Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some of the most common questions from our travelers.

Do I have to pay up front?

No. For most packages, we only require a per-person deposit to hold your booking. (The amount varies by package.) This deposit will be applied towards the cost of your package.

Your balance is due later. The due date will be shown when you book. For most packages, the due date is 75 days prior to departure. If you are booking close to the departure date (usually one that departs in less than 75 days), your final payment may be due within 72 hours.

Why are deposits non-refundable?

In order to offer you our tours & packages at such fantastic prices, we make financial commitments to suppliers far in advance of each departure date. These commitments are covered by your deposits and cannot be refunded should you cancel your reservation. We recommend that you purchase our affordable travel protection plan to protect your deposit in case you need to cancel or change your plans.

Can I make changes or customize a package?
Want to depart from a different city? Stay a few extra days? Add an extra stop? Take two tours, back-to-back? With most of our packages, it's no problem, and we're happy to oblige. You can request a change when you book online, in the special requests section. Or complete your reservation and contact us as soon as possible, and we'll promptly let you know the price and availability. (Fees and/or additional charges may apply.) Learn more.
What if I need to change or cancel my booking?

Please contact us immediately. After your reservation has been confirmed, changes or cancellation do incur a fee.

Changes: Fees & rules vary by package, but for most packages, a $50–150 per person fee applies, in addition to any fees imposed by airlines, cruise lines, or our vendors—we will advise you of the total. Unfortunately, we can't make any changes after we receive your final payment. See our Terms & Conditions for more information.

Cancellations: All cancellations must be made in writing. Cancellation fees vary by package and when you cancel. See our Terms & Conditions for more information.

Should I purchase travel insurance?

We recommend the purchase of travel insurance to all of our customers to help protect you and your travel investment against the unexpected. For your convenience, we offer a travel protection plan provided by our partner Travelex at a competitive price. Our basic plan can be purchased when you book or at any time prior to making your final payment. Please review our travel protection plan for more information.

Why do I have to pay more to travel solo?

Our packages include accommodations, and like most hotels and cruises, our prices are based on double occupancy rooms. We welcome solo travelers too, of course, and quite a number of our travelers do go solo! We charge solo travelers an extra fee (sometimes called a single supplement) to cover the extra costs of single occupancy hotel rooms or cabins. (Consider: if you booked a $200/night hotel room solo, you would pay the $200 yourself; but if a couple booked the same room, each one would pay only $100.) But you only pay extra for the rooms or cabins, nothing else, including meals, sightseeing, tips, etc.

To avoid single supplements, consider sharing a room with another solo traveler via our Roommate Finder (not available on all packages).

Can you help me find a roommate?

We don't pair up solo travelers automatically, but we have created a way for you to connect with other travelers to share a room. Check out our Roommate Finder for details and how to get started! (Not available on all packages.)

What forms of payment do you accept?

We accept personal checks, money orders, credit cards (VISA, MasterCard, Discover & American Express), and payments from your PayPal account.

To pay your deposit: the easiest, fastest and safest way is with your credit card or PayPal account using our secure online booking system. You may also call or fax us to make your payment by credit card, or you can mail in your deposit by check or credit card, but we cannot hold your place until we receive this payment.

To make your final payment: we encourage you to mail a check or money order for the amount due on your invoice. To pay with your credit card or PayPal account, you may use our secure payment form. Or you can mail or fax in your credit card payment. Final payments cannot be accepted over the phone.

Can I bring my children?

Sure, though for the safety and security of our travelers, we do have some age restrictions. On most of our tours & packages, your traveling companions must be 8 or older at the time of travel. Some packages have different requirements; see the package page. Travelers under 18 years must be accompanied by an adult 21 years or older.

How many people will I be traveling with?

On our Small Group Tours, you'll travel with a small, intimate group of 15–24 likeminded travelers. On our Value Vacations, groups may be larger, but no more than 37. We do our best to keep our group sizes small enough to ensure you have the opportunity to meet new friends and to enjoy the camaraderie of others, but not so large as to feel lost in the crowd.

Will somebody accompany our group?

On our Small Group Tours, Value Vacations, Biblical Journeys, and private group tours, you will be accompanied by a professional tour manager, guide and/or driver. This person is an authority on the destination, and is responsible for your safety and wellbeing and the smooth operation of your tour. We believe a great tour manager is the difference between simply seeing a country, and truly experiencing it. We're very proud of our tour managers, guides and drivers—we think you'll agree they're the ones who put the "friendly" in Friendly Planet!

Do all of your packages include flights? Can I book my own?

Most of our packages do include flights from select U.S. cities in the price. In many cases, our exclusive contracts offer big savings over what you could book on your own. But we understand that some travelers prefer to book their own flights with miles, or to make their own arrangements. If you'd like to go this route, first check out the package you're interested in to see if a "land only" or "tour only" option is offered.

If you do book your own flights, airport transfers are generally not included (though private transfers are usually available for an additional fee—contact us for price and availability). In that case, you'll be responsible for making your own way to the tour starting point, usually the first hotel listed in the itinerary.

Can I join a tour late or leave it early?

We generally discourage travelers from trying to join a tour after it has begun or to depart before it's finished. But if you need to, please contact us prior to booking and we'll see what we can do to accommodate. Note that you will generally be responsible for your own arrangements and travel costs from the moment you decide to leave the tour.

Can I request a special meal?

You can enter special meal requests when you book with an agent or complete your online registration, shortly after booking. We will relay your requests to the airlines and our representatives abroad, but we cannot guarantee they will be honored. Please double check meal requests with the airline 72 hours before departure, and with our representatives upon arrival.

How are seats assigned on my flights? Can I request specific seats?

We do not usually assign seats; the airline typically does this within 24 hours of departure. If you are not happy with your seat assignment, you may be able to change your seats, subject to availability, either when you check in at the counter or during online check-in (if available). In most cases, you may also request specific seat assignments more than 24 hours before departure, but this may incur a fee, payable to the airline. For more information, see Advance Seat Reservations.

Will I earn frequent flyer miles?

You may be able to earn frequent flyer points on some of our packages. Contact the airline directly once you receive your tickets to enter your frequent flyer number in your flight record, or enter it when you check in. As you travel, check with the agent prior to boarding each flight to be sure the number has been entered properly. And just to be safe, keep your boarding passes and passenger receipt, as proof that you have actually flown the miles you want credited to your account.

Can I upgrade to premium economy or business class? Can I upgrade with frequent flyer miles?

For most packages, cabin upgrades may be available. Ask us about price and availability when you book online, in the special requests section. However, our special contracted airfare rates generally do not permit upgrading with frequent flyer miles.

How much baggage can I take?

For most of our packages, one checked suitcase per passenger is permitted, usually limited to 44 pounds, and carry-on luggage is limited to one piece per person, which must fit in overhead bins or under seat. Airlines used on some packages have more stringent baggage allowance restrictions, which you can find on our Baggage Allowances page. Guidelines for your specific package will be sent with your confirmation materials.

What should I pack?

Check out our blog post on our Top 10 Must-Haves for International Travel.

Can I take my cell phone? How can I get Internet access?

See our blog posts on using your cell phone and getting online while abroad.

I've not traveled much. Can you give me any advice on the destination and traveling abroad?

Of course! As seasoned travelers ourselves, we're happy to share whatever knowledge we can to make your trip wonderful. As a start, you should review our Fast Facts for the countries you're visiting, where you'll find a compendium of facts, advice and links for travelers. If you don't find the answers you need there, feel free to contact us with your questions.