Frequently Asked Questions
WHAT ON EARTH SHOULD I PACK?
So glad you asked! Once you book your trip, we’ll send you an e-mail with our exact list of recommendations to fill that lovely suitcase of yours, making sure to leave plenty of room for all of the beautiful things you’re going to want to take home with you.
But the quick list for all you “need-to-know-right-now” people, is this:
Your current passport (Hey, you’d be amazed how many people forget!)
Walking shoes – seriously good walking shoes
Comfortable clothes for our walking tours
A warm sweater for the evenings
A raincoat or umbrella or both if you like
Cash for gifts, transportation from the airport
A money belt of some sort
*WHAT IS INCLUDED?
Seven nights lodging; daily breakfasts; 5 lunches with wine; 5 dinners with wine; 3 wine tastings; cooking class (or other similar activity); 24 hour knowledgeable, English-speaking tour guides; ground transportation once guests have reached tour destination; museum entrance fees; 5 hours of pre/post trip planning advice; minimum one daily excursion to an interesting, undiscovered site in the area. Tours can be created for your select group according to interests and size.
*Some tours are 10 days long; airport transport can be arranged for a fee.
WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED?
Airfare and airport transfer fees; passport fees; meals not described above; additional nights lodging; travel insurance; additional activities not included in tour; personal expenses.
HOW DO I REGISTER?
Zelle, PayPal or a check as instructed to address listed for $1300 initial deposit. If registration is 90 days or less before tour dates, full fee is required. Check is made out to Cheryl Alexander. Paying with PayPal requires an extra fee for credit card charges to our company or use the "Friends & Family" option to avoid such. There is a $300 administrative fee for cancellations.
Refund Policy: Full refund 90 days before start of tour, minus administrative fee; 80% 60 days before start, minus administrative fee; 50% 30 days before tour, minus administrative fee; less than 30 days forfeit of full tour cost (unless medical emergency with proof).
WHEN I BOOK MY FLIGHT, WHICH AIRPORT SHOULD I FLY INTO?
We recommend that you fly into the airport in Rome, code FCO. Florence and Perugia are also options.
HOW BIG ARE THE GROUPS?
Groups can range in size from 4-10. If you have a self-created group the numbers can be larger or even smaller. We believe small group travel is more comfortable, enjoyable, intimate and the experience much richer than large group tours. You are always accompanied by one or more of our caring, knowledgeable guides, no matter what the size of the group.
I WANT TO VISIT OTHER CITIES WHILE I’M IN ITALY, CAN I?
Of course! This is one of the many reasons we didn’t want to include airfare in our package. We know that Italy is a dream destination for many travelers, so we want you to feel comfortable adding days to the beginning or end of our tour with us. We can help you plan an add on in some instances, just ask!
MY FRIEND AND I ARE TRAVELING TOGETHER, CAN YOU MAKE SURE WE’RE IN THE SAME ROOM?
Absolutely! But we think you may each want your own room so we do not charge charge a single supplement. When you book your trip with us, just send us a note through email.
WHAT IF I GET SICK OR SOMETHING HAPPENS BEFORE THE TRIP?
We will be happy to help you transfer to a different tour if you’re unable to attend the tour you originally booked. We also require that you purchase traveler’s insurance from your preferred insurance company. Please refer to our cancellation fees.
WHAT’S THE CURRENT EXCHANGE RATE FOR EUROS?
It varies, but lately it’s been hovering around $1.05-1.08 per Euro. If you’d like to do your own calculations, we highly recommend entering “Exchange Rate for Euros” into Google. Their exchange calculator is very good, and can help you make quick translations. This rate has not been more advantageous for travelers in more than a decade.
We also suggest that you double-check any international transaction fees from your credit card company. Most credit card companies will add a 2.5% to 3% international transaction fee on each transaction you make while overseas. Check with your bank to what they offer.
WHAT ABOUT LANGUAGE BARRIERS, FINDING MY WAY, GETTING LOST?
Everyone has travel fears. Even those of us who travel often and work in the tourist industry have concerns when traveling overseas. It comes with the territory! Here are some discoveries we have made about these fears:
~ People, the world over, are extremely generous and helpful. On every trip this is our experience, when people have come to our aid, sensing or seeing our doubts or confusion. Italians are especially helpful and will go out of their way to make sure your needs are met.
~ Despite language challenges, we have always managed to communicate our needs or expectations. It is often a surprise to learn how many people speak English or at least enough to help us get our needs met.
~ Sometimes, it is getting lost that becomes the most joyful, interesting experience of a trip!
~ It is such a joy to see our guests become confident about getting along in the Italian countryside, after just a couple of days with us.
~ Part of our role is to help our guests become comfortable interacting with unfamiliar people and cultural routines in a new setting. We believe one way to peace and understanding in the world is through travel experiences like ours.
We have a particular affinity for this country because it is so richly layered with diverse historical and cultural civilizations. And we also appreciate that the Italians are so involved with the nature around them, appreciating the preservation of the past for learning in the present and for the future. Senses are always heightened in the presence of nature which the Italians understand so well. Not to mention our own appreciation for the wines and food of the region, which are something we enjoy sharing with our guests.
HOW DO I GET FROM THE AIRPORT TO OUR DESTINATION MEETING POINT?
Once registered for your tour, we provide extensive travel information to you that will get you easily and effortlessly to us. By taking the train from the airport with our instructions the cost is just about $25. If you prefer an airport transfer by car we can make those arrangements for an extra fee.
I LIKE THESE ANSWERS, BUT I’D STILL LOVE TO ASK MORE QUESTIONS, MAY I? For instance, is it safe to travel in Europe now?
First, we would like to say that there is no guarantee in life when it comes to one’s safety. We all see the headline news about places that are experiencing difficulties. However, Italy is one country that has been covering it’s own safety issues for decades. And we spend our entire time in the countryside, out of the city limits where there is more likely to be trouble. So, we are confident that traveling in Italy now is as safe as crossing your street at home. We encourage travel to encourage bridges to peace in our World!
Of course! Simply email Cheryl at firstname.lastname@example.org and she will get back to you as soon as possible! You can also call her at 760-470-8852
Recipe Secrets! An old Italian soup secret: Buy a large hunk of Parmesan cheese and trim the rind off. After setting your soup in motion, while it is simmering and collecting the wonderful flavors of its contents, place the rind in the pot for the next couple of hours. Once the soup is finished remove the rind, let it cool and place it in a freezer bag, freeze until you create your next soup. There are enzymes in the rind that bring out special flavors. Yes, it will be a bit melted but stays intact especially once the soup cools down. Try it; you will be amazed at the enhanced flavors in the soup!