Pls Help: Tanzania Honeymoon Changed Last Minute

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Sep 11th, 2005, 06:11 PM
  #1
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Pls Help: Tanzania Honeymoon Changed Last Minute

Our honeymoon to Tanzania/Zanzibar in mid/late November has to be changed at the last minute to mid-April (we were to be married in New Orleans, but due to the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, everything must be shifted to April '06). As our full deposit for the Africa trip is due in a few days literally, we are frantically trying to research whether it's feasible to go to Tanzania/Zanzibar in April or keep our Africa trip in Nov & pick someplace else as our honeymoon in April (though, we really can't afford to have 2 big, blowout trips; seems a shame to not have that great African trip be our honeymoon). We were to have a 4-day safari in Northern Serengeti (Serena lodges and Migration Camp) and end at the Crater with 7 nights in Zanzibar. Is it possible to have a great trip in East Africa in April? I'd rather pose this question to the message boards b/c I figure our tour operator will say anything to have us go on the trip, even if April is not ideal. I greatly appreciate all of your help from a desperate couple!
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Sep 12th, 2005, 05:41 AM
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sandi
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tazzie -

A honeymoon doesn't have to be taken immediately after the wedding. That said, April & May is considered the "long" rains in East Africa. That doesn't mean it will rain when you're visiting and if it does, will it rain daily (may only be brief showers), but is something to consider. The positive aspect of traveling at this time is that there are less crowds, everything is green and prices are lower.

I would, however, suggest you schedule the honeymoon for the second week in June and then you'd be set. The rains are over, the real big crowds haven't arrived yet, though prices may be a bit higher then travel in April.

Again - no law that the honeymoon has to be immediately after the wedding - consider June.
 
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Sep 12th, 2005, 06:00 AM
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I totally back up Sandi in that you don't have to take the honeymoon after the wedding. For various reasons we had our wedding reception 6 weeks after the wedding! With everything you have probably been through in the past couple of weeks I would think a Nov honeymoon would be just what the two of you need. I totally understand that you couldn't do another blow out trip after you are married in April but how about a few days somewhere very nice closer to home for the two of you.
Whatever you decide have a fantastic trip and congrats on your upcoming marriage.
J
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Sep 12th, 2005, 11:05 AM
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Sandi and Jules,

Thank you both so much for your suggestions. You're absolutely right in that I need to lose the mindset that we have to have our honeymoon right after the wedding. Postponing to June instead is an interesting prospect if we decide to not keep the trip in Nov (though, you're right that a really nice trip would be great after these past few weeks). Since the full balance on our trip is due in a few days (is that normal practice, by the way for the full balance to be paid pre-trip?), have you found in your experience that operators will shift a trip with no hassle or without us losing our deposit? Our circumstances are extenuating, I feel....sorry for the questions - though we travel, we have never used a tour operator for any trip!

Thanks so much for all your help.
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Sep 12th, 2005, 11:17 AM
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It's customary when paying by wire transfer or credit cards to send the final payment balance prior to departure. Some tour operators will also accept cash or travelers checks for the balance upon arrival.

Which tour operator are you using? Any change/cancellation penalties should be listed on their website or provided to you at the time of booking. Since your originally booked trip is still 2 months away, I would think that you'd be able to shift your deposit to a future trip at this point without losing anything.
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Sep 12th, 2005, 11:37 AM
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sandi
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tazzie -

I'm glad we've been able to calm your mind with the recent pressures of having to make changes due the Katrina devastation.

As to payment, yes, final payment has to be submitted 60-days prior your trip. Not unlike any "inclusive" package - the Caribbean, Hawaii, etc. Very different then when you book a trip with meals you'll eat where/when, tours you'll take/or not, and hotel room where you put down a 1-nt deposit or provide your credit card to confirm your space then paying at the end of your stay ... a safari package is inclusive.

With a safari you have a complete itinerary that includes your rooms (lodges/tents), meals, vehicle, guide, driver, game drives, transfers, internal flights - the whole enchelada! So it has to be paid for. Once you're on safari there are few additional expenses - drinks, tips and souvenirs. That's it - no surprises.

I would, however, speak with your travel agent/tour operator and advise them of your situation and ask them whether if once paid, you can cancel and rebook for June? But be aware that prices for June are going to be higher. Before making a decision, obtain June prices so you're not surprised.

A circumstance such as Katrina is why there is "Trip Cancelltion/Interruption Insurance" to cover loss should a situation as your home being unliveable occur. Most of these policies cover such situations, but read them carefully. Unfortunately, "after the event" and without having such insurance, won't do you any good.

But if you now pay for your trip and considering the investment you're making - you should obtain Trip Insurance regardless when you take it. You can check www.insuremytrip.com where you'll find reputable companies that offer Comprehensive policies (Cancellation & Interruption); Medical only; Medical and Evacuation only.

Let us know what your TA/TO has to say.
 
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Sep 12th, 2005, 12:14 PM
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I don't think in this particular case travel insurance would make any difference as it doesn't sound like the OP lives in a hurricane damaged area. Generally these policies only cover specific events where your ability to travel is directly affected.

That's not to say you should or shouldn't buy travel insurance. It's up to each person to decide after reading the various policies carefully as they're very specific as to what is and isn't covered.
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Sep 12th, 2005, 01:08 PM
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another thing to consider is that daily park fees are going up in Tanzania from January 1, 2006 form $30 a day to $100 per day per person. If you chnage to June, you'll need to budget for that.
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Sep 12th, 2005, 01:25 PM
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lerasp,
They're going up but not by quite that much.

Current fees - http://www.tanzaniaparks.com/regulation.htm

New fees - http://www.tanzaniaparks.com/news.htm
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Sep 12th, 2005, 02:32 PM
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sandi
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They aren't going up to $100/day person. Rather form $30 to $50 for most parks. The only $100 fee is per vehicle entering into the Ngorongoro Crater. If two people or six people, still $100/vehicle.
 
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Sep 12th, 2005, 06:31 PM
  #11
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Thank you all so much for your help. Unfortunately, our timing was off - we had intended to purchase travel insurance and did not do it prior to Katrina. We will still purchase it and will check out insuremytrip.com. Wow, the fees were something I had not considered in re-evaluating our trip - thanks for pointing that out. After much consideration (and very helpful tips from the experts on this board), I think we will most likely just stick to our November trip b/c so much research went into it (and we've been hoarding vacation days for our honeymoon - we're due!). We are going to go ahead and obtain June prices and explain our situation to tentatively see how that would come out. We are using Good Earth actually. Thanks again to everyone, and we will keep you posted on what they have to say!
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Sep 13th, 2005, 06:54 AM
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Tazzie don't forget to let us know what you decide to do!

Have fun
J
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Sep 13th, 2005, 07:33 AM
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benidormaardvark
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What about a wedding in Africa?
 
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Sep 13th, 2005, 08:12 AM
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Might be expensive for the guests
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Sep 13th, 2005, 08:50 AM
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tazzie,

I'm very sorry you're going through this, and you've received some excellent advice.

Personally, I'd probably opt to go in November--sounds like you and your fiance could use a nice vacation right about now, whther it's technically before or after your marriage. I think June will be more expensive--perhaps very. However, that would also be a lovely time to visit TZ. I'll be there then; maybe we'll see you on the road!

Patty and the aardvark,
There are some pretty funny pics of people who married at E Unoto Lodge. They *really* went native.
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Sep 13th, 2005, 07:45 PM
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We will definitely keep everyone posted on what we do. Thanks again for all of your kind words and excellent advice. Our trip was planned with a lot of such great advice from this board - one way or another, we are going to East Africa!
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