FAQ and the Nitty Gritty

Travel can be a complicated industry with so many different ways of booking. We will do our best to explain how it all works. There are two types of companies you can deal with – Travel Agents OR Tour Operators.

Firstly, let us just mention that airlines are a bit of a nightmare and do not pay any commissions which forces agents to add a booking fee if they want to make any money from flights. Looking online for flights first is always recommended or even better would be if you can use your air miles. We can always design a trip around the flights you have booked or we can source appropriate flights for you.

Travel Agents sell holiday packages that are designed by tour operators and earn a commission on these. This means that you would pay the same amount if you booked through the travel agent or the tour operator. The advantage of booking with an agent is that they can shop around and make sure that you are getting the best deal, as they have access to many suppliers specials and offers.

A Tour Operator typically negotiates all the rates directly with hotels, lodges, airlines and combines travel components to create holiday packages. Tour operators can sell directly to the public or via Agents. There are many tour operators that can now tailor-make your itinerary as opposed to selling set packages.

So what is I Found Africa… ?

Well thanks for asking. I Found Africa acts as an agent on your behalf. We work with a handful of ground operators and design a tailormade itinerary specific to your needs. The benefit of dealing with I Found Africa is that you have an expert travel consultant to design your ideal holiday with access to all the best deals. With our first hand knowledge of all the lodges and destinations we then work with our preferred ground operators to ensure you are in the best hands during your holiday.

Doesn’t I Found Africa have to be ATOL bonded?
No, ATOL is all about flights and I Found Africa does not issue their own flights. ATOL is a financial protection scheme managed by the Civil Aviation Authority (“CAA”). All travel companies selling flights in the UK are required by law to hold a licence called an Air Travel Organiser’s Licence (“ATOL”), which is granted after the company has met the CAA’s licensing requirements. In the event of an ATOL holder’s failure, the ATOL Scheme ensures customers who paid and contracted with the ATOL holder for an air holiday package or a flight, do not lose the money paid over or are not stranded abroad.

Should I Found Africa book your flights on your behalf we will only use an ATOL licensed operator so you are 100% covered under this protection.

Is I Found Africa IATA (TIDS) registered?
Yes, I Found Africa has been validated under the TIDS (Travel Industry Designator Service).

Is it cheaper to book directly with the hotel?
Absolutely not. I Found Africa invests heavily in supplier relationships and who we work with. Our rates are generally 10% to 15% cheaper than if you were to go direct to a hotel.

While we know price is only one component in booking your travel plans we cannot deny that everyone loves a good deal. Over and above the price we offer invaluable information and personal advice on every property recommended. We will be completely upfront with you and tell you the good and bad aspects of the hotels or lodges.

What is a rack rate?
A rack rate is the rate a hotel would offer you if you approached them directly. These are rates, which have not been discounted and are the hotel or lodge’s fixed annual rate. I Found Africa negotiates a better rate so we are able to offer discounts if sold as a package price. Usually these rates are then confidential and often cannot be broken into individual components. We will wherever possible be as transparent about the rates as possible.

What about the BAR rates (best available rate)?
BAR rates are relatively new to the industry and it is usually the bigger hotel chains that have introduced a best available rate system.

Where hotels offer BAR rates, I Found Africa will be able to book your accommodation on BAR.

Why is the rate cheaper online?
Please be careful here. Usually websites advertise a very basic price and once you have gone through the full booking process, the price changes. There are usually hidden costs that are not advertised when you are searching. We aim to give you a comprehensive quotation covering all expenses that you might incur on your trip so that there are no surprises and no hidden costs.

If you do by any chance find a better deal online, please make your consultant aware of this and they will immediately look into the discrepancies. We do pride ourselves in offering the best possible travel deals.

Why do I have to pay in advance?
Since we have negotiated contracts with the hotels directly we need to pay them deposits to secure your accommodation in advance. Should you wish to pay on check out you will not qualify for our discounted negotiated rate. We will be happy to book the hotel for you, but this will be at the fully published Rack rate or BAR.

Should I take out travel insurance?
We strongly recommend you secure adequate travel and medical insurance for your own peace of mind.  We have partnered with a travel insurance company to cover you for any unforeseen circumstances that may arise.

Please contact Pari Morse our dedicated consultant to arrange your travel insurance – info@1earthtravelprotection.com.

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