Frequently Asked Questions

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FAQ for Italy4Real & Travel4Real

Welcome to our travel family you have taken the first step toward an exceptional travel experience. First thing first; a big thank you for taking the time to check us out. We know how many travel choices you have these days and we appreciate you considering us to help you with your travel needs. Every day we help people just like you turn their vacation dreams into reality.

This page will help answer most questions that you may have about the unique and detailed way we like to work.

  • At any time you may ask your Travel Expert about any questions or concerns and what to expect, they will be happy to assist you.
  • We are at your service! Toll Free: 1-800-554-5170 Outside USA +1 425-355-3711 and at info@italy4real.com

Important Note: These FAQ’s are for general reference only please see our Terms and Conditions for compete booking guidelines, rules and regulations.

A Basic Timeline of what to expect

  • First call or email to go over your ideas and our suggestions = 30 min
  • Development of a basic route outline from our talk = 1-2 days
  • Sending of route for your changes and approval = Average 1 week
  • Pricing and detail creation of your finalized route = Average 1 week
  • Final documents sent to your home via Priority Mail or FedEx = 30 days before you depart

Updated Entry Requirements for Traveling to Italy:The Ministry of Health website states that:

  • Either a Covid-19 vaccination certification showing that they have completed a full vaccination cycle for at least 14 days, or a certification showing that they have recovered from Covid-19 within the past 180 days, from their local health authorities.
  • And negative results for a molecular (PCR) or rapid antigen test taken in the 72 hours before their arrival in Italy.

Is Italy4Real/Travel4Real A Travel Agency?

No. We are a tour operator and custom trip planning service. We offer a truly customized professional trip planning service as well as tours to Italy, France, Spain, Greece, Ireland and UK. A travel agency works with any destination, domestic or international which makes it very hard to be an expert in any one location. Italy4Real only offers a few select destinations so we can offer a very detailed service and local assistance while you travel.

What makes You different from a travel agency or website like Expedia or Orbitz or any other Italy tour website?

  • We personally inspect our services. The hotels, tours, guides, city tours and dining we offer our clients are fully inspected. We don’t send you to a place we have not had inspected; it must reach our high quality standards before we offer it to you. Other companies and travel agents do not personally inspect.
  • We assign a seasoned professional to help you. Unlike online travel sites or travel agents who may have visited a location a few times; we assign a real person to every client; we call them Travel Experts or T.E.’s. These are people who know detailed information about our destinations and can help you with all the little details that make a trip go smoothly. Our T.E.’s have traveled all over the world and have helped hundreds of people just like you have a hassle free travel experience. Our experts focus on the details like route planning for the most efficient use of your time, where to shop for the best prices, what part of a city you should avoid; the little things that only someone who has been there many times would know. No other online company gives you one person to work with from beginning to end. Our T.E.’s are part of our Travel Educational Program where each T.E. is sent abroad to places like Italy, France, Greece to learn, inspect and understand the on the ground details that will make your trip smooth and hassle free.
  • We have local offices abroad. We have local assistance in Italy, France, Spain, Greece, UK, and USA; this means that when you travel you will have access to a real person who can assist you if there is a problem or you need assistance. If you travel somewhere we do not have a local office, we will give you the contact numbers so you can reach your T.E. while away for any questions you have. Travel Agencies and big online travel sites don’t have local offices abroad so if you have a problem you must wait for a response.

What services do you offer?

We only build custom packages using custom trip planning, escorted tours, fly and drive packages, car rentals, villa rentals, air tickets, rail tickets, sightseeing tours, show tickets, museum passes, apartment rentals, transportation passes, honeymoons, destination weddings and more. If you can think of it, we can probably do it. We are a full service agency and we will do our best to get you whatever package you want for your trip, no matter how big or small. For the limited destinations we offer we are truly experts in almost any activity you can dream of.

How much does a trip cost?

Custom trip planning has no additional charge for the actual planning (Itinerary/route outline development, working one-on-one with a Travel Expert (T.E.) researching your hotel, car, villa or other services) as long as you book the services through us, you pay only for the services you choose; not for the planning process. Because our customized trip planning services are so detailed we can design a trip around almost any budget. We also offer a wide range of escorted tours; fully inspected hotels, villas and more. Tell us your budget and we will keep within it. A good starting point for a European trip is Euro 450 per travel day per person including accommodations, ground transportation and sightseeing for 3-4 star hotels. A  This is of course a starting point and based on the level of your hotels and services this per day cost can go up or down.

Can you give me a breakdown of my package price?

Because we sell trips as a ‘package’, our policy is to provide you a price for the package as a total – we do not itemize. Our negotiated rates with suppliers are confidential so we are not able to disclose these. We always check our prices and make sure they are comparable to the published rates online and we make sure the value for what you are paying is very high.

Accommodations and Special Requests: Accommodations and services made available through our website or offices are subject to the disclosed terms and conditions. We will supply general descriptions, photographs, location information, amenities and other detailed information so you have all you need to make an informed booking decision. You will be given an accommodation reference number or name that represents the accommodation within our database only. The exact accommodation with complete name, address and contact information will be given only after purchase. This policy prevents competitors or others from undermining our efforts to supply a complete service to our customers. Our goal is to provide our customers with a high level of personalized service and offer a level of knowledge about your destination unmatched by any other company.

How do you get paid?

We do not charge you for the personal service you receive. We negotiate a commission with hotels and our other suppliers every year. Due to this preferential relationship, you will also receive room upgrades and other special treatment wherever possible. In short, you will have a personal travel consultant on hand with lots of experience to tailor-make your trip at no extra cost.

Where do I start?

It all starts with a phone call or email. If you submitted a request through one of our websites such as this www.italy4real.com/; or www.travel4real.com a no obligation consultation with a Travel Expert will result in an entire outline of your trip at no charge. We will offer suggestions on the best route to take, when to travel and how to get the best value for your travel dollar.

How long does it take?

The consultation takes only a few minutes but you will be working one on one with your Travel Expert as long as it takes to get your trip exactly the way you want and expect it to be. The planning time of your trip depends on how long you are traveling and how many people are going. Typically you can have your trip completed in a short time. It all depends on what works best for you. We don’t get our pricing, hotel selections or sightseeing choices from a click of a button. Our focus on detail and a very well thought through route means a much smoother and hassle free trip so our experts use maps, distance calculators, conversations with our offices abroad to truly customize your entire experience. We ask lots of questions so we get a feel of your likes and dislikes. We know you can go online these days and book your entire trip in 5 minutes; but we also have heard the horror stories of lost reservations, wasted time and no help if a problem should arise. Our process is quite unique and just like you may wait for a custom piece of fine furniture to be made from scratch; we take our time to research, review, confirm and re confirm each service so you have nothing to do but truly enjoy yourself during your trip.

When do I pay?

After you and your Travel Expert have gotten to know one another, exchanged travel stories and gone over what you want in a great trip they will put it all down on paper so that you both are on the same page. Changes can be made without question. Once you decide on firm travel dates, itinerary and destination with your T.E. you will be asked to place a $450 per person deposit toward your trip. Deposits are fully refundable for 7 days from payment in case you get cold feet or need to change your plans. Your small deposit is all that we need until 90 days before your trip. We use your deposit to secure any pending reservations you need. It also lets us know you are really ready to go and are ready to begin planning.

How can I pay?

Travel 4 Real accepts Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express through PayPal. We also accept personal checks and money orders. .

Can I get a refund if I need to cancel?

Once you send in your deposit we strongly recommend you purchase our travel insurance. Our travel insurance will cover cancellations for any reason*. Travel Insurance is the best way to cover the costs of your trip due to unforeseen circumstances. To get full benefits of travel insurance, it must be purchased 21 days after your deposit.  Ask your T.E for details. Refunds are not possible after full payment, so travel insurance is a must. Your T.E. can also add travel insurance to your package price if you wish. Make sure to read the booking conditions given to you by your T.E. for complete cancellation details. Terms & Conditions. Updated: April 2020: Travel insurance will be required for all trips after May 2020. You may purchase insurance from us or your own sources. Proof of insurance will be required before departure. Will travel insurance over COVID-19 issues? Read more about Travel Insurance and Coronavirus here

Cancellations and COVID-19. The travel industry as a whole; both within the USA and abroad has realized that massive refunds cause devastating collapses to business as this is a wave of refunds which can wipe out a hotel, small inn, tour operator or other services. This has resulted in the offering of changes without penalty but not monetary refunds. What does this mean for you as the traveler? As stated above we now require travel insurance for all trips which does cover illness, job loss etc. no matter if it is COVID related. For an instance where the area, or border, or country is closed by officials due to COVID-19; services will be moved to another date without penalty or normal change fees.  This protects the business from collapse and allows you as the traveler to protect your investment against loss by moving your travel funds and services to a new date, up to one year from your original departure date. This is the best solution for all involved as we understand that the pandemic is a temporary situation that will come to an end at some point and time. If your trip is moved to a new date this avoids any change or move fees but there may be a price difference based on supplier pricing changes for the new dates or if any changes were made to the original itinerary.

Why are prices in Euro Dollars?

To give you the best price we quote in Euro if you are traveling to an E.U. country such as Italy, France or Greece. By quoting in Euro this gives you the best price and exchange rate. Companies who quote in US dollars for European travel are marking up the price to compensate for the exchange rate. Italy4Real does not hide any fees in its pricing and gives you the price in the currency it is issued. Your T.E. tracks the Euro rate daily and will advise you as to the best time to take advantage of a low Euro rate. The exchange rate is clearly marked on your invoice so you know exactly what you are paying. Your USD to Euro exchange rate is not locked in until final payment which gives you even more opportunity to save money.

During Your Planning: Will I get an outline of my trip or tour before I pay?

Absolutely! The best trips are developed with a detailed plan. Your T.E. will work one-on-one with you to develop an itinerary for your trip. You will not be asked for a deposit and no services will be booked until you are absolutely sure you approve of the itinerary you and your T.E. designed. This is the blueprint for your trip and we want it to be exactly what you want.

Will I have a choice of where I stay or go?

Yes. If you are traveling independently your T.E. will research what hotels have availability, what sightseeing you would like to do, if you need or want an airport transfer and will design a package based on a budget you have discussed. We only use accommodations that we have personally inspected. We will not offer you any hotel, villa or accommodation that does not meet our quality standards. Italy4Real only uses accommodations it knows well to insure a smooth trip, so we won’t book anything outside of our pre-qualified properties. When you get your package you will have many choices of places to stay and things to see. Our T.E’s are experts at finding the right combination of services to give you the best trip possible. If you are booking an escorted tour with us, the services and accommodations will be outlined in the tours itinerary.

What if I have a problem while traveling?

We have you covered! Many of our destinations have local contacts. You will be given the contact information for our local assistance resources when available. We also offer a 24/7 Customer Response System which is a phone number that you can leave a message to be returned. We want to give you peace of mind while traveling so you can relax and enjoy! Travel Agents or online sites do not offer a local contact in case you have questions or need assistance.

What if I find my own hotel, will you book it for me?

Sorry, No. We only book properties we have had inspected. This gives us a level of quality we can depend upon. You may find a cheaper place on the web but we have working relationships with our hotels and know all the details that you won’t find by surfing the web such as how far from the hotel are the sights, which room is the best etc. Our hotels treat our clients better because we work directly with them to insure the quality of your stay. We have thousands of inspected properties we work with, so more than likely we will be able to offer you a better choice than you can find on the web. We encourage you to let your T.E. do the hard work, your job is to sit back, relax and let your T.E. do the research for your trip. If you are on the web searching it will only slow the process down with your T.E.

What if I want to make a big change?

You can. You can make changes to your trip at any time before final payment. This is why we give you until 90 days before your departure to pay in full. You will be working with a real person so you and your T.E. can work out all the details. Once you have paid in full, your trip is confirmed; no changes can be made because all of your services are paid before you depart so there is no chance of the dreaded “we don’t see your reservation” problem we have all heard of.

Will you book my air?

Yes but we are not airfare consolidators or air ticket booking agents. Our expertise is with land services only. We will research your air as a courtesy. You may accept our offer or you are welcome to book your air on your own. If you would like us to thoroughly research your air there is a charge. Airfare Booking & Research Fee: $50.00 or 10% of total airfare cost; whichever is greater; we understand this is a significant charge but we will spend hours researching not only the best price but the best route for your trip.

Do you accept frequent flyer miles?

Sorry, no. If you would like to use frequent flyer miles to get your air tickets they must be arranged through the issuing airline directly. We strongly recommend that you get your frequent flyer tickets 6 months to a year in advance. Frequent flyer tickets are the first to sell out.

Do I get any travel documents like maps and such?

Yes. One of the benefits of booking with us is our TRIP-PAK. For all of our custom planned trips, we supply you with free travel documents for your trip. Many of our travel documents are customized to your exact trip; like turn by turn driving directions if you rent a car. Your TRIP-PAK will include maps, guide books, sightseeing guides, restaurant recommendations, museum and event times and language tips, just to name a few. Italy4Real is one of the only companies that offer such a complete trip kit to their clients. We don’t charge extra for our travel documents like many others do.

Before You Depart:

When will I get my final travel documents?

Your final travel documents arrive between one and two weeks before you depart. We do this so any last minute information about your trip or destination can be added and given to you before you depart. We want to make sure you have the most up to date information before you go.

What do I need to bring with me?

A valid passport for all people traveling. If you are not a U.S. Citizen please tell your T.E. at the beginning of the travel planning process because some countries a TOURIST VISA for entry and this process takes additional time. Italy4Real cannot issue or assist you in obtaining a TOURIST VISA and you are fully responsible for all required travel documents for the countries you will be visiting.

Travel4Real/Italy4Real will not be held responsible for delay or cancelation related to any required travel document, passport or tourist visa issues. Travel documents are your responsibility and you must know any requirements or restrictions for any and all destinations you will be traveling to and concerning any of your personal documents prior to booking with us. We will not inform you of country specific requirements pertaining to your personal travel documents, it is your responsibility to research the entrance and visitation requirements of the places you plan on going.  

For travel to Europe, the six-month passport validity rule applies to these countries Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

The rule states your passport must be valid for three months + the maximum stay time of 3 months so it must be valid for 6 months before you travel. you can find more about this and the requirements for other countries here: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel.html

If you are renting a car you will need an international driver’s license which can be purchased at your local AAA office (US clients only). You will also need all of your travel vouchers and service documents given to you in your travel documentation. Find out if you need a Italy Tourist Visa here

Do I need to re-confirm my reservations before I go?

No. This is the job of your T.E. they will confirm and re-confirm prior to your departure so that everything is in order when you arrive. Your T.E. may even check in on you after you get there to make sure you are having a great time!

Will I need Euro Dollars before I go?

No. There is no need to purchase Euro before you go. The worst exchange rates for the Euro are found at currency exchange centers in US airports. The best way to get Euro is to get it from an ATM at the airport when you arrive. You will get the best exchange rate this way.

Once You Arrive

How do I get from the airport to my hotel?

Your T.E. will work with you during the trip planning process to see if it will be best to have a private transfer from the airport to your hotel. If you do not schedule a transport then your T.E. will give you all the local resources of public transportation available to get you to your hotel or to meet your tour. If you are booked on one of our tours, the transportation options will be listed in the itinerary.

If I am renting a car, where do I pick it up?

Your T.E. will give you the choice of where you would like to pick up and drop off your rental car. They will also advise you if you can save time or money by picking up in one location and returning at another. This is why we call them Travel Experts!

How do I check into the hotel?

Vouchers. Tour operators like us work on the voucher system. This is a document issued and confirmed that states what services you have pre-paid for. When you arrive to the hotel you will give the reception the voucher issued to you by your T.E. in your travel documents. It’s that simple but don’t worry if you lose your vouchers your reservations will still be honored.

If I have an airport transfer and I am late, what happens?

This can be a problem if you are more than 20 minutes late. Private transfers are not required to wait unless they are notified. If you know you are going to be late please call the number given to you by your T.E. to tell them of your new arrival time. You may be subject to “waiting fees” which are charged by the transfer company for waiting until you arrive. Travel insurance can often cover problems caused by flight delays so be prepared and get travel insurance with every trip!

If I am on an Escorted tour, where do I meet up with my tour?

Some of our tours will meet you when you arrive at the local airport. Other tours will pick you up from your hotel. Your T.E. will give you the entire pick up details before you depart.

What do I do if I don’t like my room?

When you reserve with us you are not booking a particular room number but a room in the hotel. You have the option, once you arrive, to go to the front desk and request a room change. This request might not always be available. If there are any problems, just contact your local representative for assistance. Complaints are dealt with immediately upon notification by you. You must contact us for any problems within 24hours.

What do I do if I have a problem or emergency?

If you have a problem, you must report it to us within 24 hours so that we can have our local contact work with you to correct the problem. We can’t fix it if you don’t tell us immediately. For an emergency please contact medical, police or fire by dialing 113 (within Italy).

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Rem Malloy

As one of the founders of the company he has his feet on the ground, personally selecting the properties , products and services the company will offer. Rem is a historian, professional guide and master planner who loves to share his extensive knowledge with his clients so that their experience can be as unique and special as possible.

Get in Touch

rem@italy4real.com

425-355-3711 ext. 7012

Deborah de Maio

Deborah is passionate about her company and her clients. As the owner of the company she has developed an extensive and impressive level of knowledge and shares that experience with each of her clients; teaching each one how to travel like a local.

Get in Touch

deborah@italy4real.com

425-355-3711 ext. 7011