Your Local Specialist Travel Advisors For Custom Tours

SPAIN & PORTUGAL THE WAY THEY SHOULD BE SEEN

FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

1. Flights, Ferries, Car Rental & Chauffeur Drive

No, we do not book international flights. 

Brittany Ferries sails to Santander and Bilbao from the UK.  They also sail from Rosslare in Ireland to Bilbao.

If you happen to be arriving in Spain from Morocco, there is also the option to take the ferry from Tangier to Tarifa, Spain.

YES but only in conjunction with a complete custom trip including other services ( accommodation, private tours, cultural activities, etcetera ). We do not book car rental solely.

Yes.   Our custom trips in Spain and Portugal often involve the client using a mixture of transport throughout their trip including trains, private transfers, car rental and sometimes motorcoaches.  We will advise you on the best transport methods for completing your custom itinerary.

Your rental car can be picked up or dropped off at any one of over 100 locations across mainland Spain and Portugal. The only requirement is that the car must be picked-up and returned within the same country.  No one way drop-off charges apply generally.

YES you can hire a car in Spain and drive it in Portugal and France.  However, at the end of the rental, it must always be returned in the country where the rental started. So, if the car was picked-up in Spain, it MUST be returned in Spain. You cannot drop off a car in another country without special prior arrangement and paying a costly supplement. An exorbitant fee will be charged to you, if you do this without prior arrangment.

No, in general there are no one-way drop-off charges. However, cars must be picked-up and dropped-off in the same country i.e. in Spain or in Portugal.

YES.  Totally Spain works with a whole team of english speaking private drivers and private guides in Spain & Portugal.  See this article on our blog about the Benefits of Hiring A Private Driver in Spain

 

2. Accommodation & Itineraries

The primary reason is, we do this to protect ourselves in some small way from enquirers who are not genuinely interested in our service.

All of Totally Spain's trip proposals are customized and can take hours or longer to put together, depending on how complex a trip is.  We prepare custom proposals for thousands of clients annually.  Unfortunately, not every enquirer is serious about using our service and some only want an expert travel advisor to prepare an itinerary for them, so they don't have to do it themselves.  After having done the work on their behalf, we have had enquirers disappear; bypass us, and book directly themselves. As you can imagine, this can be very frustrating after we, in good faith, have provided our time and expertise.

We realise that this can be part and parcel of the business we are in but by not providing hotel names ( nor contacts for private guides, private drivers, etc. ) UNTIL a booking is confirmed, we hope that this will deter those people who are not genuinely interested in our service.

We are fully aware that people like to review hotels before they book them. However, Totally Spain is not a hotel booking engine but a specialist travel agency and we are selling our first hand knowledge as well as our skills in meeting the unique needs of our clients. It is not in our interest to suggest poor hotels which are unsuitable for a clients needs.  For that reason, all of the hotels we use have been handpicked by us and all are highly rated by past clients and review sites in general.

We are very happy to provide enquirers with all of the information they need to make a decision between one hotel and another. We are also happy to provide the names of the hotels after the client has committed to booking and has paid a deposit. If at that time the client decides they wish to change any hotel, we will willingly modify the hotel. From our experience, that rarely happens.

Most smaller Boutique Hotels and Country homes require a minimum stay of 2 nights at a weekend or during higvh season (Easter, Summer, Public Holidays, Christmas, etc.). Mid-week they are more flexible. Larger city hotels will accept a 1 night booking.  At Totally Spain we are very conscious when planning a custom itinerary of getting the pace just right.  Not too rushed and not too slow either.  We generally don't recommend a 1 night stay anywhere, as we feel that if anywhere is worth going to, it is worth going to for more than a night.

Totally Spain specialises in complete custom packages and we normally take care of all the clients arrangements on the ground.  That said, some clients like to use things like Loyalty Program points to book some of their hotels and we can often accommodate that.  The best thing to do is to check with us when you first contact us.

No.  Totally Spain specialises in complete custom packages featuring accommodation, private transport, private tour guides, cultural visits, etcetera.  We do not book ad-hoc services such as accommodation-only.

YES. That's exactly the service we offer at Totally Spain and have done since we were established in 2000. Please complete our obligation free Quote Form to request a custom proposal for your trip.

Yes.  Always. We only work with quality accommodations where all bathroom facilities are private.

All of our client´s hotel bookings are GUARANTEED BY PREPAYMENT or, in the case of Spanish Paradores, are guaranteed by our PARADORES BOND which is a requirement of Spanish Paradores for official agencies.

Our method of doing business insures that all of our client´s reservations are GUARANTEED. There is no risk, except in the case of force majeure, that you will be bumped to another hotel or have your hotel room sold to another person, should you arrive late.

That is not the case with some other travel companies who do not require the client to prepay for their hotels or Paradores. Travelling to Spain without having prepaid for your hotel booking is a risk. You may find that your room has been sold to another person, you could be bumped to another hotel or in some cases, you may be allocated an inferior bedroom.

All of Totally Spain´s clients can rest assured that we do not take such risks. We pride ourselves on having satisfied clients and the only way to do this is by ensuring that the trip they have booked with us is guaranteed.

 

3. General

When we cost a custom trip for a client, especially one that combines a whole variety of hotels and other services in different locations, we obtain the best rates using our confidential contract rates and various other travel agency sources so as to come up with the most competitive price. With many of our providers we work with confidentially negotiated tariffs which may only be used in conjunction with a custom package combining multiple services. We are not permitted to expose these rates and were each service booked separately they would certainly cost more than when booked as a package.

We always strive to offer our clients EXCELLENT SERVICE, VALUE FOR MONEY, a seamless trip that is WELL ORGANISED and which goes SMOOTHLY from start to finish. See our Past Client Reviews.

At Totally Spain we quote a single, fully inclusive price for your entire custom package that includes all of your services plus the costs of arranging them and Spanish Government tax.  Totally Spain, being based in Spain, enjoys excellent contract rates with our suppliers and up-to-the minute information on the best rates available. Our clients benefit greatly from this and the value of Totally Spain being a local company can bring to their trip and overall experience.

A request may be defined as late if it is made from 1 week to 6 weeks prior to departure; it depends on the time of the year.

At Totally Spain we accept late booking requests but it is not always possible unfortunately. It really depends on how busy we are at the time, dealing with existing clients.

If we are to help with a late request we would need the following information up front, so as not to waste time:

  • A clear indication of your budget and that it is realistic for the type of trip you have in mind and time of year you are travelling.
  • An accurate idea of the trip you want organised and also how flexible you are with locations and hotels
  • When we respond to you, that you reply to us without too much delay 
  • That you understand that availability and price can alter at any time until the booking is confirmed, and so you must be prepared to make a quick decision

 

4. Travel Documents

Documentation is usually shipped by regular mail roughly 7 weeks prior to arrival and after final payment has been made.  Delivery time can vary from 5 to 14 days depending on which country you live in. For European clients delivery time is usually 5 - 7 days while US / Canadian & Australian clients tend to receive their documentation between 10 - 14 days after shipping. Should you prefer to receive your documentation by courier then we can arrange this and you should ask your Totally Spain agent for a quotation.  Prices vary depending on the length of a client's itinerary, as the quantity of documentation and respective weight will vary.

For last minute bookings, documentation will be shipped to the client's first hotel while an email will be sent to them with pdf copies of the most important trip documents.

We supply very comprehensive personalised trip documentation to all of our clients which includes:

  • Detailed Trip Information document with Day by Day itinerary including transport times, meeting times & places and individual contacts for private drivers, private guides, etcetera.
  • Vouchers for all pre-booked hotels and pre-booked visits
  • Hotel contact details and directions
  • Car rental vouchers and rental information
  • Train and coach tickets
  • City Maps marked-up by hand with your hotel location and other important locations relevant to your itinerary
  • Individual City Packs neatly separated for every destination being visited, and which include maps and tourist literature
  • Totally Spain's City Highlights information with suggested routes and itineraries, recommended bars, cafes, restaurants, etcetera
  • Provincial information if clients are on a driving holiday and including suggested daytrips.
  • Restaurant Dictionary with translation of typical Spanish/Portuguese dishes and useful restaurant language

We have sourced from regional tourist offices in Spain & Portugal a comprehensive selection of the best literature that they produce on their areas.  Should a client have any particular special interest, and they make us aware of this, we will include any relevant material which we have, in with their travel documents.

 

5. Insurance - Don´t Leave Home Without It.

We suggest you could contact a reputable travel insurance company such as Allianz Travel Insurance who can assist you.  Totally Spain has no affiliation whatsoever with Allianz but we know that they are a reputable company who have been in the travel insurance business for many years.  You should always do your own research too into suitable travel insurance companies.

 

 

6. Families

Yes it is quite easy once you know where to go and what to eat.  See our blog post on Eating Out with your Family in Spain.  Also Spanish Mealtimes - When to Eat in Spain.

Most properties in Spain and Portugal can supply a cot either free or at a nominal charge.  Please inform your Totally Spain advisor and they will take this into account when preparing your custom itinerary.

Not if you don't want to.  Child Car Seats can be hired locally from Spanish & Portuguese car rental companies and Totally Spain can request this for you at time of booking.

YES. Not all accommodations have them but we can let you know at time of booking.  We can also advise about securing adjacent and inter-connecting rooms. Family rooms in Spain and Portugal are generally for a maximum of 4 people - 2 adults and 2 children.

Yes, absolutely.  Totally Spain is used to organizing trips for large family, mixed generational groups who would like to travel together in Spain & Portugal.  We also understand the unique requirements that family groups can have including requests for special rooms, meeting spaces, special group meals, private tours, accommodating the interests of young and old and handling arrivals and departures at different times and, sometimes, on different days. 

You can trust Totally Spain to create the perfect, seamless trip for your family group.

 

7. Food & Dining

Most but not all of the properties we deal with offer meals and that includes quite a number of the smaller Country Homes and Inns.  Those that don't offer a meal service other than breakfast are usually in the vicinity of one or more restaurants.  If you wish to only stay in properties that provide a meal service, then be sure to let your Totally Spain advisor know during the trip planning process.

Although there is not an abundance of vegetarian or vegan restaurants in Spain & Portugal, there are more springing up all the time. Vegans and vegetarians will generally not have a problem dining in the main cities in Spain and Portugal. See our blog post on Eating Out as a Vegetarian in Spain

If you are allergic to certain ingredients please let us know at time of booking especially if you are booking Food Tours with us. We can let your accommodations know this so they can provide an adequate breakfast. Also, we can provide you with a translation in Spanish or Portuguese for those items you are allergic to. See our blog post about Gluten Free Spain: How to Order and what to enjoy

 

8. Language

Learning a few basic words of Spanish or Portuguese is always handy. A good number of our accommodation providers speak English especially in the larger hotels and all of them are used to receiving clients from around the world. Most of our private drivers and all of our private guides speak good to excellent english.

We provide all of our clients with comprehensive travel documentation including maps and guides in English and we also supply a handy translation dictionary for restaurants. Also don´t forget that we´re only a phone call away should you need any assistance during your trip.

 

9. For Travel Agents

Totally Spain works with travel agents, tour companies and group travel organizers all of the time.  If you are looking to plan a trip to Spain or Portugal for your clients simply send us an email giving us details about your company, contact name, website address and the services you require for your clients and we will gladly look into this for you.

We organise travel within Spain & Portugal for all varieties of FITs and Groups.

We take care of all types of land arrangements including transport by Motorcoach, Train Travel, Hotels, Local Guides and Tour Directors, Entrance to Museums & Monuments, Booking Restaurants, Guest Speakers and much more. With our deep knowledge of Spain & Portugal Travel and our large network of contacts, no itinerary is too simple or too complex for us to handle.

Apart from Cultural tours for Groups and Individuals we´ve handled specialist tours for Jewish clients, Wine & Gastronomy themed tours, tours dealing with Muslim culture right through to tours focused on Modern Urban Architecture, and even Agriculture.  We have also handled numerous honeymoons ( and several weddings ) and other celebratory events.

If you would like us to prepare a quote for a Group or FIT then please do not hesitate to contact us by completing our online form for a quote.

Contact us to discuss this and any other questions you might have.

 

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Why Choose Totally Spain

We are based in Spain and we take our clients travel needs very seriously. We have a proven track record built-up over 20 years dedicated to designing top class Private Custom Spain & Portugal trips including Private Self Drive Tours, Rail and Coach ToursPrivate Guided ToursChauffeur Drive ToursThemed Tours - Wine, Art, Gastronomy, Luxury Honeymoon Vacations, Private Group Tours and more.

By dealing directly with a Spain based travel agency you'll receive real value for money due to our special supplier arrangements, current local knowledge and prime contacts established over many years. No third parties are involved.

Totally Spain is a fully licensed and bonded Spain Travel Agent successful in business since 2000.  Your entire custom trip will be handled by knowledgeable and creative, expert Travel Advisors who know Spain and Portugal inside out.  We are a single source for all your Spain & Portugal travel needs, no matter how complex.  Totally Spain has an outstanding network of trusted partners in both countries that allow us provide our clients with access to unique and authentic experiences. At every stage of your custom trip, from inception to conclusion,  Totally Spain will be on-hand for you.

Since 2000 Totally Spain has planned and co-ordinated custom trips for over forty thousand mature travellers from all over the world. We have assisted them in realising their dream of discovering the truly authentic and fascinating countries of Spain and Portugal.  We are proud to enjoy an extremely high level of customer satisfaction that we cherish and always strive to live up to.

Totally Spain Tour Reviews

Review from Yelp Totally Spain did a wonderful job for us on our trip to Spain to complete "The Camino".  Olaia was most efficient, providing quick answers to any questions we had, and made reservations at fantastic accommodations a...

Diane & Bob Hall, Penn Valley, CA, USA
2018-10-20

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CUSTOM PRIVATE TRAVEL BY THE SPECIALISTS IN SPAIN & PORTUGAL

Totally Spain is a savvy and reputable Spain & Portugal Travel Agency with expert travel advisors dedicated to organising exceptional Custom Designed Private Travel.

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