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Yes, our site is quite large. While we have a tremendous amount of information on the site, it is nearly impossible for everyone to find everything. Because of this, we have compiled a list of the 10 most asked questions be people emailing us while considering one of our vacations. Here they are:

Can you please send more information?

This is, without question, the single most common question we see when people email us for the first time, and it is also the most difficult question for us to answer.   Consider that there are over 3,000 pages on our website, and we have very extensive information about all of our trips throughout the site.  With that in mind, when someone asks us a generic “please send more information” request, we have no idea how to respond, since we honestly don’t know what to add to what you may have already seen on the website.  In other words, you may have only looked at part of the website, but we don’t know what more would mean.  So our only option is to send back a very long and generic email that is probably not helpful to you.   If you can form a more specific question (or series of questions), we can give you much more precise answers.

Is there any helpful information that cannot be found on your website?

Surely, yes.  But we don’t know which information would be helpful to you, or what you have already found.  In maintaining our website, we try to put answers to everything we have ever been asked in an easy to find, logical manner.  However, there are always unasked questions, or just because it is there, does not mean you found it.   Because of this, we have a difficult time answering general questions like this. If you can form a more specific question (or series of questions), we can give you much more precise answers.

Is there a supplemental charge for single travelers?

Yes, there is.  When we price our vacations, we allocate 50% of our accommodations cost to each person in the base pricing.  So if only one person is in the accommodations, only half of our accommodations cost has been allocated in their pricing.  2 people would cover 100% of the cost.  This is the basis for “double occupancy” pricing, which is standard in the travel business.  As such, if only one person will stay in the accommodations, we need to add a single supplement to cover the difference.   This is a pass through cost for us, meaning we only add what our additional cost is with no markup.  The amount changes depending on which of our vacations you take, because our costs vary by location.  You can see the single supplement for any of the vacations by going to the itinerary page for that trip and clicking on the “Dates and Prices” tab.  Note also, that while we must charge a single supplement to cover our costs, we are often able to offer a discount for 3+ people staying in the same accommodations, since we have a savings.

What is your cancellation policy?

Deposits are refundable within 50 days of the time you pay your deposit, so long as you have booked more than 180 days before the start date of the vacation with us. If you book within 180 days of the start date of the vacation, your deposit is immediately non-refundable.
90 Days before the start date of the vacation:

  • The full balance for your vacation is due.
  • The vacation is no longer refundable, unless the vacation fills to capacity 30 days before the start date, in which case we will refund 70% of the total paid.
  • If we are unable to issue you a partial refund as outlined above, we will be happy to apply 20% of your total toward any of our other vacations anytime within the next 12 months.

These cancellation terms reflect times that we must pay out expenses for your trip on your behalf. At times that we no longer offer refunds, we have already paid out the associated costs, and refunds are not available to us. Because of this, we are unable to bend these terms. Please obtain travel insurance as soon as you book your reservation. When we send your confirmation, there will be a link to a travel insurance provider.

Do your trips include airfare?

No, they do not.  All of our vacations are “Land Only”.  We do provide transportation to and from the airport based on the shuttle schedule shown on each itinerary, and once we are together, we include all transportation, meals, classes, excursions, etc.  However, all transportation costs to get to our initial meeting point at the beginning, and back at the end are not included.

Can we get our airline tickets from you?

We would love to, but we already like you too much.  The reality is that the large travel websites like Kayak.com, Expedia, etc. can get you much better fares than we can!  In fact, while we have access to all of the travel portals as a “Travel Agency”, we use the big travel websites for our own travel, because they simply get better deals due to their volume.  That said, if you would like, we are happy to help you research fares on these sites.

What will the accommodations be like?

The accommodations are different, depending on which location you choose.  Go to the itinerary that interests you on the website and click on the “Accommodations” tab for detailed information and photos.  Additionally, we post many photos of the accommodations in our photo galleries.  Once you have seen them, you may have specific questions about them, and we are more than happy to help.

What is the price of your vacations?

The price depends on which of our vacations you are interested in.  Go to our Vacation Calendar, and you will see a week by week listing of what we are doing.  Right there on the calendar you can see availability and pricing.  If you click on any of those vacation weeks, you will be taken to a detailed web page with an overview, full itinerary, detailed pricing information, etc.

Can you hold space for me before I book?

We so wish we could!  We really would love to, since we know how difficult it can be to get affairs in order to plan a trip.  The problem is that we have been unintentionally burned one too many times, and had to draw a line.  It puts us in a terrible position. On several occasions we have held space for a few days so someone could try to put all the pieces together.  In that time, all of the additional space sold out, and others came in wanting to book the trip, but could not… only to have the plans for the people we were holding for fall through.  Because of this, in order to be fair, we have been forced to stick with a first come, first served policy.

What deposit is required?

20% of the standard per person price for the vacation.  “Standard” means the price before any single supplements or triple reductions.  For example, if you are planning on coming alone, we only charge the single supplement when the final balance is charged, and do not factor it into the deposit.  The reason for this is that it is quite common that people book as a single, but someone winds up joining them.  This way, instead of having to refund the difference for the single supplement, we simply remove it from the balance.

Of course, these are just the most common questions. Just about everything you could ever think of is here on the website, but we know it is quite a bit of information to go through. Please feel free to contact us with all of your questions. We love what we do, and love to help! Our #1 priority is that you feel absolutely comfortable before coming and have no unanswered questions at any stage.

Click here to contact us now.

 

Who Our Vacations are NOT for

We are looking for people that are looking for us

We'll let you in on a little secret: It's not about the money for us, it's about sharing a passion we have. Of course we value our financial success, but not at the expense of changing our identity in order to appeal to a larger group of travelers. What this means is that we would rather lose a potential guest than have someone come on one our trips that is actually looking for something different than what we offer.

Because of this, as you read through our website, you will see that we pay special attention to giving you as much detailed information as possible. Even every itinerary has a page dedicated to making sure it is the one for you. We put it all on the table, because we only want you to take one of our trips if it is really what you are looking for.

This page goes into this subject in general terms, so be sure to also read through the "Is this for you" section of any of the itineraries that interst you.

Our vacations are not for people looking for a traditional tour

There is nothing traditional about us. In fact, we break all of the "tour company rules". Our guides are hosts, not guides. They are people the live here and focus more on their connection with the place than the traditional "tour". They are not art history majors that recite names, dates and history when we are out on excurions. Instead, they are part of the group with you, the same way you would expect if you were visiting a friend and went out for the day. Our team does not maintain the classic professional "customer-vendor" distance traditional tour companies do, and you will never see things like evaluation forms handed out... simply because you would never hand an evaluation form to a friend, would you?

For those looking for this type of experience (generally people that dislike tours), this is something amazing. But we are realistic in our knowledge that not everyone is looking for the same thing. We have occasionally had a guest give us some friendly advice that we should do more traditional tours, send out evaluation forms, and even have a sort of "club card" for past guests to drum up more business.

We will never change who we are in order to "drum up more business". That is simply not what it is about for us. We do what we do to share our passion and conenction to the "real Italy". The sense of friends, family and authenticity always come first for us, and anything that goes against that in any way is not something we are willing to sacrifice in order to enhance our bottom line. But not everyone is looking for this kind of experience, and if you are seeking a more traditional tour experience, we probably would not be your best choice.

Our vacations are not for people unprepared to embrace cultural diversity

We don't "watch" the culture, we immerse ourselves in it. No matter how many times you have been to Italy, no matter how many towns and cities you have been to.. even if you rented a car, drove the coutryside, and stopped in little farmhouse restaurants; Chances are the experience was not as immersive as you thought. We have had guests that have traveled to all corners of the globe, giving them a sense that they had really experienced local life on a global scale. But in most of those cases, unless they were actually house guests of locals, they usually didn't have an immersive cultural experience.

We spend a great deal of time in areas that don't have large numbers of tourists. You will meet and get to know poeple that are going about living their lives, and are not par of the "tourism trade". They have different customs than you are probably used to, and since we are not in big touristy areas, they have an expectation that our guests will not only respect their customs, but take part in them.

In other words, we are guests, not clients most everyone we go. So we are expected not to put our feet up on that sofa, lest we offend our host. However, we know that some people don't want to think about adhering to local customs when they travel. Some poeple are looking for it, and some people don't want to be bothered by it. So if you would think you should be able to put your feet on that sofa because you are the customer, our trips are probably not a good fit for you. But if you want to learn and experience these things, you found the right place.

Of course you cannot be expected to know the customs, so we will let you know. For example, in Italy Cappuccino is a breakfast only beverage. We ask our guests to respect the customs and embrace the culture. So if you look at this statement and think to yourself that you want to experience life like an Italian while you are with us, and want to oirder what the locals order after dinner, you found the right place. But if your reaction is that it is your vacation, and you will have that cappuccino whenever you please, then maybe we are not the best fit for you.

Our vacations are not for people that don't take it all in stride

 

Our vacations are not for people that are anti-social

Our vacations are not for people that will see us as a company that "provides a service"

Our vacations are not for people that are unoprepared to lose their pre-conceived notions of Italy

 

 

What information do we collect?

We collect information from you when you register on our site, make a reservation, subscribe to our newsletter or fill out a form.

When registering on our site, as appropriate, you may be asked to enter your: name, e-mail address, mailing address, phone number, and credit card information. You may, however, visit our site anonymously.

What do we use your information for?

Any of the information we collect from you may be used in one of the following ways:

; To personalize your experience
(your information helps us to better respond to your individual needs)

; To improve our website
(we continually strive to improve our website offerings based on the information and feedback we receive from you)

; To improve customer service
(your information helps us to more effectively respond to your customer service requests and support needs)

; To process transactions
Your information, whether public or private, will not be sold, exchanged, transferred, or given to any other company for any reason whatsoever, without your consent, other than for the express purpose of delivering the purchased service requested.

; To send periodic emails
The email address you provide for order processing, will only be used to send you information and updates pertaining to your reservation.


How do we protect your information?

We implement a variety of security measures to maintain the safety of your personal information when you place an order

We offer the use of a secure server. All supplied sensitive/credit information is transmitted via Secure Socket Layer (SSL) technology and then encrypted into our Database to be only accessed by those authorized with special access rights to our systems, and are required to?keep the information confidential.

After a transaction, your private information (credit cards, social security numbers, financials, etc.) will be kept on file for more than 60 days in order to charge the balance for your rservartion.

Do we use cookies?

Yes (Cookies are small files that a site or its service provider transfers to your computers hard drive through your Web browser (if you allow) that enables the sites or service providers systems to recognize your browser and capture and remember certain information

We use cookies to understand and save your preferences for future visits.

If you prefer, you can choose to have your computer warn you each time a cookie is being sent, or you can choose to turn off all cookies via your browser settings. Like most websites, if you turn your cookies off, some of our services may not function properly. However, you can still place orders over the telephone.

Do we disclose any information to outside parties?

We do not sell, trade, or otherwise transfer to outside parties your personally identifiable information. This does not include trusted third parties who assist us in operating our website, conducting our business, or servicing you, so long as those parties agree to keep this information confidential. We may also release your information when we believe release is appropriate to comply with the law, enforce our site policies, or protect ours or others rights, property, or safety.

California Online Privacy Protection Act Compliance

Because we value your privacy we have taken the necessary precautions to be in compliance with the California Online Privacy Protection Act. We therefore will not distribute your personal information to outside parties without your consent.

As part of the California Online Privacy Protection Act, all users of our site may make any changes to their information at anytime by logging into their control panel.

Childrens Online Privacy Protection Act Compliance

We are in compliance with the requirements of COPPA (Childrens Online Privacy Protection Act), we do not collect any information from anyone under 13 years of age. Our website, products and services are all directed to people who are at least 13 years old or older.


Online Privacy Policy Only

This online privacy policy applies only to information collected through our website and not to information collected offline.

Your Consent

By using our site, you consent to our websites privacy policy.

Changes to our Privacy Policy

If we decide to change our privacy policy, we will post those changes on this page, and/or update the Privacy Policy modification date below.

This policy was last modified on May 19, 2012

Contacting Us

If there are any questions regarding this privacy policy you may contact us using the information below.

http://www.culturediscovery.com
6785 Arroyo Dr
Viera, Florida 32940
United States
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
3214268880

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E-Mail Us

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Contact us By E-Mail

Feel free to email us any questions at

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Your email will be automatically sent to several people, and even if we are out of the office, we are regularly monitoring our wireless devices.

Before You Click SEND...

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Click here to see answers to our top 10 questions.
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Call Us

Contact us By Phone

We are always happy to chat and help, so feel free to call us with any questions you have.

Phone: +1 (321) 426-8880

Important: We do not operate a traditional office. We are all working, wherever we are, so our phones are programmed to forward to us all over the world. That means that when you call our main number, you may get someone that is in the Florida office, or we may be answering you from one of the locations in Italy. One of us even once answered a call into the main number on a cell phone from atop a camel in the Sahara desert!

When to Call Us (Hours)

Office hours are a bit tricky for us because of the nature of what we do, especially when you also add that our guests come from all over the world in various time zones, so here is a general guide:

Between November and April

During this time, most of us are in the United States. We generally keep office hours. If we don't answer, just leave a message letting us know a good time to return your call based on the hours below, and someone will get back to you very quickly.

Here is a time zone guide for a few countries:
If you are calling from North America, consider calling between 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM EST.
If you are calling from Australia, consider calling between 1:00 AM and 9:00 AM EST. (Sorry)
If you are calling from Great Britain, consider calling between 2:00 PM and 10:00 PM.
If you are calling from South Africa, consider calling between 4:00 PM and 12:00 AM.

Between May and October

During this period, we are in full season, so most of us are in Italy. Calling the main number will forward to us in Italy, but please consider the time zone. While we are in Italy, we are almost always on the move, so there is a good chance that you will need to leave a message and have us return your call. If this is the case, leave a message telling us what a good time to call would be based on the hours below, and we will get back to you as soon as we possibly can.

Here is a time zone guide for a few countries:
If you are calling from North America, consider calling between 3:00 AM to 11:00 AM EDT.
If you are calling from Australia, consider calling between 7:00 PM to 3:00 AM EDT.
If you are calling from Great Britain, consider calling between 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM.
If you are calling from South Africa, consider calling between 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

Tweet or Facebook Us

Contact us on Facebook or Twitter

We are extremely active on Facebook and Twitter. In fact, if you post a question to our Facebook page, you may just get an answer from one of our past guests, as we all use our Facebook page as a place to keep in touch!

Click Here to Visit and "Like" our Facebook Page and feel free to ask any questions. Besides getting information from us, this is a wonderful way to get input from our past guests.

 

 

Tweet Us and we will be happy to reply with answers to any questions you may have!

Snail Mail Us

Send Us Postal Mail

If you would like to send us anything by snail mail, please remember that between May and October we are at the Italy address, otherwise we are at at USA address below:

USA

Culture Discovery Vacations
301 W Platt St #222
Tampa, FL 33606
USA

Italy

Culture Discovery Vacations
Villa Eddarella Via Fracassi
01038 Soriano nel Cimino (VT)
Italy

Welcome Travel Professionals

Culture Discovery Vacations is a niche tour operator that offers a truly special and unique experience to both seasoned and inexperienced travelers. We differentiate ourselves from the "Big Brand" operators in many ways, but above all is the level of personal service we provide. While we offer much more bang for the buck, it is the attention to detail from the moment of the first inquiry to long after the tour has completed that really makes us shine. To put it simply, our goal with each tour is to make sure that every guest comes home having had an experience that was far superior than what they had expected. In order for us to succeed in our minds, their time with us must be the best vacation of their lives.... period.

This level of service is paramount to us, so working with service-committed agents and agencies is an integral part of our strategy. We offer generous commissions, personal support, fantastic group policies, and much more to our valued travel partners.

Please fill out the following form to register with us. Once we have verified you, we will send you a complete breakdown of our commission structure, procedures, requirements, etc.

We look forward to working with you!

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