Before You Go


Travel Smart Guide

Holidays are exciting times and full of new experiences and adventures. To make sure that your holiday is enjoyable, we want to let you know about where you might need to take extra care. Please read this document through and pass it on to your travel companions too!

Read our Travel Smart Guide

ESTA Programme

It is mandatory for anyone travelling to or transferring through the US under the Visa Waiver Program, to obtain approval to travel no later than 72 hours prior to travel by completing an online process ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) scheme. The cost of an ESTA is currently approx $14 per person and can be obtained by visiting or the Visit USA Website at where further information on the scheme and up to date fee can also be found. Once completed & approved, the ESTA application is valid for two years and allows multiple visits without the need to reapply. Travellers can apply for an ESTA even if they have no firm plans to travel to the US.

Failure to obtain an ESTA could result in the passenger being denied boarding by the airline.

The ESTA is very similar to the automated visa that you purchase to enter Australia and is completely paperless.

*Under certain circumstances (eg. if you have a criminal record) you may require a visa and you could be refused entry into the USA.

If your passport shows you are a British Subject you will need a Visa. This particularly applies if you are Irish but have a British Subject passport. In both these cases, you must check with the US Embassy or nearest consulate. 
Anyone in doubt and all other passport holders should check with a US Embassy or consulate.

To qualify for the US Visa Waiver programme you must NOT:

  • Be suffering from any communicable disease, physical or mental disorder or be a drug abuser or addict.
  • Have been arrested or convicted for any offence or crime. This includes spent convictions or an arrest not resulting in a conviction.
  • Have ever been involved in espionage or sabotage, terrorist activities, genocide or been involved in anyway with Nazi Germany or its allies between 1933 and 1945.
  • Seeking work in the US, have been excluded or deported from the US, been previously removed from the US or attempted to procure a visa or entry into the US by fraud or misrepresentation.
  • Been detained, retained or withheld custody of a child from a US citizen granted custody of the child.
  • Been denied a US Visa or entry into the US or had a US visa cancelled.
  • Have asserted immunity from prosecution.

Advance Passenger Information

Virgin Atlantic, like other airlines, is obliged to transmit Advance Passenger Information (API) about passengers prior to the departure of flights to the United States.

Specifically, there is a requirement for all passengers to provide their country of residence and (for non-US residents) details of their full address (street name and number, city, zip code and state) for the first night's accommodation in the US. Passengers travelling to the US continue to require a machine-readable passport or valid visa.

If you have booked accommodation with us as part of your holiday booking, then you do not need to contact Virgin Atlantic in advance of your flight, as we will provide them with this information. However if you have booked a flydrive holiday without accommodation or have booked your accommodation independently, then you will need to provide Virgin Atlantic with this information yourself at check in.

Please note this information is for Virgin Atlantic flights only, if you are travelling with any other airline you may be asked to provide your accommodation details upon arrival at check-in. This information will be shown on your hotel accommodation voucher which you will receive with your tickets, so please ensure you have this handy when checking in for your flight.

We would ask that all passengers continue to provide their valid travel documents and details of their full US destination address for US Immigration. There is no requirement for passengers to arrive at the airport any earlier than usual.

You can also find out more about API through the US Customs and Border Protection website by going to

Baggage Allowance

Take a look at the Virgin Atlantic website here to get the most up to date information on all the questions you ever need to know about the luggage you can take. There’s plenty of other information such as what sports equipment you can carry, the sizes, weights and any restrictions.

If youre travelling with any other airline, then take a look a look at the airlines own website.

Inoculations and Medical Precautions

As health requirements change, we recommend that you consult your doctor well in advance of travel, for the latest advice.

Booking Procedure

When we receive your reservation and deposit we will send you an invoice showing the details of your holiday and charges and enclosing a summary of your insurance policy (if you have taken ours). If you agree these, the balance should be paid 10 weeks before departure (unless otherwise stipulated). After we have received payment of the balance, and approx 14 days before departure, air tickets, travel information, joining instructions, luggage labels and service vouchers will be sent to you or your travel agent. Bookings made 10 weeks or less to the departure date must be paid for at time of booking the reservation. Where accommodation or flights are subject to request, full payment must be made and we endeavour to have an answer within 48 hours of the request being received. Payments made to Travel City Direct by credit card will incur a charge of 2% which will be added on to the total value of the transaction.

Early Booking/Bonus Offers

Please note, these offers are subject to availability and may be withdrawn at anytime. Where dates are mentioned, offer applies to stays taken and completed between the dates stated.

Please note that proof of marriage is required in order to benefit from the honeymoon offers available at selected hotels.

Insurance (this really is important)

You must, repeat must have proper travel insurance. Not all activities/excursions featured in our brochure are covered by a standard insurance policy. Please check your policy carefully to ensure that you are fully covered for all the activities/excursions in which you intend to participate. If your activity/excursion is not covered by your policy, it may be possible for you to pay an additional premium to extend your cover to include the activity/activities.

Unaccompanied Age Restrictions

For those wishing to travel unaccompanied by a parent or guardian the minimum age is 18 years. However, some hotels and resorts do not allow under-21s in a room by themselves - please check at time of booking for details or call 0344 557 6969.

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