1. What does my tour price cover?
Of course, each tour is custom designed, so your final price and expenses covered will vary. Typically, the tour price covers your hotel stay (estimated at two people/room), designated group meals and theater/event performances on the itinerary. A major part of the expense in NYC is hotel rooms. And, we strive to secure upscale Category 7 or above accommodations (not mass tourist-grade hotels), even at that price point. If you wish to have your own hotel room, that's possible for a per room nightly up-charge.
2. What does my tour price not cover?
You will be responsible for your flights to/from NYC and for transportation to/from the hotel. Typically, you will cover a few mini-meals, some mass transit and any personal-choice TKTS theater performance, extra sight-seeing venues and museums on your own. Beyond the stated included meals where one glass of wine may be a part of the meal, alcohol is not included, but may be purchased separately. And, you would be responsible for any individual purchases, including buying extra luggage and airline luggage fees to get all your new goodies back home.....:)
3. What if there’s a major NYC attraction I’d like to see that’s not built into the itinerary --- a place like the Empire State Building, the World Trade Center Memorial, the Statue of Liberty, etc. Do I have an option for seeing that while I’m there?
Great question and one we get a lot because our Southern Women Touring, Inc. focus is typically not on those main tourist attraction spots unless it's specifically requested. Toward the last half of our time together in NYC, you will begin to feel more comfortable in the City. At that point, we recommend the tour be designed to give you time to explore on your own. This is the time frame when you can plan to visit any NYC sights you want to ensure you see while you’re there. And, we will be available to help you plan how you will get there and back again, if you want.
4. What happens if I’m “on my own” and I get lost?
First of all, if you’re not comfortable going out on your own in the City, you certainly don’t have to do that. We do encourage everyone to venture out in groups at some point. It’s important to know you can conquer the City on your own terms. In the very unlikely event that you do find yourself in an unfamiliar place, we would encourage you to ask a helpful New Yorker (some of the nicest people on earth, BTW). Or, call your tour guide, who will be able to talk you back to our meeting spot or come get you, based on your cross streets. Just remember --- there’s no “getting lost” in NYC. It’s impossible. That’s part of the fun!!!
5. What if I’m not able to do all things I want to do while I’m in NYC on this trip? Are trip itinerary substitutions allowed?
For sure, you will NOT be able to do everything you want to do in the City. We’ve probably been to NYC more than 90 times; and are still frustrated that we can’t get to everything we want to do. It’s just the way it is. You will definitely have “free time” to make some choices and get to places you’d like to conquer on your own toward the last half of the itinerary. Typically --- During the first part of the trip, we will be spending planned time together in group activities to help you get to know parts of the City and how to navigate it, so those activities will prepare you for being on your own in the latter part of the tour time.
6. What happens if I get sick on the trip or if I get feet blisters?
You definitely want to bring your medical insurance cards with you, in case we have to make a hospital or doctor visit. Hopefully, you will only have a minimal illness that will keep you out of commission at the hotel for only a short time and then you will be joining us once again. As you can tell from our descriptions and Sample Itinerary, a LOT of walking is just part of exploring NYC. There is no getting around that clear and real fact. So, it’s possible you may get a blister or two over the five days, especially if it’s a bit more walking in new shoes (new shoes not recommended, BTW). In the unlikely event that happens, mole skin and other drug store remedies will see us through. Wear your favorite well-worn and comfortable low-heel or flat shoes; and you should be fine.
7. What happens if I must cancel the trip after I’ve already paid for it?
Because we must make commitments to the hotel and theaters by a certain date, we have a graduated system of refund payment options. Those will be part of the trip documentation. If you are able to guarantee a replacement attendee for your spot, we may be able to waive part of that refund loss. Of course, your airline ticket payments/requirements are between you and the airline. We would recommend travel insurance with the airline and for the trip, in general, if you believe cancellation could be a possibility. AAA and others offer travel insurance for non-reimbursable travel costs at a reasonable percentage of your overall trip cost. If you're concerned that you may have to cancel for any reason, getting trip insurance is HIGHLY recommended.
8. Sometimes, I can get additional benefits or free admission because I’m a AAA member, military retiree, AARP member, student card, etc. How can I take advantage of those memberships and possible discounts on this trip?
We totally agree with you. Memberships like the ones you mentioned can represent significant discounts or even free entrees, such as to the Whitney Museum or the Intrepid. We recommend bringing any and all such membership cards with you and having them ready to bring out at any moment.
9. What should I pack? I normally find I take too much and don’t want to do that this time also.
Another great question. We all normally pack too much. And, you want to leave room to bring back your “goodies and finds” from the trip without having to pay for extra luggage. We cover a number of those packing secrets at our “tour orientation,” where you will also receive an NYC Packing List. But, generally, you will want to have layers – 1-2 camis, comfortable closed-toe sandals, large shawl, leggings, etc. ALWAYS IN DARK COLORS, though you will want to pack 1-2 bright-coloredscarves, jackets or tops to impact the best seating at certain events. NYC is NOT nice to light colors…..a reality we’ll cover at orientation.
10. What’s this “Tour Orientation?”
Prior to the Tour's departure date, we will find a time to all get together on a conference call or in someone’s home or at a restaurant in small groups. (We hope those from OOT will join us either in person or via Face Time or Skype!) The purpose will be to get to know one another a bit before the tour, to begin our orientation to the City (via a massive Manhattan map) and to determine what you want to get out of the experience together. At that time, we’ll also cover some of the non-negotiable basics, like the kinds of purses, shoes, etc. that you need to bring.
11. How is alcohol expense handled during the tour?
Because everyone has a different approach to alcohol, we typically structure each tour to include very minimal alcohol inclusion. There may be a few dinners where one glass of wine/beverage is included. Primarily, alcohol is an individual choice and can be paid for separately by any tour participant via separate check, if requested.