What is Bella Vita Italia?
What we are not is a travel agency that resells already packaged, impersonal tours. We are a small team of travel experts that create customized, “from scratch” vacations in Italy (and sometimes France and Spain too!). We design trips using your travel wishes, our extensive knowledge of this country and vast network of hand-picked guides, drivers and local experts who help us create the “Ultimate Italian Experience” for our clients.
What is included in my Tailor-made Vacation?
We normally arrange for all your accommodations, transportation, local guides for tours, restaurant reservations and any other fun activities and experiences from the moment you arrive at your until the day of your departure. Depending on your travel wishes, your trip can be planned to the minute or can be more “open” with less planned activities. The choice is yours. Additionally, you receive endless communication, guidance and assistance from BVI before and during your travels.
What if we want to make changes to a Tailor-made vacation proposal?
We can add, delete and revise until the trip itinerary/proposal is just right for you and your travel companions.
What if I already have my hotels?
In order to make your trip “seamless” and more manageable, we prefer to handle accommodations as well. But we also understand that you may have points for free or discounted rooms or have already started the trip planning process before discovering us, so in this case we can provide you with your private excursions and transportation to “fill in the blanks” of your Italy vacation.
Is airfare included in BVI’s vacations?
We do not handle international airfare, but in a few instances we will include flights within Italy. We can advise you on where to find competitive pricing for flights or even refer you to our preferred travel agent in the states.
Can you give me a cost breakdown of my Tailor-made Vacation?
The vacations we create are bundled packages and therefore we do not provide a breakdown of costs. Our local suppliers often give us a bundled price for the services provided and so we do the same for our clients. Also, the budgeting process is quite extensive and complicated between exchange rates, multiple suppliers, banking fees, etc., it is much simpler for both parties to present one price to you the client.
When should we start planning our trip?
Ideally, we ask for at least 6 months advance notice, especially in the high season (May – September). We can certainly do it in less time, but we run the risk of missing out on the availability of our favorite hotels and guides. We always want the best for our clients and the more time we have the more we can guarantee just that.
What are BVI's payment terms?
For our Tailor Made Vacations: Upon approval of the itinerary we have presented to you, we require a 50% deposit. The balance is due 60 days prior to your arrival date.
For our Trip Consulting & Private Excursions: Full payment is due upon booking.
For Villa Rentals, deposits and balances vary by property and we will provide you with the exact information upon request of booking a property with us.
We accept payment by check, credit card and Pay Pal. For payments by check, a small discount applies (if we don’t have to pay the processing fees, neither should you!).
What is your cancellation policy?
Each of our services have different cancellation policies which are explained in the complete terms & conditions for the particular services which you will receive in our initial correspondence.
Should I purchase travel insurance?
Absolutely! We strongly encourage you to buy travel insurance at the time of booking in the event you must cancel and forfeit funds or in the unfortunate case of injury or loss. Suggested search engine for finding the insurance company for you: www.squaremouth.com
. We also recommend checking with your credit card company as usually they have some travel coverage.
What type of accommodations are used/recommended by BVI?
We work the what we consider some of the very best lodging experiences in Italy. Whether it be a charming, small B&B or a luxury 5-star resort, we have carefully chosen our accommodations partners based on our stringent requisites of quality, location, service and possessing something a little extra special.
When is the best time of year to visit Italy?
We personally feel May, beginning of June and September are the best times to visit. Late June, July and August tend to be hot and crowded. April and October are, for the most part, pleasant for sightseeing but not necessarily beach or island resorts.
How should I pack for my trip?
Much will depend on the time of year and where you will be going. Upon booking a vacation with BVI, we will provide you with a “welcome guide” customized to your trip and the time of year you will be traveling which should give you good direction regarding clothing, packing, and much more.
If I reserve a Tailor-made Vacation, what kind of information will receive before our trip?
Approximately one month prior to your departure date, you will receive your Bella Vita Italia Travel Packet (via priority mail) consisting of your detailed day-to-day itinerary, our list of recommended restaurants and suggested “on your own” excursions in each of your destinations plus a our “Helpful Hints Guide” for Italy and your specific destinations plus detailed information and contacts for your accommodations, tours, excursions and transportation.
Can I drive in Italy with my US driver’s license?
It is now required that you must have an International Driving Permit (IDP) in order to drive in Italy. You can obtain an IDP at your local AAA or online at http://www.aaa.com/vacation/idpc.html.
How should I plan to pay for personal items when I am in Italy?
The best exchange rate will always be with your credit card but almost all cards are now charging on average a 3% foreign transaction fee. Many places do not accept AMEX as their bank charge is higher than Visa or MC. Using your ATM card is second best. Note, you will have fees (usually 1-3%).
IMPORTANT: Be sure to contact your individual credit card companies to let them know you will be using your credit card in Europe. If you don’t do so, due to increased security measures, they might put a fraud stop and block charges on your credit card.
If you prefer to use traveler’s checks, I would get them in Euros not dollars as you can be “double charge” for the a higher exchange rate here in Italy. American Express tends to have the best rates both in the states and Italy. There are Amex offices in Venice, Florence and Rome.
Is the electricity voltage different in Italy and do I need a converter or adapter?
Electricity in Italy is supplied at 220 volts AC at a frequency of 50 Hz. You will need an Italian adapter which are easily found in most travel stores and even hardware stores in the states.
Will I be able to use my personal computer during my trip and what kind of internet service will be provided?
You can certainly use your computer during your travels, but you will need an adapter to for plug (see above). Most of accommodations will have either a a LAN or ADSL line (where you will have to unplug the telephone and plug in your computer) or wireless internet access. In the rare occasions that you may not be able to access the internet via your own computer, most hotels will have PC’s with internet access.
Should I bring my cell phone with me?
We highly recommend either bringing your stateside cell phone with you (which will need to be tri-band or more and compatible overseas) OR rent an international cell phone from CellularAbroad
. It’s just a little extra “comfort” should you have any mishaps or have questions during your travels.