FAQs

England

Does Tenon Tours operate the day tours? Are they private to Tenon Tours travelers?

Tenon Tours works with various partner companies and local tour operators to provide you with the best day touring options. By utilizing local tour companies you will be provided with the expertise of the area you are touring by a licensed guide. Our day tours are all locked into US rates and pre-booked with voucher entrance for a no hassle entry.

Day tours are not private to Tenon Tours travelers and group size can vary per tour. Some tours are part of small groups (approximately 6-15 travelers) while some are on full coach buses, up to 40 people.

Note: Don’t forget to tip your drivers based on the level of service they provide!

Some partner companies include, but are not limited to: Rabbies, City-Sightseeing, Highland Explorer, Galway Tour Company, Deros Tours, When Where Wales, Cork Taxi Tours, Irish Day Tours, Irish Rail Tours, Dualway, Premium Tours UK and Odyssey Coach Tours.

Self-Drive Hints:

You may think that the main idea you need to keep in mind when driving in Ireland and the UK is to stay on the left side of the road. That’s important, true, but there are a few other details to remember when you’re doing a road trip in the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland and the UK.

Automatic vs. Manual. Many overseas rental agencies charge a premium for automatic cars. If you’re used to driving an automatic at home, you may not want to try to save a few bucks by renting a standard. You’ll have enough on your mind without worrying about stalling the engine on Ireland and the UK’s hilly roads. Ignore this advice, and you too may end up with a frustrated passenger yelling from the backseat, “Clutch! Use the clutch!” Or you may develop your own version of Irish driving mantra, invented such as when the car starts wandering toward the shoulder every time you change gears: “When you shift, you drift.”

Park the cell phone. In both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland and the UK, driving while using a handheld cell phone is illegal, and fines are steep.

Remember that every drive takes longer than you’d think. When passing through towns, major highways often morph into traffic-clogged two-lane streets. Farm vehicles are allowed just about anywhere, including most four-lane roads. So the 260 mile drive from Belfast to Cork can take four hours or close to six hours. On the bright side, most of the scenery you could be crawling past is very pretty.

Rent a monster car at your peril. Roads are narrow (particularly those marked “R” on Republic of Ireland maps), and they’re often lined with parked cars or dense hedges. If you enjoy having side mirrors, forgo the SUV.

Learn to handle roundabouts. They can be terrifying, but you can’t escape them. Just remember that traffic already in the roundabout, and traffic approaching from the right inside the roundabout, has the right of way.

Budget wisely for gas. You think your gas prices are high? Keep in mind that the price listed is per liter! (Roughly 4 liters make up a gallon.)

Look before you pump. Diesel is more widely available in Ireland and the UK than in the US/Canada. Make sure you’re pumping the right fuel before popping that nozzle in the tank.

Don’t rush! Allow yourself time to get lost, and you’re almost certain to discover a special castle, pub or golf course far off the beaten track.

When will I get my travel documents?

Your travel documents will be issued via EMAIL 7-10 days prior to departure. Documents will include your assigned hotel accommodations, transfer details and times, vendor contact information, emergency numbers and more. All you need to do is print out all of these documents and take them with you. You may forward them to friends & family to share your trip details and contact information.

How much luggage can I bring on a luxury escorted tour?

Due to motor coach space limitations, most luxury escorted tours only allow for one normal sized suitcase per individual. Remember, a wise traveler packs light! We also encourage just one carry-on bag per individual (for carrying items that might be needed during the day’s sightseeing excursions or camera/video equipment). Standard dimensions for carry-ons are 9” x 14” x 22” including handles and wheels, allowing it to fit under the seat or in the overhead rack of most motor coaches.

How many people are on an escorted tour?

On average we have around 35 passengers but the busses hold a maximum of 48 passengers. If you are on a small group escorted tour, the amount of passengers can range from 18-24.

Iceland

Are you supposed to tip in Iceland?

Tipping is always at your discretion; please refer to our tipping guide online for customary suggestions.

Ireland

How do you pick roommates?/When will we find out who our roommate is?

Once we know how many travelers require a roommate, we will pair individuals based on gender and trip length. We will also do our best to match individuals based on age and/or where they are from, if possible. Roommates will be introduced prior to travel via email when travel documents are issued, approximately 7 to 10 days prior to departure.

What language are rail tours conducted in?

Our tours are conducted in English only, however we can provide detailed itineraries in all major European Languages if we are informed in advance of your requirement. Also at key visitor attractions in Ireland, multiple language literature is normally available.

What are the pick-up times for the transfers between towns?

Pick-up times will vary based on the type of transportation provided. Your Travel Specialist can help provide you with an idea of times so you may choose optional tours prior to travel. You’ll receive exact pick-up times and locations in your travel documents.

Do I have to place a deposit in order to pre-book a room in Ireland?

There is no charge to pre-book your rooms online; however, a credit card will be required in the case of no-shows or late cancellations (within 7 days). Your host/hostess may also require a valid credit card at time of booking as a guarantee to hold the room(s) if you contact them directly. This system is put in place to ensure that clients are not pre-booking multiple homes at no charge then showing up holding rooms at other homes.

When will I be able to check into my accommodation in each city/town?

Typically, check-in is 3:00pm, although many places will allow you to check in earlier once rooms have been cleaned and inspected. Luggage can be stored in a secure area for early arrivals.

Italy

When will I be able to check into my accommodation in each city/town?

Typically, check-in is 3:00pm, although many places will allow you to check in earlier once rooms have been cleaned and inspected. Luggage can be stored in a secure area for early arrivals.

When will I get my travel documents?

Your travel documents will be issued via EMAIL 7-10 days prior to departure. Documents will include your assigned hotel accommodations, transfer details and times, vendor contact information, emergency numbers and more. All you need to do is print out all of these documents and take them with you. You may forward them to friends & family to share your trip details and contact information.

How do I make phone calls while on my trip? Does my cell phone work?

Depending on your cell phone plan/carrier, your cell phone will work in Ireland and the UK but will come with connection fees and minute charges. Digital Phones with GSM capabilities and an International roaming agreement will work but we recommend you contact your mobile company to see if they have a specific plan available or it will be expensive. Local cell phones are available for rent through Tenon Tours.

Why travel as a group?

Organizing your own group to travel gives you the flexibility to set the pace of the tour to match your interests and budget. It also allows you to take advantage of groups discounts in hotels, on tours and with airfare. You can reserve the land and air space with a minimum deposit to allow you time to promote the trip and gather participants.

When should I exchange my US dollars?

If you would like to have cash upon arrival we recommend exchanging around $100 before you leave. You can then withdraw money from local ATMs as needed, or use your credit card (Visa & MasterCard recommended). The ATMs will give you the bank’s best exchange of the day. You may also exchange a small amount of money at your hotels. We do not advise exchanging a lot of cash at the airports as they generally give you a less competitive exchange rate. Traveler’s Checks are NOT accepted at most locations outside of airports so we do not recommend them.

Scotland

Can I combine an escorted tour with another type of tour such as self-drive?

Yes! You may combine any of our trip types per availability.

What is VAT and how do I get it refunded in Ireland and the UK?

In Ireland and the UK, almost all consumer products are subject to Value Added Tax — VAT, for short. VAT is a “hidden tax” — already added into the purchase price of any souvenirs bought on a visit (there are two notable exceptions in Ireland and the UK: no VAT on books and no VAT on children’s clothing and footwear). Americans are entitled to get a refund of VAT paid. In order to get this refund you have to get a VAT-refund form at the time of purchase from each store in which you shop. This is very important! Unlike business travelers, tourists aren’t entitled to refunds on the tax they spend on hotels, transportation and meals.

What is meant by an ensuite room?

An ensuite room is a room with its own private facilities such as shower/bath, toilet and hand basin.

Should I get travel insurance?

We recommend purchasing travel insurance. Tenon Tours offers a tour protection plan to cover your trip plus airfare – whether you purchase airfare through us or not. Travel insurance is affordable and gives you the extra peace of mind should anything happen during your trip. For specifics on our travel insurance coverage, contact your personal travel specialist.

How do you pick roommates?/When will we find out who our roommate is?

Once we know how many travelers require a roommate, we will pair individuals based on gender and trip length. We will also do our best to match individuals based on age and/or where they are from, if possible. Roommates will be introduced prior to travel via email when travel documents are issued, approximately 7 to 10 days prior to departure.

Wales

Can children travel on an escorted tour?

Children over the age of 8 years old are permitted to travel on escorted tours however if they are under the age of 8 they are not allowed. Those ages 8-18 are charged 90% of the full adult rate.

Where should we eat?

We suggest checking with the front desk at the hotel or asking locals for recommendations based on what you’re looking to eat and how much you want to spend. Iceland is a very friendly and hospitable country when you are looking for suggestions or are needing questions answered.

What do we mean by “independent,” “flexible” or “semi-escorted” tours?

We arrange for transportation from town to town, rather than travelers having to drive themselves (self-drive), or having to be stuck on a bus with a tour group for the duration of their trip (fully-escorted). Paired with a provided itinerary and optional tours and attractions, this is the perfect way to combine the structure you need, with the flexibility you want!

What time of day will we depart each city?

Departure times to each city can differ, but are usually between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm. Your By-Your-Side Service℠ TEAM member will review your time and touring options so that you can plan out activities accordingly. All departure times will also be listed on the travel documents issued prior to departure from the U.S..

Are the hotels air-conditioned?

Due to the cooler average climate in Ireland and Britain, most accommodations (hotels and/or B&B’s) do not have or need air-conditioning. Some accommodations will state that they have “temperature control” in the rooms, however the control you have over how hot or cold to make it is not to the extremes that our clients may be used to in North America. Some accommodations may have fans available, check with reception or your B&B host. Please see more detailed information here in our blog!