Frequently Asked Questions

Who owns Blue Dot Travel?

There are four partners. Brett and Kate Goulston are husband and wife team who started the company in 2011. Both have travelled extensively. Brett has many years of experience taking small escorted groups on personally tailored, exciting trips all around the world. In 2016 Brod Brennan and Joanne Coughlan joined the management team also as part owners. Both Brod and Joanne had worked with Blue Dot as tour hosts before joining. They have also travelled extensively around the world.

What type of people travel with Blue Dot?

While every group is different, Blue Dot tours are generally Australian travellers who are in their 50's, 60's and older. Groups usually include a combination of singles, couples and friends.

How many people will be travelling with me?

Blue Dot tours are small and friendly. Our average group size is 14 however we will depart with as little as two travelers and as many as 20, which is our maximum group size. Blue Dot customers enjoy a personal service as our small group tours allow for far more flexibility than large group tours. All Blue Dot tours are hosted when the tour departs with 10 or more travelers. Regardless of the group size, all tours are fully guided when in-country.

Is there an age limit?

Blue Dot do not have any specific age limit on our tours. The majority of travellers are in their 50's, 60's and 70’s, but whether you’re older or younger, you are welcome. The important thing is that you’re in good health and after a wonderful cultural experience.

Could I travel with my children?

Recognising the different needs of children, we have developed tailored family tours with children in mind. Only some of our standard Blue Dot trips are suitable for children. You will find the itineraries on our website. If unsure please contact us for more detailed information.

Where will my accommodation be located and what will it be like?

We try and provide the most comfortable hotel at our locations. As we travel to unique destinations, which are less frequented by tourists, we are limited by what is available. Often the hotels are not extravagant, but they are clean, comfortable and mostly centrally located. We also need to consider their availability at time of booking and their facilities including food and other services.

I want to see all the main sights, but will I have time to explore on my own?

We balance our itineraries to give you the free time you need to relax and immerse yourself in the location. Having said that, travellers need to keep in mind the group has an itinerary to work to, and this means flexibility is required.

What is an 'optional activity'?

These are activities that we do not automatically include but are occasionally offered on the trip. Sometimes great opportunities just come up.

Do I need travel insurance?

Yes, you must take out adequate travel insurance for each of our tours. We do not accept travellers without travel insurance. It is up to each individual traveller to ensure that the insurance is right for them. Blue Dot Travel can provide a quote and organise Travel Insurance on your behalf. We strongly recommend that all travellers read the Product Disclosure Statement provided by your travel insurance company with special attention to “what is" and "what is not” covered by your insurance.

What does the tour cost include?

It’s important to read each itinerary in detail. Generally speaking, the prices listed in our flyers and on the web site cover all accommodation, transfers, sightseeing and entrance fees as per the itinerary, transportation on tour, services of an experienced professional guide, and meals as shown in the itinerary which is usually breakfast and another meal. Our costs also include any international air fares from a major Australian airport and in country air transfers.

What is not included in the cost of the trip?

Generally speaking the following costs are to be borne by the traveler; visas, taxes and duties, foreign currency, Australian domestic air fare to point of tour departure, personal expenses such as phone calls, tips, and beverages where not included. Usually, but not always, breakfasts and one major meal is included in the tour costs. Meals which are included will always be listed on the itinerary.

Can I just do part of the tour?

Unfortunately it is not possible to do sections of our tours unless it is a private tour. It is however, possible to meet up with the group from an overseas destination.

How do I get to the start of the tour?

Most of our tours originate in Sydney or Melbourne although on occasions, depending on the destination, travelers can depart from other cities. Each traveller is responsible for connecting to the departing city.

Do I need to get a Visa for my trip?

Some of the countries we visit do require a tourist visa. We will send you information with all the visa requirements after your booking is received. We can “hand-hold” the visa needs for travellers however sometimes it is not possible to apply on your behalf. It’s best to get visas applications underway as soon as possible, as the processing time can often be longer than anticipated.

Are you able to cater for special dietary requirements?

Yes, we can certainly try. Meal requests must be advised at time of booking or 21 days prior to departure. All efforts are made to accommodate reasonable special dietary requirements, like vegetarian meals and gluten free meals, however in some locations this cannot be guaranteed.

What immunisations do I need?

Immunisation requirements vary in each destnation. We recommend you visit your local doctor to discuss health requirements for your trip. They will advise you about the appropriate immunisations. In some areas anti-malaria medication may be required. Often the vaccines need to be administered a few weeks before departure, so please allow plenty of time.

Can I take a private group?

Some of our itineraries are available for private tours as they stand. Others require tailoring. We often arrange for private groups and are happy to plan a trip based on independent group requirements. Minimum number requirements may apply depending on the destination.

How far in advance do I need to book?

The longer you book in advance, the better. It enables us to plan and secure flights and accommodation. To secure your booking, we require payment of a deposit which is usually $250 person unless otherwise stated on the itinerary. This must be accompanied with your completed booking form.

When do I need to make the final payment?

The final payment for all trips is due 60 days before the departure of your trip. If you’ve booked your trip within 60 days of the departure date, full payment is required immediately. Importantly, if payment is not made within 60 days of departure, your place on the trip is jeopardised. Payment for flights – if booked as an individual ticket and not as part of a group ticket - are required at time of booking. Boat/ship tours and some specific travel components may require earlier payment. These requirements will be specified in the itinerary.

How fit do I need to be?

Our trips are designed to be enjoyed by anyone who is reasonably fit. However, some trips visit remote areas where medical facilities are very basic, so you must be in good health. We require that you can walk 500 metres without having to stop, and be able to walk up three flights of stairs unassisted. On all holidays, a flexible, open-minded approach is essential. Unfamiliar customs and cultures can be unsettling and there will sometimes be other factors which may reduce your comfort, such as unsealed roads, humidity, traffic, and delays. You also sometimes have to carry your own bags so bear that in mind when packing for your trip.

How much walking is there on the trip?

Whenever you travel, you will be required to do some walking. Some tours will require more than others. Many places of interest are located on hilltops or in elevated city centres. Often there is a restriction on vehicle access. You don't have to participate in visiting every sight or stop, and you will always have the option of staying with the bus and driver.

How much luggage can I take?

Luggage is restricted by the terms and conditions with the airlines. As always with travel, we suggest a less is best approach. Blue Dot recommend you take a medium size luggage case of no more than 15kgs. Additional small personal items may be carried on the plane and vehicle in one piece of hand luggage.

Will I be able to wash clothes on the trip?

Some of the places we stay do have laundry facilities, and those that don’t may have laundry facilities nearby, especially within cities.

Should I take my mobile phone?

If you want to take your phone with you, there is a good chance that it will work in most major cities and even regional areas. You can often purchase a local SIM card or, many of the Australian mobile phone service providers now offer “travel passes” which are a cheaper way of making and receiving calls whilst overseas. It’s a good idea to check with your service provider before you go if they have a reciprocal agreement with the countries you are travelling to, and make sure you remember to get international roaming turned on. A note of caution, mobile roaming – both phone calls and internet data can get very expensive! It is recommended that you turn off data roaming before travelling.

Will I need to tip the tour guide and driver?

The short answer is yes however, we do not included tips in our tour costs because we feel it is everyone’s right to decide if and how much they tip. We will provide a guideline as to how much to tip in your documentation. Generally, the only time you would not tip is if you feel the guide or driver has a done a poor job. Salaries are often very low in many of the countries we visit and guides/drivers support themselves and their families with the tip money they receive.

How much spending money do I need?

As much of the cost of the travel is included in your trip, you should not need large sums of local currency. Having said that, it is a good idea to carry money for personal items and emergency situations. The amount required will vary depending on the destination. Your tour notes will provide a guideline as to how much cash you should travel with.

What is the best way to take money with me?

It’s a good idea to take a combination of cash, an ATM card and perhaps a credit card as back-up. Travellers cheques are becoming rarer as a means to pay. As a general rule, American dollars and Euros are exchanged throughout the world, but make sure you have small denominations. You’ll need to make arrangements with your bank to ensure you can access funds at an ATM overseas.

How do I make my booking?

To make a booking, please phone the office on Sydney (02) 9906 5770 or you can email us at enquiries@bluedottravel.com.au. We require a completed booking form before a booking is accepted.

When will I receive my documents?

Final tour documents will normally be mailed around 21 days prior to departure provided full payment has been received. Prior to that, you will receive regular updates and information letters welll in advance of departure.

Is there a surcharge if I pay by credit card?

Yes, there is a 1.1% surcharge on all bookings paid by credit card.

What are your cancellation fees?

Cancellation fees are levied relative to the amount of notice given. Please refer to our terms and conditions posted on our website.

What are Blue Dot Travel’s terms and conditions?

Please visit our Terms and Conditions page on the web site for full details. Please ensure you have read and understood these prior to booking.

How do I lodge a complaint?

If you are dissatisfied with a travel service provided by us, you should in the first instance consider speaking directly with the staff member/s you have been dealing with. If you are uncomfortable with this or consider the relevant staff member is unable to address your concerns you can lodge a complaint with us through one of the following ways:
    •    By telephoning us,
    •    By writing to us or
    •    By emailing us.
Our contact details are located on our website at:  http://www.Bluedottravel.com.au/contact
If we receive your complaint verbally and we consider it appropriate, we may ask you to put your complaint in writing.  Our complaints handling process is free of charge.

If you would like to receive a copy of our Complaint Handling & Dispute Resolution Policy this can be emailed or posted to you.