what-to-pack

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Here are some frequently asked questions, we hope you find this information useful.

What does the term all-inclusive mean?

Our prices include virtually all of your prepaid costs, including:

  • Airfare (and all associated taxes, fuel surcharges)
  • Hotel and cruise accommodation including all taxes and service charges
  • Most meals (as indicated for each tour) including tax and gratuities
  • Sightseeing as described (including entrance fees)
  • Gratuities for drivers, guides, hotel and cruise staff, porters, etc.
  • Visa fees where necessary
  • Fully comprehensive insurance for cancellation and for health while outside Canada
  • Transfers between your home and the airport in most Canadian cities (where we do not have contracts with transportation companies we will provide you with either a pick up credit or an overnight at an airport hotel).

Not included in the cost of your tour are services and items of a personal nature (laundry, telephone calls, room service, beverages unless otherwise specified), shore excursions on cruise ships (unless otherwise specified) and optional tours which are sometimes offered.

Might the price in your brochure change for any reason?

No! Once our brochure has been published the prices quoted are guaranteed, in Canadian funds, regardless of fluctuation in currency, taxes or fuel surcharges.

How early should I make my reservation?

This is one of the most frequently asked questions. We recommend that you make your reservation as early as possible because some departures fill up very quickly. Booking early assures your place on the tour and in the case of cruises will give you the best choice of cabin location. Once a departure sells out you may be waitlisted in case of cancellation.

How do I make a reservation?

The best way is to call us by phone to ensure that there is space on the tour. Dial one of our 7 offices directly, or our toll-free number (1-800-268-3492). You can also reserve by mailing in our handy enrollment form which is available on line. After you make your reservation we require a deposit of $300 per person for regular tours (or $700 per person for cruises or any tour which includes a cruise) within 7 days. If you make all of your payments by cheque, by the final payment due date, we will deduct $50 per person from the cost of your tour.

What if I have to cancel my booking?

Cancellation insurance is included in the cost of your tour (unless you decline our insurance package in which case a rebate will be applied to your cost). The policy covers cancellation in case you, a close relative or your travelling companion have an emergency illness or injury. So if you have to cancel your reservation after paying your deposit or final payment (for a reason covered under the policy), you will be refunded the total amount that you paid, less an administration fee of $75. If you cancel a tour for a reason not covered by our policy, or if you declined our comprehensive insurance package, there is a penalty schedule outlined in our brochure – generally speaking the closer your cancellation is to the departure date, the higher the cancellation penalty will be. The penalty represents the non-refundable funds paid to our suppliers (airlines, hotels, cruise lines etc.) on your behalf. Those who declined our insurance package because they have their own insurance can claim the non-refundable portion on their own policy.

What happens if STC cancels my tour?

There are occasions when we are forced to cancel a tour due to extenuating circumstances. In this case you will immediately receive a full refund of all payments made to us.

What kind of payment do you accept?

You can pay for your tour by personal cheque, VISA or MasterCard. Again, if you make all of your payments by cheque, by the final payment due date, we will deduct $50 per person from the cost of your tour.

What if I am travelling alone – do I have to pay a single supplement?

On most of our tours we offer a limited number of single accommodations. A single traveller can book a single room and pay the single supplement as indicated for that tour. If you prefer not to travel alone we can put you on our “Partner List”, in which case we would contact you if another traveller is also looking to share a room, and provide you with their phone number so you can contact each other and decide if you would like to share accommodations. We do not arbitrarily match travellers up as room-mates.

What does the single supplement cover?

The single supplement is a charge which is levied by our suppliers (hotels and cruise lines) to cover the extra cost for one individual occupying the accommodations. It has nothing to do with the cost of food, transportation or any other services. The cost of the supplement varies, from as little as $290 to 50% over and above the double occupancy cost. It does not grant single passengers the right to occupy two seats while touring on the coach. In many countries outside of North America, standard single rooms are smaller than twin/double rooms.

Can you accommodate special diets?

We can order special meals for you for your flights. Also, cruise lines can accommodate special diets. As for touring, sometimes a hotel will be in a position to try to accommodate your needs, but generally while touring we cannot be responsible for special meals based on religion, allergies, general dislikes or lifestyle choices. Usually there is no choice offered other than vegetarian. We ask for your understanding concerning this very complex issue.

How much spending money should I bring?

You will need some money to cover the costs of any personal expenses such as shopping, laundry, telephone calls etc. and for any meals or beverages that are not included in the tour cost (please refer to the tour details in our brochure).In addition to the tours included in your tour package, sometimes “optional excursions” may be offered during your free time. You are under absolutely no obligation to purchase these tours. Tipping for optional excursions is not included.

Am I able to register my loyalty travel program?

We do not subscribe to any loyalty programs such as Air Miles or Aeroplan so you must register your plan at the time of check-in with the airlines. If for any reason you have forgotten to register your plan you can always send in your boarding pass to the airlines. Please note that your boarding pass was issued by the airlines and not SDT, so if you have misplaced it we are unable to re-issue another one.

What is the role of the Tour Manager in my holiday?

All of our tours are fully escorted and anyone that has travelled with us mentions the likeability of our Tour Managers. They are responsible for the well-being of the group and their primary purpose is to ensure that everything we have advertised and contracted on your behalf has been provided and delivered at the level of service expected. Although they are responsible for the daily operation of a tour, they are not tour guides. However they will endeavor to get answers to your questions when there is no guide available. Our Tour Managers cannot assist the needs of individual group members if this interferes with them looking after the needs of the group. They are not responsible for pushing wheelchairs or pulling luggage from an airport carousel as this will distract them from their other group responsibilities.

How many people are there on one of your tours?

This is one of the most frequently asked questions. There are a number of factors which determine the size of the group and ultimately it is the demand for the destination. As a rule of thumb many of our exotic destinations depart with smaller groups which are better suited to those regions, while some of our more popular tours can depart with up to 45 passengers.

What insurance coverage is provided with your comprehensive insurance package?

Our medical insurance package is arranged through Manulife Financial and it provides coverage for emergency medical services while travelling and also baggage and accident insurance protection. You are also covered against cancellation penalties prior to departure and during your tour. For more information or to view our insurance policy click here….

I am retired and I already have full insurance coverage. What then?

If you already have a plan which covers you for out-of-country medical expenses and / or cancellation penalties we will deduct the cost of our insurance from your price. Please note that you must tell the agent as early as possible you are declining our coverage (before any penalties may come into effect). Please be sure that you are familiar with the terms and conditions of your insurance and that you have adequate coverage.

What kind of documentation do I need?

For any tours outside of Canada you must have a Canadian (or other) passport that is valid for a period of 6 months beyond your expected return to Canada. In addition some countries will require that visitors obtain a Visa. Our travel consultants will advise you of any Visa requirements and provide you with the forms/and assist you with the process. Visa fees are included in the cost of our tours where required.

Do I need vaccines to travel abroad?

Health is a personal issue and you may wish to check with your physician or a travel clinic near you for medical advice regarding vaccinations or other medical precautions prior to your tour. If there are mandatory vaccine requirements for any given tour our staff will inform you at the time of booking.

What will the weather be like when I arrive at my destination?

Of course it is impossible to predict the weather with any certainty. We select our departure dates based on historical weather patterns so that the touring is comfortable. While we will provide you, in the Fact Sheet that you will receive after paying your deposit, with an indication as to the likely weather for the travel dates at your destination, you should check the weather conditions before you depart.

Can I arrange my own flights?

You can certainly arrange your own flights for the majority of our tours, in which case the cost of the flights will be deducted from the price of your tour. If you are using points you will need to contact the airline directly as early as possible. You may even wish to book the same flights as our groups so you can take advantage of our transfers to and from the airport. Remember, if you book your own flights you will be responsible to make your own way to the first hotel, or the pier in the case of a cruise, and if your flight home departs at a much different time from the rest of the group you may have to make your way back to the airport on your own at the end of the tour. When booking your own flights please ensure that you protect yourself with cancellation insurance, as we cannot be held responsible for schedule changes, or if a tour is cancelled for any reason.

Can I upgrade my flight to Business Class?

Yes, you can request Business Class flights, but be sure to ask the cost before booking it. Business Class flights can often double the cost of the entire tour. On the other hand, for some destinations we are able to offer “Big Seats” (economy class service with more space).

Can I pre-book my airline seats?

In most cases our group contract with the airline does not permit advance seat selection under the terms and conditions.  If you require a specific seat you may wish to do your own air in order to guarantee your seat selection.  While our air staff makes every effort to meet all requests, it is often not possible.

Can you make additional travel arrangements for us if we wanted to stay longer than your tour?

In most cases we can extend your stay at the destination and provide you with a later return date. Because this would be a deviation from our “group block” there would usually be an additional charge imposed by the airline. You must request this deviation as early as possible. Obviously you will not be escorted during your extension. Please bear in mind that if you extend your stay you will be responsible for your own transportation to the airport for your return flight home.

What classification of hotels do you use on your tours?

We always provide comfortable, clean, safe accommodations. In some destinations we use Deluxe hotels, in some cases First Class and sometimes we use the best available hotels in certain locations. Please refer to our brochure.

Do you have an activity level for each tour?

Our tours do not require tour participants to take long hikes or climb mountains. While we do not have specific activity levels for our tours we do indicate which tours are best suited for the fit, active traveler who enjoys walking. If in doubt please discuss any concerns with one of our tour consultants.

If I have mobility issues, will I be permitted to join one of your tours?

Our tours are designed for people who are physically fit. We suggest that those who are unable to walk at a reasonable pace for 4-5 city blocks, or climb stairs easily, look at cruising or one of our “Stay-Put” tours as options. Members who only need assistance to get through airports always have the option to request extra assistance. If you have any doubts whatsoever about your physical ability please call us and speak to one of our tour consultants before booking your trip.

How much luggage can I bring on a tour?

Our tour members are generally limited to one checked suitcase, with further limitations based on airline restrictions. On tours that include local flights within a foreign country there may even be stricter weight limitations (perhaps a 33 lbs. limit instead of 50 lbs.). You will receive detailed information in your final documents.

What clothing do you suggest I bring for my tour?

Our tours are designed with casual comfort in mind. Men will seldom if ever need a jacket and tie, and women will seldom if ever have to dress up – with the exception of formal nights on a cruise when dining in the formal dining room. Luggage restrictions will govern what you pack so remember to only take what you need. It is helpful to bring clothes that wash and dry easily as hotel laundry services can be very expensive.

When will I receive my final documents?

Generally speaking you will receive your tour documents 2 to 3 weeks prior to departure, unless we are held up by a supplier providing documentation, in which case you may not receive them until closer to departure.

What kind of currency should I bring on my tour?

With the exception of Cuba we recommend that you bring US cash. Make sure that the bills are in good condition and they are not marked, because in places like Asia and the Middle East they do not accept torn bills. ATM or automated Teller Machines are accessible pretty much worldwide, however, we suggest that you contact your financial institution and verify the compatibility of your card.
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