I have decided to go! How do I reserve a place on a trip?
First, e-mail or call BTSA to make sure there are spaces available. (Our trips are small groups of less than 12 people and some fill up fast.)
Simply paying a trip deposit with PayPal or sending a check does not assure you a place on a trip!
Then, download and fill out the participant form and the contract, below, and mail them, along with a non-refundable check deposit or PAYPAL payment for $500. Let us know if you can’t download the forms and we will send them by mail.
Make checks payable to Behind the Scenes Adventures
and send to BTSA
900 Roanoke Drive # 111
Martinez, CA 94553 USA
After receiving your $500 deposit, we will confirm your reservation and send you information including trip itinerary, lists of what to bring, list of hotel contacts, suggested reading, weather conditions, and more details.
Please note when the final payment is due for your particular trip, typically 60 days before departure date. (If balances due are not paid by the due date, we will notify you for payment. Then if not paid, we reserve the right to offer your place to someone on the waiting list.)
It is possible to pay deposits and final balances securely with PayPal, adding the 2.9% that they charge us. Email us and we will create a PayPal invoice that will be emailed back to you. It’s easy to pay PayPal with your credit card, and you don’t need a PayPal account.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is included in the tour price?
- All accommodations (double rooms with private baths)
- Domestic flights as noted in itinerary
- All internal transportation, usually by private van, occasionally first-class bus or train
- All meals and tips in restaurants (unless otherwise specified).
- Entrance to museums and archeological sites on itinerary.
- Professionally guided day tours at sites such as Machu Picchu and the Blue Mosque, etc.
- Workshops, lessons and classes (and sometimes materials) as indicated on the itinerary.
We’ll stay in charming or best available hotels, and eat in a variety of good restaurants serving typical, local or continental cuisine. Usually, you will be able to order your choice of dishes from the menu in restaurants. Occasionally we will order family-style to enable you to try as many traditional dishes as possible. And sometimes we will have a picnic lunch along the route.
Optional single supplement is available for most trips; ask how much it will be if you choose to have a single room. If you are traveling alone, and want to share a room, we will find a friendly trip participant to be your roommate!
If there is no roommate available for you, you will need to pay the single supplement price which varies by trip–and you will then have your own private room and bathroom.
Please note that international airfare, alcoholic beverages, overweight luggage charges, airport departure transportation, departure taxes, and tips for porters are not included, unless noted.
If you have further questions please contact us regarding the details of the adventure you are interested in.
Is it possible to talk with a past Behind the Scenes trip participant about his or her experience?
Of course! We have a list of past travelers who will be glad to answer specific questions about the tours. Just ask, and we will send you the phone number of someone in your area.
How much experience do the BTSA trip leaders have?
Cynthia herself has led private and group textile and festival tours for over twenty years. For many years, she led research trips for the University of California (UREP) program. She has taken about 42 trips to Bolivia and Peru [she has truly lost count!], and dozens to Turkey, Thailand, Laos, Mali, Ghana, and Mexico. Other trip leaders have been assisting Behind The Scenes for the past 20 years in both South America and Southeast Asia; see Trip Leaders. They are all experts in their fields of ethnic art, indigenous textiles, cuisine and culture, and so forth.
All BTSA leaders receive rave reviews from past trip participants for their enthusiasm and knowledge. See past travelers’ accolades.
I am concerned about my personal safety in an unfamiliar country. What precautions does BTSA take to keep their adventures as safe as possible?
Naturally, we make every possible effort to keep BTSA travelers safe and happy! You will be met upon arrival at the destination airport, by a BTSA representative/driver and will be escorted back to the airport when you depart. We stay in secure and atmospheric hotels whose owners we have known for dozens of years; we usually have assistants or guides to help with your luggage, market purchases, etc.
During the trips, we make a point of using trusted and known van and taxi drivers and bus companies whenever possible; with all our contacts we have many friends who drive the rented mini-vans and other transportation. BTSA’s trip leaders are all experienced and savvy travelers; we also give safety rules and pointers along the way to prevent petty thefts and pickpocketing, problems that actually aren’t too common in the countries where we travel.
How do I make my plane reservations to arrive and depart at the right times?
BTSA provides you with a complete itinerary well in advance of your trip, so that you can schedule your international flight with the help of a travel agent or a website.
We work with a wonderful travel agent named Nancy Smart; email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 510-549-0950. She knows the dates for our trips and is more than happy to make suggestions, and discuss your flight itinerary should you have any questions. A good travel agent can be a real friend, finding you the best connections, prices, seats, and upgrades.
Specific information about arrival and departure plans and arrangements will be sent with your information packet. You will be met at the destination airport on arrival, either by a BTSA tour leader or by a hotel representative/driver with a BTSA sign with your name.
How many people will I be traveling with?
Our maximum group is usually twelve people. This group size allows us to visit remote villages and sites by private van and to interact on a personal level with the artisans of these locales.
What will the weather be like? What clothes should I bring?
Once your deposit is paid, you will receive detailed information about the weather, what to take, background information on the culture of the country or countries to be visited, etc. You are also encouraged to send us e-mail or phone us with any additional questions.