Terms & Conditions
Terms & Conditions for The Society of International Railway Travelers’ tours
How to Book: Call us at 800-478-4881 (1-502-897-1725 if outside the US/Canada); e-mail us at [email protected]; or click here to reserve your spot. We will confirm availability and deposit amount. For most tours, a courtesy hold for approximately 5 days is possible, although some tours require immediate deposit to confirm. Full passport names and dates of birth are required at booking. For travel in the U.S., your name must match your government-issued ID.
Prices/Forms of Payment for Deposit: All prices are per person and in U.S. dollars unless otherwise specified. Deposits can be made by bank transfer, Mastercard, Visa, American Express or Discover. (Some European tours may only accept Mastercard and Visa; please inquire.) Some deposits can also be made by check. Note: Checks drawn on non-U.S. banks are not accepted.
Deposit: Deposit amounts vary. Please see our website or call to confirm amount and terms.
Final payment: Most final payments are due 90 days before departure. Final payment for VSOE Istanbul 2020 tours is due 180 days prior to departure. Due date will be listed on your invoice. Final payment can be made by bank transfer or credit card. Some suppliers charge a 3% processing fee for final payments made by credit card. Please inquire. Some tours also accept final payments by check (drawn on US bank account). Final payment made by credit card requires a signed credit card form. If final payment is not received by the due date, reservation is subject to cancellation.
Cancellations: Notice must be received by IRT in writing. Cancellation penalties vary and are subject to change. Please note that IRT must enforce cancellation penalties set by our suppliers. All deposits and tour payment are nonrefundable, with the following exceptions:
• Tours on the VSOE (with the exception of Istanbul 2020 tours), Belmond Grand Hibernian, E&O, Belmond Royal Scotsman, and Belmond British Pullman are subject to the following cancellation penalties: If canceled 56 days or more prior to departure: 15% of total tour cost; if canceled 55-21 days prior to departure: 30% of tour cost; if canceled 20-3 days prior to departure: 70% of tour cost; if canceled within 2 days of departure or no show: 100% nonrefundable.
• VSOE Paris-Istanbul and Istanbul-Paris 2020 tours are subject to the following cancellation penalties: If canceled 180 days or more prior to departure: 35% of total tour cost; if canceled 179-120 days prior to departure: 50% of tour cost; if canceled 119-90 days prior to departure: 80% of tour cost; if canceled within 90 days of departure or no show: 100% nonrefundable. Final payment for VSOE Istanbul 2020 tours is due 180 days prior to departure.
• Rovos Rail Dar es Salaam, Collage, Namibia and Golf journeys: Cancellations more than 12 weeks prior to departure:10% of total tour price; if canceled 8-12 weeks prior to departure: 25% of total tour price; if canceled 4-8 weeks prior to departure: 50% of total tour price; within four weeks of departure/no shows: 100% cancellation fee. Group journeys on Rovos Rail have stricter terms and conditions. For our South African Rail Spectacular journey: A 30% deposit is due upon booking by wire or credit card. Final payment is due June 28, 2019 by credit card or wire transfer. All payments are nonrefundable.)
• Cancellation of journeys on the El Transcantábrico or Al-Andalus: A handling fee of $250 US per person will apply to all cancellations and changes in addition to following penalties. All refunds are subject to currency fluctuation adjustments. Cancellations made more than 30 days prior to departure: 15% of total tour cost; cancellations made 30-15 days prior to departure: 25% of total tour cost; cancellations made 14-5 days prior to departure: 50% of total tour cost; cancellations made 4-1 days prior to departure: 80% of total tour cost; less than 24 hours prior to departure: 100% nonrefundable.
• Rocky Mountaineer packages: If canceled 61 days or more prior to departure: 20% of total tour cost; if canceled 60-46 days prior to departure: 50% of total tour cost; if canceled within 45 days of departure: 100% nonrefundable.
• Deccan Odyssey journeys: If canceled 60 days or more prior to departure: $250 per person fee; if canceled 59-45 days prior to departure: 20% of total tour cost; if canceled 44-30 days prior to departure: 50% of total tour cost; if canceled within 30 days of departure: 100% nonrefundable.
• Sea Cloud journeys: If canceled 120 days or more prior to departure: $350 per person fee; if canceled 119-90 days prior to departure: loss of deposit; if canceled 89-60 days prior to departure: 25% of total tour cost; if canceled 59-45 days prior to departure: 50% of total tour cost; if canceled within 44 days of departure: 100% nonrefundable.
Changes to booking: Bookings on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, Belmond Grand Hibernian, Eastern & Oriental, & Belmond Royal Scotsman can be switched to an alternate departure date or Belmond train or cruise ONCE free of charge, subject to availability. This change must be requested at least 60 days prior to departure. Please note that all original deposits remain nonrefundable.
Note: All percentages based on total services.
A printed version of your tour’s cancellation policy will be mailed, faxed or e-mailed upon request. Please note that every effort has been made to ensure accuracy throughout our brochure and website. IRT reserves the right to correct errors and omissions. All programs are subject to any revised terms and conditions of the suppliers.
Change fees apply for most bookings. Please inquire for your particular journey.
All tours: No refunds will be made in the event of “no-shows” or cancellations the day of tour. No refund will be given for unused portions of the tour. No refund for airline tickets once issued or for extra services once confirmed and paid.
Occupancy: If occupancy of a cabin changes from double to single, the remaining passenger will be responsible for the supplement and/or difference in total cabin cost. The canceling passenger will be subject to the above penalties.
Passport/visas: It is urgent that you provide your full and correct passport name upon booking and follow up with a color copy of the picture page of your passport. A passport valid for six months after your return is required for most trips. Some destinations require visas. When you book, be sure you have enough blank pages for insertion of visas! If you need visas, we will send instructions and forms. Passengers must ensure that they obtain all the necessary documentation and visas prior to departure and allow adequate time to do so. The Society of International Railway Travelers (IRT) assumes no responsibility for passengers refused entry into a country for incorrect documentation. Any repatriation charges will be the responsibility of the passenger. It is your responsibility to check your visas to ensure that they have been issued properly with your correct name and entry/exit dates. IRT takes no responsibility for a country’s refusal to admit passengers for any reason.
Insurance: We strongly recommend trip cancellation insurance to protect your travel investment. Some suppliers require full medical and/or evacuation insurance. We are required to document this coverage or your reservation is subject to cancellation. Medical/evacuation insurance is required for journeys on the Golden Eagle, Shangri-La Express, Danube Express, Pride of Africa, Maharajas’ Express, Deccan Odyssey, and Tren Crucero. After you book a trip, we will send a brochure about Travelex tour insurance. (Click here for a quote or to purchase Travelex Insurance.) We recommend purchasing full coverage in order to cover your pre-existing conditions, to cover you in case of illness, hospitalization, job loss or financial default of the supplier. To get this pre-existing coverage, you must purchase your policy within 21 days of deposit (if purchasing Travelex insurance). URGENT: It is your responsibility to notify your insurance company to increase your coverage if your trip cost or dates change.
Minimum Participants: Most tours must require a minimum number of passengers. If the number of passengers drops below the minimum number required, suppliers reserve the right to cancel the tour, increase the cost of the tour or to postpone the tour until a future date, usually the latter. Air tickets should be fully refundable and/or changeable if you book them before we notify you the trip is a “go.” IRT cannot take responsibility for changes or cancellations in air ticketing for any reason. Note: If a supplier cancels your trip, 100% of your tour payments and Travelex insurance premium are refundable.
Prices: While every effort is made to adhere to published prices, IRT and/or its suppliers reserve the right to adjust prices in the event of significant changes to currency rates and/or fuel prices at any time. For trips priced in foreign currency, the exact tour cost will depend upon the value of the U.S. dollar at time of final payment.
Price does not include: Airfare; passport/visa fees; laundry; phone calls; meals and alcoholic beverages not specifically listed; optional excursions; services other than those specifically listed; accident, sickness, trip cancellation/interruption and/or baggage insurance; and excess baggage charges. Price does not always include gratuities. Please inquire.
Extra charges/fees: In order to provide extraordinary personal service, we require requests for extra services be well in advance of travel. Please note that extra services most often carry the same cancellation penalty as the tour. An extensive, individualized itinerary requires a $600 nonrefundable professional planning fee. Please ask for an appointment with our concierge team to go over details and advantages. If final documents are required more than 4 weeks in advance departure, a $50 expedited documents fee applies. If overnight delivery of documents is required, a fee of $35 will be applied. All documents requiring FedEx delivery outside continental US costs $75. All extra services after final payment are nonrefundable or changeable. Cancelled hotel bookings are subject to a $50 fee per hotel.
Short Notice Travel: Some tours, particularly those which include hotel nights, may not be available to book within 30 days of departure. We reserve the right to refuse to book a tour if we do not feel that we are able to provide the best possible service within the time allowed. All bookings made between 60 and 46 days before departure are subject to a $150 late booking fee. If booking is made within 45 days or less before departure, a $300 late booking fee applies.
Baggage: Baggage is taken at owner’s risk throughout the trip. Baggage insurance is strongly recommended (included in most travel insurance policies). Please note that baggage limitations vary from airline to airline. Luggage handling on our trips is limited to one larger bag and one carry-on. (NOTE: Not all tours include luggage handling. Please inquire if this is a prerequisite for your journey.) Check with your airline for weight and size limitations. Private transfers, luggage shipping, and baggage handling to/from the airport (when not included) can be arranged.
Photography: IRT reserves the right to take photographs or videos during any tour or part thereof, and use the resulting image for publication, including promotional purposes in any of our publications or website. By booking a tour with IRT, participants agree to allow their image to be used for such purposes; participants who prefer that their image not be used must inform our office, in writing, upon booking. By sending us your photos from your trips, you are given express permission to publish them in all of IRT or Hardy Publishing Co. forms of communication, from the web site, to the special editions, blogs and facebook and all digital and printed communication.
Medical: You must report in writing at the time of booking any physical or mental condition that may require special attention. All Society trips require walking on the trains/ships and during tours. You must let us know, for example, if you have asthma, use a cane or wheelchair. This allows us to plan for your needs if it is possible to do so. On some tours, we regret it may not be possible. Most rail programs, many of them on antique trains with narrow corridors, are not wheelchair-accessible; some tours are not suitable for people with certain heart or lung conditions because of altitude. Please check with us before booking. We will assist in finding a holiday suitable to your situation. Passengers should check with their doctors before departure as to which inoculations are considered necessary or recommended for your destination. Flexibility, a sense of humor and the ability to walk unassisted will be essential. The tour leader, train or cruise manager has the right to disqualify any participant at any time during the tour if he/she feels the participant is physically incapable and/or if a participant’s continued participation will jeopardize the safety or enjoyment of either the individual involved or the other passengers or staff. There will be no refund given under these circumstances and return travel home will be at the participant’s expense. If your health changes after booking, and you do not inform us, or if you were not truthful about your fitness for a tour, you are subject to removal from the tour on your own arrangements. IRT unfortunately will not accept your booking again. No refunds will be given under these circumstances.
Responsibility: The Society of International Railway Travelers, Inc., (IRT) and its parent company, Hardy Publishing Co., Inc. (HPC), act only as agents for the passenger with respect to travel services. We choose fine suppliers and ground operators; however, IRT and HPC do not own or operate any of the services or accommodations for your trip. As a result, IRT and HPC are not responsible for, and you (passengers booking tours through IRT and/or HPC) release and forever discharge IRT and HPC from, all liability to passengers based upon the negligence or gross negligence of IRT and/or HPC arising out of or based upon any negligent or willful act or failure to act of any such supplier or any other third party over whom IRT and/or HPC has no control, including but not limited to financial default of the supplier. Arrangements for the tours are made many months in advance and occasionally changes have to be made. We can assume no responsibility nor liability in whole or in part for any delays, delayed or changed departure or arrival, missed carrier connections, loss, damage, weather, strikes, acts of God, circumstances beyond our control, force majeure, war, terrorism, quarantine, criminal activity, expense, accident, sickness, injury or death to person or property, or mechanical defect, failure, or negligence or financial default of any nature howsoever caused in connection with any accommodations, restaurant, transportation or other services, for any substitution of hotels or of common carrier equipment beyond our control, with or without notice, or for any additional expenses occasioned thereby. If due to weather, flight schedules or other uncontrollable factors, you are required to spend an additional night, you will be responsible for your own hotel, transfers and meal costs. IRT highly recommends arriving into the first city one day before the tour begins in order to allow for any air delays. The trains will depart without you. IRT also does not recommend arranging nonrefundable air until your trip is a certified “go.” Further, double-check your tour arrival/departure date if doing your own ticketing. No refund will be made for any unused portion of the tour due to these causes or voluntary cancellations. Baggage is at the owner’s risk entirely. No revisions of the printed itinerary or the “included” items are anticipated; however, IRT and HPC reserve the right to make changes at any time and for any reason, with or without notice, and IRT and HPC shall not be liable for any loss whatsoever to passengers by reason of such cancellation, substitution or changes. All fares as well as ship and train schedules, port calls, hours of arrival and departure, special programs, tour leader, and guest lecture series (if applicable), are subject to change without prior notice. IRT and HPC shall not be required to refund any portion of the fare or make any other compensation under these circumstances. IRT and HPC cannot be responsible for penalties assessed by air carriers that may result due to operational and/or itinerary changes, regardless if the passenger and/or IRT and HPC make the flight arrangements. The individual passenger will pay any additional expenses resulting from the above. IRT and HPC reserve the right to substitute a similar category/hotel for those listed in this brochure. IRT and HPC reserve the right to increase the tour price in the event of cost increases due to changes in airfares or train fares, changes in the itinerary, currency fluctuations, fuel surcharges. When issued, the air tickets shall constitute the sole contract between the airline concerned and the purchaser of these tours and/or passenger. Please note that airfares are subject to change before ticketing. The airlines, trains and other transportation companies concerned are not to be held responsible for any act, omission, or events during the time passengers are not on board their conveyances. IRT and HPC and our suppliers reserve the right to decline to accept or retain any person on a tour should such a person’s health, mental condition, physical infirmity or attitude jeopardize the operation of the tour or the rights, welfare or enjoyment of other participants, tour guides, IRT or train/cruise staff. The United States Department of State issues travel alerts and warnings regarding certain countries when the U.S. Department of State wants travelers to consider very carefully whether they should go to a country at all. These alerts and warnings are available on the website of the U.S. Department of State and should be consulted by passengers prior to undertaking contemplated travel.
Behavior: Passengers are expected to behave courteously and graciously toward IRT staff, other passengers, train staff and any person with whom we have contact during our tour. Courtesy includes dressing appropriately throughout the tour, being on time for outings, sharing the front seat of touring buses and not talking while tour guides are talking. If, in the opinion of the tour leader or train manager, a passenger behaves in a way likely to disrupt the enjoyment or endanger the safety of other passengers, the tour leader or train manager reserves the right to terminate said passenger’s holiday arrangements, without notice. The passenger will have to make his own arrangements to return home at his own expense. No refunds for the untraveled portion of the tour will be entertained. The right is retained to refuse any application for reservation(s), cancel any reservation(s) or decline to accept or retain any person as a member of the tour group at any time.
Acceptance of terms: Payment (deposit or final) by any means indicates that participants have read and accepted all stated IRT and HPC terms and conditions, including all cancellation penalties and fees, and requirement for travel insurance on certain tours. By forwarding of deposit or final payment by any means, the passenger certifies that he/she does not have any mental, physical or other condition of disability that would create a hazard for him/herself or other passengers and accepts the terms of this contract.
Optional Activities that may be Dangerous: Optional activities furnished by independent suppliers will be available on some itineraries. Some of these activities carry with them the inherent risk of serious personal injury. These activities include, but are not necessarily limited to: walking safaris; horseback/elephant back/camel safaris; canoe/boat trips, white-water rafting and river cruises; locomotive foot-plate rides, cab rides or photo run-bys; helicopter rides; hot-air balloon rides; scuba diving; shark diving. You should be aware that your safety cannot be guaranteed. Should you elect to participate in such activities while you are on tour, you are of course, free to do so. However, such participation will be at your own risk; IRT and HPC assume no responsibility for your safety.
Complaints: IRT’s mission is to offer the very best in travel around the globe — on rail, land or sea. However, if you have a complaint during your journey, please tell your tour manager right away. Should the problem remain unresolved, please call or e-mail us. ([email protected]). Or write to the Society of IRT at 2424 Frankfort Ave., Suite #2, Louisville, KY 40206. We cannot consider any claim received more than two months of completion of your journey. We also cannot tender any refunds for any reason outside the terms set forth above. All claims will be settled by arbitration in Louisville, Kentucky.
Click here to request a PDF copy of the Terms and Conditions.