Guided Biking FAQ
The major distinction is that our Air Package gives you the convenience of letting VBT make all of your travel arrangements. It includes our round trip international airfare for an unbeatable price, an extra night or two of hotel accommodations as listed, transfers on some tours and the option to add low-cost Pre- and Post-trip Extensions. Our Bike Vacation Only includes meals, accommodations and use of VBT bicycles. To review the benefits of our Air Package, Click Here.
For 2020, our Bike Vacation Only packages offer the option to add on Optional Services like pre- or post-night hotels, Pre- and Post-trip Extension Plus packages or arrival or departure car services. Please call your Tour Consultant for pricing and details.
Transfers are included when you take advantage of our Air Package program. For our Bike Vacation Only package, you will have the option to add on an arrival or departure car service.
Some air options can be customized for an additional fee when purchasing the Air Package, but VBT is not able to customize our vacation packages.
Our VBT support van makes frequent sweeps of our biking routes to offer light refreshments, water bottle refills, and rides to those that would like them. Please Note: Some rides on bike paths may have limited access to van support. If a particular stretch of one of your daily rides will be made without support, your trip leaders will make you aware of this ahead of time and advise you of your options.
Your trip leaders will make any needed adjustments to your bike, to make sure you get the most comfortable fit for you. Since we will only have one bike for each rider at the starting location, it is very important to provide us with your current height (measured without shoes) when making your reservation. If you have questions or concerns about your bike fit, please contact our friendly Guest Services staff. Your comfort on the road is important to us!
Self-Guided Biking FAQ
A Guided Biking tour includes two trip leaders—one that bikes with the group and one that supports the group in a van. Guided Biking tours give you the flexibility to ride in the van if you decide to only bike part of the route on any day, and give you the option to either follow the leader or bike on your own throughout the ride.
Self-Guided Biking tours do not include any trip leaders and do not have the option of a support van. You are responsible for navigating using the Ride with GPS app on your iPhone or Android smartphone, handling minor bike repairs, and completing the entire ride that is scheduled for the day.
Airport transfers are not included for our Self-Guided tours (except for our Portugal: Porto, The Silver Coast & Lisbon tour.) Our tours are designed so the meeting points are easily accessible by public transportation. Also, many of our guests like to arrive early or depart later than the start and end date of the tour, so guests are able to transfer based on their own travel schedule.
With Self-Guided Air+, you may request to fly in up to three days before your tour begins or fly out up to three days after it ends for the same package price for your departure city. Requests for flying in and out of different cities, stopover connections, shortening the tour, or travel dates outside of three days on either end of the tour may require additional costs. We will quote you the additional cost for your request and you can review the flights and costs.
Sometimes it’s necessary to charge an additional Solo Surcharge on top of a Single Supplement. The Single Supplement guarantees you a private room at all hotels, but if you are the only traveler on the departure date and we must arrange private transportation for just you, we will charge a Solo Surcharge. If other guests sign up for your departure date, we will refund the surcharge around 60 days prior to departure.
You will be able to call, text, or email your local host to see if you can ride with the luggage transfer or if an additional vehicle can be arranged. You would be responsible for the cost of an additional transfer vehicle should you require it.
Yes, we strongly recommend bringing or borrowing an iPhone or Android smartphone, which is optimal for navigation, safety and emergencies.
If you plan to travel without a smartphone, we will provide paper route notes for navigation; however, for safety and emergencies, we highly recommend having another type of cell phone with you with an international phone plan, as you will have no other way to contact anyone for assistance during a ride should you require it.
You should feel confident navigating independently with your Ride with GPS app or with the paper route notes and any local maps provided. If you do get lost and cannot find your way back to the route, you can call your local host who will try to assist and offer suggestions to help get you back to the route. However, please note that your local host may not be available to pick you up.
You or someone in your party should be able to change your own tire with VBT’s supplied equipment. (See below for details about supplied equipment.)
You or someone in your party should be able to do very minor repairs such as putting your bike chain back on if it falls off and making slight adjustments to your brake pads. For other more serious repairs, your local host can advise on the closest bike shop, provide phone assistance, or come out to perform the repair.
We provide you with a trip kit that will include two tubes, tire levers, and a multitool. You will be provided with a helmet and a rubber phone mount for your smart phone for navigation. You will also receive a water bottle on tour.
You should contact the local emergency number that is provided in your Road Book. After contacting emergency services at your destination, please contact our 24-hour service for any assistance you may need, or to advise if you will continue the tour. We also recommend traveling with a first aid kit for minor injuries.
Make sure your bike and biking gear are always secured with the provided lock. Always use the secure designated bike storage location when you arrive at your hotel. If your bike is stolen, contact your local host immediately for assistance with next steps (filing a police report, getting to your next destination, etc.).
Yes, we do! Please contact your Tour Consultant to request an E-bike, subject to availability.
Yes, instructions for charging your E-bike will be provided in your materials.
It is not possible to swap bikes on tour. Please make sure to review your bike selection prior to departing for your tour so that the correct bike can be sized and ready for your arrival.
We do not guarantee luggage porterage to your hotel rooms, so you must be able to carry your bags. When you leave a hotel, there will be a designated luggage drop-off area and instructions noted in your materials.
Air Travel FAQ
While we can make a reservation without an up to date passport, VBT strongly recommends having a current passport when reserving a vacation to avoid any fees that will incur if you need to make changes more than two weeks after reserving. Make sure that your passport is valid until six months after the end of your trip.
Please be advised: Due to new U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) mandates, customers making a reservation are required to provide their Secure Flight passenger information exactly as it appears on the government-issued identification card they plan to use when traveling.
Passengers MUST have their information EXACTLY as it appears on their Passport. NO NICKNAMES. Please note that your middle name will not appear on your flight itinerary.
Your FULL NAME exactly as it appears on your passport.
If your middle name is spelled out on your passport, it needs to be the same when you make a reservation:
e.g. Martin James Cruz
If your middle name is abbreviated on your passport, it needs to be the same when you make a reservation:
e.g. Martin J. Cruz
If you want to arrive early, return late, travel to additional locations, or customize your travel plans in any other way, ask your Tour Consultant! We are able to accommodate most requests and are happy to work with you to make your trip perfect for you!
Please note: There is a fee associated with this Custom Air option, and additional charges besides the standard fee may apply.
We work with most major carriers worldwide to get you the best flights at the best value. Flights will be selected with a focus on getting you the best routing available!
Your flight itinerary will be emailed to you soon (usually within two weeks) after you reserve your trip, but you are still free to request changes until 95 days prior to departure. If any changes are made to the flights, either at your request or by the airlines, we will email an updated itinerary to you, showing the current flight plan.
Wherever possible, we will request the best seats available for you when we reserve the flights (usually a few days after your VBT reservation is made). By default, we look for what most of our guests want:
- For a solo traveler, we look for an aisle seat.
- For two people traveling together, we look for an aisle seat and the adjacent seat.
- For all travelers, we look for seats in the side rows, not the middle.
- For all travelers we look for seats as far forward in the plane as possible.
- If these are not your preferences, please tell your Tour Consultant when reserving! We want to know how to make your trip smooth and comfortable!
You may see your current seat requests online any time at CheckMyTrip.com.
Airlines do not allow pre-selection of seats on all flights. All seat requests are honored at the discretion of the airlines, and are subject to change by the airlines at any time. If VBT is not able to select a seat when reserving the flight, you can contact the airline directly, once the tickets have been issued, to see if seats can be requested. VBT does not charge a fee for seat selection, but some airlines do, so if you request seats from the airline directly, there may be a fee. The average seat selection fee is $35 per flight segment. Air France, KLM, Austrian Air, Air Berlin and South African Airways are some of the carriers that routinely charge a fee for seat selection. Some flights are designated as “AIRPORT CHECK IN ONLY” this means that no passengers are allowed to select seats until the check in period, which is generally 24 hours before the flight. VBT and our guests are subject to this restriction.
Our prices include all airline surcharges and government taxes and fees. However, it must be noted that all current air fuel surcharges are included–if you do not participate in our Good Buy Plan, and the airlines add additional air fuel surcharges, these may be added at a later time. Call our Tour Consultants for details. There may be additional costs for departing from a different airport or customizing your package.
Please click here for more detailed information regarding your airline baggage information and fees.
Your comfort is our top priority! When selecting your flights, we will look for the fewest connections available. While some flights will require multiple stops, we do everything we can to minimize the stress of traveling by choosing the most direct flights our partners offer, and wherever possible, avoiding long layovers. Some destinations may require more flight connections than others. Please contact a Tour Consultant if you have itinerary questions about a specific destination.
We’re happy to take requests for departure cities that aren’t on our list. When making your reservation, ask your Tour Consultant about flying from your home city. Typically, we will be able to provide routing and pricing details for your confirmation within just a few days!
In order to offer the value that VBT is proud to provide, we work within very strict guidelines dictated by our airline partners. Unfortunately, that means that most itineraries cannot be supplemented with air miles. If you are a Frequent Flyer member of an airline, you can submit your boarding passes, as proof of flight, directly to the airline to try to secure some credit. All decisions about air miles are made by the airlines.
In order to offer the value that VBT is proud to provide, we work within very strict guidelines dictated by our airline partners. Unfortunately, that means that most itineraries cannot be supplemented with air miles. When tickets have been issued, you may be able use miles to upgrade directly with the airlines*.
*If your membership rules require the tickets to be issued in a certain booking class for upgrade, please tell your Tour Consultant. We will be happy to let you know whether we can issue the tickets in that booking class, and if so, whether there will be a difference in cost.
If you are a Frequent Flyer member of an airline, you may be able to get credit for some or all of the miles by applying directly to the airline. Please save your boarding passes, as you may be required to submit them as proof of flight. All decisions about air miles are made by the airlines and cannot be influenced by VBT.
VBT gets some great deals on cabin upgrades, and we’ll be happy to check for availability on your flights. Just ask your Tour Consultant! If cabin upgrades are available, we’ll let you know what extra cost would be involved. If the price is right for you, we’ll make the upgrade for you!
Upgraded economy seats may be available for an extra charge once your tickets have been issued, either directly through the airline or with the help of our friendly Customer Service team. Please contact us for further details!
VBT will provide you with the OneCall 24 hour emergency assistance number and email address in your VBT Welcome Handbook and final travel documents. In the event of any delay, just send a quick email or call that number if you don’t have email access, and you will be guided through your next steps.
Change requests can be made at any time until 95 days prior to departure, allowing you maximum flexibility. Changes made more than two weeks after your reservation is made may involve a small change fee of $100 per person. If any other costs are involved in fulfilling the request, we will advise you of those costs before confirming the request.
All commercial flights are subject to change at any time by the airline, including those flights we schedule on your behalf. While flight schedule changes can mean big changes, VBT will be handling most of the work, so big changes don’t mean big headaches! If anything changes, we will notify you and send you an updated itinerary, so you can travel with confidence!
Absolutely! Your flight itinerary will be emailed to you soon (usually within two weeks) after you reserve your trip, and it will contain a booking reference number. You can then go to CheckMyTrip.com and register.
Tickets are usually issued about one month before the departure date, but issue dates can vary. We’ll be happy to issue your tickets early upon request. Once tickets are issued, we can no longer make any changes, and the tickets will be nonrefundable, so you’ll want to be quite sure all your arrangements are final before requesting that we issue the tickets early. Your flights will still be subject to change by the airlines at all times. When tickets are issued, we will send you an updated flight itinerary that includes your e-ticket numbers. The check-in agent at the airport will use these numbers to print boarding passes.
Yes. In fact, we strongly recommend purchasing our convenient travel protection package to protect your vacation investment. Find out more here.
You can reserve any of our VBT vacations by calling us at 1-800-245-3868. Please have your passport handy if you’re interested in taking advantage of our Air Package program. You can also book a trip online, through the tour page you are interested in. A deposit is required at the time of booking.
VBT recommends booking as far in advance as possible to guarantee your preferred tour, date, bike preference, and to take advantage of our Good Buy Discount. Booking inside of 90 days prior to departure will limit availability and additional costs may apply.
Yes! We can place you on a waitlist for the date and tour you want in the event that someone else on the tour cancels their reservation. We require a $350 per person deposit to be placed on the waitlist ($500 per person for barge and sailing tours). The deposit will be fully refunded if we cannot confirm you on the tour or if you wish to be removed from the waitlist. If we are able to confirm you on tour, we’ll contact you and hold the space for 72 hours, during which time you will need to let us know if you want to confirm the tour. If we do not hear from you within 72 hours we will contact the next guest on the waitlist or open the tour for reservations again. Once confirmed on the tour, our normal cancellation policy would apply. If at any point you would like to move your deposit to an available tour or date, just let us know!
Yes! This is a great way to see the world! We are happy to get you a quote for an air package that includes two or more VBT tours, or a tour from our sister brand, Country Walkers.
If you don’t know where to start, feel free to call and speak with our Tour Consultants—they can help you match up the dates for two tours and check availability. If you have an idea of which tours and dates you would like to take, simply call one of our Tour Consultants at 1-800-245-3868 ext.1. They will take your deposit for both tours in order to hold the space on the tours and then we will work with our air department to get you a quote on the airfare.
In order to accommodate for the additional nights that are included in the Air Package and the ability to add on Pre- and Post-trip Extensions, we will typically book you on two Air Packages to start with. Once we work on the air itinerary, accounting for flights in between the two tours, we will get back to you with a final price quote. It could be an air credit for our typical economy tickets or it could be an additional cost if we are quoting business class or premium economy or are adding in multiple flights between the two tours. If you do not accept the quote, you will be able to get a full refund. Our cancellation policy will be applicable once you accept the itinerary and price quote.
VBT’s vacation packages do include fuel surcharges, government taxes, and fees. Please be aware, some airlines (such as Lufthansa, Austrian Airways, Swiss, Air France, and KLM) may have an extra charge for checked luggage and pre-assigned seats which are up to $35 per segment. (A segment is defined as one take off and one landing.) Fuel surcharges can increase and could be added to the cost of your vacation if you do not participate in our Good Buy Discount. If a destination requires a visa, you will be responsible for the cost and for obtaining the visa.
United States and Canadian citizens should obtain a visa for Vietnam and Vietnam trip extensions and New Zealand trips. While most international governments do not require visas for US citizens, VBT recommends verifying government requirements. Citizens of any country should check with their national consulate for compliance policies.
US Residents: Please note that a valid passport with at least 6 months validity is required for international travel. In addition to a passport, many countries require a visa for entry. To obtain the most current entry requirements for your upcoming trip, residents of the United States should contact our partner, CIBTvisas online at www.cibtvisas.com/vbt or by calling 800-577-2428. For reduced CIBT service fees, please reference VBT account code 100624.
Canada Residents: Please note that a valid passport with at least 6 months validity is required for international travel. In addition to a passport, many countries require a visa for entry. To obtain the most current entry requirements for your upcoming trip, residents of Canada should contact CIBTvisas online at www.cibtvisas.com/vbt or by calling 888-665-9956. For reduced CIBT service fees, please reference VBT account code 11583.
VBT requires that travelers be at least 13 years of age to participate in our United States vacations and we require travelers to be at least 16 years old for our international vacations.
Each tour page has a section dedicated to traveler reviews of that particular tour. Additionally, our Facebook page and our blog are great resources for information, photos, and other VBT traveler experiences. A VBT tour consultant can also provide guest references for our vacations.
VBT is happy to accommodate single travelers. We’ll do everything possible to make arrangements easy on you and your wallet. There is a single supplement fee for solo travelers.
If you reserve more than 91 days prior to departure and request to share a room with another single traveler, we’ll do our best to match you with a same-sex roommate. For all tours excluding Waterways tours, you will be charged 50% of the published single-room supplement prior to your departure for Land and Air Packages. For trip extensions, you will be charged the full published single-room supplement. For Waterways tours, you will be charged the full published single-room supplement for Land Packages, Air Packages, and trip extensions. If we find you a roommate, the single supplement for the portion of the trip you are shared on will be refunded to you.
Please note that it is not possible to request a roommate on Self-Guided Biking tours.
All gratuities are built into the included features of your vacation with the exception of those for your Trip Leaders and drivers. Tipping for your Trip Leaders and drivers is optional and not included in the price of your vacation. Tipping guidelines are included in your VBT Welcome Handbook.
While traveling, VBT travelers can expect to stay at agriturismos, châteaux and three-, four-, and five-star hotels.
While VBT does not organize specific themed tours, we are happy to book a group tour for you and your travel companions. Please contact our Group Tour Manager, John Zelig at 1-800-245-3868 x 3307 or click here for more details.
VBT can only guarantee accommodation of a vegetarian option. We will work with our partners to accommodate dietary restrictions; however we may be unable to meet needs beyond a vegetarian diet. Please be prepared to supplement our included meals if needed. You must advise VBT of any specific requests at time of booking. Not all meals are included; guests will have to manage their diet for non-included meals.
After reserving a VBT vacation you can expect to receive documents according to the following schedule:
Welcome packet and handbook – received 3-5 days after booking
Preliminary air itinerary – received 100 days prior to date of departure
Final documents and e-ticket itinerary – received 21 days prior to date of departure
Yes! You can pay your balance within My Account. Click here to login to My Account.
To make your payment via check, credit card or electronic bill payment, please call us, Monday through Friday, at 1-800-245-3868 between 8:30 am and 6:30 pm ET & Saturday 10:00 am to 3:00 pm ET.
Packing recommendations vary depending on the type of vacation you are taking. Please see our sample packing lists for detailed information.
Many countries have outlets that supply different electric currents than what we have in the U.S. Your VBT Traveler’s Handbook, which is sent to you 3-5 days after booking, will have country-specific information on electric currents and information on adapters.
VBT strongly recommends that all guests travel with a cell phone and arrange for an international calling plan with their cell service provider to enhance safety (and enjoyment) during travel.
Ride with GPS is a bike route mapping tool for cyclists. Please visit our Ride with GPS FAQ page for more information.
We bike on mostly paved roads, but you might encounter occasional gravel or cobblestone terrain. Please see your VBT Welcome Handbook for more information.
Our biking options depend on the difficulty level of the tour. For tours rated Easy, travelers can expect to bike between 15-35 miles. For Easy/Moderate vacations, expect to bike 20-40 miles daily. And for Moderate rated tours, expect to spend 25-60 miles on your bike. Most days will include a number of mileage options, and our support van is always available.
E-bikes are a popular selection, and most of our guests have really loved them! You will still need your basic biking skills, like mounting and dismounting, pedaling and shifting, but an e-bike will greatly reduce the muscle power needed to climb hills and keep up with the avid bikers in your group. On flat stretches and wherever you want to cycle unassisted, you can turn the assistance off, and the e-bike works like any other bike. If you are unsure whether an e-bike is a good idea for you, we recommend visiting a local bike shop that offers e-bike rentals or demos. If you decide against using the e-bike, we can switch you to a conventional bike up to 30 days before your trip begins. Note: the e-bike step-through frame is not as low as our regular hybrid step-through models and the rider may need to swing their leg over the bike.
We take care of all the logistics of handling your bike between rides, so you won’t need to do any overhead or heavy lifting on your tour. During your rides, you may need to walk your bike a short distance in some places, and making sharp turns from a complete stop may require you to lift your bike a few millimeters off the path or road.
Absolutely! Assistance will be provided to install your pedals and saddle on your bike when you get to your destination. If you bring your own saddle, you don’t need to bring the seat post along. If you bring your own pedals and have clip-in shoes that are not comfortable for walking, don’t forget to bring a pair of sandals or loafers to slip on when we take a break to explore on foot! Note: saddles with carbon fiber rails do not work with our seat-post clamps.
Our bikes are designed for comfort! We modify our hybrids before they go on tour, to make them extra comfortable, and to allow the most comfortable sitting posture while riding. The handlebars are elevated, slanted, and swept back to eliminate the need to lean forward beyond your comfort zone. On most tours, we also offer road bikes with dropped handlebars, for those who prefer a more aerodynamic posture.
Our hybrids and e-bikes come equipped with a comfort saddle, which is a little on the wide side, and has plenty of padding. Our road bikes feature a narrower, low-friction seat preferred by many frequent cyclists. If you have a favorite saddle at home, please feel free to bring it on tour with you!
On most of our tours, we ride mostly paved or packed gravel roads and paths, so road bikes are a safe choice if you are accustomed to riding a road bike at home. On a few tours, the terrain or the environment is best suited for a hybrid, and road bikes are not offered. We strongly recommend choosing a road bike for your tour only if you are an experienced road bike rider and are comfortable riding a road bike on various terrain.
We will make any necessary adjustments to your bike to get just the right fit, but due to safety concerns, we are not able to add, modify or swap equipment out such as stem extenders, cranks, shifters, or handlebar extenders to your bike.