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Martin Randall North America

Our sales office in Washington DC was established in the summer of 2017 and, since then, has become the main point of contact for US and Canadian clients, allowing you to speak to MRT without the complications of international time zones.

We are well-versed in the booking and payment process and liaise with our Operations team in London on your behalf, putting you in touch directly if you would like more details of a particular tour or festival. We send out tour documents and brochures and make sure that you have all the information you need before you travel.

You will find useful information in the FAQs on our main website but here we answer some of the most frequent questions from our US and Canadian clients. If there is anything we have missed, please call us on 1-800-988-6168 or e-mail usa@martinrandall.com

 

Our team 

 

Marie Freeman John Scaggs Kate Desvenain  

 

Marie Freeman

Marie is an Ohio native who moved to Virginia after receiving her BA in English-Professional Writing from Miami University of Ohio. She discovered her love of travel after studying abroad in London during the summer of 2014. She loves dogs, theater, reading, writing, and travelling.

John Scaggs

John graduated with an MA from George Washington University, Elliott School of International Affairs and earned his BA in International Affairs from Northern Arizona University. John also studied at the Asia Institute for Political Economy (Hong Kong) and has previously worked at the Atlantic Council, Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security, and volunteered in Guatemala, Mexico and Germany.

Kate Desvenain 

Kate began traveling in high school as an exchange student to South Africa during the Apartheid era. This experience awakened her political sensibilities, and led her to study Political Science and International Affairs. She worked on democracy development projects in Eastern Europe and Africa for several years before deciding to turn her energies toward civic education in the U.S. She received her MA in Secondary Education and became a high school social studies teacher in Washington, D.C. After meeting her French husband, with whom she built and ran a Bed & Breakfast in Costa Rica, she gravitated toward travel, which combines her passion for education and cultural exchange. In her free time, Kate enjoys birdwatching, photography and print-making.
 

Frequently asked questions

Should I communicate with the Washington DC or London office?
How do I make a booking?
How do I make a payment?
What documentation should I expect?
I am leaving home several weeks before the tour. Why can’t I get my final tour documents before I leave?
My final documents haven’t arrived and I leave in two days, can you overnight the documents?
Do I have to join my tour in London?
Do you work with travel agents?
Can you book my flights from the US?
If I am not travelling from London with the group, can you arrange a transfer from the destination airport/train station to the hotel?
I’m flying into London before the tour. Can you book my hotel at the airport?
Can I change the dates of the group flights?
Can I book a one-way flight?
Can you add my frequent flyer miles to my reservation?
Can I upgrade airline seats or hotel rooms?
Can I stay extra nights at the tour hotel?
Can MRT book hotels other than the tour hotel?
Why is there a supplement for solo travelers?
Can you tell me what visas I will need?
Will I be the only American/Canadian on my tour?
Why is travel insurance compulsory? I have never had to buy insurance for tours run by American companies.
What does my travel insurance need to cover?
Is there a risk the tour will be cancelled?
Do US and Canadian clients receive details later than UK clients, especially for popular tours?

 

Should I communicate with the Washington DC or London office?

You are free to communicate with either but it is preferable to deal with one office so that lines of communication are clear. Our Washington DC office was established for easy communication for US and Canadian clients during normal business hours. All communication can come through us and we will liaise with London as needed.

How do I make a booking?

You can book online or contact us to check availability and make an optional booking. This holds a space for you for seven days. To confirm your booking, we need a completed booking form and deposit payment.

How do I make a payment?

Payment for all Martin Randall Travel tours, including those in the US, is made in Pound Sterling (GBP). The conversion from USD/CAD to GBP will depend on the exchange rate on the day the payment is made and on your bank or card issuer’s charges.

We prefer payment by bank transfer, sterling cheque or debit card:

1. Bank transfer: International bank transfers can be arranged through your internet banking or local branch. We recommend bank transfers (particularly for balance payments) as they usually have lower bank fees compared to payments by credit card, which often charge a foreign transaction fee. Our account details are on the booking form. Please ensure that your bank processes the payment in GBP and allows for all charges – use your last name and tour code as a reference. If the payment is transferred in USD/CAD, it will be converted in GBP at the daily rate when it reaches our account, which can take several days, often resulting in an underpayment or overpayment.

2. Sterling cheque or bank draft: Please write the tour code on the back and mail these directly to Martin Randall Travel, Voysey House, Barley Mow Passage, London W4 4GF, United Kingdom. We do not have a bank account in the US or Canadian and cannot accept non-Sterling cheques.

3. Credit or debit card: You can pay online or by calling our Washington DC office. Credit card companies usually charge a foreign transaction fee (up to 3% of the total) but MRT does not pass on card processing fees. Please note we do not keep credit card numbers on file for security purposes.

With all payment options, please conduct your own research to see which option meets your individual needs.

What documentation should I expect?

When you book your holiday with MRT, you can choose to manage your booking online or by post. If you choose online, we will e-mail you when the key documents listed below are available to view and download. If you prefer hard copies by post, we will mail these from our Washington DC office.

Booking confirmation – this includes your booking reference, which enables you to log in to manage your booking online and access your tour documents. Essential Tour Information, containing details of hotels, flight times and other useful information is available when your booking is confirmed or shortly after.

Balance Reminder and Joining Instructions – around ten weeks before the tour, we send an invoice for your balance payment and your Joining Instructions and luggage labels. When your payment has been processed, we send you a receipt.

We will ask for your travel insurance and passport details if you haven’t already given these and ask how you would like to receive your final documents. You will also need to provide contact details for the eve of the tour and tell us where you will be joining the group. You can enter these details online or contact us.

Final Documents – around two weeks before departure your final documents, which include the full itinerary and your flight confirmation (if applicable), will be available to download. We will send an e-mail notification when they are ready and hard copies will be given to you at the start of the tour. We are happy to mail your final documents to you at home or to an alternative address, providing there is time to do so before the tour. We do not mail hard copies of final documents for our music festivals.

I am leaving home several weeks before the tour. Why can’t I get my final tour documents before I leave?

The final documents are ready around two weeks before departure. They are not finalised earlier in order to keep any changes to the itinerary (and hence any participant confusion) to an absolute minimum. Opening hours and appointments are double-checked close to departure to ensure maximum efficiency in the running of the itinerary.

My final documents haven’t arrived and I leave in two days, can you overnight the documents?

If you have chosen to have your final documents posted, we send them as soon as they are ready by regular mail. We are not able to overnight the documents to you prior to departure if there is a delay in the USPS delivery but hard copies will be provided at the start of the tour.  

Do I have to join my tour in London?

No. You can meet the group at the destination. This is sometimes easier for clients who wish to fly direct or extend their travel before or after the tour. If you arrange your own flights, there is a reduction in the tour cost.

Do you work with travel agents?

We do not pay commission to travel agents. We are happy to share tour documents with your travel agent but to ensure you are fully protected by MRT’s bonding arrangements, all bookings and payments must come directly from you.    

Can you book my flights from the US?

We cannot book them for you but can recommend an air service provider who can help. Please contact us for details.  

If I am not travelling from London with the group, can you arrange a transfer from the destination airport/train station to the hotel?

Yes. If your flights coordinate with the group, you can join the coach transfers at the start and end of the tour at no extra cost. The coach will not be able to divert from its set route to pick you up/drop you off anywhere other than the group arrival/departure airport (or train station where rail travel is included). If you are arriving separately, we can arrange an individual transfer for you – please contact us for a quote.

I’m flying into London before the tour. Can you book my hotel at the airport?

We suggest you contact Holiday Extras (www.holidayextras.co.uk, tel: +44 1303 815300) who can recommend a convenient hotel for your departure terminal. Please quote MRT’s reference number: HX174

Can I change the dates of the group flights?

MRT can usually arrange for you either to fly out or return on a different date, but not both. Generally, it is not possible to change the arrival or destination airports of the group flights.

Can I book a one-way flight?

MRT can arrange for one-way flights but these are usually the same price as a round-trip ticket (except for some long-haul destinations). Please tell us if you do not wish to use your outbound flight; MRT will need to advise the airline of this or your return flight will be cancelled.

Can you add my frequent flyer miles to my reservation?

We typically make group flight bookings which are not always eligible for frequent flier miles. However, we are happy to check with the respective airline.

Can I upgrade airline seats or hotel rooms?

Yes, provided there is availability. We are happy to give a quote once your booking is confirmed.

Can I stay extra nights at the tour hotel?

Yes. Please ask us for a quote, although you can sometimes obtain cheaper prices online or directly with the hotel.

Can MRT book hotels other than the tour hotel?

No. But we can give you details of the hotels we have used for other tours. We also can give you a list of suggested hotels in London.

Why is there a supplement for solo travelers?

Hotels often charge per room, rather than per person. Two people can split the cost of a £100 room, paying £50 each, or one person can pay the full £100. When expressed as a per person cost, this looks like a £50 supplement.

We negotiate hard with hotels to keep single-occupancy prices as low as possible, but as long as hotels charge per room and not per person, the single supplement will remain. Martin Randall Travel makes no profit from the single supplement and will often subsidise it.

Can you tell me what visas I will need?

Yes. We can advise on what you need and how to obtain your visa but we cannot apply for it on your behalf. If you need additional assistance, we suggest you use a visa agent such as Pinnacle.

Will I be the only American/Canadian on my tour?

Our North American client base is growing. While the majority of our clients are from the UK, you will likely encounter others from North America, Europe, and Australia.

Why is travel insurance compulsory? I have never had to buy insurance for tours run by American companies.

As a group tour operator, we have a duty of care to individual clients but also to the group in ensuring the tour runs as planned. An insurer will take over arrangements in an emergency that otherwise would involve the tour manager or the client’s next of kin. Hospital and repatriation costs can be prohibitive so having an insurance policy means that the appropriate care and treatment can be given without delay.

What does my travel insurance need to cover?

Full coverage for medical treatment, including for your medical conditions, repatriation, loss of property and cancellation charges must be included. Medicare usually does not cover medical care you receive while traveling abroad, but some Medigap policies do – please check with your insurance provider.  

Is there a risk the tour will be cancelled?

We would rather run a tour with few participants than cancel it. However, if numbers are so low that the social dynamic would be adversely affected or the tour would make a significant loss, the tour may be cancelled. This would happen no later than 8 weeks prior to departure but, in practice, it is rarely later than 3 months prior. Tours may be cancelled at any stage if there is a risk to your security. Please contact us if you wish to discuss likelihood of cancellation.

Do US and Canadian clients receive details later than UK clients, especially for popular tours?

No. We print our main brochures in the US and mail them to our US mailing list on the same day as the UK office, to ensure you are not disadvantaged. Mail to Canada may take a little longer than within the US.

For popular tours and Martin Randall Music Festivals, we almost always give you advance notice and encourage you to register your interest. You will then receive advance details before the rest of the mailing list.