Wine and Spirits
Bulgarian wine and local brands of spirits are of good quality and considerably cheaper than in the UK. Note that spirits are served in 50g and
100g measures, and even the “small” measure of 50 ml is larger than a British double! You can import or export for your own use 1 litre of spirits,
2 litres of wine, 200 cigarettes and 50g of perfume. There will be a greater choice of goods at the airport shops than on the plane.
What to take
A small personal first aid kit (including an insect repellent) is useful, and any preferred brand cosmetics and toiletries, and also any proprietary
medication you are currently taking. If a change of diet or climate sometimes upsets your stomach, bring the appropriate remedies such as
BOOKING CONDITIONS for Balkania Travel, B-BS Tours and Trade Wings Travel
Imodium with you. If you like an early morning cup of tea, take powdered milk, tea bags and the heating element with you. When travelling inearly spring and late autumn, especially in the mountains, warm sweaters and waterproofs, as well as stout walking boots or shoes are sensible.
All bookings are made and accepted subject to the following terms and conditions, and by signing the booking form you agree to this. Our
In the warmer parts of the country, near to the Greek border and on the Black Sea coast lightweight clothing should be more appropriate.
acceptance of your booking means that we agree to operate your holiday as defined in our brochure, itineraries, flight information, booking formsand other information provided to you. The contract is between the signatory, acting on behalf of all members of his/her party, and Balkania Travel
Remember your two pin continental adaptor.
Limited, Company Reg. No. 2949098, registered and trading address as above (subsequently referred to as ‘we’/’us’). This agreement is made
Some villages and historic town centres are not well lit, so a pocket torch is useful. The period around 24 May is celebrated by school leavers both
subject to, and is to be interpreted and enforced in accordance with English law in an English court.
lengthily and loudly – bring some wax earplugs to ensure a good night’s sleep!
MAKING A BOOKING
What to buy
We can accept a provisional booking which we can keep open for 5 days. A reservation is complete when we receive from you a completed booking
Good value souvenirs include pottery, marble, glassware, carved wood, lace and embroidery, leather and suede.
form together with the applicable deposit and we confirm in writing to you with our confirmation invoice. The deposit is set at £250 per person,unless otherwise advised, subject to contract commitments in respect of air tickets and/or land arrangements. The balance is due 8 weeks before
the start of the holiday. If the balance has not been paid by the due date we reserve the right to treat the booking as cancelled by you and levy
In the unlikely event of loss or damage to your baggage while in the airline’s care, fill in a Property Irregularity Report before leaving the airport
and retain a copy. The airline will not accept responsibility if you do not do this, and holiday insurers may not accept a subsequent claim. Mosthotels offer to deposit small valuable items in an envelope in the hotel safe, for a small charge. Be sure to list the items included and obtain a
receipt for them, and for any subsequent additions or withdrawals. For security reasons we recommend you to use this service. Many hotels make
Please call Balkania Travel on 020 7536 9400 to check availability and request a Booking Form and Booking Conditions, if you haven’t got them
a small charge to all (including hotel guests) that use their swimming pools, fitness centres, night-clubs and public toilets.
already. We can at that stage accept a provisional booking which we can keep open for 5 working days. Read the booking conditions, completethe booking form, sign the declaration and return the booking form to us with your deposit of £250.00 per person (unless otherwise stated). Please
Bradt Travel Guide to Bulgaria
mark and include payment if you wish to purchase the Bradt guide to Bulgaria by Annie Kay.
This in our opinion is the best guide book to Bulgaria with the most thorough insight into the history, natural beauty, cultural monuments, andthe character, traditions and culture of its people. We hold a limited supply of the book and are happy to offer it at a reduced price with your
Payment should be made by cheque, and should reach us within 5 working days. We also accept payment by transfer or Visa, Mastercard, Switch,
JCB and American Express. There is a 2.5% handling charge by most credit card companies, 3% by AmEx; no charge for debit card payments. Forthe sake of your data security, do not fill in your card details on the booking form, but please phone us with them.
All information in our brochures and leaflets is given in good faith, and to the best of our knowledge was correct at the time of printing.
To confirm your booking
On receipt of your completed booking form and deposit, a Confirmation Invoice will be issued and sent to you. If you have any queries about anydetails on this invoice, please contact us at once. If such notification is not received within 14 days of the issue date, we shall consider the invoice
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
details to be correct. We reserve the right to decline any booking, at our discretion.
We are partners in the British Foreign Office Know Before You Go campaign, and you can find additional information ontravel to Bulgaria on www.fco.gov.uk.
Payment of the balance
Full payment of the balance is due 8 weeks before departure. This date will be shown on the confirmation invoice. Do make a note of this date,
ABOUT B-BS TOURS
as no reminder will be issued. If the balance is not paid by the due date, we reserve the right to treat the booking as cancelled by you and levy
The British-Bulgarian Society has been running a variety of special interest tours for over 35 years and with Balkania Travel Ltd for the last
appropriate cancellation charges (see Booking Conditions). If you are booking less than eight weeks before the departure date, full payment will
seventeen years. We aim to satisfy our clients’ specific interests as well as giving them a taste of Bulgaria, its scenery, customs and folklore, wine
and cuisine, history and way of life. No-one knows the country better than we do!
Our groups are usually a mixture of couples and single travellers and are noted for their friendly atmosphere. We prefer to run a small group rather
Approximately two weeks before departure we shall send you all your travel documents. Please take them with you on holiday.
than disappoint clients by cancelling, and rarely impose surcharges for small groups unlike most commercial operators. For Natural History andOrnithology groups, numbers don’t normally exceed 14, though occasionally if the final booking is a couple there may be 15.
Notes on Filling in the Booking Form
1. Please take care to put your full name on the booking form, exactly as per your passport, as this will be used for your airline ticket and must
Our tours are holidays and we aim to avoid long journeys and frequent hotel changes on most of our tours. We co-operate with local conservation
organisations and aim to make our tours a benefit to rural areas – by shopping locally for lunches, patronising restaurants in remote villages where
2. The Booking Reference box is for office use only.
possible etc.- and for every tour participant on a natural history tour we make a donation to nature conservation and bird protection NGO-s in
3. Double beds are not always available, sometimes double rooms have twin beds.
Bulgaria. Tour profits are also donated to a mixture of educational and conservation projects.
4. For single travellers who wish to share, we are always willing (with tour participant’s presumed permission) to give contact numbers, so thatyou can arrange matters between yourselves. If no one else on the tour wishes to share, then a supplement will be payable for your
Clients are asked to behave responsibly to all wildlife, no specimens of any kind must be taken. By setting a good example we can show local
people that we value their flora and fauna, thereby encouraging them to conserve it.
5. Please give accurate details of any ongoing medical conditions, so that we can arrange effective help if any problems arise.
6. Emergency phone number of next of kin should be exactly that, we don’t need a postal address.
NOTE ABOUT FLIGHTS
All 2013 B-BS Tours are by air and as such are licensed by the UK Civil Aviation Authority and financially protected under its ATOL Bonding
System for your peace of mind. Our ATOL Number
. We are members of the Air Transport Association, IATA Number 91-2 7839. Our
accreditation gives us access to the best consolidated air fares anywhere in the world on any airline. And to you, it gives additional financial security
through the IATA bonding scheme.
Our prices are inclusive of return flights
, all government, airport, etc. taxes and charges, usually 20 kgs checked-in hold baggage and 10 kgs
hand cabin baggage plus all the land arrangements described in the tour leaflet. We normally use direct day-time scheduled flights by national
carriers such as British Airways and Bulgaria Air from Heathrow to Sofia. Sometimes, for scheduling reasons, we may use holiday charter flights
or “no frills” airlines. Flight information is available in advance of booking from our office and flight details will be confirmed in our Confirmation
and Invoice. We usually cost £220 for return flights to Bulgaria into our prices and should they become more expensive (especially for late
bookings) a flight supplement will apply, or, we may use other flights, if feasible. We strongly recommend booking early not only to ensure
a place on the tour but also to avoid late booking surcharges. In some cases we will be able to give you an early booking discount.
Most airlines operate advance online check-in
procedures which require filing your passport details, answering baggage security questions,
LIMIT OF LIABILITY
choosing your seat in some cases, and issuing your boarding pass in advance of going to the airport. Boarding passes are available to print from
Balkania Travel Ltd. acknowledges responsibility for the correct description of services offered in the tour itinerary and for the preparation of the
several weeks to 24 hours before the scheduled time of departure. This saves time at the airport. You have the choice to either ask us to do online
travel arrangements. Only limited responsibility for the performance of the services provided by airlines, coaches, hotels, agents and other
check-in for you with your passport and baggage information, or doing it yourself, for which purpose we shall provide you with the details of your
suppliers can be accepted by Balkania Travel Ltd. No responsibility is accepted for loss or expenses due to sickness, weather, strikes, war, quarantine,
flight booking. In either case you will have to have a printed boarding pass
with you before reporting to the airport for your flight.
negligence (other than the proved negligence of Balkania Travel), loss of baggage or other causes, such losses being the responsibility of thetraveller, and for some of which insurance is available. When we are found to be liable for damages, the maximum amount of such damages will
Should clients in some cases wish to arrange their own flights or join our tour from Bulgaria, we shall be happy to quote without our costed air
be limited to the price paid for the holiday. Any complaint should be put in writing to Balkania Travel within 28 days of the scheduled end of your
fare. Such clients must arrange to join the group either on arrival at the airport or at the first hotel and we shall provide its address and contact
details to help them get there at the right place and the right time.
Clients should note that if they book their own flights separately they are no longer buying an air package from us and will therefore not come
Balkania Travel is a tour operator, licensed by the Civil Aviation Authority, ATOL number 4465. In accordance with their requirements we operate
under the financial protection of the CAA ATOL bonding scheme. We advise you in such cases to seek information about what protection
their financial security scheme and all monies paid by our customers are safe. In addition, we are bonded and accredited members of IATA,
carriers and operators you intend to use, will offer you.
a. If you change your booking
Balkania Travel is committed to protecting your privacy. When you provide personal information such as your name, email address, passport, card
If you wish to amend your booking, we will always try to assist you. These alterations may incur administrative charges, usually £25 per person
payment details and any other information about yourself, we will not disclose this information to any person, company or organisation. The only
on top of any charges airlines and other providers may impose, depending on the nature of the changes and the amount of notice we receive.
circumstances under which such information may be made known, is for (a) completion of ticketing, airline check-in, accommodation and otherformalities; (b) if disclosure is reasonably necessary to comply with the law or legal process or protect the rights of Balkania Travel, such as
b. If we have to make a major change to your tour
Our tour itineraries are prepared many months in advance and may be subject to amendment due to changing local conditions. Sometimes,circumstances beyond our control oblige us to make a major change to your tour arrangements, e.g. a change of departure airport, accommodation
or departure date. In such cases we will inform you immediately, and our objective will always be to minimise any inconvenience. Wherever pos-
sible we will offer you alternative arrangements as close as possible to your original choice. They may be of superior value, at our expense, or of
Bulgaria is a south-east European country, bordered by Greece, Turkey, Romania, Serbia and FYR of Macedonia. It has a population of about 7.5
a similar value. In the unlikely event that they are of inferior value (e.g. lower grade accommodation) we will refund the difference in the tour
million, and an area of 70,000 square miles. Its capital, Sofia, is 1,300 miles from London. The Black Sea coast is about 300 miles to the east of
price. You will then have a choice of accepting the changes, taking another available tour at a similar price, or cancelling. If you choose to cancel,
Sofia. The time in Sofia is 2 hours ahead of British time.
you will be reimbursed all monies paid to us, but no other compensation will be payable.
People, Language and Alphabet
The present day Bulgarians are descendants of the ancient Thracians, the oldest inhabitants of these lands and the Slavs and Bulgars who settled
In most cases we can arrange flights on dates, different from the ones reserved for the particular tour so that clients, if they so desire, may enjoy
here in the 7th Century. They are often dark haired and dark-eyed, but some are fair and blue-eyed. There are Turkish and Gypsy minorities.
an extension to their holiday. Please request these different flights and any extra land arrangements you may wish to consider, at the time of
Bulgarian is a South Slavonic language with similarities to others, such as Serbian, Croatian and Russian. Bulgarians nod their heads when meaning
“no” and shake them sideways meaning “yes”. The Bulgarian alphabet is a Cyrillic alphabet. In fact Bulgarians take pride in the fact that thealphabet was devised locally by the two brothers Cyril and Methodius in the 9th Century to serve the Bulgarian state and help the introduction
of Eastern Orthodox Christianity, which has been preached in the Bulgarian language ever since. Most road signs, especially on smaller roads are
a. If you cancel your holiday
All cancellations must be in writing, by the person who signed the Booking Form, and the fees for the exercise of this option are as follows:Days (working) before departure
Bulgaria’s climate is generally temperate continental influenced by its mountainous terrain and neighbouring Mediterranean weather systems.
Air is drier with noticeable fluctuations between day and night temperatures, even in summer it can be chilly in the early morning, especially in
the mountains. Winters tend to be much colder than in Britain, often with heavy snowfall, while summers are drier and hotter. Spring and autumn
All charges come into effect from the date on which written notification is received. Amendment fees are non-refundable. If the reason for
Passports and Visas
cancellation is covered by your holiday insurance, cancellation charges will normally be refunded by the insurance company (less the premium
A valid British passport (with at least 3 months validity after the date of return) is required for all British citizens. British citizens do not need a
visa. Other nationalities and holders of other types of British passports should check with the Bulgarian Embassy (Visa Section). This is open onweekdays from 09.30 – 13.00 but prior appointments are strongly recommended by phoning an automated line 090 6554 0750 (calls cost £1 per
b. If we cancel your holiday
minute). There is a 24 hour automated visa information line: 090 6550 8950, charged at £1 per minute. Consular and visa information can be
In certain circumstances (e.g. lack of sufficient numbers) we reserve the right to cancel the tour up to 56 days prior to departure. In such cases,
found on the embassy’s website: www.bulgarianembassy.org.uk Individual enquiries on submitted applications or urgent enquiries are dealt with
we will offer an alternative tour or refund all payments, but we shall be under no other liability.
between 13.00 and 15.00, Monday to Friday, on 020 7589 3763.
These holidays are costed many months in advance, and for a minimum number of people on each tour (normally ten). We reserve the right to
At present no vaccinations or inoculations are compulsory, though they may be recommended. Please check with your GP before departure. A
change the price or to impose surcharges due to unfavorable exchange rate changes, air fare and other transport cost increases, or government
Department of Health leaflet “Health Advice for Travellers” is available free from your doctor and main post offices. The Department of Health’s
action. We may have to impose surcharges also when the group size falls below the minimum number. If any surcharge exceeds 10% of the basic
website www.dh.gov.uk has constantly updated health advice for travellers, as does that of the Foreign Office www.fco.gov.uk For natural history
tour cost, you have the right to cancel your booking. We will then refund money paid to us in respect of the tour, but not
tour participants who spend a lot of time in the countryside, ticks are a possibility, so it is wise to dress defensively in long trousers which can be
tucked into socks when necessary. In Bulgaria local polyclinics normally treat minor complaints free of charge, though you will have to meet thecost of any medicines. There are also private clinics where you should expect to pay. In large purpose built resorts, local clinics will normally be
private. Your travel insurance normally covers medical expenses, so do keep all receipts and contact your insurers direct, on your return.
Some of our tours visit remote areas, where local conditions are often different from those you are used to. You must be prepared to accept andcope with local difficulties or unusual situations if they arise. Your booking is accepted on the understanding that you realise this and are prepared
to accept a degree of on-tour flexibility, particularly concerning changes caused by local bureaucracy and conditions, including weather, politics,
Vegetarian meals may be of limited choice. Our coach tours are not really suitable for disabled holidaymakers, especially those confined to a wheel-
travel arrangements, access, breakdowns or sickness. (These are not hotel package holidays, the itineraries and accommodation described are
chair or needing regular medical treatment.
what we intend to provide, and though we do not normally do so, we reserve the right to alter the itinerary or accommodation at any time, andwill not be liable for any loss as a result of such alteration or delay).
The local currency used in Bulgaria is Leva (BGN). It is available outside the country, but the exchange rates are not competitive. We advise you
You should at all times accept the decisions of the tour guide, and if your conduct is considered disruptive or detrimental to the safety, welfare
to take your spending money in sterling notes in good condition, which can be exchanged in Bulgaria shortly after arrival. Airport bureaux also
or enjoyment of other members of the group, you may be asked to leave the party, without any right to a refund, compensation or payment of
give poor rates. Exchange offices will not normally accept defaced or damaged notes. No Scottish or Northern Ireland bank notes are accepted.
any other costs incurred. We anticipate that only people in normal good health will book our tours, if there is any doubt about this, your booking
A higher commission is charged on travellers’ cheques. Credit cards are still not widely accepted in Bulgaria, though there are a growing
must be accompanied by a doctor’s certificate stating that it is safe for you to travel on your chosen holiday. All clients must be covered by
number of ATMs. Any Bulgarian currency notes left at the end of your holiday can be re-exchanged into sterling (or euros, as available) at the
insurance, with adequate cover for medical expenses, including repatriation, helicopter rescue and air ambulance. All insurance claims must be
directed to your insurers, and not to Balkania Travel, who are unable to act in such matters.
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