Frequently Asked Questions

What does Bella Vita Travels offer through its services?

Bella Vita Travels designs highly customized Mediterranean vacation itineraries for clients who are traveling to Italy, France, Spain, Greece, Portugal, Croatia and Morocco (or a combination of those countries).

  • Our services save you time by providing access to expert planning, concierge-level service, and building ongoing relationships to create highly personalized vacations throughout the Mediterranean.
  • We offer access to a vast collection of exceptional travel experiences, 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.

What is the cost of a custom Mediterranean vacation with Bella Vita Travels?

As no two of our trips are the same, we cannot provide you with an exact cost for your tailor-made vacation. Yet based on our extensive experience in creating tailor-made vacations, we can give you some pricing guidelines:

Boutique Trips
Our boutique trips include a mix of a limited number of exceptional 3-star (B&B’s/hotel) and 4-star accommodations, a mix of small group tours/activities and independent exploration plus transportation by train or rental car between destinations. Prices start at about US $400 per person per day and up.

Upscale Trips
Our Upscale trips include stays at lovely 4-star accommodations (and a possible 5-star splurge!), amazing private guides and unique experiences, transport by train and private transfers between your destinations, and more. Prices start at about US $700 per person per day and up.

Luxury Trips
Our Luxury trips feature the absolute best that the Mediterranean has to offer, including stays at some of the most incredible luxury hotels, amazing private guides and exclusive experiences, first-class transport between all your destinations and private vehicles where most appropriate, and more. Prices start at about US $1000 per person per day and up.

Please note, these are not fixed prices and based on two people traveling together for a minimum of one week, and that traveling in larger groups normally results in a higher overall price of your tailor-made vacation, but may reduce the per person cost.

Italy and France tend to be on the high end of pricing, Spain and Greece in the middle and Portugal and Croatia as the least expensive. For Morocco, our trips include both driver and guide plus exceptional experiences throughout your travels and therefore, best fall under the luxury category. With that said, our objective is to give you the best experience within your financial parameters, and in the case of Portugal and Croatia, we tend to have more added value possibilities.

What is included in my custom vacation package?

We normally arrange for all your accommodations, transportation, local guides for tours, restaurant reservations and any other fun activities and experiences from the moment you arrive at your until the day of your departure. Depending on your travel wishes, your trip can be planned to the minute or can be more “open” with less planned activities. The choice is yours. Additionally, you receive unlimited communication, guidance 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 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 and contacts for your accommodations, tours, excursions and transportation.

Why do you charge an upfront, non-refundable itinerary planning fee?

Every Bella Vita Travels vacation is 100% customized and 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 for a dedicated team who will work very hard for you. The fee also includes include unlimited revisions until you are completely satisfied. Please note that the itinerary planning fee is applied to the cost of your trip and is not in addition to.

What type of accommodations are used by Bella Vita Travels?

Bella Vita Travels only works with what we consider to be the very best lodging experiences in the Mediterranean in a particular category. Whether it be a charming B&B, a luxury 5-star hotel or a private villa, we have hand-selected our accommodations partners based on our stringent requisites of high quality, convenient location and superior customer service.

How far in advance should I begin booking my custom vacation?

Ideally, at least 6 months in advance–especially during the high season of May through September. We can certainly plan a custom vacation with less lead time, but the risk is that you will have fewer options for our preferred hotels, guides, etc. It is a rarity that we accept a trip with less than 3 months lead time and only in the shoulder and off seasons.

The more time we have to plan, the better are options will be!

Does Bella Vita Travels book my flights?

No. While we generally recommend which airport to arrive and depart, we do not sell or book air travel arrangements.

Are you a travel agent?

We are not is a traditional travel agency but rather a team of travel experts specializing specifically in the countries that "touch" the Mediterranean.  We custom design trips using your travel wishes, our extensive knowledge of these countries and vast network of hand-picked guides, drivers and local experts who help us create the “Ultimate Mediterranean Experience” for you.

We are members of ASTA 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. 

However, once the balance has been paid, additional service fees may apply. Within 30 days of your trip, there will be no refund of services already paid for and any additions will applied on top of the overall cost of your trip already paid.

Can I book my own hotel accommodations?

In order to make your trip as seamless and manageable as possible, we strongly prefer to handle your hotel accommodations. But we also understand that you may have points for free or discounted rooms that you want to use, and will be considered on a case by case basis. 

How and when do I pay?

Upon agreement to work with Bella Vita Travels, an upfront itinerary planning fee is due.

Upon approval of your itinerary, the deposit is due (minus the itinerary planning fee). Note, the usual deposit is 25% but there are cases in which a larger deposit is required to due necessary full payments upfront by certain vendors. We will provide you with that information when presenting you with an itinerary.

The final payment is due 90 days before your departure.

Do you provide price breakdowns?

No, we do not provide line item breakdowns of your trip price for two reasons:

  1. We work with local suppliers who bundle hotels and services into package prices and we do the same for our clients. This is standard practice across the industry.
  2. It can get unreasonably complicated and confusing. A single trip price is a function of exchange rates, individual reservation details, multiple suppliers, banking fees and a host of micro costs. We are not out to be sneaky; we are out to keep things simple and clear.

Should I purchase travel insurance?

Yes, absolutely. We strongly encourage you to purchase travel insurance at the time of booking in the event you must 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 recommend Square Mouth Travel Insurance.

What is the best time of year to visit the Mediterranean?

We personally feel the month of May, early June and the month of September are the best all-round times to visit the Mediterranean. Late June through August tend 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 months between November and March can also be fantastic options for travel into the Alps, most cities or for enjoying certain parts of the Mediterranean during times of greater availability, fewer crowds, cool temperatures and less expensive prices. The downside at this time is that certain areas may close down entirely during the off-season.

What kind of internet access will I have in Europe?

Most of accommodations will have WiFi access available. In the rare occasions that you may not be able to access the internet via your own computer or mobile device, most hotels will have PC’s with internet access. If you need wifi access at all times anywhere you may be, you can also consider renting or purchasing a portable global wifi hotspot device such as SkyRoam.

Should I bring my mobile phone or rent one in Europe?

If your personal cell phone is compatible overseas (check with your wireless carrier), then we highly recommend activating your international coverage and bring it with you. If you do not bring it with you, we recommend you rent an international cell phone from CellularAbroad. It is just a little extra “comfort” should you have any mishaps or have questions during your travels.

What kind of travel power adapter do I need in Europe?

Electricity in Europe is supplied at 220 volts AC at a frequency of 50 Hz. You will need a European adapter which are easily found online and in most big-box retail stores and hardware stores in the USA.

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. Please keep in mind that many places in the Mediterranean do not accept American Express as their bank charge is higher than Visa or MasterCard. 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 to let them know you will be using your credit card in Europe. If you don’t do so your banks fraud protection system may put a fraud stop and block charges on your credit 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 a 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.

How should I pack for my Mediterranean vacation?

How you pack for your trip to the Mediterranean depends on the time of year, where you will be going, and what you plan to do. Upon booking a custom vacation with Bella Vita Travels, we will provide you with a “welcome guide” customized to your trip and the time of year you will be traveling. 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.