Things to know, before you go
Your travel documents include
your tour itinerary, hotel information, nametags, luggage tags, flight schedule(s)
and airline tickets when applicable.
Passport & Visas;
It is the responsibility of
each passenger to obtain the necessary documents for travel including Passports
& Visas. U.S. citizens; A VALID passport is required and must
be valid 6 months AFTER the date of departure. At various points in the airport, your photo ID will
be verified. We recommend that you keep your documents in a safe and accessible place along
with your airline ticket(s).
You will be issued a boarding
pass when you check-in at the airport. Unfortunately, BellaVista Tours does not
have control over seat assignments. If you made any special requests to us,
they have been communicated to the airline, however, the airline controls all
seat assignments/changes. Each airline has different policies for advance
seating assignments and in most cases, are only available at the airport,
on the day of departure and is based on the airline’s ticketing and seat
The hotels used within our
tours are selected for quality, comfort and location. Names and telephone
numbers of the hotels are listed with your documents. We forward all requests,
including non-smoking rooms, to the hotels, although requests can not be
guaranteed. There may be a delay in gaining access to your room due to check-in
time usually starting at 3:00 pm, local time, along with the early arrival of some other
flights. Most hotels require a credit card for telephone charges and
incidentals upon check-in. In addition, due to the recent establishment of
occupancy tax in various cities/towns throughout Europe, all guests,
irrespective of when booked, will be required to pay this tax directly to the
hotel, in cash, before the end of your stay. This occupancy tax varies
from €1-7 per night based on the hotel classification and location.
Motor Coach Seating & Driving Laws;
In order to have all passengers
share in the advantage of various seating locations on the motor coach, seats
will be rotated daily in accordance to the announced plan made by your Tour
Director. The choice of seating at the beginning of a tour is on a
first-come, first-served basis. Drivers are regulated to 9 hours of driving
maximum time. 9 hours driving and 10 hours at disposal which means if driver starts working
at 9 am, he is required, by law, to stop the motor coach at 6 pm and rest
for 12 hours before being able to start driving again.
In accordance with the laws
and in the interest of the health and comfort of all our passengers, there is
no smoking on motor coaches. A typical day will allow time for rest and lunch
stops which give those who smoke the opportunity to do so. Your Tour Director
will advise you of the rest stops along the way.
Each passenger is limited to
1 checked bag and 1 carry-on bag on a tour. Carry-on luggage must be kept
with you on the motor coach and luggage size is regulated by the airlines.
How much money should you
bring? Consider the cost of meals that are not included in the tour,
personal souvenirs, tips and essentials. We suggest
that you let your bank know of your travel plans before leaving and ask a few
questions such as; (1) Do they impose a limit on daily cash withdrawals through
the ATM. (2) Do they impose a currency fee on transactions and how
much. (3) Do they have “Sister” banks in the area’s you will be visiting.
The currency in Italy is the Euro and exchanges can be made at airports, hotels
Suggested Gratuities & Tips;
Your tour includes all
necessary tips for hotel and restaurant staff for meals included in your tour
and all related taxes unless otherwise mentioned. Gratuities for your motor
coach Driver, Tour Director and any Local Guides are not included in the
tour price. We suggest €4-5 per person, per day for the Tour
Leader, € 2-3 per person/per day for the motor coach Driver, €1-2
per person/per day for any local Tour Guide. The gratuity amount should always
reflect the service provided.
Bank Hours/Shopping Hours;
Bank hours usually are; 8:30am
to 1:30pm Monday through Friday, many re-open in the afternoon. Shopping hours
usually are 8:30am to 1:00pm and re-open again from 4:00pm to 8:00pm. Shops are closed Monday mornings and also,
from mid-June to mid-September on Saturday afternoons.
Leather shoes, belts, gloves,
silk scarves, ties, jewelry, Florentine tooled leather, Venetian glass,
Venetian lace and art books.
Climate and Clothing;
The tourist season has become
an all-year-round affair in Italy for the touring and good weather sports such
as golf, swimming, etc. April to late October and early November is best.
Of course, December to March is the ideal time for winter sports. In spring,
summer, and autumn for women, lightweight clothes like cotton are usually
best. A light sweater will be useful on the occasional cool evening. Low-heeled
shoes or sneakers are best and are suggested for sightseeing. A cocktail dress
or short evening dress might be useful for dinner times at restaurants. For men
lightweight suits, a light topcoat or sport jacket and/or light slacks will be
useful. Heavy clothes are recommended for all the winter. When visiting
churches, shorts, sleeveless shirts, short dresses/skirts are prohibited. It is
respectful to wear hats or scarves on the head too. You will be turned away
from any church that feels you are not dressed appropriately. If it is very hot
out, you may want to bring along the appropriate clothes to cover up
before visiting the church. In September, Rome averages approximately 75-80
degrees, whereas Sicily averages 75-90 degrees. From Rome south, September is
still summer weather.
Food and Drink;
Italian cuisine is not only
pasta, each of the 20 regions of the country has its own distinctive cuisine,
for example in Rome “Abbacchio” is Roast Lamb, in Florence “Bistecca
alla Fiorentina” is Steak Florentine and “Porcini” is Mushrooms.
Wine is usually served with
the meal accompanied by mineral water. Tap water is safe to drink
although it is not always tasty. We recommend you to buy bottled mineral
water. "Aqua Non Potabile" means “The water is not safe to
Most main post offices open
around 8:30am and may remain open as long as 9:00pm in Rome, 2:00pm in Florence and
7:00pm in Venice. However, stamps are also sold at tobacconist and some hotel
International telephones are
situated at post offices and railway stations. Hotels will get a number for
you, but be prepared to pay more. Phone cards are available in most newsagents
but you must remember to break the corner off the card before use.
USA Embassies and Consulates;
with lost or stolen passports must go in
person to apply for a same-day emergency passport at one of the following
Consulates General in Italy: Rome, Milan, Florence or Naples.
Consular Agencies in Genoa, Palermo, and Venice are unable to accept or process
emergency passport requests.
Via Vittorio Veneto, 119a, 00187
Telephone: 39 06 46741
It is considered courteous to
shake hands warmly on both arriving and leaving. "Ciao" is a word
you will hear everywhere, and can be used to say hello or goodbye. Speaking a
few words of Italian is always appreciated by the locals. Since family is a
very important institution within Italy, Italians eat their main meal in the
afternoon around 1:00pm.
Good Traveler Code;
Travel is unpredictable by
nature. Though we work hard to anticipate any unwelcome surprises, that is not
always possible due to the sheer number of variables involved in group
travel. An understanding of this as well as a good-natured attitude and a
sense of humor will make for an enjoyable experience for all.
Rome 12 Noon
New York 6:00 p.m.
Chicago 5:00 p.m.
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