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Travel Notes



Before You Go

From money matters to packing tips, we’ve got all the information you need to prepare for your upcoming Vantage journey. Just click on an item below to read more about it.

Passports & Visas


Planning your trip

Your trip will be here before you know it! Here's some information specific to the destinations you'll be visiting to help you prepare for your journey.

Travel Documentation

The following information applies to U.S.citizens only. Those travelling on other than a U.S. passport are required to contact the embassies or consulates of the countries to be visited for further information and special requirements.

A valid passport is required for all air and sea travel to or from Canada and the U.S. effective January 8, 2007. This is a change from prior travel requirements and does affect any U.S. citizen entering the United States from countries within the Western Hemisphere. This new requirement will also affect Canadian citizens who travel by air to embark in U.S. ports. Expired passports are not acceptable, and passports must be valid for at least 6 months after the scheduled return date of your vacation.

Passport and Visa

The following information applies to United States citizens only. Those traveling on other than a United States passport should contact the embassies or consulates of the countries they are visiting for further information and special requirements.

Country Passport Visa
India Y Y
Nepal* Y Y

*Pre-trip extension only


A visa to India is required prior to your arrival. Please refer to gen visa service at http://www.genvisa.com/vantage for up-to-date requirements and application fee. A visa for Nepal can be obtained upon arrival. You must fill out the visa application form at the airport and submit it along with the visa fee (currently USD 25, but subject to change) and two passport-sized photos.

IMPORTANT: You can apply for an E-visa for India. Simply submit your application between 120 to 4 days prior the date of arrival. Multi-entry visas are also available as E-visas.

Should the above requirements change, you will be notified in a mailing prior to departure. All visa, entry requirements, and fees are subject to change without advance notification by action of the government and port authorities. Vantage is not responsible for any additional charges resulting from such changes.

For up-to-date information, please visit Generation Visa at http://www.genvisa.com/vantage

U.S. Customs Information

If you are traveling internationally, it is important to understand U.S. Customs regulations including required documents, rules for bringing back items, and duty-free exemption. Please click the link below to visit the U.S. Customs website and read their helpful booklet, "Know Before Yo Go." This publications is available online and as a printer-friendly "PDF" document.

View "Know Before You Go"
(Link opens new browser window.)

 


Gratuities

We realize that tipping can be confusing on a group tour, so we've included the following recommended guidelines for gratuities:

  • NEW FOR 2018: Now including gratuities for local guides & drivers!
  • Included Meals: Gratuities are included / paid for by Vantage
  • Porterage: Included except in Customs areas
  • Outside Dining: Varies according to local customs; your Adventure Leader will advise
  • Drivers & Guides: Included in the price of your trip
  • Vantage City Host: USD $3-5 per person / per day
  • Vantage Adventure Leader: USD $8-12 per person / per day

  • * Please Note: Tipping can be done by cash only.

Vaccinations

At this time, vaccinations are not required for your adventure; however, we advise that you check with your personal physician to verify your particular needs. For more information on health related issues while travelling overseas, contact the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) by visiting http://www.cdc.gov/travel or calling toll free 1 (800)232-4636.


Internet Availability

Internet connectivity will be available in most hotels, but may sometimes include a fee.

Climate/Time Zone


Time Differences


Country
Time Difference
India +9.5 hours
Nepal +9.75 hours
Note: The above times are based on Eastern Standard Time.

Climate

Use the chart below to get an overview of the average temperatures at your destination.
Average High/Low Temperature (Farenheit)
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec
Delhi H 68 73 83 95 101 101 93 91 92 90 81 71
L 48 53 62 72 80 83 81 80 78 68 57 49
Kathmandu* H 60 63 70 77 79 80 79 79 78 74 68 61
L 40 44 50 57 63 69 70 70 67 59 49 42
Jaipur H 71 76 87 97 103 101 91 89 92 91 82 73
L 49 54 63 74 80 83 79 77 75 69 59 51
Agra H 73 78 89 101 107 105 95 92 93 94 85 76
L 43 46 55 67 77 83 80 78 75 62 49 44
Varanasi H 67 76 87 98 100 97 90 88 88 87 81 71
L 47 54 62 72 77 80 78 78 76 70 59 51
Udaipur H 74 79 90 100 106 104 95 92 94 94 86 78
L 48 54 63 73 81 82 79 77 75 68 58 50
* Extension only

Money Matters


Country Unit of Currency  
India rupee Get Exchange Rate
Nepal** rupee Get Exchange Rate


** Extension only

India & Nepal:

Visa and Master Card are widely accepted in India by all but the smallest merchants. You may find, however, that some are reluctant to take credit cards for small purchases because of the fees associated with the cards. Therefore, It is strongly suggested that you bring some cash in USD bills, or change some rupees, in case you wish to make small purchases. Aside from a few of the international hotel chains, American Express is not widely accepted in this part of the world.

Credit & debit cards may be rejected by local ATM machines or when paying for purchases at a hotel, restaurant, or store unless you have advised your card provider of the exact dates you will be in each individual country. It is strongly suggested that you bring some cash in USD bills.

Packing Guidelines


What to Pack

You may find the packing information below helpful as you begin to prepare for your upcoming journey.

Electronic devices

Bring your iPad, Kindles, and/or smart phones. This way you will have access to city guides, post trip survey and trip information while on tour. This will also allow you to take pictures and communicate with friends and family easier.

Luggage Restrictions [top]

Luggage needs to be locked for all domestic flights. Passengers are allowed one piece of carry on luggage weighing no more than 15 pounds and one piece of checked baggage, with a maximum weight of 33 pounds. Tickets for local air flight will be delivered to passengers on site.

Travel Light [top]

Most travelers pack much more than they really need. We recommend that you start packing a few days before your trip, so you have time to remember everything that you need — and to decide what is essential and what is not. And don't forget to leave room for souvenirs and gifts you may purchase during your trip.
Besides the basic necessities and the items covered below, you'll want to pack sunglasses, a hat or visor, and sunscreen for daytime use. You might also want to bring a small alarm clock, pocket tissues, travel pack of soap powder, needle, thread, safety pins, and personal face cloth. In many countries, your washcloth is considered to be of intimate usage and is not provided by hotels.
Depending on your destination, you may also want to bring insect repellent (we recommend repellent with a high "deet" content). Binoculars are also handy when traveling to areas where flora and fauna may be observed.

Casual Dress [top]

Dress on tour is generally casual and smart casual. Gentlemen may wish to bring a sport jacket. Formal clothing is not necessary, unless you are traveling on an ocean cruise that has formal nights, or on one of our popular President's trips. If you are traveling on an ocean cruise please refer to the attire information for your particular cruise line. Your travel wardrobe should be planned according to the climate of the areas you will be visiting and the length of your stay. Average high and low temperatures for the destinations visited on each Vantage Tour are listed under "Climate". A HELPFUL HINT — plan to avail yourself of the laundry and valet services available at an additional fee.

Warm Clothes [top]

Weather is never predictable so be sure to be prepared for just about anything. You'll want to take along a sweater or jacket for cool evenings. It's a good idea to dress in layers, which will allow you to adjust to changes in temperature.

Rain Gear [top]

We suggest a practical raincoat or waterproof shell with a hood, and/or a fold-up umbrella. The shell could also be worn with other layers in lower temperatures.

Good Walking Shoes [top]

One of the most important items you'll need for any vacation is, of course, comfortable walking shoes for touring. We suggest you refrain from purchasing new walking shoes just prior to departure — it's best to wear a broken-in pair that you know are comfortable.

Pool and Sauna Apparel [top]

On many programs, some accommodations will feature pools. So if you plan to use them, bring along a swimsuit and pool slippers.

Cameras and Film [top]

Be sure to test the working order of your camera before you leave home, and to insure your equipment against loss and damage. It is also important to take along an ample supply of film. Film can be expensive and specific kinds of film may not be available in certain areas. Some airport x-ray equipment may harm valuable film. For utmost protection, film should be packed separately in hand luggage. Also, be sure to bring at least one extra battery for your camera.
If you are using a digital camera, check on how many images you can take on your memory card at the resolution you are using. You may wish to bring along an extra memory card so you will not run out of memory half way through the trip. Bring along the battery charger, but remember you may need a voltage converter. The alternative is to carry a spare charged battery with you.

Valuables [top]

Please remember that it is not wise to bring valuables with you when you travel. If you decide to do so, please carry them on your person when flying. Make sure to use hotel or ship safe deposit boxes or safes to ensure the safety of possessions that you may want to have with you.

What to Leave Behind [top]

Do not pack aerosol cans; they tend to leak during air travel. Also avoid packing glass bottles; use plastic containers instead. Leave at home any credit cards and checkbooks that you don't anticipate using on your trip; valuable jewelry; brand-new shoes (instead pack your most comfortable walking shoes); and, in general, anything that you would hate to lose.

Electric Current [top]

If you wish to take along an electric iron, razor, or hair dryer, be sure they are adaptable to different currents, volts, and cycles. Most appliances will require an adapter plug and/or an electrical converter/transformer which are available for purchase at most department stores or luggage shops. These kits are available for electrical settings in countries outside the United States. Electric irons are not allowed on Vantage riverboats.

Flight Information


Flight Information

When planning your flights, Vantage considers each airline's reputation for quality, service, and routing options to the destination. Vantage selects flights that both serve our groups' needs and ensure the best balance of quality and cost. Our flight team members will do their utmost to select flights that will get you to your destination as quickly and easily as possible. 

First and Business Class Airfare Upgrades
Many of our programs offer first and/or Business Class upgrades, for more information, please visit our FlightChoice page.

Vantage encourages you to check current airport security regulations well in advance of travel, as rules may have changed since your last trip. For the latest information on airline security guidelines and boarding procedures, please visit the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) web site.


While on Tour


While on Tour

The information below applies in general to Vantage European river cruising. To learn more about our exclusive river cruises on Vantage-owned ships, click here.

Briefing sessions

Prior to arriving at most ports, your Vantage Program Manager will conduct an informative briefing concerning the daily schedule, local customs, and the included features of the program. It is strongly advised that all tour members attend the briefings.

Extending Your Trip

Vantage offers specially arranged pre- and post-extensions on many of our river cruises. See specific river cruises for details.

Additionally, if you would like to do some exploring on your own, either before or after your river cruise, Vantage can help arrange the details. In most cases, your flights can be adjusted for an earlier arrival date or a later return date. A non-refundable administrative fee will be assessed, plus any additional costs that may apply to the air ticket and hotel. Transfers to and from your hotel are not included when traveling independent of a Vantage group. Please ask a Vantage Sales Representative for additional details. Note also that some airline contracts may exclude changes to routing.

NOTE: Should you wish to make any changes to your plans to extend your trip, please do so no later than 60 days prior to your scheduled date of departure. Change and cancellation penalties apply to changes made after airline tickets have been issued.

Your Health & Comfort

Vantage wants you to have a safe, healthy, and happy journey. Our river cruises are planned to combine just the right amount of activity and leisure.

For personal medical attention while on your river cruise, your Vantage Program Manager can refer you to reliable physicians in the cities on your tour.

Please note that Medicare and U.S health insurance are generally not accepted in foreign destinations. If you have an insurance claim, it should be made upon your return to the USA and filed through your health insurance provider or through the Vantage Travel Protection Plan if you have purchased it. Keep relevant receipts and doctors' reports for processing your claim.

Jet Lag Precautions

When you cross several time zones to reach your destination, you often lose many hours of regular sleep. Upon arrival your body must quickly adjust to new sleeping and eating patterns. The result is jet lag. Its symptoms may include fatigue, irritability, and vague disorientation. You cannot completely avoid jet lag but you can minimize it. Here's how:

  • Try to sleep on overnight flights
  • Avoid heavy eating and drinking caffeine or alcoholic beverages right before - and during - your flight
  • Drink plenty of water and/or fruit juice while flying
  • Try to stay awake your first day until after dinner

Pace of the Adventure

Vantage trips are planned to provide a well-balanced mix of activities and free time. Certain adventures, however, may prove to be more challenging than others, particularly for passengers with physical limitations.

Passengers with physical difficulties or concerns about the pace of the travel program should contact their Vantage Customer Relations Representative for tips on which travel programs best suit their individual needs and abilities. See also Medical Issues, below.

Your Personal Safety

Please keep in mind that in any tourist destination, you need to be aware of your surroundings. We recommend that you use a money protector that can be worn around your neck. Flashy jewelry should be left at home. Never place your camera or purse down, or hang it on the back of your chair. Although incidents of theft and pickpocketing while on tour are rare, it is important to be cautious and aware.

Medical Issues

Click here to read important information about travelers with physical, emotional, or mental conditions that may require professional attention or the use of special equipment. "Medical Issues" information also appears in the "Tour Participation Agreement - Terms and Conditions" bound into Vantage catalogs and printed on the back of your Vantage invoice.

Hotels

If your Vantage river cruise includes a stay in a hotel, please note that Vantage makes every effort to reserve only hotels that offer well-appointed rooms and a convenient location. We remind you that quality of accommodations may vary from destination to destination. Vantage strives to provide the best hotels available that meet our standards of quality.

How We Rate Our Hotels

While some tour companies devise their own ratings systems (based on their particular standards), Vantage ranks hotels based on the industry-accepted classifications published by the Hotel & Travel Index - the travel industry standard.

Deluxe/Moderate Deluxe ***** Outstanding accommodations in every way, offering superior service, facilities, and location.

Superior First-Class ****+ Above average accommodations, with many special amenities, including more restaurants, shops, and usually a fitness center.

First-Class/Moderate First-Class **** Comfortable, well-equipped standard rooms with private bath and attractive public areas and amenities.

Please Note: In some areas where the hotels aren't rated, it's often due to the fact that the hotel may be too new, too remote, or too small. However, the hotel where you stay has been inspected and approved by Vantage personnel.

Religious Services

At Vantage, we count individuals from all walks of life and all religious denominations among our customers. Although we do not offer religious services on our travel programs, services may be available in the cities and towns you visit while on tour. Your Vantage Program Manager can advise you when religious services are available. Please keep in mind that not all religious denominations have a presence in every travel destination. We cannot guarantee the availability of religious services.

Shopping

Shopping for local merchandise is always a part of the travel experience. We are aware that local guides do recommend shops on their tours. Always keep in mind that a purchase is between the buyer and the seller. Always keep receipts and credit card copies. Shipping should always include insurance in the event of breakage. Some credit cards such as American Express also include insurance protection for purchases, but it is best to check with your card issuer for any insurance that may be included when you use your card.

Sightseeing & Cultural Connections

Vantage offers a variety of included sightseeing tours and special cultural events to enrich your travel experience and bring you "closer to the world." Our tours are specially designed for Vantage travelers. They let you feel the atmosphere, gain a cultural understanding, and become a part of the area you are visiting. They include all transportation and the services of expert local guides.

Optional Excursions

Vantage makes every effort to provide the right balance of both included activities and time for exploring on your own. We've found, however, that many of our passengers prefer an additional guided activity in lieu of free time. For that reason, some of our river cruises may include a limited number of optional tours and activities, which you may choose to take at a moderate fee. In no case do we replace an included sightseeing tour with an optional tour. Optional tours are strictly voluntary, providing you with the opportunity to visit an attraction that you may not see otherwise.

Transfers

All transfers between airport and hotel/pier are included when purchasing Vantage air. However, travelers purchasing their own airline tickets will be responsible for their own round-trip transfers to and from the airport/hotel/pier based on the itinerary.

Travel Itinerary

Each Vantage River Cruise is planned with two criteria in mind: It must be an interesting destination and the tour must offer good quality at an exceptional value.

Although everything is planned well in advance of your departure, our ultimate goal is to ensure that each departure is enjoyable, interesting, and safe. Therefore, the day-by-day itinerary provided is subject to change depending upon local conditions. If any significant changes occur in advance of your departure, Vantage will notify you by phone or by mail. If changes occur while on tour, your Vantage Program Manager or local representative will notify you.

Your Vantage Adventure Leader / Local Representative

During your trip you'll be accompanied by an experienced, English-speaking Vantage Adventure Leader. You will also benefit from the insights of expert Local Representatives. Both your Adventure Leader and Local Representatives can give you suggestions on the best restaurants, shops, and local sights; help coordinate optional tours and excursions; and assist in any manner needed.

Vantage Hospitality Desk

For your convenience, a Vantage Hospitality Desk will be available during scheduled hours aboard your river cruise ship (staffed by an experienced team of local travel professionals or by your Vantage Adventure Leader). The desk hours vary, depending on your daily scheduling. Tour members will be advised of the desk.

Payment Information


What does my Reservation Deposit Guarantee?
Payment of your initial deposit holds your spot on your journey. However, it does not guarantee the price of your trip. Participation in our Smart Pay Discount Plan can save you up to 10% on your Vantage trip AND it ensures that the land, cruise, and international airfare portions of your trip will not increase. This includes 100% guaranteed protection against most additional taxes (does not include entry fees or arrival taxes), fuel surcharges, and currency fluctuations, from the moment you pay in full under the terms of Vantage's SmartPay Discount Plan. If you do not participate in our SmartPay Discount Plan, all prices are subject to change.
When is my Final Payment due?
Final payments are due 90-120 days prior to departure, depending upon the program.
Can I extend my final payment due date?
Unfortunately, we are unable to extend any final payment due dates because of our vendor contractual obligations.
What is an E-Check?
ECheck is a commonly used term to refer to an online payment method via electronic check from your bank account.
What are the benefits of paying via E-Check?
Paying by E-Check is fast, easy and 100% secure – and there is no fee involved. Plus, paying by E-Check with our SmartPay Discount Program, you can realize hundreds of dollars in savings right away. When you compare those savings to the frequent flyer miles you might earn when you pay by credit card, you come out on top for two reasons: first, you enjoy your savings right away, whereas frequent flyer miles need to be accumulated over time before you cash them in; second, frequent flyer miles have restrictions of usage.
How do I make payments via an E-Check?
It's easy to set up E-Checking on My Account. Have your checkbook handy and simply go to the Make a Payment screen and follow the instructions provided. Please note that E-Check payments appear on your invoice immediately but take 2-3 business days for your bank to process.
What is the SmartPay Discount Plan?
The SmartPay Discount PlanSM allows our travelers to receive a discount by paying for their trip in full before their final payment due date. The further in advance of the final payment date you pay, the greater the discount. Just as important, you’ll guarantee your price against price increases resulting from currency fluctuations, fuel costs, and other unanticipated occurrences.
How can I take advantage of your SmartPay Discount Plan?
You can only take advantage of our SmartPay Discount PlanSM when paying by E-Check. Paying by E-Check is fast, easy and 100% secure – and there is no fee involved. All you need is your checking account number and bank routing number, both of which are printed on your checks. 50% of your trip’s total cost must be paid by check. Payments made inside of 60 days prior to departure will not qualify.
Can I pay by credit card and still take advantage of your SmartPay Discount Plan?
While we do accept credit card payments, you can only take advantage of our SmartPay Discount PlanSM when paying by E-Check, unless part of your payment is made by credit card and at least 50% of your total payment is paid by E-Check.
How do I redeem my Vantage Credit Voucher?
Vantage credit vouchers should be mailed once you receive your first invoice. Any overpayment that results from the credit voucher will be refunded to you, if applicable.
How do I cancel my trip and how long will it take for me to receive a refund?

If you must cancel your trip, you should contact our Customer Service department. Refund requests must be made in writing – indicating the reason for cancellation – and received by the respective final payment due date to avoid additional cancellation charges.

Vantage realizes that most people who cancel their reservations do so out of real necessity. Nevertheless, there is a non-refundable administrative fee of $300 per person for each program you cancel. This low fee covers only our costs of reservation maintenance or cancellation.

Payments made to your credit card will be refunded as a credit to that card. Payments made by check will be refunded by check. Payments paid by electronic check will be refunded electronically. Please allow 35 days for refunds to be manually verified and processed by our accounting department. Please refer to the Tour Participation Agreement for your program's cancellation fee schedule.

Why does it take just one day to charge my credit card at the time of booking but 30 days to refund it in the event of cancellation?
After you book a trip with us, we process charges within 24 hours in order to hold and confirm your reservation quickly for you. Because refunds are processed manually by our accounting department, we require a 30-day processing period to assure utmost accuracy.
I was just reviewing my invoice online and noticed a discrepancy. What should I do?
Please contact us and we will attempt to resolve the situation as soon as possible. To help expedite matters, you should print out your invoice and have it handy when you contact us.

Contact Vantage

CALL 1-800-848-5773

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THE BEST VALUE IN DELUXE TRAVEL – GUARANTEED — OR YOUR MONEY BACK!

We invite you to compare & save. We buy direct, sell direct and pass the savings on to you.
Vantage Tauck Tours Vantage Advantage
Journey Timeless India: A Magical Adventure A Portrait of India
Price without Air* $5,299 $7,940 Save $5,282 per couple!
Trip Length 18 days 18 days The best pacing in the industry!
Per Diem $294 per day $441 Save $294 per couple per day!
Extend Your Value Kathmandu, Nepal pre-trip No extensions Extend your discoveries at an unbeatable value
Hotel Accommodations Enjoy all 4- and 5-star accommodations Enjoy all 4- and 5-star accommodations Enjoy luxury at accommodations with a storied history, and the best proximity to all the sites!
Meals 37 meals 44 meals Pay less and enjoy more freedom to enjoy local cuisine on your own time!
Sightseeing 15 included tours & 12 Cultural Connections 22 Tours More tours than the competition = better value!
FREE Single Supplement FREE Single Supplement on every departure! Single Supplement $1,017 Single Friendly! The most options and best value for single travelers -  Free Single Supplement on all dates!
Preferred Traveler Rewards 5% Vantage Travel Reward to use towards your next Vantage journey. $100 per person BEST REWARDS PROGRAM IN TRAVEL!
Ways to Save NEW for 2018—including all tips for local guides & drivers! Referral Rewards — $200 per traveler referred after 2 referrals; Buy direct & save big, 100% Travel Protection; SmartPay — pay in full, 12-months in advance and save 10% Travel Protection THE MOST WAYS TO SAVE!

*Prices are subject to change and based on comparable departure months.
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