We believe that travel broadens the mind and enriches the soul. However, as experienced travellers we know that being prepared can make the journey and the experience more easily enjoyed. So here are some pieces of advice, some tips, and some relevant information that is worth reading no matter which of our tours you happen to be on.
We love travelling around Romania but you will find that cobblestones and potholes are commonplace. If you have difficulty walking please call us and we can talk through whether this destination is right for you. We would also recommend using luggage that is easily portable and not too large, heavy or reliant on wheels.
Although the Summer temperatures can be up to 40°C in Bucharest, mostly in the Summer months the temperature hovers around the 30°C point, which can still be uncomfortable for sightseeing for some. However, most of your time will be spent in the mountains and this generally makes the temperature much more bearable. If you wish to avoid this level of heat, we would recommend travelling in Spring or Autumn. However, when travelling in the Summer please remember to drink plenty of water and use sun protection.
Your tour will fall within one of the following touring styles:
Boutique – Your tour will be made up of a smaller group of no more than 12 people, enabling use of smaller vehicles for transportation. There will be more personal time and attention from your tour guide. Your accommodations will be chosen for their appropriateness to the destination being visited. Ideally boutique hotels or small rural guesthouse, although some larger properties may be used in certain cities or resorts. We want you to get a feel for everything there is available in the region.
Standard – Featuring slightly larger tour groups of either 20 or 30 people, these tours will feature large minibuses or medium coaches. The accommodations will be of a more standard, commercial nature than our boutique tours. However, we will always do our best to find the most characterful, local properties within this range.
Family – These tours will feature fewer hotel changes, and hotels will be chosen for their suitability for families, both in rooms and facilities. Any days where coach transfers are needed will have a later departure time to ensure you have plenty of time to get the kids ready and the duration of travel will be kept to the bare minimum. Just like on our boutique tours we keep our group sizes small to ensure you have plenty of attention from your guide.
Group travel can be a rewarding and frustrating experience. The other travellers on your tour may come from a range of age groups and from all corners of the world. Please be understanding of your fellow travellers and their various needs and preferences. You may need to be patient with your fellow travellers to ensure the enjoyment of all. The enjoyment of all travellers is also part of your responsibility. Travellers who return to a meeting point late will keep their fellow travellers waiting and this and cause disharmony. Please endeavour to be at all meeting points when requested to aid the smooth running of the tour and enjoyment of all on board. Consideration will also need to be shown for headphone volume and litter, these little things can prove most annoying to some of your fellow travellers. Should you have any concerns during your tour with other travellers then please raise this with your tour guide who will do their best to resolve the issue.
Your guide will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. They are guides in the traditional sense and you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Transylvanian Touring we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit and all guides are local people registered with the Romanian government as official tour guides.
We would recommend a suitcase that is relatively easy to repeatedly move in an out of hotels. Some smaller hotels do not have lifts and there may be some stairs that need negotiating. For the daytime you’ll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc.
Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
When travelling on a trip, you won’t be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company’s 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your guide.
If you have credit card insurance your tour guide will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank’s name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
In general, there are few dress restrictions in Europe. Note when visiting churches, monasteries or other religious sites modest dress is required – shorts or skimpy tops may not be permitted, for both men and women.
IMAGES FROM HOME
During our trip there will be many opportunities for you to meet and talk with locals. One way to start any conversation is with pictures. We recommend that you bring some photos / postcards of your family, home, city or country where you live, animals peculiar to your country etc.
While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your tour guide or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.
We recognise that there may be times when your tour guide/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction – if this is the case, please ask the guide to speak to us.
You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.Transylvanian Touringtravel.co.uk/contact/
In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, Transylvanian Touring’s UK Office can be reached 24 hours a day on the number listed below:
+44 7892 897475
All Transylvanian Touring travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our tour guide or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Transylvanian Touring Travel reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.
You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our guides and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government’s advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website’s safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.
We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home – you won’t need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
Your guide will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you’ll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your guide will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Transylvanian Touring itinerary, and Transylvanian Touring makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Guide has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it’s deemed necessary due to safety concerns.
Please also make sure you have access to an additional GBP£200, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (e.g. a natural disaster, civil unrest, strike action or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
Common scams operating in Europe include ploys to get you fined on the metro without a validated ticket. Ensure that you always travel with a validated ticket (have your ticket stamped). Another common scam is used by children who distract you with a map or a newspaper and while you are attending to them, steal your valuables. You may also come across players offering you to participate in the so-called “shell game”. This is a scam and you will most certainly lose your money.
Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.
Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it’s important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with acquiring visas. Visas can take several weeks to process, so familiarise yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time.
Visas for Romania are not required for passport holders of the European Union, Australia, New Zealand, USA and Canada. All other nationalities should check with the relevant authorities.
PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY
While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair or on the floor and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.
TWIN SHARE BASIS
All accommodation on our tours is on a twin room basis with en-suite facilities. There may be occasions where alternative accommodation is sourced and the facilities may be shared rather than en-suite. This is usually if we are staying somewhere slightly more rural where the variety of options is somewhat more limited.
A Single Supplement is available on any trip, please e-mail us for more information.
As standard all of our hotel rooms are requested to be ready for our arrival. There may be circumstances where this is not possible, and should check-in not be available on our arrival facilities will be provided for storage of luggage until rooms are ready.
There may be times when our itineraries are updated due to feedback from travellers or our own research. The information given at the time of booking may have changed by the time you travel. We will inform you of any significant changes as amendments take place. As tours occur all year around, there may be times when weather and seasonality may cause changes to our timetables and published routes. This can occur with short notice periods and even during your tour. Please be patient should the modifications occur to your route during your tour. There may also be a need to amend the order or timings of certain inclusions to your tour.
OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION
All accommodation is booked for our tour groups well in advance of any departure. However, there may be occasions of our control where the accommodation may not be available at short notice. In this instance alternative accommodation will be sourced at a level similar to that which was expected.
The local currency in Romania is the Romanian New Lei (RON).
The most convenient and cheapest way to acquire money in Europe is via an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) or Bancomat as they are often referred to. Check with your bank in advance concerning the suitability of your account / card overseas and any international fees that will be applied. You can withdraw local currencies easily at airports, major train stations and most city centres, but be sure to bring some extra emergency cash in a major currency that can be exchanged if the ATMs are not functioning. When leaving home don’t forget your PIN and make sure you know the telephone number for cancelling your card if it is stolen. Keep this in a safe place. Credit cards are not always accepted in stores and restaurants. We recommend you carry some cash to pay for restaurant bills and other services.
Tipping is not a compulsory action on your tour. It can however be appropriate in restaurants or similar circumstances where great service has been given. Our drivers and guides will always appreciate any tip you choose to give them. However, the best tip you can give is positive feedback on your return. Our drivers and guides are incentivised on this and will will work hard to ensure you have a great trip.
When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities and laundry. It’s always better to bring a little more than you think you’ll need. Also make sure you’ve read your trip details thoroughly so you know what’s included in the trip price and what isn’t. This should make budgeting a little easier. You’ll find this info on the tour description page of our website. You will find that Romania is an economical place to eat and drink, main courses are around £5-£10 and a glass of wine or a beer start around £1 each.
We feel that it is important to experience the best of the region and sometimes this means that accommodation can be a little rustic. Please be aware that although rooms are predominantly en-suite and air-conditioned there are hotels we use that do not have all of these modern conveniences. It is also not customary for every hotel to provide kettles or fridges. We do try to provide the best standard of accommodation with all the facilities you are used to.
While travelling with us you’ll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your tour guide will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. To give you maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule, our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other’s company. There’s no obligation to do this though.
Vegetarians might find the menu selection less varied than they would see at home. Vegetarianism is not as common in this region and generally the choices are basic, involving vegetables, soups, salads, bread, cheese, fruit, yoghurt, eggs etc. Vegans and those on gluten-free diets may find this region very challenging and may need to supplement meals with their own supplies from supermarkets and markets. Wherever possible we will cater for dietary needs for any included meals, but there may be times when those with special requirements may need to provide their own.
There are some basic breakfasts included on each trip which may simply include bread/toast or pastries, butter, jam, coffee/tea/juice (or similar).
TRAFFIC AND DRIVING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD
Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware!
TRANSPORT IN EUROPE
All of our tours travel in air-conditioned minibuses that you will find most comfortable. You will find that Transylvania features many winding and narrow roads. The pace can often be slower than you might expect and sometimes the behaviour of other drivers can be a little aggressive. Please be aware that over-taking is commonplace and often at speed. You will regularly see horses and carts on the road, this is a part of everyday life for many, but can provide certain obstacles for coach travel. When walking around towns please be aware that there is no legal requirement for cars to stop for pedestrians at crossings.
Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in your home country and not all the transport which we use is able to provide seat belts.
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Transylvanian Touring travellers. Transylvanian Touring’s philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our tour guide has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
Everyone has the right to feel safe and secure on their trip. We don’t tolerate any form of sexual harassment at Transylvanian Touring, either between passengers or involving our guides or local operators. Sexual relationships (consensual or otherwise) between a guide and a passenger are unacceptable. If you ever feel another person is behaving inappropriately, please inform us immediately by contacting the contact number detailed in these trip notes.
BUT ABOVE ALL…
Just sit back and enjoy your trip. We know you will.