Useful Information for Your Preparation
ABOUT OUR COMPANY
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 leaders before joining. They have also travelled extensively around the world.
ABOUT OUR GROUPS
Blue Dot tours are small and friendly. Our average group size is 13 however, we will depart with as little as 4 travellers and as many as 16 depending on the tour.
Blue Dot customers enjoy a personal service as our small group tours allow for far more flexibility than large group tours.
While every group is different, Blue Dot tours are generally Australian travellers who are in their 50s, 60s and older. Groups usually include a combination of singles, couples and friends.
Blue Dot do not have any specific age limit on our tours. Most travellers are in their 50s, 60s and 70s, 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.
ABOUT OUR TOURS
Most of our tours originate in Sydney or Melbourne although on occasions, depending on the destination, travellers can depart from other cities. Each traveller is responsible for connecting to the departing city.
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.
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.
These are activities that we do not automatically include but are occasionally offered on the trip. Sometimes great opportunities just come up.
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.
BOOKING YOUR TRIP
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. Most tours also include the costs for economy class international airfares from Sydney or Melbourne return plus internal flights when on tour. All tours from 2020 onwards include tips to guides, drivers or service personnel on tour.
Generally speaking, the following costs are to be borne by the traveller; visas, taxes and duties, foreign currency, Australian domestic airfare to point of tour departure, personal expenses such as phone calls, 2019 tours do not include tips to guides, drivers or service personnel on tour, 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.
The final payment for all trips is due 75 days before the departure of your trip. If you’ve booked your trip within 75 days of the departure date, full payment is required immediately. Importantly, if payment is not made within 75 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.
Yes, there is a 1.1% surcharge on all bookings paid by credit card.
PASSPORTS, TICKETING AND VISAS
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.
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 well in advance of departure.
HEALTH AND SAFETY
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.
Immunisation requirements vary in each destination. 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.
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. A minimum level of fitness is required to be able to participate on a BDT tour. You must be able to walk at least one thousand metres at a reasonable pace without requiring a stop, be able to carry at least your own bags and be able to walk at least 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.
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.
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.
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.
Luggage is restricted by the terms and conditions with the airlines. As always with travel, we suggest a less is best approach. Blue Dot Travel 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.
Our terms and conditions state that you agree to carry a mobile device so that the airlines can contact you directly and advise of any cancellations and disruptions regarding your flights.
Your phone should work in most major cities and even regional areas. 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 and just use Wifi for data.
Some of the places we stay do have laundry facilities, and those that don’t may have laundry facilities nearby, especially within cities.
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;
- 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.
TRAVEL ALERTS &CANCELLATIONS
From time to time travel conditions in the countries we operate in can and do change. The safety and well being of our clients and staff is always of paramount importance to us and there are times when we are called upon to consider either cancelling trips or making changes to our itineraries to avoid problem areas.
- Blue Dot Travel (BDT) makes these decisions based on information obtained from the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade (DFAT) travel advisory and our own Local Operators, who are able to provide us with up to the minute information on the mood and feel within Country. Other important sources of information we consider include travel advisories from other foreign government websites including: Britain, Canada, New Zealand, United States, World Health Organisation
- BDT will not operate tours when the Australian Government travel advisory reaches level 4 ‘Do Not Travel’.
- Where possible and safe to do so, BDT will reroute itineraries to avoid the areas concerned and additional costs may be incurred.
- Decisions to cancel or re-route upcoming tours are made on a rolling basis, as situations and DFAT advice can change at any time. Where the advice is temporarily at ‘Do Not Travel’, we will review the status of our tours approximately 2 weeks prior to departure.
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.