Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some of the most common questions from our travelers.
Our team in the U.S. and in each destination keeps close tabs on current conditions, including consulting with all applicable governmental agencies. We will be in touch if we believe there is any reason to be concerned about your destination or if there is a possibility that we may not operate your trip.
We are also enhancing our existing health & hygiene protocols to ensure every aspect of your trip is as safe as it can be.
We won't operate any tour or package unless we're confident that we can keep you safe and healthy and provide a high-quality experience. This has been our philosophy for 40 years. If we decide that it's best to not operate your trip, or are unable due to travel restrictions, we will work with you to modify your travel plans with no fees or penalties.
In the unlikely event that something happens while you're on tour that might interrupt your trip or put you at risk—we've got your back. Rest assured that we'll get you home as quickly and safely as possible, working with our partners and the authorities and using all of our resources and expertise.
Even with the most meticulous of planning, international travel is still sometimes unpredictable. We recommend you purchase travel insurance that provides coverage for many of these unforeseen situations, such as the travel protection plan from Travelex that we offer.
In today's times, flexible travel plans are more important than ever. Our Carefree Booking policies give you freedom to change your plans until your final payment due date (75 days prior to departure for most packages).†
Changes or cancellation after your final payment due date are subject to fees, which vary by package, and some packages may not offer Carefree Booking. See our Terms & Conditions for more information.
If you'd like to make a change, please let us know as soon as possible.
We recommend you purchase travel insurance to further protect you and your travel investment against the unexpected. For your convenience, we offer a travel protection plan provided by Travelex Insurance Services.
Benefits include coverage for trip cancellation (for a covered reason), interruption or travel delays, missed connections, lost or delayed baggage, and emergency medical & evacuation coverage if you become ill or are quarantined while traveling. However, it does not provide coverage for trips that are cancelled solely due to travel advisories/restrictions, or fear of getting ill. The policy contains exclusions and limitations
This plan is available to residents of the United States (excluding overseas territories) and can be purchased any time prior to making your final payment. For more details on coverage, costs, exclusions, and limitations along with COVID-19 coverage FAQs, please see the plan details.
Travel Insurance underwritten by Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Company NAIC #22276. 4ZT
While we do not require travelers on our Small Group Tours, Value Vacations, and Independent Packages to be vaccinated against COVID-19, some destinations may require pre-departure tests or have vaccination requirements for entry. Please see each tour's Entry Requirements page to verify the most up-to-date entry procedures.
COVID-19 tests may be required prior to boarding flights, entering or exiting a country, entering restaurants, hotels, or other public spaces, and more. These requirements vary by destination and your vaccination status and are constantly evolving. For your convenience, we provide detailed entry requirements for all of our destinations, which you should review carefully. Better yet, check the "Before You Go" page for your package to find out all the specific entry requirements for your trip. When tests are required during the course of your tour, we generally make arrangements to assist you in getting these tests, though you are usually responsible for the cost of these tests.
For everybody's safety, we require the wearing of face masks while touring public places, particularly indoors, and on our tour coaches. Beyond this, we recommend you wear a face mask whenever possible. Please bring your own face mask and hand sanitizer. We will have extras on hand, but supplies may be limited.
We are currently redesigning our itineraries and procedures to allow for a reasonable amount of social distancing. These changes include limiting group size, traveling in larger coaches with fewer occupants, and avoiding visits to small, indoor and/or crowded sites.
If you aren't feeling well or are diagnosed with COVID-19 before you depart, you should not travel. Please contact us as soon as possible, and we will do our best to help you reschedule your trip.
If you become ill or are diagnosed with COVID-19 while on tour, please alert our representatives—your tour guide, tour manager, driver, or hotel staff—as soon as possible, and they will help you get medical assistance. If necessary, you can also contact our team in the U.S. via our 24/7 emergency phone line. We'll do everything we can to get you home quickly and safely.
Again, we recommend you purchase travel insurance that provides coverage for trip interruption, emergency medical treatment, and emergency evacuation, to help cover any medical expenses and costs associated with interrupted, modified, or cancelled travel plans.
Entry and visa requirements vary by destination, where you're coming from, and your nationality. For your convenience, we provide detailed entry requirements for all of our destinations, which you should review carefully. Better yet, check the "Before You Go" page for your package to find out all the specific entry requirements for your trip. Unless otherwise stated, it is your responsibility to determine the requirements that apply to you and to comply with them, including obtaining any necessary visas or other travel documents by the required deadlines and carrying them with you. Especially with COVID-19, requirements are subject to change, so check back for the latest before you depart.
No. For most packages, we only require a per-person deposit to hold your booking. (The amount varies by package.) This deposit will be applied towards the cost of your package.
Your balance is due later. The due date will be shown when you book. For most packages, the due date is 75 days prior to departure. If you are booking close to the departure date (usually one that departs in less than 75 days), your final payment may be due within 72 hours.
Want to depart from a different city? Stay a few extra days? Add an extra stop? Take two tours, back-to-back? With most of our packages, it's no problem, and we're happy to oblige. You can request a change when you book online, in the special requests section. Or complete your booking and contact us as soon as possible, and we'll promptly let you know the price and availability. Fees & rules vary by package, but for most packages, a $50–150 per person fee applies, in addition to any fees imposed by airlines, cruise lines, or our vendors—we will advise you of the total. Unfortunately, we can't make any changes after we receive your final payment. Learn more.
We welcome solo travelers, and quite a number of our travelers do go solo! However, like the published prices for most hotels and cruises, our package prices are based on double occupancy rooms. In most cases, we do have a limited supply of single occupancy rooms available for an extra fee (sometimes called a single supplement). (Consider: if you booked a $200/night hotel room solo, you would pay the $200 yourself; but if a couple booked the same room, each one would pay only $100.) But you only pay extra for the rooms or cabins, nothing else, including meals, sightseeing, tips, etc. Start a booking to find out if single rooms are available and what the price is.
No, we don't pair up solo travelers to share rooms.
Sure, though for the safety and security of our travelers, we do have some age restrictions. On most of our tours & packages, your traveling companions must be 8 or older at the time of travel. Some packages have different requirements; see the package page. Travelers under 18 years must be accompanied by an adult 21 years or older.
On our Small Group Tours, you'll travel with a small, intimate group of no more than 16 likeminded travelers (and often much fewer). On our Value Vacations, groups may be larger, but no more than 29. We do our best to keep our group sizes small enough to ensure you have the opportunity to meet new friends and to enjoy the camaraderie of others, but not so large as to feel lost in the crowd.
On our Small Group Tours, Value Vacations, Biblical Journeys, and private group tours, you will be accompanied by a professional tour manager, guide and/or driver. This person is an authority on the destination, and is responsible for your safety and wellbeing and the smooth operation of your tour. We believe a great tour manager is the difference between simply seeing a country, and truly experiencing it. We're very proud of our tour managers, guides and drivers—we think you'll agree they're the ones who put the "friendly" in Friendly Planet!
Most of our packages do include flights from select U.S. cities in the price. In many cases, our exclusive contracts offer big savings over what you could book on your own. But we understand that some travelers prefer to book their own flights with miles, or to make their own arrangements. If you'd like to go this route, first check out the package you're interested in to see if a "tour only" option is offered.
If you do book your own flights, airport transfers are generally not included (though private transfers are usually available for an additional fee—contact us for price and availability). In that case, you'll be responsible for making your own way to the tour starting point, usually the first hotel listed in the itinerary.
We generally discourage travelers from trying to join a tour after it has begun or to depart before it's finished. But if you need to, please contact us prior to booking and we'll see what we can do to accommodate. Note that you will generally be responsible for your own arrangements and travel costs from the moment you decide to leave the tour.
You can enter special meal requests when you book with an agent or complete your online registration, shortly after booking. We will relay your requests to the airlines and our representatives abroad, but we cannot guarantee they will be honored. Please double check meal requests with the airline 72 hours before departure, and with our representatives upon arrival.
That depends on the airline. You can usually request a window or aisle seat, and sometimes specific seat numbers (but not exit row and bulkhead seats) ahead of time. Many airlines now charge a fee for this, and such fees are not included in your package price. If you have a seat preference, let us know when you book, in the special requests section, or email us at [email protected] after you book. Then:
If your airline does not charge a fee to pre-assign seats: We'll happily pass along your seat request to the airline and confirm they received it (though we cannot guarantee it will be honored).
If your airline does charge a fee to pre-assign seats: We'll let you know. You'll need to contact the airline directly to request your seats after we have issued your flight tickets, and fees are payable directly to the airline.
If you do not request specific seats: The airline typically assigns them within 24 hours of departure. If you do not like your assigned seats, you may be able to change them, subject to availability, when you check in online or at the counter. Learn more about Advance Seat Reservations.
You may be able to earn frequent flyer points on some of our packages. Contact the airline directly once you receive your tickets to enter your frequent flyer number in your flight record, or enter it when you check in. As you travel, check with the agent prior to boarding each flight to be sure the number has been entered properly. And just to be safe, keep your boarding passes and passenger receipt, as proof that you have actually flown the miles you want credited to your account.
For most packages, cabin upgrades may be available. Ask us about price and availability when you book online, in the special requests section. However, our special contracted airfare rates generally do not permit upgrading with frequent flyer miles.
For most of our packages, one checked suitcase per passenger is permitted, usually limited to 44 pounds, and carry-on luggage is limited to one piece per person, which must fit in overhead bins or under seat. Airlines used on some packages have more stringent baggage allowance restrictions, which you can find on our Baggage Allowances page. Guidelines for your specific package will be sent with your confirmation materials.
We accept personal checks, money orders, credit cards (VISA, MasterCard, Discover & American Express), and payments from your PayPal account.
To pay your deposit: the easiest, fastest and safest way is with your credit card or PayPal account using our secure online booking system. You may also call or fax us to make your payment by credit card, or you can mail in your deposit by check or credit card, but we cannot hold your place until we receive this payment.
To make your final payment: we encourage you to mail a check or money order for the amount due on your invoice. To pay with your credit card or PayPal account, you may use our secure payment form. Or you can mail or fax in your credit card payment.