Villages in Italy 2022 - FAQ
Do I need a passport or visa? You will definitely need your passport with at least six months from your departure date remaining before its expiration date in order to exit the United States and be allowed re-entry. (If you carry a passport from another country, please check with that country’s guidelines.) Thanks to Brexit, there might be some additional paperwork if you’ll be flying between the United Kingdom and countries in the European Union (EU). At the time of this publishing, the UK still seemingly has no clue what it’s doing, so we’ll monitor and update you as necessary if visa or paperwork requirements change.
Does the price include airfare? The price does not include airfare. By the way, please make sure you depart your country by June 11, so that you arrive in Florence by June 12. This gives you a little wiggle room for any delays to ensure that you make it to our pick-up location in Florence on June 13.
Does the price include gratuities? Yes. Any gratuity for a group driver, meal or activity is included.
Will we have a guide? Nope. One of the joys of traveling is discovering cultures on your own. During the pre-Italy virtual seminar, you’ll receive details about each village as well as resources and options that might interest you. Before we arrive in each village, Helene will give you a brief orientation based on her research and scouting trip with her husband. Our professional drivers will be knowledgeable about the areas we’ll be visiting and can answer questions. You could also talk to locals and get to know the region from their perspective. Think of this as a countryside carpool with your accommodations booked ahead for you. Helene and her hubby have always wanted to plan this trip for just the two of them. After three people requested that we put something like this together, we thought, “Why not allow a few other like-minded people to tag along, reap the benefits of the legwork we’d have to do anyway for ourselves, and have fun?!”
Will there be a lot of walking? That depends on what you want to experience. We will be transported by automobile to each village, but most villages frown on vehicle traffic and even require permits for people to drive within their limits. That means if you want to see the sites, you should wear a good pair of walking shoes to handle the hills and uneven ground. Or you can park yourself in the nearest café chair and just people watch.
Will we have porters? We’ll be staying at smaller, family-run facilities, so there will not be porters, bellhops or concierges.
How many pieces of luggage can we bring? In order to fit into our vehicles, each person may bring one carry-on size suitcase and one personal item (such as a backpack or tote bag). Remember, you’ll be carrying your own luggage, so only bring what you can carry or roll. Did I mention that we’re staying in centuries-old accommodations? There will be no elevator up to the first floor. (In the U.S., that’s our 2nd floor.) In one place, some of us will be on the 2nd floor (3rd floor in the U.S.).
Are kids allowed? This is an adults-only trip, so minors are not permitted.
What does “itinerary subject to slight modification” mean? Stuff happens, especially in rural Italy where rules don’t seem to apply (and most especially with COVID still present). In the event that one of our accommodations decides to close for renovations or roads to villages are blocked or there's an outbreak, we have a back up plan for close substitutes.
What does “price locked in when deposit is received” mean? In order to secure reservations with top rated drivers and choice accommodations, we have reserved almost two years prior to our trip. The Italian bureaucracy charges various businesses for licensing, permits and taxes. These rates can increase at any time. We will adjust the package price as necessary dependent on any fluctuation occurrences. However, once your deposit is received, you are locked in at the posted price. Your receipt will indicate your deposit amount and the total amount due.
If we don’t want to participate in an activity, do we have to? Absolutely not. This is your vacation. If you don’t want to join us on our day trip from Montepulciano, you can relax back in the village. If you want no part of a cooking class, go play and join us later for dinner. Heck, you can skip a group meal if you’d like (but please let us know beforehand so we don’t think you’re missing!) The only “rule” is that if you don’t want to be left stranded, you must be in the vehicle when it is time to depart.
I might have some questions about traveling I’d like to do before or after this jaunt. Where can I get answers? As a part of the pre-Italy virtual seminar, you’ll be provided with information and resources to help you plan. If you have more specific questions, Helene will share her calendar with you so you can set up a planning call. She is not a travel agent or guide, but after 20 years of traveling internationally and authoring a vacation planning book, she can probably point you in the direction of the resources you need.
On one of our free days, I’m interested in arranging one of the side tours you mentioned. How do I do that? Three months before we depart, you’ll receive a list of hotels where we’re staying as well as contacts for arranging your custom outing.
Should I purchase travel insurance? This is definitely an individual decision, but shortly after you reserve your spot, Helene will provide you with information to help you decide. InsureMyTrip.com is a good comparison website if you want to start looking into it right away.
Do I have to participate in the Pre-Italy Virtual Seminar? No. There are no tests or quizzes, nor required “attendance”. The information you’ll receive is designed to help you prepare for your trip without stressing or scurrying at the last minute. If you’re an old pro at leaving work behind to travel overseas, the virtual nudges you’ll receive will be simple reminders. You can implement all, part, or none of the recommendations.
What are your COVID protocols? We'll be following guidance from two different sources: the CDC and Italian law. Once you register, you'll be kept updated on both. If masks are not required, you're still more than welcome to wear one.
What are the requirements for entering Italy and getting back into the U.S.?
Currently, Italy requires all U.S. citizens to be fully vaccinated in order to enter the country. The United States currently requires its citizens to show a negative COVID test before re-entering the country. Once you are registered for our Villages of Italy adventure, you will be kept updated on Italy’s and America’s entry requirements.
In the event that Italy stops allowing entry into its country or imposes a two-week quarantine period upon entry, we will be forced to cancel this adventure. If that happens, you will receive a refund of your payment, less $200 for the materials, resources and guidance you received prior to cancellation.
Cancellation / Refund Policies
All cancellations must be made in writing to LivingOrder San Antonio. No refunds will be issued due to late arrival, early departure, or any unused portion of our villages visit. The Assumption of Risk and Liability Waiver form must be signed and received by March 1, 2022, or your reservation will be treated as a cancellation. Cancellation fees are outlined below:
- Cancellations received by January 3, 2022 150€
- Cancellations received January 4, 2022 – March 1, 2022 500€
- Cancellations received March 2, 2022 – April 12, 2022 50% of Price
- Cancellations received on/after April 13, 2022 100% of Price
LivingOrder San Antonio reserves the right to change, modify, or cancel the trip prior to departure for any reason, including COVID-related entry requirements to Italy requiring a quarantine or lack of participants (group minimum: 4 passengers) or acts of nature and/or circumstances beyond our control. In this case, any payments received will be refunded in full, less $200 for the materials, resources and guidance you received prior to cancellation, and this will constitute full settlement. LivingOrder San Antonio is not responsible for any additional expenses due to the cancellation of the trip, such as the purchase of non-refundable airline tickets. LivingOrder San Antonio reserves the right to accept, refuse, or decline any trip member’s participation at any time for any reason. In such a case, LivingOrder San Antonio’s liability is limited to the actual cost of the unused services.