General Booking Conditions
Booking & Payment
All bookings must be secured by payment of the requisite non-refundable deposit or the full price of the tour if booking less than 10 weeks prior to departure.
Payment can be made by credit card (2% charge), debit card, cheque, (payable to ‘The Cultural Experience’), international money order in sterling (GBP), or bank transfer net of all bank charges (bank details available upon request). For bank transfers originating from bank accounts outside the United Kingdom an additional fee of £10 is payable.
Upon receipt of your payment, we will issue a booking confirmation invoice, Travel Trust insurance certificate and, if applicable, an ATOL certificate. At this point, a binding contract will exist between you and TCE. Please let us know within 10 days of its issue if any of these documents contain any errors, paying particular attention to ensure correct spelling of passenger name.
The balance of the price is payable not less than 70 days prior to the departure date. If the balance has not been paid by 56 days prior to departure, we may cancel the booking and levy the cancellation charges set out below.
The Cultural Experience takes your financial protection very seriously. The air holidays in this brochure are ATOL protected by the Civil Aviation Authority. Our ATOL number is ATOL T10153. The Cultural Experience is also a member of the Travel Trust Association (No. U6964) ensuring that we more than meet the requirements of the Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tour Regulations 1992. This provides security for money paid by you in the event of our insolvency.
Many of the flights and flight-inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. But ATOL protection does not apply to all holiday and travel services listed on this website. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking. If you do not receive an ATOL Certificate then the booking will not be ATOL protected. If you do receive an ATOL Certificate but all the parts of your trip are not listed on it, those parts will not be ATOL protected. Please see our booking conditions for information or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/ATOLcertificate.
We, or the suppliers identified on your ATOL Certificate, will provide you with the services listed on the ATOL Certificate (or a suitable alternative). In some cases, where neither we nor the supplier are able to do so for reasons of insolvency, an alternative ATOL holder may provide you with the services you have bought or a suitable alternative (at no extra cost to you). You agree to accept that in those circumstances the alternative ATOL holder will perform those obligations and you agree to pay any money outstanding to be paid by you under your contract to that alternative ATOL holder. However, you also agree that in some cases it will not be possible to appoint an alternative ATOL holder, in which case you will be entitled to make a claim under the ATOL scheme (or your credit card issuer where applicable).
If we, or the suppliers identified on your ATOL certificate, are unable to provide the services listed (or a suitable alternative, through an alternative ATOL holder or otherwise) for reasons of insolvency, the Trustees of the Air Travel Trust may make a payment to (or confer a benefit on) you under the ATOL scheme. You agree that in return for such a payment or benefit you assign absolutely to those Trustees any claims which you have or may have arising out of or relating to the non-provision of the services, including any claim against us, the travel agent (or your credit card issuer where applicable). You also agree that any such claims may be re-assigned to another body, if that other body has paid sums you have claimed under the ATOL scheme.
Where our travel products do not fall under the jurisdiction of the ATOL scheme, we provide financial protection by virtue of our membership of The Travel Trust Association (TTA), which exists in order to protect you, the customer, with 100 per cent financial protection. Every penny that you pay to us is protected by the Travel Trust Association. We deposit your money into a designated trust account which is supervised by an appointed trustee who is either a banker, chartered or certified accountant or a solicitor. Both the Cultural Experience and the TTA trustee are required to authorise payments from the trust account. The TTA guarantees your financial protection up to a maximum of £11,000 per passenger. So, for example, if each member of your party paid £4000 for their place on one of our tours, the TTA guarantees it will reimburse the loss of the £4000 to each person, should it not be available to you from the Trust Account. The terms of this guarantee can be found on the TTA website, www.traveltrust.co.uk/guarantee.
Fitness To Travel
All tours involve a fair amount of walking often over uneven cobbled streets, hillsides or steps. Participants on all tours should be able to walk or stand for at least sixty minutes without aid or requiring a rest. This year (2016) we have introduced an activity level guide by which you can measure your ability to join the tour. If you have any concerns in this regard, please contact us so that we can advise you further. We will refuse to carry anyone who has failed to notify us of any disability requiring assistance during the period from booking the tour to its departure. Subsequent to the tour’s departure anyone who in The Cultural Experience’s opinion proves to be unfit to travel or cannot meet the criteria contained in our activity level guide may have their holiday terminated and we will impose any applicable cancellation charges. In certain cases we may ask for a confirmation letter from you GP certifying that you meet the activity level criteria prior to accepting you on a tour. You must be able to carry your own luggage as porterage is not provided. For tours travelling by rail we recommend a suitcase with wheels.
To participate in any of our tours you must ensure that you have adequate holiday insurance to cover cancellation and curtailment up to the cost of the holiday for each participant, medical expenses, emergency repatriation, loss of luggage, travel delay plus loss of personal items and cash. We strongly recommend that you and all members of your party be adequately insured as soon as you book your holiday. In any event you must let us have details of your insurance policy at least four weeks prior to departure.
Passport & Visas
For many countries, the passport needs to be valid for at least six months beyond your date of return. The cost of visas is not included in the price of each tour. Approximately eight weeks prior to your departure we will mail you the requisite supporting documentation for your visa application together with the relevant embassy contact details and the name of a visa handling company. Some countries allow you to purchase your visa on entry. Of the countries we plan to visit in this programme presently Belarus, Turkey, Burma, Russia, India, Uzbekistan and Iran require visas to be obtained in advance. The USA requires advance ESTA authorisation.
Whilst we will provide up to date information and supporting documentation as required, general information concerning passport, visa and health requirements will vary between nationalities and are subject to change. You are responsible for checking current requirements before departure, the application process ensuring you comply with all requirements, and taking all relevant documents on your holiday. TCE will not be liable for any failure by the Client to discharge these responsibilities and the Client will have to reimburse TCE for any costs they incur as a result of such failure on the part of the Client.
Special requests should be indicated on the booking forms or requested in writing. We will try to arrange special requests to be met, but we cannot guarantee that they will be fulfilled. Adding requests after booking may incur an amendment charge. We do not accept bookings that are dependent upon any special request being met.
Your booking is with Midas Tours Limited trading as 'The Cultural Experience' (TCE). In these conditions "TCE" shall mean Midas Tours Limited (trading as The Cultural Experience and registered in England and Wales, company number 05819354), The Cultural Experience at 8 Barnack Business Park, Blakey Road, Salisbury, United Kingdom. (Tel 0345 475 1815 or +44 1722 340699). The "Client" shall mean the signatory on the booking form and everyone named in the booking or added subsequently. The singular shall include the plural and vice versa.
There will be no contract between TCE and the Client until the Client has signed the appropriate booking form and paid the requested deposit and TCE has issued a confirmation invoice. However, for bookings made within 70 days of travel, a contract shall be deemed to exist once the client has made the booking 'definite' by telephone and TCE have confirmed full holiday details. Full payment will be due immediately for bookings made within 70 days of travel (subsequent cancellation of the holiday by the Client is subject to the charges in Clauses 5 and 9). In signing the booking form, the Client accepts these conditions on his behalf and on behalf of all other persons named on the booking form, including those substituted or added by agreed amendment. It is a condition of the contract that the Client will take out travel insurance.
The balance of the price is payable not less than 70 days prior to the departure date. If the balance has not been paid by 56 days prior to departure, TCE may cancel the booking and levy the cancellation charges set out in Clause 5. No reminders or statements will be sent.
Special requests should be indicated on the booking forms or requested in writing. TCE will try to arrange special requests to be met, but cannot guarantee that they will be unless a supplement is charged. Adding requests after booking may incur an amendment charge.
In the event of cancellation by the Client the following cancellation charges (as a proportion of total invoiced cost) will be made based on the cancellation period before departure:
- 71 days or more, deposit only
- 70 days to 49 days, 50%
- 48 days to 29 days, 60%
- 28 days to 22 days, 70%
- 21 days to 15 days, 85%
- 14 days to 8 days, 95%
- 7 days to 0 days, 100%
Your cancellation takes effect from the date we receive your written confirmation. The balance of the cost of your arrangements is due not less than 70 days prior to scheduled departure. If we do not receive this balance in full and on time, we reserve the right to treat your booking as cancelled by you in which case the cancellation charges above will become payable. If you are forced to return home early, or choose to do so where you have no reasonable cause for complaint, we cannot refund the cost of any services you have not used or be liable for any associated costs you may incur.
If you wish to change any part of your booking arrangements after our confirmation invoice has been issued, we will do our absolute best to assist, but we cannot guarantee that we will be able to meet your requested change. Where we can meet a request, all changes will be subject to payment of an administration fee of £50 per person per change as well as any applicable rate changes or extra costs incurred as well as any costs incurred by ourselves and any costs or charges incurred or imposed by any of our suppliers. These costs typically increase the closer to the departure date that changes are made so you should contact us as soon as possible. Where we are unable to assist you and you do not wish to proceed with the original booking, we will treat this as a cancellation by you.
If you are prevented from travelling it may be possible to transfer your booking to another suitable person provided that written notice is given and subject to an administration fee.
If we change or cancel the tour. It is unlikely that we will have to make any changes to your travel arrangements, but we do plan the arrangements many months in advance. Occasionally, we may have to make changes and we reserve the right to do so at any time. Most of these changes will be minor and we will advise you of them at the earliest possible date. Occasionally, we may have to amend the prices of unsold tours or correct errors in the prices of confirmed tours.
If we have to make a major change or cancel, we will tell you as soon as possible and if there is time to do so before departure, we will offer you the choice of: i) accepting the changed arrangements, ii) having a refund of all monies paid; or iii) accepting an offer of alternative travel arrangements of comparable standard from us, if available (we will refund any price difference if the alternative is of a lower value). As we quote prices both with and without flights or Eurostar, if you choose to book your own travel you are advised to check that the tour will run prior to doing so.
Except where expressly stated elsewhere in these booking conditions we cannot accept liability where the performance of our obligations under our contract with you is prevented or affected or you otherwise suffer any damage, loss or expense as a result of force majeure. Force Majeure means unusual and unforeseeable circumstances beyond TCE's control, the consequences of which neither TCE nor their suppliers could avoid, including but not limited to war, riot, civil strife, terrorist activity, industrial dispute, natural or nuclear disaster, fire, flood, adverse weather conditions or the threat of any of these.
Up to 14 days before departure, TCE reserves the right to cancel a tour if it receives low bookings. Low booking is where an insufficient number of people have booked a tour to make its operation possible in the advertised form. We will make every effort to modify tours to allow them to continue with low bookings. From the time Clients have agreed such modifications, a 100% cancellation charge will apply. As we quote prices both with and without flights or Eurostar, if you choose to book your own travel you are advised to check that the tour will run prior to doing so.
Whilst we will provide up to date information and supporting documentation as required, general information concerning passport, visa and health requirements applicable to all Clients will vary between their nationalities and are subject to change and the client is responsible for checking current requirements before departure. It is the Client's responsibility to ensure that he complies with all applicable requirements and takes with him all documents required for his holiday. TCE will not be liable for any failure by the Client to discharge these responsibilities and the Client will have to reimburse TCE for any costs they incur as a result of such failure on the part of the Client.
Complaints. We make every effort to ensure that your tour arrangements run smoothly and that you are satisfied with every aspect of your holiday. If you do have a problem during your tour, please inform your Tour Guide immediately who will endeavour to put things right. If your complaint is not resolved locally, please contact our office on +44 1722 340699. If the problem still cannot be resolved and you wish to complain further, you must send formal written notice of your complaint to us within 28 days of the end of your stay. Ensuring that your written complaint gives all relevant information and is concise and to the point will assist us to quickly identify your concerns and speed up our response to you. Any complaints arising out of, or in connection with this contract that cannot be resolved by following the above procedure can be referred in writing to the Travel Trust Association, 2 Crown Square, Woking, Surrey, GU21 6HR. The TTA can then offer you an Arbitration Service, administered and managed independently from both the TTA and The Cultural Experience.
Unless they specifically request otherwise, clients accept that they may be photographed during the course of their holiday and that TCE may use such photographs for promotional purposes.
This contract and any matters arising from it are governed by the law of England and Wales and are subject to the jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales.