THAMES VALLEY TOURS
TRIPS COMING UP
You will be aware that the Coronavirus has had a serious effect on travel, both in the UK and abroad.
As the direct result of this, many of my trips have had to be re-arranged. I had a number of coach tours in the pipeline which are being rescheduled for later dates as the deadline approaches and it becomes clear that we cannot travel. Other air tours have had to be cancelled.
I will relist these tours as and when we have the all clear to proceed. However I am reasonably confident that things will be different in 2021. particularly where the destination is deemed to be safe or very low risk.
With this in mind I have pleasure in announcing a 5 night trip to Crete 25-30 April 2021. Should the trip have to be cancelled then we are assured that any monies paid would be fully refunded. The company I am using is fully ATOL bonded.
25-30 April 2021 'Springtime in Crete'
- Flights out of Gatwick
- 23kgs Checked in baggage
- Overseas transfers
- 5 nights dinner, bed and breakfast
- Coach travel for the duration
- Full programme of tours and excursions
- Services of a tour manager
Email or phone for a booking form. Please book by 31 August 2018.
Tel. 0118 9722995.
General Travel Information
- Travel Insurance: It is crucial that you take out appropriate cover for your trip from the moment you book it. Should you have to cancel your trip due to unforseen cirmcumstances, you will not be compensated unless insurance is already in place. Nowadays cover can be obtained cheaply and easily from the Post Office and many retail outlets such as Tesco's or M&S. You can also obtain it instantly on line. But do check the small print of your bank or building society account's services, as you may already be covered through them.
- If your passport gets lost or stolen: Getting a replacement is a lot easier if you have a photocopy of the relevant page. Keep it somewhere safe, seperate from your actual passport. Alternatively, scan the page and email yourself a copy. Contact the local police, then report to the British Embassy, Consulate or High Commission. To find the nearest one call 0044 207008 1500 or visit www.britishembassy.gov.uk. You will need to fill out a LS01 declaration form.
- Avoid losing your luggage: Use coloured belts, ribbons, tags or stickers to make your case stand out on the carousel, and prevent other passengers from taking it by mistake. Choose a standard shape, odd shapes are more likely to get caught up in the machinery. At check-in ensure you have a baggage receipt for each item, with the correct destination on, and keep safe. Label luggage clearly inside and out with a telephone number, not your address.
- Foreign currency. It is a good idea to monitor currency exchange rates daily from the minute you book a foreign trip. You'll soon get a feel about whether the rates of exchange are improving or declining and it may help you secure a better rate. I have always received reasonable service from the bureau de change in my local Tesco, but you can get slightly improved rates by buying on line (provided the amount is big enough to avoid fees), or from bureaux de change in Central London, provided you happened to be going there anyway. If you want access to a lot of cash you may wish to have some of it put on to a currency card for security. These are protected by a PIN and are widely accepted. Alternatively, for the over 50's, Saga offer a 'Platinum Credit card (VISA), which does not incur any charges for overseas transactions, and has a low APR. (Certain conditions apply). Never purchase at an airport unless you have pre-booked, as their rates of exchange are notoriously bad.
- Use of credit cards abroad. Make sure you use a credit card that does not charge for its use abroad. Always elect to pay in the local currency when given a choice. Halifax Clarity is one such card and is recommended by Martin Lewis, the Money Expert.
- E-tickets These now replace the familiar cheque book sized paper tickets that you may have been used to in the past. The e-ticket will contain a booking reference, which is all you need along with your passport in order to check in. Ticket details are held and stored electronically rather than being printed, and paper ticket are now generally a thing of the past! Boaerding passes may be printed out if you check in on line, and you can even download these on to your phone if you are android savvy!
- Q. When travelling by air is it OK to take my medication with me?
- A. If you are carrying prescribed medicines with you, it is important that they’re contained in their original packaging, so that security and customs staff can easily identify the contents. It may be helpful to carry a copy of your prescription with you, and always carry meds in your hand luggage in case of delays, which could cause problems if your meds are out of reach in the hold.
- Q. Should I lock my luggage?
- A. It is best to lock luggage to avoid it being stolen, but if you are flying to the US, remember all passengers are advised to leave baggage unlocked for security reasons. If you don’t, airport staff may force open the lock to inspect your luggage without checking with you. No compensation will be available if your luggage is damaged. In such cases it's best to carry vauables in your hand luggage, which you should keep padlocked.
- Liquids in luggage. When flying, any 'liquids' including aerosols, toothpaste, lipsticks, creams and mascaras, should be generally be carried in your checked in baggage. However you may carry smaller items in your hand baggage provided they are in containers not exceeding 100 mls and are carried within a sealable clear polythene bag. It becomes a real challenge however when travelling without any checked in bags. Try replacing certain liquids with non-liquid products eg wet wipes for facial cleanser, soap for shower gel, mineral powder for foundation. Or invest in small >100ml containers into which to decant your shampoos, shower gel etc. These can be obtained quite cheaply from places like Superdrug, or even Primark. Remember you can always buy liquids once you have gone through security, but you may have to ditch any you don't use during the course of your holiday. This won't apply on the way back however as whatever you buy airside on the return trip, after passing through security, can be brought home safely.
- A Note On Booking With Tour Operators: Please note that once we pay deposits to a Tour Operator, we are entering into an agreement with the company, just as we would if we booked a holiday with a Travel Agent. As such we are governed by their Fair Trading Conditions. For the majority of Operators this means that if you cancel less than 56 days prior to departure, you must pay 50% of the tour cost, less than 28 days you pay the full tour cost. Of course, if someone cannot go on any of my tours I do my best to replace them but with air travel this does mean a cost for a change of name on the ticket.
- Cheques: When sending cheques as payment, it would be a great help if the event or destination is written on the back.
- Trust & Security: Some of you may have heard about the demise of a company called 'Travelscope' that went into receivership. This company re-emerged trading as 'Phoenix Travel' which has now also folded. These were large tour operators working with many group organisers. I would like to emphasise that the tour operators I use, such as The Travel Adventure, are strong companies. Under the EC directive, all tour operators must protect clients' funds. If the package is for air travel then all my operators have the appropriate ATOL licence. For non air holidays, ABTA or a Trust Account must be in place. With Trust Account the company must have an Independent Trustee, firm of Accountants or Solicitors where all clients' monies are held in Trust and can only be released to the company AFTER the tour has taken place. ABTA can take up to six months to refund clients' monies. With a Trust Account, you receive full monies within a couple of weeks thus enabling you to re book your holiday quickly with another company.