Before you go
Booking, confirmation/invoice and tickets
A deposit is required to reserve any of our holidays. Bookings can be made over the phone by contacting our Reservations team on 01904 521 936, directly on the website, or via selected Travel Agents. Once your booking is confirmed we will send you a confirmation summarising the arrangements made on your behalf, the outstanding balance and the date by which it must be received by us. Please check these details carefully and contact us immediately if there are any inaccuracies. Ensure that the title, initials or forenames and surnames shown on the confirmation match those on your passport, as we will make your travel reservations using this information and any inaccuracies will cause problems at a later date. As your holiday approaches, we write to you again approximately 10-12 weeks prior to your departure to remind you of certain points concerning your holiday. Your travel documents are sent out approximately 2 weeks prior to departure, although in most cases the tickets will be held by your Tour Manager and handed out as required.
No surcharges - guaranteed
Once you have booked and paid us the appropriate deposit for your holiday, we guarantee that you will not be surcharged. This means that even if a cost increase is imposed upon us by a supplier - for example due to an increase in fuel costs - and we need to increase the holiday price for all new bookings, we guarantee that a price rise will not affect you, if you have already booked your holiday. It really does pay to book early.
Foreign Office advice
Global and political situations do change. Your safety is our first consideration and if the Foreign Office advises against travel to a certain country, we act on this advice. The Foreign Office issues regular advice and updates. You are advised to check this information on their website www.gov.uk or contact the FCO Travel Advice Unit on 0845 850 2829 before you travel.
Taking the right luggage on holiday can make the difference to
your enjoyment. Although we try and arrange porterage where we can,
you will usually need to lift your own suitcase onto and off
trains, and as many European trains do not have a specific luggage
carriage, you will have to stow your case in the designated area
within the carriage or in the rack above your seat. You may also
need to carry it some distance between platforms/stations or to
hotels. With this in mind, we recommend that you take one small
suitcase and one piece of hand luggage per person. A good tip is to
try lifting your luggage up and down the stairs at home to see how
comfortable you are transporting your luggage while on
As a guide, we recommend one suitcase and one small piece of hand luggage per person, and suggest the popular 'vertical' suitcases with built-in wheels and a retractable handle measuring around 61cm x 38cm x 23cm - (24" x 15" x 9"). For our worldwide holidays, all luggage must adhere to the strict luggage restrictions imposed by the scheduled airline used on our holiday.
If you would like to avoid carrying your cases from home, across London, and all the way to your holiday destination, Great Rail Journeys is pleased to provide the GRJ Luggage Concierge Service - supported by our partner The Baggage Man. The company offers a cost-effective and reliable door-to-door luggage collection and delivery service. Your case will be collected from home a few days prior to the holiday departure so that it can be waiting for you at your main hotel. On the way home, you can leave your case behind in the hotel to be collected and returned home. The service is available either one-way or return. Further details of the service is available on request.
What to pack
Casual dress is acceptable on the majority of our holidays, there is no pressure whatsoever put upon our customers to conform to one strict dress code - it is your holiday and you should feel comfortable. People do tend to dress slightly more formally, especially in the evenings, on cruises, or for gala/farewell dinners. We have tried to give you an indication of the dress code on cruises. Where there is a specific dress requirement, we will advise you within your holiday documentation.
Passports, visas & insurance
Passports & travel documentation
Please note that you are entirely responsible for ensuring that
everyone in your party has the necessary correct and up-to-date
personal documentation before you start the holiday. We do not
accept any liability if you or any member of your party is refused
entry onto any transport or into any country due to failure on your
part to carry correct documentation. If failure to have any
necessary travel or other documents results in fines, surcharges or
other financial penalty being imposed on us, you will be
responsible for reimbursing us accordingly.
It is your responsibility to ensure that each person travelling in your party has a current valid passport plus any visas required for non-UK/EU citizens. For British Citizens, a standard 10-year British passport is required for all holidays which must be valid for at least six months beyond your planned date of return travel. If your passport expires before this, or if your passport is endorsed in any way, it may still be acceptable, but you should contact your local passport office or the consulate or embassy of the country/countries you plan to visit/transit through, for detailed advice. Further information can be found on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website (www.gov.uk). Non-British citizens should also check passport and visa requirements with the relevant consulate(s). Customers applying for a first British passport should allow at least six weeks to obtain one as they are now required to attend a personal interview with the Passport Office. Customers renewing their passport should allow a minimum of two weeks. However, in all cases, please apply as far ahead as possible so as to allow time for unexpected delays.
We will advise British Citizens with a British passport at the
time of booking of any visa requirements. If you have a British
passport issued outside of the UK or if you are not a British
Citizen, you must check immigration requirements with the relevant
embassy or consulate of the country/countries that you plan to
visit or transit through.
We indicate in the 'What's Included' section of each tour whether British Citizens require a visa to enter the country or countries included in the holiday. The countries for which a visa is needed (by British Citizens holding a British passport) are listed below.
The process of applying for holiday visas with embassies can often be confusing, tedious and time consuming as rulings change on a regular basis. We therefore recommend a Visa Agency who are an established and experienced Visa Agent; saving you time and worry. Dealing with this Visa Agent avoids costly trips to London to visit embassies to spend several hours queueing or making endless telephone calls. The agent takes care of all the necessary paperwork; and importantly they make sure you get the right visas on the right dates for the holiday that you are travelling on. Whilst you are free to apply with embassies directly, many customers have mentioned that peace of mind is the biggest advantage that the agency offers through their service, knowledge and efficiency - money well spent.
Please note that this Visa Agency is not affiliated with Great Rail Journeys in any way; this is simply a recommendation based on our experience.
We will forward full details about applying for your visa
through our recommended agency in good time prior to your holiday
in order that you may be able to apply and receive the relevant
visas for your holiday in good time prior to departure.
We endeavour to keep the information regarding visa requirements up to date but costs and requirements change on a regular basis and we recommend that you check the latest position in good time before your departure.
We obtain the visa and the cost is included in the price of your holiday.
British Citizens require a transit visa to travel through Belarus on our 'Waterways of the Tsars,' 'Trans-Siberian Express', 'Trans-Siberian - Moscow-Beijing' and 'Around the World in 53 Days' holidays. They can be obtained from the Belarus embassy in London. Alternatively, applications may be made through the visa agent. Please contact us for details.
British Citizens require an entry visa, which can be obtained through a visa agent. Please contact us for details.
British Passport holders do not require a visa for entry into Canada.
British Citizens require a visa to enter China. Applications must be made through the Chinese Embassy, the Consulate-General of the People's Republic of China in Manchester and Edinburgh or through the visa agent. Please contact us for details.
British Passport holders do not require a visa for entry into Ecuador.
British Citizens require a tourist visa. Applications must be made through VFS India - an agency acting for the Indian High Commission. Our recommended visa agency can assist with applications.
British Passport holders do not require a visa for entry into Japan.
British Citizens on our 'Trans-Siberian Express', 'Trans-Siberian - Moscow-Beijing' and 'Around the World in 53 Days' holidays require a single-entry visa for Mongolia. They may be obtained in person or by post from the Embassy of Mongolia in London. Alternatively, applications may be made through our recommended Visa agent. Please contact us for details.
British Passport holders do not require a visa for entry into Morocco.
British Passport holders do not require a visa for entry into Namibia.
British Citizens require a visa for our Grand Tour of India & Nepal tour. Applications must be made through the Nepalese Embassy, or through our recommended visa agent - please ask for details.
British Passport holders do not require a visa for entry into New Zealand.
British Passport holders do not require a visa for entry into Peru.
A Russian tourist double-entry visa is required for British Citizens on our 'Trans-Siberian Express', 'Trans-Siberian - Moscow-Beijing' and 'Around the World in 53 Days' holidays. A single-entry visa is required for British Citizens on the 'Waterways of the Tsars' and the 'Baltic Explorer' holidays. Applications must be made through VFS Russia - an agency acting for the Russian Consulate. Our recommended visa agent will also assist you with applying for visas.
British Passport holders do not require a visa for entry into South Africa.
Visas are required to enter Sri Lanka. British Citizens should obtain short stay visas to Sri Lanka through an online visa application process, the Electronic Travel Authority (ETA), and pay the appropriate processing fee. Further details can be obtained from the ETA official website of the Department of Immigration and Emmigration. http://www.eta.gov.lk/slvisa/
British nationals need a visa to enter Turkey, except for cruise ship passengers entering the country for a day trip and returning to the ship the same day. British Citizens can get a multiple entry visitor visa, valid for 90 days, on arrival at any port of entry on payment of £10 in cash (Scottish currency is not accepted). You can also get a visa in advance online at https://www.evisa.gov.tr/en/ (if you're visiting as a tourist or on business) or from the Turkish Consulate in London.
|British Citizens must obtain clearance
to enter the United States at least 72 hours prior to departure by
completing the ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation)
form online at https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/. Details of how to obtain
the clearance will be sent to you with your confirmation of
booking. An administration fee is required to obtain the basic
Clearance is granted providing the conditions of the US Visa Waiver Programme (VWP) are met. Under the VWP, you must have a valid, individual, machine-readable passport. A British passport is machine-readable where there are two lines of letters, numbers and chevrons (>>>>) printed at the bottom of the personal information page. If there are no lines of text, the passport is not machine-readable and you will need to apply for a US visa. Please note you will not be eligible to enter the US visa-free if you have certain serious communicable diseases, a criminal record or if you have been arrested, even if this did not lead to a conviction. If you do not meet the conditions of the VWP, you will need to apply for a special restricted visa ASAP. The application process can be lengthy and could also involve an interview. There may be a cost incurred.
British Citizens require a visa which must be applied for before departing for Vietnam. Applications must be made through the Vietnamese Embassy or through our visa agent. Please contact us for details.
Please note: When travelling on any of our cruise holidays, if
you wish to explore the ports independently then you may need to
obtain visas. Contact us for details.
We will forward full details about applying for your visa through our recommended agency in good time prior to your holiday in order that you may be able to apply and receive the relevant visas for your holiday in good time prior to departure.
We endeavour to keep the information regarding visa requirements up to date but requirements may change and we recommend that you check the latest position in good time before your departure.
Insurance and holiday duration
It is a condition of booking that you take out sufficient and
appropriate travel insurance cover. We recommend you do this at
time of booking so that your deposit is recoverable in the event of
a cancellation covered by the policy.
It is your responsibility to ensure that all members of your party have appropriate travel insurance cover and that any insurance policy purchased is adequate for your/their particular needs and valid for the entire duration of the holiday. The duration of the holiday in the brochure includes the day of departure and day of return and is the period to be used for insurance purposes. Please remember to extend the duration of your insurance cover if you choose to extend your holiday. We do not check alternative insurance policies.
To take advantage of our insurance, please contact us for details. If you take out your own cover please advise us of the Insurance Company Name, your policy reference number and the 24-hour emergency telephone number. Read your policy details carefully and take them with you on holiday.
Health & Mobility
Disabilities, medical conditions and mobility
Although our tours are designed to be conducted at a leisurely
pace, they can also be physically demanding and porterage is not
always available. Regrettably, many of our tours are therefore not
suitable for the disabled traveller. Please advise us before any
booking is made if anyone in your party has a medical condition or
disability that may affect your/their holiday arrangements or if
there are any health or fitness concerns which may affect
your/their ability to cope with a tour. If we are to help you
choose the right holiday for your health and fitness, we must be
aware of all details. Please note that Tour Managers cannot provide
individual assistance with boarding trains or coaches, or handle
It is your responsibility to provide us with full and accurate details of your mobility, health and fitness (including any disability) of all members of your party, so we can advise you on the suitability of tours. We have a Mobility team within the office who will be happy to provide guidance about our holidays and answer any further questions you may have about a specific holiday. Please advise us before any booking is made if anyone in your party has a medical condition or disability that may affect your/their holiday arrangements or if there are any health or fitness concerns which may affect your/their ability to cope with a tour. Please also remember to advise us of any changes to mobility or fitness levels between booking your holiday and travelling
If you are in any doubt as to whether the holiday you hope to book is suitable for you, please discuss this with our Reservations Team at the time of making your booking. We want all our customers to enjoy their holiday to the full, and are here to help answer any mobility, disability, health and fitness issues concerns. You must also advise us of any change to your level of mobility between booking your holiday and joining your tour.
The Department of Health's leaflet (T7.1) "Health advice for travellers" is available at Post Offices, by phoning 0800 555777 or online at www.gov.uk/dh, showing health requirements and advice for the countries you are visiting. We advise you to check with your doctor in good time prior to your departure as to which inoculations are necessary.
For European holidays, you should obtain the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) for access to health care in many European countries. Further information is available from the NHS on 0191 218 1999 or online at www.nhs.uk. Please note: the EHIC card is not a substitute for comprehensive travel insurance.
Accommodation & meals
All our basic holiday prices are expressed in £ sterling and are per person, based on 2 people sharing (except for our programme of Single Traveller Holidays):
- Supplements for accommodation upgrades are usually expressed per room or cabin/sleeper, on the assumption that two people are occupying it
- Single supplements or prices are naturally expressed per person and cover the full duration of the tour.
- In some hotels, triple or family rooms may be available and we are happy to provide a quotation accordingly.
- A hotel room shared by two people may contain a double or twin beds. In some countries a double bed may consist of two beds pushed or linked together (termed as 'Continental Double').
- A single hotel room may be a 'true' single or may be a single occupancy of a double or twin room. Either way, the supplement shown is payable*. We cannot guarantee single use of a double room unless this is specifically received in writing from our suppliers.
- Whilst we request for rooms to be to the same standard for all customers, hotel rooms, particularly in older properties, may differ in size and amenities offered.
- All of our hotels offer en-suite accommodation. En suite facilities always consist of a private WC with either bath or shower. Some of our sleeper train services offer shared WC and Shower facilities.
- Sleeping accommodation on our trains is likely to take the form of seating which converts into a berth at night.
- Rooms/cabins are not usually available before about 2pm on arrival day and must be vacated by about 11am on departure day. You may request a specific configuration, room type or room location but, while we pass on all requests to our hotel partners, neither we nor they can guarantee that what you want can or will be provided.
If you have any special requests relating to your accommodation, please do not hesitate to bring these to the attention of our staff at the time of booking.
Please check the 'What's Included' panels to see what meals are included on each holiday.
- Hotels: Meals are generally taken in the restaurant of the hotel. We usually dine together, with a set 'table d'hote' style menu that will often feature regional dishes. Drinks are usually not included in our arrangements.
- Trains: On chartered trains most meals are included and are taken in the restaurant car of the train. If you are travelling in Standard Premier Class on Eurostar a light snack and drinks are included, served at your seat.
- Cruise Ships: Meals are normally included, and are taken in the ship's main restaurant.
- Special diets: If you have a specific dietary need please discuss it with us before you book. We will do our best to cater for special diets when notified in advance. The more information we have, the better, but even then, some suppliers find it difficult to satisfy every requirement.
If you have any special meal requests such as vegetarian, coeliac, low fat etc. please bring these to the attention of our staff as soon as possible during the booking process.
The price of your holiday usually allows us to reward staff who
serve you during your time on a GRJ holiday and on some occasions,
your Tour Manager will provide a gratuity on behalf of the group.
However, there are instances when an additional gratuity may be
appropriate, perhaps because it is customary in your host country,
or because of the nature of the activity undertaken, or simply
because you have received exceptional service.
Cruising has an established culture of tipping and your Tour Manager will be on hand to offer advice on this. Such additional gratuities will be on an individual basis and at your own discretion, however our river cruise partners recommend you should budget for tips of approximately €8-12 per person per day, provided you feel you have received good service. On ocean cruises there is often a fixed service charge of approximately US$10 per person per day plus a 15% gratuity automatically added to bar charges and wine purchases.
If you would like to show your appreciation of your Tour Manager by the payment of a personal gratuity to him/her, previous experience suggests that a reasonable guideline would be an amount of c. £1 per person per day. However, we would stress that any amount you may wish to give as your way of saying 'thank you' is entirely a matter for your own personal discretion.
Itineraries & travel arrangements
Our holidays are planned many months in advance. We do our best
to follow the detailed itineraries shown, but reserve the right to
make changes if we need to react to schedule changes or local
conditions. The sightseeing tours and excursions described may also
have to be amended to suit local conditions or Public Holidays.
This can affect both the exact route travelled and the class of
service in which we travel (and in rare instances both). For
example, if scheduling congestion causes us to be unable to travel
First Class through the Rhine Gorge, our rail planning department
works to initially provide our groups with the same journey in
Standard Class, should this not be possible an alternative route is
found in First Class, or if both these solutions are impossible the
last resort is to find an alternative route in Standard Class.
However, we have over 30 years experience of planning European
holidays by rail and the strength of our relations with European
rail suppliers mean that our groups are rarely disadvantaged with
the solutions to scheduling congestion we find.
We have included only a brief description of our optional excursions in the brochure. Full details, including prices, will be sent to you around 10-12 weeks before you travel. Please note that all optional excursions are subject to a minimum number of participants in order to operate, and the day of operation may change.
We request rail reservations many months in advance but occasionally there are insufficient First Class (or equivalent) seats available. In these situations we will book Standard Class seats and refund the difference to you. Although we do our best to follow the routes noted in the itinerary there might be occasions when a different routing or departure time is necessary due to timetable variations or seat availability.
Increasingly, trains are 100% non-smoking, and reservations are requested in non-smoking accommodation, although at busy times we may be allocated some smoking seats. We cannot make specific requests for smoking seats.
Prices quoted in this brochure are based on special fares, negotiated with our rail partners for group travel. Should you wish to travel on any Eurostar or other rail service, other than that included as part of your group holiday, a rail variation charge of £25 per person per service will apply in addition to the difference in cost between our special group fare and the normal published fare applicable at time of request for the journey in question. Any change involving sleeper services will be quoted on an individual basis.
Eurostar departure times
Where possible we have included an idea of the departure time of the Eurostar service from St Pancras International within each itinerary. Please note, these times are provisional. We request Eurostar rail reservations many months in advance and on occasions it may be necessary to revise the departure time which has been stated in the brochure due to circumstances beyond our control, such as timetable variations or seat availability. Exact Eurostar departure times will be available approximately 10-12 weeks before your departure and we will write to you in the form of an Update Letter to confirm these to you.
Joining Eurostar at Ebbsfleet International
It's not just London that can boast direct links to the
Continent. Travellers from the South of England can also connect to
the Eurostar at Ebbsfleet International, which is conveniently
situated close to the M25 and other major road links, and has lots
of parking spaces. For travellers who wish to avoid London,
departing from Ebbsfleet International can get your holiday off to
a hassle-free start.
Unfortunately not all Eurostar services to and from St Pancras International stop at Ebbsfleet International. Those people travelling from Ebbsfleet may have to travel on an earlier train from the group who depart from St Pancras International and meet them in Paris or Brussels. If this is the case, a Rail Variation Fee of £25 per person will apply as we will be required to obtain an individual ticket for you.
In the event of any undue delay, the group will be looked after in accordance with the standard practice of the scheduled carrier or transport operator.
The vast majority of flights operate without problems, although the reality of air travel in the world today is that congestion and economic pressures can lead to the possibility of lost luggage, delay, cancellation and overbooking. Crowded airports, queues, check-in, security and flights are often a test of patience and endurance, and customers should be prepared to cope with the consequences of disruption including delays. In the event of undue delay the group will be looked after in accordance with the standard practice of the scheduled carrier or transport operator. Travel Insurance policies can be worth their weight in gold under such circumstances and we strongly recommend that you take a fully comprehensive policy to cover you for your holiday.
International flights are provided by major airlines. If known
at time of printing, we show the name of the airline we plan to fly
with. The type of aircraft is not usually known at this point, but
if it is of interest to you we are happy to provide this
information when we can. Regardless of any information given in
good faith, operational changes can be made by an airline at any
point and we cannot be responsible for this.
Prices quoted in this brochure are based on special fares offered to us by the airlines for group travel. These represent a reduction on the normal IATA fares which generally include greater flexibility. Should you wish to book our holiday using a flight other than that shown in the brochure, a flight variation charge from £50 per person will apply in addition to the difference in cost between our special fare and the normal IATA fare for the flight(s) required. Tickets at our special fare are valid only on the airline and dates shown and do not automatically entitle passengers to switch to another carrier in the case of a flight cancellation, delay or technical problem with the aircraft or the reservation.
While we pass on any airline seating requests, no guarantees can be given by us or by the airline. The reality is that the only way to ensure additional leg-room is to purchase an upgrade.
Maintenance and development work
Every holiday visits a number of different destinations. There may well be maintenance, re-development, building, road works or track work in the vicinity of any of the hotels. If we know about such work and any associated disruption or noise which is reasonably likely to affect the enjoyment of your holiday, we make every effort to tell you about it as quickly as possible. Please appreciate that we are not the only passengers travelling on the trains or ships used in our holidays, nor the only guests staying in the hotels. We cannot be held responsible for the behaviour or noise of others.
In some countries, you may experience laws and standards that might not be the same as you are used to in the UK. On some holidays we visit countries with less advanced infrastructures. Travellers with an open, yet cautious mind and a flexible approach should enjoy the experience.
ABTA, ATOL and AITO
Our ABTA membership
Great Rail Journeys/Treyn is a tour operator member of ABTA, the
Association of British Travel Agents, and our ABTA number is V2170.
ABTA's main aims are to maintain high standards of trading practice
for the benefit of its members, the travel industry at large and
the consumers they serve. Both ABTA and its members help
holidaymakers to get the most from their travel and assist them
when things do not go according to plan.
As an ABTA member, we are obliged and committed to follow the organisation's Code of Conduct. This ensures that our customers receive a high standard of service, fair terms of trading, and clear and accurate information on issues such as passports and visas, health requirements, and details of any alterations to your holiday. In the event of things going wrong, the Code of Conduct ensures that we respond to any complaint within strict time limits.
For further information about ABTA, the Code of Conduct and also the independent arbitration scheme available to customers if you have a complaint visit abta.com or call 020 3117 0500. Alternatively, ABTA may be contacted at the following address:
30 Park Street
Tel: 020 3117 0500
Fax: 020 3117 0581
Our ATOL number is 3278. Many of the flights and flight-inclusive holidays on this website and in our brochures are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. But ATOL protection does not apply to all holiday and travel services listed on this website or in our brochures. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking. If you do not receive an ATOL Certificate then the booking will not be ATOL protected. If you do receive an ATOL Certificate but all the parts of your trip are not listed on it, those parts will not be ATOL protected. Please see our booking conditions for information, or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/ATOLCertificate
Our AITO membership
Great Rail Journeys is a member of the Association of
Independent Tour Operators, an organisation representing over 150
of Britain's best specialist tour operators. Members of AITO strive
to create holidays with high levels of professionalism and a shared
concern for quality, personal service and customer satisfaction.
The Association encourages the highest standards in all aspects of
tour operating and all members are fully bonded for clients'
protection, in compliance with UK and European regulations. Great
Rail Journeys - like all other AITO members - are also bound by the
organisation's Quality Charter.
For further information about AITO visit www.aito.com or call 020 8744 9280.
Links to external websites
Throughout the website we provide links to external websites owned by third parties, for example the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the Department of Health. Please note that such third parties are not ABTA members and that Great Rail Journeys Ltd is not responsible for the content of their sites. For links to each page of this website, see our website sitemap.
Important information about Great Rail Journeys
Head office and contact address:
Great Rail Journeys Ltd
9 St Saviourgate
Tel: 01904 521900
Registered in England No: 3208093
VAT Registration No: 870 3844 14