FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Tell me a bit about how Bella Vita’s Mediterranean travel services work.
We have a fairly simple trip planning process which is clearly outlined on our HOW WE DO IT page.
Can you tell me the cost of a custom Mediterranean vacation with Bella Vita Travels?
As no two trips are alike, we are unable to provide exact costs. The cost of luxury travel has increased exponentially over the last two years. For a tailor-made itinerary in top destinations, including stays at 5-star hotels, private touring, and transportation plus our expertise, research, execution, and support before and during your travels, our clients should expect to spend $12,000 per week or more for two people.
What is included in my custom vacation package?
Normally, we arrange for all your accommodations, transportation, local guides, and any other fun activities and experiences. Your trip can be planned to the minute or can be more “open” with fewer planned activities. The choice is yours based on your travel wishes. Additionally, you receive unlimited communication and assistance from Bella Vita Travels and our in-country partners before and during your travels.
If I book a custom vacation with Bella Vita Travels, what kind of information will I receive prior to my trip?
Upon booking a Mediterranean vacation with Bella Vita Travels, we will provide you with an information kit for each country you will be visiting. You will also receive our exclusive destination kits with our dining recommendations and “on your own” excursion ideas. Approximately 2-3 weeks prior to your departure date, you will receive your final day-to-day itinerary with information, start times, and contacts for your accommodations, tours, excursions, and transportation.
Why do you charge an upfront, non-refundable itinerary planning/consulting fee?
Every Bella Vita Travels vacation is 100% customized. It takes a good deal of time and research to design just the right itinerary for you. And just like any professional service such as lawyers, accountants, architects, etc., we are compensated for our work. We ask for a minor commitment on your part. In exchange, you receive a dedicated team who will work very hard for you. The fee also includes unlimited revisions until you are completely satisfied. Our planning fees start at $600 for the first 5 hours of assistance and then $100 after that. Our fees are based on the number of travelers, number of travel days, and overall intricacy of your trip.
You can learn about our different service fees here.
Tell me more about the accommodations used by Bella Vita Travels?
We only work with what we consider to be the very best lodging experiences in the Mediterranean and Europe. Whether it be a charming B&B, a luxury 5-star hotel, or a private villa, we have hand-selected our accommodations partners. This is based on our stringent requisites of high quality, convenient location, and superior customer service.
We are unable to work with Airbnb and VRBO as they do not allow for proper screening of their properties. We take it seriously that you have entrusted your trip to us and we want to ensure the quality of your accommodations.
How far in advance should I begin booking my custom vacation?
We highly recommend starting 6-9 months out for trips occurring between May – September in order to have the best options. in the shoulder season (April or October) and winter holidays, we ask for at least 3 months of planning time.
Does Bella Vita Travels book my flights?
We have partnered with a fantastic 24/7 air concierge service to provide not only top-notch expertise but the ability to hold seats in advance of purchase, assist with luggage loss, and above all, 24-hour flight monitoring and rerouting assistance in the event of delays, cancellations, or missed connections. We think they are invaluable (we don’t travel without them ourselves!). These services start at $125 per person for an international ticket. For complete details, please refer to our partner portal with them to see all the benefits they can provide to make your air travel seamless and stress-free, just as we will do for the ground portion of your trip.
For flights within Europe on low-cost airlines such as EasyJet or Ryan Air, we charge $25 per ticket issued.
Why Bella Vita Travels?
Bella Vita has been created tailor-made vacations for their clients since 2004. As residents of Europe, we have extensive knowledge and access to the continent allowing us to research, handpick our providers, and constantly stay in touch with the pulse of the countries we represent.
We only take a limited number of clients at a time in order to provide the best possible service and options to them. We do not advertise, but rather rely on our existing repeat clients (some who have traveled with us as many as a dozen times!) and word of mouth/client referrals.
We are affiliated with Travel Experts, a proud member of the exclusive Virtuoso Luxury Travel Network. Virtuoso membership, limited to less than one percent of all global travel companies, enables us to offer our clients complimentary upgrades, outstanding amenities, and privileged access to events throughout the world.
We are a fully licensed seller of travel, members of CLIA and the Travel Institute.
Can I make changes to my custom vacation proposal?
Yes. We can add, delete and revise until your custom trip itinerary is just right for you and your travel companions. This is included when you have paid the itinerary planning fee. However, once the balance has been paid, additional service fees will apply. Within 30 days of your trip, there will be no refund of services already paid for and any additions will apply on top of the overall cost of your trip already paid.
Is it possible to book my own accommodations or other parts of my trip?
In order to make your trip as seamless as possible, we need to handle every aspect of your trip. By giving us control over these elements, we can provide the best possible service. It also allows us to quickly fix anything should it need to be.
We have very close relationships with our preferred hotels and local suppliers. We have personally stayed in or performed an extensive site inspection with our hotel partners and have experienced many of the offerings from our local suppliers. We also have exclusive contracts with the majority of them which is an important part of our compensation.
We only work on trips holistically and do not provide “a la carte” pieces (such as one tour, rental car, or airport transfer only).
When and how do I pay?
Upon agreement to work with Bella Vita Travels, an upfront planning/consulting fee is due (see above). Once you have approved your itinerary, the deposit is due. The usual deposit for your tailor-made vacation is between 20-30% but there are cases in which a larger deposit is required to due necessary full payments upfront by certain suppliers. The final payment is due between 60 days before your departure. We will provide you with that information when presenting you with an itinerary.
Do you provide price breakdowns?
We are unable to give price breakdowns for our Tailor-made Vacation packages as we receive contracted and confidential, bundled rates from our suppliers which is standard practice in our business.
We charge competitive market rates. This combined with top-notch expertise and service, and an unforgettable travel experience is priceless. This is what keeps our clients coming back year after year to work with us.
Ideas on the best time of year to visit the Mediterranean?
We personally feel the months of May, early June and September are the best all-around times to visit the Mediterranean. Late June through August tends to be the hottest months and the most crowded. While April and October are generally pleasant times for sightseeing, they are not ideal times if you want to enjoy beach or island resorts to the fullest.
The off-season can be wonderful for touring cities. We can often find fabulous deals for the best accommodations.
Should I purchase travel insurance?
Yes, absolutely. We strongly encourage you to purchase travel insurance at the time of booking. This is your protection should you cancel and forfeit funds or in the unfortunate case of injury or loss. The cost of travel insurance is relatively low and is worth the peace of mind knowing you are protected. We can provide you with a comprehensive coverage plan via our partner, RoamRight. If you prefer more choices in plans, please check with your credit card company.
How should I pay for my purchases in Europe?
The best exchange rate will always be with your credit card as many do not charge foreign exchange fees. Note that many places in Europe do not accept American Express due to high bank fees. Using your ATM card is second best. Note, you will have fees (usually 1-3%).
IMPORTANT: Be sure to contact your individual credit card companies advising them of your overseas trip. By doing so you will avoid any fraud protection block on your card.
In the event you prefer to use traveler’s checks, we recommend you get them in Euros, not dollars as you can be “double charged” for the higher exchange rate here in Europe. American Express tends to have the best exchange rates both in the USA and Europe. In Italy, there are AMEX offices in Venice, Florence, and Rome.
Is there a best method to pack for my Tailor-made Vacation?
Packing for your trip depends on the time of year, where you will be going, and what you plan to do. Bella Vita Travels will provide you with a “welcome guide” customized to your trip and the time of year you will be traveling. Ultimately, these materials should give you good direction regarding clothing, packing, and much more. Plus, your personal travel specialist will be available to help you at any time.
Please explain what does Bella Vita Travels offer through its services?
Our team curates highly customized itineraries (we call Tailor-made Vacations) for clients who are traveling to Italy, France, Spain, Greece, Portugal, Croatia, Morocco, Slovenia, and Malta – as well as a bit of England, Scotland, Ireland, Iceland, the Netherlands and Belgium (more coming soon!).
- Our services save you time by providing access to expert planning to create highly personalized vacations throughout the Mediterranean and Europe.
- We offer access to a vast, curated collection of exceptional luxury vacation options, each hand-selected to meet our standards.
- We deliver peace of mind by removing the stress of vacation planning to ensure each trip exceeds expectations.
We provide all arrangements to make your vacation easy and worry-free. From meet-and-greet services at airports and train stations to English-speaking drivers and licensed historic tour guides, cooking lessons, and winery tours, you select the components that you would like to experience and we build your dream trip for you. We will craft a unique itinerary around your travel goals, style, and budget which will be sold to you for one price.