The difference with a Mat McLachlan Battlefield Tour is the quality of our Battlefield Guides. Our Guides don’t just know about the battlefields — it’s part of their lives. Each of our battlefield tours is accompanied by a Specialist Battlefield Guide, mainly British nationality. Their knowledge and passion will inspire and enhance the experience and truly bring the history to life. They will help you to decipher the legacy left behind and understand the military history that touched us all. With an ever-expanding range of itineraries, specially selected by Head Battlefield Guide, Paul Reed, we aim to ensure passengers get the most from this memorable experience.”
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ) - EUROPE
What is the difference between Mat McLachlan Battlefield Tours and other Battlefield Tour Operators?
Why don't the tour prices include airfares?
Two good reasons: Firstly, Mat McLachlan Battlefield Tours attracts customers from all over the North America so for the sake of your flexibility we don’t insist on departure from any particular U.S. airport. Secondly, many of our customers join a battlefield tour as part of a longer vacation. By listing the tour price without airfares, you have the flexibility to simply add a battlefield tour to your itinerary.
Do I need travel insurance?
It is a condition of travel with McLachlan Battlefield Tours that each passenger is adequately covered by an appropriate travel insurance policy. We strongly advise taking out travel insurance at the time of making your booking to provide full cover. It is useful to note that trip cancellation coverage is not automatic on all travel insurance policies and often carries an extra premium. Please carefully read over your policy to ensure you understand your coverage.
Do I need a Visa to enter Europe?
France and Belgium are part of the Schengen Convention, along with a number of other European countries, which allows you to enter these countries without a visa for up to 90 days during any 180-day period. For more information on international travel, visit https://step.state.gov/step/ (Smart Traveler Enrolment Program).
What is my luggage allowance?
Please check with your airline for applicable baggage allowances. On all tours passengers are limited to 1 suitcase which should weigh no more than 45lbs and 1 piece of hand luggage per person. Porterage is not included and is subject to availability, especially at some of the smaller hotels in regional areas. All baggage and personal effects are at all times and in all circumstances at the risk of the tour participant. Baggage insurance is recommended.
What medical precautions do I need to take before the trip?
It is important to visit your travel medical doctor or specialist travel clinic. You should advise your doctor which countries you will be visiting and at what time of the year. This is particularly important if you suffer from any medical conditions. Here is a useful website which provides specific information on destinations https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/list/
Where can I find current exchange rates for local currency?
What is the easiest way to pay during my vacation?
Cash: We recommend exchanging a small amount of cash into local currency to pay for incidental expenses such as drinks. On arrival at your destination, you can find current local exchange rates easily at airport exchange counters, hotel reception desks or at most local banks.
Credit Cards: In all major tourist destinations, credit cards are widely accepted at most hotels and established restaurants and shops. Bear in mind that a surcharge may apply for credit card purchases, typically ranging from 2-5%.
ATMs: ATMs are found widely across Europe. ATMs accept a wide variety of different card types and issue local currency (Euro). There is usually a maximum daily withdrawal limit, and this varies between different countries and banks. There will be a local fee for the ATM service, plus your own bank’s charges for foreign withdrawals and currency exchange.
Traveler’s Checks: Traveler’s checks are accepted on a limited basis, and at times, not at all. We do not recommend using Traveler’s checks.
- 1 US Dollar (USD) = 0.88 Euro
- 1 Euro (EUR) = 1.13 US Dollars
All rates were correct as of Thursday, 1 November 2018. These rates have been rounded and should not be used when calculating transactions of large value.
How can I get in touch with my family and friends while on tour?
Telephone: Most hotels now have in-room IDD phones. If you have worldwide coverage, you can bring your own cell phone and use it to make local and international calls. Check with your cell phone provider for international roaming costs.
Internet: The majority of the hotels have wireless broadband access in rooms or public areas and charges will apply.
In case of an emergency on tour, who should I contact?
When on tour, your guide is the first point of contact. We also have our own operations staff to support you for emergency assistance 24 hours a day. Please see the contact details listed on your travel documentation.
What is the minimum age for guests?
We believe that our holidays may not be suitable for children under 8 years old, however, we will consider individual requests on application. Customers aged 18 and under at the time of travel must be accompanied by an adult, parent or guardian aged over 18 years old.
What is the maximum number of guests per room in accommodation?
Rooms are for a maximum of two guests and can be configured as a double or twin share. Single supplements apply for any passenger who wishes to travel solo and not share a room.
How long can I expect to be on the coach and will there be breaks to get off the coach?
During the tour you could be on the coach for up to a couple of hours at a time between destinations, however, there are some longer driving days if travelling from the UK to mainland Europe. To ensure you are comfortable for the time that you are on the coach, there will be a minimum of air-conditioning, an on-board toilet and a drinks machine, plus regular comfort breaks will be made where possible.
How much walking is required at the battlefield sites and what should I wear?
The amount of walking required will vary from tour to tour. As you will be travelling by coach, there will not necessarily be a large amount of walking, however, battlefield sites are often in rural environments, so dress for outdoor activities. The battlefields were a sea of mud during the war, and can still be quite muddy today – so footwear in particular is important. Wear comfortable clothes that you don’t mind getting a bit dirty and footwear that will be supportive and comfortable in the event of uneven terrain, and that can stand up to getting wet and dirty. Comfortable casual clothing is fine during the day, and good casual dress is appropriate for dinner. Weather in Europe can vary from freezing temperatures and snow in winter, to hot and humid in summer, and anywhere in between. If you are travelling in the cooler months (seasons are the same as North America), ensure you have plenty of warm clothes and a good wet-weather jacket.
Am I able to complete this tour in a wheelchair or if I am mobility impaired?
The person using the wheelchair will need to be able to get on and off the coach if a coach tour is booked. Our coaches are not suitable for someone who is wheelchair reliant as we can only take folding wheelchairs that are stored in the luggage compartment.
We cannot guarantee that assistance will be available for the disabled person / wheelchair user and such bookings will only be accepted if that person is travelling with an able-bodied person who is fully able to attend to the needs of his/her co-traveler.
Excursions on our tours visit places of interest and public buildings. These may not be able to accommodate people with walking difficulties and wheelchair access may not be available. Excursions which include sightseeing tours may involve walking long distances and sometimes over cobbled or uneven surfaces.
The accommodation we use on our tours may not have ground floor rooms and in some instances lifts will not always be available. Occasionally access to your hotel may involve walking distances from the coach park and some hotels have a flight of steps to the Reception.
It is very important that checks are made with regard to the suitability of a tour for you prior to you make any booking with us.
If I am starting the tour at Victoria Station London, how early do I need to arrive before departure?
All of our tours will start and end in the UK and we recommend that our passengers join the group in London, although for your convenience you may join the tour in Europe at the mainstay hotel. For passengers beginning the tour at London Victoria Station, the coach will depart between 10:00am and 11:00am and you should aim to arrive at Victoria Station no later than 09:30am. For passengers who are travelling a long distance to London for the tour, we recommend that you plan to arrive the day prior to the commencement of the tour, and stay in one of the hotels nearby to Victoria Station. The coach will not be able to wait for passengers who are delayed by late flights, trains or traffic.
If I am meeting the tour group in Europe, how do I know when and where to meet the group?
It is possible for you to meet the group in Europe at the mainstay hotel if it is more convenient for you, but please note that hotels are often not centrally located and it may be difficult for you to make your way to these hotels independently. If you would still prefer to start your tour in Europe, you will be able to find the hotel details on your provided travel documents. It is recommended that you contact the hotel directly prior to your arrival and find out what time you are able to check-in.
It is also possible to end the tour in Europe rather than returning to the UK by coach. It is easier for passengers to start their tour in the UK and finish in Europe than starting in Europe and finishing in the UK.
Please be aware that Mat McLachlan Battlefield Tours will not arrange private transfers in this instance and it is up to the passenger to make their own way to the starting hotel or to their onwards destination at the end of the tour. There will also be no reduction in cost for any alteration to the tour where a passenger chooses to meet or end the tour in a different location, as the cost of their seat on the coach is fixed for the entire duration of the tour.
What facilities can I expect at the hotels?
Mat McLachlan Battlefield Tours uses 3 and 4-star hotels. European hotels generally offer a much greater variety of room styles and sizes than we would expect to find in an American hotel but this is all part of the adventure of travelling through Europe. Rooms in European hotels often feature two single beds that can be pushed together to form a double. Single rooms are also often smaller than twin or double rooms.
Tea and coffee-making: European hotel rooms usually do not offer tea and coffee-making facilities.
Laundry: Many hotels offer a laundry service, but please check prices and ensure that items will be returned to you before the tour departs.
Electricity: Electrical outlets in Europe usually operate at 230 volts and 50 hertz, so are not compatible with American appliances. You will need an adaptor that features a European ‘two pin’ plug. You may also need a voltage converter. For more information go to https://www.power-plugs-sockets.com/us/france/
Valuables: Many of the hotels we use offer personal safes in the rooms. Although security is generally very good at the hotels, it is sensible to use personal safes for valuables. It is also a good idea to carry a copy of your passport, and to only carry as much cash as you will need each day.
Drinking water: Tap water in France and Belgium is generally safe to drink, but you may prefer the taste of bottled water.
Who should I speak to regarding my dietary requirements?
If you have any dietary requirements (allergies etc.) you must advise Mat McLachlan Battlefield Tours prior to your departure, and ensure you advise your tour manager upon arrival.
Should I leave a tip?
Most restaurants in Europe will include a service charge in their bill. If, however, a service tip is not included in the price, a 15% tip is customary.
Tipping your Driver and War Historian: All tips to Mat McLachlan Battlefield Tours escorts and drivers are included in your tour price, and they will not expect a tip at the end of the tour.
Am I able to book an airport transfer through Mat McLachlan Battlefield Tours?
We currently don’t offer this service, however, there are taxis, shuttle buses and trains available from airports across Europe.
How can I transfer payments to you? Do you require a deposit for booking?
We are able to hold an option for 7 days then we require a non-refundable deposit of 30% of the booking total to confirm the services for your tour. Payment can be made by credit card or bank transfer in USD.
How to cancel the booking I have made?
If for any reason you need to cancel and have booked directly with Mat McLachlan Battlefield Tours, please contact us. Our booking terms and conditions, and additional terms and conditions, may apply. If you have booked through a travel agent, please contact your travel agent for any cancellations.