Registering for a tour is easy! Simply complete and sign the registration form and pay your deposit. Fill out the printed tour brochure and mail to Madison Tours and Travel along with your deposit check. If you prefer, registration and credit card payments can be made online. Once this is received, we will send you a welcome letter with an insurance brochure and statement via USPS First-Class Mail.
Tickets and Tour Documents
Final documents will be sent to you approximately 2-3 weeks before departure. This package will include: airline flight information, name tags, passport holders, baggage tags, maps, booklet with orientation material, comprehensive itinerary, rooming list, hotel list, and contact information while abroad. Familiarize yourself with this material before your tour.
We have provided your e-ticket number and confirmation code for your convenience, but all that is required at the airport is your passport. There is no need to check-in online. This is an international flight requiring airport check-in. Please keep in mind that although we have sent in certain requests to the airline, we have no control over seat assignments. If you would like to change your seat, you may make requests with the agent at the check-in counter.
Please wear your provided name tags when you arrive for departure so you can be readily identified with the group and you can easily meet others going on the tour.
Travel for US Citizens (passport, visa, immunizations)
Obtain your passport. Check with your local post office for information on applying for a passport. If you have an existing passport, make sure it has not expired and is valid for at least 6 months after after your return home.
- Please sign your passport (in ink) as soon as you receive it.
- Write your current address (in pencil), in the space provided.
- Fill in the emergency contact section (in pencil).
- Make several photocopies of your passport identification page. Keep them separate from your passport. Leave a copy at home with your itinerary.
- Do not pack your passport in your purse, wallet or luggage. Whenever possible, keep your passport locked in the safe at your hotel.
- When you must carry your passport on your person, keep it hidden, preferably under your clothing in a special pouch.
Before you travel, learn about the countries you plan to visit and find out if there are visa requirements:
- Visitors can stay up to three months from date of arrival.
- Visas are not required to travel to Israel, Rome or Greece.
- Visas to Egypt and Jordan can be obtained as you enter the country.
- Turkey visas can be purchased online.
Immunization certificate is not required to travel but check with your doctor if you have concerns.
TSA Airport Security guidelines for carry-ons are listed below. Check your luggage all the way to your destination. Each person can only have one checked piece of luggage that must be within the airlines weight restrictions to avoid fees. Do not put valuable items in checked luggage (jewelry, cameras, passport, etc). Although airport security requirements can change without notice, we have provided you with the current carry-on baggage information and restrictions.
For all liquids, gels, aerosols, and pastes, limit each container to a maximum size of three ounces. Larger containers that are half-full or toothpaste tubes rolled up are not allowed. Each container must be 3oz or smaller regardless of fill level. Place all such items in a single quart-size, clear plastic, zip-top bag. Gallon size bags or bags that are not zip-top such as fold-over sandwich bags are not allowed. Each traveler can use only one. Remove this bag from your carry-on, along with any electronic devices, cords, converters, and laptops, and place in the provided bin or directly on the conveyor belt at security. This process will help you get through faster and more efficiently.
You may be subjected to thorough questioning by security agents when you check in for your flight. You should be prepared to open your checked luggage and your carry-on for inspection if asked. A security agent will ask you a number of questions about your trip. This is designed by the airlines for your safety. Please cooperate willingly and seriously. Questions may be asked such as:
- Is this your personal luggage?
- Did you personally pack it?
- Did anyone open your luggage after you packed it?
- Have you been given a package to carry for anyone?
- Why are you traveling?
- Do you know anyone in the country (countries) you are visiting?
- Do you know anyone on this tour and how did you hear about the tour?
Remember, due to extra security, check-in will take additional time. Some airlines recommend arriving up to 3 hours before departure. If arranging for a domestic connection, allow for required connecting time before your international departure. Same procedure for your flight home.
Casual, comfortable clothing is recommended on the tour. We also recommend you dress in “layers”. The mornings and evenings can be cold, and mid-day can be much warmer. Comfortable walking shoes or boots are a must for all. Wearing a wrist watch comes in handy, especially when given certain time limits at sites or shopping areas. Modest dress is required for men and women when visiting some religious sites. Long pants for the men and skirts or long pants for the women will be required. Sleeveless dresses or shirts are not allowed for religious sites. Your guide will let you know the day before these sites will be visited. Leave expensive jewelry at home! We encourage you to travel light – remember you can only have one checked piece of luggage.
US currency is desired and accepted in most of these destinations. You will not need to exchange money unless you would like to. You will find money exchange places in most shipping areas. ATMs are available – be aware, they pay in local currency. Major credit cards are usually accepted for larger purchases. We recommend you take $50-$100 in one dollar bills. Lunches, snacks, beverages, postcards, and other items are easily purchased with dollars. Five dollar bills, ten dollar bills and twenty dollar bills can also be used for small purchases.
US Customs allow every traveler $800 in purchases duty free with the following restrictions:
1. You must be abroad at least 48 hours
2. $800 is based on the fair market value of the country the item was purchased in.
3. The $800 of exemptions will be covered if:
- the items accompany the returning traveler
- the items are acquired on your trip
- the items are for personal, household or gift purposes
- the items are properly recorded with the Customs Service
The Tour Bus
We will travel in a beautiful, air-conditioned motor coach bus. We suggest rotating seats once at the beginning of each day, so that everybody gets a fair seating assignment, leaving the first seats for your tour leader. You can leave things during the daytime in perfect safety on the bus. The driver always stays with the bus when we are away from it while on tour. At night, take your things off the bus and into the hotel. Please observe the departure times while on tour. A few minutes late at each site can eliminate an entire visit by the end of the day. Please be courteous to your fellow passengers and be prompt.
Internet and Facebook
WiFi is readily available in most hotels. Though often free in the lobby, there may be a fee for in room use of WiFi. For your convenience, most of the tour buses also provide free WiFi. If you are a member of Facebook, we ask that you ‘Like’ our Madison Tours and Travel page. Feel free to post pictures to our wall and share about your experiences while on tour. Facebook is a great way to connect with fellow travelers and keep in touch with tour members!
Food and Water
Food and water are safe for consumption. Bottled water can be purchased if you desire and is available on the bus as well as at most sites for around $1 or $2. A full buffet breakfast and dinner will be served at the hotels daily. Lunches are on your own, unless specified on your itinerary. You can plan to spend around $12-15 for a typical lunch, however in some areas lunches may cost more.
There will be some opportunity for shopping, however, this is not a shopping tour. The amount you spend will depend on what you want and how much money you have. You will find vendors at each site usually selling the same merchandise at the next stop, and the next, and the next. If you choose to shop, please do not hold the group up. Touring time is limited so be considerate to others on your tour and observe the bus departure times at each site.
American appliances run on 110 volts, 60 cycles. In the Middle East and Europe they use a 220 volt current. An adapter and converter are needed for most electrical appliances. Some American appliances (such as laptops, cell phones, tablets) are dual voltage compatible and converters may not be needed, but adapters will still be required.
We have supplied you with a list of phone numbers for each hotel, the local tour offices, as well as your guide. Someone from home can reach you by dialing the international numbers as listed. To dial home from abroad, dial the international code, followed by the country code, and then the number including the local area code. Be aware of the charges at each hotel before using the phone from your room as it can be very costly. Your cell phone may work, however, check with your provider first because without an international calling plan calls can be quite expensive. We recommend switching your phone to ‘airplane mode’ while traveling abroad to ensure you will not be charged for cellular usage.
Your tour leader will handle gratuities for the tour group. That cost has been included in your tour package. However, should you request personal services apart from the service given to the group (such as hotel room service), tipping would be your responsibility. All service personnel in the tourist industry depend on tips for their income. Those tipped include: tour guide, bus drivers, transfer guides, porters, dining room staff, reception desk personnel, maids, and anyone that performs a service for the group.
You have received a tour itinerary in the promotional brochure. We make every effort to follow the order given, except on occasion where making change would be helpful. We will however, make every attempt to visit every place listed, even if the sequence is changed. In the event the tour guide feels it would be best to eliminate a site listed due to any unforeseen reason, it would be replaced with another site.
Please advise us of special occasions that will occur during your tour. We would love to help you celebrate!
If you have any special needs, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will make every effort to accommodate your request with the airline and our land operators.