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Frequently Asked Questions
How much luggage can I take on the tour?
Due to space limitations, passengers traveling on an ATI tour are allowed one piece of checked luggage each. This is purely a practical consideration, as there is simply not enough room on the coach for many additional bags. Subject to availability, however, an additional piece of luggage may be accommodated, for a fee of $7 per day per piece. Check with your Tour Director prior to the start of the tour, and if your extra luggage can in fact be accommodated, kindly pay the fee to the Tour Director. Be sure to save the receipt that you receive.
During the course of your holiday, as you might expect, your luggage will be handled many times, so it is important to ensure that bags are durable. Please be advised that ATI cannot assume liability for damaged luggage.
At the start of the tour, your Tour Director will give each passenger a special ATI luggage tag, which will be filled out with your name in clearly printed letters. It is imperative that these tags remain affixed to your bags at all times. This will help ensure that your luggage is correctly delivered to and retrieved from your room at each destination along the tour. It will also assist luggage handlers in putting your bags on the appropriate coach each morning, as there will frequently be several coach tours staying in the same hotel.
Porterage for one piece of luggage per person is included in the price of the tour. This service commences from the first morning the coach departs to the time you disembark the coach for the final time. Please be aware that many tours have pre- or post-nights added, for which porterage is not included. Instead, these personal porterage fees should be paid locally by the passenger to the hotel porter on an individual basis. Standard practice is to simply hand $2 or $3 per bag directly to the porter each time you check in or out of a hotel.
Special requirements – Air tours
All passengers may bring one suitcase weighing no more than 20 kg (44 lbs) and measuring no more than 158 linear cm (62 linear in), as well as one additional carry-on bag no more than 3kg (6 lbs) that must be stowed underneath the aircraft seat during flights. Due to space and weight limitation on the aircraft, no additional bags or items may be carried under any circumstances.
Does my tour include transfers?
All passengers are responsible for their own transfer from the airport to the hotel upon arrival in the USA. After landing and collecting your luggage, simply go to the transfer desk at the airport and make arrangements there. Be sure you know the name of your first-night hotel. If you have neither a meet and greet nor a transfer previously booked with Hayes & Jarvis, you will frequently have a choice between hotel shuttle bus (often complimentary) or taxi.
Similarly, at the end of the tour, passengers are once again responsible for their own transfer to the airport from the hotel. Oftentimes, the Tour Director will assist with these arrangements, and the ATI Representative on the toll-free 800 number will also gladly arrange transfers to the airport for passengers who telephone ahead of time.
In addition, ATI cannot guarantee city centre hotels at any given destination. Therefore, in cases where passengers do not stay at a city centre hotel, those passengers who elect to make optional transfers to and from a city centre are responsible for their own transportation and any costs incurred therein.
What can I expect from my tour director?
Your Tour Director serves as an important resource for you, should you encounter any problems related to the tour during your holiday. With this in mind, all ATI Tour Directors make it a policy to remain in the hotel lobby for 30 minutes following arrival and check-in at each hotel, to address any complaints or assist with any concerns. Please take advantage of this valuable resource. Many problems can be solved and inconveniences averted simply by alerting your Tour Director to potential problems during this post-arrival 30 minute time period.
Should questions or concerns arise after this time period, you have two options. First, when you next see your Tour Director, you can inform them of your particular situation. We must stress, however, that personal information, such as the room number of the Tour Director, is never released, as a matter of security. Rather, you should ring the Front Desk and ask to be connected with your Tour Director’s room. If it is impossible to address your concern with the Tour Director – for example, it is late at night – we encourage you to telephone ATI’s 24 hour toll-free 800 number, at which time every attempt, where possible, will be made to assist you.
How does hotel check in work on the tour?
To expedite the check-in process, hotels will generally have all of the room keys available for your Tour Director to collect upon arrival at the hotel. Room keys will then be distributed by the Tour Director, either on-board the coach, or in the hotel lobby.
Checked luggage will automatically be taken to each room – which is why it is necessity to ensure your bags have clearly marked ATI luggage tags.
Should you anticipate billing any incidental charges to your room, such as telephone calls, room service, mini-bar drinks and snacks, or in-room videos, you will be required to leave an imprint of your personal credit card or a cash deposit with the Front Desk before checking in to your room.
Will I be guaranteed special room requests?
At each and every destination, room assignments are randomly made, and are at the sole discretion of the individual hotel. Whenever possible, ATI will try to ensure that special requests (such as adjoining rooms, non-smoking rooms, and rooms on lower floors) are met. However, please be advised that ATI cannot guarantee special requests regarding room assignments, as these assignments are at the ultimate and arbitrary consideration of the hotel.
Please note that there is no preferential treatment given with regard to room assignments, irrespective of arrival time. Moreover, ATI sends rooming lists to each hotel with the passenger names listed in random, non-alphabetical order, expressly to avoid a possible, or presumed, preferential treatment regarding room assignments.
It is important to keep in mind that in USA hotels, rooms that have been booked for two people may contain one or two beds, of varying sizes. Normally, hotel rooms contain one Queen / King Size bed, or two Double beds. A room with two Double beds is considered suitable for three or four occupants. Unlike other areas of the world, it is extremely rare to find a “triple” room, or a room containing three beds.
Oftentimes, hotels are able to provide an additional “roll-away” bed (for a nominal nightly fee, to be paid on an individual basis from the passenger directly to the hotel).
Please be aware that such extra beds are not available in the National Parks, in some older hotels, and in areas where Fire Regulations place strict restrictions on the number of guests and/or beds in a room.
While requests can certainly be made ahead of time, and while every effort will be made to secure a room that meets your specific bedding needs, ATI cannot guarantee bedding arrangements at any given hotel, as these arrangements lie wholly within the discretion of each hotel.
What will the morning schedule on the tour be like?
Tour passengers will quickly become familiar with the daily routine of 6-7-8.
The schedule is as follows: at 6:00 AM passengers will receive an in-room wake-up call; at 7:00 AM passengers must have all checked luggage – NOT hand luggage – ready for pick up (either inside or outside your room, as advised by your Tour Director); at 8:00 AM passengers must be ready to depart.
The 6:00 AM wake-up call will be automatically arranged for each passenger, unless specific prior arrangements are made with your Tour Director.
Hotel porters will be given passenger room numbers in order to collect your luggage and load it onto the coach.
As everyone will be on the same morning schedule of 6-7-8, it is worth remembering that the hotel restaurant(s) will be particularly busy serving breakfast between 7:00 and 8:00 AM. In other words, if you leave breakfast until 7:45 AM, there may be a problem being served in time to make the 8:00 AM departure.
Note that the above schedule is subject to change and is adjusted according to the Tour Director’s discretion.
Can I pick where I sit on the coach?
To encourage passengers to meet each other over the course of the holiday, and to ensure equal and fair seating for all, ATI tour seats are rotated on a daily basis. It is not possible to pre-book specific seats on the coach.
All coaches used by ATI have air-conditioning, which the driver will endeavour to set at a temperature that is comfortable for everyone on board. Because it is often the case that some people tend to feel cooler than others, it may be wise to have a light sweater or jacket handy to ensure your personal comfort.
All ATI coaches are equipped with a lavatory. As facilities for properly serving the lavatory are extremely limited outside major metropolitan areas, the on-board lavatory is principally intended for emergency use. Of course, frequent stops are made throughout the day for your comfort. We apologize for any inconvenience in advance, and thank you for your understanding.
While many coaches are equipped with convenience items such as footrests, luggage nets, movable seats, closed circuit DVD/VCRs, individually adjustable air conditioning, etc. – it is not guaranteed that some or all of these items are on board.
It is worth noting that in America, the term “coach” is not commonly used. Rather, all larger passenger vehicles are collectively referred to as “buses.” This terminology in no way reflects the standard of the vehicle. Indeed, even the most luxurious coach would be termed a “bus” in the USA.
ATI does not own any of the coaches used during their tours. However, the companies that are contracted to provide the coaches and drivers must satisfy a stringent set of criteria before being accepted by ATI, and must regularly meet both Federal and State safety regulations. Seatbelts are not required in the USA on coaches. Coaches in the USA are equipped with one entrance/exit door only.
Will I be able to smoke on the tour?
There is a no-smoking policy in effect on all coaches, but frequent stops are made throughout the day.
Please note, however, that many restaurants visited en route may also be non-smoking establishments.
When will I receive my complete tour itinerary?
While you have most likely seen a preliminary itinerary for your escorted tour, your ATI Tour Director will distribute a booklet containing details regarding the itinerary and points of interest on the first day of the tour.
On occasion, the tour may differ slightly from that printed in the brochure or on the Hayes & Jarvis website, but we will of course make every attempt, where possible, to notify passengers in advance of any significant itinerary changes. On certain tours, drivers and escorts as well as the equipment may change during the tour.
Due to the varying mileage covered in each day’s itinerary, the amount of travel time spent on board the coach will differ from day to day.
For your comfort, the average time between stops is approximately 2-3 hours. Please be aware that, particularly during the peak months, there will often be other coach companies with converging itineraries undertaking tours at the same time. In order to avoid congestion at break stops and hotel check-ins, ATI will coordinate the journeys to spare you as much inconvenience as possible during your holiday.Occasionally, however, it may be unavoidable that more than one coach will stop in the same spot at the same time.
Lunch stops will be made every day at various establishments en route. Because, as you will note, “fast-food” restaurants are occasionally the only possibility in certain locations, they may provide the lunch stop for a given day. These popular restaurants are considered very American, and many offer broad menus that include everything from salads to ice-cream sundaes. In addition, on selected tours, passengers will have the unique opportunity to participate in an All-American Picnic, weather permitting. Indeed, every attempt, where possible, will be made to ensure diversity in lunch stops along the tour.
Do I need to tip?
It is the normal accepted practice in the USA to tip approximately 15-20% of the total amount of your bill in restaurants, coffee shops, and bars. The precise amount is left to the discretion of the customer, who may tip more for excellent service, or less for inferior service. Before leaving a tip, you might check to make sure that a service charge has not been added to your bill, as is often the case in other countries.
State and Local Taxes are always itemised separately near the bottom of the bill and should NOT be mistaken for an added service charge. Simply leave your tip on the table in cash, or add it to your credit card slip in the allotted space before totalling the amount and signing your signature. Generally, in fast-food restaurants where you collect your own food at the counter, no tipping is necessary.
As is the case in all over the world, it is a customary practice to tip escorts and drivers for each day of a tour. A general guideline to help you determine the amount is as follows: $4-$5 per day per person for the escort; and $3-$4 per day per person for the driver. Tips are customarily given directly to the recipient on the final day of the tour. This gesture is deeply appreciated by both the escorts and the drivers.
Will I be able to add on optional tours and excursions?
To offer all passengers the broadest holiday experience possible, ATI conveniently offers various optional tours, designed to enhance your tour experience.
Opting to take advantage of these additional excursions is at the complete discretion of each individual, who will want to consider all factors, including the additional fee, prior to agreeing to participate in an optional tour.
At the beginning of your escorted tour, ATI will provide you with information about available optional tours, which may be booked through your Tour Director during the tour. Should you choose to participate in an additional excursion, payment to the Tour Director can be made with cash, traveller’s cheques, or credit cards. We encourage you to request and save your receipt.
Please note that optional tours cannot be booked in advance, as many require a minimum number of passengers in order to operate.
Optional tours are contracted through participating vendors and are subject to slight variation at the vendor’s discretion without prior notification.
ATI will never offer optional tours that have not been previously listed in your tour documentation. If you should elect to take an optional excursion from an alternate source , one that is not printed in your tour documentation, please be advised that you immediately assume responsibility for both the risks and the costs therein.
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