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.
What to Pack
You may find the packing information below helpful as you begin to prepare for your upcoming journey.
• Travel light: Have a varied travel wardrobe, yet keep your luggage light, we recommend you select a color scheme and pack color-coordinated clothing items that can be mixed to create different outfits. For more packing and luggage tips, you might want to visit www.travelite.org.
• Pack casual clothes: Comfortable, informal apparel is acceptable at each of your destinations. At dinner, you will not need formal dressing; men do not need jackets or ties and women do not need fancy dresses. You may want one or two smart casual outfits for the Welcome or Farewell Dinner, but it’s completely up to you.
• Consider clothing designed for travel, sports, or camping: With modern fabrics, lightweight packing for comfort and protection through a wide range of weather is easy.
• Clothes for mild weather: For the temperate climate at each of your Australian destinations, pack lightweight, drip-dry clothing made of breathable fabric, such as cotton, cotton knits, or Dacron/cotton. The latter two material blends dry very quickly after washing and stay comparatively wrinkle-free. Evenings can be cool and may require a sweater or jacket. You can select an outer layer from the cold-weather gear that you need to bring for New Zealand’s South Island, as outlined in the next paragraph.
• Warm clothes for the year-round volatile weather on South Island, New Zealand: Come prepared for travel to the South Island, where every kind of weather imaginable is possible. Cold, wet weather is especially apt to occur near the island’s southern Alps, where there may even be some snow. Winter lasts from May through September, but all the elements of that season—ice, hail, snow, sleet—can happen any time of year. An insulated jacket with hood (preferably waterproof), fleece pullover or wool sweater, gloves, and waterproof shoes are recommended for your comfort. Your outer jacket should be roomy enough to comfortably fit over your sweater or fleece top. Since spurts of very warm weather are equally common, dress in layers so you can easily adjust to any sudden temperature
• Comfortable, supportive walking shoes. In addition, sneakers or casual shoes are fine for dinner and evening activities.
• Sports attire: Don't forget your swimsuit and exercise clothing if you plan on these activities.
Packing Your Carry-On
Using a daypack as a carry-on bag for your flights is a smart solution. We strongly urge you to pack your carry-on with at least one full change of clothes, your camera gear, medications, changes of socks and underwear, your important travel documents, and other irreplaceable items, in case your checked bags go astray. Store camera gear and important papers in plastic bags to protect them from dirt and moisture. With a daypack you can then remove these items on arrival and load your bag with the gear you’ll need on walking tours and excursions.
Travel Gear Suggestions
To travel wisely these days you must juggle your personal needs and preferences against the physical constraints of your transportation. Consult the following items to create your personal checklist – ignoring what you don’t need and making the tough decisions over borderline cases. Remember that many airlines today will charge you extra for added luggage.
What not to pack: Do not pack aerosol cans and avoid packing glass bottles; use plastic containers instead. Leave at home checkbooks and any credit cards not essential for your trip or valuable jewelry.
Custom’s regulations prohibit some foods: Australia and New Zealand impose very strict regulations on the importation of food. Visitors must declare all food products at customs upon arrival and, as a general rule, are not allowed to bring dairy products (including cheese and foods containing powdered milk), fruit, crackers, meat, flowers, etc., into Australia or New Zealand. For further details, please contact the Australian Customs Service: telephone from the U. S.: 011-612-6275-6666; on the web: www.customs.gov.au. Please adhere to these regulations.
Daily essentials: toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, hairbrush or comb, shaving items, deodorant, etc.
Spare eyeglasses/contact lenses and your prescription
Sunglasses with a neck strap
Sunscreen, SPF 15 or stronger
Travel money bag or money belt
Moisturizer, lip balm
Insect repellent: with DEET—can also be
purchased in Australia or New Zealand
Wide-brim sun hat or visor
Moist towelettes (packets) and/or antibacterial hand lotion
Light folding umbrella
Photocopies of passport, air ticket, credit cards
Camera, spare batteries, and memory cards
Shirts: A mixture of short and long-sleeved shirts to layer
Trousers, jeans, or skirts
Comfortable walking shoes and/or water resistant shoes
Light rain jacket/windbreaker with hood
Socks and undergarments
Your own prescription medicines
Cold remedies: Sudafed/Dristan
Pain relievers: Ibuprofen/naproxen/aspirin
Stomach upset: Pepto-Bismol/Mylanta
Band-Aids, Moleskin foot pads
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]
To help make your travel experience as smooth and simple as possible, Vantage recommends you limit your luggage to one large suitcase and one small carry-on bag per person. Most airlines now charge a fee for more than one suitcase. Domestic and international carriers currently restrict weight limitations to 50 pounds.
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.
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.
The standard U.S. electrical system — 110V 60Hz current and flat two- or three-pronged polarized plug system — is rare elsewhere. The overwhelming choice for the rest of the world is 220-240V and 50/60Hz current with a variety of plug shapes, sizes, and configurations. Some plugs will work with multiple receptacles, while others won’t.
Plugging a 110V U.S. appliance into 220/240V 50/60Hz service will ruin the motor. We suggest that you bring dual voltage appliances (widely available) that work on both 110 and 220/240 voltage. Dual voltage appliances are inexpensive and need only plug adapters.
If you bring 110V appliances, such as a hair dryer (note that hotels often supply hairdryers and coffee makers) or shaver, you'll need a transformer (to halve the 220/240V current) in addition to plug adapters.
Regional transformer/adapter kits can often be found at hardware or online stores but transformers tend to burn out, so it might be better to leave those larger items at home.
In Australia the electrical current is 240V, 50 Hz; in New Zealand it is 230V, 50 Hz. Wall outlets in Australia and New Zealand take a slanted three-prong or two-prong plug.
Type I receptacle/plugs are used in Australia and New Zealand.
Even though you’ll only need Type I plug adapters on this trip, it may be a good idea to invest in an all-in-one, universal adapter/converter combo. Versatile and lightweight, this item will ensure that you are prepared for your current trip as well as future vacations. If you use multiple digital devices—cell phone, digital camera, and MP3 player for instance – it’s handy to have a travel power strip, perhaps with a surge suppressor and USB-style port for charging cell phones, MP3 players or e-readers without the use of device-specific plugs.
Internet is available at all hotels. Some hotels offer wi-fi complimentary others have a charge for in room wi-fi but free in lobby areas.
Reception in main towns is good but reception in some nature areas may have little to no cell reception or data reception.
You can photograph just about anything in Australia and New Zealand however please ask your Adventure Leader for best practices.
In any culture, it is polite to ask permission before taking pictures of people, and Australia and New Zealand is no exception.
When not using your camera, always keep it in your pocket, in a case attached to your belt, or hanging on a strap around your neck.
While on Tour
The information below applies in general to Vantage escorted land tours. To learn
more about our full line of escorted land tours,
At the beginning of your tour, a Vantage Tour 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 Tour Director 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
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 Tour 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.
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
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 Tour 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 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
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 Tour Director or local representative will notify you.
Your Vantage Tour Director/Regional Experts
During your tour you'll be accompanied on tour by an experienced Vantage Tour Director. You will also benefit from the insights of Regional Expert tour guides. Both your Tour Director and Regional Experts can provide
suggestions on the best restaurants, shops, and local sights; will help coordinate
optional tours and excursions; and assist in any manner possible.
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 Tour 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 and all porterage. Tips are not included for your Vantage Program Manager, local guides and drivers, or any maids or other personnel in hotels, ships or trains.
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
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
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
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
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
I was just reviewing my invoice online and noticed a discrepancy. What should
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.