Frequently Asked Questions
What types of activities are involved in each of your tour types?
Our tours focus on one or more of the following categories and each area comes with its own set of experiences, including but not limited to:
- Food Tours: cooking classes, cooking demonstrations, shopping at farmer’s markets, and visits to local artisan producers such as olive oil mills, cheese farms, honey bee farms, and more
- Wine Tours: winery visits, vineyard walks, food and wine pairing dinners, blind wine tastings, conversations with vintners, and more
- Beer Tours: brewery visits, brew pub visits, blind tastings, beer pairing dinners, educational sessions with brewers, and more
What do your tours include?
Our tours include double-occupancy lodging at four-star hotels, meals as indicated in the tour itinerary, local transportation, all organized culinary and drink experiences, and the professional services of a Taste Vacations host and, sometimes, a local guide. Alcoholic beverages at meals are not included in the cost of the tour, allowing you to choose your own wines, beers, or other beverages. Deluxe accommodation upgrades are available for each tour, upon request.
Interested in booking a private or custom tour? Check out our Private & Custom Tours page for more info.
Will my itinerary be exactly as listed on the website?
While everything under “What is Included” on the webpage for each trip will remain the same, the actual restaurants, hotels, and activities listed in our itineraries are subject to modifications. Changes that are out of our control are common – a restaurant closes or loses its awesome chef, a winery changes its visiting hours, a hotel gets remodeled, a road undergoes construction. You are entrusting us to create an outstanding vacation for you and so it is possible we may take the liberty of making necessary changes (even at the last minute, during the guides’ scout) to the itinerary that will improve your overall trip experience. If there is any one experience that is going to make or break your trip, please discuss this with us in advance! We will attempt to keep our website itinerary as current as possible and communicate any major changes with you in the weeks prior to the tour.
What is the difference between a Public and Private Tour?
- Public Tours: We offer a limited number of “fixed date” public tours each year. If you don’t have your own group and are looking to join a tour with other food and drink travelers, this is a great option for you. Our public fixed-date tours usually run with from eight to 16 participants. Here is our 2017 calendar of public tours:
October 15 – 17, 2017: Sonoma Wine & Walking Tour
October 23 – 30, 2017: Peru Food Tour
November 26 – December 4, 2017: Chile & Argentina Wine Tour
March 12 – 20, 2018: Chile & Argentina Wine Tour
April 9 – 16, 2018: Peru Food Tour
April 29 – May 5, 2018: Tuscany Food & Wine Tour
August 26 – September 1, 2018: Belgium Beer Tour
September 23 – 25, 2018: Washington Wine Country Tour
October 14 – 16, 2018: Sonoma Wine & Walking Tour
- Private & Custom Tours: In addition, all of our tours are available as private tours you can organize on the date of your choice with your own group of friends and family, business clients, club or association, etc. Or create your own itinerary, gather your friends, and book a custom tour. Go to our Private & Custom Tour page for more information.
What is a single supplement?
Our trip prices are based on double occupancy. If you are coming on a trip solo, we will find you a roommate of the same gender. Many tour companies require you to pay a single supplement if they can’t find you a roommate on a public tour. We don’t! If we can’t find you a roommate then you may end up getting your own room at no charge (although this is fairly rare). You also have the option to pay the single supplement to get your own room if you don’t want a roommate. Please see each individual tour page for the single supplement cost.
On our private tours, however, if your group has an odd number of guests, there is a mandatory single supplement fee. This amount will differ depending on the itinerary. Please contact our tour operations team for more details.
What are the hotels and restaurants like?
We select hotels that provide unique and comfortable accommodations while also being conveniently located and providing a casual atmosphere. We believe the best hotels are those that walk the walk by providing outstanding in-room comfort, excellent staff, and complete amenities. We are not impressed by hotels trying to impress. Keep in mind that hotels differ in different countries. We might stay in a modern, upscale hotel in the United States but choose a historical gem upgraded with modern comforts in Europe. Please keep in mind we sometimes have to switch a hotel from what is listed on each tour page due to availability.
We eat our meals in a variety of locations from a private dinner at an estate winery to a beer pairing dinner with a brewmaster to a formal dinner at a city’s finest restaurant. Some meals are more casual and some more formal – we like the variety and think you will too. All of our restaurants pride themselves on serving top-quality meals in keeping with the local culture.
Am I able to bring my young children on this trip?
Since our tours are focused on wine, beer, and spirits tastings where we encourage long, lingering meals, and may need to travel to get between destinations, our vacations are designed to be enjoyed without children.
When is my tour payment due?
Registering for a Taste Vacation requires a deposit of $500 per person, payable by check or any major credit card. The remaining amount due must be paid by check 60 days prior to the trip departure. If you wish to pay the remaining balance by credit card there will be a 3% administrative fee. Please note we reserve the right to treat your reservation as canceled if your final payment is not made when due. If you sign up for a trip 45 days or less before the departure date, the entire trip price must be paid by credit card with the 3% fee on the remaining balance. For custom tours, we require a non-refundable payment of $500 before we begin making the required customization. This payment serves as the deposit for the tour leader. If we set up the tour as requested and the tour does not run, this payment is forfeit.
What if I have to cancel a tour
If you cancel your reservation with 60 days or more advance notice, you can apply all payments made to another Taste Vacation in the same calendar year or the year following. If you cancel with fewer than 60 days advance notice you forfeit all payments made. For private and custom tours, you must cancel with 90 days notice to be able to transfer your payments. This is one of the more lenient cancellation policies in the industry because if you give us enough notice and can travel at a later date, you do not lose any money at all. We strongly recommend you purchase travel insurance that covers your tour payment and airfare; if you choose not to purchase travel insurance, you are taking the risk upon yourself. We reserve the right to cancel a tour, but in this case, you will receive a full refund.
- An Important Note About Private Tours and Minimum Numbers:
Most of our private tours have low minimums (in most cases, four to six participants). However, if a cancellation of one or more of your group members brings you below the required minimum, you as a group must decide whether to distribute the cost of any amounts due among the remaining group members OR cancel the tour. If you choose to cancel the tour, we will treat each person’s payments as per the policy above. Of course, you always have the option to recruit more group members.
What happens once I book a tour?
After we receive your deposit we will send you an electronic pre-departure packet with detailed arrival and departure information, suggestions for making travel arrangements, packing list, insurance information, and information about the area we will be visiting. For our fixed-date public tours, once we confirm the tour has enough participants you can purchase your airfare. For private and custom tours, we will notify you when the group has met its minimum number.
Should I purchase travel insurance?
Absolutely! We think travel insurance is crucial. Every year we have many people who have to cancel a trip at the last minute, losing their trip payment and airfare. See our travel insurance page for more information.