Your burning questions, answered

It’s only natural to have some burning questions before you book your once in a lifetime Black Tomato trip. We’ve answered the most commonly asked ones below. This way, you can understand more about who we are, what we do and what we stand for.

Pre-travel
Payment
Service
Post-travel

PRE-TRAVEL

How does the Black Tomato website work?

It’s simple, really. You can use our Trip Finder tool to search destinations and experiences based on when you want to travel and how you want to feel. You can also browse all of our countries using the A – Z destinations list.

Our site is filled with itineraries, but each and every one of them is a guideline only – an example of what you can do, rather than an inflexible list of what you have to do. If you like what you see then of course you can copy them exactly, but they are so far from ‘set in stone’ that they’re basically liquid. Absolutely malleable, and as open to change as your tastes dictate. Ultimately, from the moment you make an inquiry using our form, your Travel Expert will work with you to create something that’s entirely bespoke.

As ever, you can always side-step our forms and example itineraries and get in contact with us by email or phone. So if you’ve got a burning desire to travel across every country in South America by horseback, then just tell us when – and we’ll get you saddled up.

How long does it take to plan a trip?

In most cases, you’ll have your initial itinerary within a few days. First we’ll (1) set up a call to get to know you and your family, friends or partner. Next we’ll (2) ask about your interests and how you like to travel, as well as discussing ideas for your chosen destination. From here (3) we’ll curate a tailor-made itinerary and send it over within a few days. You can then fine-tune your trip as much as you like and speak to the other people in your party before confirming.

If your needs are more complex then this process can take a little longer. At the same time if you’re eager to travel ASAP then we can get you from inquiry to flight within a matter of hours.

Can the itineraries featured on your website be adapted or are they set in stone?

All of our itineraries are completely tailor-made from scratch. Those on our website are there to provide inspiration, and to give you a taste of what we can do. As soon as we’ve had our initial phone conversation, your Travel Expert will begin to tailor and mould an itinerary around what you want.

Are Black Tomato holidays child-friendly?

Absolutely. Our team are full of parents who know the ins and outs of what goes into a great family trip. They’ve spent years sussing out which destinations and hotels are perfect for kids of any age. Visit our family travel page to find your perfect trip.

Will I be joining a group?

All of our trips are private, so you won’t be joining a group (unless of course you’re traveling with one of your own). There’s no maximum group size (within reason), so if you want to go with five friends or 40 family members, we can sort it. We’ve also built strong relationships with a number of top hotels around the world, so if you want a luxury hotel solely for your group, we can arrange a buy-out For group and price incentive travel, visit our sister company Black Tomato Agency.

Can you plan short breaks or do you only specialise in big trips?

We can arrange trips of any length or intensity. So if you’re looking for a quick domestic getaway or a lightning-bolt trip to the other side of the world, we can plan and manage it all. Take a minute to read 11 reasons to book your trip with us

Do you book my flights?

It’s up to you. We can sort it all out and save you the stress. Should you want to book your own then that’s totally fine too. Just let us know. We can also book private jets, should you need them.

What happens after I book?

After you’re happy with your final itinerary and booked your trip, we will confirm everything with our local suppliers and start the countdown. We will give you access to your personalized app which contains additional information about your destination and a countdown to your trip. As you get closer to the departure date and have made your final payment, we’ll send through your final travel documents before setting up a pre-departure call to answer any last-minute questions.

Can I book extra services once I’ve booked and paid?

Yes, absolutely. Many do. We’re super flexible and understand that new ideas might come to mind as the weeks go on. Just throw them at us.

PAYMENT

When will I need to make full payment for my trip?

The balance payment is due 12 weeks in advance of your intended departure date. If your booking is made less than 12 weeks before departure, the full price of the trip will be payable on booking. Prices quoted are GBP sterling prices based on daily currency exchange rates current at the time of quotation. Payments must be made in the currency of the invoice and can be paid by bank transfer, debit or credit card. View full booking conditions here. Sorry to sound so formal, but we want to make sure your trip goes off without a bump. 

How do I pay Black Tomato?

You can pay for your trip by credit card or bank transfer to our bank account. We don’t charge any fees to pay by credit card, however your bank may charge individual fees to pay to our UK account, so make sure you check with them how best to transfer the money.

Is it cheaper booking through a travel agent than doing it myself?

Bespoke travel isn’t cheap – it’s true. But there are some very good reasons for this. Like tailors of haute couture outfits, we hand-make each and every trip we sell based on years of insight, knowledge and experience. Nothing we do is off-the-shelf, meaning we put lots of care into fine-tuning your itinerary to make sure it fits you perfectly. We draw on friendships, agreements, and relationships with local contacts and partners to ensure we can do things differently – always elevated, and never ordinary. It’s why we can get you into the Louvre before it’s open, and why you can get access to secret dining clubs in Catalonia.

As we often say, no two Black Tomato trips are ever the same. Our higher premium reflects all of the added ideas, expertise and energy that goes into your itinerary – as well as our 24/7 support, logistical expertise, insider insight, and all of the management and details. We really love travel, and take huge pride in giving you the best and most seamless experience of your life. In other words: it’s really, really worth it.

Can you give price breakdowns so I know where my money is going?

Unfortunately, we are not able to give price breakdowns as we receive contracted rates from our suppliers and these are therefore confidential. However, we will always endeavour to give you the clarity you need so you feel comfortable confirming your trip with us. 

Is there a fee for your service?

There are no hidden fees at Black Tomato. You pay only for your actual vacation – and you only pay when you’re completely satisfied with your itinerary. Now how often do you hear that?

SERVICE

What is a Travel Expert? How do they know the inside track?

Our Travel Experts know their destination inside and out. Some of them have lived there. Some were born there. Others have traveled or worked there. Put it this way, when we’re planning trips of our own, our Experts are the first people we talk to. They’re passionate, intense, up to date. Honestly it’s scary. What’s more, we make sure all of our Travel Experts regularly conduct research trips to their country, attend talks, speak with the locals, and always ask questions. If something’s hot, they’ll be one of the first to find out. 

Click here to meet our friendly and inspiring Black Tomato team – all of whom operate across our London, New York and Newcastle offices. 

I’ve already booked some elements of my trip. Can you organize just my activities or experiences?

Sadly we cannot. We can only add certain experiences if we’re also booking the vast majority of your trip – as this is where we can add the most value.

What are the benefits of having Black Tomato handle my trip? How are you different to other tour operators?

We have no set departures or cookie-cutter itineraries, and nothing we do is by-the-numbers. We’re a small company (there’s just under 100 of us) who love to travel, all of whom are dedicated to creating unique, exciting, and often life-changing adventures for our clients. Step inside any of our three offices and you’ll hear one thing above anything else: chatter about countries, hotels, restaurants, people and communities. There’s nothing we love more than sharing this passion, love and knowledge – regardless of whether you’re traveling as a huge family, on a honeymoon, or solo. Just look at our suitcases: worn down like a favorite pair of shoes.

Who looks after us when we’re on our trip?

Alongside our support line and your personal Travel Expert, who is contactable throughout, we have partners and contacts on the ground who’ll run the day-to-day of your time away. We’ll make sure you’re introduced and that you have their contact details before you get there. We use local partners because they’re always best placed to respond immediately and speak the local language.  They are extensions of the team in London and New York and we’ve spent over a decade nurturing relationships with our partners to ensure you are really looked after and supported whilst traveling.

For any large group trips we’d be happy to arrange a Black Tomato host to join you too.  Just tell us your needs and requirements and we’ll work something out.

Who do I contact in case of an emergency?

If you’re traveling and need to contact us in an emergency, you’ll find their details in your travel documents or in your Black Tomato app (located under emergency contacts). If your query is itinerary related, we recommend calling our local partners first (details are also in your documents or your app). For anything that goes beyond this, we have a 24/7 emergency line manned by our team at Black Tomato HQ.

I’m trying to be an eco-friendly traveler. What is Black Tomato doing for responsible travel?

We support UN Gold Standard certified carbon offset projects. Each quarter, we work with our carbon auditors to calculate our corporate emissions, and we select an offset project to support. In the past we’ve offset our carbon emissions through purchasing fuel-efficient cookstoves in Kenya, funding a wind project in India, and supporting water purification in Cambodia.

Our carefully selected partners around the globe also support sustainable travel and actively work to improve the communities in which they operate – this includes supporting micro-economies in Cambodia, the protection of the endangered rhino population in Kenya, and supporting sustainable tourism in the Indian Subcontinent.  Please speak to us about your specific itinerary so that we can share details of how your visit will have a positive impact, and visit our sustainability page to find out more about what we’re doing.

Can you help me with my visa?

Nobody likes applying for visas. And while we can provide guidance and information, we can’t – sadly –  arrange your visas for you. Your Travel Expert is the best-placed person to direct you toward the appropriate place, whether that’s the UK Foreign Office or US State Department (or other). They’re always happy to help you answer any queries you might have.

Do I need travel insurance?

We highly recommend that you take out travel insurance to cover your trip, though we are not allowed to offer recommendations about which providers to choose. But if you do have any more general inquiries then please do drop your Travel Expert a line.

Do I need to get vaccines for my trip?

Please be aware it’s your responsibility to ensure you’re covered for all possible vaccinations or medications needed for your trip. We pride ourselves on being able to do many things but sadly we are not qualified physicians, so please speak with your doctor to ensure you are up to date on your recommended vaccinations. Often vaccinations need to be given well over a month prior to departure to have reached full efficacy.

Is my holiday protected by ATOL?

Absolutely.  All of our UK clients are protected by ATOL. ATOL – which is short for Air Travel Organizers’ Licensing – exists to protect the public from losing money or being stranded abroad because of the failure of air travel firms. In the highly unlikely event of our insolvency, the CAA will ensure that you are not stranded abroad and will arrange to refund any money you have paid to us for an advance booking. All of the air vacations and flights on this website are ATOL protected by the Civil Aviation Authority. Our ATOL number is 10531 as an agent for Hays Tour Operating Ltd.

POST-TRAVEL

I’ve just come back from my trip. How do I send feedback?

We love hearing about our clients’ adventures. Upon your return, we’ll send you our initial feedback form. This includes questions and ratings about your recent trip. If you’d like to discuss your trip in greater detail, our Client Experience team will arrange a suitable time to have a full phone-based chat. We always appreciate it when our clients leave their thoughts on our Trust Pilot or Google review page, as it’s a great way for travelers to share experiences and recommendations with each other.

My trip was great and I’m ready to book another. Will I keep the same Travel Expert?

Depending on the destination, your Travel Expert will either work with you directly or hand you over to the appropriate Expert (going to Peru? That’s Tom. Kenya? Then you’ll be chatting to Tessa).

Can I do something completely different for my next trip?

Absolutely. Just get in touch with your Travel Expert and we’ll start planning something special. From honeymoons to family travel, solo adventures to milestone memories, foodie-focussed excursions to well-routed road trips, and conservation projects to balmy beachside retreats, we love the challenge of creating something bespoke. Tell us your wishes and we’ll get planning.

I’m not ready to book another trip yet, but how do I stay in touch?

Not to worry, we know it takes time to choose your next destination and—more importantly—to get the time off work. Just let us know when you’re ready to have a chat and we’ll be waiting on the other end. In the meantime, of course, we won’t leave you in the dark. Sign up to our emails and receive our freshest travel news, products and campaigns. 

I took some great photos on my trip. How can I share them with you?

We genuinely love other people’s travel photos. Send them to your Travel Expert or, if you’re on social media, upload your photo with the hashtag #BTtravels and we’ll see it that way.

MORE ABOUT US

Machu Pichu, Peru

11 REASONS TO BOOK WITH US

Trusting someone to take care of your travel plans isn’t a light decision. This is why you can feel rest assured with us.

READ MORE
We Are Human

WE ARE HUMAN

There are no automated programmes here, we believe it’s all about the human connection when it comes to what we do.

READ MORE
Palm tree, Caribbean

ABOUT US

From the name to the journey that got us here today. This is our story and the individuals that make up who we are today.

READ MORE

Go to top

Take the risk out of travelling

With State of Flex, all new bookings are now 100% refundable should you cancel at any time up to 30 days before your departure. Should you change your mind, we won’t charge you. Find true flexibility and peace of mind when you come with us.

Find out more x