We invite you to discover the Authentic Difference. Your private driver, and private local guide, are carefully chosen to share the highlights, secret pockets, and stories of each distinctive destination. Our modes of transportation, including luxury touring vehicles, planes, trains, and boats, are the essence of style.
Who are Authentic Small Guided Vacations Designed For?
Small Guided Vacations are perfect for:
- Those who prefer to leave the driving to a professional guide. It’s about relaxation!
- Singles and solos who want to share their travel experiences with a group of like-minded people.
- Friends who are excited to make memories while adventuring together.
- Active people with independent spirits.
- Travelers who want the expertise of a professional driver and local, personal guide.
- People who want their expenses for meals, transportation, portage, and lodging covered in advance—no surprise charges.
- Travelers with discerning taste who want 4- and 5-star accommodations or upgraded rooms.
Are Your Small Guided Tours Appropriate for Differently-Abled People?
With winding lanes, cobblestone streets, small shops, stairways, plus visiting castles and staying in historic hotels, antiquity is the charm of many European countries. For people with mobility issues, this makes a small, guided vacation problematic. A traveler must be able to get in and out of all means of transportation and climb stairs. Electric scooters and wheelchairs aren’t possible on these vacations. (If you use a walker, get in touch with a Destination Expert to see if we can accommodate your needs.) If you do have mobility issues, get in touch with one of our Destination Experts and ask about a customized tour. We love all of our clients.
Can Children Go on Guided Vacations?
On our guided vacations marked Exclusive, children 12 and older may travel with an accompanying adult aged 18 or more. For all other tours, travelers must be at least 18. If you have children younger than that, we suggest a family and friends’ vacation. In that scenario, the entire tour is specifically for your group. Ask one of our Destination Experts about the possibilities of private group travel.
When is the Best Season for European Travel?
First of all, it depends upon which European destination you’re looking at. For England, Scotland, or Ireland you may prefer the summer months. On the other hand, there are fewer travelers during other times of the year, and a sunny sky can miraculously appear in December! If you want to chase the Northern Lights in Scandinavia, then you should go during the late fall or winter. And, if you want to visit Scandinavian countries, and take advantage of the Midnight Sun, then summer is for you. Regardless of your destination, there are fewer people traveling during shoulder season. This is March, April, May, September, and October. We have available travel dates for every season.
What About Travel Insurance?
Travel Insurance is not required for our Small Guided Exclusive Vacations but highly recommended. For all other Small Guided Vacations, you must purchase travel insurance for the tour. When purchasing travel insurance, we offer the best travel insurance in the industry at the most affordable price. Simply ask one of our Destination Experts about insurance and they will set you up. No fuss, no worries.
Are the Tours Guaranteed to Run?
Yes! All our Small Guided Tours are Guaranteed Departures. That being said, no one can guarantee unforeseen events, but rest assured. When you have booked, we will do our utmost to make your travels happen. In the rare event that a tour must be cancelled prior to departure, Authentic Vacations will offer the next best available date at no extra charge, or we will make a full refund if the alternative date does not work for you. Relax… We’ve got this for you.
What is Unique About your Small Guided Vacations Marked Exclusive?
Our Small Guided Vacations marked Exclusive are exclusive to Authentic Vacations. This means you won’t find them anywhere else. Also, when marked Exclusive, you know that your luxury touring transportation is a newer 23 to 30-seat vehicle, although still only taking 18 passengers at most. This gives you extra space and comfort. Additional amenities include free Wi-Fi, excellent AC, and great sound systems. Brilliant!
What Type of Currency Should I Use?
Your Authentic tour includes the major expenses such as accommodations, entry fees that are included in the itinerary, transfers, portage and included breakfasts and dinners. Your airfare to and from Europe is not covered but some of our Small Guided Vacations do cover short in-country flights. When in-country flights are covered it will be noted on the Small Guided Vacation itinerary. You may tip in local currency. Some small shops, particularly in the country, prefer local currency. Other than that, your credit card is fine.
Small fees that are not covered include: Lunch, unless listed in your itinerary; Tips; Drinks, unless included in your itinerary; Your meals on free nights; Entrance fees not listed on your itinerary—see suggested sightseeing; Room service fees, or other fees you have incurred at the hotel—you’ll settle these upon check out; Any laundering you do; Purchases you make to bring home with you; Charges for the return of property if you lose something on the tour. Pre- and post-tour accommodations are not covered. However, your Destination Expert can reserve these for you, as well as extending any travel either before or after your trip. Make the most of your vacation!
What Will My Accommodations Be?
Here’s another Distinctive Difference with our guided vacations that is very important: All your accommodations will be 4- or 5-Star luxury. We are the only guided vacations in the travel industry that routinely offer this. In Nordic countries the star ratings for lodgings are often different than those in the rest of Europe. For example, a Nordic 3-star hotel is equivalent to a 4-star accommodation in other countries. Therefore, on our Small Guided Nordic Vacations, we will upgrade our clients’ rooms whenever possible to make their stay even more sumptuous. Wherever you travel with us, you can count on comfortable bedding, safe environs, and an elegant setting. Plus, all your portage is included.
Your rooms, of course, include your private, en suite bathroom. Some bathrooms have a tub, others have a shower, still others have a shower inside the tub. Every hotel is unique. Some of our hotels have an elevator. Historic hotels often do not, hence our requirement that you be able to use stairs.
Most often your breakfast is served at your hotel. Included dinners are either in the hotel or at a nearby restaurant or café. When you book, let us know whether you would like a room with two beds or a double room, which is a standard room for two people. Triple rooms are on request only and rarely available.
Authentic is happy to arrange your reservation for accommodations and experiences before or after your guided vacations. We can also extend your vacation with a customized trip. That is just one of Authentic’s Distinctive Difference.
Arrivals and Departures
After you go through customs, we will be waiting for you at the airport. Look for a sign with your name on it! No worries about transportation to your hotel, transfers, and how to navigate roadways. We’re there for you. When your trip is finished, you will be taken to your departure airport. In advance, of course, you will make certain your passport is valid for the duration of your trip plus two months.
Booking and Payments
Another Authentic Difference: Our booking and payment procedures are designed to make it easy for you to see the world. Choose the Small Guided Vacation of your dreams and book with just a $99 deposit. If you change your mind, that deposit is refundable within 14 days of booking. After the 14-day refundable deposit period is over, we require a 25% deposit of your vacation cost to be paid within 30 days of your initial booking date. Once your 25% deposit is made, your price is locked in and guaranteed. (100% of your initial deposit is applied to the cost of your vacation. We NEVER charge a booking fee.) If you cannot travel, your entire 25% deposit will be used for the future travel of your choice within one year. Your total tour cost must be paid 60 days, or before, your departure date.
Once you make your $99.00 booking deposit, you will receive access to a customized client portal, via email and be assigned an Authentic Vacations Destination Expert to assist you with any questions or other travel plans. If you desire pre or post travel before your Small Guided Vacation, simply inform your Destination Expert when they contact you and they will be happy to assist you.
Your Customized Client Portal and Destination Travel Expert
Through our personalized client portal, you can view, request additions, make appointments, secure payments, obtain your final travel documents, and more. Your assigned Destination Expert can also, of course, take care of all these things for you over the phone. By phone, or online, you can make payments on your vacation based on your own schedule and budget. There are NO interest fees, and there are no automatic bank withdrawals. Your vacation balance must simply be paid 60 days before departure. The choices are all yours.
What Luggage Can I Bring?
You are allowed to have one standard size suitcase and one small carry on and a personal item such as a purse. If you expect to purchase mementos to bring home, you might want to roll up an empty duffel bag and tuck it inside your large suitcase. All your luggage should have luggage tags, so that porters can easily identify it as yours. This vacation is all about your ease.
For Your Comfort
For 2024, no vaccinations are required, unless specified by the country you’re visiting. We make plenty of stops along the way so you can use a restroom, stretch your legs, and enjoy the sights. If you need something, simply ask your driver to accommodate you. All vacations are non-smoking. If a traveler is unruly and causing disruption to others, Authentic Vacations reserves the right to remove that person from the tour. Our tours are all about the joy!