020 8234 1532Mon - Fri: 8.30 - 17.30, Sat: 8.30 - 16.30


Want to know more before you book?

With our selection of frequently asked questions, we've tried to answer most of the issues that may arise with regards to booking your escorted tour, but if you cannot find the solution you're looking for here, then you can e-mail us with your question instead.

1: How do I book an escorted tour?
2: Will my money be safe?
3: What happens once I've booked?
4: When do I pay the balance?
5: Do I need travel insurance?
6: Do you sell any last minute escorted tours?
7: What if I have a special requirement?
8: What if I have a complaint?
9: Can I amend my booking later?
10: Are all of the holidays shown available?
11: Is my operator a reputable company?
12: Where are the operators booking conditions?
13: Will my booking be influenced by your sales team?
14: If I phone, will there be lots of numbers to press?

How do I book an escorted tour?

To book your escorted tour, simply follow these step by step instructions.

Step one - Your search options
Choose your preferred destination, departure month and operator. The departure date is mandatory but we recommend that you select at least one of the other two options as this will give you a better chance of finding the tours that are of interest to you.

Once you're happy with your choices, click search to continue to the next step.

Step two - Browse and book
You should now have a selection of results to choose from; however there may be times when no results can be found. This is because we are constantly updating our database and some tours may have been removed due to cancellations or similar circumstances.

Once you have found a holiday, click on the 'View Itinerary' link or select an alternative departure date from the dropdown menu to view a detailed itinerary, hotel information, links to the operator's information and a link to the booking request form.

If you are happy that this is the holiday for you, click on the 'Request This Holiday' button and a window will appear containing our booking request form.

Booking Request Form

We require that you specify the number of passengers that wish to travel and the number of rooms and room types required for these passengers, along with your full name, your town or city, your daytime telephone number and your e-mail address.

Once you have completed the form, click the 'Send This Request' button and your details will be sent to our reservations team who will then contact you within the next 24 hours to complete your transaction.

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Will my money be safe?

Yes, we are proud members of ABTA and are therefore financially secure as all of its members have to lodge bonds with them, giving you peace of mind.

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What happens once I've booked?

Upon receiving your booking request either by telephone or by our booking request form, our reservations team will check to make sure that every aspect of the holiday is available, including your local joining point. If your holiday isn't available, there are many other options to choose from or alternative dates for example.

A member of the team will then call or e-mail you to proceed with your booking and you will be expected to pay a deposit or the full amount if the booking is made close to the departure date. We accept payment by VISA and Mastercard. There is no charge for these methods of payment. Payments by cash can only be made in person at our travel shop in Croydon. Payments by cheque can only be made for those companies that are prepared to reserve the accommodation pending our receipt of your cheque.

When the reservation has been made, we will send you our receipt showing details of your booking and within 7 to 10 days later, you will receive a confirmation issued by the holiday operator confirming all the details of your reservation. You must check this confirmation carefully upon receipt as this forms the basis of your contract with the operator.

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When do I pay the balance?

Generally 8 weeks before departure or 4 weeks for short breaks. The date the balance is due by will usually be shown on the operator's confirmation and can also be found in the operator's booking conditions. If the balance is not paid by the due date, the booking is likely to be cancelled.

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Do I need travel insurance?

We strongly recommend that you take out travel insurance. If however you do not take out insurance or have made your own arrangements, this will be noted on your receipt.

If you do take out travel insurance, please be aware that it is most important that you declare any existing medical conditions because if you were to cancel or be taken ill on holiday and the insurer found that this was due to an illness that existed when you took out the insurance but never declared, the claim will be refused. There are also age limits but our reservations team will ask you about these matters at the time of booking.

If you already have insurance cover, please let us have the details as many operators require this information, especially for overseas holidays.

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Do you sell any last minute escorted tours?

Yes. These can be found on our special offers page.

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What if I have a special requirement?

If the operator offers rooms with a sea view at an extra charge, this becomes part of the contract as long as your confirmation states that this has been booked.

If however, you want for example: a bedroom on the ground floor or a special diet, there are two alternatives. You can accept that the request will be noted and passed to the hotel concerned but is NOT guaranteed or in most cases, you can apply in writing to the operator concerned giving full details of your requirements and the reasons for them. The operator will in turn contact the hotel and advise you in due course whether they can meet your request or not.

Disabled passengers can usually take a wheelchair but such a requirement must be notified to the operator at the time of booking. Normally, such requirements can be met but if a client is severely disabled, there must be someone accompanying them to assist them at all times.

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What if I have a complaint?

If it is about our service then you can contact us by telephone, in writing or by e-mailing and we will reply in due course. If it concerns a tour operator, you must put your complaint in writing and send it to us or direct to the operator concerned. Operators contact details can be found in their respective profile pages.

You should of course if possible, have reported the problem to the operator's representative or to the hotel manager at the time of your stay. Telephone complaints are not acceptable as it is essential that the facts are clearly stated in writing so that the operator concerned can justify any actions they may wish to take. If a complaint should lead to disciplinary action against a member of staff for example, it is essential that there is documentary evidence to justify the action.

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Can I amend my booking later?

If you want to change the departure date of your holiday, some operators will consider this to be a cancellation and you will lose your deposit or even more if it's close to the departure date.

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Are all of the holidays shown available?

We will have to answer "No". It is not in our interest or that of our customers to offer holidays that are not available but it is a matter of having both the necessary hotel accommodation and seats on the coach. It is possible therefore that there are seats on the coach and rooms with double beds but no single rooms or twin bedded rooms available.

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Is my tour operator a reputable company?

It is not in our interest to use unreliable companies as we would only cause problems for ourselves. All the companies we use have been trading for a number of years and are fully bonded so in the unlikely event that they should cease operating, you can rest assured that your money is protected. The fact that we do not show the programmes for some operators does not indicate that the company is unreliable, it could be that we are not appointed agents for them or feel that as they specialise in a certain locality, there would be insufficient demand to justify their inclusion.

All of the holidays offered are of a reasonable standard but obviously, prices vary and as a rough guide, you only get what you pay for. Some operators compete on price, others on quality, but we hope we have given sufficient details of the companies and their itineraries for you to make an informed choice. If you travel on a 36 seat coach with increased leg room or stay at four star hotels, it will obviously cost more than travelling on a 48 seat coach and staying at 2 or 3 star hotels. The final choice has to be yours!

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Where are the tour operators booking conditions?

The operators booking conditions are available as a downloadable PDF file and can be found alongside the itinerary upon viewing a holiday's details, or by viewing an operator's profile. We strongly urge that you read them as they will form the basis for your contract with the operator. We can only take bookings on the understanding that you are aware of the operator's booking conditions.

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Will my booking be influenced by your sales team?

Definitely not. We have tried to show all the relevant details for each holiday displayed and if the customer has made a choice, our team know that they must respect that decision.

Although we are an agent for WA Shearings Holidays and have immediate access to availability details on their computer system, whereas with some operators we can only check availability by phoning them, this will not influence our handling of your request in any way.

We do not pay incentives to our staff for promoting a particular company.

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If I phone, will there be lots of numbers to press?

No, once you've dialled our phone number, there is no list of options to select from. We do have a computerised telephone system but this passes the calls to the next available team member who will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

It is of course quite possible that they might not know the answer immediately but it is their responsibility to find someone who does and if necessary, telephone you with the answer later in the day. We try to have sufficient staff available at all times to handle calls without any undue delay but sometimes a large number of calls come through at the same time. If this happens, you will be placed in a queue with a recorded message informing you of your current queue position.

Although we are open from 8:30am until 6:00pm Monday to Friday and 8:30am until 4:30pm on Saturday, not all the coach operators are open for the same hours and we may not be able to book you but we can make a note of your request and deal with it as soon as the operator is open for business.

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