FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Frequently Asked Questions

How do Bella Vita's travel services work?

We have a fairly simple trip planning process as bullet-pointed below:

  • Initial consultation by phone or email - Here we will discuss your  travel wishes, interests, and budget. We will informally come up with an itinerary that works for you including dates, destinations and suggest travel route.
  • Itinerary Planning Fee - We require a nonrefundable fee toward trip of normally €450 euro or $500 USD.  A higher fee will apply for last minute trips (within 90 days of arrival), more than 6 people traveling together and the overall complexity of your trip. Note, this fee is applied to the overall cost of your trip and not in addition to.
  • Itinerary proposal - A detailed itinerary with every element of your trip from accommodations, activities, transportation and real pricing for your review.
  • Trip Deposit - Once you have approved the itinerary, we require a 25-50% trip deposit (you will be advise ahead of time of the exact deposit percentage based on our suppliers). This payment confirms trip. All hotels, flights and touring are booked at this point.
  • Helpful Documents - Your trip manager will provide you with our country kits and other helpful documents in preparation for your trip. Your trip manager will be available you throughout the trip planning process and during your travels for any questions you may have.
  • Final payment - Due 90 days before departure
  • Final Itinerary- You will receive a detailed final itinerary with tour times, local contacts approximately 3 weeks before your arrival date.
  • Enjoy your trip! - Your trip manager and local ground staff will be available throughout your Mediterranean adventure.
  • Trip feedback -  Please tell us how we did so we can learn, improve and grow our services.

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

As no two trips are alike, we are unable to provide exact costs or "guess-estimates". Still, we want to be as honest and realistic with you in terms of what you can expect to pay for a tailor-made vacation with Bella Vita. Our itineraries are designed from scratch and we specialize in upscale to luxury vacations including 4-5 star hotels, private tours, first class transportation by train or driver and an abundance of unique travel experiences.
 
Our trips typically start at $500 per person per day (based on a 2 person trip) which includes the travel elements listed above plus our expertise, research, execution and support before and during your travels. Obviously, this number can change based on the number of travelers, destinations travel days and overall intricacy of your trip.

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?

We do not handle international, across the Atlantic flights.  Occasionally, we will book inter-continental and island flights within Europe on a case by case basis.

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. 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 applied on top of the overall cost of your trip already paid.

Can I book my own accommodations?

In order to make your trip as seamless and manageable as possible, we need to handle every aspect of your trip, including hotels. We believe it is also in your  best interest to give us full control over these elements in order to provide the best possible service and also quickly fix anything should it need to be.

We have very close relationships with our preferred hotels. We have personally stayed in or performed an extensive site inspection in order to know the best rooms in each of them. We also have contracts with the majority of them which is an important part of our compensations. 

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 suppliers. 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?

We do not offer price breakdowns for a few very simple reasons.

It is standard practice as a wholesale travel business to have confidential agreements with our preferred hotels and suppliers which are provided to us in bundled pricing.

Additionally, a great amount of time and work is put in to each and every trip we plan, and behind that pretty package a series of complicated costs, exchange rates, taxes and other fees. We are not out to be sneaky here, but rather to keep things simple and clear.

Lastly, we charge competitive market rates. This combined with top notch expertise and service, and an unforgettable travel experience is priceless and what keeps our clients coming back year after year to work with us.

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 can provide you with a comprehensive coverage plan which you will find here: BELLA VITA 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.

What does Bella Vita Travels offer through its services?

Bella Vita Travels curates highly customized Mediterranean vacation itineraries for clients who are traveling to Italy, France, Spain, Greece, or Portugal (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 luxury vacations throughout the Mediterranean.
  • 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.