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FAQ

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WHY PUNTOTOURS?

There are many bike tour companies. Why should I come with PuntoTours?

The feedback we receive from our guests who have had experience travelling with other tour companies is that the quality of hotels is better, the hire bikes are of a higher standard, the Garmin navigation is superior to typed route notes and the fact that a principal of PuntoTours is on each tour ensures for a higher standard of service.

Can I speak to someone who's done a tour?

We have many guests who are happy to speak about their experience on tour with us. Just let us know which tour you’re interested in and we’ll endeavour to put you in touch with that person.

Can I speak to someone at PuntoTours?

We are always happy to speak with you personally. We have Skype addresses, which makes the communication process very easy. Alternatively, please provide us with a contact phone number and the best time to call and we’ll be in touch.

Do you reward regular guests?

We are very fortunate to have a loyal following of “Puntos” and would love to count you as one! We offer the following discount structure for individuals:

• Save 5% on your next tour, if you have travelled with us once before.
• Save 7% on your next tour, if you have travelled with us two or more times.
Please note that any promotional discounts throughout the year cannot be taken in conjunction with any of the above mentioned discounts or Custom Tours.

WHAT ABOUT THE BIKES?

What’s the make of your hire road bike?

Wilier Triestina, one of Italy’s premier bike manufacturers is a supporter of PuntoTours. We provide their carbon monocoque framed race bikes equipped with Campagnolo Compact gearing. For clients more comfortable on a flat bar bike we offer an alternative.

How do I know the hire bike will fit me?

If you are hiring a bike we will send you an official bike-fit form to ensure that when you arrive the bike will fit you perfectly. You need to bring your own pedals and we recommend you also bring your own saddle for optimum fit and comfort. When you arrive we will do some last fine-tuning and we’re sure you’ll love your new ride.

Can I bring my own bike on tour?

Of course you can bring your own bike. Some riders feel at one with their machine and it’s great doing a tour on your own bike. Please consider the downside of bringing your own, which may include luggage restrictions imposed by airlines and transfer of hard bike cases. Lugging a bike around with you, if you travel further after the tour, ccould be a hassle.

Will someone help me reassemble my own bike?

Our guides will have the necessary tools for you to reassemble your bike and will be happy to assist if needed.

What about transportation of the bike case?

If you are bringing a hardcase we will need to ship it from the start to end hotel at a cost to you. If you are bringing a softcase or cardboard box we will endeavour to take it with us in the van. This will ultimately depend on the number of guests, number of cases, and space in the van.

Should I bring my own bike saddle and pedals?

Definitely bring your pedals, and of course your cycling shoes.  Where you sit is very personal!  If you are really comfortable on your saddle, then it’s a good idea to bring it along. We will fit it to your hire bike when you arrive.

MONEY MATTERS

How much should I tip guides and other service providers?

Tips are greatly appreciated by the guides. It is entirely at your discretion but guests usually leave between €100 - €200 per guide per guest; on occasion more if guides have gone above and beyond. Typically tips are given at the end of the trip to thank guides for their exceptional service and expertise. There is no need to tip wait staff in the restaurants we go to or other service providers as PuntoTours will take care of this.  

How much spending money should I bring?

That’s a very personal decision. Generally, on tour you will need enough spending money for coffee, snacks, lunch (lunches which are not included in the tour cost average €10-20), one dinner on your own and money for the wine kitty if you want wine with your evening meals. Depending on your style of travel, expect to spend about €20-€50 per day. We recommend that you exchange between $150-$300 at the start of your trip.

Are there ATMs in Europe?

ATM’s are the best way to get cash and they are widely available. Plan ahead as most ATM’s limit withdrawals to €250 per day. The best place to get cash when you arrive is at the airport ATM. Our experience has shown that withdrawing money from an ATM is more convenient and cost effective than carrying foreign currency and finding a money exchange. Tell your bank that you are traveling overseas to ensure they don't stop payments. 

COMMUNICATIONS

Will my mobile phone work in Europe?

Most mobile phones work in Europe. Depending on where you are the quality of coverage will vary, for example the mountains are less reliable than cities or towns. Before traveling, check with your mobile provider that your phone will work overseas, and what the charges will be. Be aware that data roaming is what will hike up the phone bill. Alternatively you can buy a prepaid SIM in the country you’ll be travelling in. Don’t forget to tell your loved ones of the “new” number!

Do Hotels in Europe have Internet /wifi services?

Many hotels have internet services either via wifi or cable in your room. Access speeds and fees vary from hotel to hotel. Some are free; others charge by the hour. Some hotels will also have a “business center” or at least a computer with internet access for checking email. 

WHAT’S INCLUDED IN A PUNTOTOUR?

What’s included in the price?

When you book a tour with us, the following is usually included in the price:
All hotel accommodation in minimum 3 star, usually 4 star hotels (twin share)
Breakfasts
Dinners (except 1)
2 Guides on tour (one fully qualified mechanic)
Van support throughout tour
All in-tour transfers
Snacks and food supplements including electrolytes during tour
Activities which depend on the region we are visiting. Examples include wine/cheese/olive oil tastings, boat trips
Garmin GPS loan unit with maps for duration of tour
1 PuntoTours cycling kit (cycling jersey, bib knicks and socks) per guest
1 day pack per guest
Detailed printed Tour information booklet.

Some of the above may be subject to change depending on the tour, Custom and Discount Tours.

Airfares are not included in the price.

What kind of trip information do you provide?

Our website provides a lot of detail on each tour’s daily itinerary. When you book, and open your own Member Account, you will have access to our comprehensive Pre Tour Information. As the tour approaches we upload documents which provide you with 'Getting There'N Back Again' info, cultural and touring information for the region you’ll be travelling to, general trip preparation advice and the Hotel List. Once you arrive on tour you will receive a thorough briefing on the daily rides and activities. Of course, if you have any other questions before or while on-tour please don’t hesitate to ask.

Will I be met at the airport? Are transfers included?

As guests can arrive from different countries, on different flights and at different times, PuntoTours will nominate a convenient meeting point, which in most cases will be our start hotel. Airport transfers are generally not included and in most cases our guests take a taxi or shuttle bus from the airport to the start hotel. Once you book a tour, refer to our 'Getting There'N Back Again' guide.

Is wine included in my trip cost?

Wine and other alcoholic beverages are NOT included in the tour cost. This is because not everyone likes to drink wine with their meal. If you would like to sample the wines that have been chosen to complement each night’s dinner, we suggest you join the “Wine Kitty”. On the first night of the tour your guide will advise you of the cost to join in the wine kitty and collect the agreed amount of Euros. The amount will depend on the length of tour and wine prices of the region we are travelling in.

If you choose not to join the Wine Kitty, you can buy your own wine, beer or soft drink/sodas each night. You will be responsible for keeping track of the bill and should be prepared to pay in cash each night for any beverages you drink.

Bottled water at dinner is included in the tour cost.

HOW DO I CHOOSE THE RIGHT TOUR?

How does the Difficulty Rating guide work?

To maximise your enjoyment and help you choose the right tour for you, we have allocated a difficulty rating to each tour. This rating serves as an indication only. Always write or speak to us if you’re not sure that you’re signing up for the right tour.

Easy Tours are for cyclists who have just started riding regularly, and are capable of riding up to 50km a day, at an average of about 20 to 22km/hour.

Intermediate Tours are for cyclists are who have been riding regularly, and are capable of riding up to 80km a day, at an average of about 25km/hours.

Advanced Tours are for cyclists who have a number of years experience riding, and are capable of riding more than 100km a day, at an average speed in excess of 27km/hour.

Custom Tours are for any level of cycling ability – it's your tour! You determine the level of difficulty and average daily distance / speed.

What kinds of cyclists take your tours?

There is no mould! We have had cyclists from 18-72 years of age, some choosing easy, others choosing difficult tours. We firmly believe we have something for almost all cycling abilities. Use the Difficulty Rating as a guide and let us know what you have in mind.

What kind of support do you offer?

Our Tours are “full service tours”. The guides on tour are at your service from early morning till late at night. During this time, we will fit your bike, repair your bike if needed, fix punctures, transfer your luggage, provide snacks en route, sweep the course, carry any excess clothing, organise massages, the list goes on …. Ask us and we will always attempt to meet your requirements.

How much riding do I have to do on a PuntoTours tour?

As much or as little as you want. It’s your holiday; you determine how much you want to ride. You can, on any day, choose to cut a ride short, miss a climb, only do the downhills, miss the entire ride day or ask for more km’s or miles. The van is always handy if you choose not to ride, and a guide is always willing to do some extra distance if you wish. You just need to ask.

What kind of shape do I need to be in?

Our difficulty rating will give you a fair indication of what fitness level you should be at. We always recommend that you see your doctor, advise him/her of your travel plans and seek their opinion on your state of health. Feel free to talk to us about which trip you have in mind as many tours offer short and long routes. We also have daily van support if you feel you’d like to take a break from riding. With our guidance and support we have never had a guest feel they had bitten off more than they could chew!

How many people will there be on a PuntoTour?

It depends on the season but it could be from 6 to 14 people. The average group size is 10. The reason we keep our group sizes smaller than many other tour companies is to ensure each guest receives the best support we can provide. We can also stay in the delightful boutique European hotels and restaurants which struggle to cater for larger groups, but are perfect for us.

BOOKING YOUR TOUR

What happens next after I've booked a tour?

When you book a tour, you will be asked to create your own Member Account. You will receive a booking confirmation email, with your Booking Reference Number.  You will also receive an email receipt for your deposit payment.  Your Member Account login will give you access to pre-tour information for your tour.  As the tour start day approaches, we will post detailed information about your tour, including a hotel list and route notes.  You can also download the Pre-Tour Guest Requirements Form, and if you are hiring a bike, the Bike Fit Form.  These forms cover important details so we can make sure everything is ready for you when you arrive on tour.

When is the tour balance due?

After you have booked and paid your deposit to secure your place on a tour, the balance of your tour fee is due no later than 90 days from the date of tour commencement.  We will send you a reminder, but you can choose to pay your tour balance at any time prior to that by logging into your Member Account.

If you book a tour with less than 90 days until the tour commences, the full tour fee will be payable at the time of booking.

 

HOTELS

What are the hotels like? What star rating are they?

We only choose hotels that have been thoroughly vetted by us. They are usually smaller, boutique style hotels which, depending on the region have a 4 star rating. If we have chosen an hotel of a lesser rating then this is because the rating does not truly reflect the standard, or the hotel’s location and charm more than compensate for the rating.

I want to book extra hotel nights at the start and/or finish of a tour. Can you do this for me?

Yes of course, just let us know how many nights you would like to book, and we will book them at the start and/or finish hotel for you. We have great relations with our hotels and can often get a better rate than you may be able to source yourself.

What is a single supplement?

Our tour costs are based on twin-share, or double room for couples. If you are travelling alone, we will find you a same-sex room partner. If you prefer your own privacy, we can book you a single room for which there will be a single supplement charge.  This varies between tours, but as an example, for our Classic Lakes ten day tour, the single supplement is €600.

My schedule is tight. Can I join the tour late or leave early?

This will ultimately depend on the tour and the dates you propose to start or leave. It comes down to a number of factors including arrival and departure points. It will also depend on the number of guests already booked on the tour. Let us know well in advance of dates you’re proposing and we’ll let you know quickly if it’s feasible or not.

NON-RIDING PARTNERS?

My partner doesn’t ride a bike. Can you accommodate a non-rider?

This is not a problem as long as we know well in advance. In most cases we stay two nights in each location giving the non-riding partner time to explore the towns we stay in. We will also, depending on location, find alternative activities for the non-rider, such as cooking classes, spa bath visits, etc. These need pre-planning so as much notice as possible is required.

What is the price for a non-rider?

Non-riders are equal members of the group, and stay at the same hotels, dine at the same restaurants, undertake many similar activities, and use the same guide services as riders, so the price for a non-rider is the same.

WHAT DO I NEED TO DO?

Should I buy travel insurance?

We strongly advise you take out comprehensive travel insurance.  This is an active holiday.  PuntoTours will not assume responsibility or liability for any loss, accident or damage to persons or their personal effects, or for any injury or loss sustained before, during or after the tour.  There are a number of insurance companies offering policies with varying degrees of coverage. If you are bringing your own bike, make sure you read their Terms & Conditions to determine if they cover the full value of your bike or only pay up to a certain value. Will they cover you and your bike if you are participating in a Granfondo event? Will you be covered in the event of injury or accident?  Also, if for some unforeseen circumstance you need to cancel your tour, make sure your insurance company will cover the cancellation fee.

How far in advance do I need to book?

We recommend booking your trip at least 120 days prior to departure. This will ensure you won’t miss out on your tour of choice.  Airlines may offer early bird specials that you could take advantage of by booking several months ahead. Please note that based on availability, last-minute bookings may be accommodated up to two weeks prior to departure.

What travel documentation do I need?

All international travel requires a valid passport. Please check with your consulate if you will require a visa for the country you have chosen to do a tour in. You may also need an international motor vehicle license if you intend driving abroad.

FOOD AND NUTRITION

What if I have a food allergy/intolerance?

This is no problem and we can easily deal with it. Please make sure you complete the relevant sections in your Account Profile. The details will go into the tour file and the guides will be aware of your needs and accommodate accordingly.

Are all meals included in my trip?

All breakfasts are included. Depending on the length of the tour, we usually have one or two dinners that are not included. Our experience has shown that guests like to have a free evening(s) to go for a dinner with their partner or simply spend it on their own. Please note that lunches are not included in the trip.

Do I need to bring food supplements on my trip?

If you regularly take food supplements such as vitamins, calcium, iron etc, please feel free to bring them with you, but be aware that some countries may have restrictions on these products. The same applies to medications.

Are snacks and hydration supplied during my daily rides?

During each day’s ride we provide, depending on region and availability, fresh fruit, sweet and salted snacks, food bars, gels, juices, fresh water and isotonic powders. If you have specific needs, please let us know and we will advise whether we can assist or if you should bring your own.

CANCELLATION

What if I have to change or cancel my trip?

If for some reason you must cancel your trip more than 90 days prior to departure, there is a cancellation fee of €100; between 61 – 90 days prior to departure you will forfeit your deposit; between 31 – 60 days prior to departure there is a cancellation fee of 50% of the original tour cost; and there is no refund for cancelling a trip less than 30 days prior to departure. Refer to the Cancellation Policy on our website for further details.

If I book a tour, can I be guaranteed that it will run?

We need a minimum of 6 people to run most of our tours. As long as this minimum is met, trips are guaranteed to run. If a trip must be canceled due to low numbers or circumstances beyond our control, we will make every effort to do so at least 60 days prior to the trip start date. We will recommend an alternative tour or if this is not acceptable a full refund will be issued.

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I've been on two bike trips to Italy with Puntotours and they were fantastic. Riding the classic climbs of the Stelvio and Gavia were highlights, but it's lots of other experiences like an early morning espresso at the local cafe with the tradies in their overalls, a lathering in mud at the traditional Roman baths at Bagni di Bormio or a few beers at the bar in the village square in the long summer evenings that all add up to a great trip and some treasured memories. more...