Is it possible to skip a day of cycling and stay on board the ship?
On all bike and barge Europe tours, this is possible. If you do choose to stay on board for the day, you will not be able to disembark from the barge until you reach the next mooring point. The barge usually reaches the next destination at the earliest 2 PM and the latest 5 PM. In the morning, you can get off the boat and explore more of the town that you are in, but you must reach the next mooring destination at your own expense via public transportation.
Are there hair dryers on the barges?
Hair dryers are available on most barges. Inquire about your tour specifically. It is NOT recommended to bring your own hair dryer from the U.S. or Canada as it can short circuit even with an adapter. (A voltage converter is needed)
Is there WIFI on the barges?
WiFi is available on a limited basis on board. Don’t expect to have a perfect internet connection for the entire trip. Usually during the busiest hours when many people are online, the speed gets slower, and some people will have trouble connecting.
Can you open the portholes in the cabin?
On most barges you can, however on some barges, because of the level of the window in relation to the water, this is not possible.
Can I bring my own alcohol on board to consume?
On most ships this is not possible. The owners of the ships do their best to offer you a good selection of affordable wine, beer, and spirits so that you have everything that you need. If you do purchase an outside beverage, we ask that you consume this in your cabin.
Can we push the twin beds together to form one larger bed?
On the deluxe and super deluxe barges, this is usually possible, or a double bed is available. On the other category of barges, this is usually not possible, but please check with us about your specific barge.
Do bikes come with a bag? How much stuff can I fit inside?
Yes, all bikes come with a bag; either one or two rear panniers or a handlebar bag. This is easily sufficient for a small camera, rain jacket, and snacks. Please check the bicycle information on the specific tour that you are interested in for more details.
Do the bikes come with a lock?
Yes, all bikes come with a lock, or a lock is available for use upon request.
Do I need to bring a helmet?
Helmets are included on many of our tours but not all. Please check your individual itinerary under the “bicycles” section to see if a helmet is included or available for rent on your specific tour.
Can I bring my own bicycle seat?
Yes, you can bring your own bicycle seat. We can’t guarantee that it will fit, but most of the time the seats will fit. Don’t bring the post, just the seat!
Can I bring my own pedals?
For most barge tours, you cannot change the pedals. For self-guided and guided bike and hotel tours, you may bring your own pedals, but we cannot guarantee that they will fit.
Do you offer electric bikes (e-bikes)? Does that mean I don’t have to pedal?
Yes, on most tours we can offer electric bikes. We highly recommend that you rent one in your area and practice on it a few times before renting one with us. Ebikes are heavier than regular bikes and you DO have to pedal in order for the motor to work. The motor kicks on when you pedal to help assist you with an extra boost.
Can I upgrade my bike?
Yes, on the self-guided tours, and this varies per tour. On our French self-guided tours, we have one or two upgrade options (one is a road bike), depending on the tour. In Italy and upgrade is also possible on most tours.
Do you offer bike insurance?
On many of the bike and barge tours and self-guided tours, bike insurance is available for purchase for around $15 to $25. This does not cover you in the event that you forget to lock the bike. Please refer to your tour itinerary to see if bike insurance is included. If not, please inquire as to whether it can be purchased.
Do you offer any trip extensions?
At the moment, we only offer one trip extension, beginning and ending near Amsterdam. It is a full-day of biking to the towns of Volendam Marken, with stops for a visit to a cheese farm, and to taste delicious Dutch apple pie! This tour is offered in cooperation by Denise, my co-guide extraordinaire. You can book and find more information at Road 64.
Do I need to pre-book train tickets? How do I find out where to look for tickets?
Please look at this wonderful website, The Man in Seat Sixty-One, for information on all train travel within Europe! We also give you suggestions on your country-specific PDF (i.e. Netherlands Cycling or France Cycling) included with your booking confirmation.
Which airport should I fly into?
Check the “getting there” section of the itinerary, and also your country-specific PDF (i.e. Netherlands Cycling or France Cycling) that was included with your booking confirmation.
Can you book hotels and airfare for us?
Hotels: No, we do not book hotel stays or airfare, unless the option of additional days is written on the tour’s detailed itinerary. We can send you hotel recommendations for Amsterdam, Bruges, Salzburg, Avignon, or Tours. They will be included in your information packet after you sign up, or feel free to ask for them before you book.
Airfare: We do not book airfare. We recommend www.vayama.com for finding the cheapest airfare. This site searches through most major airlines, which is great, but also means that we cannot vouch for the quality or reliability of each individual airline!
Do you meet us at the airport?
No, we do not meet you at the airport. Detailed directions on how to get to your barge, starting hotel, or meeting point will be provided after full payment is made.
Can you provide transportation from the airport or train station to the barge or starting hotel?
In Italy and Austria, this is possible. For Holland, Belgium, and France, it is easy to take a taxi or public transportation to your starting location, and information on this will be provided in the final documents that are sent after full payment is received.
What type of plug is used in Europe?
In Holland, France, Italy, Belgium, and Austria, the “Europlug” is used. You can find adapters for this type of plug at many travel stores or electronic stores. Please note that you should not bring a US or Canadian hairdryer without also bringing a Europlug voltage converter. The 220 volts of European outlets will short circuit your blow dryer without a voltage converter!
Can I use my credit card in Europe?
Yes, your credit card should work in all of the countries that you visit in Europe. However in some countries, credit cards are not accepted in grocery stores or small restaurants, so we highly recommend that you bring a debit card or travelers checks just in case!
Can you accommodate special dietary requests?
Yes we can. On a few tours there will be a supplement for the special meals, but more often we provide this service for free. We can easily accommodate vegetarians, vegans, or those who need a gluten-free diet. Please ask us about your special needs before booking, and make sure to tell us if you have a severe allergy to any foods.
How many meals are included in the tour price?
Please look at the section “Meals” or “Included” on the individual tour page. Breakfast is included on all of our tours.
VGT Booking Process
What is your cancellation policy?
In the event of cancellation by the Client the following percentages shall be due:
After reservation and up to 90 days prior to departure: $100 per person
From 89 to 60 days prior to departure: $400 per person (loss of deposit)
From 59 to 30 days prior departure: 60% of total tour cost
From 29 days prior to departure date to arrival day: 100% of total tour cost
When is the full payment due?
Full payment is due 70 days before your departure date. We will send you an invoice around 90 days before your departure date for the remaining balance. This will be sent by email unless otherwise specified.
When will I receive my daily detailed directions?
You will receive these in your starting hotel for self-guided tours, or when you arrive on board for most barge tours. If you are taking a guided tour but are considering to go “self-guided” some days, please ask us about this option.
Do you offer cancellation or travel insurance?
We do not personally offer travel insurance or cancellation insurance, but we do partner with CSA Travel Protection to provide this. You can find out more information on www.csatravelpro.com, producer code is 71623447. You can also call (800) 348-9505. Please note that they will ask you to verify that you purchased a tour with us if you need to submit a claim. Some primary health insurance companies do not provide coverage outside of your home country. Please check with your provider
Unfortunately this is for US residents only. For Canadian residents, we have heard from clients that Manulife or Allianze insurance are good options. We are not affiliated with either Canadian insurance company and have no personal experience with their claim process.
On the Tour
Should I leave a tip for my guide and/or crew?
Tipping is not expected, but is always appreciated. If you enjoyed your time with your guide, you are welcome to show your gratitude through a tip. The average gratuity for one couple is 50 euros for a one week tour, given to the guide. There is a general range of 40-100 euros. If you also wish to tip the crew, you should do this separately, giving it to one member of the crew who will share it among the others. Tipping in US dollars isn’t recommended as they will have to exchange it at the bank, but if it is all you have then that’s okay!