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Coach travel

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How long will we spend on the coach?

How much coach travel there is depends on the itinerary but we rarely spend longer than a couple of hours on the coach without a photo stop or visit. Some journeys are much shorter.

What facilities can I expect on a Trafalgar coach?

Regardless of where in the world your tour visits, we do our best to ensure your coach is as comfortable as it can be. However, there can be differences depending on where in the world you're visiting:

Europe, North & South America, Australia & New Zealand trips
We pride ourselves on having the finest fleet of fuel-efficient, fully air-conditioned coaches – all with reclining seats and on-board restrooms.

The high vantage point from your coach’s window means you can take in all the glorious scenery, whether it’s a vast rural landscape or an urban city centre. We also have onboard Wi-Fi.

Africa & Asia trips
Africa and Asia tour vehicles do not have Wi-Fi on board. On Asia trips, there are no onboard restrooms but we always ensure there are regular rest stops.

What can I bring on the coach with me?

In addition to your suitcase, which gets stored separately on the coach, you can bring one piece of carry-on luggage onto the coach with you. This must be small enough to either fit under your seat or in a small overhead compartment.

The specific dimensions vary by where your trip is:

Europe trips: 12"x11"x6" (30x28x14 cm)
North & South America, Australia & New Zealand trips: One small piece of hand luggage that does not have telescopic handles
Africa trips: Please note that East Africa safari vehicles cannot accommodate regular luggage dimensions and weights. We kindly ask our guests to travel with a soft-sided bag or medium-sized suitcase.

Please note that for safety reasons, small rolling suitcases are not permitted inside the coach.

There are a number of things you may wish to bring on the coach with you, including a travel pillow; something to read, sunglasses, your phone, headphones if you'd like to listen to music, etc.

Do coaches operate seat rotation?

To ensure fairness and to enhance your coach experience Trafalgar practices a daily seat rotation system, which your Travel Director will facilitate. This enables guests to enjoy the panoramic views from a different seat and provides opportunities to get to know your fellow travellers and make new friends each day.

Group size

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How many people will be on my trip?

The number of guests on tour with you can vary depending on where your tour is going:

Europe trips: An average of 40 to 45 guests
United States and Canada trips: A maximum of 52 guests
Australia and New Zealand trips: A maximum of 50 guests
Asia trips: A maximum of 28 guests
Africa trips: A maximum of 20 guests
Latin America trips: A maximum of 40 to 45 guests

The beauty of taking a guided tour is that you'll get to know people from all over the globe as part of your group.


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What can I expect from a Trafalgar hotel?

Trafalgar hotels are handpicked to ensure they meet our high standards.

Many trips also include our Stays with Stories; properties with character that speak to the heritage of a destination.

What is the check-in procedure at my hotel?

Checking in to your arrival hotel
Official check-in times vary from hotel to hotel. Should your flight arrive in the early morning into the city where your trip begins, you may find yourself arriving at the hotel before noon, and it could be early afternoon before your room is ready (2pm/3pm). Hotels try to prevent this from happening, but check-in times cannot be guaranteed. The hotel will be able to suggest how any spare time could be used to sightsee, relax or enjoy local restaurants while your room is being prepared.

When arriving at your first hotel, check in at the main reception desk. The reception staff will need to know your name and that you are travelling with Trafalgar.

When your trip begins, check-in will be managed by the Travel Director, who will advise you on procedures and hotel features before arrival. They will secure keys and oversee the delivery of your luggage to your room.

Photocopies of documents
Some hotels are required to keep your passport at reception throughout your stay owing to government, country or local laws. You are therefore recommended to bring a photocopy of your passport and any visas with you when you travel.

A useful tip is to photocopy your airline tickets, credit cards and your driver’s license etc. as this can speed up replacements on those rare occasions that the originals are lost. Even easier is to scan your documents and send them to yourself as attachments to your email so that you have access to them if needed.

Many hotels use magnetic key cards. These may be required to use the elevator. In many hotels, key cards also operate the lighting and air-conditioning. The card is usually inserted into a slot or box located just inside the room in order for the electricity to function and it is a great way to save energy.

Checking out of your hotel
Always make a last-minute check of safe deposit boxes, drawers, wardrobe and bathroom before departing each hotel. If you've consumed any items from the mini bar or accessed pay-TV, etc., then you are responsible for paying incidental expenses before departure. We recommend settling any bills in the evening to ensure a smooth departure the following morning.

Are the hotels air conditioned?

We select our hotels for their quality, impeccable service and comfort, and the majority of them have air-conditioning. A few hotels in the northern Alps of Europe do not have air conditioning due to the colder climate. A few lodges in the United States National Parks may not have air conditioning due to their historic infrastructure.

Will I be able to get laundry done?

Most hotels offer a laundry service; in some cities, laundromats are also available. However, it’s sensible to try and pack enough clothing to avoid having to do laundry, as it can sometimes be costly or inconvenient.

Will my hotel have WiFi?

Complimentary Wi-Fi is available in most hotel guestrooms and/or communal areas. On some occasions, the Wi-Fi may need an access code from hotel staff. Your Travel Director will provide you with details when checking in to each hotel.

Do the hotels listed on the itinerary ever change?

Yes, hotels can change from those listed on the website or in your travel documents. This might be due to a variety of reasons and is often out of Trafalgar's control. If this does happen, we will ensure the new hotel is in a similar location and meets our high standards.

Food and drink

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What do I need to know about meals and beverages on my trip?

Food and drink is at the heart of every destination. Your trip itinerary contains information on included meals and your Travel Director will provide recommendations for places to eat in each new place.

Specific Dietary Requirements
We encourage guests to advise us of any specific dietary requirements during registration on the MyTrafalgar portal. Please also advise your Travel Director of your needs. Hotels and restaurants will be told in advance and suppliers will do their utmost to provide alternative options, although this cannot be guaranteed.

Drinking Water
We care about the planet. With that in mind, we recommend you pack a reusable water bottle for your trip to reduce your plastic waste.

The majority of countries in Europe have safe drinking water. In Eastern Europe, you may find alternative water options are recommended in some areas. Your Travel Director will advise when the use of bottled water is recommended.

There will be multiple rest stops throughout the day where you can refill your bottle with water or purchase a drink. We recommend the app Tap - Find Water Anywhere on your phone, which shows you the nearest refill station.

Find out more about how we MAKE TRAVEL MATTER®

Where do I find which meals are included?

This information is included in the day-by-day itinerary for your trip.

What if I have any special dietary requirements?

We can accommodate vegetarian guests and can assist with diabetic, gluten-free and other medically-recommended diets. Please advise us at the time of booking.

Unfortunately, we’re unable to supply meals in accordance with strict religious requirements. We can’t provide salt-free, Kosher, Halal, requests for specific dietary supplements such as soya milk, and high protein or low-carb meals.

You can inform us of any dietary requirements by logging into MyTrafalgar and selecting 'view trip details' for your trip. On the right-hand side, you will then have the option to 'personalise your trip'.


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What time should I arrive on Day 1 on my trip?

All the information you need to join your trip, such as your first hotel and what time to get there, will be provided in your trip documents. You can access this by logging into the MyTrafalgar portal. These will be available approximately 3 weeks prior to your departure.

What if I arrive late and miss part of the trip?

We regret that no refunds can be made for absences from a trip, including experiences such as missed meals or sightseeing.

Will I have free time?

Yes. We want to ensure you get all you want out of your trip. Each itinerary offers the perfect balance of downtime and discoveries. We also give you the opportunity to tailor your trip with Optional Experiences. Some of our trips offer a more relaxed pace, with later starts and longer stays in each place.

If you would like to exclude yourself from an included experience please ensure you speak with your Travel Director, so they are aware of your plans. They will make sure you are aware of any necessary times or meeting points. Please note we cannot provide any compensation or refunds, if you decide to not take part in an included activity or meal.

What different kinds of experiences are available on my trip?

Trafalgar trips feature a range of experiences to get you closer to the heart of your destinations.

Iconic experiences are the must-see experiences included in your trip itinerary. From touring the ruined city of Pompeii in Italy, to wine tasting in Stellenbosch, South Africa, the icons are unmissable travel moments.

Trafalgar gets you closer to the authentic heart of a place by connecting you with local people. Our Be My Guest experiences do just that by inviting you to dine with locals. Feast on a home-cooked lunch at a stud farm in Portugal, or visit a local market with a chef in Lima, Peru.

We're on a mission to MAKE TRAVEL MATTER®. Our MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experiences are included in your itinerary. They benefit the environment and local communities as well as providing guests with a memorable and unique experience.

As well as our included experiences, you can also add Optional Experiences to tailor your trip to your interests. These experiences are available for an additional cost and can be booked and paid for during your trip.

Trip experience

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What's included on my trip?

On a Trafalgar trip, you'll unlock the best of the world's top destinations. Your tour includes:

  • A knowledgeable Travel Director
  • Hand-picked hotels
  • All breakfasts and a selection of other meals detailed in your itinerary
  • Must-see sightseeing as detailed in your itinerary
  • Airport transfers in select destinations. See Airport Transfers for more information.

All trips include free time to explore destinations in your own way. Your Travel Director will be happy to make recommendations, or you can choose from a range of Optional Experiences.

Who will support me on my trip?

All our guests will have access to the personal service of a dedicated and knowledgeable Travel Director. They will be on hand to help guide & support you throughout your trip and are able to offer a true insider’s perspective of each destination.

What is a Travel Director?

Our Travel Directors come from a variety of backgrounds but they all share a passion for travel and their home countries. These experienced professionals show you what the guidebooks can’t – a true insider’s perspective of each destination. Each Travel Director has been through a bespoke training program and many have at least five years’ experience under their belt.

Where do I find which meals are included?

This information is included in the day-by-day itinerary for your trip.

Can I pre-pay gratuities?

On most trips, you have the option to pre-pay gratuities for your Travel Director and Driver at the time of booking. Alternatively, if you would like to show your appreciation to the team, gratuities may also be paid during your trip.

There is no option to pre-pay gratuities on our Asia and Africa trips. If you would like to thank your Trafalgar destination expert, this can be done on tour.

What else do I need to know about tipping and gratuities?

Tipping etiquette varies by country, culture and the situation and it is a gesture that shows appreciation for the quality of service that you received. When travelling with Trafalgar we have pre-paid certain tips and gratuities for you. Baggage handling at hotels, service charges and tips for hotel wait staff (for included meals) will be taken care of by your Travel Director. There are however a few instances where individual tipping is welcome.

In general, if you’re unsure on tipping, don’t go any higher than 10% (unless of course that the service was so fantastic you feel you want to do so). Servers may not receive tips when left on a credit card, so always try to tip in cash whenever possible.

Hotel Services
It is customary to tip hotel staff for room service delivery if the charge has not already been added to the bill. Where ice machines are not available and you receive ice from the bar, a small tip to the bartender is always appreciated.

Local Specialists
It is customary to show appreciation for the insights, stories and know-how shared with you by the Local Specialists.

Eating and Drinking
Tips and gratuities will be taken care of by your Travel Director for all meals included in your itinerary. When you are exploring on your own, it's helpful to know regional norms around tipping.

In North America, it is customary to tip for a variety of services. A restaurant is usually tipped 15-20% of the total bill before tax. Other services, from taxi drivers to hairdressers, normally receive 10%. Your Travel Director can also answer any questions you may have regarding when and how much to tip.
In Europe, there is no obligation to leave a tip, but between 5% and 10% is normal in most European restaurants. Make sure to check that a service charge hasn’t already been added on as this is becoming more common. Also, bear in mind that tipping is only necessary at a table service restaurant. When eating out at a pub or fast food outlet where you order your food from a counter, tipping isn’t necessary or expected.

What do I need to know about daily sightseeing, departure times and the words or phrases I will hear while travelling with Trafalgar?

At Trafalgar, we plan to show you a great deal and always endeavour to make the most of every day of your holiday. In order to make that possible, we thank you in advance for your punctuality, which affords all our guests the opportunity to enjoy their time with us to the fullest.

Departure time is the time when everyone is seated comfortably and the coach is pulling away from the hotel or rest stop. The savvy traveller will always allow themselves enough time for bathroom visits, settling bills and slow elevators. Your Travel Director will choreograph the day to enhance the itinerary and go out of their way to ensure that those all-important timings are clearly explained. They will also provide you with a contact number should you be in need of assistance.

Sightseeing is included in your itinerary and will generally involve a fair amount of walking and standing (as well as sitting). There are a number of terms used to describe sightseeing activities in the itinerary and there are slight differences in their meaning:

A day to relax – No planned activities; time for Optional Experiences or other independent activities. Your Travel Director will be able to assist you with providing ideas and suggestions to match your interests and get the most out of the day.

Orientation tour – Places of interest are pointed out, allowing you to go and explore them on your own.

See – Observe sights while passing by on your coach, cruise or train.

Sightseeing trip - A Local Specialist will accompany you on a trip of a city or site.

Time to relax and discover – Free time on your own.

View – A brief stop to enjoy the sights and take some photos.

Visit – A stop with time to enjoy a specific site.

Why not see” or “perhaps enjoy” – These phrases refer to Optional Experiences not included in the trip package but which are available for an additional fee. Your Travel Director will be happy to provide you with information regarding these, or other ways in which to spend your free time.

What happens on day 1 of my trip?

All the information you need to join your tour will be provided in your trip documents, which you can find on the MyTrafalgar portal. These will be available approximately 3 weeks prior to your departure.

Your Travel Director will also be in touch a few days before your trip to introduce themselves and re-confirm your meeting point.

Is porterage included in a Trafalgar trip?

Yes, for your ease and comfort porterage is included throughout your trip (one item per guest). So you will only have to bring your hand luggage on and off the coach each day. On arrival at each hotel, your case will be delivered to your room by a hotel porter.

Your Travel Director will provide you with a red luggage tag, which helps with identification and security.

We recommend keeping any items you wish to access immediately in your hand baggage.

How can I stay connected on my trip?

Sharing your experiences with friends and family back home is an important part of your trip.

If you choose to bring a smart phone with you, ensure you contact your service provider to find out how much it will cost to use your phone internationally. You might consider disabling data roaming or purchasing a prepaid service or SIM to keep control of costs. Be mindful of other guests if you take a cell phone call on the coach.

Making telephone calls from your hotel room can be very expensive. A pre-paid calling card is an easy way to save money when making telephone calls. Calling cards are readily available for purchase in most stores - please ask your Travel Director for further information.

Complimentary WiFi is usually available on our coaches and your hotel will also provide complimentary WiFi access.

Optional Experiences

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What are Optional Experiences?

Trafalgar itineraries include plenty of free time for you to explore destinations in your own way. Optional Experiences are a great way to make the most of your time and tailor your trip to your interests.

Available Optional Experiences are listed on the trip itinerary. No need to book or prepay, you can do this with your Travel Director on trip and payment can be made by credit card or cash.

Can I prebook Optional Experiences?

To enable you to personalise your Trafalgar experience, you will find a number of Optional Experiences designed to complement the itinerary. These are designed to offer a deeper insight into the culture and character of the areas to be visited and provide some wonderful highlights to your travels. The optional program is designed to let you experience more of what interests you and to get the most from your holiday without replacing or overlapping with anything included in an itinerary.

The majority of Optional Experiences will be offered to you by your Travel Director at the beginning of your trip. Our optional experiences cannot be pre-booked. Some may be subject to change, depending on the time you are travelling or local circumstances including weather and days of the week. Further information will be provided by your Travel Director.

If you would like to see what is available, along with pricing for our optionals please look at the day-to-day itinerary of your trip on our website.


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How much walking is involved in your trips?

Our itineraries are a well-balanced mix of walking and enjoying sites from the comfort of your coach.

The activity level and amount of walking can vary, so it is important that you bring adequate footwear to ensure your comfort and safety.

When walking there can be some uneven terrain or times when more walking is required than others.

Can I get a motorised scooter delivered on trip and then transport it on the coach for daily use?

For all specific requirements, including requests such as this, we will ask you to provide us with certain details at the time of booking.

Please note that not all itineraries can accommodate a motorised scooter. We also have limited space within the coach to transport items. We will carefully evaluate if this is possible for your trip.

If you've already booked your trip, you can let us know about special requirements by logging into MyTrafalgar. Once logged in, you can select to 'personalise your trip'.

Wellbeing and safety

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What if I become ill on my trip and am unable to continue?

Your Travel Director will assist you with a doctor’s visit or hospitalisation should you require. Trafalgar has a dedicated Guest Support Department in Europe, or our Operations Department in the relevant country will contact you to offer assistance and advice, coordinate with your travel insurance company and keep in touch until you are able to re-join the trip or return home. This service is included in the cost of your trip; however it is not a replacement for travel insurance, which is required to travel with Trafalgar.

How can I stay safe on my trip?

Relaxing and switching off from everyday concerns is all part of the holiday experience. Your Travel Director will ensure that things run seamlessly on your trip, however it is a good idea to be aware of issues that might affect your enjoyment and to take precautions to avoid undesirable situations.

Personal Belongings
Many of us carry expensive equipment such as mobile phones and cameras to capture our travel memories and keep in touch with loved ones. Be wary of showing them off in crowded places and never leave them on the table in restaurants, bars, hotel lobbies and public places (breakfast rooms).

Keep your bag with you at all times. Wear it across your chest and ensure the bag is on the front of the body when you walk through crowded places.

Passport and Documents
Make sure your passport is always safe. Keep it on your person on travel days.
A money belt worn under your clothing is the safest place to carry your passport, as well as other important documents, a spare credit or debit card, larger cash amounts and any emergency contact lists for any credit/ bank cards that you use..
Many hotels provide safety deposit boxes for your use on longer stays, but be sure to reclaim them before checking out. Make a photocopy of your passport and important documents and keep them separately from the originals.

Only carry as much cash as you need at any time and avoid displaying large numbers of notes when paying for anything.

When leaving your room, securely shut all windows and close the door to your room as you exit, with enough force to ensure it properly locks. Remember to keep your room key safely on you. On arrival at a new hotel, familiarize yourself with escape routes and locate the nearest fire exit to your room. Always know how to raise the alarm.

Situational Awareness
Avoid confrontational situations and large gatherings and if at any time a situation doesn’t feel right, walk away.

Hostile Situations
In the very unlikely situation you find yourself in the vicinity of a hostile incident, leave immediately and contact the police. If you are unable to leave, find somewhere to hide, lock the door and keep as quiet as possible. Remember to turn your phone to silent and contact the police.

Can I drink the tap water in the countries I visit?

We care about the planet. With that in mind, we recommend you pack a reusable water bottle for your trip to reduce your plastic waste.

The majority of countries in Europe have safe drinking water. In Eastern Europe, you may find alternative water options are recommended in some areas. Your Travel Director will advise when the use of bottled water is recommended.

There will be multiple rest stops throughout the day where you can refill your bottle with water or purchase a drink. We recommend the app Tap - Find Water Anywhere on your phone, which shows you the nearest refill station.

Find out more about how we MAKE TRAVEL MATTER®.


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How does Trafalgar promote sustainable tourism?

Trafalgar is a founding partner of the TreadRight Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation established in 2008. So far, the charity has donated more than US$2 million to help underprivileged communities and support sustainable tourism around the world. Find out more about how we MAKE TRAVEL MATTER®.

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FAQs Hub

Before you book

Before you travel

After your tour

Read general information regarding your journey, travel documents and airport protocol, as well as some top tips from our expert Travel Directors to help you travel with real ease.

Before booking your Trafalgar Tour, you want to know exactly where you stand. We provide the most relevant information to help you feel informed and confident. 

From luggage and packing to travel documents and insurance tips, these insights will ensure a seamless and enjoyable travel experience with Trafalgar.

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