Frequently Asked Questions
This document should be read in conjunction with our Terms and Conditions. This version is effective as of March 1, 2022.
WHY SHOULD I CHOOSE BEACHES OF NORMANDY TOURS?
- Why not take this trip on my own?
- You could! All you need to do is create a detailed itinerary, rent a car, drive 1000 miles to all the places in foreign countries, navigate unfamiliar highways and narrow mountain roads, book accommodation in multiple cities, find good restaurants with menus you can read, and read up on all the sites in advance or find and hire a reliable local guide. Or you could leave all of that to us and just enjoy a professionally organized, well-thought-out tour without the hassle.
- What makes Beaches of Normandy Tours the best?
- If you are looking for military historical tours in Europe, we are the best local expert you can find. In terms of World War II tours, no one comes even close to offering the quality you get from us. Our Tour Directors and local guides are professionals who have perfected their craft. All our hotels and restaurants are tried and true, and our local knowledge is evident and all of our staff speak fluent English. Our secure and guaranteed payment systems allow you to shop online with the utmost confidence. Once you book your trip, we will guide you through everything related to your tour, from what travel documents you need and what to pack to a recommended list of books to read and movies to watch before your departure. We are not an assembly line company focused on mass production – our goal is to give you a once in a lifetime experience.
- Are departure dates for the tours guaranteed?
- Yes, all departure dates are guaranteed. There is no minimum number of Passengers needed for a tour to take place.
- Where is your office located?
- Our office is located in Sainte-Marie-du-Mont, Normandy, France. On June 6, 1944, this was the first village taken by the American 101st Airborne Division.
ARE THESE TOURS RIGHT FOR ME?
- How much walking is there on the tours?
- In general, our trips require some walking, and some trips require more strenuous activities. On all our tours, Passengers must be able to get in and out of the bus on their own, which involves climbing three to four steps. If you would require special accommodation due to restricted mobility (such as a walk-in shower), please make sure to let us know in advance. As every individual is different, please contact us directly to talk over the tour activity level if you have any mobility concerns. You are responsible for judging your own capacity and ability to participate in tour activities without delaying or infringing upon the progress of the trip or the other Passengers.
The limited use of a cane, walker or wheelchair may still allow you to participate in our tours, although we ask our Passengers to be aware that requirements for restricted mobility and disability accommodations are different in Europe than in the U.S. We regret we cannot provide Passengers with wheelchairs, but we can store manual wheelchairs for those bringing their own, as long as a physically able companion accompanies the Passenger to provide assistance. Passengers must inform us before the tour if they will bring a wheelchair. Passengers must be prepared for minimal walking in and out of hotels, rest stops, etc. since not all locations have ramps or handicap accessible facilities. We regret that the tour vehicles are not equipped with wheelchair lifts or ramps and are unable to accommodate electric scooters.
- Do you accommodate special dietary needs?
- We provide a variety of healthy and tasty meals for breakfast and dinner on tours where meals are included. We make every effort to accommodate those with health restrictions, such as diabetes, lactose or gluten intolerance, or food allergies, as well as preferences such as vegetarianism. We regret that we are unable to accommodate vegan or kosher meal plans. Please note that dietary requests must be provided to us before the tour, that is, at the time of booking and cannot be modified during the tour.
- What if I am not a history buff?
- We balance our tours carefully to appeal to both history buffs and those just looking to take an interesting, rewarding vacation. On the tour, you will get background information on the relevant war, as well as present-day information about the cities, towns and countryside destinations we visit. Maps, movies, and presentations give a fuller picture of the events. Moreover, our tours present a variety of historical landmarks beyond tanks, guns and battlefields.
- What age are your Passengers?
- People of all ages enjoy our tours. Although the average age of our Passengers is 55+, we host a wide range of age groups, with high school and college-aged Passengers, as well as those who are comfortably retired.
- Can children take the tour?
- Absolutely - we strongly encourage the participation of the younger generations who would like to learn about history in detail. However, due to the subject matter of the tours and the nature of the locations we visit (burial grounds, concentration camps, etc.) and the movies we watch on the bus, a child must be at least ten (10) years old to participate. Any Passenger under the age of eighteen (18) should be accompanied by an adult parent or legal guardian.
- Are Passengers traveling alone welcome on your tours?
- Solo Passengers are more than welcome to join our groups. Passengers like to mix and mingle, and friendships are quickly formed as everyone is interested in the subject matter of the given tour.
- Are pets allowed on your tours?
- Altough we love animals, no pets or other animals are allowed on board of our vehicles
- Can I arrive earlier than my start date of the tour and can I stay longer after the tour ends?
- Yes, we have many Passengers that arrange to come a few days earlier and stay longer.
- Is it safe to travel on your tours?
- Absolutely. The locals in many of the places we visit are often extremely grateful to Americans, who they see as liberators from WWI and WWII and have not forgotten what they did for their country. Our Tour Directors have lots of experience navigating the routes we follow and know the areas well. Sadly, in today's world, unpredictable things can and do happen all around the globe. We are always taking precautionary measures to ensure the safety of our Passengers, including but not limited to reviewing the security protocols of our service providers (hotels, museums, restaurants, etc.). We have strong relationships with local authorities (such as police, local government, as well as the American Battle Monuments Commission) which enable us to feel secure at major events, such as anniversaries and the Oktoberfest. We also recommend anyone traveling internationally to consult the official International Travel Country Information pages provided by the U.S. Government.
WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THE TOUR PRICE?
- What is included in the tour price?
- Package inclusivity is specific to each Tour: please refer to the specific Tour descriptions on the Website for the services included. Unless otherwise specified in the Tour description on the Website, the following services are not included in the price of the travel (non-exhaustive list): airfare, visa fees, travel insurance, excess baggage fees, valet service, refreshments on the bus, lunch, extra alcoholic drinks at meals, extra hotel costs (e.g., mini-bar, pay TV, laundry, etc.), tips to the Beaches of Normandy Tours staff, or costs resulting from a Passenger failing to arrive at the pick-up location on time or from a Passenger leaving the trip based on his/her own decision or our decision due to the Passenger’s behavior, costs of on-site testing (notably SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR test approved by the Member States of the European Union in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic), medical and health care costs as the case may be, and any other costs that are not expressly listed in the quotation. If you have any specific questions about non-inclusions, please contact us directly.
- What about gratuities?
- Tips for our onboard staff (Tour Directors and Bus Drivers) are not included in the tour price, but are a voluntary way of showing satisfaction for good service at the end of the trip. Because we are frequently asked about the standard amount for tipping tour staff, we provide the following guideline based on international standards: €10.00 per Passenger, per tour day, which is shared between the Tour Director and the Driver. Tipping of the local guides is at the Passengers' discretion. Depending on the tour type, tipping of waiters at dinners and the hotel staff in general is taken care of by us.
- Do you offer travel insurance?
- Travel insurance is not included in the tour price. You are responsible for purchasing a travel insurance that suits your needs to protect you and your travel investment against the unexpected. We are not liable for any costs due to the lack of an insurance package on your side. We advise you to subscribe to a multi-risk insurance policy covering the consequences of cancellation or modification of the Tour, as well as an assistance policy covering specific risks, in particular the cost of repatriation in the event of an accident or illness, and baggage loss.
- What is MyTour?
- MyTour is a user-friendly online page that helps us share and collect information regarding your tour. It serves as a step-by-step guide to preparing for your trip as well as a source of information about your journey itself. Several tour documents provide continuously updated information about your tour and a "To-do list" will keep you in touch with your Travel Consultants regarding the details and information we need from you in preparation for your tour. Access to MyTour is only provided for Passengers who are already booked.
WHAT WILL MY TOUR BE LIKE?
- What is the average size of the tour groups?
- Group size will vary based on the tour and the package, ranging from about 15 to 45 Passengers. Please contact our Travel Consultants for information on the specific tour(s) you are interested in.
- Do you offer free time on the tours?
- You will have some free time in selected places for shopping and individual sightseeing. Beaches of Normandy Tours has no affiliation with any of the shops at your disposal, and there is no pressure to make additional purchases on the tours.
- Am I going to be left on my own on the tour?
- No. There is a 24/7 Tour Director with the group at all times, from pick-up on the first day to drop-off on the last. They will stay at the same hotel as you, eat with the group and ride the bus with you. They are well-trained and capable professionals who offer information about sights as we travel through our tour destinations and have ample experience in handling local requests and any issues that may arise.
- Who are your local guides?
- Our local guides are local historians who are devoted to passing on their knowledge and sometimes even personal experience to our Passengers. They are all fluent in English and have worked with our Founder and President for several years.
- What type of vehicles do you use?
- We use high-quality tour buses or vans. They are airconditioned, with reclining seats, video screens, and free onboard Wi-Fi. The vans fit 4-14 people and the coaches accommodate 48 people. Bottled water and other refreshments will be available for purchase on the bus throughout the tour. Most of our buses have toilets, which should only be used in case of emergencies, but we also schedule plenty of restroom stops while on the road.
- What type of hotels do we stay in?
- All the hotels you will be staying at on our tours offer private bathrooms and free wireless internet service. Depending on the tour package you purchased, hotels are 3-star on our economic tours, 4-star on our all-inclusive tours.
HOW DO I BOOK A TOUR WITH YOU?
- How do I book a tour?
- For online booking, click on the “Book Now” button of the tour you are interested in and complete the booking section with your information and payment. You can also call us at our toll-free number: +1 800-501-3576 or send us an email at email@example.com to sign-up to your tour.
- How soon should I book?
- We recommend booking as soon as you have chosen a tour to ensure that you can get the departure date of your choice. Remember that all our departures are guaranteed, which means there is no minimum number of Passengers required for a tour to take place. Another good reason to book early are the first dibs on plane tickets. Booking your airfare in advance comes with the lowest rates, best layover options.
- What is the deposit amount required to book a tour?
- Regardless of the time of the booking, your reservation will be confirmed after the receipt of a non-refundable registration fee of USD 490. With the payment of the registration fee, your seat on the bus is secured up until ninety (90) days before the departure of the tour.
- Do you have a payment plan?
- Your payment schedule depends on the time of the booking, you can choose to pay the registration fee and the price of the tour at the same time or separately. Regardless of the time of the booking, your reservation will be confirmed after the receipt of a non-refundable registration fee of USD 490 and the rest shall be paid at least ninety (90) days before the start of the tour. Feel free to contact our Travel Consultants with any questions about payment schedules prior to booking.
- Now that I am ready to book, how do I pay?
- Payments can be made online through our secure website by credit card, debit card, Apple Pay and Google Pay. We accept major credit cards and debit cards: Visa, Master Card, American Express.
Please be aware that credit card companies will often flag larger credit card charges and seek confirmation from the credit card holder. If you need any help to do the payment on our Website, our Travel Consultants shall assist you.
- Can I give the tour as a gift?
- We would love to help you surprise someone and we will remain discreet throughout the booking and payment process if you let us in on the fun. We will also send a personalized gift certificate for the person receiving the gift.
- What currency is the price of the tour in?
- The price of our tours is listed in U.S. Dollars.
WHAT TRAVEL DOCUMENTS DO I NEED?
- Do I need a passport?
- You will need a valid passport on our tours. A driver's license issued by your state or a passport card cannot be used for overseas travel. Per international travel regulations, your passport must be valid for at least six (6) months after the date of your return home from your tour. If your passport expires within six (6) months, it must be renewed prior to your departure.
- Do I need a visa?
- U.S. citizens do not need any visa for our tours. Visas may be required on any of our tours for non-U.S. citizens. For information regarding travel documents and visas, please contact your Travel Agent or consular services and obtain the necessary documents well in advance before the tour. Please speak to your Travel Consultant for more details on this. If visas are required, it is the Passenger's responsibility to ensure that all completed visa applications are provided to us in a timely fashion.
- Do I need a COVID-19 vaccination certificate?
- Yes. Fully vaccinated Passengers coming from the US can enter with proof of full vaccination. Full vaccination occurs 28 days after receiving one dose of Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine; 7 days after receiving a second dose of other vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency (Pfizer/Comirnaty, Moderna, AstraZeneca/Vaxzevria/Covishield); or, for persons who have received all the required doses of a WHO-licensed vaccine not approved by the European Medicines Agency, 7 days after receiving the additional dose of an EMA-approved mRNA vaccine. As of February 1, French authorities require a Passenger aged 18 and over to receive a booster dose of an mRNA vaccine if it has been 9 months or more since the second dose (the single dose for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine) to be considered fully vaccinated for entry into France.
WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW WHEN PREPARING FOR THE TOUR?
- Will I get an itinerary for my tour before departure?
- All your tour documents, including your itinerary, will be available electronically on your personalized MyTour page. You can access your tour information at all times from any location and on any mobile device. In order to protect the environment, we do not provide hard copies of documents. Please download the PDF forms to your personal device to carry them with you anywhere or print them out to have a hard copy for reference.
- What airport do I need to arrive at and depart from?
- We specify the arrival and departure times and airports in the itinerary for each tour. We highly recommend arriving a day before the start of the tour to decrease the risk of delayed flights impacting your tour. Be sure to consult us prior to making your final reservations.
If a flight is scheduled to arrive by the given time but is delayed, we will wait one (1) additional hour after the designated pick-up time for the delayed Passengers. If delayed by more than one hour, Passengers will be required to arrange their own travel to the designated hotel. We will do everything we can to assist with these arrangements, but we will not assume responsibility for any additional costs.
On the last day of the tour, we will arrange one transfer with the motor coach from the hotel only to the airport indicated in the tour description. Departure time requirements at designated airports are provided under the description of each specific tour. We are not responsible for missed transfers and there will be no refund if a Passenger misses the scheduled transfer. If a Passenger does not wish to use the transfer provided, he/she must arrange a transfer on his/her own without refund for the unused transfer.
- How do I meet up with the group at the start of the tour?
- One month prior to your tour departure your Tour Director will contact you directly, at the email address you provided, with detailed information regarding your group's exact meeting time and place at a public assembly point of the designated airport. Please confirm the receipt of this pick-up information and be certain to check your email regularly for this information.
- Do you have a limit on the amount of luggage I can take?
- On our tours, we recommend each Passenger bring one suitcase and one carry-on bag due to the limited capacity for luggage storage on motor coaches. Our luggage allowance and regulations may be different from airline requirements. We recommend you check the luggage restrictions directly with your airlines to avoid any additional or excess luggage fees.
- What types of currency are used on the tours?
- Our tours cover areas where Euros and British Pounds are used. Note that our staff is unable to change foreign currency on our tours. Please make sure to have a sufficient amount of local currency on you at the start of the tour. You can also withdraw local currency from ATMs, however, they may not be available in smaller places. Don’t forget to notify your bank that you will be using your debit or credit card abroad. Visa and Mastercard are accepted at most places.
- Is there an opportunity to do laundry on the tours?
- Laundromats are almost non-existent in Europe. None of the hotels have washer and dryer facilities as they do in the U.S. However, most hotels offer laundry services, mostly charging on a per garment. This can be rather expensive. Some hotels may charge on a per bag: you can stuff as much as you can into the laundry bag they provide, and they have a very favorable charge compared to the per garment cost. Normally, laundry services are available only on working days.
Your Tour Director will be able to help at the beginning of the tour to discuss where it would be best to have laundry done, but generally, it is suggested to use the laundry services at a hotel where the tour group stays for at least 2 nights in order for you to get your clean clothes back by the time the group leaves from the hotel.
- I take prescription medication, should I bring this with me?
- Absolutely. You will want to take your medication with you. You do not want to depend on being able to get your prescription filled while you are overseas, as American prescriptions will not be accepted. Many drugs that are sold over the counter in the U.S. require a prescription overseas. Also, many drugs have different names and/or ingredients than in the U.S., so if you have a painkiller or a motion sickness pill that you know works for you, we advise bringing it with you. We recommend you check with your doctor the rules of bringing your medication to the destination country and the necessary documentation you might need to take them on board of your flight.
- What measures do you take in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic?
- Our Passengers’ safety and wellbeing is our utmost priority. We will do our best to deliver the tours in the safest way possible while taking all precautions at the disposal of tour operators. We follow closely and comply with the latest advice and regulations introduced by relevant authorities such as the World Health Organization, the European Union and its Member States and will gradually adjust our policies accordingly to make our trips as safe as possible for our Passengers. Still, it is also the responsibility of the Passengers to prepare properly for the tour and to follow the health-related instructions on the tour.
If you or your party members have COVID-19 symptoms, you must not travel. Please do not go to the airport, and follow the guidelines set out by the authorities. If you are well and ready to travel, be aware of the travel restrictions or entry requirements of your destination.
Restrictions and entry requirements are continuously changing. Please contact us for the current updates or visit the website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/international-travel/index.html
- Is there a dress code for the dinners on the tour?
- We do not have a dress code for the dinners or the tours themselves. We want you to be comfortable and casual while on your vacation.
- What should I pack for the tour?
- You can find a detailed packing list in the "Travel Tips" file on your personalized MyTour page. In general, pack versatile clothing suitable for all types of weather. Bring sturdy, water-resistant shoes that are comfortable for all-day wear and on uneven terrain, such as on beaches and cobblestones. A waterproof jacket is suggested, and warm layers for evenings or high altitudes are essential. If your tour includes visits to religious buildings (e.g. Vatican City and St. Peter's Basilica) be prepared to dress appropriately (i.e. shoulders and knees must be covered).
Since you will probably be taking lots of pictures, do not forget your camera, memory cards and charger. Other electronic devices such as your cell phone or laptop, will also need their chargers. You will need an adaptor that will connect U.S. plugs to the appropriate local outlets - Type C in the EU with two round pins, and Type G in GB with three flat pins.
Washcloths are not very widespread overseas and are typically not provided at hotels.
- Do the hotels have hairdryers?
- Yes. All hotels provide hairdryers, towels and toiletry kits.
- Can I use my cell phone overseas?
- If you bring your cell phone with you, be sure to check with your carrier regarding international calling plans to make sure you are not left without service during the trip.
- What is the weather like at the time I am planning to travel?
- Unfortunately, there is no one answer to this question, but we can provide the following link for you: http://www.holiday-weather.com/. All you need to do is specify the time of year you are traveling and the country you are checking the weather for.