California Coastline

FAQ

 

Find answers to some common questions about our tours.

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.

Can the prices 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 book or make my reservation?

We recommend that you book as early as possible to confirm your place on the tour as some tours sell out very quickly. Once a departure is sold out, we can place you on a waitlist in case of cancellation.

How do I book a tour and make a reservation?

Call us at 1-800-268-3492. Once you make your reservation, we will require a deposit of $300 per person for regular tours (or $700 per person for any tour which includes a cruise portion) within 7 days. You can pay by credit card or cheque. Once we have received your deposit, we will send you an invoice that shows your remaining balance and due date, along with some general information about your tour.

What if I have to cancel my tour booking?

Please refer to the Special Cancellation Policy for 2022 on our website for details.

What happens if SDT 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 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,. We 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 is not related to any other services such as meals, attractions, or transportation. The cost of the single supplement varies as indicated for each tour, with cruise supplements commonly much higher than land tours. It does not grant single passengers the right to occupy two seats on the coach bus while touring. Note, in many countries outside of North America, standard single rooms are smaller than twin/double rooms.

Can you accommodate special diets?

We can request a special meal for the flight portion of your tour (if a meal is included on that flight). Cruise lines can accommodate a great variety of special diets. For land tours, hotels and restaurants will be advised of any special dietary requests in advance, and will do their best to accommodate any requests; however, we cannot guarantee special meals based on religion, allergies, general dislikes, or lifestyle choices on a group tour.

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 airline. If for any reason you have forgotten to register with the airline, you can sign in to your loyalty travel program on your return and register your booking reference number and flight details to be awarded your points.

What is the role of the Tour Manager during 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 all 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 date to Canada. In addition, some countries require that visitors obtain a Visa. Our travel consultants will advise you of any Visa requirements and provide you with the necessary forms to complete the process. Visa fees are included in the cost of our tours where required.

Do I need a vaccine to travel abroad?

In order to create a safe group environment on our tours and to ensure peace of mind for all our guests, we require that all our travellers be fully vaccinated for Covid-19. If there are any other 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 are welcome to arrange your own flights for any of our tours in which case the cost of the group air will be deducted from the price of your tour. If you are using points, you will need to contact your loyalty travel program to book your flights with them directly. When doing your own air, you may wish to book the same flights as the group so you can take advantage of our transfers to and from the airport, otherwise, you will be responsible to make your own way to the first hotel or the pier in the case of a cruise. 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 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 the tour is cancelled for any reason.

Can I upgrade my flight to Business Class?

You can request a Business Class upgrade and we will provide you with a quote. Note some carriers do not permit upgrades according to our group air contract, in which case you may opt to arrange your own air.

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 do 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 are designed for people who are physically fit and capable of walking fairly long distances at a reasonable pace. We suggest that those who are unable to walk at a reasonable pace for 4-5 city blocks or climb stairs easily, consider the cruising or one of our "stay-put" tours as an alternative option. If in doubt, please discuss any concerns with one of our experienced 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 and capable of walking fairly long distances at a reasonable pace. 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?

Typically, you will receive your tour documents 2 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?

Currency will depend on your destination. 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.

Does Senior Discovery Tours offer a rewards loyalty program?

Yes, our NEW Discovery Rewards program offers immediate rewards when you enroll, and the more you travel, the easier it is to receive more valuable gifts along with savings on all our popular tours. Enrollment is free and will be available on our website shortly.

Our Discovery Rewards Program is going to give current clients a head-start into the program.

A CURRENT CLIENT is anyone who has taken any number of tours with us since January 1st, 2017.

A NEW CLIENT is anyone who has never travelled with us (or) who has NOT travelled with us since January 1st, 2017. (This is only for the crediting of STATUS in our Discovery Rewards Program when they enroll).

Do I need to have a COVID-19 vaccine in order to join a tour?

Yes, vaccination against COVID-19 will be required to participate in any Senior Discovery Tours and proof of such to be submitted to our office in at least 14 days prior to departure. Failure to do so will result in your cancellation and you will be subject to the schedule of cancellation fees listed in our Terms & Conditions.

Will everyone on the tour be vaccinated against COVID-19?

Yes, everyone who joins the tour must provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination.

How many passengers will be on the tour?

Group size is determined by the tour destination, for example, our more exotic tours or walking tours are limited in group size due to the nature of the tour or size of available coaches at the destinations. At this time, there are no group size restrictions due to health recommendations and the tour size can be up to 45 passengers.

Do you think tours will go?

The tour will proceed as long as there are no restrictions to prevent the tour from proceeding. We will continue to monitor each destination to determine if it is safe and appropriate to proceed. We do need a minimum number of participants to proceed with a tour, which varies depending on the tour. If for any reason we have to cancel a tour, you will receive an immediate and full refund.

What happens if the tour is cancelled at any time?

All clients will be immediately advised and refunded in full.

What if I decide to cancel the tour?

Please refer to our website Special Cancellation Policy for 2022 and our Terms and Conditions.

What safety protocols will be implemented during the tour?

We will follow all health and safety protocols as recommended by authorities.

Please refer to our Enhanced Health & Safety highlights on our website.

Do I have to wear a mask during the tour?

Likely, but again, we will follow all the recommendations of health authorities at the destination and necessary requirements of airlines, hotels, attractions visited during the tour.

What happens if I get Covid on the tour, even with the vaccine?

It will be treated as any other “emergency illness” under the "Trip Interruption Coverage". We will follow the protocols of local health authorities on how to proceed. We will need to follow the current guidelines of each provincial local health authority.

Please contact us at 1-800-268-3492 for details.

How do I join the Discovery Rewards program?

All the details will be posted on our website under the REWARDS tab shortly. We will also be emailing and mailing the information when we officially launch the program.

Does Senior Discovery Tours have any travel branded products for sale?

We do not currently offer branded merchandise, but you can earn wonderful travel luggage tags & bags, hats, jackets and other gifts by enrolling in our NEW Discovery Rewards program. It’s quick, valuable, and you can level up quickly when travelling with us.

Besides Discovery Rewards, does Senior Discovery Tours offer any other programs?

Yes, it’s always rewarding to travel with SDT. Along with our Discovery Rewards program, we offer Blue Sky Referrals that reward both you and your friends and family if you refer someone and they travel with us. To participate in the Blue Sky Referrals, you must first register for our free NEW Discover Rewards program.

There is also a program called Insider Club Benefits, designed to offer rewards to clubs and organizations.

When do I upgrade from one Discovery Rewards tier to another?

After you take your next tour with Senior Discovery Tours, our system will credit your profile and automatically upgrade your tier status if you are at a threshold to move up (existing SDT customers have all of their trips taken with Senior Discovery Tours in the past 3 calendar years - since January 1st, 2017 - credited to their Discovery Rewards Status).

Each tour you take with Senior Discovery Tours counts as 1 trip in our Discovery Rewards program. So, if you have taken 4 trips with us in past three years (you’d be a Gold Rewards member), and when you complete your 5th trip, you’ll be upgraded to Platinum member status and receive the rewards/gifts for that tier level.


TIER LEVEL

NUMBER OF TRIPS REQUIRED

Blue

0 to 1

Silver

2

Gold

3 to 4

Platinum

5 to 9

Diamond

10+

I’ve registered for Discovery Rewards. Now what?

Congratulations and welcome to our Discovery Rewards program. We’re currently launching this exciting program and working out the behind-the-scenes details, so we will be mailing you your relevant welcome package based on the tier level you qualify for shortly.

When will I receive my Discovery Rewards gifts?

You qualify for your gift level the moment you take your first trip and when you are eligible for upgraded status (taking additional SDT trips) throughout the program.

What do I get with each tier as a NEW CLIENT Discovery Rewards Member?

Upon enrollment online, every NEW Discovery Rewards client (‘New’ is anyone who has NOT travelled with us since January 2017) will receive a welcome package along with a SDT blue coloured luggage tag.

BLUE members receive a welcome package and a blue-coloured luggage tag.

When you complete your 2nd trip with us, you will become a SILVER member. Silver members receive a silver-coloured luggage tag and a (one-time per tier level) SDT branded gift after your return from your trip.

  • Only one branded SDT gift will be given per tier level.

When you complete your 3rd trip with us, you will become a GOLD level member. Gold members receive gold-coloured luggage tag and a one-time savings of 5%, which will be applied to a future booked SDT trip (there is no expiry to the % savings) and a (one-time per tier level) SDT branded gift.

When you complete your 4th trip with us, you don’t receive any reward/gift because you have already received the reward/gift for that tier level when you completed your 3rd trip with us. You must level up to the next tier level to earn your next reward/gift.

When you complete your 5th trip with us, you will become a PLATINUM level member. Platinum members receive a platinum-coloured luggage tag and a one-time 10% savings, which will be applied to your future booked SDT trip (there is no expiry to the % savings) and a (one-time per tier level) SDT branded gift.

When you complete your 10th trip with us, you will become a DIAMOND level member. Diamond level members receive a diamond-coloured luggage tag and a one-time 10% savings, which will be applied to your future booked SDT trip (there is no expiry to the % savings) and a (one-time per tier level) SDT branded gift.


NOTE:

Members who reach Diamond Status may join the SDT Trailblazer’s advisory group. This is an exclusive advisory group that our President operates. Clients who have completed 11+ trips with SDT will still be considered a DIAMOND member; however, they will also be awarded an additional one-time-only 10% savings when they complete their 15th, 20th and 25th SDT trips. There is no expiry to the % savings.

When do I upgrade from one Discovery Rewards tier to another?

After you take your next tour with Senior Discovery Tours, our system will credit your profile and automatically upgrade your tier status if you are at a threshold to move up. (Past SDT customers have all of their trips taken with Senior Discovery Tours in the past 3 calendar years (since January 1. 2017) credited to your Discovery Rewards status.

Are my past trips counted towards my Discovery Rewards status?

Yes, when we decided to launch our new, free Discovery Rewards loyalty program, we wanted to make sure our current customers are credited with trips taken in the past 3 calendar years, since January 2017. This is why, when you enroll with us, make sure to use the same email you used when you booked your trips. The more you travel, the greater your rewards. The new Discovery Rewards program is exciting and more generous program than we had previously.

When do I qualify for my Discovery Rewards gift?

Upon enrollment in the Discovery Rewards program, all clients will receive a “Welcome to Discovery Rewards” package along with an SDT branded luggage tag that notes their coloured tier level at the moment of enrollment. They do not receive any tier rewards until they have booked and completed their next trip!

If you are new to Senior Discovery Tours and have never travelled with us (or) have travelled with us once in the past 3 years, you qualify for BLUE status and receive blue coloured luggage tags in a welcome package immediately. When you have returned from your trip with Senior Discovery Tours, your account is credited. If you have attained a threshold (tier upgrade) level, we will notify you by email and mail you your new coloured luggage tags and Discovery Rewards tier level package.

Why haven’t I received my Discovery Rewards upgrades yet?

Upon enrollment in Discovery Rewards program, all clients will receive a “Welcome to Discovery Rewards” package along with an SDT branded luggage tag that notes their coloured tier level at the moment of enrollment. They do not receive any tier rewards until they have booked and completed their next trip. We will be officially launching the new and exciting program shortly. Full details will be posted on our website shortly under the REWARDS tab shortly.

What do I get with each tier as a CURRENT CLIENT Discovery Rewards Member?

Senior Discovery Tours Appreciates Loyal Clients

So, anyone who has taken any number of tours with us since January 1, 2017 will be AUTOMATICALLY given the Discovery Rewards STATUS they would receive if they had started from the beginning (Blue) and upgraded with each trip. This means that that current clients START at their respective/earned level.

TIER LEVEL

NUMBER OF TRIPS REQUIRED

Blue

0 to 1

Silver

2

Gold

3 to 4

Platinum

5 to 9

Diamond

10+


CURRENT CLIENTS MUST BOOK AND COMPLETE A TRIP TO BE UPGRADED AND BE REWARDED/GIFTED FOR MOVING UP TIERS.

This applies to ALL CURRENT CLIENTS who will be GIVEN IMMEDIATE STATUS (earned for taking any number of tours with us since January 1, 2017).

When CURRENT CLIENTS enroll for Discovery Rewards and are automatically classified as a GOLD member status (or above), they only receive 1 (ONE-TIME) % savings discount for that tier level when they book and complete their next trip. They do NOT get another % off each time they book and complete another trip in the same tier level.

What is the Senior Discovery Trailblazers program?

When you reach Diamond Status in our Discovery Rewards program, you can join the President’s Trailblazer’s advisory group. This is an exclusive club and operated by our President.

What is Blue Sky Referrals?

Blue Sky Referrals is our program that rewards you for referring family and friends to us.

HOW IT WORKS

You have to enroll in our Discovery Rewards Program to participate in Blue Sky Referrals.

You just have to share 5 email addresses of people you want to refer to us. We then ask your referrals for permission to email them about our fantastic tours and mail a copy of our latest brochure.

After the 5 referrals have opted in to our email program, you’re eligible to receive a one-time $100 gift certificate for every one of your referrals that complete a trip with us. This is a one-time reward per referral. The referee (the person being referred) will also receive a one-time SDT branded gift upon the return of their SDT trip.

Full details will be available on our website shortly.

Can I refer anyone to the Blue Sky Referral program?

You can refer anyone you like, as long as they are not part of your household (spouse/partner).

Participation in the BlueSky Referral program requires that you have taken at least 1 trip with Senior Discovery Tours and a member of our Discovery Rewards program.

I’ve registered for Blue Sky Referrals. Now what?

Thank you for your confidence in SDT and being a valued customer who recommends us to your family and friends.

You should have received a welcome email outlining the program and how it works, along with your status as a BlueSky Referral member.

If you didn’t receive your welcome email, please check your spam folder as some mail systems screen for various companies' emails. If you still can’t see our welcome email, contact us at email [email protected] or contact us at 1-800-268-3492.

What is the Insider Club Benefits program?

Senior Discovery Tours Insider Club Benefits is a loyalty program designed specifically to reward clubs/associations for travelling with us. The program consists of a 4% commission paid to your club for all tour bookings made by your club/association members.

Below is an overview of our Club/Associations Program:

To qualify, clubs/associations must register with their local Senior Discovery Tours office and have a virtual presentation or future in-person presentation made to your club/association members.

A commission of 4% will be paid directly to the club/association. The commission is not paid to individual club/association members. There is no minimum number of bookings required to receive the commission

Commission requests must be submitted no later than December 31st of the same calendar year in which the travel was completed.

Commission requests must include the traveller’s names and the applicable tour destination and date of travel

Travelling companions of club/association members do not qualify for the Rewards program.

Clubs/Associations may be required to provide a list of club/association members at the beginning of every calendar year

How do I enroll my Club/Organization with the Insider Club Benefits?

Please call your local SDT office or 1-800-268-3492, and our customer service representative will be happy to help set this up for you.