General Tour Information
Our group size is very much determined by the type of tour and the destination. Our privately chartered rail cruises in New South Wales and special event trains (e.g. Elvis and ABBA festivals) are well suited to larger groups of up to 60 people, while other tours work better with smaller groups – for example, some, like our private exploration of Tasmania, only offer 10 seats. Internationally, our group size is usually somewhere between 15 and 25 passengers, but never more than 25.
“Heritage” in the rail world means trains that have been decommissioned and then faithfully restored, most usually by volunteer groups around the world. They include a variety of heritage trains from steam trains to rail motors. While Railway Adventures also uses modern trains, we try to incorporate a ‘heritage” experience in all our tours. On some tours, your entire experience is on heritage trains.
One of the most wonderful things about Railway Adventures is that we don’t discriminate when it comes to trains. From easy-paced heritage rail motors to privately chartered luxury trains, to ‘Business Class’ seats in bullet trains like the Shinkansen, we travel on them all. What we can guarantee is that you will be in the most comfortable seats available on regular trains and the fully-crewed heritage trains are kept clean and well serviced for the duration of the tour.
Every tour is slightly different so we always include a detailed list of inclusions in our tour brochures so you know exactly what you’re getting. Generally, tours will include all your travel from the starting point of the tour, hotel accommodation, most meals, and sightseeing and excursion fees.
On some international tours they are, and this is clearly outlined in the individual tour brochure. Airport transfers are not included in our domestic tours.
Flights to and from the tour start and finish points are not included. Other exclusions are travel insurance, alcoholic beverages (unless specified), meals in the “free time” in the itinerary, special dietary food and snacks outside those we cater for, items of a personal nature such as laundry and phone calls, and any additional pre or post tour accommodation.
We guarantee you’ll make friends! We’re well known for the care and inclusion our fabulous Tour Leaders show everyone on tour, which is why the number of single travellers booking our tours has grown to 33% of our passengers. You’ll only be left alone if you want to be!
Yes, like every travel company, we need to charge a single supplement for those that wish to have their own private room for the duration of the tour. Hotel providers charge by room, which is why a twin share price is cheaper per person. If you would be happy to share a room with another solo traveller, you just need to let us know and we’ll see if we can facilitate that.
It’s all very stress-free! You can reserve your spot on a tour by either completing a booking form online or calling our office and asking for one to be sent to you, either by email or post. You’ll need to return the completed booking form with a non-refundable deposit ($500 per person for domestic tours and $1000 for international tours). Upon receipt of your booking form and deposit, we can confirm your booking. Please note that bookings are processed in the order they are received.
If you decide to cancel your booking, you may qualify for a refund (less the non-refundable deposit) depending on how far out from departure we receive your notice of cancellation.
If you decide to cancel your booking the following charges apply:
More than 60 days International & 45 days domestic before departure your deposit is fully refundable, and we can roll your deposit over to another tour.
60 – 46 days prior 20% of total amount due.
45 – 31 days prior 50% of total amount due.
30 – 0 days prior 100% of the total amount due. No refund available as all tour costs have already been paid in advance.
International Tours to the United States and Canada and Domestic Partner Tours
Deposit is non-refundable.
75 – 61 days prior 20% of total amount due.
60 – 31 days prior 50% of total amount due.
30 – 0 days prior 100% of the total amount due. No refund is available as all tour costs have already been paid in advance.
We take the day on which you cancel as being that on which we receive written confirmation of cancellation.
If you have booked and paid for flights that also need to be cancelled, you should go directly to the provider, as the fees and charges differ. If you booked flights through Railway Adventures, we would have advised you of what specific penalties and cancellation fees will apply.
As you can appreciate, no company can run a tour at a loss, so every tour needs to reach a minimum number before it can depart. We can always let you know the departure status of a tour when you book. If you’re one of the first to book, before we’ve reached the minimum number, we’ll let you know via email the moment the departure is guaranteed, so you can plan with confidence and book your flights. We reserve the right to cancel tour departures that don’t reach the required minimum group size for a tour to run. Having said that, we rarely have this problem – it’s usually a wait list challenge!
Very rarely things don’t go to plan in the travel business. Sometimes this is because we haven’t reached the required minimum number but sometimes other things can happen – the train we’ve chartered may have derailed and be inoperable, our accommodation may have been compromised and an alternative is not available at short notice, or remember COVID? We do not cancel a tour unless there is no option but if we have to, we’ll let you know immediately. In the unfortunate (and unusual) circumstance that we have to cancel your tour departure, we’ll offer you the option of transferring your payment(s) to a different tour or provide a full refund on what you’ve paid us.
We’ll keep you updated every step of the way leading up to your departure. About 2 weeks prior to your tour departing, you’ll receive your travel pack with your name badge, baggage tags, tour notes and any transfer vouchers you’ll need. And you can always call us any time with any questions!
Deposit and Final Payment
To confirm your reservation, you will be required to pay a deposit. The deposit of $250 – $2000 may include payment to supplier/wholesalers as well as a deposit held by Railway Adventures. Your deposit forms part of your final payment which must be received by us before documents are issued. Final payment unless specified is required 75 – 45 days prior to tour departure.
Passports, Visas and Insurance
We recommend that every passport is valid for travel for at least six months from the planned return date to Australia.
That is fine, as long as we have a copy of the new passport at least 60 days before departure from Australia.
Australian travellers require visas for several countries, including Vietnam and India. We can assist in arranging these, but the one thing to note is they can take time to arrange so early booking is therefore recommended.
Please check the DFAT website for information about foreign embassies in Australia: https://protocol.dfat.gov.au/Public/Display
To view the most recent visa requirements for Australian passport holders, please see: https://www.dfat.gov.au/travel/visas/visas-for-australians-travelling-overseas
For passengers not travelling on an Australian passport, please advise our Customer Service Specialist at the time of booking as the requirements may be different to the above and may entail a longer application period.
Travel insurance is not mandatory on our domestic tours. However, if there’s any chance you may need to cancel your travel you may want to consider it, as you could recover the payments you have made to us. For international tours, you must have a valid travel insurance policy to travel with us overseas. Before you travel, we need to have the name of your travel insurance provider, your policy number and their 24/7 international emergency phone number so your Tour Leader can assist you quickly if they need to.
Wherever possible we use centrally located 4 and 5-star hotels. Location is the most important thing for us as we want you to be able to easily explore the places you visit on foot. However, in some destinations, those hotels don’t exist, particularly in regional Australia and when we’re off the beaten track overseas, so we’ll always select the best possible accommodation available for our groups.
Yes, as long as we know in advance, preferably at the time of booking. There is a special place on our booking forms for you to advise us of any special dietary needs. We have never, at least not on any occasion we can remember, turned down a customer because of a dietary requirement! If you’re worried your dietary requirement may be a tricky one, please feel free to talk to our customer service team on 1300 800 977 before you make a booking.
Every tour includes breakfast each day and most lunches and dinners, especially when we’re in a location where you don’t have many options to choose from. In destinations where you have alternatives, we give you free time so you can explore the local cuisine at your own leisure. Our welcome and farewell dinners/lunches include alcoholic beverages.
While on Tour
Our Tour Leaders are exceptional travel professionals who have a wealth of experience and are passionate about sharing their expertise with you. We carefully hand-pick each leader for their outstanding skills and knowledge, ensuring that they bring their own unique style and personality to our Railway Adventures team. Our leaders have a wealth of knowledge in the rail and social history of a destination, local culture, and cuisine, and are dedicated to ensuring your journey with us is unforgettable. We take pride in our team’s unmatched passion, dedication, and attention to detail.
All our tours have one or more of our own Tour Leaders with you every day but when we stop in a destination or embark on an excursion, the best people to tell us the story of where we are is someone who lives there and is part of the local community. We have wonderful local guides we regularly use and they bring something really special to each tour.
The required level of fitness to participate in our tours varies, depending on the destination, the pace of the tour and the activities and excursions included. Our Loco Fitness rating on the tour brochure provides the information you need. A good guide to assess if you’ll manage the tour you’re interested in is to first ask yourself if you are able to walk unaided, handle your own luggage, and get on and off trains and coaches without too much trouble. For a detailed explanation of our required fitness levels, please click HERE. If you’d like to better understand how you might manage a tour, we invite you to call our team on 1300 800 977 to confidentially discuss it with them.
Yes, but you may wish to look at our Loco Fitness rating on the tour brochure to decide if it’s for you before you book. A good guide is to first ask yourself if you are able to walk unaided, handle your own luggage, and get on and off trains and coaches without too much trouble. We’ll always do whatever we can to get you on board and can make special arrangements on request (e.g. a walk in the shower so you don’t have to climb into the bath). Some of our travellers bring a friend or relative with them to help. If you’d like to better understand how you might manage a tour, we invite you to call our team on 1300 800 977 to confidentially discuss it with them.
Travel Safety, Health, Covid and Communicable Diseases
Our COVID policy aims to keep you as safe as we can while you travel in a world of heavily reduced restrictions, so there are occasions when we will encourage everyone to wear a mask, sanitise and maintain social distance if we feel that is in the best interests of the group. But staying ‘safe’ is also up to you a bit. While we work to ensure your safety at a tour level, we also urge you to take personal responsibility for your own wellbeing and that of your fellow travellers. See our COVID policy HERE.
Be assured we’ll do everything in our power to get you the help you need. We can arrange for medical attention and even facilitate hospital admissions if necessary. We’ll follow your directions and reach out to your emergency contact and help with any travel assistance you may need to get home if your illness means you need to leave the tour. While on tour, if you’re prone to flu infections (or don’t want to get one), we suggest you wear a mask and use hand sanitiser regularly. If you have a cough or runny nose or any other flu-like symptoms, we ask that you wear a mask and maintain social distance where possible to shield others. If it turns out you have COVID, you can read our COVID Policy HERE.
Yes, of course – we want you to get the best sleep possible! While most hotels have power points next to the bed, it’s still a good idea to let us know so we can make sure you get the room you need.