When can I expect to get my travel documents & itinerary?
Topdeck issues e-docs which will be sent to you eight weeks prior to departure and when you have paid in full, which includes your detailed day-to-day itinerary. These also include any vouchers you need for pre and post trip accommodation. In addition to this, you MUST read the detailed pre-departure information relevant to your trip. This can be viewed at any time below. The pre-departure document contains a number of important points that you should be aware of. Please take the time to download and read it.
What sort of people will be on the trip?
Topdeck passengers come from all over the world and are aged between 18 and 39. Like you, they will be up for a great travel experience and meeting like-minded travellers.
Is it a problem if I travel on my own?
Not at all! Many of our passengers travel alone – often over 50% of our passengers start the trip solo and it's a great way to meet people. What's more, we don't charge compulsory single supplements – instead we'll match you up with a roommate(s) of the same sex.
Do I need travel insurance?
Yes. Comprehensive travel insurance is compulsory on all Topdeck trips. This should be taken out at the time of booking. We recommend getting a comprehensive travel insurance policy which covers you for all medical expenses (including repatriation) and any expensive items you bring away with you such as laptops, tablets, smart phones and cameras. Check the policy wording and excess limits before you book and make sure they are to your satisfaction. Travel insurance should be taken out at the time of booking in case of unforeseen events which may lead you to cancel your trip.
Will I be contactable on my trip?
As well as having regular access to internet cafés throughout Europe, if someone needs to contact you in the case of an emergency, the Topdeck Head Office in London will be able to get in touch with your Trip Leader.
How many other people will be on the trip?
Group sizes vary from trip to trip. As a guideline, an average Hotel, Club or Camping trip could have around 35 passengers on board, with a maximum group size of 48. Minimum numbers would not normally be below 20 passengers. Our Explorer groups average around 16-20 passengers, with a maximum of 30.
What visas will I need?
Obtaining correct visas is your own responsibility. Not having correct visas could mean you missing out on part or all of your trip. Please refer to our Visa Information section (which should be used as a guide only). You should also double check with the individual Embassies before you depart, remembering that visa requirements can change at short notice. For most of the countries where visas are required, it is NOT possible to obtain the visa whilst on the trip and some visas take 3-4 weeks to obtain.
How do the Hotel trips work?
Topdeck's Hotel trips stay in a range of quality, character-filled hotels, predominantly 3-star standard. Rooms are twin or double share, with a 5% triple share reduction if you're travelling with two other friends and wish to share together. If you're travelling solo, then you'll be sharing with someone of the same gender. We've tried to avoid bland, multi-national chain hotels where possible and select smaller hotels which are more reflective of the character and vibe of the countries we visit. Our hotels are close to public transport (allowing you to get to wherever you want to go during your free time) and are as centrally located as possible. And while we can't always manage to get you right into the beating heart of a city, we can guarantee that no-one else will get you closer! Please bear in mind that European hotel rooms may be smaller than you are used to for similar standard hotels in Australia, New Zealand, North America or Asia.
How do Club trips work?
Club trips stay in varied, multi-share accommodation. Rooms are single-sex, usually 4 people to a room. There are occasions where we stay in twin share bungalows or hotels, and other occasions where we stay in hostels with rooms which are 5 or 6 share. On very limited occasions rooms of up to 10 people may be used. Your Trip Leader will coordinate room lists during the course of the trip. Club trips boast accommodation ranging from modern hostels to guesthouses, bungalows, yachts and even a 12th Century Castle! In Italy, we often stay in bungalows at campsites, although calling them 'campsites' is doing them a serious disservice – it's just that 'self-contained mini resorts with unique nightlife' is a bit of a mouthful! In Paris and other selected special stopovers we use hotel upgrades for a bit of extra comfort. We always try to stay as centrally as possible and we know that no other operator can match our locations.
I'm doing a Club trip with my partner – will we will be able to share?
Rooms on Club trips are booked on a single-sex basis, so couples should not expect to share. However your Trip Leader will try to room your together where possible, if the room configurations and gender breakdown of the group allows. On most trips it is possible that you will be able to share together on certain occasions.
How do Camping trips work?
Camping trips stay in dome-style tents on a twin share basis at some of Europe's best-equipped campsites. Our easy to erect dome tents are surprisingly spacious and you'll be supplied with a comfy air mattress to sleep on. You and your tent partner will erect and dismantle your own tent at each stop, but you will be given a demonstration by your Topdeck Crew on the first day of the trip. Many of our Camping trips feature free accommodation upgrades such as hotels, hostels, yachts and an overnight ferry. These are all on a multi-share, single-sex basis, with usually 4-6 people per room. Camping trips feature the services of a Topdeck On-Road Chef and each trip carries a spacious cook tent. All cutlery and eating utensils are supplied. You will need to bring a sleeping bag for Camping trips.
How do Explorer trips work?
Explorer trips are designed for travellers who want to immerse themselves in one country or region in Europe rather than take a multi-destination trip. Our preferred accommodation style for Explorer trips is hotel (twin share / double), although our Croatia sailing boats - being traditional coastal cruisers - do not all have en-suite facilities. Explorer group sizes tend to be smaller, averaging between 16 and 20 people (with a maximum of 30). All groups are accompanied by a Topdeck Trip Leader, while our Greece and Turkey programmes have specially selected local guides to escort these trips and provide added insight to the region.
Do I need a sleeping bag?
Sleeping bags are required on all Camping trips. Sleeping bags are also required on Club trips that visit Scandinavia (Red Star Special, Northern Exposure, Russia Scandi, Scandi Express or Scenic Scandi), and are recommended for any Club trip that features Flotilla Sailing in Greece. Sleeping bags are not required on Hotel, Explorer and all other Club trips.
How much luggage am I allowed to bring?
Each person is allowed 1 item of standard size luggage (backpacks only on a Camping trip) plus a day pack (and sleeping bag if required – see above). The maximum weight of your main bag must not exceed 44lbs/20kgs. Size for all bags must not exceed 70cm x 45cm x 25cm. Due to strict weight regulations for coaches in Europe, passengers whose luggage exceeds 44lbs/20kgs may be asked to offload the excess on the departure morning. In this scenario, Topdeck will not cover any storage costs which are incurred.
What about spending money?
Naturally everybody's spending varies. There are many souvenirs to be bought and a great social scene should you wish to join in! Many of your meals (including lunches on Club & Camping trips) are included, so this really just leaves a few meals and your personal spending to budget for. Throughout the trip, your Trip Leader will also inform you of optional activities which you can participate in, such as a gondola ride in Venice or an excursion up the Jungfrau Mountain in Switzerland. Most people budget approximately €70 per day including optional activities and some souvenirs.
What if I am on a special diet?
If you have special dietary requirements e.g. vegetarian or vegan, we will make every endeavour to cater for your specific needs as long as you tell us or your agent when you book. Unfortunately in some places in Europe it is not possible to obtain certain special foods, and we cannot guarantee the variety of foods available when eating out. Our "On Road / Site Chefs" will put every effort into catering for your specific needs. There are some diets we are unable to cater for such as religious diets, so if you are unsure please email Global Journeys to check.
How many other people will be on the trip?
There's really no way to know exactly how many people will be on your trip as late bookings and cancellations do occur. Popular itineraries during peak summer season can expect to have 25-45 passengers. In the event of smaller groups, a modified passenger van may be used to improve logistics and create a more intimate group dynamic. There are some fantastic advantages to both larger and smaller group sizes.
What standard is the accommodation in the US?
On each of our North American trips we've tried to find the ideal combination of good quality accommodation which won't force you to break the bank. The hotels and motels we use are generally 2/3 star American standard hotels. Rooms in North American hotels are often larger than in similarly rated hotels in Europe, and are clean and comfortable. Rooms usually have 2 double beds, a TV and en-suite bathroom facilities. Some hotels have been selected based on their superior location, while others have been chosen for their higher quality. In Yosemite National Park, California, many of our itineraries will stay in tent cabins in the heart of the park. These cabins, chosen for their amazing location, may offer triple share rooms with a very short walk to the shower block.
What visas will I need?
Depending on your nationality you may require a visa to enter the United States. Currently most western visitors are included as part of the Visa Waiver Program. All Visa Waiver Program travellers are required to obtain an electronic travel authorisation prior to boarding a carrier to travel by air or sea to the US. Travellers will need to log onto the ESTA website and complete an on-line application in English. Please refer to our Visa Information section (which should be used as a guide only).
Where will we stop on drive days?
We do try to limit the time spent on the coach so you will have more time to enjoy the places you visit. We have adapted our itineraries to suit the distances travelled, however the USA and Canada are big countries and it takes time to get around. On some travel days we may spend several hours on the road, but we will always break up the journeys with interesting stops where possible. Stops vary from trip to trip and range from standard commercial service areas to interesting locations such as scenic parks, viewpoints and small cowboy towns!
What are the breakfasts like?
Breakfasts will range from basic continental breakfast options of cereal, toast and muffins, to full cooked hot breakfasts, all with tea and/or coffee. We have tried to use hotels which offer breakfasts in the lobby to give you that little bit of extra time in the morning.
Are there any optional activities?
Throughout the trip, your Trip Leader will also inform you of optional activities which you can participate in. Should you choose to do so, you will need to budget extra for these activities. These activities are entirely optional and you should never feel compelled to join in any of them if you don't wish to. You will be able to find a more detailed list and price guidelines in your pre-departure information.
Do I need to tip?
Tipping is a way of life in America, but in true Topdeck style your Crew will not be asking for any tips themselves at the end of your trip! However when dining out or visiting bars, it is courteous to tip the serving staff, who rely on tips to supplement their wages, which are legally below the minimum wage and often only a couple of dollars an hour.
What is the drinking age?
The drinking age in the USA is 21 years. All bars and drinking spots check ID as a matter of routine, either on entry or via the serving staff (when you order an alcoholic drink in restaurants, etc.). For this reason you should always carry some form of photographic ID (typically your passport) on you if you wish to buy alcohol. In Canada, the drinking age is 18 in Alberta & Quebec, and 19 in British Columbia & Ontario. Our Canadian Rockies trip visits both Alberta & British Columbia. Our USA & Canada Adventure trip visits both Quebec & Ontario. You should always carry photographic ID (typically your passport) with you if you wish to purchase alcohol.
How much luggage am I allowed to bring?
Each person is allowed 1 item of standard size luggage plus a day pack. The maximum weight of your main bag must not exceed 44lbs/20kgs. Size for all bags must not exceed 70cm x 45cm x 25cm. Due to strict weight regulations for coaches in the USA, passengers whose luggage exceeds 44lbs/20kgs may be asked to offload the excess on the departure morning. In this scenario, Topdeck will not cover any storage costs which are incurred.
What about spending money?
Naturally everybody's spending varies. Many of your meals are included in the trip price so this really just leaves a few meals and your personal spending to budget for. As a general guide we suggest budgeting around US$50-60 per day.