We hope that the following information answers your queries but do feel free to call us from 9am to 5.15pm Mon-Fri.
Out of office hours, you can fax, email or leave a message on our answering machine.
What's included in a typical trip?
We have set out below what's included in a typical Equity College & Uni trip – however we can tailor make a tour to suit your exact requirements. Please speak to a member of staff who will be happy to discuss your specific needs and provide you with a unique package:
- Return Flights / Eurostar / Coach / Ferry (if applicable) / Rail Taxes (applicable to flights only)
- Accommodation based on bed & breakfast (room only in the U.S)
- Students accommodated in multi bedded rooms or dorms in some hostels (no bed share)
- Adults accommodated in single rooms (unless otherwise stated or requested)
- All rooms en suite (excluding some hostels)
- 24 hour duty office
About Your Quote
Your initial quoted price is a provisional booking only, therefore we are not currently holding any reservations on your behalf and arrangements are subject to availability. If you are happy with our offer, please tell us and we will then check and provisionally hold services on your behalf. You are not under any financial obligation at this stage, but you can have complete peace of mind knowing that accommodation and travel arrangements (where possible) are secure whilst you collect deposits from your students.
Confirming Your Provisional Booking
We will accept purchase orders for the full amount of your booking, but we must receive an authorised copy before we can confirm your booking. The Purchase Order number only or an internal requisition form cannot be accepted.
For this tour we would require a first deposit which will be stated in on your quote together with the insurance premium if required. On receipt of the signed booking form and deposit or Purchase Order we will send you a written Confirmation of Booking, including a provisional itinerary and accommodation details.
Final Numbers and Payment
Final numbers and final payment are due no later than 10 weeks before departure.
We can only advise the requirements for British passport holders. For non-British passport holders, requirements should be checked with the relevant embassies. Where visas are necessary it is the clients responsibility to obtain these. If you have any overseas students in your group you may need to apply to the relevant Embassy many months in advance of travel.
Get up to date overseas travel advice for your destination from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office
Passport and Visas
Passport and Visas
It is the Party Leader’s responsibility that all group members have the correct documentation to travel, both visa and passport. If any member of your party, or you, are not a British citizen or holds a non-British passport, you must check passport and visa requirements with the Consulate or Embassy of the country(ies) to or through which you are intending to travel.
All members of your party must hold a valid passport. Some countries require a passport to remain valid for a period (typically 3 months) after the date of entry to that country. You are advised to check the requirements of your destination at time of booking. We recommend that you take photo copies with you of all passports and also leave a copy with your emergency contacts in the UK.
We cannot accept responsibility for any fines or cost incurred due to non-compliance with the above nor can we accept any liability if you are refused entry into any country due to failure on your part to carry the correct documentation.
A collective passport can be used for the majority of European countries. An application form can be obtained from the Passport Office or on-line at www.direct.gov.uk/passports.
The Collective passport should be completed at least 12 weeks before departure.
Please be aware that there is a cost for the collective passport and it is not included in the tour price. Should you use a collective passport, we recommend that you carry several copies; in the event that any member of your party has to travel back separately from your group, they would need a copy signed by a professional (solicitor, doctor, British Consulate). Additionally, it is worth listing the return date as several days later than scheduled in case of any unforeseeable delay. A collective passport would become invalid if the group leader were unable to travel, for example, due to illness and a Deputy Leader had not been appointed and named on the collective passport.
Visa waiver (USA only)
A fee of $14 applies for the ESTA application. Entrance into the country will not be permitted for GBR citizens without an ESTA. All qualified Visa Waiver Program (VWP) travellers are required to obtain electronic travel authorization before departure to the United States. If any passenger is an eligible national of the VWP and as such do not require a visa to enter the USA, they will need to submit an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) application no less than 72 hours before departure.
Travel Authorization is obtained through an online registration system at https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov To find out eligible countries please refer to the website. Please check specific visa requirements with your embassy if you are not eligible. It is advisable for a copy of the acceptance for the ESTA from each passenger to be retained by the Party Leader prior to travel.
For all up to date passport information, we recommend that you:
- Visit www.direct.gov.uk/passports.
- Contact the Passport Service: 0300 222 0000
- If any of your group are non EU nationals, it is worth visiting www.britishcouncil.org/home-information-centre-list-of-travellersscheme.htm
Medical and Passports
We should have been notified of any medical conditions at time of booking, which may need special attention. We need to know well in advance, so that hotels and coach companies can be notified in good time and any preparations made.
You should also re-confirm any details to suppliers of each element of your trip such as your instructor/guide(s), hotelier or transport providers.
Medical conditions/change in health after booking
Please read the disclosure of material facts and pre-existing Health Conditions section of your insurance policy. As a general rule pre-existing medical conditions must be declared for those at 16 years of age or over travelling anywhere or students under 16 years of age travelling outside Europe, and subsequently you may need to contact your insurer. Any change in medical condition, regardless of age, must be declared at the time of the incident; if this later results in cancellation and the change in health was not reported to the Insurer at the time, the Insurer will not award the claim.
European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)
For trips to EEA countries, each group member should obtain the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which replaced the E111 on the 1st January 2006. Application forms for the EHIC can be obtained from the Post Office or by downloading the form from the following link www.dh.gov.uk/travellers.
Once completed, in black ink, they need to be taken to the Post Office for approval. If your group members have previously obtained an EHIC, please ask them to check the expiry date. The EHIC card entitles the holder to medical attention only in state run hospitals.
North America: "Consent to emergency medical care" forms
It is a requirement that all medical centres and hospitals in North America obtain written consent from a parent or guardian prior to treating a minor. Therefore many resorts require our groups to bring their own "loco parentis" or "consent to emergency care" forms with them, signed and completed by each parent on behalf of their children.
Please enquire with your LEA for details. Some resorts produce their own forms and we will supply you with these 6 weeks before your scheduled departure with your ski hire declaration forms.
Many hotels make a charge for saunas, swimming pools, nightclub and other facilities. Beds are almost always singles but doubles can be provided in some hotels on request. (Please refer to our Special Requests section in our Booking Conditions). Bunks may be used in multi-bedded accommodation.
These must be paid to the hotelier by the person(s) responsible or by the Party Leader without exception. If it is impossible to allocate the costs to an individual member, then the whole group must pay them. We will do our best to effect an amicable settlement but under no circumstances will Equity provide funds or accept responsibility. For some hotels and for apartments, a security deposit or credit card imprint may be payable by you on arrival which is redeemable in full on departure if there have been no damages.
We or the Hotel management may operate a fire drill or briefing during the course of your stay. We ask for your cooperation in this procedure.
Food and Drink
Unless you have booked self-catering accommodation, it is forbidden to consume food and drink on the hotel premises that has not been purchased from the hotel. This is discourteous to the hotelier and may be a breach of local regulations. Hotels may only be licensed for food and drink stored on the premises.
There is usually no problem with hot water supplies. Occasionally however, at periods of peak demand there may be a temporary shortage. We ask for your patience please.
In hotels, a thorough cleaning is done and linen is changed once a week on changeover day and thereafter rooms are tidied and rubbish is collected daily. In some hotels, usually those with a rating of 3 stars or above, cleaning may occur more often, but this depends on local policy. Towels and soap are provided in hotels but not in apartments. We recommend that each party member takes their own. In emergency, they may also be needed enroute. Some continental hotels provide thin towels not the thick type usually provided in the UK.
The prices charged reflect only the real cost to us. Apartments may be costed on multi-occupancy so supplements will be chargeable for under occupancy. Single rooms are more expensive because one occupant pays the entire heating and service costs. Hotels have very few single rooms and they are often located in the least attractive parts of the hotel. Regrettably, we have no control over this. Twin or double supplements may still be payable even if the room contains more than 2 beds. The prices we show for single rooms are estimates only. There may only be one or two single rooms in an entire hotel so when twin rooms are used for one occupant the price will be higher.
Equity is a preferred partner of British Airways and we are therefore able to offer you some of the lowest group fares available with a scheduled carrier. With British Airways you are able to enjoy the convenience of frequent schedules and centrally located airports.
British Airways fly from many cities throughout the UK to London on their domestic routes, allowing the possibility of onward connections to European and Worldwide destinations at economical fares.
Low Cost Airlines
The low cost airlines have revolutionised travel to many destinations. They operate from airports all over the UK, so in many cases there is no need to travel to London. However, to take advantage of really low fares you do need to book early.
We obtain the best scheduled airline rates available. For your tours we use British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Continental Airlines, Air France, Lufthansa, KLM, Finnair, Emirates to name a few.
Out of range air tours
If you confirm your booking with us at a time when your flights are not on sale yet, we will provide you with a quotation which is a best estimate. On release of your flights we will confirm your final tour price. A flight supplement might incur. Please note that we will always try and avoid surcharges by looking at alternative travel dates or routes.
Please note that most flights will be ‘ticketless’ You must therefore present your flight reference(s) shown on your itinerary together with your passport at your check-in desk.
Advanced Passenger Information System (APIS)
A number of countries have introduced legislation stipulating that full passport details must be provided in advance for all passengers travelling by air. This legislation is applicable in many European countries, USA and includes the UK.Your Product Delivery Specialist will provide you with an online form for you to input your group details; it is necessary that you complete all details listed for each passenger. We are only able to accept the format of the form that we have sent to you.
Passenger Names and Name Changes
All names must be submitted as per the passport in the form provided. Please note that incorrect names will incur a change of name fee. Minor spelling adjustments will incur a minimum admin fee of £30 (depending on airline); name changes will be charged a minimum of £130 but could be considerably more. Some airlines do not permit name changes at all and a new ticket must be purchased. In this case the full cost plus admin fee will be charged. We ask you to be vigilant whilst filling in our provided passenger forms and double check all details are correctly entered.
Security measures at all airports have significantly increased and subsequently the airline staff need ample time to make necessary checks. We recommend that your group is ready to check-in at your departure airport no later than 3 hours before your scheduled time of departure for your flight. We are unable to accept responsibility for any additional costs should any party members miss the flight because of their late arrival.
Group check-in can be facilitated at some UK airports. You are advised to check with us whether this is an option at time of tour confirmation.
Baggage Allowance and Restrictions
Baggage allowance varies across flight providers, please check with your Product Delivery Specialist and the flight provider’s website for accurate allowance information. Group members must pack their own luggage. They must not must not leave their luggage unattended at any time or carry packages or items for anyone else.
Since hand luggage is currently severely restricted, all members of the party should be asked to carry necessities only. Please note that sharp objects, e.g. nail files/scissors and liquids over 100ml, etc, will be confiscated if found in hand luggage. Customers who require the use of hypodermic syringes for medical reasons will be asked for proof of medical necessity.
We urge you to check the airline website for these restrictions closer to your departure date as this information is subject to change.
On some flights in-flight catering is not provided although you may be able to purchase refreshments from the cabin crew and a light meal or snack will be served and on others. Please check with us before departure.
If you require a special meal i.e. vegetarian, allergies or specific diet, this can be arranged only if you inform your Product Delivery Specialist at least one month before travel. We will request this but please note that these cannot be guaranteed.
Coach transfers from your school to the airport
We can arrange return coach transfers to your UK departure airport. If you would like to take advantage of this service and it has not been included in your tour already, please ask for a competitive quote.
Travel by coach is still a popular way for many groups to get to cities such as Paris, Amsterdam and Brussels. Plus, today's modern coaches are more than suitable for destinations further a field, such as Barcelona & Berlin. The big advantage of coach travel for many is the fact that you are picked up from your university or college, taken to your destination and use the coach for excursions at no added cost to your students.
It is unfortunately not yet possible to guarantee that DVD/video recorders, microphones and radios will cope with vibration so please bear with the driver if there are problems. Coach WCs are designed for emergency use only and need to be emptied regularly. We strongly recommend using the facilities at refreshment stops. Seat belts are not yet EU law, so your continental/ transfer coach may not have these fitted.
Many of our groups travel from Dover to Calais with P&O or Folkestone to Calais with Eurotunnel. But, if you are travelling from the North or the Midlands we have very competitive fares from Hull or Newcastle.
Eurostar & Rail Travel
With the speed of the Eurostar it's the ideal method of transport for reaching your destination quickly. We negotiate very competitive rates for groups.
Rail Travel can often be the most affordable method of travel for smaller groups.
- 2 nights bed & continental breakfast in London Including return rail travel and free places for staff.
- Leeds from £79
- Newcastle from £85
- Nottingham from £69
- Birmingham from £68
- Bristol from £69 2 nights bed & continental breakfast in Paris Including return UK rail, Eurostar, and free places for staff.
- Leeds from £136
- Newcastle from £149
- Nottingham from £135
- Birmingham from £132
- Bristol from £134
Extra Charges in Resort
Incurred extra expenses in a resort must be settled as they arise. Please check inclusions in your package on your quotation letter. Also check the country specific pages for more details and Accommodation notes under damage deposits.
Prepare your students in advance as many things will be different to those you may be used to in the UK. Local service suppliers and hotels comply with their own regulations and customs, which are often different to the UK, please consider these differences.
If the services of a rep are part of your tour package, please do bear in mind the difference between a rep and a tour guide. A company representative who will join your trip is there to help you with day to day arrangements. They are there to liaise with suppliers and ensure the smooth running of your trip.
Tour guides are qualified professionals who will be there to give you an historical and cultural insight into your destination. We can hire tour guides for city sightseeing tours.
We can provide tour guides for most worldwide destinations to accompany your group throughout your tour.
Valuables and money matters
We recommend that you do not take jewellery and expensive cameras or other items of value. We strongly advise that Party Leaders and students take a reasonable amount of local currency with them for use on the first few days of their holiday. Banks, in some destinations, are not always open on a regular basis (particularly over Bank Holiday periods) and the use of prepaid cards or exchange of Travellers Cheques can sometimes prove troublesome for this reason. If travelling by coach, ensure you take the currency of any countries in which stops, e.g. breakfast, may be made.
We suggest a float of a reasonable amount should be taken by all Party Leaders and that you have access to a debit or credit card with emergency funds to cover any medical expenses or the purchase of small items such as taxi fares, medication, etc. Please check your insurance policy for cover and excess charges.
We are happy to reserve or book any excursions and visits you may require with the exception of if we do not have sufficient time to risk assess an attraction that we are unfamiliar with in advance; in this case, we recommend that you book directly with the supplier, if you are happy that this is safe.
However, please remember that additional costs incurred on excursions such as transport costs and entrance fees, are not included in the tour price and you will therefore have to pay this on site or be invoiced prior to departure.
Invoices received by us for visits which have not been paid for on entrance will automatically be forwarded to the Party Leader for settlement including an admin charge. You should indicate details of any visits or excursions you wish for us to book on your behalf on the excursion form provided.
Please advise any places of interest you have booked, as early as possible, if your party decides to cancel their visit as cancellation fees may apply. The contact details for excursions booked or reserved through us can be found on your final itinerary.
Proper dress is advised to be adhered to at all religious sites and many museums. Your entry may be refused if group members have shorts, short skirts or bare arms.
Gratuity for coach driver’s: It is customary, if you travel by coach, to tip coach driver(s) for good service.
North America: Please note that in North America tipping is mandatory, as opposed to the UK where we tip for good service. Often 15% will be added to your bill by waiting staff so make sure you check before paying. Please also don’t forget your coach drivers (on departure, arrival and evening entertainment shuttles) and your maids at the end of your stay. Tipping is always at your discretion but in some destinations, please be aware that guides and drivers may rely on tips to subsidise their wage.
European City Taxes
Please be aware that many European cities have introduced or are introducing a city tax that is payable to your hotel on arrival. These taxes have been introduced by local governments to improve tourist infrastructure within the cities. Please ask your Product Delivery Specialist for up to date details on city tax.
We believe the travel insurance policy we offer is one of the best available. In the unfortunate event of a claim, our suppliers in resort are familiar with our policy and procedures, which makes for a smoother operation at a stressful time. You must however check that our policy provides sufficient cover for your particular needs.
For more Insurance information please visit our Health & Safety Insurance section.
Party Leader Feedback
Please submit your feedback via our on-line questionnaire.
Here is some feed back we have already received...
I would like to thank you for your professionalism and quick responses to my many queries. By all accounts the trip was a great success, the accommodation was clean, the breakfast was good and there were no hitches with the travel arrangements.
Mrs Shaw, Cardiff
We have just returned from Berlin and I wanted to extend to you and everyone else at Equity Travel a massive thank you for a wonderful trip. Everything ran smoothly, coaches, flight etc. We really liked the hostel (us staff had rooms at the top floor away from the doors and the kids- excellent!), the staff were friendly, location was great, good breakfast etc. The students had a fabulous time. Next year we are thinking of either Rome or Vienna, or more ambitiously Russia (do you offer Russia?)
Dr Barkhof, Plymouth
The trip was yet again a great success and the students got such a lot out of it.
Ms Carter, Kent
The trip was a great success, everyone had a great time. The zoos were as good as ever and the coach driver from Turners was brill, he made life so easy for getting about and really joined in. All the zoos were aware of our bookings and the hostel was as welcoming as ever.
Ms Hawker, Stoke