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Question

in a kind of (really?) difficult situation

1 Jun 2007 michAel-89 asked

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hello everyone ^^

ill be departing for the european adventurer tour in 19 days..!

i could be lots and tons and.. tons of lots times even more excited--

YET!

due to the incompetency of my travel agent, i (finally) confirmed i DO need a visa for a specific country... when there were only 3 weeks left...

roughly the time needed for getting a visa, IF theres an embassy in your country. not if there isnt (snail mail...).

*sigh*

amidst my pre-knowingthisfact exciting phase, i would read and re-read the contiki brochure a gazillion times, one of them finding a part where they say "theyre not legally permitted to knowingly allow anybody who does not have a valid visa to join a trip"

see, this little country i referred to previously is Albania. the nearest embassy is at Washington (thank you very much?) and i could either get my visa there (again, not enough time left) OR at Rome.

i seem to recall when navigating the forums how right this guy was when he was talking about how things always came up better when doing them by oneself, and not through a 3rd party (travel agent, in this case)

anyways, how strictly enforced that statemnt is? i know i can (and sure would) sacrifice my days at Rome to get the albanian visa, OR, take a ferry from athens, skip mykonos, and go directly to Dubrovnik. hell, even take a train to Sofia, then to Belgrade, next to Zagreb and continuing making my way to souther Croatia.

YET.

theres always the possibility the Contiky people might tell me, "when you booked your trip with us, you agreed on getting all the necessary visas for yourself. now, you didnt, so... byebye"

then id lose a year's savings and be forced to live with less than half of it for almost 40 days - completely alone, may i say.

neato, huh? Big Grin

aw, well, not really.

SO, going back to the point.

has anyone ever seen this, someone getting their trip entirely cancelled due some incident of this sort? or could i still join the trip, get the visa when i can, or find my way in any case i dont get it just so i dont have to go through a country i cant?

please, please, i need some insight here...


if i cancel in these days at lest id get 70% of my money back Big Grin......

*SIGH!*
  • 1 Jun 2007 Steftacular said

    Steftacular

    WOW, thats some sort of prediciment…
    I dont think your entire tour would be cancelled. Ive heard of people being re-routed around the country because they didnt have one. Im going to Turkey, and from what I know of we just buy one at the border if we didnt get one ahead of time (since its only good for 90 days anyways).. so i dont know if you could do that… but I dont think theyd kick you off the tour…good luck though!

  • 1 Jun 2007 ptooma said

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    Michael,

    as Matty as said, worst case scenario, you can always just swing around Albania on your own. Contiki will not kick you off the tour. I would strongly suggest giving the embassy in Rome a call in advance (ie: like on Monday) and explain your situation (and follow up w/ an email). Perhaps they can expedite your case and have everything ready before you arrive.

    All the best and happy trails.

    - Vic

  • 2 Jun 2007 michAel-89 said

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    gosh, reading your replies really cut me some slack, now im much more tranquil knowing Contiki wont kick me off the tour, haha,

    the ferry option seems a little bit too complicated (athens to brindisi, train up to bari, bari to dubrovnik); i think, if i do get the visa denied for whatever reason or just dont seem able to get it (say, if they tell me itd take a week or so, idk), ive already know which flights to get

    2 low cost airline tickets turn out to be even cheaper than a Eurail one.

    woah.

    who wouldve imagined?

    anyways, i cant thank you enough..

    Peace!

    Big Grin<!--graemlin::D-->

  • 2 Jun 2007 cdm115 said

    cdm115

    On my Russia tour we had 2 people who didn’t have russian visas. They were allowed on the tour and had to go to the consulate in, I think, Oslo for the Visa’s.

    Two choices. Try and get in touch with the consulate in Washington and see if they have a procedure for expedited Visa’s – most countries do. You’ll have to overnight your stuff back and forth though.

    Or go in Rome – just make sure you know the hours and get there early. Some consulates get long lines for Visa’s and have limited hours. Also, make sure they are open the day you’re in Rome.

    Worst case – you’ll get left behind when you get to Albania and will have to find your own way to the next meeting place.

  • 3 Jun 2007 PinaI said

    PinaI
    quote:
    see, this little country i referred to previously is Albania. the nearest embassy is at Washington (thank you very much?) and i could either get my visa there (again, not enough time left) OR at Rome.



    IN ROME?? OK, you know what, go down to Washington and beg and plead with them to get it organised for you before you leave. I’m sure if you tell them what happened and how you came to be in this situation they could/would speed it up for you. Ultimately, it is just a piece of paper they have to print out!

    The reason I say that is because in Rome, they’re slack! Trust me, I’m Italian and I’ve been to Rome about 5 times before…everything in Rome, work related, happens in slow motion. A lot of the time, especially in banks, offices, govt related industries, they’ll just sit behind a counter having coffee while you’re desperate to speak to someone, they just don’t care. I really don’t think I would risk waiting to try and do this in Rome…get cracking in your country while you can!

  • 5 Jun 2007 michAel-89 said

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    aaaalllriighhh!

    all your messages me encouraged me to get out of the self pity state i was sort of in and got me to at least start acting ^

    the albania us emabssy proved to be a little bit.. er, say, disappointing at first (i phoned 3 times, on 2 different days, and no one would pick the phone) and was kinda obsessed over the one in italy, but then again, no one would answer..

    so i just knew something was wrong

    after reading Indira’s message where she so conveniently (may i say) attached the albania embassy at washington, i decided to give it a last shot.

    called. deciphered the evil automatic recorder responses and finally got to dial a number that ACTUALLY EXISTED (see, if you press 3, even though they say its political office numer 1, or something, the next message you get is that that specific option isnt, well, say, available. heh) and got this message…

    working hours of the counselors office from 11 AM to 2 pm

    Aw, christ

    so i waited and called again.

    after the proper introductions i stated my problem.

    -embassy: (…) you need an invitation letter
    -me: oh, but, im in an organized tour
    -embassy: oh you are?
    -me: yes

    3 minutes or so waiting

    -embassy: how much time are you going to stay in albania?
    -me: 1 night
    -embassy: alright, you can get a 3 day visa at the border

    i spontaneously exploted in happiness, i told him how huge a break he was giving me by telling me that and thanked him A LOT.

    so thats about it ^


    ALBANI— ah, ahem

    EUROPEAN ADVENTURER, HERE I GO! Big Grin<!--graemlin::D-->

    Peace ^^

  • 7 Jun 2007 Greg said

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    Just as another note … when my tour for Spain/Portugal in 2003 was going through the very locked-down border of Gibraltar (yes, where the main road crosses the airport runway), I think it was our Colombians that had to just wait outside (for the few hours we were there) and not enter. So that’s another tidbit –- they needed something they didn’t have, or there was some connotation about being Colombian.

    Glad to hear your predicament was resolved!

    Greg

  • 8 Jun 2007 michAel-89 said

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    YES!

    Colombian diplomacy either sucks A LOT or those FARC guys strike terror in every nation there is, haha S:

    Colombians can travel visa-free to 16 countries.

    Only.

    It must be a real pain trying to do a Contiki and having to apply to that many visas (schengen + UK + etc)

    Sigh

    Oh well

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