Booking Your Trip
To book your trip (tour program) with Ideal South America, LLC (ISA), we require a deposit of approximately 40-50% of the total value of the program, with some flexibility, to begin confirming the reservations. Payments are typically made by credit card, processed by a secure merchant payment portal. Other methods may be available upon request. If we are not issuing the international flights to and back from South America, we will need that info sent to us, along with copies of your passports, scanned and sent by email. After making the deposit, we recommend purchasing your travel insurance policy as soon as possible – within 14 days of booking (see below).
On the final page of your agreed tour program you will see a list of what is included and what is not included. Please read this carefully and ask your travel consultant if anything is not clear and requires clarification. Once the deposit is made, we move forward with the reservations and confirmations as per the program proposal agreed with your travel consultant. We will do everything we can to make the bookings agreed upon, but if availability presents a problem, we will endeavor to make alternate booking of the same class and quality – flights, tours and hotels.
Note when making those reservations with the various suppliers and local tour operators for your trip, ISA is acting simply as a sales agent, and therefore not responsible for any acts, omissions or failure to provide services by those independent suppliers. Furthermore, we are subject to their terms and conditions, in so far as they relate to and govern your trip. By agreeing to the tour program and making a deposit, confirming the booking, you accept these terms and conditions – ours contained herein and those of the suppliers responsible for operating your trip.
For most tour programs, the final balance of payment is due no less than 60 days before travel. Contact us before this time to ensure these charges are made and the final itinerary is being confirmed. Unless otherwise instructed, ISA reserves the right to make those charges in a timely fashion, typically to the same card on which the deposit was made.
Visas and Passports
A valid, up-to-date passport is required to travel on our trips, expiring no earlier than 6 months AFTER your travel dates. You are responsible to making sure this is completed. You are also responsible for verifying and applying for any visas needed to travel to the respective countries, depending on your citizenship. Although we will of course do our best to guide and assist you with this process, this is your responsibility and you must make sure and take care of all of this in the appropriate time before travel.
We recommend that you purchase a travel insurance plan to help protect you and your travel investment against the unexpected. The particular carrier and coverage is up to you, but it should cover your trip with ISA, as well as your departure from your home country and back. We do not offer this directly and in any case believe it is in your best interest to obtain it independently. For your convenience we offer travel protection plans through Travelex and Squaremouth, and can assist you with the process. We recommend that you take out your travel insurance no later than 14 days after booking your trip.
Trip Itinerary Services and Changes
ISA and its officers, contractors and employees (we) are acting simply as agents for the local tour operators and suppliers that provide the on-the-ground services, and therefore are not responsible for their actions or potential misdeeds. Furthermore, ISA and these local suppliers reserve the right to make changes to agreed itineraries, last-minute or otherwise. This may be due to issues such as adverse weather conditions, passenger safety or availability or other reasons unstated. ISA cannot guarantee the same services – tours, hotels, flights or yachts – will be offered, but will do its best to replace them with others of the same type or quality. ISA cannot be held responsible, financially or legally, for passengers’ dissatisfaction with said services – either agreed or replaced.
We cannot be held responsible, legally or financially, for changes in your booked program or itinerary made as a result of or due to changes made by flights delays, local operators, weather conditions, flight cancellations, illnesses, passenger change of mind, natural disasters, strikes, acts of god, force majeure and other circumstances and conditions not entirely controllable. Finally, we are not responsible for monies paid to us for the services of local tour operators that go out of business after a deposit was paid to them, but before travel departure and the procurement of their services. In this case, monies sent to them by ISA will be forfeited and must be recouped from your (traveling passenger) travel insurance carrier and then paid again to ISA.
Payments and Cancellation Policies
After we receive the aforementioned deposit to confirm the booking of your trip, we start the process of confirming it with the suppliers and local tour operators – tours, transfers, hotel and yacht reservations, issuing flights, i.e., sending corresponding deposits to them. In some cases we are paying the respective operators and suppliers quickly, within days, and furthermore, their terms may vary. Therefore, we and the terms of your trip are bound by those. For example, most Galapagos operators require full payment no less than 60 days before departure. So we and you are equally liable as such. Therefore, we require the final and full payment for the trip some time before that cut-off date. If we are able to make exception, we will let you know.
To help keep your price lower, we also typically purchase more economical flights. That usually means they are non-refundable and non-transferable. If you want to pay for more expensive flights with more flexibility, it is your responsibility to indicate this to us at the time of your booking. In other words, all flights issued are non-refundable and non-transferable unless otherwise agreed or noted.
In addition to all cancellations or postponements being subject to an administration fee of $100 USD per person, below are some deposit, credit and refund terms. If you cancel or postpone your trip:
- 25% of the deposit will typically be retained by ISA, in addition to any flights issued and payments sent or due to suppliers.
- 90+ days before departure, typically a refund or credit towards future travel of 50% is possible, not including any flights issued.*
- 89 – 61 days before departure – final payments due, typically no deposit refunds available, although some credit towards future travel might be.
- 59 – 46 days before departure – assuming full program payment has been made, IF a (Galapagos) cruise is not included, some refund amount or credit towards future travel should be possible, excluding flights.
- 45 days before tour departure – typically no refunds or credits towards future travel available.
* not applicable to trips with reservations requiring full payment no less than 90+ days before departure
In the event you are unable to make your planned trip and it must be cancelled or postponed, first contact your travel insurance carrier regarding any potential coverage and claims. We will do what we can to assist you with recouping funds for your trip, but it will depend on the policies, understanding and decisions of the suppliers and local tour operators with which your trip was booked. Credits or vouchers for future travel are subject to their respective confirmations at the time of re-booking or re-scheduling.