Why I don’t take deposits.

Few things irritate me more, and bring anxiety to a purchase, then having to go through deposit refund policies for tours and tickets. Usually they are non-refundable. With many tour companies you are required to pay the full amount up front, and then it is a game of Beat-the-Clock if you need to cancel. A month out may get you a full refund, but more often than not the company is keeping at least part of the booking. Get down to a week, and you’re probably losing 50-75% of what you put up and if you have to cancel the day before, you forfeit any deposit.

If someone has to cancel a tour, there is a reason for it, usually dealing with an unexpected and unpleasant problem. People don’t cancel because life is going well, full of rainbows and unicorns. Someone got sick, a flight was missed, a car broke down, or worse. If that’s the case, I don’t want to add to the misery by saying “Sorry, on top of all your other problems, you don’t get your money back.”

A tour company owner keeping a big pile of money.
A happy tour company owner keeping your deposit.

While I like to give as many tours as possible, I’ve also got many other projects going on. I can fill my day. Also I get a lot of late minute requests for private, custom tours, and those people are thrilled they could book their private tour at the last minute.

I’ve only had 3 guests cancel on me as I was waiting for them in front of their hotel. One person said they were sick with food poisoning. Not sure if that was true, but it didn’t matter. They sounded sick, so if they were faking I gave them points for the effort to sound like they would vomit any second. Another guest said they were sorry, but were really, really hung over. Points for being honest. At least I’m guessing they were honest. Maybe they had food poisoning and were too embarrassed to say so.

The third person didn’t answer several texts and calls as I waited outside the hotel. Finally they answered the phone, and said they just changed their mind and didn’t want to take their tour. Fine with me. Anyone so clueless, rude, and entitled who cancels like that is not someone I want to spend time with.

When you contact me for a tour, all I ask is that you confirm 48 hours in advance. That’s it. No money upfront. And if you cancel, I hope the problem isn’t too serious.

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