Agreement of Services
Revised Sept 28, 2021
The purpose of this document is to convey your responsibilities as a traveler, and our responsibilities as your travel management company.
Our luxury travel management company is family-founded, owned and operated. IRT delivers the highest level of personal service to a limited number of select clients. We go to extraordinary lengths to ensure your travel is seamless and rewarding. Our most successful advisor/traveler relationships are built on mutual respect and trust.
How we work:
We specialize in providing outstanding service from highly trained professional advisors who are intimately familiar with the travel products we sell.
Therefore, we require a nonrefundable travel management retainer, in addition to your deposit (as outlined on your booking form). Our retainer is based on the estimated time it will take to deliver a fantastic journey to you.
If you are satisfied with typical mass-market service, please look elsewhere.
If you want the best in the business, from highly trained advisors, you’ve come to the right place.
What can you expect from IRT?
• Well-established partnerships with the best luxury travel partners in the world: We only work with partners we know and trust. We only offer five-star services.
• The perfect travel “fit” – we will honestly recommend against booking a train, cruise, hotel or tour if we do not believe it is perfect for you.
• We reiterate that we are not a mass market travel company. Our business model focuses on lifelong partnerships with highly satisfied, repeat travelers year after year. Our recommendations are based on our exclusive knowledge from our personal experiences, extensive training, and education. We are loyal to you, our guests.
• Complete travel support
- Before you travel – Timely communication and trip preparation details based on our first-hand knowledge and relationships with managers of the luxury trains, hotels and tour partners with which we work. We will advise you of the current COVID-19 requirements – and provide resources to help inform you. Please note requirements are changing almost daily.
- While you travel – 24/7 in-country support, resolution of issues as they arise, and regular check-ins.
- After you travel – “Welcome home” check-in upon your return.
• Processing and documentation of all necessary payments, including reminders prior to payment due dates.
• Valuable amenities from Virtuoso, the world’s premiere luxury travel consortium, such as registration in Virtuoso Voyages, and the Bellini Club, a members-only group of top travel companies allied with Belmond, owner/operator of the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, among other luxury trains, hotels and cruises.
(Just before you leave for your trip, we remind our partner hotels that you are our valued guest. We literally beg for upgrades and insist on your VIP treatment. Our success rate on this is impressive!)
• Individual, personal contacts with the hotels and tour operators with whom we work, ensuring you the highest level of service.
• Convenient digital final documents. (Some journeys may allow for a mobile-friendly travel app version of your program.) If you require paper documents, fees may apply.
• Careful attention to any dietary and/or mobility restrictions; relaying this information to our partners and ensuring attention to these details.
• Guidance for travel visas required for your trip
• Management of any changes or cancellations to your trip (by you or the supplier), including processing of refunds and negotiating the best option for you if you need to rebook. Fees may apply. Refunds usually take up to 8 weeks.
• Reconfirmation of all details of your journey prior to travel
What can you expect traveling internationally now in the time of COVID-19?
You can expect confusion, changing travel restrictions and new, required paperwork to enter the country you wish to visit. This confusion expands as you increase the number of countries you visit. The rules can change daily.
You must have tremendous patience, good humor and the ability to plan and carefully follow directions.
Certain amenities and/or physical spaces in hotels and on trains may be unavailable or limited due to COVID-19: for instance, certain public train cars may be left off of the train, or a service such as 24/7 room service may not be available in your hotel. Furthermore, due to changing restrictions, itineraries, scheduled activities, and/or routings may change with little or short notice. Please be prepared to be flexible.
Check the rules before you book your trip. Once you are booked, you should check the rules at least monthly.
Two weeks before you travel, check daily.
IRT cannot be held responsible for your inability to travel, either for reasons that could be avoided by adequately preparing, or for reasons beyond our and your control.
We have been able to fix every issue that has come up before and during our guests’ travel. But it comes at a cost: we will invoice you our regular rate ($200/hour) to address last-minute or unforeseen travel issues.
Due to last-minute COVID-19 regulation changes, final documents are often not ready until a few days before departure.
Important to know:
Any of the above items, or unknown issues relating to COVID-19 or other unforeseen events, may dramatically shift the time it takes to provide you with thorough, top-notch service.
If needed, IRT will invoice you our regular rate for time spent to evaluate and clearly relay or discuss these issues with you.
We also have 24/7 emergency backup for our guests. If you need to access this during nights or on weekends (Eastern Standard Time), the potential charge is $300 per hour. During regular office hours, you will be charged our regular rate.
If we or one of our partners has made an error, we will waive our fee. If you have made an error, such as not having the proper visa, not remembering to bring your passport, not getting tested within the correct time frame, other issues mentioned in this document or of an otherwise extraordinary nature, it will be billed.
What is your responsibility?
• Communication. You must agree that you will communicate with our agency in a timely manner. You also agree to complete all required paperwork and relay any restrictions you may have to us in a timely way so that we may manage this on your behalf.
If you prefer not to complete paperwork digitally, we will send paper for an additional fee.
Traveling with others: if you are traveling in a group larger than two, please advise us at the outset if you would like to delegate decision-making authority to one individual, or if you would like everyone traveling to be kept in copy on all communications. Our standard practice is to treat every booking as individual.
• Passports & visas. You agree to ensure that when you book, you will have a passport that is valid for your journey.
Your passport must have enough validity for your trip (most destinations require 6 months’ validity after travel) and enough blank pages for insertion of visas and entry stamps of every country you visit. You agree to allow enough time to apply for visas. We will give you detailed guidance regarding visas, but it is ultimately your responsibility to obtain the necessary visas and make sure they are correct.
Be prepared for potentially months-long backlogs from all government offices. Please plan accordingly and as far in advance as possible. IRT cannot be responsible for invalid or delayed passports and/or insufficient time to process visas.
• Travel insurance. You agree to verify that your insurance coverage is accurate at all times (for example, that it is updated if your trip costs increase and/or dates of travel change).
Please understand that when you purchase RoamRight or Travelex insurance within the specified time frame, you will secure extra features, including a pre-existing conditions waiver. To retain these features, you must cover your entire nonrefundable trip costs in a timely way. More information will be sent at time of booking (or before, if requested).
When you add non-refundable items/costs, you must increase your insurance coverage within the specified time frame. You must also update your travel dates with the insurance company if they change. IRT cannot be held responsible for failure to take these important steps.
You understand that, if your COVID-19 test taken before flying home to the U.S.A. is positive, you will not be allowed to board the plane and return home. Instead, you will have to quarantine at your expense, usually for 10 days. Many other countries besides the U.S.A. have similar regulations currently in place.
We can supply you with information about a new service to fly you home from a train or land tour (not a cruise) on a private plane so you can quarantine at home in the event of a positive COVID-19 test. Please inquire. It is called COVAC Global.
• Pandemic, disease and border regulations. We pledge to provide you with the most current information possible before you travel. But understand that rules can change daily. In working with our agency, you agree to take responsibility to fully understand the rules of the countries you’ll be visiting and to follow them.
Ensure you’ve done your own research prior to travel and that you have all necessary documentation in order (such as vaccination status, proof of negative tests, visas, etc.). We cannot know about all of your travel before or after the trip you have booked with us. Because of current COVID-19 regulations, your recent travel history may impede your ability to travel to a certain destination.
We highly recommend you obtain the COVID-19 vaccination/booster shot (if you qualify) if you plan to travel internationally. Even if the country you wish to visit does not require it now, this may change and be required later. Some countries are also stipulating an expiration date for vaccinations, or a validity period.
We also recommend that you plan to take a COVID-19 (not antigen) PCR test 48 – 72 hours before you arrive at your destination– even if the country does not specify this when you book. This requirement could be added at any time.
Please understand that many countries are deciding to allow entry only to guests vaccinated against COVID-19 and/or guests with negative test results issued within a certain time frame.
Testing: it is imperative that you be tested within an accurate timeframe. I.e., if a government regulation says “test within 72 hours” that means no more than 72 hours.
Awaiting test results causes anxiety for many travelers. To avoid this, consider a mail-order testing system you can do at home (click here for link to a mail-order COVID-19 testing company.) Or consider being tested at one of the many major international gateways whose testing sites guarantee turn-around within an hour.
Entry back to country of residency: Current rules back to USA, for example, require a PCR or Antigen test within 3 days of departure. Please make sure your program allows enough time for you to be tested and get your results before departing for home. If you live outside of USA, please be sure you have examined the rules for reentry.
IRT cannot be held responsible for your inability to travel because you did not take the above actions.
• Air. Triple-check your flight schedules for correct arrival/departure dates. We recommend longer than usual layover times. Also, triple-check that your name is spelled exactly as it appears in your passport.
When it’s time to fly, arrive at the airport at least three and sometimes four hours before travel. IRT cannot be held responsible for missed flight connections and/or cancellations by airlines.
Domestic and international flights are being cancelled with increasing frequency. One way to reduce the stress of this concern is to fly to your international gateway and spend the night before your international flight. Another way is to plan for an extra-long layover between domestic and international flights.
Both suggestions also would give you the chance to do a quick turn-around PCR test in case it’s needed at your international gateway airport. Testing sites are popping up within and near many international gateways, such as Seattle and JFK. They are more expensive, but they report results almost immediately.
• Technology: Most of the countries you will visit require online registration and filling out of entry forms documenting your testing or vaccine status. Others may require visas. These tasks are done online and require familiarity with technology. If you’d prefer not to do this, please let us know and we can assist. We charge $200 an hour for this service.
• Pack your patience and a sense of humor. Travel is inherently an adventure. We do our best to ensure seamless and memorable journeys, but changes may arise.
All itineraries are subject to change, even while you’re traveling, by the travel provider, be it an airline, rail service, cruise line or touring company.
• Truthfully assess your comfort level and medical fitness as it relates to travel.
Be upfront about any physical conditions that may impact your travel. We will work with you to find a solution.
Ask if you’re uncertain whether something might affect your plans. This applies to mobility restrictions, vaccination records and upcoming or past major medical conditions.
The decision to travel rests with you – and the country you are visiting. We can provide recommendations and refer you to an alternate best source of information. But the go/no-go decision is in your hands.
Understand that many countries admit only travelers vaccinated against COVID-19 and/or those who have been tested. If they are not requiring it now, they may do so next week.
We reiterate: if you are not vaccinated, you may not be allowed entry. No last-minute changes or refunds will be possible if you have not prepared for this eventuality. IRT cannot be held responsible for your inability to travel because you did not take the above actions.
What haven’t I thought about?
IRT is a boutique, luxury travel management company with wide-reaching abilities to custom-design a private journey or extension for you. We work with our carefully vetted Virtuoso and luxury partners around the world. Here are some things that we can arrange for you. Our travel management retainer starts at $400 per cabin for a cruise or train — and starts at $1,200 for a custom-designed journey.
• Unique extensions — sightseeing, touring, and dining activities based on your specific travel preferences, using only the most experienced local guides;
• Special accommodations in special five-star hotels, castles, country homes and villas and safari camps. These usually come with exceptional and complimentary Virtuoso amenities.
• Private arrival/departure transfers (if not already included in your tour);
• Special visits designed just for you based on your interests and travel style
• VIP airport services in many locations with fast-track services, baggage assistance, and guided airport navigation;
• Shore excursions either through the cruise line or privately;
• Special restaurant dining reservations;
• Any special amenities you might want in your cabin/hotel room, such as a birthday cake, champagne, flowers.
In short: if you want the very best in travel services – with people who care, who are trained, knowledgeable, efficient and professional –you will love working with us. You will want to come to us again and again for the best in travel.
And if you are understanding, patient during these difficult times and communicate clearly with us, we will love working with you – not just for this booking, but for all your traveling days. We look forward to a long and happy relationship with you.