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Discount Coach Tours strongly recommend you read Insight Vacations most frequently asked questions below which is useful information for your trip so that you are well informed.

Do you have a non-smoking policy?

There is a no smoking policy motorcoach touring policy. However, we do make plenty of convenience stops giving you the opportunity to smoke, use local restroom facilities, take a scenic snapshot or just relax and enjoy of cup of coffee.

Do you have a share program for singles?

If you wish to share with another tour member you can advise Insight Vacations at the time of booking. Insight believes that traveling solo doesn't have to cost you more. We will try to match you with someone of the same sex in order to avoid having to pay the single supplement. If we are not able to provide a suitable roommate, we will provide a single room at no extra cost.

How many people will be on tour with me?

With only 40 guests on our premium tours instead of the standard 53, Insight clients enjoy a more personalised service. In a smaller group, you'll be closer to your local guide for a more in-depth experience, you'll spend less time waiting to get into sights and it will be faster checking into hotels with your luggage arriving quicker to your room. Insight groups are smaller, more intimate and more friendly.

I want to see all the main sights, but will I have time to explore on my own?

At Insight, planning the perfect tour is our speciality. Not only do we include the 'must see' sights, we carefully balance our itineraries to give you plenty of free time to relax and immerse yourself in the location.

Questions about the New Travel Document Requirements?

The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative will require all travelers, including U.S. citizens, to and from the Americas, the Caribbean, and Bermuda to have a passport or other accepted document that establishes the bearer's identity and nationality to enter or re-enter the United States. This is a change from prior travel requirements. The goal is to strengthen border security and facilitate entry into the United States for U.S. citizens and legitimate foreign visitors.

What are Insight Tour Directors like?

Time and time again, our guests tell us that it was their Tour Director who really made their trip. Our Tour Directors are amongst the finest in the business and will help steer you through the labyrinth of Europe 's cultures, languages and diversities and bring its magic to life before your eyes.

What does the tour cost include?

The prices listed in our brochure and website cover all hotel accommodations, all applicable sightseeing and admissions as per the itinerary, motorcoach, cruise or rail transportation, services of a professional Insight Tour Director, all meals as shown in the itinerary and luggage handling. All tips have been included for services on tour by dining-room staff, chambermaids and porters at hotels, airports, docks and train stations.

What is an 'Optional Activity'?

These are activities that we do not automatically include but are offered at the start of your tour designed to enhance your travel experience. Your Tour Director will have a list of available options and the appropriate costs. They are carefully programmed to coincide with the best highlights available at the time of your visit. It could be a seafood lunch in Venice, a concert in Vienna or a Grand Canyon Helicopter ride. A detailed list and costs can be found in your tour documentation or on our website.

What is FastTrack? - Registering with FastTrack?

Insight's FastTrack registration is our online check-in facility that provides us with advance security information which may be required by hotels and border crossings as well as giving us important insights into your interests and preferences. The information will allow your Tour Director to better prepare for your individual needs in order for us to make your holiday experience even more enjoyable. FastTrack is available to our clients after they have paid their deposit and have been issued a booking reference number. It's quick and easy and takes only 10 minutes to complete.

What is the difference between "visit", "view" and "see" in the itineraries?

Here is a glossary of some common terms used in our itineraries:

Visit - Your coach will stop and you'll get to visit a specific site.
View - A brief stop and an opportunity to take photos.
See - Your Insight coach will drive by the site so that you can see it.
Sightseeing tour - A local city guide will accompany you on a tour of a city or site.
Orientation tour - Places of interest are pointed out, allowing you to go and explore them on your own.
'Why not see' or 'perhaps enjoy' - These phrases refer to optional excursions not included in the tour package, but are available for an additional fee.
Time to explore and discover - Free time on your own.
A day to relax - No planned activities; time for optional excursions or other independent activities.

When will I receive my documents?

Documents will normally be mailed 21 days prior to departure provided full payment has been received.

Where will my hotel be located and what will it be like?

Insight hotels are consistently first class standard and higher or in a style appropriate to the destination. They have been selected because they are good private or small collection hotels or from well-known chains such as Marriott, Renaissance and Hilton. Insight also chooses hotels based on their location. We know you'll prefer to stay centrally, convenient to the main historic, shopping or entertainment districts; or scenically in areas of natural beauty.

Who else travels with Insight Vacations?

Insight Vacations plays host to over 100,000 guests every year and has offices in the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Singapore and the UK . The company has also appointed specialist agents in Argentina, Brazil, Mauritius, India, Ireland, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Korea, Taiwan and China. It is therefore quite typical to find many different nationalities on any one tour and discover people from halfway across the world who you only met yesterday will fast become friends.

Why should I choose a premium Insight Vacations tour?

Insight is completely unique. Simply, we are the only tour operator to give you more legroom on every tour at no extra cost: you'll consistently stay in quality hotels in desirable locations; you'll enjoy more included sightseeing; and because you'll travel in smaller groups, you'll receive better personal service from your experienced Tour Director and Tour Driver.

Will I need a visa?

You are responsible for obtaining all necessary visas prior to the departure of your tour. Depending on your nationality, you may need visas to enter certain countries included on your tour. Please note that obtaining visas can take up to six weeks prior to your departure. It is strongly advised that you consult your travel agent, and local Consulate or Embassy of the country you are visiting, well in advance to determine which visas you require and how to obtain them.

Will the coach be modern and comfortable?

Yet another exclusive feature of an Insight premium tour is the incredible space and comfort you'll enjoy when travelling. Our luxury coaches have been specially reconfigured with fewer seats, you'll relax in style whilst enjoying up to twice as much legroom then on a standard touring coach - on EVERY departure with NO EXTRA SURCHARGE to pay.

Before You Go

Things to do before leaving

  • Forward your mail or arrange to have it collected by family, friends or neighbours. Alternatively, ask the post office to hold it.
  • Put a hold on newspaper & magazine deliveries. Or have a neighbour collect it. A full mailbox especially with bank statements and credit card bills can be a treasure trove for hackers and identity thieves (and suggests easy pickings for a home burglar). Pick up forms to hold or forward mail at any post office. Also, don't broadcast your travel plans on social networking websites.
  • Pay telephone, service provider accounts and bills before you go, so they will not be disconnected while you are away.
  • Ensure arrangements for your pets are in place.
  • Alert your credit card providers. Before you leave, let them know when, where and how long you'll be travelling. This helps fraud departments stop bogus charges if your plastic is used where you are not - and reduces the risk that your cards will be frozen due to "unusual activity" when you use them far from home.
  • If you are taking your mobile/cell phone on tour contact your provider to ensure international ROAM is on or purchase a phone card to call home.
  • Turn off any preset alarm clocks and all electrical appliances at the switch.
  • Alert the airline if you have any special food consideration - vegetarian etc.
  • Inform neighbours & neighbourhood watch groups of your holiday dates.
  • Make sure your family & friends have copies of your overseas travel itinerary and hotels you will be staying at, in case they need to contact you.
  • Some airlines will allow you to check-in online and select your seats before you travel. You can also register online to receive an email or mobile/cell text message if your flight is going to be delayed.
  • Leave your cheque book at home. You shouldn't need it if you have credit cards. Leave your bills and private papers at home too.
  • Carry a spare. In addition to your real wallet, carry a throwaway with a few dollars and maybe some old hotel key cards. If you're accosted, hand over the spare wallet while keeping the real McCoy. The thief may see money and plastic, and be off and running ... and so can you.
  • Avoid Cell Phone Bill Shock 'Bill shock' is becoming increasingly common for international travelers, arriving home from their trip to a hefty cell phone bill that can be as much as the actual trip! Before leaving on your trip you can take steps to avoid returning home to an expensive phone bill:
  • Check international calling and text rates, disable data roaming and consider a prepaid service designed for international travelers.
  • An international cell phone and prepaid SIM card lets you stay connected and in touch with family and friends, and control your costs at the same time.
  • Insight Vacations partners with ekit to offer travelers international cell phone packages and prepaid SIM cards, to save travelers up to 85% on international roaming rates for calls, texts and data.

Security before you go

  • Monitor the media for any changes to security or safety in the regions you plan to visit. Your foreign affairs department will be able to provide you with the latest travel advice for your destination(s).
  • It is essential that you take out comprehensive travel insurance to cover all overseas medical costs for the duration of your travel. Your travel insurance should also cover any activities in which you plan to participate.
  • Make copies of your passport details, insurance policy, travellers cheques, visas and credit card numbers. Carry one copy in a separate place to the originals and leave a copy with someone at home.
  • Consult your doctor regarding recommended vaccinations or other health precautions for your destination(s). Check that any medication you need to take is legal in the countries you plan to visit. It is a good idea to carry a prescription from your doctor for any medicines you take with you.
  • Weed out your wallet. Pickpockets love tourist destinations, so take only essential identifiers, like your driver's license and just two credit cards, one to carry, another to be locked in the hotel room safe in case your wallet is pilfered. Men, keep your wallet in a buttoned breast pocket or buttoned pants pocket. Women, wear a hand-bag with wide straps and locked clasps, diagonally across the chest and don't hang it over the door when you use a public bathroom.
  • Consider a temporary credit freeze. A freeze denies access to your credit history, so ID thieves can't open accounts in your name while you're away, but it doesn't stop you from using your credit card.
  • Use safer ATMs. Debit cards are best left at home, but if you need cash withdrawals ATMs in bank lobbies are less vulnerable to devices that robbers use to capture your card information. Bank lobbies generally have camera surveillance.
  • Be careful with hotel computers. Don't access financial data on hotel or other public computers or on public Wi-Fi networks. You never know what identity-stealing software is at work.
  • Beware of "front desk" fraudsters. A late-night phone call to your room from a "clerk" saying your credit card number is needed again may be a ruse by an ID thief. Ignore the request and call the front desk yourself.

Passport & Visas

While your travel agent can give you advice it is up to you to ensure you have a valid passport and the right visas.

  • Make sure your passport is valid for travel for all the countries you are visiting or transiting in.
  • Many countries require your passport to be valid during and beyond the length of your stay (usually a minimum of 6 months), so check what applies to your itinerary.
  • It is a good idea to carry two additional passport photos with you in case your passport is stolen or lost and you need a replacement passport while overseas.
  • Depending on your nationality you may need to obtain visas for the various countries you are visiting or transiting in. It is often essential that these are obtained prior to going overseas.
  • Be prepared, if you are unsure about what to do talk to your Embassy.

What To Pack

There is nothing worse than realising on tour that you have left some crucial items at home, the following packing tips should help you to better prepare.

  • Start by writing a packing list, be sure to check the weather forecast of the destination you are visiting and take into consideration the activities and outings you will be going on.
  • When packing an item think about how many times you are going to wear it. If you are not going to wear it more than three times, don't pack it!
  • Choose clothes that pack well and colour co-ordinate. For example, choose a base colour for trousers, skirts & shorts like beige or khaki and then match with a couple of highlight colours.
  • Be aware of local traditions and dress codes, especially if travelling to Muslim countries.
  • Accessorise, accessorise! Ladies scarves or wraps can give your limited wardrobe extra colour. They can easily be used to dress up an outfit. Also, when visiting places of worship you will need to cover your shoulders so a wrap is perfect for this situation. Also, a few pairs of inexpensive earrings are fun to bring and can also change the look of your outfit.
  • Pack sunscreen and insect repellent.
  • Take a few plastic zip lock bags for carrying wet items or keeping things dry.
  • Check the electrical outlets and adapters needed for the places you are visiting.
  • If you wear glasses, pack an extra pair or at least have a copy of your glasses prescription.
  • To avoid problems when passing through customs, keep medicines in their original labeled containers. If a medication is unusual, carry a letter from your doctor attesting to your need to take it.
  • If you plan to wash some items in your hotel bathroom, take a travel clothesline, sink stopper & soap. Remember micro fibers dry quicker than cotton.
  • If taking a digital camera clean out your photo card memory and get a back-up one and spare battery.
  • If you have any severe allergies write them out in English and translate to languages in countries you will be visiting. Write on business card size card and keep on your person. This is easy to do by using Google language tools.

What Not To Pack

Remembering what not to pack can sometimes be as important as remembering what to pack. Follow this simple rule - don't bring anything you would hate to lose. Leave at home:

  • Valuable or expensive-looking jewellery.
  • Irreplaceable family objects.
  • All unnecessary credit cards.
  • Your identity card, library card, and similar items you may routinely carry in your wallet.

Tips for packing your suitcase

  • Start by putting your name, address and telephone numbers inside and outside of each piece of luggage. Use covered luggage tags to avoid casual observation of your identity or nationality.
  • Lock your luggage to prevent theft and tampering.
  • When packing, lay out the items you intend to take and re-evaluate your list to eliminate any unnecessary or single-use items.
  • Iron everything before placing it in your suitcase as you may not always have time to iron clothes when you are on tour. Button all buttons and zip all zippers to avoid items getting caught on them.
  • Pack chronologically, with items to be worn first on the top. This will make it easer to pull things out of your suitcase and save you time, handy for when you are on the go.
  • Pack items tightly so that clothes do not have too much space to move around and wrinkle.
  • Pack toiletries in plastic bags to avoid spillages. Individual containers with more than 100ml of liquids are not permitted to be taken in your carryon luggage in many airports. They must be placed in your checked in luggage. Check with your airline or airport for up-to-date security restrictions.
  • To save room pack items in shoes (i.e. rolled socks etc).
  • Always carry travel documents, medication, jewellery (only take the absolute minimum), money and travellers cheques, and other valuables in your money belt).
  • Remember to pack your bag only two-thirds full to leave room for shopping and souvenirs.

On Tour Tips

Minimise jetlag

While there is no magic cure for jet lag, there are certainly ways that you can limit its affects.

  • Plan for your trip in advance, making sure the last couple of days prior to leaving you are completely relaxed and well rested. Otherwise if you are rundown and fly there is a higher chance you will get sick and will spend the first part of your trip trying to recover.
  • Reset your clock. When you board the plane change your watch to the local time of the destination you are traveling to. Try to stay up that bit longer or go to sleep earlier to get your body clock onto this new time schedule.
  • Eat, drink and rest. Opt for lighter meal options and drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration. Either take a couple of bottles of water onto the flight or continuously ask for drinks throughout the flight. Stick to water or fruit juices, avoid caffeine, alcohol and high sugar drinks. While those in-flight movies are tempting, opt for sleep instead. You may wish to take your own fold up travel pillow for extra comfort.
  • Regularly stretch and walk around the plane.
  • When you arrive at your destination, try to stay awake until early evening. Don’t sleep otherwise you won’t be able to sleep at night. If you are absolutely exhausted then have an hour-long nap as soon as you arrive however set your alarm or order a wake up call. The best method to stay awake is to stay active. The adrenalin of being on an exciting Insight tour should keep you awake!

Security on tour

While your Tour Director is always there to guide you, it also helps if you take your own precautions.

  • If you are exploring on your own, tell someone where you are going and don’t go down poorly lit or narrow alleys.
  • During you free time, make sure you don’t leave the hotel without writing down the address and phone number of your accommodations.
  • Do not leave money & valuables in your hotel room while you are out. Where possible use the hotel safe.
  • Do not leave valuables on the coach (even during short stops).
  • Avoid scam artists by being wary of strangers who approach you and offer to sell you something at bargain prices.
  • Beware of pickpockets. They often have an accomplice who will: Jostle you; Ask you for directions or the time; Point to something spilled on your clothing; Distract you by creating a disturbance.
  • Wear your bag across your chest and walk with the bag away from the road to avoid drive-by bag snatchers.
  • Try to be as inconspicuous as possible - wear appropriate clothing that does not make you stand out and look purposeful when you move about. Even if you are lost, act as though you know where you are and try to only ask for directions from individuals in authority.
  • Don’t attract unwanted attention by flashing large amounts of money when paying for bills or shopping.
  • When traveling, do not leave your bags or belongings unattended at any time.
  • A money belt worn under your clothing is the safest place to carry valuables. Your money belt should be undetectable under your clothing and should not be regularly accessed throughout the day. What to put in your money belt: Passport: You're legally supposed to have it with you at all times; Spare Credit or Debit card; Cash and Travellers Cheques - Larger bills; Emergency contact lists.
  • Most importantly stay alert, be aware of your surroundings and listen to your Tour Director who is always looking after your best interests.

Tour Director tips

Our tour directors are experienced travellers, learned historians and culture buffs. Their expertise and years of travel make them the world's best travel professionals so we asked them to add some of their tips for travel:

  • Ensure you have budgeted for the entire trip, including money for shopping, extra meals and optional excursions.
  • Research your destination(s) - learning a bit about your destination before you get there is a great way to prepare for your trip - there are plenty of books and online resources.
  • Learn some useful phrases - your tour director will be able to converse in the languages of the places you visit but learning a few phrases can’t hurt and any attempts are usually appreciated by locals.
  • Hone your photography skills - try out your camera in different conditions and find out what settings work best. Try your camera in different lighting, under various weather conditions. Also try taking the same object from different angles and capture moving objects. A little bit of practice will help you capture better pictures on tour.
  • Meet your fellow tour mates before you travel. Insight’s online Community section under Bulletin Board on the Insight website lets you meet travellers who are going to be on your tour prior to your trip. You can also get advice on touring from seasoned travellers and share your memories and stay in touch with friends after your tour.
  • Prepare your travel journal: a travel journal is a great way of keeping the memories of your trip alive for years to come. Find a journal that is easy to carry and take a plastic sleeve to keep mementoes such as ticket stubs and photos. There are also a lot of online journals that you can use.
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