FAQ's: Before You Travel

Answers to common questions before you embark on your tour or cruise with Global Journeys

General questions
I've fully paid, when will I receive my travel documents?

Travel documents, including any paper tickets, e-tickets, e-docs, itineraries and other information, are emailed to you approximately two to three weeks prior to departure from your country of origin provided full payment has been received.

When should I take out travel insurance?

Now, if you haven't already. Travel insurance can cover you for financial losses caused by a wide range of events that can affect your trip, whether they occur before, during or even after your return. These can include modifications to your travel, cancellation, interruption, medical expenses, baggage damage, theft, and more.

Do I need a Visa for my holiday?

You are responsible for obtaining all necessary visas prior to your trip departure. Depending on your nationality, you may need visas to enter certain countries and obtaining certain visas can take up to six weeks. We've provided more information here - Visa Info Guide

Do I need any vaccinations?

Please contact us or visit your doctor to find out which vaccinations are required. If you are taking medication or suffer from any form of illness, be sure to have an adequate supply of medicines before departing on your holiday.

Guided touring questions
What is the luggage allowance on my tour?

As a general guidline you can bring with you what you would normally take on the plane. So one suitcase and hand luggage. However allowances do vary between Operators, so we've detailed their baggage policies under the FAQ section on each Operator page. Also note, some itineraries, will have limited luggage allowances (for example a trip where there is a connecting flight in a small plane) and this will be detailed in the information we send you during the booking process.

One suitcase? How is that going to work over my 4 week holiday?

Your transport will have limited luggage space, so if everyone brought whatever they wanted then you can imagine what would happen. We had a client ask if they could bring their microwave with them! On longer trips there will opportunities to launder your clothes at your hotel, on shorter trips pack only what you need, and bring a little extra cash in case you really need to purchase any necessaries.

What type of outfits do I pack and will I need formal attire?

This will depend on your personal preferences, where you are travelling, and on the time of year. It is advisable to bring at least one ‘smart’ outfit for special evenings or highlight dinners. Please note that some churches/places of worship require covered shoulders and in some cases, knee length shorts/skirts. Items that are casual and lightweight, requiring little or no ironing are recommended.

Do tour prices include tips?

Tips & gratuities are optional, but for coach tours are generally not included in the price (unless specified). There are Operators that do include them and we make that clear in their trip inclusions. Portage (the unloading and carrying of your suitcase to your room) is generally included on most tours. Again this is made clear under inclusions on each itinerary page.

We've provided a comprehensive guide to tipping here.

Some tour operators provide you with the opportunity to prepay your gratuities and you'll be provided with vouchers indicating that you have prepaid. If this is you preference please let us know.

Are airport transfers included?

Transfers will depend on the tour you choose, arrival time and airport. Under 'Inclusions' on each itinerary page we list airport transfer information.

When can I purchase optional excursions?

Your Tour Guide will go through the optional excursions for purchase while you are on tour. You may choose and purchase any optional excursions at that time. A list of optional excursions will be included in your documents for review prior to departure. Note: There are a limited number of Operators that allow you to pre-book excursions before departure. Information on how to do this will be provided once your booking is confirmed.

How much spending money should I bring?

This is obviously a difficult question, since the amount will vary from person to person and from tour to tour. By studying the itinerary pages of the tour you have chosen you will see how many highlight visits and other sightseeing is included, as well as meals and entertainment. Listed below is a guide to extra expenses for which you should budget per person.

Lunches are usually not included and peoples’ requirements vary. We suggest $15 per day. Where evening meals are not included, the cost will depend on the type and locations of restaurants used. As a guide, in Europe allow $25-35 per day. Whilst in Britain and Ireland we suggest $25-35 per day. You should budget for drinks with meals and refreshment stops during the day. Non-alcoholic drinks cost approximately $2.50 each.

Optional Excursions
Experience has shown us that most passengers participate in these excursions and you should therefore budget for these excursions in advance. Please check with us for more optional information depending on the tour you have booked.

Personal Expenditure
Souvenirs, stamps, postcards, telephone calls, taxi fares, laundry. Allow yourself $10 per day whilst in Europe, and $12 per day in Britain and Ireland, plus extra for any major gifts. You are advised, whatever your personal requirements may be, to bring more money rather than less. Once overseas, it can be complicated and time consuming to transfer additional funds from home, especially when you are on the move. You cannot always draw extra money on credit cards and they are still not accepted everywhere. Personal cheques are not accepted unless you hold a bank account in the host country. Remember, excess travellers cheques can always be refunded at the end of your trip.

River cruising questions
How much luggage can I bring onboard?

As a general guidline you can bring with you what you would normally take on the plane. So one suitcase, one carry-on bag, and one personal bag (handbag, computer case, etc.) per person. However allowances do vary between Operators, so we've detailed their baggage policies under the FAQ section on each Operator page.

What should I be wearing on board?

The type of clothing of course depends on the time of year you are travelling, but generally dress aboard and on shore is "casual & comfortable". Shorts should not be worn in the restaurant or lounge in the evenings. Bathing suits are not appropriate in the lounge or restaurant at any time.  You may wish to wear something a little dressier for the Captains Dinner. We recommend that for shore excursions you wear comfortable shoes & don't forget a sun hat.

Is laundry service available?

Most ships have either a self-serve laundrette (with ironing board) or laundry service for an additional fee.

Do I need a Visa for a European river cruise?

Firstly a valid passport is required to travel and must be valid for at least six (6) months after the scheduled return date of your trip. Check it now.

Secondly, and this a only general advice - you probably wont need any Visa's on a European river cruise, and you will on a river cruise to Russia or around Asia. Of course that varies depending on the nationality of your passport. We've got more specific advice here - Visa Info Guide

What should I consider before I go on my river cruise?

First and foremost, please taking out some form of travel insurance. Along with providing coverage in case you need medical assistance it can also cover trip interruption and we recommend it to everyone when undertaking a multi-day journey.

To prepare for your river cruise don't just consider your clothing and camera. Take your driver's license, passport and we recommend that you make two sets of photocopies of your airline tickets (including e-tickets) and the first page of your passport. Leave one set at home with a friend or relative; bring the other set with you, keeping it separate from the original documents. For more information visit our section on Passports & Visas.

It is important that you prepare enough money to last you the whole trip. It is recommended that you add around 300 to 500 dollars on top of your budget that would act as a "buffer" for your wallet. Some cruises accept dollars or other national currency, but there are some that do not accept any other currency but Euros. It would be frustrating to have all that money, and yet not be able to buy a souvenir or local food. Be sure to check the required currency to avoid this inconvenience.

You should also take whatever medications or prescriptions that you take to counter the usual ailments. A small medicine bottle or container should be enough to bring all that you need for the duration of the trip. In some circumstances, you might also need to get medical clearance from the doctor. Any medical equipment such as reading glasses, hearing aides, pacemakers and such should also be included in the things to bring.

Finally, make sure that you have the gadgets that you will need to make the trip as enjoyable as possible. Bring extra batteries and storage cards for your camera so that you don't run out of space for your photos. These are generally priced higher in the places where you'll be travelling.

Will my cabin be heated/air-conditioned?

All rooms on the ships are air conditioned and heated. All ships have individual controls in the staterooms.

Are alcoholic & other drinks available on board?

Wine, beer & soft drink are included with all onboard dinners. In Europe, regular coffee, tea & iced tea are available free of charge throughout the day from the self service coffee stations. On the Yangtze and Galapagos - coffee, tea & soft drinks are included at lunch and dinner.

I need to keep in touch with my family & office back home, what facilities are available?

Internet service is available onboard. The service works via satellite and there is an hourly charge. On the Yangtze River Cruises the internet is a flat rate charge. Internet cafes can be found in many towns along the way in Western Europe and charges are generally very reasonable. Faxes can be sent and received via reception; there is a charge for both outgoing and incoming faxes. Stamps and postcards are available for purchase on board. Mail is sent from each major port. Each stateroom has it's own telephone. This may be used to call room to room or to any of the ship's offices, in Europe calls can be made from ship-to-shore. In Egypt & China, ship-to-shore calls must be made from reception. Any charges are placed on your shipboard account. In the Galapagos, there are two satellite-linked phones available for use in the reception lounge.

What currency will I need & am I able to use my credit card on tour?

If you are travelling in Europe, most of the countries you will be visiting use the Euro. Exceptions are Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia and Switzerland; they all have their own currencies but the euro is accepted in many establishments. Many locations accept major credit cards; however in small towns they are not widely accepted. In these cases and for incidentals or small vendors, you will need some local currency. ATM machines are located on shore at some stops. Prior to your departure, confirm with your bank that your ATM or credit card and PIN number will work abroad.

All purchases on board your ship are charged to your room account. The onboard currency is the Euro. Traveller's cheques may be exchanged for Euros. For payment of shipboard accounts, Euros and U.S. dollars are accepted as well as American Express, Visa, Mastercard and Diner's Club. A fee is charged for the use of traveller's cheques. Personal cheques cannot be cashed on board.

If you are travelling in China, U.S. dollars are widely accepted on shore. The local currency is the Yuan. ATM machines will dispense Yuan or they can be purchased on board the ship using U.S. dollars. The currency on board is the Yuan. Shipboard accounts can be settled in cash, traveller's cheques or most major credit cards.

If you are travelling in Ecuador, the U.S. dollar is the official currency. Credit cards are usually accepted in larger towns. In smaller towns cash is recommended. Shipboard accounts can be settled by credit card, cash or travellers cheques.

If you are travelling in Egypt, the official currency is the Egyptian pound, but Euros and U.S. dollars are widely accepted. In small towns it is recommended to carry small amounts of local currency, but vendors in tourist areas are likely to accept U.S. dollars. Credit cards are usually accepted in larger towns. ATMs are available in most larger cities. Shipboard accounts can be settled by credit card or with cash. Traveller's cheques are not accepted.

Ocean cruising questions
I’ve heard about my online cruise account – what’s that all about?

When you make your cruise booking with us, you will be able to register for an online cruise account with your cruise line. Your Global Journeys Cruise Advisor will provide your booking reference to do so. Once you have paid in full, you will then be able to personalise your trip with the option to pre-book shore excursions, make dining or spa reservations (if available), register your personal details (including your passport details, emergency contact etc.), set up your onboard expense account, and access your cruise documentation.

How much luggage can I take on an ocean cruise?

Ocean cruise lines are generous with their luggage allowance, usually accommodating anywhere between 30kg and 90kg per passenger, depending on the Operator. Regardless of total allowance, there will be restrictions on the weight of each individual item for health and safety reasons. You’ll also need to ensure your belongings can be safely stored in your stateroom and if you are flying to join or leave your cruise, it is important to check your airline carrier restrictions.

What am I expected to wear on my cruise? What outfits should I pack?

Each cruise line has its own onboard dress code, which varies from casual to more formal on luxury liners. Our cruise line specific FAQs provide Operator guidelines and packing suggestions. Generally, you can opt for casual/smart casual by day, and tailor your evening attire to your chosen dining venue – pack some smart casual and formal options so your bases are covered. You will also need to consider destination appropriate clothes e.g. expedition wear or conservative attire to visit mosques, temples or religious sites. Also check for theme nights like ‘White Parties’ or formal nights on your itinerary.

Can I bring my own alcohol to drink on board?

Some cruise lines don’t permit any personal beverages to be brought on board, however, most will allow a couple of bottles of wine or Champagne for personal consumption in your stateroom at no charge (or for a corkage fee in the dining room/public areas). Some cruise lines (usually luxury lines) allow beers and spirits as well or have no restrictions or corkage fees. More specific details are provided in the FAQ's section on each of our cruise-line pages.

How will I pay for my onboard expenses?

Cruise ships are predominantly cashless. You will set up an onboard expense account linked to your credit/debit card or you can provide a cash deposit. For any onboard purchases you will present your cruise card (some newer ships have started using wristbands) and your expenses will be tallied up to settle at the end of your cruise.

You can opt to set an expense limit, restrict the spending for members in your party, or check your balance throughout your trip so there are no surprises. At the end of your cruise (usually on the final night) you’ll be provided with a statement which will be charged in line with your specified payment method.

Please note if you assign a credit/debit card it is common for the funds to be frozen as a guarantee until your account is settled (and sometimes these funds take a few days or more to be accessible afterwards).

What currency is used on board?

The currency used on board will depend on the cruise line you are travelling with (e.g. on American cruise lines all charges will be in U.S. dollars). You’ll need to consider currency conversion and any international fees charged by your bank.

My cruise is going to multiple countries, how do I go about currency on shore?

In most destinations you will be expected to pay in local currency (some busier ports accept US Dollars although change will be given in local currency). Larger stores may accept credit/debit cards but it’s best to have cash on hand for smaller venues, roadside stalls and any other incidentals.

Some ships have foreign currency facilities and ATMs on board, however, there is no guarantee the cash you need will be available. You may find ATMs in port (check with your bank for options and fees), however, it’s advisable to arrange some foreign currency in advance if you are heading to more remote destinations.

Do I need to budget for tipping on board?

On most cruise lines gratuities are included in the fare. As such daily gratuities for services will not be added to your onboard account in the same way as it is for other passengers.

On some international cruise lines, gratuities are not included in the fare, but you may be able to pay these upfront with your cruise fare. If not these are added to your onboard account at a standard rate per passenger per day. In this case gratuities will be itemised on your account and you can change the amount of the gratuity at your discretion while onboard.

There are services for which additional gratuities MAY be charged onboard that may include, but are not limited to:

  • Spa and Salon Treatments
  • The purchase of certain drinks not included in complimentary menus or drinks packages
  • Specialty Restaurants

Finally, on some cruise lines, gratuities are not charged at all, nor expected. It is entirely at your discretion to tip extra to crew members for good service.

Can I add money to my onboard account before I depart?

Yes, you can usually purchase onboard credit before your cruise or while on board (and some special offers include complimentary bonus onboard credit). This value is then deducted from your final bill. Some cruise lines have restrictions on items and services you can use your shipboard credit towards, so it’s best to check beforehand.

When should I book my shore excursions?

Often shore excursions have limited availability and are reserved on a first come first served basis, so it is best to book them in advance to guarantee your spot. You can do this through your online cruise account. There is usually a reservation window which will vary by cruise Operator (e.g. reservations may open 240 days out from sailing, and close seven days before departure). You will also have the option to make reservations once on board, however, these will be subject to availability.

If you’re worried about changing your mind, you can usually cancel your pre-booked shore excursion for a full refund within a specified grace period. Some require cancellation at least three days (and sometimes more) out from sailing, while others allow cancellation up to 24 hours before your scheduled excursion. Check the Operator’s terms and conditions before booking your excursions.

Do I need to pre-book my dinner reservations for specialty restaurants?

Restaurant reservation policies vary by cruise line. You will generally be able to make a reservation for specialty restaurants before you cruise, and it is advisable to do so (particularly for a special occasion). Some cruise lines allow you to do this prior to sailing through your online cruise account, however, for others you will need to do so once on board.

I’m celebrating a milestone during my cruise; can I arrange something special?

If you are celebrating something special during your trip you will find most cruise lines will offer you a complimentary cake (or similar) and you’ll be showered with a big ‘Happy Birthday’ or ‘Congratulations’ depending on the occasion. Your cruise line will need advance notice to arrange this, so be sure to let your Global Journeys Cruise Advisor know. Most cruise lines also offer the option to pre-purchase packages for yourself or others which can include anything from Champagne and chocolates to elaborate stateroom decorations.

Will I be able to keep in touch with family and friends while I am away?

Most cruise lines offer either complimentary Wi-Fi and or for a fee, tiered packages are often available for purchase. You will also find computers equipped with internet on most ships. If you need to make or receive phone calls you will usually have the option to use the ship’s telephones, however, this will be charged at the current rate of your cruise line. Some lines also facilitate the use of your own mobile phone with a cellular service which is billed by your home network provider. Rates can be quite costly, so be sure to check any fees prior to your cruise if you intend to use these services.

The Small Print
We’ve tried to make this FAQ guide as accurate as possible, but it is general advice and each tour and cruise Operator has their own rules and regulations. We've outlined those in the FAQ section on each Operator page. Please double check the essentials like visas, health and safety, airport information etc with the relevant authorities before you travel. Global Journeys takes no responsibility for loss, injury or inconvenience caused as a result of the information provided above.

Plan Your Journey

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