Custom Vacations

A tailor-made trip

Are you looking for a one-of-a-kind vacation where you choose accommodations, trip elements, excursions and extras? Then, a Custom Vacation is for you!

A custom vacation is a fully customized and tailor-made trip that is specifically designed to fit your travel style and budget.

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What is a Custom Vacation?

A custom vacation is exactly what it sounds like – a fully customized and tailor-made trip that is specifically designed to fit your travel style and budget.

Your vacation includes your personal, custom trip itinerary, hotels, guided excursions, day trips and extras as specified by you and outlined in your initial proposal.

How does it work?

Given the personalized details that go into each vacation, we request a $300 upfront fee to begin planning your trip. We will exchange a few emails, you’ll complete a short questionnaire and we will arrange a short phone call, if you like.

We’ll create a draft that includes:
– Ideal travel route, recommended number of nights in each destination, transport options
– Accommodations, restaurants, hot-spots, day trips and activities for each destination
– Suggested free time and alternative options

You will review your itinerary and we will make changes, additions and adjustments until you love it.

Once you approve your itinerary* and per-person price, you will pay a vacation deposit (50% minus the $300 upfront fee) and we’ll book your trip.

Approximately two months before you travel you will pay your balance and one month prior to your trip, you will be sent a final Custom Vacation packet. We will confirm everything before you arrive in Italy and be available during your vacation.

What do you get?

– Custom Vacation Package
In addition to maps, photos and a day-by-day vacation outline, your package includes a section on local specialties, must-eat treats and information on handmade crafts from each area you are visiting. It also includes our exclusive guides ranging from Dining, Shopping, Preparing for your Heritage Tour, Packing and more.

– 24/7 Consultant
We are available throughout your vacation to troubleshoot on your behalf. Additionally, you have unlimited access to email consultations prior to your trip.

Who buys this package?

Travelers who:
– Can’t wait days or weeks to receive confirmation from a hotel, guide or restaurant
– Don’t enjoy searching online for hard-to-find classes, tours, excursions and transfers
– Prefer to save hundreds of hours researching and planning their trip
– Want to maximize their time and money in southern Italy
– Enjoy having inside information
– Want the assurance that everything is booked and confirmed prior to arrival
– Would like to pre-pay for their vacation and not stress about having a large amount of euros on-hand to pay for their trip
– Appreciate the security of having a consultant who will communicate on their behalf
– Want to know someone is there throughout their trip to troubleshoot, translate and advise them

* Once you approve your vacation and we begin booking trip elements, a $50 per hour fee may apply to changes you request. The fee is waived if My Bella Vita Travel or the vendors we work with suggest a change.

Contact me or email cherrye@mybellavita.com for more information.

Sample 10-Day Custom Vacation Itinerary

Day1

Day 1:

– You will arrive in Lamezia Terme, pick up your rental car and drive to Calabria’s Ionian coast. You will check into your seaside hotel and have a chance to rest or explore the neighborhood.

– In the evening, you will enjoy a Wine-Tasting Dinner at a trendy new wine bar.

Day2

Day 2:

– After breakfast, you will push up your sleeves for a Hands-on Cooking Class with a local family.You will enjoy local aperitivi snacks and wine while learning to master homemade Calabrese specialties, then you will feast on your creations.

– Time and energy-permitting, you can walk off your lunch at the nearby Greek and Roman ruins.

Day3

Day 3:

– You will have breakfast, then visit a nearby castle that is tied to the mythological Calypso in Homer’s The Odyssey. You can have either swim or snorkel near the castle or explore the ruins. You can choose to have lunch in the small town.

Day4

Day 4:

– This morning, you will head out for an excursion into La Sila Mountains and a typical Calabrese Picnic Feast, complete with homemade Calabrian specialties and local wine. In the afternoon, you will return to your hotel.

Day5

Day 5:

– After breakfast, you will drive south approximately two hours to one of Italy’s best preserved medieval villages. On the way you can stop in Stilo, home of the 10th century Greek-Byzantine La Cattolica, located near the Serre Mountains. You will continue to your B&B and have the opportunity to explore the town.

Day6

Day 6:

– You’ll have a light breakfast, then mid-morning, you will enjoy a second Hands-on Cooking Class and wine-pairing with the B&B owner who is also a professional sommelier. After the class you will dine on your masterpieces al fresco (weather-permitting).

Day7

Day 7:

– This morning you can explore the Locride by visiting the archaeological park in Locri or stopping by the Villa Romana (dating from the 1st century; home of Calabria’s largest collection of ancient mosaics).

Day8

Day 8:

– You will have breakfast, then drive across the region to the Tryhennian Sea where you will check into a luxury B&B in the historical center of Tropea. You can spend the day exploring the dramatic cliff-side town.

Day9

Day 9:

– After breakfast you can visit the beach or shop in the small shops in the historical center. In the afternoon, you will enjoy your final Cooking Class and Farewell Feast at a local farm.

Day10

Day 10:

– You will have breakfast, then drive to Lamezia to return to your rental car. Ciao Calabria!

More information on this itinerary can be found here.

Contact us or email cherrye@mybellavita.com for more information.

Please read this document carefully as it contains information pertinent to your custom tour or vacation. To complete your booking, you must acknowledge you have read and agree to all the terms and conditions specified below. Making a payment for your vacation, as well as your physical presence on the planned vacation or tour indicates your agreement to these terms and conditions.

INITIAL DETAILS

Your custom vacation or private tour price will be defined in the final project and is subject to your final approval. MBV Travel, LLC requires a $300 upfront fee and a signed copy of these terms and conditions to begin working on your custom vacation or tour. This fee is not an additional expense and will be deducted from your deposit.

We accept payments via all major credit cards, personal check (to a US bank) or Paypal.

PROCEDURE

– Once we receive your contract and upfront fee, we will begin working on your trip outline. In some cases this takes several weeks of back-and-forth with the traveler and is often reliant upon the traveler’s response time. If you are booking during a particularly busy time, you will be advised of your outline turn-around time via email or phone. In some cases (typically on ancestry-related trips) where the traveler requests a destination unfamiliar to the MBV Travel team, more time might be needed to define your itinerary outline. If you have questions about this, please consult Cherrye (cherrye@mybellavita.com.)

– After you approve your outline, we will fill in the details of your itinerary and provide you with a vacation / tour proposal and per-person trip price.

– Upon receipt of your tour or vacation deposit, lodging, guides, drivers and other bookable elements will be secured.

– Approximately one month before the commencement of your tour or vacation, you will receive your vacation package via email. This includes a detailed itinerary, along with hotel and other contact information, maps (when applicable), photos, lists of local products, shopping and dining recommendations, a selection of our exclusive planning guides, articles of interest and travel tips. If you are traveling prior to the vacation or tour we are planning for you, please let us know and we will make every effort to expedite delivery of your vacation package.

CANCELLATION POLICY

The client may cancel the trip at any time but will be subject to the cancellation policies and fees of the various service providers (IE, rental agencies, hotels, guides, transportation services, etc.)

MBV Travel, LLC fees are non-refundable. Should the client choose to cancel the agreement after the initial deposit has been made but before receiving the final packet, the full invoice amount would be due if we are unable to cancel your various services. Cancellations due to medical reasons can only be covered by your travel insurance carrier. We strongly advise that you purchase travel insurance to protect yourself in the event that you need to cancel your reservations. Additionally, no refund will be made for any unused portion of the tour or vacation.

CLIENT RESPONSIBILITY

All cancellation of trip requests are the responsibility of the client and must be made in writing.

A custom vacation and/or tour package is created for and is limited in use to the client named in the contract. Please refrain from publishing your itinerary and our recommendations online.

MONEY MATTERS

All tour and vacation prices are listed on a per person basis and are based on double occupancy, unless otherwise noted. Payments are remitted in USD.

My Bella Vita Travel provides bundled travel packages at one price to our travelers and does not provide cost breakdown. Travelers who wish to reduce the overall price of their trip are asked to provide us with a ballpark figure and we will make our best effort to meet their request.

FINAL PAYMENT

Final Payment is due in full 60 days prior to your tour or vacation. When booking past this date, full payment is due to secure the booking. Your reservation may be cancelled and your deposit forfeited if not received by the due date.

NSF CHECKS

In some cases it is possible to pay for your vacation via check on a US bank. If a check is returned to us due to non-sufficient funds, My Bella Vita Travel will assess a $50.00 fee per occurrence. This fee will be added to the tour or vacation balance to be paid in full no later than 60 days prior to departure or the reservation will be cancelled and the deposit forfeited.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My Bella Vita Travel reserves the right to use photographs and videos of guests taken during custom tours and vacations in promotional materials without compensation or advanced notice. If you desire a specific picture not be used, please contact My Bella Vita Travel and the photo will be removed from promotional materials.

TRAVEL DOCUMENTS

It is the responsibility of the traveler to obtain passports, visas and other travel documents. Please check with your local embassy or consulate. My Bella Vita Travel cannot accept responsibility if you are refused access to a country due to improper documentation.

TRAVEL INSURANCE

Travel can be risky and parts of your tour or vacation may be non-refundable. If you are concerned, you may want to consider purchasing travel insurance. Although we cannot recommend any particular insurer, you can compare policies and costs at InsureMyTrip.com. If you decide to buy, be sure to read all the fine print and fully understand the coverage.

DISCLAIMER

My Bella Vita Travel acts as an agent for the traveler with respect to transportation and hotels and exercise every possible care. However, we assume no liability for injury, damage, delay, loss, accident or irregularity in connection with the services of any train, bus, boat or other conveyance used in carrying out the arrangements of the tour. We cannot accept responsibility for losses or additional expenses due to delay or change or other circumstances, including but not limited to sickness, weather, strikes, war or terrorist acts, quarantine, acts of God or any other causes beyond our control. All such losses and expenses will be borne by the traveler.

Tour travelers should be aware that because of issues such as strikes, unforeseen weather conditions and unexpected restaurant or other closings and because southern Italy is full of wonderful surprises, we reserve the right to take advantage of whatever comes along so we may provide the best one-of-a-kind tour experience to our travelers. Any such change in itinerary would not be cause for a refund nor would it constitute grounds for fraud.

Contact me or email cherrye@mybellavita.com for more information.

Below you will find some of the most commonly asked questions about My Bella Vita Travel, LLC’s planning services for independent travelers. If your question isn’t answered here, please email cherrye@mybellavita.com.

If you are a travel agent, please contact me directly to see how we can work together to better serve your clients.

Planning Services for Independent Travelers

Can you tell me the difference between a Custom Vacation and a Packaged Vacation?

They are very similar, however the main difference is the level of customization.

With a Custom Vacation, the traveler pays a $300 upfront fee to secure our services. (This is not an additional expense, it is deducted from their first invoice.) We spend several weeks going back and forth choosing their route, their base locations and hotels. Then, we fill in the details. About a month before their trip they receive a final travel package.

With a Packaged Vacation, travelers choose the itinerary they prefer, we confirm availability and final price and they pay the 50% deposit. Approximately two months before their trip, they pay their balance and a month out we send them a detailed travel package that includes their full itinerary, complete with hotel and other contact information, travel tips, ideas for “on your own” time, a selection of our exclusive planning guides, local specialties and more.

The final travel package is the same for both Custom and Packaged Vacations.

Can you tell me the difference between a Custom Vacation and a Travel Consult?

There are several important differences between a Custom Vacation and Travel Consult, such as…

With a Custom Vacation:
– 1) You are provided a full vacation package and per-person price that includes your hotels, tours, escorted day trips and in some cases, meals or transportation
– 2) I book and confirm all of your reservations
– 3) You are allowed unlimited email or phone access prior to your trip
– 4) You get 24/7 concierge service throughout your vacation and someone is available to make last-minute reservations or troubleshoot your trip while you are in Italy

With a Travel Consult, you are provided with the information you need to secure your own bookings and arrange your trip.

Are Custom Vacations just for independent travelers or can I have a guide and/or driver with me during my trip?

We love private tours and can often include extra fun elements that aren’t available to individual travelers. If you’d like a bilingual escort or driver, just let us know. We’ll be happy to plan your custom vacation accordingly.

Will you plan our trip or will one of your staff do the planning?

When you work with My Bella Vita Travel, you will be working with me, the owner and founder – Cherrye Moore. I will plan your trip and I’ll be the one communicating with you the entire time. If you want to include other regions in your tour, I will work with one of my trusted colleagues to help plan that section with you.

Can you offer advice on hotels or locations when I book my ancestry tour?

Absolutely. Approximately 95% of all of our ancestry tours are done in conjunction with either a Custom Vacation or multi-day Private Tour. In some cases we also put together a Travel Consult for our ancestry tour travelers who prefer to plan and book their own trip.

What is the differences in a travel consultant, a travel agent and a tour operator?

This is a great question because there is sometimes overlap amongst the three which leads to confusion. To keep it quick though, a travel consultant is a local expert, meaning she only focuses on a specific part of the world, in some cases one country, in other cases (like mine) part of one country. This person usually lives (or has lived for an extended amount of time in) the place she consults on and has an intimate knowledge of the area.

A travel agent is similar in that she helps her clients put their trips together. A travel agent can specialize in a country but oftentimes hasn’t lived there and/or may not have traveled to all of the places her clients are going. A travel agent can search for and book flights and cruises that travel consultants can’t or choose not to book.

I often work with travel agents who want to ensure they are offering the best service to their clients. The travel agent will contact me and together we’ll put the Calabria/southern Italy section of their client’s vacation together.

A tour operator packages trip elements into travel packages that they either sell directly or through travel agents. Some travel consultants (like me) are registered as a tour operator for legal business purposes.

Travel agents are paid by commission – why don’t you just accept commission instead of asking your clients to pay you?

When you book a custom vacation, there is more going into your trip than simply recommending a hotel or a cooking class. I am invested in my clients’ trips and I work with them to choose the right base locations, to map out their ideal route and to ensure the hotels, guides, excursions and activities are right for them.

It’s been estimated the average person spends 100 hours researching, planning and booking a vacation. My clients either don’t have this kind of time to devote to planning their trip or they want to ensure they are making the right decisions for their vacation.

Besides the fact that I’m being paid by my clients to plan their trips, I choose not to accept commissions from hotels, car companies, chefs or other vendors because I don’t like the potential conflict of interest. If I don’t accept commission from anyone, then my clients know I always have their best interest in mind.

Do you book flights?

I don’t-but I can either coordinate with your travel agent, recommend an agent to you for group travel or tell you about the airlines I personally choose when I’m traveling.

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Contact me or email cherrye@mybellavita.com for more information.

Contributing Writer for:

DKTravel1Michelin
Calabria Travel Tips

Calabria Travel Tips e-Book!

Don't Get Caught with Dirty Drawers … and 98 other tips for traveling in Calabria!

I’m Cherrye Moore, a Texas-born freelance writer, travel consultant and bed and breakfast owner in Calabria. This 13-page PDF booklet is the result of my personal experiences of traveling throughout Calabria, this as well as a compilation of the most common mistakes Calabria-bound travelers make when visiting this region.