FAQ: What can I expect if I travel with your company?
First of all, you can expect to benefit from our 20+ years of experience developing and leading tours. You can count on a level of professionalism that ensures everything is taken care of, so you can maximize your precious holiday time. You will also benefit from our mantra: "We create experiences that you could never have had if you travelled on your own". We are very aware that we need to add value to your travel experience. Over and above the inclusions noted in your itinerary, you can expect to have a whale of a time! Our guides are accomplished individuals in their own right; many have multiple degrees and come from a variety of walks of life, including former university professors, business consultants, successful artists, actors, translators, authors, bike racers, and are all-round great people! Their primary desire is to create a fun, enriching, informative, and intimate travel experience that our guests couldn’t have had if they travelled alone. For this reason, many of our clients choose the same guide to travel with time and time again. We’re all about the personal connection and we love sharing “our backyard” with our guests. Indeed, travellers often remark at the end of a tour how they really connected with the guides, and that it didn’t feel like they were being guided, but rather that they were travelling with a good friend and sharing wonderful moments together.
FAQ: Why should I travel with you?
Rest assured, you’re in good hands with us! We’ve been operating guided holidays for the past 20+ years, and we are proudly a small company, with a close knit community of both North American and European guides whom all live in and have an intimate knowledge of where we travel to in Europe. We know our region like the back of our hands! Brett, our Canadian born & Tuscany based leader, has a very hands on approach to the business and personally develops and leads many of our tours. He takes great pride in his tours, and because he often personally leads the tours he has “skin in the game”. How many other companies can say that?
FAQ: What support backup do you have in place if things go awry while on tour? Such as accidents or major events etc??
All of our guides are fully bilingual, (and in some cases trilingual) in whatever region they are guiding therefore they are capable of contacting whatever emergency services are required in case of need. All of our guides have first aid training and carry first aid kits with them. Previously we have had to cope with medical emergencies and we have always managed to do just that, cope with the situation and ensure that the afflicted client is looked after as best as possible. Furthermore, since we have an office in Italy we can always follow up and help the client deal with insurance issues (which is why we request every clients insurance policy number and contact details, as well as a person back home to contact in case of emergency), or rebooking of plane tickets, etc. Etc. Needless to say having professional, bilingual guides looking after you can be of great benefit.
FAQ: I have specific details regarding the tour, who can I speak to, or correspond with directly that has an in-depth knowledge of that tour and the area you’re going to?
Your initial tour enquiry goes directly to our owner/manager Brett Naisby, who is available to answer any and all questions. Each tour has a tour manager and that person (either Brett, Claire, Manu, or Melissa) is also available via email or by skype or telephone to reply to your questions. All of our Trip Managers also guide the tours that they manage so they have first-hand knowledge of the day to day operation of the tour. If you have special requests, or just a million questions then they are there to assist you.
FAQ: Can you tell me a bit about the guide for this trip? Who are they, where are they from, what is there experience?
First of all, all of our guides absulutely love their work. Many have multiple degrees and our ranks include former university professors, business consultants, successful artists (mosaicists, painters, and ceramicists), actors, translators and interpreters, authors, bike racers, and a master sommelier. They all live in Europe, and many are native to the area where they guide. The guides are there to look after you, entertain you, inform you and generally enrich your travel experience. Upon making your booking enquiry, you will correspond with your Trip Manager and guide and will be able to see their picture and read their bio on our "About us" page.
FAQ: What kind of scooters do you use on your tours?
Tuscany Vespa Getaway: Piaggio VESPA 125cc LX model. This is the classic Vespa.
Puglia Scooter Tour: Honda SH 125cc or similar. These scooters have larger diameter front wheels than the classic Vespa, which gives added stability.
Provence Scooter tour, Croatia Scooter tour, Andalusia Spain Scooter tour: In these countries the law allows people without a motorbike license to driver up to 50cc scooters so we use 50cc scooters of various makes and models. They are smaller, and weigh less than the 125cc scooters. If you have a motorbike license we can provide you with a larger, 125cc scooters for you for a small supplement.
All the scooters have electronic ignition and automatic gear boxes. Brakes are on the handlebars, like on a bicycle.
FAQ: How fast do the scooters go?
In Italy and Spain we use 125 cc scooters which can go as fast as 100kmh, however, we never, ever go that fast. We respect the speed limits and therefore our maximum speed is 60kmh, and more usually 50kmh. We often ride slower than that because we are frequently on windy roads. You should be able to safely drive the scooter at the speed limit. If you drive too slowly you become an obstacle in the road to other vehicles. In France and Croatia we use 50cc scooters, which have a maximum speed of 60kmh.
FAQ: Do I need an International Drivers license?
There is no requirement to hold an international drivers license. You do need to hold a valid driver’s license from your home country.
FAQ: Do I need a motorcycle license?
No, you don’t need a motorcycle license, just a valid car driver’s license from your home country. You must be at least 18 years of age and have had a driver’s license for at least two years.
FAQ: I have a motor bike licence. Is it possible to get a larger scooter?
Anyone who has a motorbike license can ride a larger scooter on any of our tours, but there is a supplement to pay. In Italy and Spain we use 125cc scooters, which are powerful enough for two people, whereas in Provence and Croatia the law limits us to using 50cc scooters for people without a motorbike driver’s license. In Italy and Spain, the upgrade is to a 250cc scooter. In Provence and Croatia the upgrade is usually to a 125cc Suzuki Bergman which is a surprisingly powerful scooter, and a comfortable ride, however, we can get 250cc scooters also in Provence and Croatia.
FAQ: I have never ridden a scooter. Should I book this tour anyway?
NO! Absolutely not. Before you book this tour you must already be a competent scooter driver. You will be driving a motor vehicle on public roads. You are responsible for your safety but also for the safety of other motorists, bikers and pedestrians. You must be able to control the scooter and drive it competently.
FAQ: Can two people ride on a scooter?
Yes, two people can easily ride a 125 cc scooter (Vespa LX 125 scooter on our Tuscany Vespa tour, SYM 125cc scooter in Puglia). On our scooter tours outside of Italy, we are obliged to use 50cc scooters and they are not powerful enough to easily accommodate two people. Anyone can be a passenger, including children (the Italian Law doesn’t specify a minimum age for child passengers). Pillion passengers receive €100 discount.
FAQ: Is there a discount for pillion passengers?
Yes, if you decide to sit behind the driver and do not take a scooter for yourself, you get a €100 discount.
FAQ: What kind of insurance is included in the rental?
Included in the rental price is third party liability and third party property damage insurance as required by European law. However, you are not covered for damage that you may cause to the scooter. It is impossible to get insurance to cover damage to a motor scooter.
FAQ: How large are your scooter groups?
Our scooter tours are usually between 4 and 8 participants, but we do tours for as few as 2 participants, and the largest group we have done to date is for 22 riders.
FAQ: How small are your groups? What is your minimum group size?
We will guarantee a departure for only two people, but a small-group fee may apply. Please see our Guaranteed Departure Policy. for more information. Happily for us, we don't have too many tours that run with just two people. We usually manage to get at least 6 participants on tours.
FAQ: How many guides accompany a tour?
We have at least one guide accompanying tours with up to 6 scooters on the road. Once there are more than 6 scooters on the road, we add another guide.
FAQ: How many people do you need for a private trip?
We can do a private trip for one person, if that is what you want to do, but of course it will be more expensive.
FAQ: What do you do if it rains?
We always have a support vehicle available so the guide has the option to use the support vehicle in case of rain. If it is raining, we prefer not to ride because A) it is dangerous, and B) it is generally uncomfortable. Sometimes we get caught on the road by a storm, in which case the guide makes a decision based on the weather and the timing and the ability of the group. Safety is always our first concern. If it is raining the whole day, we tend to stick to the programme, but use the van to get to the visits and events that we have planned for that day.
FAQ: Where do your clients come from?
Australia, New Zealand, U.S.A., Canada, South Africans, and the U.K.
FAQ: What is the age range of people on the trips?
On average, ages range from early 30’s to mid 60’s with the majority in the 45 to 60 bracket.
FAQ: Do you charge a single supplement?
Yes, we do, but it is relatively modest since we only charge the extra fees that are passed on to us by the hotels. We do not penalize single travelers with our own fees, and as a result our single supplements are lower than with most tour companies.
FAQ: What are your clients like?
Many of our trip participants have traveled extensively, while others may be on their first overseas trip. Many participants are expert motorbike riders, while some others are less experienced. As you have no doubt noticed on our website we strongly discourage novice riders to do a scooter tour.
FAQ: How does a typical day work?
We design each day to have a balanced content of activity, cultural content, cappuccino and lunch time, short breaks, and then free time at the end of the day, and then dinner. So a typical day starts with breakfast at about 8 a.m, depart at about 9 a.m, ride for about an hour, have a break, resume, arrive in a village for a snack, another hour of riding, then lunch, then ride a little more, then perhaps a cultural visit/special event, then arrive back at the hotel around 4:00 p.m. You have some free time, then we get together at about 7:00 for an aperitivo followed by dinner. The guides will then brief you on the next day’s activities.
FAQ: How far do you ride in a day?
Distances range from 80 to 120 kms a day.
FAQ: How long have you been doing tours?
Brett guided his first tour in Alsace in June 1990 for a company called Butterfield and Robinson. It was a cycle tour. He established his own walking and biking company in 1996: "Customwalks". We started running our ScooterBella Vespa Tours in Tuscany in 2006. Tours in Puglia, Provence, Croatia followed quickly.
FAQ: Where is the company based?
The company is based in Christchurch, New Zealand and we have a Representative Office in Tuscany which gives the company a legal status in Italy and allows us to operate legally in Europe. It also means we get to deal with Italian bureaucracy. Hooray!
FAQ: What about travel and health insurance?
We highly recommend that you purchase Trip Cancellation Insurance and supplemental Travel Medical Insurance. Should you have to cancel your trip because of illness, injury or death to you or a family member, trip-cancellation insurance protects most of your deposits and payment for both air and land cost. Should you be injured during the course of your travels abroad supplemental Travel Medical Insurance will give you peace of mind and the financial wherewithal to cover the costs of medical treatment abroad and repatriation.
North American Residents: Travel Guard is a long standing Travel Insurance Company. Click on the logo below to be taken to the Travel Guard website.
U.K. Residents: Contact your insurance broker. Otherwise, here are some companies you may wish to contact:
N.Z. & Australian residents
For New Zealand residents we suggest that you look at the following companies or contact your insurance broker or travel agent.
Southern Cross Travel Insurance
For Australian clients we suggest:
Toll free Canada & USA
please note this will ring through to our office in Italy and will be answered between 09:00 and 18:00 Italian time.
(+64) 3 3375951
(+39) 0577 749198
Italian operations office
You can also leave a message, but communication by email is more reliable because during the season we are often on tour, and not in the office.