Motorcycle holidays can be as simple or as complex as you want them to be and here at H-C Travel we’re happy to make whatever arrangements you want. We’re here to make organising your holiday as simple as possible and to help you get the maximum enjoyment from your riding. It’s what makes us different from the herd!
If you’ve got this far, we hope by now you’ve found a holiday that interests you. We try to be as informative as we possibly can because we believe you should have a very clear idea about what to expect from your holiday. We’ve noticed an increasing number of glitzy websites that actually tell you nothing about your tour, accommodation, professional credentials of your tour operator, booking terms and conditions, etc. We think that is just wrong - smoke and mirrors relying on your love of riding motorcycles and trust in other motorcyclist - don’t fall for it, it’s your life and your money at stake.
So, here are the FAQs you SHOULD ask any tour operator, not just H-C Travel - many operators will wish you didn’t ask, so do please read them, they could save you pain and money.
Many of your questions may be covered in our Terms and Conditions, so please read them also.
Q. How long has H-C Travel been running motorcycle tours and rentals?
A. Since 1994. And we have a long list of ‘firsts’ to our credit. We were the first company in the UK to offer a programme of long-haul motorcycle tours and hire. We created the first motorcycle tour operator website. We organised the world’s first motorcycle tour to Libya, for Chris Scott. We ran the UK’s first ever tours to Bhutan, Tibet, the Philippines, Kerala (India) and Chile. We set up the first ever self-guided tour programmes in French Canada, the USA and New Zealand. We were the first UK motorcycle tour operator to be granted an ATOL license, and were the first to become professionally recognised by the travel industry, by obtaining membership of the TTA.
Q. Are you licensed?
A. Yes, we have a UK government ATOL license number T7002 (www.atol.org.uk), which is legally required to allow us to sell the flights you need for your holiday, and we are member T7861 of the Travel Trust Association (www.traveltrust.co.uk), which guarantees our compliance with UK law and your financial security. And all of our overseas partners are licensed or registered in their home country.
Q. Are you part of a larger company?
A. No, H-C Travel is 100% owned and run by founder David Grist.
Q. How large is H-C Travel?
A. Including our village travel agency, there are 6 of us in the UK, plus our international partners.
Q. So how does a company the size of H-C Travel have such a large range of services and holidays?
A. Simple really – the same as any large-scale tour operator, by working with local companies in all of our destinations. Some of these we have helped set up, some of them are well established in their own right. It is simply not possible for a single company to operate in two countries, so we have decided this is the most practical way to operate and the best way of offering you the best possible holiday. We safeguard your interests here in the UK, our overseas companies safeguard your interests there. Anyone offering you a motorcycle tour or rental that doesn’t offer you this kind of set up is leaving you in potential difficulty.
Q. Can you arrange flights for us?
A. Yes, of course. We believe it is an essential part of any professional tour operator’s services. H-C Travel complies with the stringent legal and financial obligations required by the UK government to obtain the ATOL license which enables us to access any flights from the UK related to our tours and rentals – and an awful lot more – at competitive rates.
Q. Can you arrange travel insurance for us?
A. Yes, of course. Again, we believe it is an essential part of any professional tour operator’s services. H-C Travel has its own unique travel insurance policy, designed for our motorcycle tour and rental customers. It offers good levels of cover, including cover for motorcycle gear, at competitive rates, and crucially includes medical and repatriation cover in the unhappy event that you have a motorcycle accident, whether road or offroad, which nearly all other widely available policies exclude. And please note, most travel insurance policies exclude cover while motorcycling.
Q. And what about motorcycle insurance?
A. All of the motorcycles we provide come with at the very least the legally required insurance for that country. In countries such as the USA where insurance can be complicated and by booking with the wrong company you can leave yourself seriously underinsured, we offer our own all-inclusive rate, exclusive to H-C Travel customers, with no hidden extras for your total peace of mind. Full details are provided on our web pages and in our brochures.
Q. What other services do you offer?
A. We can arrange as much or as little as you want. Overnight hotel stopovers, longhaul stopovers, car hire, ferries, attraction tickets, etc., etc. And we also have an independent travel agency for anything that is not motorcycle-related.
Q. Can we come and see you to discuss our holiday?
Yes of course, we’ll be delighted to see you. We are open 09.00-17.30 Monday – Saturday. Do please call before you come.
Q. This is a big holiday for us, and we are concerned that our money may be at risk after we have paid you. How do we know our money is protected?
A. We take our financial responsibility very seriously, and have put in place every possible means of securing your money until your holiday is complete.
Firstly, we are members of the Travel Trust Association (membership number T7861). This means that our accounts are monitored monthly by the TTA, and all payments received are automatically recorded through our accounting software and checked weekly by our trustee. And your money is only released to us with the approval of the trustee after your holiday is complete, after we have provided written evidence that we are entitled to do so. We also have to comply with the Associations rules of membership (for more information go to www.traveltrust.co.uk). Trust accounts have a bad name, and any Trading Standards officer will confirm this, but what makes this trust account system foolproof is that every customer receives an insurance policy that guarantees payouts in the event of fraud or bankruptcy. To quote from Noel Josephides, who is chairman of the AITO Trust, a trade body representing independent tour operators, and managing Director of Sunvil Holidays – and a well-respected travel industry expert - “The only trust account system that works is administered by the Travel Trust Association.”
Secondly, we also have an ATOL license (number T7002). This means that we have to comply with the licensing rules of the UK government Civil Aviation Authority, which again include a guarantee of financial security (www.caa.co.uk). They think our financial guarantees are so good that we get a discounted rate for our license.
Q. So what happens if H-C Travel ceases trading?
A. Should H-C Travel fail for any reason then you get your money back, all of it, to a maximum of £11,000 per person, or more likely you will be able to take or continue your holiday as planned. This isn’t just talk, this is guaranteed by the TTA and CAA.
Q. If I pay you on the internet, how safe is my money?
A. We are signed up to Worldpay, one of the main secure online payment systems. We can do this because of the financial safeguards we have built into our business.
Q. Why shouldn’t I book overseas or with someone offering just the motorcycle I want?
A. There are many reasons to book with us, the main ones being:
- Because we offer guaranteed financial or legal safeguards if there is a problem: the same reason you should be very wary of booking ANY holiday arrangements overseas. Don’t believe you have protection by paying by credit card, you probably won’t have.
- Because only a company like H-C Travel can provide the full range of services and expertise that you should expect.
- Because you then have no local UK contact.
- Because you have to make all of the other travel arrangements yourself, and if anything goes wrong with any of them it is down to you to sort out and that will certainly cause stress, cost time and will probably cost you money.
- Because if anything goes wrong with the overseas operator, or personally, you have no-one to help you out, and no comeback. (As an aside, we see probably a dozen or so UK and overseas motorcycle tour operators start up and disappear EVERY year, and they always seem to be the ones that don’t offer you any form of guaranteed security.)
- Because you don’t know what your holiday will actually cost if you buy overseas or buy one element of your holiday at a time.
- And finally, because we provide a better all-round service.
Q. But it must always be cheaper to book overseas?
A. No, it isn’t. Firstly, how do you know how much you will pay? Exchange rates vary daily and can change dramatically over just a few weeks. Secondly, the exchange rate charged by your bank or credit card company is considerably worse than the bank rate, often quoted on websites - this is NOT the rate you will get, see our information on currency LINK. Thirdly, our prices are always equal to or better than the ‘local’ rate, And fourthly, you won’t have any of the other services we offer, including financial and legal protection.
Q. What happens once I have booked my holiday?
A. Firstly you will receive a receipt, an invoice detailing any outstanding payments due, and an itinerary. Once you have paid your balance we will send you a rental or tour voucher, a tour pack with further details on the tour, information on preparing for your holiday, maps, travelling / riding advice, etc. And of course we will be happy to answer any questions you may have.
Q. What happens if you cancel my tour?
A. In exceptional circumstances we do have to cancel tours. The obvious ones are:
- If the UK government prevents us from sending you there. We will then offer you an alternative tour or a full refund.
- If there are insufficient customers for the tour to go ahead. We will then offer you the tour as a self-guided tour if that is safe and practical, the same tour on a different date, or an alternative tour, possibly in a different country, which may be on the same or different dates.
Q. What happens with my luggage?
A. If you are just hiring a motorcycle or taking a self-guided tour, then we provide luggage storage at EVERY rental location, anywhere in the world. If you are coming on a guided tour then all of our tours, with the current exception of South Africa, provide a support vehicle for your luggage.
Q. Do you provide riding gear?
A. We do have some gear in some locations. However, we cannot urge you strongly enough to take your own gear. Certainly for fit, certainly because it is yours, possibly on health grounds, and possibly on safety grounds, as we cannot guarantee the reliability of any gear we provide.
Q. What if I have an accident or fall sick?
A. If you are on tour then obviously your tour guide will take care of you. If you are travelling unaccompanied, then if you have an accident you should make sure that the police, your travel insurance company and the local hire company are notified immediately. If you fall ill and are travelling alone then you should notify your hotel and your travel insurance company, before notifying us.
Q. Do I need any injections or inoculations for health reasons?
A. As far as we are concerned, none of our tours require any inoculations. However, localised incidences of disease do flare up and you should check with your doctor if travelling to Asia or Latin America. Oh, and a tetanus boost is never a bad thing!
Q. What if I break down?
A. All of our rental locations provide 24/7 cover (sometimes excluding local public holidays), and if you have a problem, you can contact us here in the UK. In the USA we also provide BMW and Harley-Davidson breakdown assist. On our guided tours we bring either a spare motorcycle or a professional mechanic, with the exception of South Africa.
And of course if you have other questions, do please call us, we are always happy to talk about your dream holiday and help with advice and information.