We can only advise on the requirements of British and Irish passport holders. For all other passport holders, you should check these requirements with the relevant embassy. In all instances you should ensure that you have a valid ten-year passport and, as many countries require expiry dates on passports to extend far beyond the period of your travel, we would recommend that your passport is valid for at least 6 months after your return to the UK. From 5 October 1998 the Home Office requires children under 16 to travel on their own passports.
Clients are responsible for obtaining visas themselves. The cost, method of obtaining a visa, and time necessary for application, can vary considerably between countries and are subject to change. We would therefore advise you to contact the relevant embassy at the earliest opportunity for the most up to date information.
Recommended inoculations for travel may change at any time and you should consult your doctor on current recommendations before your departure. Health requirements for your holiday destinations are outlined in the Department of Health leaflet entitled 'Health Advice for Travellers (T7.1)' which can be viewed on their website at www.dh.gov.uk. It is your responsibility to ensure that you obtain all recommended inoculations, take all recommended medication and follow all medical advice in relation to your trip.
We take the safety and security of our clients extremely seriously. If the Foreign Office advises that people should not visit a particular country, then we will advise you on this. However we are sure you appreciate from press and television coverage that the political, economic and social conditions in many of the countries we feature are not as stable as we are used to in Europe. Sadly crimes against both people and their property are a fact of life the world over, and when in a foreign country it is very important to be extra vigilant and avoid drawing attention to yourself by wearing expensive jewellery, carrying expensive camera equipment etc. Travellers have the same responsibility for their personal safety and that of their possessions as they do at home. M.A.Travel operate to many parts of the world, some of which do not conform to British health and safety standards. We request that all hotels comply with the local regulations applicable in their country for health and safety but we cannot guarantee that these meet British standards and therefore urge that you undertake reasonable precautions to protect your family and yourself whilst on holiday.
To make the most of your trip abroad we recommend that you check out the Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO) website at www.fco.gov.uk/knowbeforeyougo
. Packed with essential travel advice and tips, this website offers a wealth of country-specific information that only the FCO can provide.
Choosing your holiday:
If you are unsure about the suitability of a destination, please call us, so that we may offer you advice. Alternatively you may seek information about any destination from libraries, tourist offices, or authoritative websites.
Standards can vary between hotels of the same class in different countries, and even in the same country. For example city hotels which often cater for business as well as leisure travellers may well have generally higher standards than a beach resort hotel where the whole atmosphere will tend to be more relaxed. It is important to read carefully the individual hotel descriptions. Accommodation in all hotels, whatever the rating, is in standard rooms unless otherwise stated.
A third or fourth person sharing a room either shares existing beds or has an extra bed (which may be of camp-bed style) placed in a double/twin room. Conditions may be cramped.
Rooms described as having a sea, pool or city view may not have full sea, pool, or city views because of trees, plants or buildings blocking the view.
Although most hotels do not have a strict dress code, a few guidelines may be useful. Casual elegance is expected throughout many countries such as the Caribbean, Indian Ocean and Far East resort hotels. During the day, shorts and sarongs are more practical, but in the evenings, men are normally expected to wear shoes, long trousers and at least a polo shirt. City hotels generally expect you to be properly dressed – swimsuits in the lobby are not acceptable but dress shorts are normally acceptable.
Hotel rooms are not generally available until around 3pm on the day you check-in. When you check-in many hotels may ask for an imprint of your credit card to cover personal extras. If you do not have a credit card, they may ask for a cash deposit.
Many flights home leave late in the evenings and the check-out time for most hotels is between 11am – 12noon on the last day. Booking a room for early arrival or late departure: Generally hotel rooms will be available between approximately noon and 3 pm, and are to be vacated between 10 am and noon, irrespective of your arrival or departure times, unless we have stated otherwise. Should you wish your room to be ready prior to noon on your day of arrival or available after 10 am for an afternoon or evening departure, it is possible to reserve the room at the time of booking at a cost no greater than an extra night price.
Room upgrade/honeymoon/ anniversary offers:
When the offer of a room upgrade is mentioned, it is usually an upgrade to the next category of room (not suite) available within the hotel. We will of course do everything possible to arrange this, but it is not always possible to guarantee the provision of a double bed for honeymoon couples.
All Inclusive normally means inclusive of all meals and local drinks (during the bar opening hours), as well as inclusive of day and evening activities at your hotel. Beer available in the All Inclusive package is usually draught not bottled, local wine is usually house wine served by the glass from a barrel not a bottle and carbonated soft drinks are usually on tap not bottled. Drinks may be served in plastic beakers not glass, particularly around swimming pools. The service, facilities and meals available vary from hotel to hotel and from country to country. An extra charge will be made for imported alcoholic drinks and certain facilities such as games machines or pool tables still require you to insert your own coins. You must also pay for infant meals locally.
Times when included drinks and snacks are served may sometimes vary, but are typically between 11am and midnight. A ‘cash’ bar may operate outside these times. Alcohol licensing laws vary for different countries so guests cannot be served with alcoholic drinks in All-Inclusive hotels if they are under age for that country. In certain countries the law does not allow the serving or consuming of alcoholic drinks during specific religious festivals and as a result the hotel will not be able to serve you alcoholic drinks during this period. There may also be age or experience restrictions on some water sports.
Liquor laws are strict in the USA. If you are under 21 years or even look under 21 you will not be able to purchase alcohol. Carry some identity with you to prove your age. Please remember that you cannot carry alcohol in your car, unless it is locked in the boot.
Children on holiday:
Any charge for a baby cot in the room and food are paid by the guest direct to the hotel and there is no entitlement to a separate seat on the aircraft if the flight is full. International airline regulations allow only one infant per adult. We do not recommend holidays for children under 10 on escorted tours, coach tours or on safari (unless in a private minibus). Some destinations, owing to their lack of special child or medical facilities are also not suitable for very young children but we would be happy to advise which hotels or resorts we think suit your requirements best.
Most of the destinations we feature are available all year round. Some have quieter ‘off peak’ periods when you can take advantage of uncrowded beaches and more personal attention from hotel staff at excellent prices. At this time it may be necessary for hotels to scale down the size of some of their facilities, such as restaurants, to match demand. Similarly, during peak periods hotels experience full occupancy which may result in a livelier atmosphere and slower service in busier facilities.
Virtually all countries have public holidays, religious or otherwise. The festivities may temporarily disrupt your holiday and some religious holidays such as Ramadan, which affect many Muslim countries, may result in a reduction of facilities and entertainment. Others are somewhat chaotic but great fun to be a part of. We suggest that you take this into consideration when selecting your departure date.
The appropriate Tourist Offices are happy to supply more detailed information or you may wish to research this on the internet.
Other hotel guests:
Many hotels, especially in cities and major resorts, accommodate conventions and conferences. Also, at certain times of the year, some destinations have an influx of groups such as students, associations or clubs. The hotels we feature are shared with guests from many countries with different cultures and customs. We have no control over the acceptance of bookings at the hotels we feature other than our own. We are therefore unable to accept responsibility for any limitation of facilities due to such groups or inconvenience that their activities may cause you, but would be happy to advise which hotels or resorts we think suit your requirements best.
Meals if included are based on table d’hôte menus, or a meal voucher system unless specified otherwise in the text. Holidays which include main meals generally commence with dinner on the day of arrival at your hotel and terminate with breakfast (on half board) or lunch (on full board) on the day of departure. No refunds on meals not taken can be given. Special diets of any kind (including vegetarian) can seldom be catered for adequately within the constraints of a table d’hôte menu and cannot be guaranteed. We would therefore strongly recommend that anyone with special requirements takes a holiday where no meals (or only breakfast) are included and simply buys the most acceptable dishes from the à la carte menu available locally.
Upgrading your flight:
A long haul flight is generally not a joyride when flying in economy class on scheduled or charter flights. Flights are often full, your choice of seats may not be available, and it may not be possible to obtain seats together. M.A.Travel offers a range of upgrade options designed to give you a more comfortable journey at a reasonable supplement.
Flight seat requests:
We strongly recommend (particularly if you are flying economy class), that you check-in early if you have particular seat requests. M.A.Travel has no control over the allocation of seats and even if pre-booked with the airline, no guarantee can be made that they will still be available on departure.
The flight routings used in connection with our holidays may be used on special fares which do not necessarily take the most direct route. Some itineraries require a change of aircraft en route. A flight that is described as direct is one where there is no need to change aircraft during the journey. However stops may be made en route for re-fuelling or to let passengers on and/or off.
Smoking on flights:
The majority of airlines have introduced a total smoking ban on most or all of their flights. Please ask at the time of booking if this information is important to you.
Reconfirming return/onward flights:
It is your responsibility to ensure you follow ALL RECONFIRMATION INSTRUCTIONS which will be shown EITHER on the FRONT of our invoice or on your travel documents. M.A.Travel will not be liable for any additional costs due to your failure to reconfirm flights.
Where special requests i.e. diet, room location, a particular facility at a hotel, flight seat requests and/or particular meals etc. are an important factor in the choice of holiday, you must advise us of this when the booking is made. We are happy to pass your request on to the hotel or airline but cannot guarantee that it will be accommodated. We will also pass on any dietary requests to airlines but we recommend that you check directly with the airline once your tickets have been issued.
In many of the less sophisticated destinations we feature, the water and electricity services struggle to keep up with the increased demands from tourism. Limited rainfall can put further pressure on their provision. Hotels do everything possible to maintain full services. However, occasional power cuts and/or water restrictions may be experienced.
Accommodation in the tropics:
In many hotels, especially beach resorts insects in the rooms are almost inevitable. It should by no means be taken as a sign of dirtiness, simply a fact of life in these destinations. Views from some hotel rooms may be partly obscured by palm trees and other vegetation that can grow very quickly in tropical climates.
Water sports and other activities:
Many hotels offer water sports and other sporting activities, in some cases these may be free of charge. Please note that in the interest of your personal safety, the operators of these activities may require that you demonstrate your competence (for example a swimming test) prior to commencement and reserve the right to refuse participation for any reason if they feel this may compromise your or another guest’s safety.
If hotels have their own sports or water sports facilities, the conditions and choice of equipment will vary, depending on the hotel and place. Do not expect the equipment to be of championship standard, even at the best hotels. Also, the demand for sports facilities and equipment may be more than is actually available at certain times during the day.
When you book with us, you accept responsibility for any damage or loss caused by you or any member of your party. Proper payment for any such damage or loss must be made at the time direct to the accommodation owner or manager or other supplier. If you fail to do so, you must indemnify us against any claims (including legal costs) subsequently made against us as a result of your actions. We expect all clients to have consideration for other people. If in our opinion or in the opinion of any person in authority you are behaving in such a way as to cause or to be likely to cause distress, danger or annoyance to any third party or damage to property, we reserve the right to terminate your arrangements without notice. In this situation our liability towards you (including any return transport arrangements) will immediately cease and we will not be responsible for meeting any costs or expenses you may incur as a result, making any refund or paying compensation.
Ticket despatch and travel documents:
Tickets will be despatched 7 days before departure, however, in the case of late payment and/or late bookings, tickets may be handed to you at the airport on departure. Please ensure that you check the flight timings on your tickets carefully. The correct timings, using the 24 hour clock system, may have been adjusted since booking with us or since you received your invoice.
Airline ticket refunds:
Tickets returned will be presented to the airline for assessment. As soon as we receive a refund from the issuing airline, we will forward it to you less any cancellation or administration charge. Please note that refunds for part-used/returned halves of tickets are always less than the pro-rata rate and may have no refund value whatsoever. Refunds usually take 8 - 12 weeks but in isolated cases may take longer. Refunds will be processed via the original method of payment, except for cash transactions where refunds will be provided by cheque.
Tickets returned more than one year from date of issue are considered as expired by the airline and generally have no refund value.
If tickets are lost or stolen, certain airlines will not reissue duplicates. New tickets may then have to be purchased locally, at the local fare. Even if replacement tickets are purchased, certain airlines will not issue refunds for lost / stolen tickets. A delay of up to 18 months is possible before we receive authority from the airline to make any refund.
M.A.Travel applies a further £25 per ticket administration fee over and above cancellation charges in such cases.
Please ensure that any tickets returned to M.A.Travel are sent by registered post.
M.A.Travel will advise you of all mandatory pre-paid taxes. Most countries also charge departure taxes that may only be paid locally. It is therefore recommended that clients retain sufficient local currency to meet such charges. Please note that taxes are subject to exchange rate fluctuations.
We strongly advise all our clients to take out travel insurance. M.A.Travel has made arrangements with a leading travel insurance company to provide our clients with the right level of cover at the most competitive price. We offer single, multi trip and annual insurance cover. Please refer to the insurance section on this website for full details.
Building & development works:
Many hotels and resorts are continuing to develop, sometimes rapidly and intensively and often with little or no advance warning. Whilst we have no control over such work, as a responsible tour operator, it is important to us that you are aware of any significant building/ refurbishment work that may be going on during your stay. General refurbishment at hotels is necessary to maintain standards but if we are informed of such work, we will endeavour to notify you of any activity as soon as possible, however near to your departure this may be.