What is needed for BVI to begin a proposal for a Tailor-made Vacation and how long does it take to receive the proposal?
In order to start the trip planning process, we require a €250 itinerary planning fee. When hiring us to create your Italian vacation, you are hiring professional services. As every vacation we create is 100% customized and very detailed, it takes a good amount of time and work to consult with you, research and develop your trip itinerary/proposal. Should you decide to take our itinerary/proposal and secure the various elements of your trip on your own or with another agency/trip planning company after receiving it, this fee will serve as payment for services rendered. But we also feel confident that you will be more than pleased with the end result! Keep in mind that while the itinerary planning fee is non-refundable, it is 100% is applied toward the cost of your arrangements.
What if we want to make changes to a Tailor-made vacation proposal?
We can add, delete and revise until the trip itinerary/proposal is just right for you and your travel companions.
How to reserve with Bella Vita Italia?
For Tailor-made Vacations: Once you are satisfied with the itinerary/trip proposal, you will need to complete and sign a booking form and send it along with a deposit (minus the itinerary planning fee). Note that the various travel elements detailed in your proposal cannot be confirmed until the booking form and deposit are received by BVI.
For Hosted tours: We will need to know your travel dates and the number of travelers in order to confirm availability. Then a booking form and deposit will be required in order to secure your hosted tour.
For Day Excursions: We require a completed and signed booking form along with full payment in order to secure your excursion(s).
For Rentals: In most cases, a 30% deposit and completed/signed booking form will be due wihtin 72 hours of requesting a specific property.
Is airfare included in BVI’s vacations?
We do not handle international airfare, but in a few instances we will include flights within Italy. We can advise you on where to find competitive pricing for flights or even refer you to our preferred travel agent in the states.
What forms of payment does BVI accept?
We accept payment in USD via check, wire transfer, major credit cards (Visa, Mastercard and American Express) and Pay Pal. Payments by credit card or Pay Pal are subject to a 3.5% processing fee.
What is your cancellation policy?
Each of our services have different cancellation policies which are explained in the complete terms & conditions for the particular services which you will receive in our initial correspondence.
Should I purchase travel insurance?
Absolutely! We strongly encourage you to buy travel insurance at the time of booking in the event you must cancel and forfeit funds or in the unfortunate case of injury or loss. Suggested search engine for finding the insurance company for you: www.squaremouth.com. We also recommend checking with your credit card company as usually they have some travel coverage.
What type of accommodations are used/recommended by BVI?
We work the what we consider some of the very best lodging experiences in Italy. Whether it be a charming, small B&B or a luxury 5-star resort, we have carefully chosen our accommodations partners based on our stringent requisites of quality, location, service and possessing something a little extra special.
When is the best time of year to visit Italy?
We personally feel May, beginning of June and September are the best times to visit. Late June, July and August tend to be hot and crowded. April and October are, for the most part, pleasant for sightseeing but not necessarily beach or island resorts.
How should I pack for my trip?
Much will depend on the time of year and where you will be going. Upon booking a vacation with BVI, we will provide you with a “welcome guide” customized to your trip and the time of year you will be traveling which should give you good direction regarding clothing, packing, and much more.
If I reserve a Tailor-made Vacation, what kind of information will receive before our trip?
Approximately 30 days prior to your departure date, you will receive your Bella Vita Italia Travel Packet (via priority mail) consisting of your detailed day-to-day itinerary, our list of recommended restaurants and suggested “on your own” excursions in each of your destinations plus a our “Helpful Hints Guide” for Italy and your specific destinations plus detailed information and contacts for your accommodations, tours, excursions and transportation. Note, you would receive a similar packet for a Hosted Tour.
Can I drive in Italy with my US driver’s license?
It is now required that you must have an International Driving Permit (IDP) in order to drive in Italy. You can obtain an IDP at your local AAA or online at http://www.aaa.com/vacation/idpc.html.
How should I plan to pay for personal items when I am in Italy?
The best exchange rate will always be with your credit card but as of 2010, all cards (Visa, MC, Amex, etc.) are charging on average a 3% foreign transaction fee. Many places do not accept AMEX as their bank charge is higher than Visa or MC. Using your ATM card is second best. Note, you will have fees (usually 1-3%).
IMPORTANT: Be sure to contact your individual credit card companies to let them know you will be using your credit card in Europe. If you don’t do so, due to increased security measures, they might put a fraud stop and block charges on your credit card.
If you prefer to use traveler’s checks, I would get them in Euros not dollars as you can be “double charge” for the a higher exchange rate here in Italy. American Express tends to have the best rates both in the states and Italy. There are Amex offices in Venice, Florence and Rome.
Is the electricity voltage different in Italy and do I need a converter or adapter?
Electricity in Italy is supplied at 220 volts AC at a frequency of 50 Hz. You will need an Italian adapter which are easily found in most travel stores and even hardware stores in the states.
Will I be able to use my personal computer during my trip and what kind of internet service will be provided?
You can certainly use your computer during your travels, but you will need an adapter to for plug (see above). Most of accommodations will have either a a LAN or ADSL line (where you will have to unplug the telephone and plug in your computer) or wireless internet access. In the rare occasions that you may not be able to access the internet via your own computer, most hotels will have PC’s with internet access.
Should I bring my cell phone with me?
We highly recommend either bringing your stateside cell phone with you (which will need to be tri-band or more and compatible overseas) OR rent an international cell phone from CellularAbroad
. It’s just a little extra “comfort” should you have any mishaps or have questions during your travels.