restaurant?
If you have a specific dietary request, please let us know well ahead of time so we can prepare your menu choices with the restaurants we work with before the tour departs. It can be quite difficult to change your meal in a group setting on the spot, and while sometimes possible, your chance cannot be included in our group meal arrangement, and therefore might cost you extra.
Q. Do I have to tip?
All gratuities are included in our programming. If you feel like leaving a little extra however, please feel free!
Q. Are beverages included in the meals?
Our lunches and dinners do not usually include beverages and are charged to the guests separately from the meal.
II. 2) ACCOMMODATION
Q. What type of accommodations do you use on group tours?
Our public group tours are usually compatible with 3***-4**** and first class accommodations. We enjoy a unique variety trusted brand names as well as locally owned and operated hotels.
Q. What is the bedding configuration like?
The majority of our properties are set up as 2 separate twin beds, to sleep 2 separately, or in 1 queen. King bed allocation in Europe is few and far between, but triple allocation may be accommodated with either a cot, pull out sofa, or in a room with 2 double beds. Please enquire with us about triple allocation to arrange
Q. How big are the rooms in our hotels?
Hotel rooms in Europe are much smaller than those in America. Twin rooms with separate beds may also be set as two separate mattresses placed side by side.
Q. Can I do laundry, or are there laundry services at our hotel?
Where there are some laundry services available, these are oftentimes very expensive and time consuming services! We advise you to avoid them and come prepared! Tide travel packs for hand washing items, and Tide To-Go pens for stains makes for the easiest alternative.
Q. What kind of facilities can I expect at our accommodation?
The facilities may vary in each hotel we use - we encourage you to visit the hotel’s website for a better understanding of what you can find along the way.
Q. Will I receive a wake-up call during our stay?
Our tour manager will always arrange a wake-up call with the front desk of our hotel, however wake-up calls don’t always prove to be 100% reliable, and in some instances, your hotel room will not have a phone system in place. Always prepare a back-up plan, whether it is setting an alarm on your phone, or traveling with a portable alarm system. If all else fails, it is oftentimes possible to arrange an alarm on the television set in your room. You can ask the front desk for assistance.
Q. Should I leave a tip for the cleaning staff?
Although not always necessary, we encourage it! Learn more about gratuities in your tour info kit and guide that you receive 30 days prior to your departure date.
Q. Can the hotel staff help me with my luggage?
Hotel staff can assist you with your luggage by request only - please note that porterage is not included in your tour pricing - both a fee, and a tip for porterage assistance may apply.
Q. Will there be a hairdryer, or tea kettle in my room?
Most 3-4* properties will come with a hairdryer in your room, however not all 3-4* hotels come with a tea kettle. No matter what, you can always ask the front desk for hot water.
Q. Will there be a safe in my room to lock up my valuables?
Most 3-4* properties will have a safe in the room, or at least a safe at the front desk. We advise you to only carry valuables that are absolutely necessary on our trip.
II. 3) COACH TRANSPORT
Q. How big are the coaches you use on your programs?
Our coach partners offer a variety of different sized tour vehicles for our programs, from an 8-person sprinter, to a 92-person double decker. On our public tour programs however, you will see us on a regular 58-person coach with 50 seats on board.
Q. What facilities can I expect on the coach?
All coaches come with a toilet on board, as well as tea, coffee, and cold alcoholic & non alcoholic beverage services. Air conditioning, new equipment, and new seating on board as of 2017. Televisions, DVD, CD, and AUX on board with surround sound. The only thing we lack is wi-fi on board, but let’s face it, mobile wi-fi technology isn’t quite there yet.
Q. I’m worried about getting car sick on the coach, what can I do to be comfortable?
The best thing to do if worried about car sickness is to sit on the wheel well, or directly over the axle of the coach. Let your guide know and they can check in on you to ensure you are made as comfortable as possible. Rest assured we would don’t usually travel more than 200km in a day, and we can keep the gingerale coming if it helps to soothe any nausea. By all means, if it’s best to you to sit up front, just let us know.
Q. How long, typically, would we be on the road daily?
We try not to travel more than 200km in a day, but sometimes our drive can take us further. Should this be the case, the drive is broken up, so we are rarely on the road more than 2 hours at a time.
Q. Are the coaches accessible for those with mobility concerns?
There are about 4 stairs leading up and out of our coaches, and although our coaches have hydraulic gears to lift the coach closer to the ground, a step stool and the secure handles are installed for added ease. If you have any mobility concerns please contact us as mobility/handicap arrangements might need to be made.
II. 4) ITINERARY
Q. Where is the pick-up point and drop-off points for your tour?
Our guides will meet you upon arrival in the first airport listed on Day 1 of your itinerary, unless it is noted otherwise. The guide will be stationed at arrivals in time for the group flight arrival time. The drop off point will be in the last airport listed on the last day of the itinerary. Your pick up and drop off points & timings will be clearly outlined in the tour info kit that you receive online 30 days prior to your departure date.
Q. What is the pace of the program? Is there a lot of free time?
Our tours are usually fast paced, but at a level that those who are less mobile can still enjoy. There is just so much to see and do, that the majority of our days are filled up with activities and will include at least 1 group meal. Having said that, it’s always nice to embrace a little free time - to shop, dine, explore, and visit places that aren’t on the itinerary but are along the way, so, when it is a must, you can expect some free time to enjoy some leisure time on your own to explore. You can also enjoy options - as our tour guides will still usually offer walking tours or guidance to other entrances if the option of free time is given.
Q. What is the activity level of the tour, is there a lot of walking?
You can expect the activity of the level of the tour to be moderate, to low. The coach is doing a lot of the grunt work, but you can too if you choose to explore the area more in-depth. The regular pace of the Battlefield tour itself is less than 1.5km in a session, unless a city walking tour is included in your itinerary - wherein you can expect walking up to 3-5km in a session. The ground can be relatively stable and well maintained walking paths are available in most areas that we visit.
Q. Can those with mobility concerns go on the trip?
Almost all areas are wheelchair accessible, as long as we know ahead of time that assistance is required, but we need to know. If you have any trouble walking and are worried that you can’t keep with the pace of the group, let us know and we will happily arrange assistance to ensure you still get the most comfortable experience possible. Only in rare circumstances do we ask travellers to refrain from travelling on the trip.
Q. I really want to visit a relative’s grave on the trip, can it be done while on a group tour?
If you have a relative who participated in a conflict we’re exploring on tour, let us know. We encourage all travellers to share their background with us when they register - it allows us to better prepare our research leading up to the tour. If you have a relative buried in a destination we’re visiting on tour, let us know. All we need is your relative’s full name and we can locate the cemetery. If the cemetery is within close proximity to the tour we may be able to stop at that cemetery, if it is not able to be fit within the tour timeline then our tour manager can set up a private car to shuttle you to and from the cemetery at your own cost.
Q. I would like to join only a portion of the tour, is it possible?
We recommend being with the tour for the entirety of the duration. There are so many sights to take in that joining for a portion of the tour would take away from the sights themselves. That being said, if it is not possible to be part of the entire tour we can set up transfers allowing you to join the group no matter where you are coming from, or where you are going.
Q. What is the tour guide like? Are they local, or Canadian?
The majority of our guides are Canadian, and some are from other nationalities. No matter the background, all of our guides are all full time professional Battlefield guides with hands on knowledge of every location we visit, and a like minded passion for the history on the Battlefields.
Q. What type of travellers normally go on a tour like this?
Travellers on a battlefield tour are usually those who have a passion for the war’s that went on in these locations. That being said we have travelled families of fallen soldiers, Canadian Regiments, school trips, Veterans, and all other walks of life on our battlefield tours. No one should feel as if they do not belong in exploring our history.
Q. What is typically included in the itinerary price?
II. 5) PRE/POST CUSTOM TRAVEL EXTENSIONS
Q. What is a custom travel extension?
A custom travel extension is adding a portion of your own trip, whether it be before, or after the tour dates. This extension can be as long as you would like, and to travel wherever you would like. We at The Battlefield Tours can make sure your dreams of travel can become a reality with fully customizable trip options.
Q. Are custom travel extensions recommended for a battlefield tour?
Yes, we always recommend a travel extension. Although The Battlefield Tours visit different cities all across Europe, if you have always dreamed of going to a location that we are close to, we recommend extending travel and being able to explore those areas with your an itinerary customized for you.
Q. What can be included in my custom travel extensions?
The sky's the limit with custom travel extensions. With the large network of suppliers that we have throughout Europe we are able to include just about anything you have heard about into a custom travel extension. Accommodations, meals, railway passes, flights, entrances into exhibits and attractions,..etc.
Q. Who do I speak to first about arranging and pricing my custom travel extension?
Q. What if I need to leave the tour early, or have to show up on the tour late?
Leaving the tour early, or having to show up late is not an issue. The Battlefield Tours can arrange transfers from any location to either meet up, or depart from the group. Whether you are catching a flight, or moving on to a bucket list item, we can help make it happen.