GENERAL INFORMATION

Aims and costing

The prices of any tour are directly related to the number of participants. If fixed costs are divided by 20 or 30 instead of 5 or 10, it will radically reduce the cost of any tour. Although we appreciate the benefit of cheap tours to a travellers overall budget, we are committed to the idea of small group travel. Rather than arriving in a small village in a big 30 seater bus, taking some photos of the pretty sights and looking at the lifestyle from the outside, we aim to take a group of a size that will fit in one small family house, in one room of a pub and never overwhelm the locals. This gives all participants the opportunity to get to know the families we visit, make real connections with the locals and experience the culture as it lives, rather than just looking on from the outside.

Responsible travel

Carpathian Tours also have a commitment to offering tours that do not damage the local community or environment. We support local business and economies, as well as community development projects.

Educational materials

Optional videos and talks will be presented throughout the tour by both your guide and the local experts. Videos of dances taught are available on request.

Recommendations and assistance can be given on which CDs, books or videos can be bought whilst on the tour. All tours are led by an Australian guide with more than 10 years experience in the music & dance tradition and culture

Value

The cost of the tour covers nearly everything you need for the duration of the tour besides your personal items.

Included are:
Breakfast, lunch and dinner each full day, dinner on the first day and breakfast on the last day. All accommodation for the duration of the tour and travel from Budapest return. All entry tickets to parks, concerts and exhibitions. The services of one full time guide and all local guides. Live music and dance on most nights, presentations and talks by the locals on the culture, music and dance (For example, wine making, felt pressing, milling, cheese tasting, handcrafts, costumes, customs & traditions, cooking and more).

Guides

All tours are conducted in English and led by an Australian with ten years experience in the music, culture and travel of the area, a local guide will also accompany the tour to help with translations. Optional talks and videos on the music & dance history, cultural influences, regional differences and current traditions are offered throughout the tour. Comprehensive reading list and information booklets are sent to you on receipt of booking.

Travel

All travel is by private mini-bus. The coach and driver will accompany the entire tour. Longer trips will be broken with a rest at a place of interest at least once every two hours.

* There is no smoking allowed at any time on the bus.

Accommodation

Accommodation will be in comfortable hotels and/or private houses. The quality of the hotels in Romania and Slovakia is not as high as in Western Europe, or the range as extensive, especially in regional areas. Some of the hotels may lack in the charm department but are comfortable, clean and centrally located. Prices are based on twin share costs. A single supplement applies if single rooms are requested.

If necessary due to closure, a drop in standards, unavailability or similar unforeseen events the advertised hotels may be changed to others of a compatible standard.

Climate

Although June is Spring in Europe and September is Autumn, temperatures are not too hot. An average temperature in Hungary at this time of year is around 25C and in Romania 28C. It is advised though to take a good warm woollen jumper and socks and a wind proof jacket for the evenings and higher mountains where it can get quite cold. July and August are hotter and can get up to 35C but can still be chilly at night. Light summer clothes, rain gear and a light jumper are recommended. May and October can be cold anything from 26C - 10C, but usually sunny. A warm woollen jumper, socks, jacket and rain gear are recommended including sturdy waterproof shoes for walking.

As we are travelling on unsealed roads and out of the main cities, depending on the weather, we could encounter a lot of mud or dust. Appropriate footwear and clothing should be chosen with this in mind for all trips.

Passports & visas

A valid passport and any necessary visas are essential BEFORE travelling Currently Australian citizens do not need a visa to travel in Hungary, Romania or Slovakia for up to three months.

For current information on visa requirements it is advisable to contact us, or the Slovak, Hungarian & Romanian embassies.

Banking & currency

Slovak and Romanian ATMs always accept Visa and Mastercard and some Eftpos cards. Bank branches can be found in all major cities and are typically open between 9am and 3.30pm. No banks, ATMs or money exchanges can be found in the villages. It can be useful to carry a small amount of Euro but carrying large amounts of cash is discouraged. Stops at banks and or ATMs will be organised whenever needed.

Travel insurance

Personal travel insurance is essential for every participant. We strongly encourage you to invest in a good travel insurance that suits your itinerary and covers cancellation charges. Even though there is no danger associated with travel in Slovakia & Romania the peace of mind good coverage ensures is priceless.

Vaccinations

Some vaccinations are currently advisable for travel in Romania. Please consult your family physician on whether any are necessary for you.

Water quality

The tap water in Slovakia and Hungary is of drinking standard, but the tap water and well water in Romania should be avoided. Bottled drinking water and mineral water will be provided by the tour on the bus and at all meals. We strongly advise that you only drink the provided bottled water.