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FAQs and Helpful Information

Covid-19

When booking a holiday with USA Direct, you acknowledge that:

  • Current UK Government guidance advises against all but essential international travel
  • Products, services and facilities including bookings may be subject to short notice changes, closure, intermittent availability
  • Additional measures may be in place to ensure the protection and safety of all (this may include cleaning, enhanced health screenings procedures and social distancing)
  • It is the traveller’s responsibility to understand and comply with any travel safety policies put in place by airports, airlines or other travel providers were required
  • It is the traveller’s responsibility to tenure you have valid and adequate travel insurance cover in place

Notwithstanding the above, anyone choosing to book and travel agrees to not hold us, our suppliers or group companies responsible for:

  • Any loss or damage suffered, including in relation to curtailment or cancellation of any aspect of the booking
  • Any restrictions put in place by the destination country’s Government and Authorities.

The UK foreign office has started to lift travel restrictions to certain countries. An up to date list of these countries can be found at:-

Permitted destinations

Please bear in mind that some of these countries may still have restrictions on UK visitors, such as quarantine and so you should check each particular country you are planning to visit or transit through.

General Coronavirus travel advice from the foreign office can be found at:-

Foreign Office – Coronavirus advice

Leading up to your departure date normal booking terms and conditions apply because in theory government advice could change tomorrow and your holiday could still proceed.  If you wish to cancel your holiday prior to departure (or refuse to pay your balance for example) then you could lose your deposit and/or end up paying cancellation charges. If the operator has cancelled the holiday though then a different policy will apply.

As your departure date approaches a tour operator may cancel your holiday if the foreign office is advising against all but essential travel. If the operator does cancel your holiday then they are likely to offer you the chance to reschedule your holiday or they might offer you a credit note to use against future bookings. In some cases, some operators are offering credits that are bigger than the value of the holiday you booked.

If you have booked a package holiday (eg flights and accommodation) you are within your rights to accept this offer or to get a cash refund for what you paid for the holiday. Please speak to one of our travel consultants about the options available to you.

If you have booked a package holiday with an ATOL protected operator and if you have a booking yet to depart and the operator goes bust, then the government (through the CAA) will refund any money that you have paid.

If the tour operator goes bust while you are overseas then the government will arrange to bring you home at no cost.

If instead of a current booking with an operator you have a credit note for your previous booking then the government and the CAA have also confirmed that these will be covered by ATOL protection.

You have to check this with your policy provider, either contact them directly or check your policy and any fine print. If it doesn’t, then you may be able to buy an extension to cover it. If they don’t offer an extension then you might want to take out a new policy with another company, cancel your original policy and get a refund for the unexpired term. We do strongly advise you to book travel insurance with Covid-19 cover.

It is worth noting that insurance companies may change their policies and so getting the right policy sooner rather than later may be advisable, always check with your policy provider if you are unsure about what your policy covers.

We suggest you should only book a departure date that is sufficiently far in the future to provide the level of comfort necessary for someone in your situation. For people in high-risk categories, we suggest a departure date as far in the future as possible when the virus is hopefully under control and perhaps a vaccine has been developed, although we cannot suggest a time frame for this.

For those willing to travel a bit earlier, if you book a package holiday with an ATOL protected operator then any future booking will be financially protected.

Paying for your holiday:

We accept deposits for our bookings, the deposit option may change depending on the overall cost of the booking. Bookings made within 12 weeks of departure require full payment at the point of booking. Due to this the deposit option may not be available for all bookings. Please speak to your travel consultant about the option of a deposit on your booking for your holiday.

Balances are due minimum 12 weeks prior to your departure date.

Customers booking travel arrangements including flights with British Airways, American Airlines, Iberia and Finnair where your departure date is within 16 weeks or less at the point of booking the full balance will be payable. 

For all other customers if your departure date is within 12 weeks or less at the point of booking the full balance will be payable. If your departure date is within 20 weeks or less at the point of booking and includes a Disney Cruise, the full balance will be payable.

If the deposit and/or balance is not paid in time, we reserve the right to cancel your travel arrangements or impose a £75 surcharge per person, if such a surcharge is imposed and you decide not to pay it then the booking will cancel with immediate effect and this will result in a 100% loss of any monies already paid under that booking confirmation number.

If the balance is not paid in time, we reserve the right to retain your deposit.

Notification Period Cancellation Charge** 16 weeks or more*** – Loss of deposit

12 weeks or more Loss of deposit

12-8 weeks 70% of holiday price* or deposit if more

8-4 weeks 90% of holiday price* or deposit if more

Less than 4 weeks, 100% of holiday price* or deposit if more

If you wish to make a change to your booking we will do our very best to assist you. We are able to make most elements of your booking after confirmation, including date of departure, however, only one date change is permitted. Any amendments to your booking is subject to availability and a fee.

Visas & Passports

If you are travelling to the United States you are required to have a valid British passport. Your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay plus 6 months thereafter.

For more information visit the Foreign and Commonwealth office:

www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/usa/entry-requirements

Most UK citizens travelling to the USA are required to obtain an Electronic Travel Authorisation (ESTA) prior to boarding (whether they are travelling by air or sea to the USA). If you do not apply for this authorisation prior to travel you may be denied boarding, experience delays, or denied admission at a USA port of entry. 

Applications must be submitted no less than 72 hours prior to travel and are valid for 2 years from the date you travel so can be used multiple times within the validity period. 

We encourage you to apply early, please note there is a charge of approximately $14 per person. When completing your ESTA please state the address of the accommodation on your booking. 

To complete an ESTA please go to https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/

Please note that not all UK citizens are permitted to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver scheme, this includes but not limited to UK citizens that have criminal convictions.

For further information please visit: help.cbp.gov/app/answers/list/p/0/c/0/kw/esta/search

USA Direct cannot be held liable for any passenger that is not permitted to enter the United States.

Before you fly

All airlines now require passengers travelling with them to provide Advanced Passenger Information. This information includes the details of your passport. 

This information will be provided to the airline by the customers, we do not take this information at any point.

Our airline partners provide a range of meals on board your flights, you can provide any dietary information with the airline. USA direct do not book your meals or dietary requirements, this is done at the customers leisure. If you would like our assistance in this there will be an extra fee for this service. 

For further information about meals please visit the website of the airline you are travelling with:

When travelling with an infant under two you have the choice of either having the infant seated on your lap or for it to have its own seat. 

If the infant is to be seated on your lap you will be charged an infant fare, but if the infant has its own seat you will be charged a child fare. 

Sky cots are made available by our airline partners on a first-come-first-served basis. 

For specific information about what infant accessories you are permitted to take on your flights, you will need to contact your airline directly.

If any member of your party requires special assistance you need to make your travel consultant aware during the booking process. We will do our best to book your assistance ourselves, but on some occasions airlines will need to speak to you directly to enquire about your specific requirements, we will advise you on this process. 

For further information about the special assistance available on your airline please visit the website of the airline you are travelling with:

To pre-book your seats you will need to contact USA Direct to obtain your airline locator number and then you will need to contact the airline directly to reserve your seats. The process for pre-booking seats varies depending on the airline you are travelling with. Please note that some airlines do charge for pre-booking seats. 

If you are not able to pre-book your seats you will be allocated seats upon your arrival to the airport. Please note that if you are travelling on a ‘group booking’ you will not be able to view your flight reservation online, pre-book your seats or check-in online.

Baggage allowance and policies differ from airline to airline and change on a regular basis, please visit your airline’s website for the most up to date information. If you wish to add additional baggage to your bookings such as extra check-in luggage, golf clubs, buggies or car seats you will need to contact your airline directly.

We will aim to send you your travel documents 1 month prior to the departure date. However, documents such as theme park tickets will need to be issued closer to the departure date. 

If you have any further questions about the issuing of your travel documents please contact one of our travel consultants who will be happy to talk you through this process.

If you are departing from a specific terminal this should be stated on your paperwork you have received.

For further terminal information please visit the appropriate website below:

It’s important to us that you begin your holiday right and have a stress free departure day. Airports can become quite busy, especially surrounding public/school holidays. Delays at the baggage drop off and security may cause you to wait longer than you may have anticipated. You may then also want to spend time preparing for your flight or browsing duty-free. 

Due to this, we advise the following arrival times at the airport.  

  • Internal flights within mainland UK – minimum 2 hours prior to departure.
  • Transatlantic flights – a minimum of 3 hours prior to departure

As a rule no you will not need to collect your luggage and check it in again, but this is subject to change by the airline and dependent upon the airport’s security level at the time of travel. 

USA Direct has no control over your luggage and is not able to confirm that luggage will not need to be collected and checked in.

Your Accommodation

Villas/self-catered accommodation

When booking a private villa there may be a requirement for either a refundable security deposit or a non-refundable insurance premium. Your travel consultant will advise you on which may be applicable to your booking.

All our villas are booking on an allocation on arrival basis; before you arrive in Florida you will receive a voucher providing you with your villa address, entry code and directions if needed. 

Named Villas:

You will be sent directions and any entry codes needed prior to arriving in Florida.

Check in time for our villas is from 4pm. Check out is 10am. All times are local time.

If late checkout is needed we will do our best to arrange this for you. However, it may not be available at some accommodations, please talk through this arrangement with your travel consultant and they will advise you on the possibility of late checkout and any fee that may apply.

We have a vast selection of villas to provide to our customers, they vary in style and decor but all come with:

  • Towels,
  • Linen
  • Kitchen amenities
  • WIFI 
  • Air Conditioning

We recommend that during the months of October – April you consider pre-booking pool heat for your villa. Please note that the heating will not be switched on until the day of your arrival. Pool heaters will not heat the pool to ‘bath’ temperature, it will simply take the chill out of the water.

Pool heat will be charged extra to your booking, please let your travel consultant know if you require pool heat and they will advise you on the extra fee.

Hotels

It’s common when staying at a hotel in the United States to be charged a resort fee. This fee is payable directly to the hotel and is either paid at the beginning of the end of your stay, this depends on the hotel. 

Hotels charge resort fees to cover the costs of services that are available in the hotel such as Wifi in your room and access to the gym and any on-site parking that may be required. Different resorts will have different services they charge for. Please check with your accommodation website to see if they have published their resort fees prior to your arrival. 

Resort fees must be paid for at the accommodation, USA Direct cannot be paid for this fee. Our travel consultants may be able to assist you in information regarding the resort fees so please do not hesitate to ask. 

Resort fees are subject to change so there is a chance that your hotel may introduce them after your booking has been made or that they increase between the time you make your reservation and your departure date.

During your stay, if you have an issue regarding your stay, you must contact the hotel directly or contact a member of our team during your stay. We ask you to do this during your stay so a member of the team at the hotel you’re staying at can assist you in resolving the matter as quickly as possible. If you bring this issue to us after your stay we will unfortunately not be able to resolve this issue.

Car Hire & Transfers

You will be given the option to book your car hire while booking the rest of your holiday package. However, if you decide to not book your car hire at this time, you may book it at a later date with one of our travel consultants before you depart for your holiday.

Any UK Citizen planning to drive in the USA is required to have a valid British driving license. You will need to provide this license to your car hire provider either before arrival or on picking up your vehicle.

The lead driver must have a valid credit card or visa debit card, this will depend on the company providing your car hire. An imprint of the card will need to be provided as a security pre-authorisation for incidentals and damages, cash will not be accepted.

Various car hire packages are available and in many cases, they can be tailored to suit your needs best. Some elements of car hire packages include:

  • Multiple drivers
  • Fuel options (Return fuel options)
  • Roadside assistance
  • Young driver policies for under 21s
  • Plus any optional extras you would like to add to your booking

All car hire packages come with comprehensive insurance as standard, which means you do not need to purchase any further coverage. 

Upon your arrival to pick up your vehicle, you may be offered additional insurance items to add to your booking, but please note that these are optional. Additional insurance items may include: Personal Accident Insurance and Personal Effects Coverage, in most cases these are already included in your travel insurance policy (please check your policy to confirm).

Along USA highways, there may be toll booths on your route, each toll may have different charges depending on the route you take. Tolls can cost anywhere between $0.25 and $10.00. Tolls should provide various ways to pay the charge including cash or credit/debit cards. However, this cannot be guaranteed on all tolls so please ensure you have a sufficient amount of change in your car to pay for tolls.

Alternatively, may car hire providers do offer toll passes which are prepaid and ensure you pass through the toll booth quickly. If you plan on doing a fair amount of driving during your holiday, it may save you money to purchase one of these passes. Please note that passes cannot be purchased through USA Direct, you may only purchase them directly with your car hire provider upon picking up your vehicle.

Child seats

Under US law all children under the age of 4 must be secured in a federally approved child seat. Children over 4 can wear seat belts. As in the UK, everyone travelling in a car, adults and children alike, are legally required to wear a seatbelt for the duration of their travel.

 

Child seats may be reserved at the point of booking or as an add on prior to your departure. Alternatively, if you’re visiting for an extended time, you may purchase a child seat at a relatively low price in outlets such as Target and Walmart. 

 

Sat nav

As an optional extra, you may have the choice to add a Sat Nav onto your booking. These come at an additional cost either at approx £35 per week prior to your departure or you can add the Sat Nav onto your booking upon arrival at approx $12 per day plus tax.

Pick up and drop off points are typically located at the airport of arrival/departure. However, this may not be the case for all bookings, the exact pick-up and drop off location will be detailed for you in your travel documents and car hire voucher set to you prior to your departure. 

We are able to arrange transfers for your booking if you would not like to hire a car. This can be organised at the point of booking. Please let your travel consultant know if you require transfers for your holiday and they will be happy to arrange that for you and to advise you on prices.

Travel Documents:

Your booking confirmation will be emailed to you within 5 days of you making your reservation. 

We will aim to send you your travel documents 1 month prior to the departure date. However, documents such as theme park tickets will need to be issued closer to the departure date. 

If you have any further questions about the issuing of your travel documents please contact one of our travel consultants who will be happy to talk you through this process.

ATOL is a protection scheme for flights and holidays that include air travel, this is managed by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). The receipt is issued to confirm your financial protection, please note that this ATOL receipt is not a confirmation invoice.

Cruises:

The allocation of your cabin number will be detailed to you at the point of booking. If you would like to change cabins, this will be subject to availability and may incur an additional charge.

Typically, cruises which offer 2 dining sittings require first sittings to start around 6.30 pm and second sittings around 8.30 pm. Sittings can be requested at the time of booking, but can be changed prior to departure and are subject to availability.

For more information please check with your cruise liner website.

Gratuities are now compulsory on many cruises and will, in most cases, be applied to your on-board account automatically. Most cruise liners offer the option to prepay your gratuities prior to departure.

All clients are required to check-in online prior to departure, during this online check-in process you will be asked to create an account, in this account, you will be able to arrange additional services such as excursions and food & drink packages. 

Each cruise liner may provide different services at different charges so please check for more information with the cruise liner you are travelling with.

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Or call us on:

0161 250 5333