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tour operator requesting transfer of money into their bank account

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Feb 2nd, 2006, 04:56 PM
  #21
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
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Kitti, once you've booked would you mind posting your itinerary? 16K is definitely a big chunk of change, but for 3 people Kenya/TZ and gorillas...well, let's just say you've got the wheels in my mind turning.

Good luck with the CC issue.
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Feb 2nd, 2006, 07:10 PM
  #22
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With over 11 tour operators we have contacted (keep in mind not all respond back) we had a lot to compare. I had contact with R&N all along with the gorilla safari. They definitely are the lowest. Volcanosafari was over the top, as were a couple of others. Remember, I have to factor in 3 adults and cost is an issue, but want a good safari,nonetheless. R&N offered to book the Kenya/Tanzania portion but I held off, still waiting for more tour operators whose names I recognized to respond. Knowing that I couldn't wait for them since time was short, I gave in and asked R&N to quote the itinerary I gave them. It was quite reasonable, including flights. Other tour operators were flying less and charging more. She was very good in responding to all of my questions. I am just a little leary of the payment issue. All of you on the site relieved me quite a bit. This is how our itinerary may go if all goes well(as of now they are on a provisional hold):Arrival in Nairobi, June 25, overnight at the Norfolk (thanks to reading the postings, I knew which hotel to request), Drive to Samburu Intrepids-stay 2 nts, Drive to Sweetwaters-stay 2 nts, Drive to Lake Nakuru-stay 1 nt at Lion Hill Lodge, Fly to Mara Intrepids-stay 2 nts, Fly to Mbuzi Mawe-stay 2 nts, Drive to Kirawira Camp-stay 1 nt, Drive to Ngorongoro Serena, stay 2 nts. (With this itinerary is use of a private vehicle). In Samburu, Sweetwaters and Lake Nakuru we use a pop up van, but in the Mara Intrepids and Tanzania it is 4x4's. I know all 4x4's is best but it's OK for now. Fly to Nairobi, stay overnight somewhere (Orbitz has good deals), Fly to Kigali (flight price to and from Nairobi to Kigali not included in itinerary), stay at Gorilla's Nest 2 nts with 2 treks for 2 days, 3rd night at Hotel Miles Colines, Fly back to Nairobi, July 12,then home. I know it is a lot in such a short amount of time, but wanted to experience as much as we could. Thanks again for all of your responses. Definitely the cancelation trip insurance is a must. I will check with our credit card company.
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Feb 3rd, 2006, 03:08 AM
  #23
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
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Dear All

A really interesting thread with lots of different views.

On insurance: Yes, insurance is something to put in place the minute you put money down in case you have to cancel your trip due to health issues etc. However on one post there was an implication that travel insurance would cover the tour operator going bust. In the UK this wouldn't be the case and I wonder if it would in the US.

As someone in a previous post stated, UK and US based tour operators and travel agents must be bonded or put clients money into a trust account. I feel this is a huge advantage of dealing with US or UK operators.

Richard
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Feb 3rd, 2006, 04:15 AM
  #24
sandi
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Richard -

There are a few insurance providers in the US that cover if "some select tour operators, airlines, cruise lines, etc." do go bankrupt, but the list is short. And from my understanding such suppliers have to apply to be included and provide all kinds of documentation to be considered by the insurer.

Otherwise, just on principal, if one is prepaying for a trip, anywhere in the world, insurance should be a must. And though young people often feel they are healthy and think insurance isn't necessary, accidents do happen; the medical and evacuation alone is worth the cost of insurance.

I would never leave home without it.
 
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Feb 3rd, 2006, 07:20 AM
  #25
 
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Richard,
Travel insurance policies in the US generally cover operator default if purchased within a certain number of days of making the initial trip deposit. However, the operators (whether that be cruise line, airline, tour operator, etc.) that are covered varies from policy to policy. Some insurers maintain a list of operators that they will cover, others maintain a list of operators that they will NOT cover, and many don't have any inclusion/exclusion lists. It's important to read the policy fine print. Many times people purchase travel insurance thinking that they're covered for a certain event only to find out later that they're not.

I also don't think booking with a US agent provides any guarantees if that agent does cease operation. There was a post last year from someone who booked their safari through University Travel, a company which later shut down. I don't believe that poster received any of his/her prepaid funds back nor did his/her travel insurance help in this case as the policy covered only operator default and not agent default.

Some states like California have a restitution program but not all agencies and operators are required to participate. Only those that pay into the program are covered in the event of default.
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Feb 3rd, 2006, 11:47 AM
  #26
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
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Agree with Patty - what is covered depends on the policy and insurer.

My travel insurance covered financial default or unforseen bankruptcy of my travel suppliers if I purchased within 21 days of the initial trip deposit. That's why I got my trip insurance immediately upon my first deposit. It doesn't cover financial default of any travel agent I use, however, which doesn't apply in my case since I'm my own travel agent. They also have a list of companies that they do not insure against - including any airline, such as United, Delta, Northwest, etc..., that are currently in bankruptcy.

So, as always, confirm what your policy covers and read the fine print.
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Feb 4th, 2006, 04:52 AM
  #27
 
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Sandi, Patty, Lifelist

Thanks for the informative and interesting replies. It's intriguing on this site to see how much we in the UK share with US, but then again how much we differ.

UK laws mean that under the Package Travel Regulations and company selling combinations of travel eg 'air & accommodation' or 'transfers & accommodation' must protect their clients' money either through bonding with a bank or insurance company or operating a trust fund.

If a UK tour operator or travel agent sells you more than one element of a holiday (ie. accommodation only or flights only are not covered) you would get your money back in full in the case of their financial failure. You would also be covered for your arrangements and repatriation if the failure happened whilst you were abroad.

It's an onerous financial commitment on the operators since it wither means appalling cashflow (trust funds) or unnecessary outlay (bonding). It does however allow clients dealing with UK travel companies to do so with a guarantee of financial security.

Richard
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Feb 4th, 2006, 06:34 AM
  #28
 
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hi kitti, i dont believe melinda charges a fee for the cc use.i have not heard about in all the times i used her.
i havent read all thats here. way too much for me to stay focused hehe.
but the ins. yes you need something. get enough to cover the flights & trip.
as far as the op going under-i was told by my airfare lady in NY. it would be my problem-i picked the op. with melinda though-not to worry.
ok e-mail me if needed.
d
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Feb 17th, 2006, 07:56 AM
  #29
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Just to inform whoever is reading this post, that R&Nxploresafaris was able to charge my credit card for the deposit. Although they stated they were not set up for that type of transaction, I did tell them that I understood that it could be done and we were able to only use our credit card for the deposit. Surprise, surprise. It was set up for us and we just sent them our deposit. It was a little steep, 42%, but we wanted to make sure we were 'covered' somehow in case anything should go wrong either 'giving our money away to strangers in Africa' or during the trip. In addition to that we now accumulated miles. Yes, we paid a fee for that, which is pretty much the equivalent of buying that amount of miles anyway. But at least we have peace of mind with our credit card as well, not wondering what happened to our money for the next 4 months. We may have been fortunate to be able to do this and this may not happen usually, but we are glad it did.
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Feb 17th, 2006, 08:42 AM
  #30
 
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Please be sure to upload some great gorilla pictures as soon as you get back

If you get Richard as your guide, please tell them Wayne & Mary Ellen say hello! When are you leaving?

And one piece of advice, if you stay at the Gorilla's Nest, it is FREEZING in that room and there is no heat, so you need heavy pajamas (thermals) to sleep in
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Feb 20th, 2006, 06:20 AM
  #31
 
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Kit

Thankss for bringing up R&N Xplorer I had never coem across them and if their price on the web site us up to date it certainly seems resonable for gorillas. Can I ask do you know what the Rwanda portion of your trip cost?

Thanks J
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