Travel in Europe
At Cox & Kings we believe that a good holiday is not luck but judgment. We have compiled the following advice to outline the nature of travel in Europe and to help you prepare for your holiday. Even with the most meticulous planning, however, problems can occur and, whilst our ground staff are always on hand to rectify such occurrences, we do request that you have a patient and broadminded approach to travelling in the region and respect the local traditions.
On our tours the following carriers will be used: Aeroflot, British Airways, British Midland, Croatia Airlines, CSA Czech Airlines, Air Malta, Turkish Airlines, Ukraine International Airlines, Icelandair, Air Iceland, Iberia and TAP Air Portugal. The name of the airline is clearly listed on the tour page, together with the stop-off airport, should this apply. We do not print flight timings in our brochure, however you will find full details relating to your international flights printed on your confirmation invoice. All flight times as stated on your confirmation invoice are based on local times.
Some flight routings involve a change of plane en route to your destination and will entail a transit time in the airport terminal whilst waiting for your connection. Please take note of the flight details as stated on your confirmation invoice as these will show you the amount of scheduled transit time in the stop-off city. Please note that all flight timings are subject to change by the airline. It is important to note the difference between a ‘direct’ flight and a ‘non-stop’ flight. Nonstop flights do not have any scheduled touchdowns en route, whilst direct flights mean that there is no change of aircraft but that stops are possible and indeed probable, as per the airlines’ timetables. Unfortunately, airlines change their schedules regularly, and although we will advise you of any stops or plane changes at the time of booking, we cannot be held responsible for any changes after this date.
All our itineraries are based on Economy Class. However, should you wish to upgrade to Business Class this is normally possible subject to availability. If you would like to take this option, please contact our Reservations Department, who can often offer an upgrade at specially discounted prices.
Baggage allowances vary according to the destination, flight and class booked, although in the majority of cases the allowance for Economy is 20kgs and Business is 30kgs.
All the internal flights in this brochure use jet airliners. Occasionally, when travelling on internal flights with local carriers or on light aircraft, it may be necessary for operators to change schedules at short notice. If this should happen, everything possible will be done to minimise the inconvenience. Such a change may cause a delay to your onward travel arrangements, and require an extra night’s accommodation at your board point; or alternative travel by another airline or another method of transportation may be required. Although these arrangements are at the discretion of the airline, Cox & Kings will endeavour to help in any way it can and ensure that arrangements go as smoothly as possible.
Flight Delays & Insurance:
Unfortunately, due to the increase in air traffic, government restrictions and changing weather conditions, flight delays have become more commonplace. These delays can cause problems with onward connections and / or hotel and holiday arrangements, which need to be rescheduled. The airline will sometimes make alternative arrangements to get you to your next destination at no extra cost; however, additional costs may well be involved in the form of additional accommodation costs, transfers and onward tickets. It is important that your travel insurance covers you against the costs that you may incur as a result of cancellation or delay to your flight. Unfortunately, since most services are paid for in advance, any services missed due to delays are non-refundable. Please also bear in mind that many international flight tickets are non-changeable and non-refundable. The insurance policy offered by Cox & Kings (see page 65) is designed to mitigate the costs and effects of such delays in certain circumstances and we strongly advise that you are insured against such eventualities.
Cox & Kings will endeavour to request any specific meals or services, subject to availability, on the condition that we are told at the time of booking. Specific seat requests with most major airlines can now only be requested if travelling in Business Class. We are able to request general seating preferences for Economy Class passengers; however, please remember that all special requests are ‘requests’, and as such are at the discretion of the airline and cannot be guaranteed.
Most of the tours shown in this brochure use special airfares. These have certain conditions, which normally restrict any change of date, route or airline. Any such change made after a ticket has been issued will normally necessitate the purchase of a new ticket at the passenger’s expense.
Airport Departure Taxes:
International UK and foreign local departure tax is included in the cost of your holiday (unless otherwise stated) when you buy your ticket from Cox & Kings. However, in some cases additional local taxes may have to be paid locally, and you will be informed of these before you travel.
The road conditions you will experience in Europe are generally fairly good. The majority of the roads are sealed and in reasonable condition. Please be aware that some tours involve driving on smaller, more uneven roads, which may be uncomfortable, dusty and quite strenuous. The distance covered in some of our tours is also considerable, especially on our tours to Albania, Armenia, Georgia, Romania and regional Turkey. If you have any problems with long journeys, please discuss this with your consultant. Types of vehicles vary according to the country visited and the numbers on a tour. Generally, the following can be used as a guideline for the size of transportation provided: 2-3 passengers, saloon car; 4–6 passengers, mini van; 6–19 passengers, small bus; 20–28 passengers, medium bus.
A number of flights within Europe arrive / depart early in the morning, and while we will endeavour to schedule your tour with a flight which arrives / departs at a reasonable time, sometimes there is little or no alternative and early check-in / check-out times may be required.
Border crossing procedures can alter without warning. At the time of publication (August 2009), Cox & Kings has designed all tours to coincide with the opening times of the borders, but if these change and the itinerary is disrupted, we will arrange the best possible alternative.
Accommodation standards vary dramatically throughout Europe, and hotels in Eastern Europe, Albania, Macedonia and regional Turkey, should not generally be compared to Western European standards. For our tours we have chosen hotels primarily for their location and the facilities available. We will endeavour to supply any extra information that you may require on these hotels. The hotels listed in the tour itineraries may occasionally be unavailable for the required dates. In this event, we will advise you of alternative hotels, which will, where possible, be of the same or of a higher standard than those featured in the itineraries. There are many new hotels being built in Europe and we may upgrade those featured in the brochure if better options in the same category become available. Please note all rooms reserved on your tour are standard; however, if you wish to upgrade your room (e.g. to a lake view or suite etc.), please speak to your tour consultant, who will be able to advise you about the options and the applicable supplements.
Check-in & Check-out Times:
For all group and individual tours, hotel check-in/out time is normally 12 noon, but this does vary between hotels. Early checkins and late check-outs cannot be pre-booked, but can sometimes be negotiated on site.
Many of the sites in Eastern Europe are quite spread out and our tours consequently necessitate a reasonable amount of walking. Whilst the walking is normally easy going, a full-day sightseeing can be quite tiring and sometimes strenuous.
Although tourism is not a new concept in most parts of Russia & Eastern Europe, many of the areas visited are still extremely traditional, therefore kindly respect local customs and dress codes.
RIVER CRUISES & TRAIN TOURS
The Russian and Ukraine river cruise and Trans-Siberian Express train tours are offered subject to the conditions of carriage of the individual cruise / train company. PLEASE NOTE in exceptional circumstances they may vary their itineraries with little or no notice if water levels become unsafe, train lines become blocked or to avoid areas of dense traffic. Such changes are rare, but you should check the final itinerary at reception when you embark. River cruise itineraries are based on full board, but all drinks will be charged as extras.
Check-in & Check-out:
For all group and individual tours, hotel check-in/out times are normally 12 noon, but this does vary between hotels. Early check-ins and late checkouts cannot be pre-booked, but can sometimes be negotiated on site.
FOREIGN & COMMONWEALTH OFFICE TRAVEL ADVICE
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office ("FCO") produces a wide range of material about overseas countries which may be visited by British Citizens. The FCO does this to try to ensure that British citizens are properly informed about any overseas destination, particularly in relation to political unrest, crime and health issues. Where the FCO considers that British citizens would face unjustifiable risks to health, the FCO actually advises either against travelling to the country in question or against non-essential travel to that country. Full details of all FCO advices can be obtained on the FCO website - www.fco.gov.uk/travel. Alternatively, you can contact the FCO at the Travel Advice Unit, Consular Division, Foreign & Commonwealth Office, 1 Palace Street, London SW1E 5HE (tel 020 7238 4503/4504 or fax 020 7238 4545).
VISAS & HEALTH FOR EUROPE
We work with Visa Swift, a company that specialises in visa processing. Please visit its website to find out if you require a visa, download visa application forms, follow links to important embassy websites or make general inquiries about its visa service. Visa Swift also offers a full range of passport services including passport renewals, second passports and replacement passports. The Visa Swift service is easy to use: simply go to the website and follow the steps to apply for the visa that you need. Once submitted, you can track the progress of your visa application online. Please telephone 020 7025 4744 for more information or visit the Visa Swift website: http://www.visaswift.com/coxandkings.aspx
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