Because we are an internet-based tour company, and rarely meet our clients face to face, we have to operate on a strong foundation of honesty, trust and transparency, and this has served us very well over the years, as many of our clients return to us each year, ready for the next great, and successful adventure.
After working through these trip plans and quotes together, usually over a period of several weeks, time permitting, we hope that our new clients are ready to book their travel services with us! To confirm our new relationship we require a trip deposit, (usually around 50% of the quoted trip price,) to reserve and secure the agreed upon travel services. We can be quite flexible in terms of payment schedules but final payments are required at 60 days prior to the trip departure date, although some exceptions can be made.
Once you start your trip you’ll be pleased to know that we’ll be standing by should you require assistance. Here’s one example of, unfortunately, several possible scenarios: “The flight to your overseas destination has been delayed, or even cancelled and changed to another flight, and now you are not only going to miss the private transfer from your destination city airport to your reserved accommodation, but if you arrive late enough your hotel is going to cancel your reservation.” Relax. Call, email or text us and we will re-schedule your transfer (when possible) and notify your accommodation of your possible late arrival.
Draft Trip Plan
Once we have a pretty good idea of what your ideal trip looks like we prepare what we call a “Draft Trip Plan.” This is a “rough draft” itinerary designed to make sure everyone is on the same page regarding travel dates, destination cities and the number of nights in each city, types and rankings of accommodations, and other very basic details.
Final Plan and Price
Once your travel services have been confirmed and purchased we will send you your “Final Plan and Price.” Because all of your services will not be immediately available for purchase there may be slight schedule and/or price changes from your “Detailed Plan and Quote” document. (European rail schedules and rates, for example, are not available for purchase until 30 to 60 days before your departure date and fluctuations in the Dollar/Euro exchange rate may affect prices.) If there are billable increases in your “Final Plan and Price” we will include an invoice along with the document and if your trip cost has gone down we will credit your account accordingly.
Your Personal Travel Style
Through a series of emails, phone conversations and a short email questionnaire, we help you develop the ideal travel plan for your specific interests and budget.
Detailed Plan and Quote
Once the “Draft Trip Plan” has been approved, (and this might take a couple of passes,) we create a “Detailed Trip Plan and Quote.” This document will include transportation details and schedules, accommodations details, descriptions of desired tours and excursions, and general information about the destination countries. Our quote will clearly indicate “inclusions” and “exclusions” but we don’t “break down” our quotes. The quote we submit will include all agency fees and commissions relative to the services we agree to provide. And, like the draft trip plan, this document may take a couple of passes for fine-tuning.
Once all payments or credits have been posted we will mail you your package of travel documents. This package will include accommodation and tour vouchers, local transport tickets (train, ferry, car, bus, etc.) airline e-tickets, auto rental agreements, and vouchers or tickets for any other services you may have booked with us.
Honesty and Trust
So that’s how the process works, and though we don’t “expect” that you will automatically book your travel services with us, that certainly is our goal, and the reason for the many hours of “up front” work we put into helping you create the ideal travel experience.
More about our team
Unlike most brick-and-mortar or FIT travel agencies, we pride ourselves on the fact that we only send our clients to destinations that our principles, or members of our staff, have visited personally.
With over 35 years of travel experience across the globe, we have explored, or lived in, some 26 sovereign nations in Western and Eastern Europe, Scandinavia, Anatolia and the Balkans, Ireland and the United Kingdom, and parts of Central and Southeast Asia.
Top Drawer Travel is a unique, family-owned tour company specializing in the delivery of custom travel planning and travel services for both the experienced, and novice, international traveler.
Through our travels abroad we have developed an intriguing array of travel resources, including all types and levels of accommodations, guided tours and excursions (private, semi-private and group), transfers and local transport, restaurant recommendations, and an intimate knowledge of our destination regions.
And of course we are fluent in the art of international transportation enabling us to provide you with tickets for planes, trains, boats, ferries, rental vehicles, buses, trams, or even bicycles if that is your preferred mode.