We understand how a sudden urge can tug at the heart, or how an unexpected change in life direction can open the door to spontaneous travel. So when it comes to joining an ExperiencePlus! tour at the last minute, we thought it might help to explain what this entails so you know what to expect!
How late in the game can I join a tour?
This depends on where the tour is located, what time of year the tour takes place, how many days (or weeks) before the tour you first contact us, your bicycle preference, your fitness, whether your passport is valid, and your own resources (last minute flights can be pricey or you can sometimes find great deals which is what motivates you to book!)
We’ve had people successfully book a tour that departs within a week of their first call, but that is quite rare (and not our preferred time frame!). More often, we receive last-minute bookings within a month or 3 weeks of a tour’s departure. .
The two biggest factors that impact viability of these last minute bookings are hotel and bike availability. We reserve hotel rooms months in advance. Once we get within 60 and sometimes 90 days of a tour start date, hotels ask us to release unused rooms. If you contact us after we have released all rooms, we will have to contact every hotel on the tour to see if there is availability. Because this takes a substantial amount of work and hotels often require non-refundable payments to secure rooms, we won’t begin this process until you submit a reservation form along with your payment information. This means when you call us to ask about space, we may need to understand how certain you are about going.
We also have a limited supply of bicycles during our busiest months of June and September. This means we might not have the size of your preferred bike available. If you’re open to riding a different bicycle, such as a road bike instead of a hybrid bike, or a non-assisted hybrid bike instead of an e-bike bike, then your flexibility will increase the likelihood we can assign you a bit that fits.
Is there anything I can do to increase my chances of getting on a tour at the last minute?
- Stay in good riding shape all year long.
- Check your passport expiration date. Many countries require that your passport not expire within three to six months of your return date. If your passport won’t be valid, do you have enough time to expedite renewal?
- Reference our website to determine what tours might still have space. Every tour departure includes a sales note, such as Sold Out!, Waitlist available, Contact us for availability, or Confirmed departure:Before you call us to inquire about availability, make sure the departure you want might have space. You’ll know a tour has space if the note reads “Confirmed departure.” The note “Contact us for availability” means there is likely space.
- Look into flights. Make sure you can get to and from the tour. Don’t purchase tickets until you know we can get you on the tour. If your travel plans include extra nights at the first or last hotel or town we recommend you investigate availability by looking at a hotel booking website just to get a feel for how busy the area is.
- Be 100% ready to book the tour when you call to inquire. Once the tour departure is less than 60 days out, our team in the U.S. and Europe has to do a substantial amount of work to check for hotel space and bike availability. As indicated above, we won’t start the process of checking on availability without a reservation form and payment details.
- Tours that don’t run in late May, June or September have a much better chance of having space and bike availability for last minute bookings.
How long will I have to wait to hear back from you on availability?
This can take anywhere from a few hours to a handful of days. The process depends on many factors, such as the time difference between North America and Europe or South America, where we are in the touring season, and where your tour takes place. Since we are as eager to get you on tour as you are to go, we stay in close contact with you.
What happens once you get the green light to add me to the tour?
We will contact you to confirm availability and then process your reservation and payment (our Customer Service Team will also reach out to collect your legal waiver, passport information, etc.) so you can go ahead and make your flights and look forward to your upcoming adventure!