While on Tour
The information below applies in general to Vantage escorted land tours.
At the beginning of your tour, a Vantage Cruise DIrector will conduct an informative briefing concerning the daily schedule, local customs, and the included features of your tour. It is strongly advised that you attend this briefing.
Extending Your Trip
Vantage offers specially arranged pre- and post-extensions on many of our escorted land tours. See specific tours for details. In some cases, your Cruise DIrector that will be on your base trip will be there also on the extension, but not always. On some pre- and post-extensions, there will be a Vantage representative to assist you.
Additionally, if you would like to do some exploring on your own, either before or after your tour, Vantage can help you arrange the details. In most cases, your flights can be adjusted for either 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 or cancellation penalties may apply to tickets once they have been issued.
Your Health & Comfort
Vantage wants you to have a safe, healthy, and happy journey. Our tours are planned to combine just the right amount of activity and leisure. For personal medical attention while on tour, your Vantage Cruise DIrector 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 Tour
Vantage Tours are planned to provide a well-balanced mix of activities and free time. Certain tours, 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 tour should contact their Vantage Customer Relations Representative for tips on which tours 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.
Click here to read important information about travelers with a physical, emotional, or mental condition 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 invoice.
Vantage makes every effort to reserve only hotels that offer well-appointed rooms and a central 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. You can check descriptions of the hotels for your chosen trip under Accommodations on the website for that trip.
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, 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.
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 Cruise DIrector 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 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. Iit is best to check with your credit 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.
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 tours 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.
All hotel taxes and hotel service charges are included in the tour price. If airport arrival and departure taxes apply, they are payable in cash at the airports and are not included.
All transfers between the airport and hotel/pier are included in conjunction with Vantage air and tour packages and will be via private transportation. Travelers purchasing their own airline tickets will be responsible for their own transfers to and from the airport/hotel/pier based on the itinerary.
Each Vantage Escorted Land Tour is planned with two criteria in mind: It must be to 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 for each travel destination 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 Cruise DIrector or local representative will notify you.
Your Vantage Cruise Director/Local Representative
During your tour you'll be accompanied on tour by an experienced Vantage Cruise DIrector. You will also benefit from the insights of expert Local Representatives and tour guides. Both your Cruise Director and Local Representative can provide suggestions on the best restaurants, shops, and local sights; help coordinate optional tours and excursions; and assist in any manner possible.
Modest dress is expected of all women and men, and even though you may see foreigners wearing shorts or revealing clothing (especially in the cities), local people may consider this disrespectful and will appreciate your discretion. Bare arms or shoulders are not advised in public places, and ladies should bring a head scarf to wear inside mosques. Long skirts, slacks, or capris that cover your knees are advised for women; men should avoid shorts or tank tops, too. Public displays of affection are frowned upon. Non-Muslims are not permitted to enter certain mosques, and there may be some sites that restrict access by gender.
Vantage Hospitality Desk
For your convenience, a Vantage Hospitality Desk will be available daily during scheduled hours at many of the hotels on your itinerary (staffed by an experienced team of local travel professionals or by your Vantage Cruise DIrector). The desk hours vary, depending on your daily scheduling. Tour members will be advised of the desk hours during the briefing held upon arrival at most hotels.
We include tipping for all meals that are included in your package, all porterage and tips for local guides and drivers. Tips are not included for your Vantage Cruise DIrector, your driver if he does the entire trip or any maids or other personnel in hotels, ships or trains.