What is Express Check-In?
Express Check-In is a new feature on Tauck.com for Tauck travelers to give us important information about your travel plans online, in an easy and simple manner. As your departure date gets closer, there are a number of pieces of information that Tauck needs in order to ensure your tour goes off without a hitch. Express Check-In is a way for you to make sure everything is squared away and accurate before you leave. You can update your arrival and departure information, your emergency contact information, and, on select tours, your passport information.
What if I’m missing information and I don’t know about it?
Don’t worry; we’ll send you an email 100 days before your scheduled departure, telling you what information we have and what we need. If we’re missing information, you’ll be able to log in to Tauck.com and tell us.
How do I access Express Check-In?
To access Express Check-In, you must be signed in to your Guest Connect account, and connected to your reservation. If you already have an account, you can sign in here. If you do not have an account, you can register here. Note that when entering your reservation number, to properly connect to your reservation, the first and last name entered must match the first and last name on your reservation. Once you’ve signed in, click on the My Reservations tab to access Express Check-In.
What about the people I’m traveling with? Can I enter their information, too?
Yes, you can. Our Express Check-In feature will allow you to enter and edit information for the people you are traveling with. This includes all companions who are on the same Statement of Purchase as you.
I’m going to a foreign country, but Express Check-In isn’t asking for my passport information. Why?
While you need a passport to travel to any foreign country, only on select tours will Tauck ask for your passport information in advance. If you have any questions, please call our reservations center at 1-800-788-7885 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What can I do on the “Arrival Information” and “Return Information” pages?
On these pages, you can tell us how you plan to arrive in the city where your tour starts and what flight you’ll be taking home. You can enter your airline, flight date, flight number, and time of arrival, and you can indicate if you’re flying into or out of an airport other than the default. You can also enter the same information for a train or another method of transport.
What can I do on the “Emergency Contact” page?
On this page, you can enter the name and contact information of the person you want us to get in touch with should there be some kind of crisis while you’re on tour.
What can I do on the “Trip Summary” page?
On this page, you can review all of the information contained on the previous pages at once, for everyone you’re traveling with, and check it for errors.
This category has an exclamation point in a red triangle on it. What does that mean?
It means that this category is missing some important information, which may cause trouble when you leave for your tour.
This category has a green checkbox next to it. What does that mean?
It means that Tauck has received all of the information for this category.
I already gave you all this information when I booked my tour! Is there anything for me to do with Express Check-In?
Yes! You can use Express Check-In to ensure that the information we have is accurate, edit it if necessary, and enter information for your traveling companions.
Some of the information I’m seeing on Express Check-In is incorrect, and I can’t edit it myself. What do I do?
Should you find incorrect information on Express Check-In that you cannot edit yourself, please call our reservations team at 1-800-788-7885 or email us at email@example.com. Our friendly and helpful staff will be eager to assist you.
I requested that Tauck book my flights when I called. Will that be reflected on Express Check-In?
Yes! Your flights, once booked through Tauck, will be entered automatically and will not be editable through Express Check-In. You can, however, enter flight information for any travel companions who did not book their flights through Tauck.
I gave you an emergency contact when I took my last tour. Will that be reflected on Express Check-In?
Yes! All previous emergency contacts will be available for you to select for your coming tour. You can also edit any information that has changed.
I’m having technical trouble with Express Check-In. What should I do?
If you have problems when using Express Check-In, please contact our online support team at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our friendly and helpful staff will be eager to assist you.
Family Travel: Tauck Bridges
Are there age restrictions for children?
Children age 3 and older at the time of travel are welcome on Tauck Bridges itineraries. Based upon our experience with family travelers, for each itinerary we have a minimum recommended age to encourage comfort and enjoyment for all of our guests. In some cases there may be age restrictions on activities; all children must be accompanied on activities by a parent or guardian. At least one guest in the traveling party must be 21 or older to make a reservation. Note: Minimum age for our Tauck Bridges river cruises is 4 years; minimum age for our Tauck Bridges African safaris is 5 years; and minimum age for our Tauck Bridges Galápagos cruise is 6 years.
We ask that you use good judgment if considering bringing a young child or children on a Tauck journey. Many of our itineraries do not cater to young children’s interest, patience or stamina, and therefore aren’t really suited to children of too young an age. Young children’s behavior can be unpredictable, and with consideration for all fellow travelers wanting to enjoy their vacation to its fullest, it is important to know and understand that Tauck has the right to ask any tour member who is disruptive to a group to leave the tour whether they are 6 or 96 years of age.
Family travel is important to us. The bond between children and adults as they experience the world together makes for special memories that last lifetimes. It is for that reason we created ‘Tauck Bridges’ – journeys for the whole family to enjoy together. Each of these kid-friendly family oriented journeys has a minimum recommended age rating to encourage comfort and enjoyment for all our guests.
Are you able to tell me if there are other children and their ages on the journey on which I am traveling?
Yes. Just ask your Tauck Bridges Reservations Sales Counselor at the time of booking. Please bear in mind that bookings, and thus the number and age of children traveling, may change.
Can my child stay alone in his/her room?
In compliance with our partner hotels and for the safety and security of our guests, children under 18 years of age must be booked into the same room as an accompanying adult.
Can you give me an example of the types of activities you have for children?
We have so many activities for active feet and curious minds that it’s difficult to know where to begin! Here are just a few examples for families of all ages: a trail ride with a cowboy at Bryce Canyon, a walk with a hawk at an Irish castle, whitewater rafting in Peru’s Sacred Valley, a gondola ride in Venice, mountain bicycling in the Alps, learning about bullfighting on horseback in Seville and a speedboat adventure on the Thames in London.
Do you have any tips for traveling with children?
Yes! From our own moms, dads & grandparents at Tauck – here’s what we do to make the planning, packing, flying and playing on our family vacations as fun as it can be:
Planning for the Family Vacation
Involve! Everyone wants to be part of something they created. As possible, give your child a voice and vote in where they’re going.
Learn! Go to the library and take out books, maps or videos on the place you’re going. The internet is a great tool as well. Show where the country, state or city is in relation to where you live. Read about what you’ll see and do. Read about the history and culture of the place—be it the wolves in Yellowstone or the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
Anticipate! Put it on the calendar and count down the days so both parents, grandparents, etc. and the children have an idea when all of this is to happen.
Reinforce! Talk about the destination at breakfast or dinner time and what they’d like to see, have them list some places or activities they may be able to partake in.
Packing for Children
Roll it! Rolled clothes take up less space in the suitcase—you’ll fit more in.
Kids get their own bags. Pack backpacks / small carry on bags together before the trip, and let the children choose a few small toys to bring for the plane ride. Washable white boards and markers for drawing are inexpensive and fun inclusions. Try to keep the items small and light—otherwise it may become too heavy for small arms and the adult is left schlepping that too!
Don’t be a sherpa. You can always purchase something if the weather changes. The more you pack, the more you carry, the more you’ll have to keep an eye on, the more irritated you are at risk of becoming.
Flying with Kids of Different Ages
Dress for the day. Brightly colored clothes make kids easier to spot in a crowd. Comfortable, loose fitting clothing makes everyone happier.
Surprise! Buy each kid little gifts in advance, hide them, and then surprise each of them while the plane is taking off. Wrapping each one individually and giving them out every 30 minutes also works — it keeps them entertained!
Burn off energy. At the airport, walk around; don’t just sit at the gate. Leave the sitting for the plane! Also, don’t forget to go the bathroom before you board.
I’m hungry! Bring lots of snacks but not too high in salt – more salt means more drinking which means more trips to the bathroom….just when you’re ready to take off! Also, many airlines now offer special kids meals—call to reserve before your flight.
I’m thirsty! On the subject of drinking… although it’s less expensive than buying it at the airport, bottled water brought in from outside will not go through security… so you may want to buy some after passing through security.
Keep everyone comfortable. If the child has allergies or get colds very easily-bring along decongestant for the plane ride. Chewing gum or sucking on lollipops help the ears ‘pop’ or equalize during take off.
Seat distractions. Check with the airlines to determine if headsets are free on board. Otherwise, purchase a cheap headset before you fly, so they can listen to the music on their own or the movie on board for long flights. Also, many children love the window seat so they can watch the Atlantic Ocean, the Rocky Mountains or other natural wonders pass under them—call in advance to reserve your seat preference.
Keeping Everyone Entertained
Play destination bingo with pennies or 20 questions.
A deck of cards is endlessly fun for Go Fish, Hearts, Solitaire, building card towers, etc.
Small coloring pencils and a sketch pad are great to draw and play games. A washable white board and markers also work well.
For older kids, a journal or small scrapbook they can fill in daily with pictures offers a lifetime of memories. On a tour, if the older kids / teens make new friends, have them write in a community journal and then ask the tour director to copy the pages and hand out to those who wrote in the journal as a keepsake.
In welcoming your family on a Tauck Bridges adventure, we encourage you to unplug from your personal tech devices during shared group time… leaving you fully present for the stories, shared conversations and family fun that make the experience as memorable as the destination.
Overcoming Jet Lag
Sleep before! Get plenty of sleep for at least the two nights before traveling.
Be a local. Try to adjust to the local time as much as possible—eat and sleep according to the new clock.
Exercise and go outdoors. Natural light and physical exertion help to ‘reset’ your internal clock to the new time.
Do you have special prices for children?
Yes! Special rates are available and vary by journey. Children under 11 or 12 (depending on the journey) are eligible for the special rates on all of our family adventures.
On some tours, we may be able to offer special child rates on Tauck contracted airfare. Please inquire at the time of booking for details. Please note that at this time we do not hold special children’s rates for our Guest Protection Plan.
You should also note that we strive to offer a 6 star experience at a 4 star price!
Do you offer children’s meals?
In most cases, there are menus available for children. Please note that in destinations such as Europe and Africa, these options may not be typical American “kids’ meals.” But we also include authentic regional dining experiences and culinary discoveries that keep kids’ needs in mind – like cooking classes with Irish chefs and Austrian strudel bakers and marzipan makers, a pachamanga barbecue in Peru, a picnic in an African crater, cheese making in Switzerland, chocolate tasting in France and pizza making in Italy – for a real taste of family life around the world.
Do you offer family-friendly journeys?
Yes. There really is no vacation like a family vacation, for the connections you make and the discoveries you share create cherished memories that last lifetimes. It is for this reason we created ‘Tauck Bridges’ – journeys for the whole family to enjoy together. Each of these kid-friendly family oriented journeys are designed to let you learn, see and do things together, sharing in the spirit of discovery that is geared toward the entire family. Travel with people of all ages and generations, from grandparents and grandchildren, parents and their children, aunts, uncles, and nephew and nieces. Tauck Bridges journeys offer a perfect mix of fun and relaxation, and provide pleasures aplenty for young and old. (Though children 3 years of age and older are welcome on our journeys, our experience tells us that children 8 and older will get the most out of a Tauck Bridges trip.)
I am traveling as the guardian of the child. Is there anything special I should know?
The laws and requirements for children traveling abroad with a guardian or only one parent differ by country and change frequently.
Many countries on Tauck Bridges itineraries have specific entry requirements for children under 21 who are traveling internationally without both parents. Usually, a notarized letter, signed by the parent or parents not traveling with the child, that states the name of the child, the adult guardian, the itinerary and dates of travel, and the flight number, is required. To ensure smooth travel, Tauck Bridges requires all travelers to comply with the regulations for the country you are visiting. Please note that Tauck Bridges is not responsible for the disruption of travel caused by improper documentation for children traveling abroad without both parents. For more information on documentation, please visit the “Before You Go” tab under the itinerary in which you are interested in on this website.
Note: The regulations and laws of the countries specific to each tour journey are available from each country’s consulate. There are no specific requirements when traveling within the United States.
My family is booking two rooms. Can you guarantee that they are next to one another or connecting?
We cannot guarantee adjacent, adjoining or connecting rooms. We will note to our hotels and to our Tauck Director that you have requested this, and we will do all that we can to secure rooms next to one another or connecting when possible. Please be as specific as possible in your request, as often a hotel considers ‘adjacent’ to be across the hall. You should also note that connecting rooms are often not available in many hotels, especially in Europe.
What are the rooming options for my family?
We accommodate single, double and triple rooming arrangements on all of our itineraries. In some instances a triple room accommodation may have a rollaway bed. On 6 of our U.S. itineraries for example, 4 people – including a maximum of 3 adults – may stay in one room. Please note that our ability to accommodate different rooming options varies by hotel and location. For example, rooms in Europe may be smaller than those in the U.S., and thus a rollaway may be difficult to place. Quadruple accommodations are available only on select itineraries and in Europe often require two double rooms.
*Rooming arrangements specific to each tour journey will be addressed at the time of booking.
What if I am traveling with my son / daughter and I am divorced, not married, or the other parent is deceased?
For the same reasons as stated above, Tauck Bridges requires that you comply with the regulations for the country you are visiting. Usually this means you must carry with you a signed, notarized letter from the other parent indicating you have permission to travel abroad with the child, if the child is under 21. If the other parent is deceased, you usually need to carry a copy of the death certificate. But it’s best to check with the consulate of the country you are visiting to ensure you are compliant. For more information on the documents you might need, please visit the “Before You Go” tab under the itinerary in which you are interested in on this website.
What is the difference between taking my family on a Tauck Bridges or a Tauck World Discovery journey?
Tauck Bridges journeys differ in that all of the journeys’ components are designed to best suit “family” travel. Our itineraries, hotels, meals and activities are specially planned to thoroughly compliment our loyal family travelers. However, Tauck Bridges and Tauck World Discovery’s journeys both are designed and delivered by the same devoted and experienced staff, whose expertise and love of travel have brought numerous awards throughout the company’s history. Do note that Tauck World Discovery experiences are designed primarily for adults, although children are certainly welcome. We do not offer child rates on Tauck World Discovery itineraries.
Why do the age discounts vary by tour?
The discounts we offer are based upon what we are able to secure from the many different hotels, restaurants and other suppliers we use throughout the world. In general, most discounts apply to children under 12.
Will a babysitting service be available at each hotel?
Many hotels do offer babysitting services that may be arranged on site. Please do note that babysitting services are not guaranteed at all of our hotels.
Will my Tauck Director make my babysitting arrangements?
Your Tauck Director will put you in contact with the appropriate hotel staff with whom you may make babysitting arrangements, to ensure your precise needs are met. Furthermore, please note that our Tauck Directors are not responsible for providing child-minding services.
Passport Regulations – 2009 Change
Department Of Homeland Security Border Crossing Rules
Preparing to Go
Can I be put in contact with past Tauck travelers to discuss their experience?
Past Tauck travelers are the most important voice we have when it comes to sharing the experience of a Tauck journey. We encourage you to visit the Tauck Travel Forums on our website where travelers ask questions, and share information, travel experiences, photos and more.
Is there suggested reading material appropriate to each of your destinations?
Tauck has partnered with Longitude, a travel book company, and prepared lists of recommended reading material appropriate to each of our journeys. To view or order these selections, go to each tour or cruise page and look for the “Suggested Reading” box featuring Longitude Books; click on the link at the bottom of the box. You will be taken to a listing of books, reference material, maps and guidebooks that will be interesting, informative and relative to your destination.
Should I bring identification with me?
No matter where your destination may be, you should bring identification with you. A valid passport is always an appropriate form of identification. If you are a U.S. citizen traveling abroad then a valid passport will be required, and though not mandatory, we also recommend bringing some form of government issued photo ID such as a driver’s license. For U.S. citizens traveling within the United States, while passports are not required, proof of identification at airport check-in has become mandatory. A valid passport or a government issued photo ID is sufficient. Tauck recommends that non-U.S. citizens consult the embassies or consulates of the countries they will be visiting to determine identification and travel document requirements.
Will I be restricted in the amount of luggage I can bring?
Due to motor coach space limitations, most Tauck journeys only allow for one normal sized suitcase per individual. Remember, a wise traveler packs light! We also encourage just one carry-on bag per individual (for carrying items that might be needed during the day’s sightseeing excursions or camera/video equipment). Dimensions for carry-ons should not exceed 17” x 12” x 10”, allowing it to fit under the seat or in the overhead rack of most motor coaches.
Will I need to bring a passport?
When traveling to destinations outside of the country from which you are traveling from, or for which you are not a citizen of – you will be required to have a valid passport. Many countries require that your passport remain valid for at least 6 month beyond the completion date of your visit. With tighter security and immigration policies, even U.S. citizens traveling to Canada will very soon be required to have a valid passport to enter. Most Tauck cruise journeys require we receive and submit to the cruise line our guest’s passport information well in advance of the cruise departure date.
Is there any price consideration for individuals traveling by themselves?
We have a special page dedicated to traveling solo with Tauck – check out all of the details here. Tauck has negotiated with its hoteliers to offer special solo traveler savings on limited departures of select trips – details can be found on our Traveling Solo With Tauck page or you can check for savings on individual trip pages under Pricing & Availability. And for travel tips or discussions about traveling solo with other solo Tauck travelers, please go to our Solo Travelers Forum.
Travel Protection: General
Best Travel Protection Anywhere!
Your vacation is an important investment – and to help you protect it, Tauck offers the most comprehensive travel protection in the industry!
As travel specialists with 90+ years of industry experience, we know all too well how travel plans can change at the very last moment. That’s why you should take advantage of Tauck’s Guest, Cruise and Event Protection when planning your Tauck vacation, one of the best ways to ensure a delightful travel experience – from the moment you book your trip!
When you purchase Tauck’s Guest Protection, Tauck’s Cruise Protection or Tauck’s Event Protection, you can book your vacation with confidence, knowing that you can get a money-back refund if your plans change, right up to the day before departure! The cost varies for land journeys and cruises, but both offer outstanding benefits, including coverage for lost or delayed luggage, airfare and medical expenses as detailed. Refunds are based on your original method of payment and certain restrictions apply; ask for details upon booking or click on the links in each tour.
Does Tauck sell any kind of plan that protects my money if I cancel my trip?
Your vacation is an important investment – and to help you protect it, Tauck offers the finest travel coverage in the industry. With our Guest and Cruise Protection, they protect your investment if you need to cancel your trip offering a money-back refund up to the day before departure along with other travel protection. The cost of the protection plan varies for land, cruise or Tauck Event journeys and is non-refundable, but the peace of mind it offers is priceless. Certain restriction apply; for more details about this protection, please visit Tauck’s Guest, Cruise and Event Protection designated by the “Tauck Travel Protection” link on each itinerary on this website.
Will there be penalties if I cancel my tour?
Regardless of reason, cancellations result in costly charges from travel and hotel providers covering penalties and fees incurred by canceling confirmed bookings. Guests choosing not to purchase Tauck’s Guest, Cruise or Event Protection will incur these cancellation penalties. Penalties vary depending on destination, and whether it is a land, rail, or cruise journey.
When you purchase Tauck’s Guest, Cruise or Event Protection, you are entitled to a money-back refund in the event your plans change. Our travel protection includes coverage for lost luggage, medical emergencies, and more. All travelers, with the exception of residents of Puerto Rico, are eligible to purchase one of Tauck’s Protection products. Residents of Puerto Rico are eligible for some cancellation protection by purchasing Tauck’s Cancellation Fee Waiver. For more information on how this protection can protect your travel investment, please visit Tauck’s Guest, Cruise and Event Protection designated by the “Tauck Travel Protection” link on each itinerary on this website.
Travel Protection: Tauck’s Cruise Protection Product
Are there exclusions?
In order to provide this package of benefits, certain restrictions do apply. For example, the program does not provide duplicate payments if there are other sources of reimbursement available. Exclusions are standard in virtually every insurance product. Please see the Description of Coverage for a full list of exclusions.
Also, this program provides coverage for cancellations due to covered reasons such as illness, injury and death to you, a traveling companion or an immediate family member as well as specified, non-medical reasons for cancellation. Please see the Description of Coverage for a full list of covered reasons for cancellation.
How do I check on the status of my claim?
To check the status of your claim you can contact the program administrator, Aon Affinity, at 1-(866) 808-7352 or you can email questions to Aon Affinity at TravelProtect@aon.com
How do I file a claim? How long does it take to receive my money back?
In the event of a claim please contact Aon Affinity, our plan administrator, at 1-(866) 808-7352. If you plan to cancel your trip due to a covered reason call Tauck and Aon Affinity immediately to initiate the claims process and to avoid additional expenses due to late notification. You can also file a claim by logging onto www.travelclaim.com and completing the Claim Information Request Form. Claim forms will be mailed to you within two to three business days. For covered emergencies during your trip which require evacuation or interruption, promptly call On Call International, the assistance company, with your policy number and emergency details.
Once Aon Affinity receives full documentation, payment for a covered claim can be generated in as few as five business days.
How do I get reimbursement if my luggage and/or personal items are damaged/stolen/lost while I am away?
Upon your return home, submit verification paperwork to the plan administrator including claim forms, loss or police reports, and store receipts. You will be reimbursed for items damaged/stolen/lost while traveling up to $1,500 for U.S./Canadian trips and up to $3,000 for International trips.
I did not purchase my airfare from Tauck. Will I still have coverage for airline cancellation fees?
Yes. The Trip Cancellation benefit provided by Tauck’s Cruise Protection includes coverage for direct round trip air flights booked by others, to and from the scheduled covered trip departure and return cities, provided the dates of travel for the air flights are within 14 total days of the Tauck land trip or cruise dates.
I know that I have a pre-existing medical condition, why should I bother purchasing Tauck’s Cruise Protection?
Even if you have a medical condition that has been unstable in the 60 days prior to Plan purchase, you should still consider enrolling in Tauck’s Cruise Protection because you can waive the pre-existing condition exclusion by simply enrolling in the plan and paying for it within 10 days of your initial trip payment. Doing so will remove the exclusion from the plan so that even pre-existing medical conditions can be covered. So long as you are medically able to travel at time of purchase, waiving the pre-existing condition exclusion is the easiest way to alleviate doubt as to chronic medical conditions.
If I incur medical expenses during my trip, should I submit them to my primary health insurance company first?
Yes. The Accident and Sickness Medical Expense portion of Tauck’s Cruise Protection is excess of all other valid and collectible insurance. Cruise Protection provides reimbursement, up to the maximum shown on the schedule of coverage, for all covered medical expenses not covered under your regular health insurance policy. Cruise Protection will provide reimbursement to you for deductibles and co-pays that may be imposed by your health insurance. Please see the Description of Coverage for a complete definition of covered medical expenses.
If my traveling companion is hospitalized during our trip, does the plan reimburse my additional hotel costs to remain near the hospital?
Yes. Tauck’s Cruise Protection reimburses reasonable additional accommodation and transportation expenses (up to $200 per day) incurred to remain near a covered traveling immediate family member or traveling companion who is hospitalized during your trip.
Is there help when I’m traveling?
One of the valued benefits offered in Tauck’s Cruise Protection is the 24 Hour Emergency Assistance Service. On Call International is a leader in this field. With On Call International you have access to the services of a highly trained, multi-lingual staff around the clock to assist you with such emergencies as cash transfers, lost documents, medical or legal monitoring or referrals. They are also equipped to respond to many unexpected circumstances, such as providing potentially costly air ambulance transportation in medical emergencies. If an emergency should arise during your vacation, call On Call International immediately and give the details of your problem or medical emergency.
What are the covered medical expenses if I become sick or injured while on my trip?
Tauck’s Cruise Protection provides coverage for a vast array of medical expenses which could be incurred as a result of a sickness or injury. Cruise Protection provides Sickness Medical benefits for necessary services and supplies which are recommended by the attending physician. Covered medical expenses include the services of a legally qualified physician, surgeon, graduate nurse, dentist or osteopath; charges for hospital confinement and use of operating rooms; charges for anesthetics (including administration); x-ray examinations or treatments and laboratory tests; ambulance service; drugs, medicines, and therapeutic services and supplies.
What does Tauck’s Cruise Protection cover?
Tauck’s Cruise Protection includes pre-trip cancellation protection and post-departure coverage for the following:
#### Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption
If you cancel or interrupt your trip FOR ANY REASON, Tauck’s Cruise Protection reduces the regular cancellation fees.
If you cancel your trip due to a COVERED REASON, Tauck’s Cruise Protection provides coverage up to your total trip cost for the non-refundable cancellation charges imposed by Tauck, and/or airfare cancellation charges for flights joining or departing your trip. If you interrupt your trip for a COVERED REASON, the plan will reimburse your additional airfare to return home or rejoin the tour, up to $5,000 for U.S./Canadian tours and up to $10,000 for International tours.
Tauck’s Cruise Protection also covers the additional costs you may incur as a result of a change in the per-person occupancy rate of prepaid travel arrangements if a person booked to share accommodations with you cancels or interrupts his/her trip for a covered reason and you do not cancel
#### Trip Delay
If you should miss the departure of your vacation due to carrier-caused delays, illness, injury or other covered reasons, Tauck’s Cruise Protection reimburses you for additional accommodations, meals and “catch up” transportation expenses. The plan provides reimbursement up to $750 for U.S./Canadian trips and up to $1,000 for International trips.
#### Medical Protection
If you become ill or are injured while on your trip, Tauck’s Cruise Protection will cover up to $10,000 in medical expenses for U.S./Canadian trips and up to $20,000 for International trips. The medical plan also covers emergency evacuation (up to $50,000 for U.S./Canadian trips and up to $100,000 for International trips) and repatriation of remains expenses (up to $25,000 for U.S. Canadian trips and up to $50,000 for International trips). Medical coverage while traveling overseas is particularly important as Medicare and some HMO’s may not cover medical expenses incurred outside the U.S.
#### Baggage Protection
Reimburses expenses up to $1,500 (U.S./Canadian trips) or $3,000 (International trips) for the covered loss, damage, or theft of luggage and/or personal effects during or while in transit to or from your vacation. This benefit also includes baggage delay protection, covering you for the purchase of necessary items (up to $300 for U.S./Canadian trips or up to $500 for International trips) in the event your luggage is delayed by a common carrier for more then 24 hours en route to your vacation.
#### 24 Hour Worldwide Emergency Assistance
24 hour emergency telephone assistance hotline for medical and travel related problems.
What is the Pre-Existing Condition Exclusion? Can it be waived?
What is the Pre-Existing Condition Exclusion? Can it be waived?
Tauck’s Cruise Protection does have a pre-existing condition exclusion, which is quite liberal. The pre-existing condition limitation precludes coverage only for those medical conditions that manifested themselves, became acute, or were being treated in the 60 days before coverage goes into effect (date coverage is purchased). You may have a chronic condition that requires you to take medication and still be covered by the program. Only if the condition is unstable and/or if there has been a change in the required prescription would your condition be considered pre-existing.
Unless you, your traveling companion or a family member has a new medical condition or one that has recently “flared-up” right before you enroll in the plan, or you have had a change in your required medication, the plan should provide coverage. Please see the Description of Coverage for complete details.
PLEASE NOTE: IF YOU PURCHASE THE PLAN WITHIN 10 DAYS AFTER YOUR INITIAL VACATION DEPOSIT OR PAYMENT, THE PRE-EXISTING CONDITION EXCLUSION WILL NOT APPLY.
When does coverage go into effect and will it cover me for the entire length of my vacation?
The Trip Cancellation coverage takes effect upon receipt of the required plan cost by Tauck. All other benefits will take effect at 12:01 A.M. on your scheduled departure date and location. Your coverage will remain valid until 11:59 P.M. of your scheduled completion date or your return to you origination point as stated on your tickets, whichever is earlier. Please see the Description of Coverage for detailed information.
When is the plan cost due and how do I enroll?
For your convenience, we will add the plan cost on our travel invoice and include it in the balance due. Simply pay the amount indicated on your travel invoice inclusive of this plan cost. You are enrolled upon Tauck’s receipt of payment for the applicable plan cost, in addition to any required trip deposits and/or final balances.
Please be aware that it is in your best interest to purchase the program at time of deposit. The earlier the effective date will protect you against unforeseen circumstances that may arise at a later date and the pre-existing exclusion.
Who is considered an immediate family member?
Our definition of immediate family is quite broad. It’s not just family members who reside with you. Instead, immediate family includes: mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, brother, sister, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, children, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, domestic partner among others. See the Definitions section of the Description of Coverage for a full listing.
Why should I purchase Tauck’s Cruise Protection?
You’ve saved, you’ve waited, and now you’re all set to go on the vacation of your life. Preparing for your trip includes protecting yourself from unfortunate occurrences that threaten to interfere with even your best laid plans. By purchasing Tauck’s Cruise Protection, you can help protect yourself against cancellation penalties, medical costs, luggage loss and delays, as well as gain access to a wide range of traveler’s assistance services.
Did you know that Tauck’s Cruise Protection could protect you if:
- You become ill and can’t travel
- Someone in your immediate family has an illness or injury, even if they aren’t scheduled to travel with you
- Your child comes down with chicken pox and you are quarantined from travel
- Your house becomes flooded due to a hurricane
- Scheduled public transportation is cancelled due to a natural disaster.
- A family member back home passes away and you must return from your Tauck vacation early
- Your luggage is lost by the airlines
- You twist your ankle and must visit a doctor while traveling
- Many other unforeseeable events as listed in the Description of Coverage. Click here to download.
Will my current home, renters, credit card or health insurance policies cover me during my trip?
Due to territory restrictions, many insurance policies may not offer any coverage while you travel. Still others may offer partial protection, but due to benefit limits, co-insurance and deductibles, you may not be reimbursed for the full amount incurred. Most people do not have any insurance coverage at all if they must cancel their trip. Tauck’s Cruise Protection has a wide range of travel benefits that credit card, homeowners and renters insurance policies most likely do not offer. The medical coverage included in Tauck’s Cruise Protection is absolutely vital for most people whose health insurance policies (Medicare & HMO) do not pay for medical expenses incurred outside of the United States or do not cover transportation charges due to medical emergencies.
Would I be covered if I am delayed returning home because I lost my passport?
Yes. Tauck’s Cruise Protection provides Trip Delay coverage if your trip is delayed due to loss or theft of your passport(s), travel documents or money.
Would the plan reimburse my additional hotel night, if I am delayed returning home because I am ill?
Yes. Tauck’s Cruise Protection provides Trip Delay coverage if your trip is delayed due to your, an immediate family member traveling with you, or a traveling companion’s injury, sickness or death. The Trip Delay benefit reimburses additional expenses incurred by you for hotel accommodations, meals, telephone calls and economy transportation. Please see the Description of Coverage for complete details.
Traveling to Cuba with Tauck
Why is Tauck offering travel to Cuba?
The U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control has granted Tauck a license to provide People-to-People educational exchange travel to Cuba. Our 8-day small group cultural educational trips will enable travelers to meet face-to-face with local Cuban residents from different professions to share thoughts, gain knowledge, and connect with Cuba’s deep cultural heritage over six days of People-to-People educational and cultural exchange. Our long experience has shown that the power of travel brings people the world over closer together. In the words of Arthur Tauck, Jr. – “It is my strongest conviction that travel is a key to world peace. By exploring new lands and new cultures, we increase our understanding of others and their understanding of us. It is fortunate that man has always had an innate need to explore the world. By facilitating this appetite, we fulfill a fundamental need of humanity and we make the world a better place.”
What does “People-to-People” travel mean?
People-to-People travel is an initiative allowing U.S. citizens and others to travel to Cuba on a limited basis to participate in cultural experiences and have direct contact with the Cuban people in order to learn more about them and their culture. A highly rewarding educational experience, People-to-People travel encourages your direct engagement with the Cuban people you will meet during activities focusing on education and cultural exchange. Our experience has found Cubans to be interested in and well-informed about world events and open to frankly discussing the pros and cons of their country, as long as you are open to the same.
Will I be traveling with a group on Tauck’s trips to Cuba?
Yes; your small Tauck group will average from 20 to 30 travelers. However, depending on the destination and institution you’re exploring, some of your People-to-People discovery will be conducted in smaller groups accompanied by local guides, offering you special opportunities to truly connect with the local people through cultural and educational exchange.
Who are Tauck’s local guides in Cuba?
Upon arriving with your Tauck group in Havana, you will be introduced to Tauck’s Cuban local guides, who will accompany your group along with your Tauck Director throughout your trip. Trained and experienced professionals fluent in English as well as in Spanish, Tauck’s handpicked Cuban guides will share their knowledge of and passion for their homeland with you, and pave the way for the direct personal and cultural contacts you will make with their fellow Cubans through your People-to-People explorations – personally introducing you to the real Cuba and enabling you to connect with the country, its people and its culture as only Tauck can.
Who Can Travel to Cuba
Is it legal for me to travel to Cuba with Tauck?
What is OFAC, and what is its function?
According to the official U.S. Treasury Dept. website: “The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the U.S. Department of the Treasury administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions based on U.S. foreign policy and national security goals against targeted foreign countries and regimes… and other threats to the national security, foreign policy or economy of the United States.” Due to trade and travel restrictions concerning Cuba that have been established by current U.S. government sanctions, all matters relating to the travel of U.S. citizens to Cuba are handled by OFAC, who has granted Tauck a specific license to conduct People-to-People travel to Cuba.
Can I travel to Cuba with Tauck if I am a legal U.S. resident but not a U.S. citizen?
Yes; you can travel on Tauck’s People-to-People trip to Cuba if you are not a U.S. citizen but legally reside in the U.S., as long as you have a valid passport from your country of citizenship, as well as a residency card or alien card (or “green card”) to establish your legal U.S. residency when returning to the U.S. from Cuba upon your arrival in Miami.
What if I am a Cuban-born U.S. citizen traveling with Tauck to Cuba?
Tauck travelers who are Cuban-born U.S. citizens fall into one of two categories for travel to Cuba. Those who departed Cuba prior to December 31, 1970 will require either a PE-11 visa (which can take from six to eight weeks to process, is valid for a one-time entry for 30 days, and expires within 90 days of issue), or a Cuban passport; the choice is up to the traveler. Those who left Cuba after January 1, 1971 will require a Cuban passport, which can take from three to four months to obtain. If you will need help in obtaining one of these documents, please let us know at the time of booking.
What about non-U.S. citizens who are not U.S. residents traveling to Cuba on this trip?
Travelers who are neither U.S. citizens nor legal U.S. residents may travel to Cuba under Tauck’s license, but must be sure to have the proper documentation that allows them to enter the U.S. for the start of their trip and return to the U.S. at the end of the trip. A one-time-entry U.S. visa is not sufficient in this case. Travelers should contact a Cuban consulate or embassy to determine what travel documentation is required for citizens of their country to travel to Cuba.
PREPARING TO GO
Travel Documents Required
Will I need a passport to travel to Cuba?
Yes, as in the case of anyone traveling internationally, you will need a passport valid for six months beyond the completion of your Tauck trip to Cuba. Be sure to make note of your passport’s expiration date and renew your passport if it is nearing expiration.
Is a visa required for travel to Cuba?
Yes, but the nature of the visa is somewhat different than what many other countries require. The Cuban government requires all foreign visitors to have a “Republica De Cuba Visa – Tarjeta Del Turista”, sometimes referred to as a Cuban Visitor’s Visa. Cuban immigration officials will collect one half of this two-part card upon your arrival in the country, and the other half upon your departure. Tauck will obtain your Cuban Visitor Visa for you and will give it to you in Miami, along with the documents for your included charter flight from Miami to Havana.
What other travel documents will I need to travel to Cuba?
Tickets for your included round-trip charter flights between Miami & Havana (which you will receive prior to boarding)
A copy of the Letter of Authorization that allows you to travel to Cuba under the auspices of Tauck’s license
Both of these documents will be provided to you in Miami.
VERY IMPORTANT: As specified in the license, you are required to retain all records regarding your activities on this trip to Cuba for a period of five years and provide them to OFAC if they request them.
We recommend that you make at least two photocopies of your travel documents. Include copies of the photo page of your passport that contains the date of issuance, the date of expiration and your citizenship. Secure one set of copies in the safe in your room while traveling and leave one set behind with someone at home who will assist you in the event your documents are misplaced, lost or stolen.
What do I need to know about customs & immigration forms when returning to the U.S.?
When checking in at the airport in Havana you will receive a standard U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CPB) customs declaration form to fill out and submit to officials at Miami International Airport. This is the same form given to everyone entering the U.S. from a foreign country. Your Tauck Director will brief you on how to properly fill out this form prior to your return flight, but be sure to list Cuba when answering the question, “Countries Visited on this Trip Prior to U.S. Arrival?”, and state that you were traveling for pleasure, not business.
Traveling with Children
What is the minimum age for a traveler on Tauck’s trips to Cuba?
Based upon our experience with family travelers, we accept children 5 years and older for this trip to encourage comfort and enjoyment for all of our travelers. All children must be accompanied on activities by a parent or guardian. At least one traveler in your party must be 21 years of age or older in order to make a reservation.
What do I need to know about traveling to Cuba with children under 18?
If you are traveling with children under 18, you have the sole responsibility for ensuring that the child with whom you are traveling follows all rules of safety throughout the trip. By traveling with us, you release Tauck, Inc. and our partners of all liability for any risks and/or injuries to the child with whom you are traveling.
You should be aware of the following when traveling into or out of the U.S. with children under the age of 18: Because of increasing incidents of child abductions in disputed custody cases and because children are at risk as possible victims of child pornography, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) strongly recommends that unless the child is accompanied by both parents, you should have a notarized note from the child’s other parent (or, in the case of a child traveling with grandparents, uncles or aunts, sisters or brothers, or friends, a note signed by both parents) stating that the parent(s) not traveling acknowledge that the parent(s), family members, etc. who are traveling into or out of the U.S. with the child have permission to do so. While CBP may not ask to see this documentation, if they do ask, and you do not have it, you may be detained until the circumstances of the child traveling without both parents can be fully assessed.
If there is no second parent with legal claims to the child (parent deceased, sole custody, etc.), other relevant paperwork, such as a court decision, birth certificate naming only one parent, or a death certificate, will be useful. Many other countries also share this concern for children who travel without both parents. To ensure smooth travel, we require you to comply with the travel regulations of each country visited. This information may be obtained from a country’s consulate or embassy.
What if a child under 18 needs emergency medical treatment while traveling with me?
In the unlikely event of a medical emergency, a medical facility will require permission from the child’s parents to provide treatment. Therefore, we strongly suggest that you bring along a letter from both parents (including other pertinent documents as cited above) authorizing emergency medical treatment for their child. Children who are U.S. citizens must have a passport valid for at least six months beyond the completion of the journey.
We are not responsible for the disruption of travel caused by the improper documentation of any traveler, including children traveling without both parents. While there is no definitive format or standard, click here to view a sample letter for guardians or one parent traveling with a child.
Are the hotels I’ll be staying in air conditioned?
Yes; both the Hilton Miami Airport and the Meliá Habana provide air conditioning in their hotel rooms and public spaces.
Clothing & Packing
What should I pack for my trip to Cuba?
Your Tauck People-to-People trip to Cuba is casual. Dress for comfort and convenience with a wardrobe that is adaptable and allows for layering. Comfortable, cotton clothing is suggested. High temperatures and humidity in most areas make lightweight clothing practical. Long pants and long sleeves are suggested for sun and mosquito protection. For most evenings, resort casual attire is perfectly acceptable. However, you may enjoy dressing up a bit for our welcome and farewell dinners – a light sport coat with or without tie for men, and a cocktail dress for women are appropriate and may also be suitable for other nights during your trip. Most importantly, bring comfortable yet sturdy walking shoes that have already been broken-in.
Please Note: Medicines, toiletries and other items that are easily obtainable in drugstores and pharmacies in the U.S. are in very short supply in Cuba, and may be expensive and very difficult or impossible to obtain. We recommend that you pack an adequate supply of your prescription medication in its original container to last through your entire journey, together with a copy of your doctor’s prescription (or a letter from your health-care provider on office stationery explaining that the medication has been prescribed for you), a list of the generic names of your medication, your travel documents and a change of clothing in your carry-on bag to avoid any inconvenience in the event that your flight or luggage is delayed.
The following is a list of recommended items to pack for travel to Cuba:
– Casual daytime wear – shorts, slacks, long and short-sleeved shirts
– Sunglasses, sunscreen, hat (essential items to protect you from the hot, tropical Cuban sun)
– Swimwear – the Meliá Habana features three pools and a sauna
– Gym wear – the Meliá Habana features a gym and a wide range of sports facilities
– A light sweater or jacket for a breezy night or an air conditioned restaurant
– A basic personal first-aid kit containing aspirin or other analgesics, antihistamines, antacids, antibiotic ointment, adhesive strips, etc.
– Insect repellent
– Hand sanitizer
– Camera, lenses, batteries, memory cards and/or plenty of film
– Extra pair of prescription glasses and/or reading glasses (which may be difficult to obtain)
– Lightweight, comfortable, sturdy walking shoes that have already been broken-in
– Battery-operated travel alarm clock
– Travel packs of tissues
– Small, pocket-sized flashlight
– Rain poncho and collapsible umbrella
– Zipper-lock bags
– Daypack for camera equipment
– Any sundries and toiletries you may need
– Copies of your travel documents that should be secured in the safe in your hotel room while traveling
Is it necessary to have medical insurance while traveling to Cuba?
Yes; since May 2010, the Cuban government has required all foreigners traveling to Cuba to carry medical insurance under an approved plan. Cuba offers medical care through a network of clinics and hospitals located throughout the island. Basic health care is available 24 hours a day at your hotel in Havana for a nominal fee. As part of the cost of your People-to-People trip, Tauck will purchase this coverage for you for the duration of your journey.
As a traveler from the U.S., can I move about freely in Cuba?
Yes. With the exception of entering government buildings on your own without permission – which is prohibited in Cuba as it would be here in the U.S. or any other country – you’ll be able to move around Cuba freely, as well as to speak with whomever you choose without interference. You may also be allowed to spend time at particular Cuban government institutions and historic sites as part of Tauck’s People-to-People program.
What precautions should I take when traveling to Cuba?
By most world standards – and contrary to some popular misconceptions – Cuba is a fairly safe country for foreign travelers, with a low incidence of the violence and street crime common in many other countries. Especially during daylight hours, travelers are generally quite safe on the streets, in the hotels, at museums and historic sites, and at the many institutions you will see as part of your People-to-People exploration with Tauck.
While Cuban citizens and foreign travelers alike can generally move about without a great fear of criminal behavior, and uniformed police officers patrol city streets with regularity, petty crime – such as purse-snatching or purse-slashing, pickpocketing, theft from luggage and scams aimed at travelers – does indeed exist. The best defense against these threats is common sense – be aware of your surroundings and be cautious while walking in crowds and through the streets at night. Carry only as much cash as you’ll need for the day or evening; don’t keep your wallet in your back pocket, but wear a secure money belt instead; don’t leave valuable items in your luggage, but lock them in your hotel room safe; don’t carry purses or cameras slung loosely over the shoulder; don’t wear expensive watches or valuable jewelry.
What scams should I know about while traveling in Cuba?
One scam to watch out for when visiting Cuban restaurants, nightclubs or bars on your own – many of which have a minimum charge (consume mínimo) – is the practice in some establishments to charge foreign travelers higher prices than those quoted, or charge for items that were never served or consumed. Be sure to always insist on an itemized bill, check it closely and add it up carefully, and always count your change.
What should female travelers be aware of while traveling in Cuba?
In general, Cuba is among the world’s safest countries for women travelers, with an extremely low incidence of sexual assault. Women can typically go anywhere they choose to freely; however, to guard against the possibility of purse-snatching or unwanted approaches by local men, it’s always wise to be aware of your surroundings, exercise caution and good judgment while walking city streets. And as in virtually any other country you may visit, walking with a companion is recommended after dark.
Will my cell phone, smart phone or PDA device work in Cuba?
Probably not; generally, you won’t have service for your U.S. cell phone in Cuba, and service for smart phones and PDAs is not available. If you really need to call home to the U.S., using your hotel phone would be a far more reliable, albeit not inexpensive, option. The average rate for a call from your hotel phone in Cuba is approximately $2.40 per minute. It’s always a good idea to inquire about the rates you’ll be charged prior to making an international call from a hotel phone, wherever you may be traveling.
Currency & Exchange Rates in Cuba
What currency is used in Cuba?
Cuba employs a dual-economy system that features one currency for foreign visitors – Cuban Convertible Pesos (or CUCs) – and another for Cubans – Cuban Pesos (or CUPs), also referred to as Moneda Nacional. Foreign visitors are expected to use CUCs for any purchases made in Cuba, and are not permitted to change their CUCs into Cuban Pesos or CUPs.
CUCs are issued in the following denominations: 1, 3, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100. Because CUCs are not part of the international currency exchange, they cannot be bought, sold or exchanged outside of Cuba. As of July 2013, the exchange rate is at a 1:1 ratio, but is subject to change at any time. Please note that the Cuban government typically charges a 13% exchange fee for U.S. dollars, so you could expect to receive 87 CUCs for $100 USD. For up-to-date currency exchange information, we recommend that you visit www.xe.com, www.oanda.com or other similar currency information websites.
Will I be able to use U.S. dollars to make purchases in Cuba?
No; U.S. dollars have not been accepted in Cuba since 2004, and cannot be used for purchases. Foreign travelers must use Cuban Convertible Pesos (CUCs) for any purchases made in Cuba. U.S. dollars must be converted into CUCs.
Will I be able to exchange money in Cuba?
Yes, you will be able to exchange U.S. and other foreign currencies into CUCs at banks, as well as at official exchange bureaus operated by CADECA (Casa de Cambio), the official government exchange agency, at the airport and at the Meliá Habana. Banks are typically open weekdays between 8 AM and 3 PM, while hotels’ hours are generally more flexible. The procedure for exchanging currency is similar to that elsewhere in the world, and you’ll need to have your passport handy as an official form of ID. The exchange rate is the same regardless of location. Please note that your hotel in Havana cannot change CUCs back into U.S. dollars, so we suggest you try not to accumulate too many CUCs. There is a limit of CUC 200 which may be taken out of the country.
Please Note: In Cuba (or anywhere you travel), never exchange currency with anyone who approaches you on the street with an offer to do so. Any such transactions are not only illegal, but also constitute an all-too-common scam practiced worldwide to exploit travelers’ unfamiliarity with foreign currencies. Such scams can be particularly prevalent in Cuba, whose often-confusing dual currencies can cause travelers to be easily taken advantage of.
How much cash should I bring with me to Cuba?
Because U.S. credit / debit cards cannot be used in Cuba, and the use of traveler’s checks is problematic, you’ll need to bring enough cash with you to exchange into CUCs and use throughout your stay in Cuba. The amount you bring is up to you. However, because the U.S. trade embargo prohibits U.S. citizens from purchasing and bringing home most Cuban goods – and because all meals and most travel costs (including gratuities to your Tauck Director, hotel and restaurant staff, local guides and drivers, and departure tax) are included on your Tauck trip – a good rule of thumb is to bring as much cash as you’d typically spend on incidentals while traveling in the U.S. or elsewhere.
ATMS, Credit Cards & Travelers Checks
Will I be able to use my credit or debit card while traveling in Cuba?
No; U.S. bank-issued credit cards and debit cards will not work in Cuba, so you will be unable to access your funds electronically. Because of this, and because U.S. dollars are rarely accepted in Cuba, it is important to bring an adequate amount of cash with you to exchange into CUCs for any purchases you wish to make while in Cuba. How much you bring is a matter of personal preference, but in general, $300 USD per person should be sufficient.
Will I be able to use traveler’s checks in Cuba?
Traveler’s checks drawn on U.S. banks are accepted in Cuba, but like U.S. dollars must be exchanged for CUCs. Most traveler’s checks have limited use in Cuba; you cannot insure or replace them while in Cuba, nor will they provide many of the advantages they normally do in other countries. If you wish to bring traveler’s checks drawn on U.S. or non-U.S. banks, please know that they cannot be used to make direct purchases, but must first be exchanged for CUCs which can then be used for purchases.
Is wiring money to Cuba an option if I run out of cash?
Yes, but an extremely limited one. You can wire money to Cuba, but wire transfers cannot be accomplished quickly or easily, and the amount allowed to be wired from the U.S. to Cuba is often quite limited. Therefore, wiring money is not a recommended option for securing funds while in Cuba; however, we have included the following information on wire transfers to Cuba:
Working with Fincimex, Western Union has been licensed to facilitate wire transfers from the U.S. to Cuba. U.S. citizens are permitted to send up to $300 every three months (provided that the money is not intended for use by government officials or entities). Fincimex maintains offices in about a dozen locations throughout Havana. You may also contact Western Union at 800-325-6000 or visit them online at www.westernunion.com.
Can I purchase items in Cuba and bring them back to the U.S.?
In general, no. The U.S.-sanctioned trade embargo administered by OFAC prohibits the purchase of goods of Cuban origin by U.S. citizens and the import of such goods into the United States. Officers of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CPB), part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, will routinely confiscate goods of Cuban origin purchased in Cuba by U.S. citizens upon their re-entry into the U.S. – with the possible exception of informational materials such as CDs, books, artwork, posters and photographs. You will not be allowed to bring popular Cuban-produced items like cigars, coffee, rum, etc., into the U.S. – even if purchased at a “duty-free” shop in the airport.
Is Internet access available in Cuba?
Although Tauck has arranged for complimentary wireless Internet service throughout the Meliá Habana and at the four computer work stations in the Royal Service lounge – and provides wireless Internet in your hotel room – Internet service may not be reliable or up to the standards you may be accustomed to at home, with spotty wireless service, slow connection speeds, etc.
Am I allowed to bring cameras and/or video recorders to Cuba?
Yes; the Cuban government allows foreign travelers to bring one camera and one video recorder (amateur or home type) into the country; please be aware that all cameras will be X-rayed upon your arrival at Havana’s José Marti International Airport.
What am I allowed to photograph while traveling in Cuba?
Please note that taking photographs of schoolchildren in the Cuban schools we visit is prohibited. Otherwise, with the exception of military installations, industrial complexes, shipping ports, airports, secure government buildings, military personnel and other uniformed officials – all of which are generally off-limits for photography in most any country around the world, including the U.S. – you’re free to photograph virtually anything while visiting Cuba. Having said that, courtesy and common sense should always rule when taking pictures; in any culture, it is polite to ask permission before photographing someone, and the same is true in Cuba. Many of the Cubans you’ll meet on your People-to-People travels will have no problem with you taking their picture; you can often ask permission by simply holding up or pointing to your camera. The bottom line is, should you have any doubts about the propriety of a photograph, don’t take it.
Please note that some Cuban museums and historic sites may charge a nominal fee for taking pictures (and/or using a flash camera) inside exhibits; your Tauck Director or local guide will advise you of such situations.
Can I buy a replacement if I lose my camera while traveling in Cuba?
Should you lose your own camera while visiting Cuba, you may be able to purchase small instant or digital cameras at establishments like Foto Video and Photo Service; however, professional photographic equipment, lenses and other accessories may be difficult to find and expensive to replace – and if they are purchased in Cuba, you may not be allowed to bring them back into the U.S. with you. In addition, spare batteries, film, memory cards and other photographic needs may not always be easy to find, in Cuba, either, so we suggest that you pack and bring extras along with you.
Will I need an adapter and / or converter in Cuba?
Yes, just in case. In the Meliá Habana, the current is 220 volts / 60 Hz. In most cases, round, two-pronged wall outlets are used. Using a simple adapter, most U.S. electrical devices can be used. The Meliá Habana provides a converter so that you’ll be equipped to use standard U.S.-style two- or three-prong, 110-volt outlets, or European-style, round two-prong 220-volt outlets. Additionally, a 110-volt outlet for electric razors can be found in guest bathrooms.
While it will be necessary for you to use a special adapter plug to fit the wall outlets featured locally, most consumer electronics no longer require the use of a voltage converter / transformer along with the adapter plug. (Most electronics now self-convert, and can actually be damaged by using an additional converter.)
What time zone is Cuba in?
Like New York City, Cuba is in the Eastern time zone. Cuba also observes Daylight Saving Time, although the dates for changing from Standard Time to Daylight Saving Time and back may not coincide exactly with the change in the United States. (To confirm local time, please visit www.timeanddate.com.)
What kind of climate and weather should I expect in Cuba?
Cuba enjoys a pleasant, semi-subtropical climate, with generally warm temperatures year-round, and two main seasons: a wet season (which runs from around May to October, when nearly two-thirds of the year’s rainfall occurs) and a dry season (from about November to April) – although fluctuations due to regional variations and trade winds can often occur. The country’s tropical temperature remains fairly constant throughout the year with little seasonal variation, with an average mean temperature of approximately 77-78 °F.
Cuba’s peak travel season is generally between December and April, when daytime conditions are pleasantly warm, drier and sunnier, with less humidity than most other times of the year. July and August are usually quite hot and humid, and the hurricane season typically runs from June through November.
Will I need to know Spanish to communicate with the people I’ll meet in Cuba?
No; both your professional Tauck Director and Tauck’s experienced local Cuban guides are bilingual, fluent in both English and Spanish, and will serve as translators during your Tauck People-to-People trip to Cuba. Although many Cubans speak only Spanish (Castilian Spanish is Cuba’s official language), English is often frequently spoken in Havana and other areas popular with foreign visitors. However, learning simple words and basic phrases in Spanish will help you communicate more effectively and enhance your experience and interaction with the Cuban people, and we encourage you to do so.
How do the Cuban people generally regard U.S. travelers in Cuba?
We have found Cubans to be generally warm, friendly, congenial, respectful and welcoming toward foreign travelers – including U.S. citizens, about whom they appear to be particularly curious, and with whom they have often expressed a special kinship and are eager to share their culture. We would therefore encourage you to be open-minded and respectful of the customs and culture of the Cuban people – many of whom are genuinely thrilled to meet you and welcome you to their country – as well as to be open to the fun and spontaneity of the educational, cultural and personal exchanges that await you on your Tauck “People-to-People” trip to Cuba.
Is it okay to talk about politics, society and everyday life with the people I’ll meet in Cuba?
It’s a common misconception that U.S. citizens should shy away from these topics when speaking with Cubans. Our experience has shown that Cubans are well-informed, love a good conversation and enjoy talking about a wide variety of topics with foreign travelers. They are therefore often open to discussing such matters with travelers – as long it is done in an open, civil and respectful exchange of ideas, avoiding inflammatory statements and allowing plenty of room for polite difference of opinion on all sides.
What kinds of music will I encounter in Cuba?
You will hear music virtually everywhere in Cuba; it is an essential part of the fabric of Cuban life. Many of the Latin-influenced musical styles that have spread around the world can trace their origins to Cuba. While no means complete, here is a list of some of Cuba’s most important musical genres:
_Son_: Developed in the 19th century as a combination of Spanish guitar and lyrical traditions with African vocals and percussion, son is the progenitor of most other Cuban musical genres, and the most important; son is to Cuba what the tango is to Argentina.
_Salsa_: Descended from Cuban son and now practiced throughout the world, this popular dance style has also been greatly influenced by American jazz and many forms of Afro-Cuban music, including rumba.
_Trova_: The traveling singer/songwriters of Eastern Cuba developed this genre as they went from house to house, singing ballads about love, women and their beloved country.
_Bolero_: The ballads of this romantic, heartfelt, slow-tempo genre originated in Santiago de Cuba during the late 19th century, and are often performed by soloists or a duo.
Jazz: Originally imported from America in the 1920s and 30s, jazz took on its own Cuban identity to become highly popular throughout the island, and many Cuban-born jazz musicians have become famous throughout the world.
_Rumba_: Cuban in origin but largely African in style, this genre employs only vocals and percussion, and refers to many various forms of Afro-Cuban song and dance.
_Timba_: A dominant genre in today’s Cuba, this contemporary version of son-derived salsa draws heavily on African folk dances, rumba, rap and reggae.
Traveling With Tauck
Are gratuities included?
The customary gratuity to the Tauck Director and Driver is not included on most Tauck trips. Such gratuities should be extended on a voluntary, individual basis and not done as a group. As an exception, there are some Tauck journeys in which the Tauck Director gratuity is included and/or a Driver gratuity will not be applicable. Information about Tauck Director and Driver gratuities specific to a destination is included within final tour documentation sent after a reservation has been paid in full.
All appropriate gratuities for luggage handling, bellman, doorman, dining room servers, housekeepers, local city guides, ship and train crew are included in the price of a Tauck trip.
Can I bring a wheelchair or motorized scooter?
Wheelchairs and certain types of motorized scooters can be accommodated on some Tauck journeys. It is best that you inquire for the specific journey you are interested in. As a general rule, wheelchairs and motorized scooters are not accepted for Tauck’s international and exotic destinations. The international community does not adhere to the same accessibility standards that hotels, restaurants and public buildings do in the United States. That combined with tour itineraries that might require a considerable bit of walking in old historic city sections, in and around attractions, over cobblestone streets, up hills and climbing staircases make wheelchairs impractical to bring.
Collapsible wheelchairs are more widely accepted for Tauck journeys within the United States and Canada. But even to this, there are exceptions so it always is best to inquire to be certain. Motor coach space limitations make motorized scooters harder to accommodate on journeys, but there are certain model collapsible motorized scooters that can be accommodated on many of Tauck’s North American journeys. Again, it is best to inquire.
Tauck cannot provide wheelchairs to guests or wheelchair assistance during the journey. Persons needing such assistance must be accompanied by an able companion.
Can special dietary needs be accommodated on a Tauck journey?
Many special dietary needs can be accommodated on Tauck journeys with advance notice but cannot be guaranteed. Different destinations make some dietary needs harder to accommodate than others. We will do everything possible in communicating your requests to hotels and restaurants. Common dietary requests like ‘low sodium’ or ‘vegetarian’ are likely to be accommodated much easier than very special or unique dietary needs. Meals that are full a la carte offer more flexibility for special dietary requests as do some limited a la carte meals. For the occasional ‘set menu’ or ‘buffet meals’ on Tauck journeys, unique dietary needs may prove a bit more challenging.
Do Tauck journeys accommodate four guests in a room?
With the exception of most Tauck Bridges destinations, 4 guests (or quads) cannot be accommodated on our journeys. Tauck Bridges are journeys designed to be kid friendly and family oriented. Room accommodations for four on Tauck Bridges journeys are typically two beds and a roll-a-way.
Do Tauck journeys accommodate triples?
Most every Tauck journey can accommodate three people in a room. Typical room accommodations for triples are two beds and a roll-a-way. Though very rare, there is sometimes an occasional hotel that must accommodate a triple by using two rooms. This cannot be requested and is only done out of necessity by the hotel for lack of rooms accommodating three beds. Most all cruise journeys have limited cabin types accommodating triples.
How do you choose your hotels?
When you travel with Tauck you can always count on the best available accommodations in great locations, from landmark city hotels to country hotels in areas of stunning regional beauty. Many companies use less expensive hotels to keep their prices down; they are often of lesser quality and poorly located in outlying areas. In contrast, Tauck hotels are selected for their central location, ambiance, service and value; most are conveniently located, close to key historic and cultural sights.
What is the age group of the people who take your journeys?
Tauck land trips and cruises are enjoyed by people of all ages, by anyone who has a passion for enriching, rewarding and memorable travel experiences. Our Tauck Bridges family adventures are designed for family travel and attract people of all ages and generations; Tauck Culturious trips appeal to “boomer” travelers looking for culturally immersive, active, small group travel.
What is the average group size of a Tauck journey?
The average group size of a Tauck journey varies depending on the trip that is selected. Most of our land journeys average 35 to 44 guests. Some of Tauck’s cruise programs will average larger group sizes based on the capacity of a ship. While the group size can be larger for such cruise programs, the land touring and shore excursions are orchestrated in smaller group sizes.
What is the typical dress while on a Tauck journey?
Typical dress for any Tauck journey is casual attire. Some journeys may include a specific dinner function or an event in which gentlemen may be required to have, or feel more comfortable wearing, a sport jacket. But overall the rule of thumb is casual comfortable clothing. Our final tour documentation will mention occasions (if any) on a journey in which a sport jacket or dressier clothing is suggested.
Who leads your journeys?
Tauck journeys are seen through the experienced eyes of our Tauck Directors, knowledgeable professionals whose expertise, wealth of information, friendliness, warmth and enthusiasm earn them the highest praise from our guests. They are the personifications of the word “leader.” Tauck Directors are passionate in their desire to deliver enriching, rewarding and memorable travel experiences – and they are with you through your entire journey.
Will we be eating as a group for meals?
Tauck’s “free choice” dining allows you to eat many of your meals when you want and with whom you want. Special occasion dinners are held as group functions, and lunches that are included during group sightseeing excursions are often held in a group setting.
Are meals included on Tauck journeys?
Most meals are included on Tauck journeys. Dining is a delightful and integral part of the Tauck experience – and that is why Tauck selects restaurants that offer a true taste of each region you visit. Enjoy Tauck’s “free choice” dining where you often dine when and with whom you wish; some meals are full a la carte, some may be limited a la carte, and some may be from a set menu or buffet.
Is airfare included on Tauck journeys?
Airfare to the tour departure point and from the tour ending point on a Tauck journey is not included. Some destinations require ‘on-tour’ flights which must be reserved and purchased through Tauck.
What’s included in the price of a Tauck journey?
Just about everything! Virtually every travel expense is included in one up-front price – airport transfers as specified in the itinerary, all hotel and ship accommodations, entertainment, meals as specified in the itinerary, special dinner, land and cruise transportation, sightseeing, shore excursions, luggage handling, most taxes, concierge-style services Tauck Directors, services of local guides and more.
All appropriate gratuities for luggage handling, bellmen, doormen, dining room servers, and ship staff are included. Tauck Director and Tauck Cruise Director (if applicable) gratuities are included on all small ship and river cruises and all Tauck Bridges trips.
Over 100 cost components are included on every land trip and cruise – which means no hidden costs, no surcharges, no on-tour surprises!
What to Pack
For every Tauck itinerary, you’ll find helpful information on this very topic at www.tauck.com. Select an itinerary and click on the tour name. You’ll see a row of headings leading to information about the trip. Click on Before You Go, and then scroll down the page to the What to Pack sub-heading. This information can also be found under Packing Tips on the same list of headings.
Here you’ll find information about the type of clothing you’ll need – given the local climate conditions and how casual or dressy the venues visited will be. You’ll also find a list of recommended items to pack and important reminders about your travel documents, prescription medications and laundry service availability on the road.
Heading to Africa on Kenya & Tanzania: A Classic Safari?
Following the steps above, you’ll learn that this is a very casual tour with no need for resort attire; that wearing earth-tone colors is recommended (and why) – that a bandanna will come in handy and using camp laundry services following a dusty game-drive day is both affordable and practical.
Contemplating a Riverboat trip on French Waterways?
The Clothing and Packing information will tell you that comfortable and casual is perfect aboard ship or for sightseeing. For the Tauck welcome and farewell dinners, casual resort wear is likely to make you feel comfortable with your fellow travelers – for example, chinos and a polo shirt for men; slacks or skirt and a blouse, or a casually dressy dress for women. Should you decide to dine on your own at a more formal restaurant (on land), a jacket and tie may be preferred or required for gentlemen.
Cruising on a small ship on Treasures of the Aegean?
“Casual elegance” describes the feel of sailing on a yacht as well as the way that guests typically dress. Dressing for relaxation and comfort are key but it’s helpful to think about what you would wear at an upscale land resort. We offer suggestions for both day and evening attire under Before You Go – as well as what to expect when visiting mosques.
Both island hopping and mountain sightseeing on Peru and the Galápagos Islands?
You’ll find guidance on packing essentials for both, from what to wear at sea to what to wear when crossing the Andes Mountains at high elevations. Included notes will advise that a special occasion in Lima calls for casually elegant evening attire and in the Galápagos, water shoes for “wet landings” ashore and beach walks are a must – and that wet suits are available aboard ship.
No matter your destination…
No matter your destination, keep in mind that comfort and convenience are critical. We encourage you not to over pack, but rather to bring outfits that can be mixed and matched for style – and layered or removed for changes in temperature. Above all, bring shoes that are supportive and comfortably broken in for walking, preferably with a non-slip sole. See “Before You Go” on each tour for details.
Generic Packing List
Below is a generic packing list for your consideration – but again, it’s always best to check the itinerary-specific information available for every Tauck trip.
– Comfortable, casual wear for sightseeing in limited colors that can be mixed and matched
– A slightly dressy outfit for a special evening (for men, a blazer or sport coat, chinos and polo shirt, for example; for women, a skirt and a casually dressy top or a simple dress)
– A light to medium sweater and a light jacket or windbreaker for layering
– In humid climates, bring loose-fitting clothes made of natural fibers
– In colder climates, bring layers that you can add or subtract as the day warms up or the – nights cool down
– Swimsuit with cover-up
– Athletic gear for working out (optional)
– Comfortable, broken-in, supportive walking shoes or sandals
– Casually dressy shoes for evening
– Athletic shoes for workouts (optional)
– Accessories: Glasses and/or contact lenses, sunglasses, hat, alarm clock, batteries and chargers for small electronics and phone, camera and memory cards.
– Prescriptions: A supply sufficient for the entire trip and a copy of your prescription(s) in your carry-on bag; extra pair of prescription glasses.
– Sundries: Sun, lip and insect protection, preferred over-the-counter medications for upset stomach, pain reliever or allergies, preferred personal hygiene products, contact lens solution and beauty items.
– Umbrella / rain jacket
– A tote bag that folds into its own zippered pouch – handy for shopping or bringing back souvenirs
– Emergency contact phone numbers; addresses for sending postcards.
– Cash, ATM card
– Photograph of luggage contents in case of loss
– Sealable plastic bags for stowing small liquid containers
– Travel documents or confirmation numbers, passport, Frequent Flyer cards, medical insurance cards, business cards (to exchange with friends made along the way)