Frequently Asked Questions Backroads Reservations

FAQs about Reservations

Before reserving your Backroads trip, please review these important answers to frequently asked questions about deposits and payments, our cancellation/transfer policy, travel insurance, passports and guest responsibilities.

Q. How do I sign up for my Backroads trip? How much of a deposit is required?

A. To sign up for a Backroads trip, call 800-GO-ACTIVE (800-462-2848) or 510-527-1555 from 6 am to 6 pm Pacific time. You can also reserve your trip with our secure online reservation form, as explained below. The deposit per person is $600. Deposits may be made by check or major credit card (Visa, MasterCard, Discover, Diner's Club or American Express). The balance of your trip cost is due 95 days prior to departure except for Special Departures*, in which case the balance is due 125 days prior to departure. Balances may be paid by check or money order in U.S. dollars or by credit card. With your authorization, we will automatically bill your credit card when the balance is due.

* View our Special Departures.

Q. How do I reserve my trip online?

A. You can access our secure online reservation form by clicking on the "Reserve This Trip!" button available on every trip page.

Q. When will I receive more detailed information about my trip so I can start planning?

A. After you book your trip, you will receive a Travel Planner, which includes a descriptive itinerary and detailed information about arrival and departure, pre- and post-trip hotels, public transportation, clothing and gear, passports and visa requirements and the travel protection plan.

Q. Why do you only allow me to hold a trip for 72 hours?

A. We offer a 72-hour courtesy hold for all trips, during which time your price is locked in and your spot is not available to anyone else. For this reason, we cannot hold any reservation indefinitely because it could potentially result in others missing out on a spot that is not eventually booked. If you need more time to check on all the details for your reservation, please let your Trip Consultant know.

Q. How can I tell which dates are already sold-out when searching your website?

A. The term sold-out is quite fluid at Backroads, which is why we don't list this information on our website. While a departure might be full, chances are we can easily find you something comparable or add space on the trip date you're interested in. If we can't do that, most trips have a short waiting list. The quickest way to find the best trip for you is to have a brief phone chat with one of our Trip Consultants by calling 800-462-2848 or 510-527-1555. They're available daily from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm Pacific time.

Q. Will my trip run?

A. You can expect a great mix of guests when you travel with Backroads. On the rare occasion when there are only one or two guests booked and it's unlikely that more guests will sign up, we'll contact you well in advance and give you the option to receive a $500 credit per person to transfer to another trip of your choice with more guests, or pay an additional $500 per person to stay on the smaller trip by yourself or with one other guest† (refundable if more guests sign up). Book with confidence and get on the right trip for YOU. It's both easy and an incredible value that only Backroads offers.

† Applies to scheduled trips. Does not apply to River Cruise Trips, or Peru Trekking, Turkey and possibly other Special Departures. Camping, Singles-Solos, Two-night, Amalfi Coast Premiere, Dalmatian Coast, India, Yellowstone Snow Adventure, and trips with Internal Air need 5 guests to run. We reserve the right to cancel departures in cases of force majeure or the failure of third parties—such as hotels, river ships or campgrounds—to honor their reservations, in which case all payments received to date will be refunded, which constitutes full settlement. Backroads is not responsible for expenses that are incurred in preparation for any canceled trips, such as airline tickets, or for costs that are incurred due to travel delays, flight cancellations or illness. In the event that you choose to stay on a smaller trip by yourself or with one other guest, if you book outside of 125 days, your final payment and additional $500 will be due at 125 days before departure and Special Departure cancellation fees will apply. If you book between 96 and 124 days before departure, your final payment and additional $500 will be due at 95 days before departure and Special Departure cancellation fees will apply.

Q. Will the price of my trip change?

A. Once you book your Backroads trip, your price is guaranteed. The best price are available for those guests who sign up early. It's our way of rewarding early bookers who get the momentum going for a given date. If it weren't for these first bookers, we might cancel a departure due to lack of interest. If you're able to, booking first for your next trip is a sure way to guarantee the best price.

Q. What if I need to cancel my trip? What is Backroads' cancellation/transfer/refund policy?

A. Trip Cancellation Policies: If you must cancel your reservation, your cancellation fee will be determined according to the policy outlined below. Exceptions to our cancellation policy cannot be made for any reason, including weather, terrorism, civil unrest or personal emergencies. There is no refund for arriving late or leaving a trip early. Private rooms, staterooms, bike rentals and internal air charges are considered part of the total trip cost and are subject to cancellation fees. Percentage charges are calculated on total trip cost.

2015 - Cancellation Fees (Per Person)
Days Prior to Trip Start Scheduled Trips Special Departures* Private Trips Custom Trips
156+ days $200** $200** $600 30%
126-155 $200** $200** 30% 30%
96-125 days $200** 30% 50% 50%
61-95 days 30% 50% 75% 75%
31-60 days 60% 75% 100% 100%
0-30 days 100% 100% 100% 100%
Deposit & Payment Terms (Per Person)
156+ days $600 $600 $600 Varies
155 days $600 $600 Final Final
125 days $600 Final - -
95 days Final - - -
2016 - Cancellation Fees (Per Person)
Days Prior to Trip Start Scheduled Trips Special Departures* Private Trips &
River Cruise
Custom Trips
156+ days $200** $200** $600 30%
126-155 $200** $200** 30% 30%
96-125 days $200** 30% 50% 50%
61-95 days 30% 50% 75% 75%
31-60 days 60% 75% 100% 100%
0-30 days 100% 100% 100% 100%
Deposit & Payment Terms (Per Person)
156+ days $600 $600 $600 Varies
155 days $600 $600 Final Final
125 days $600 Final - -
95 days Final - - -

* View our Special Departures.

** Rather than paying the cancellation fee, you may choose to keep your trip deposit ($600) in a holding account to use on a future Backroads trip with no expiration date.

Bike Cancellation Policies: If you are renting a Specialized Roubaix, Ruby, eBike or Co-Motion Tandem, a full cancellation fee will apply in the event you cancel your trip reservation inside 30 days.

Transfers: You may transfer from one trip to another up to 95 days before trip departure without penalty—except Private, Custom or 2016 and beyond River Cruise Trips.

Release of Liability: Guests are required to provide a signed Release of Liability, Assumption of All Risks, and Arbitration Agreement and a completed Personal Information forms prior to trip departure; you will receive these materials shortly after reserving your trip. You may also complete your forms online. We are unable to allow guests to participate in any aspect of a Backroads trip without a signed release form.

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Q. Does Backroads offer travel protection insurance?

A. Backroads recommends a travel protection plan that includes trip cancellation/trip interruption, trip delay, emergency medical expenses/evacuation, 24 hour and Common Carrier accidental death, baggage delay and more. The protection plan is effective on the day your designated travel protection plan payment is received by our office. Please call Travelex Insurance Services at 1-888-215-8334 if you have specific coverage questions and refer to plan 247A 0414.

Certain coverages are subject to purchase requirements. Please review the Description of Coverage above for a summary of details, including the terms, conditions, limitations, and exclusions of the plan.

Please see the Travel Protection Plan for full details.

Q. Can I change my mind and transfer to another trip even after I've already made a reservation?

A. You may transfer from one trip to another up to 95 days before trip departure without penalty—except on our Special Departures*, where you can transfer up to 125 days before the trip departs—after which time our cancellation policy applies. When transferring to a different date or trip, if the trip costs more than your original trip, you must pay the difference.

* View our Special Departures.

Q. Will I need a passport or a visa if I'm traveling internationally?

A. International travel requires a passport. This includes travel to Canada and Mexico. Visas are required for travel to Bali, Cambodia, China, India and Vietnam and must be arranged far in advance of departure. Visas for Turkey may be purchased upon arrival in the country. Backroads will arrange group visas for Bhutan guests. Your Travel Planner contains details about required documents, and the consulate number, if applicable, for your particular trip. Guests who are citizens of countries other than the U.S. should contact the closest consulate for the country to which they're planning to travel to determine if a visa is required.

Q. How do I get to the start of the trip? How will I get to the airport at the trip's end?

A. Detailed information about starting and ending times and locations, airport and hotel van transfer locations and transportation options are included in the Travel Planner. If you wish to make airline reservations before receiving your Travel Planner, please contact your Trip Consultant for times and locations of your trip start and end.

Each trip begins and ends in or near a town accessible by plane, train, bus or Backroads shuttle as noted in individual trip descriptions. If you wish to drive to the trip start, please see the Travel Planner or ask a Trip Consultant about parking options.

Q. How can I arrange travel before and after my Backroads trip?

A. For help arranging air transportation, pre- and post-trip hotels, rental cars or rail tickets in conjunction with your Backroads trip, contact the Backroads Travel Desk Monday - Friday from 9 am to 5 pm PT at 800-462-2848 or call your travel agent. Backroads does not recommend the purchase of nonrefundable advance-purchase airline tickets. If you wish to make airline reservations before receiving your Travel Planner, please contact your Trip Consultant for times and locations of your trip start and end. For exclusive rates at pre- and post-hotels worldwide, see our specially negotiated rates for Backroads travelers.

Q. What are standard accommodations on Backroads trips?

A. On all Premiere Inn trips and Casual Inn trips, our typical accommodations are double occupancy with a private bath. (Rare exceptions are indicated in individual trip descriptions.)

Q. Do you offer private rooms for solo travelers?

A. Yes. In most cases, private rooms are available for an additional fee or a private room charge.

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Q. If I'm traveling alone and I want a roommate, will you help me find one?

A. Our prices are based on double occupancy (two people per room). Backroads will endeavor to find a roommate (of the same gender) for guests wishing to share a room. If you sign up more than 95 days in advance of your trip and no roommate is available, 50 percent of the private room charge will be due at final payment. Should a roommate be found before your trip departs, the private room charge will be refunded. If you sign up less than 95 days in advance of departure and no roommate is available, the full private room charge will apply. Should a roommate be found within 95 days, the private room charge will be refunded. On some trips, twin rooms are limited or unavailable; a private room charge applies if a shared twin room is not available, regardless of the number of days before departure. Please be sure to speak with your Trip Consultant to confirm your room arrangements. Note that in Europe, single rooms are often smaller than double rooms.

Q. What do you mean by "our prices are based on double occupancy"?

A. Our prices are based on the assumption that all rooms will be occupied by two guests. This can mean two guests traveling together or two solo travelers paired as roommates. When occupancy is not double, a room becomes "private," which results in a private room charge to account for the difference in price.

Q. What is a private room charge?

A. Since our pricing is based on double occupancy (two people per room), solo travelers will incur an additional charge when occupying a room alone.

Q. Can children have their own room?

A. Children under 16 must share a room with an adult family member or adult family friend. When such a roommate is not available, children 15 and 16 years may have a single room and the single supplement will apply.

Q. Does Backroads offer special youth rates?

A. Youth Rates on Designated Family Trips: On all Camping Trips and on Inn Trips when children share a room with two adults, youths receive the following tiered discounts off the trip price:

  • 75% off for children ages 1-2
  • 40% off for ages 3-6
  • 20% off for ages 7-10
  • 10% off for ages 11-17

On Inn Trips when a child shares a room with one adult or two children share a room, a 10% discount applies to children 17 and younger. The third and fourth youths in a room will receive the tiered discounts described above. When one youth is in a separate room a 10% discount is applied to the trip price, but the full private room charge applies.

On Camping Trips we provide spacious four-person tents. On Family Trips, Backroads normally provides one tent per two guests.

A. Youth Rates on non-Family Trips: Children 17 and younger receive a 10% discount when sharing a room with two adults. Also, only two children between the ages of 12 and 17 are allowed on non-Family Trips.

All minors (under 18 years) must be accompanied by at least one adult. When one youth is in a single room the full private room charge will apply.

Please note: Youth savings do not apply to Private Trips, Custom Trips or River Cruise Trips.

Q. What else do I need to know about traveling with children on a Backroads trip?

A. Our Family Trips are packed with child- and adult-friendly features. For more details about travelling with children please see the Family FAQs or the Just for Families section.

Q. Do you have special rates for groups?

A. Please contact our Private Trips Coordinator to find out about price savings for groups who reserve a Private Trip.

Q. What responsibilities do I assume as a guest?

A. Guests are responsible for: choosing a trip that suits their abilities, fitness level and state of health (for assistance, refer to Activity Level Options); providing the Backroads office with a signed "Release of Liability, Assumption of All Risks and Arbitration Agreement" and Personal Information form prior to trip departure (guests will not be permitted to join a trip without this information on file); arriving at the trip start with the clothing and gear recommended in the Travel Planner; respecting the laws and customs of countries visited; following environmental guidelines and regulations while on the trip in accordance with leader direction; and respecting the rights and privacy of other trip members. An individual may be asked to leave a trip if the leader feels that the person's continuing participation may prove detrimental to the individual or to the well-being and enjoyment of other guests.

Q. What are Backroads' limitations of liability?

A. Backroads is not liable for bodily injury or property damage as a result of (but not limited to): physical exertion for which a guest is not prepared; forces of nature; travel by plane, train, auto, boat or other conveyance, or by bicycle, ski, horseback, foot or other form of active or adventure travel; consumption of alcoholic beverages; civil unrest; terrorism; breakdown of equipment; high altitude; lack of or limited access to medical attention in remote locations; and the adequacy of medical attention once provided. Backroads is also not liable for: expenses (e.g., meals, transportation or hotel costs) not specified as included in the trip cost but which may be required to get to or from a trip start or end. Backroads reserves the right to make route and hotel modifications as necessary to improve the trip's quality or to accommodate the comfort and well-being of guests. Guests grant Backroads express permission to take photographs or make film records of its trips for promotional and commercial use, as well as approving such use by third parties with whom Backroads may engage in joint marketing, without financial remuneration.

Q. How can I get more answers?

A. You can send us an e-mail using Backtalk, or please call 800-GO-ACTIVE (800-462-2848) daily between 6 am and 6 pm, Pacific time, and ask to speak to one of our expert Trip Consultants. Or you may want to review Frequently Asked Questions about Backroads.

Q. What days are you open?

A. Backroads is open 7 days a week from 6 am to 6 pm, Pacific time with the following exceptions when we are closed: New Years Day, Easter, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

Q. Do you charge any additional taxes or port fees?

A. Trips to Alaska's Kenai Peninsula, North Carolina, Texas and Utah are subject to state tax which is not included in the trip price; river cruise biking trips will incur additional port fees on 2016 departures.

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