Frequently Asked Questions
When will it be safe to travel again?
Even the experts don’t know the answer to that. At this time all we can do is listen to the public health and other officials for guidance. They are closely monitoring the data in terms of number of infections, number of recoveries, and, sadly, the number of deaths. Stay up to date with the latest travel advisories affecting each European Union member state & the United Kingdom.
Where do you suggest I travel once things get back to normal?
Many small businesses, such as independent hotels, tour guiding companies and restaurants in Italy, Spain and other hard-hit areas in Europe suffered enormously from the recent shutdowns, so if you would like to help them recover, we’d be glad to plan your next vacation with that in mind. We believe that you should be able to enjoy bucket-list destinations whether this is your first time to Europe, or you are revisiting places dear to your heart. We also think that discovering remote regions that are not yet on your tourist radar can bring unique experiences to your trip, giving you the chance to get more involved in the daily activities of the locals. We will tailor the packages to your interests, but some places that you may want to consider in this regard are Italy’s Adriatic Coast, South-West of France, Brittany, Alentejo, Istria, Transylvania.
How do I travel safely from now on?
One of the takeaways from the COVID-19 pandemic is that the human body is constantly exposed to viruses and bacteria, and outbreaks like this can happen again. This doesn’t mean that we will have to stay at home from now on, but when traveling does resume we should not forget the advice of the experts regarding personal hygiene (especially hand washing), keeping a safe distance from sick people and avoiding crowded places in general. To help with that, BellaTerra will continue to offer private and small group tours where interaction with other travelers is minimal.
What do I do if I get sick on the trip?
The first thing to do, even before you depart on your trip, is check with your health insurer what care options are available for you in the area(s) you will be visiting. Prepare a list of preferred hospitals. As an added precaution, purchase a type of travel insurance that includes emergency medical coverage. In case the unexpected happens on the trip, we recommend that you contact a doctor immediately. Your hotel staff will be able to direct you to your preferred or nearest hospital and even arrange a ride for you. Keep all your receipts for medical expenses and keep us in the loop.
Do I need to pay a deposit to have my trip confirmed?
Yes, in order to confirm your trip we require a booking deposit, which is 35% of the total trip amount. To reserve your trip we pay the necessary deposits to our travel partners and purchase entrance fees and other tickets in advance to ensure you have the best experience and your trip goes smoothly.
Do I have to prepay my trip?
Yes, we also prepay in full all of our travel partners, therefore we ask that the trip balance is paid 60 days before the travel date.
Are trips less expensive in the aftermath of the pandemic?
At this time we don’t know. There are a number of factors that will go into this. We anticipate that some providers will offer attractive rates to rebuild their business. On the other hand, some low-cost providers may have gone out of business. BellaTerra will work with you to determine the most attractive pricing for you.
Can you get me refundable/exchangeable train tickets and airfare?
Yes, we are committed to buying flexible fare train tickets and airfare. Although a bit more expensive, flexible fare tickets allow us to make changes free of charge or for a small fee in case you need to postpone your trip; or to get a refund (sometimes in the form of a travel voucher) in case of cancellation.
Can I get flight deals if I buy my airline tickets now?
As always, we monitor rates and let our clients know about trends we notice. Since the COVID-19 outbreak most low-cost carriers grounded all their flights and major airlines are operating with a reduced schedule. Airfare seems to be more affordable for travel in 2020, but 2021 rates are more in line with normal times. Generally speaking, flight deals come with a lot of restrictions, such as limited travel window, strict cancellation and change terms and restricted luggage allowance. For these reasons we recommend caution and reading all the terms and conditions when buying airfare at a discounted rate.
I can no longer travel as planned. Do I need to cancel my trip?
Not necessarily. You can simply postpone the trip. We do not charge a fee for moving the trip into the future, although the cost of the package may have to be adjusted to account for rate changes.
Can I cancel my trip for any reason?
Technically yes, but it is unlikely that you’ll get a full refund. At BellaTerra we understand that things can come up and you may not be able to travel, therefore our cancellation policy is such that if you cancel more than 60 days from the trip departure date we can refund 75% of the total trip price less any unpaid balance. 30 to 60 days prior to trip the refund amount is 50% of total trip price. After that the trip is non-refundable. If you would like to have the flexibility to cancel the trip for any reason and at any time, we recommend purchasing ‘Cancel for Any Reason’ trip insurance. This will allow you to cancel up to 48 hours before the trip and get back up to 75% of the trip cost.
Can I cancel my trip last-minute?
If you need to cancel a trip it’s best to do it earlier rather than last-minute, unless you are dealing with an unexpected emergency. In any case, we ask you to notify us immediately. Some travel insurers may have a 48-hour cancellation clause, please know the terms and conditions of your policy.
Can I get a full refund if I cancel my trip?
It depends when you cancel and what type of trip insurance you have. BellaTerra will refund 75% of your trip cost if you cancel more than 60 days before the trip. You can claim any non-refundable balance through travel insurance, we will even provide a letter to support your claim.
I have to cancel my trip. What do I do? Whom do I contact first?
Contact us immediately, the earlier we know the better. At the same time call your insurance company and file a claim. If you made arrangements for your trip that are not included in the BellaTerra trip package (i.e. international flights, tickets or tours booked separately) contact each vendor and find out what your options are. You may be entitled for a refund or travel credit.
What can travel insurance get me?
Peace of mine in the first place. A typical travel insurance will cover the unexpected, such as lost or delayed luggage, travel delays, change fees, medical emergencies and trip cancellation due to injuries, unforeseen medical conditions, loss of job, legal proceedings. Consumer’s Advocate put together a list of trusted travel insurance companies and their plans, learn more about it here.
Is there more than one type of trip insurance?
Yes, travel insurance companies usually offer a basic, standard and premium plan, although the names may differ from one insurer to the other. Depending on your circumstances you can opt for the plan that suits you the best, but in any case make sure you familiarize yourself with the policy before you buy the trip insurance. BellaTerra can provide you with the terms of each plan upon request.
When should I buy the trip insurance?
As soon as you’ve paid the trip booking deposit. In order to cover any pre-existing medical conditions, the insurance must be purchased within 14 days of paying the trip deposit.