The package price seems just too good...?

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Mar 26, 2017
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#1
Hello,

I'm a quilter and I've traveled for several years with a group of friends to various locales. We're searching for a new adventure for 2018 and I came across the website sewmanyplaces.com.

The November 2018 trip to Bali sounds marvelous, but I question the price: $1,997 including airfare from the US, plus all of the following:
  • Round trip International airfare from the United States to Denpasar, Bali.
  • All taxes and round trip transfers to and from the hotel.
  • Private deluxe motor coach and driver.
  • 5-star hotel accommodations for seven nights in Ubud & Nusa Dua.
  • Breakfast daily, some lunches and dinners.
  • Admission to an exclusive Craftours Batik Expo.
  • Tour of a well known Batik Factory & shopping in a Batik wholesale warehouse.
  • A visit and tour of a Jewelry Factory & Showroom.
  • Tour of a coffee plantation.
  • Six Arts & Crafts Workshops with Master Balinese instructors including Wooden Mask Carving, Batik Block Printing, Batik Freestyle Designing, Balinese Painting and a Balinese Devotional Flower Offering class. Class kits included!
  • Optional visit to the Elephant Safari Park including elephant ride.
  • Extraordinary shopping in local markets for amazing Balinese items.
  • Special Balinese welcome dinner and show.
  • Half day tour to Monkey Forest & the Royal Palace of Ubud.
  • Visit a Ikat Weaving Factory.
  • Tour the ancient Balinese village of Tenganan.
  • Optional visit with the Shaman family from the book/movie Eat, Pray, Love.
  • Optional Balinese Cooking lesson.
  • Optional visit to the Bali Bird Park.
  • Tour and shop in the largest art gallery in Bali.
  • Professional Balinese tour guide and Craftours tour escort the entire time.
  • Commemorative gifts & more!
The price seems too low for what is being offered. I'm having visions of our "five-star hotel" being a shack somewhere on a beach. I've searched for reviews and the few that I've found have overall been positive.

Is November considered the low season in Bali? Are there any other reasons the price might be this low?

Thanks,
Christine
 

John Galbraith

Staff Member
Director
Jan 22, 2017
336
530
93
Poole
#2
Hi Christine

The airline fares will be heavily discounted tickets and may be at very unsociable hours; that is one possible reason. There are others on the forum who are better placed to give an opinion for the reasons for such a cheap deal.

However I have just had a quick read of Sew's Terms and conditions. Two things to note;

1. They base the airfare, land rates and rates of exchange in effect at the time of arrangements. They go to say that; "Should the rates go up or down prior to departure, an adjustment will be made".

It seems, at least in theory, that you could end up paying more if for some reason Sew end up paying more.

2. More worrying is this clause "Our tours are subject to a minimum number of people. Should fewer than 30 participate a price adjustment may be necessary."

I have seen clauses before that allow increases however normally up to a maximum amount after which you can cancel. There is no such get out in Sew's terms. So in theory you could end up paying a lot more money than you wanted too.

This might be a clause that Sew do not rely on but it is in the terms so you would be bound by them.

Just worth considering.
 

Carol Phillips

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 28, 2014
1,232
1,686
113
Coastal South Carolina
#3
I'm always of the opinion that if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. The price IS incredibly low for all that's shown. You might consider writing them to ask:

- What city/cities in the USA are included with that airfare? (Probably Los Angeles, and if you live elsewhere there may be a huge air add-on ... I checked LAX to Bali on random dates in November and saw under $700/pp for coach on Philippine Airlines)

- What are the names of the Five Star hotels in Ubud and Nusa Bua ? (Then you can check those out)

- Is the $1997 price per person based on double occupancy, or what?

- May you have some recent references for their trips?

I checked their reviews too, briefly (that is, the reviews that were NOT on their own site) and did find positive ones. They were not recent, however ... they were from 2013 and 2014. One review from 2016 was one-star.

Note that several items in your above list say "optional" (not included).

Most importantly, check the deposit, payment and refund requirements. Are you able to use a major credit card?

Answers to those questions may assist you in making your decision.
 

John Galbraith

Staff Member
Director
Jan 22, 2017
336
530
93
Poole
#4

- Is the $1997 price per person based on double occupancy, or what?
CP is right - the price is based upon double occupancy.

Again on the front page it states "This itinerary, pricing and escorts are subject to change"

You have had some good advice from CP - I would follow that advice and give them a call.
 
Likes: jsn55

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
12,779
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113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#5
It seems WAY too cheap and as someone pointed out they are not guaranteeing those prices.


Their terms and conditions contain what can be a TON of "gotchas".
Here are concerns I have with their terms and conditions besides what my colleagues found:

- . All trips are subject to change at the discretion of Sew Many Places. Sew Many Places reserves the right to change or eliminate scheduled instructors, or escorts from any land tour or cruise based on the number of participants or other factors. Some restrictions apply.

Any balance is to be paid in full no later than 120 days before departure of tour. Full payment 6 months before? Ridiculous. And it's totally non refundable at that point. Only options tours are refundable up to 30 days before.

- A ton of gratuities are mandatory and you won't get docs until you pay them. And they call them gratuities but then say you are PAYING for the services- that is different than gratuity. You need to find out how much and what it means before you book anything.
These gratuities include paying for the services of the bus driver, tour guides, porters, waiter staff in the restaurants, the maid service at the hotel and any additional gratuity that would merit for services rendered. No tour documents will be issue until this gratuity is paid prior to the tour.

- Air: . If a promotional airfare is broken or extended for any reason, an additional fare may be payable.
This means you are not going to truly know the full price of your trip until 31 days before the trip fare and if the air prices go up a lot, you can't cancel- you are stuck going and paying the difference.

- Most jarring- Domestic airfare to get to their departure airport from your home:
For those who make domestic air arrangements to the originating city of your tour, Sew Many Places strongly recommends the purchase of tickets that can be changed without heavy fees and penalties as flight schedules are always subject to change.

That means you have to buy fully refundable domestic tickets to get there which will cost you a few hundred more.

- Meals
Breakfast and Table D'Hote dinners are provided as noted in the itinerary. An extra charge will be made when coffee, tea or other beverages are not included in the menu of the day with the dinner meal.

-Airport departure taxes are not included. Make sure you know how much they are.

- The US $ amounts are subject to conversion rates so might be more or less:
For all tours, classes and events quoted in USD the following restrictions apply. All trips are billed in USD. Any prices quoted in currencies other than USD are an approximation and based on exchange rates at time of publications. All tours will be billed in USD using the exchange rate at the time of billing.

-
And this little ditty about medical issues:
Sew Many Places must be advised in writing, prior to any booking, of any medical condition, physical, emotional or mental, which may require professional attention during the trip or may require the use of special equipment. If you fail to notify us of any such conditions, Sew Many Places may refuse to allow you to take the trip and you will forfeit the cost of the trip; and in such event we shall have no liability, financial or otherwise.

If you are so challenged, you must bring and be responsible for all necessary items related to your condition. If any such condition arises after the trip is booked, you must advise us in writing immediately. Failure to advise us shall release Sew Many Placesand all professional personnel from any liability related to such condition or it's treatment.

If you do have any physical challenges that require assistance, you must be accompanied by a person with no such limitations that can assist you during the duration of the tour.

We cannot accommodate women past their sixth month of pregnancy. If you require a wheelchair, you must provide your own small, collapsible wheelchair. Some trips, may not be wheelchair-accessible. We cannot guarantee any wheelchair assistance or accessibility in international destinations.

Sew Many Places reserves the right to decline any trip participant whose condition, in our opinion, may affect the health, safety or enjoyment of other participants.

Sew Many Places is not responsible for the costs of any medical treatment you may require during the trip. Under no circumstances is Sew Many Places responsible for the quality of medical care, or lack thereof, you may receive while on the trip.

By agreeing to these terms you understand the physical requirements of the activity in which you will be participating, and currently have no known physical, medical or mental condition which would impair your ability to participate in this tour or your safety in this activity, and am willing to assume all risks that may be created, directly or indirectly, by any such condition. You hereby authorize Sew Many Places or our local groundhandler or others to arrange for any emergency medical treatment and hospitalization as may be necessary for because of participation in this activity without any further consent.

Plus if you don't have a roommate you will be charged a singke supplement.


I think I have picked apart their terms enough for you to make a decision on using them.
 
Oct 14, 2015
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#6
there's nothing wrong with saying "subject to exchange rate variation"

Also, there are some incredible deals at the moment as much of the world heads into another massive recession/depression.

Eg. airfares ex Australia are almost stupidly low at present. Singapore Airlines low cost carrier Scoot, has been regularly advertising Perth in Western Australia to Athens Greece for AUD$369 (USD$283) inc taxes but no checked luggage or food, but around 20 hours flying on brand new Boeing 787's. I think is was around AUD$419(USD$321) from Sydney Australia to Athens. Other airlines are advertising fares Melbourne to London return as low as AUD$899 (USD$687) inc taxes/checked baggage, meals & drinks. That's around 48 hours total flying, including roughly 4 hours in stops(2 hours in each direction)

You can see this deal at http://www.statravel.com.au/
  • MELBOURNE(MEL)LONDON(LON)
  • Travel between01 May 2017-15 May 2017. Book by15 Apr 2017
  • LAY-BY
  • RETURN FROM$899
    Per person incl.taxes & fees


These flights are on a muslim airline & muslim anything is on the nose right now. They also don't serve alcohol, but have brand new Boeing 787's.

Last week, Jetstar(Qantas low cost) was advertising Gold Coast-think Waikiki 30 years ago(hour drive south of Brisbane) to Queenstown New Zealand for AUD$200(USD$153) return (7.5 hours of flights). Basically return fare of about $30 + taxes.

Closer to home, in Colorado right now, a major ski resort is offering family lift tickets (1 adult & up to 4 kids under 13) with lift line priority for next ski season, worth up to US$640 for $22.50.

YES, that's up to 96.5% off. There's just been a write up in major weekend papers about this very good, seemingly crazy deal. The only catch is accommodation must be booked with it, but even that is cheap.

eg. A 4 star, ski in ski out, hotel room for only US$148 inc taxes covering period 1 January to 8 March, which is when Australians ski in USA. 13 nights required to get the US$22.50 deal. For only 10 nights the price goes up to US$25.

NOTE: most Australians when they go to ski in North American, ski for on average 2 weeks. In years gone by, this would man a week at 2 different resorts, but now most resorts, are pricing to encourage people to stay at one resort.

So in other words, there are some crazy deals around at present & yes they are real, but of course of limited supply.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
12,779
12,758
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#7
there's nothing wrong with saying "subject to exchange rate variation"

Also, there are some incredible deals at the moment as much of the world heads into another massive recession/depression.

Eg. airfares ex Australia are almost stupidly low at present. Singapore Airlines low cost carrier Scoot, has been regularly advertising Perth in Western Australia to Athens Greece for AUD$369 (USD$283) inc taxes but no checked luggage or food, but around 20 hours flying on brand new Boeing 787's. I think is was around AUD$419(USD$321) from Sydney Australia to Athens. Other airlines are advertising fares Melbourne to London return as low as AUD$899 (USD$687) inc taxes/checked baggage, meals & drinks. That's around 48 hours total flying, including roughly 4 hours in stops(2 hours in each direction)

You can see this deal at http://www.statravel.com.au/
  • MELBOURNE(MEL)LONDON(LON)
  • Travel between01 May 2017-15 May 2017. Book by15 Apr 2017
  • LAY-BY
  • RETURN FROM$899
    Per person incl.taxes & fees


These flights are on a muslim airline & muslim anything is on the nose right now. They also don't serve alcohol, but have brand new Boeing 787's.

Last week, Jetstar(Qantas low cost) was advertising Gold Coast-think Waikiki 30 years ago(hour drive south of Brisbane) to Queenstown New Zealand for AUD$200(USD$153) return (7.5 hours of flights). Basically return fare of about $30 + taxes.

Closer to home, in Colorado right now, a major ski resort is offering family lift tickets (1 adult & up to 4 kids under 13) with lift line priority for next ski season, worth up to US$640 for $22.50.

YES, that's up to 96.5% off. There's just been a write up in major weekend papers about this very good, seemingly crazy deal. The only catch is accommodation must be booked with it, but even that is cheap.

eg. A 4 star, ski in ski out, hotel room for only US$148 inc taxes covering period 1 January to 8 March, which is when Australians ski in USA. 13 nights required to get the US$22.50 deal. For only 10 nights the price goes up to US$25.

NOTE: most Australians when they go to ski in North American, ski for on average 2 weeks. In years gone by, this would man a week at 2 different resorts, but now most resorts, are pricing to encourage people to stay at one resort.

So in other words, there are some crazy deals around at present & yes they are real, but of course of limited supply.
That is the least of the issues that our writer needs to be concerned with. The variation in exchange trades is nominal but there are far too many other things to be concerned with, especially their terms on the domestic flights to get to the airport the tour is leaving from.
 
Aug 28, 2015
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New York
#9
While it is lovely that John can book his Australian clients $22/day stays at amazing hotels for January in Colorado, the LW needs help with a trip to Bali in November that relates to her interest in crafting and other arts.

Skydancer, on this forum there have been complaints about the most reputable hotels/packages as well as the more unknown. The terms and conditions will always be against you. Instead, I would ask the company for some references, and contact those people directly or post on a forum for recommendations and see if this company pops up.
 
Oct 14, 2015
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#10
While it is lovely that John can book his Australian clients $22/day stays at amazing hotels for January in Colorado, the LW needs help with a trip to Bali in November that relates to her interest in crafting and other arts.

Skydancer, on this forum there have been complaints about the most reputable hotels/packages as well as the more unknown. The terms and conditions will always be against you. Instead, I would ask the company for some references, and contact those people directly or post on a forum for recommendations and see if this company pops up.
alI was getting at, was there are & are going to be a lot more, loss leader type of deals around for next year or 5. Many companies see loss leader deals as a cheap form of free advertising.

Travel companies, can sell at below their cost to get free publicity. They get get their suppliers to supply anything, (rooms/transfers/tours etc) at below their cost for a promo.

The crazier the deal, the more free publicity they often get & yes, any super cheap deal, is going to have tight restrictions, on things like currency, refunds, change fees, minimum numbers etc. All they need to establish is what extra costs will be if expected numbers don't materialise.

Bali is a dirt cheap destination, where locals work for almost nothing, cf. western world is used to.

& the $22/day for lift tickets is for up to 5 people, not just 1 adult.
 
Likes: Riroon

John Galbraith

Staff Member
Director
Jan 22, 2017
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530
93
Poole
#13
Might just need clarification in writing (not over phone).
Morning John

The issue is that the T&C's point to a company that keeps it's base fare's low and then loads everything in to the extra's - it might not be so bad if you knew what those were before booking but as Neil says you will not know until much much later.
 
Last edited:
Mar 30, 2017
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#14
O.m.g! I love Bali. I have been there three times already, I can't forget it. Actually, Bali is the best place to rest and party at the same time. The nature is beautiful and the beaches are breathtaking. If you need some advices you can always contact me. :) I will definitely help you.
 
Aug 29, 2015
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#15
I'm specifically concerned that what they call gratuities sound like fees since they are mandatory and must be paid in advance. That is not a gratuity. That is a fee.

Then, because they state they have the right to change the price at just about any time - I would run, run away fast.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
6,678
6,666
113
San Francisco
#16
Hello,

I'm a quilter and I've traveled for several years with a group of friends to various locales. We're searching for a new adventure for 2018 and I came across the website sewmanyplaces.com.

The November 2018 trip to Bali sounds marvelous, but I question the price: $1,997 including airfare from the US, plus all of the following:
  • Round trip International airfare from the United States to Denpasar, Bali.
  • All taxes and round trip transfers to and from the hotel.
  • Private deluxe motor coach and driver.
  • 5-star hotel accommodations for seven nights in Ubud & Nusa Dua.
  • Breakfast daily, some lunches and dinners.
  • Admission to an exclusive Craftours Batik Expo.
  • Tour of a well known Batik Factory & shopping in a Batik wholesale warehouse.
  • A visit and tour of a Jewelry Factory & Showroom.
  • Tour of a coffee plantation.
  • Six Arts & Crafts Workshops with Master Balinese instructors including Wooden Mask Carving, Batik Block Printing, Batik Freestyle Designing, Balinese Painting and a Balinese Devotional Flower Offering class. Class kits included!
  • Optional visit to the Elephant Safari Park including elephant ride.
  • Extraordinary shopping in local markets for amazing Balinese items.
  • Special Balinese welcome dinner and show.
  • Half day tour to Monkey Forest & the Royal Palace of Ubud.
  • Visit a Ikat Weaving Factory.
  • Tour the ancient Balinese village of Tenganan.
  • Optional visit with the Shaman family from the book/movie Eat, Pray, Love.
  • Optional Balinese Cooking lesson.
  • Optional visit to the Bali Bird Park.
  • Tour and shop in the largest art gallery in Bali.
  • Professional Balinese tour guide and Craftours tour escort the entire time.
  • Commemorative gifts & more!
The price seems too low for what is being offered. I'm having visions of our "five-star hotel" being a shack somewhere on a beach. I've searched for reviews and the few that I've found have overall been positive.

Is November considered the low season in Bali? Are there any other reasons the price might be this low?

Thanks,
Christine
Christine, no question this is some kind of a scam. All you need do is look up r/t air to Bali. I've read about scams being played on affinity groups like yours. It would be good if you contacted a travel agent to assist with trips like this. Such outings should be lighthearted and fun for all of you and a TA could be of great assistance.
 
Nov 14, 2016
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#17
skydancerjd02,

Being blunt, run like hell away from this. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. This is not something that I would touch with a 10 foot pole.

I've never seen a "deal" that has so many contingencies. You only go if they have enough people. You only get the advertised price if their costs are low and if not you have to pay the difference. Your itinerary is not set and you have to change your plans if they decide to change anything on theirs. There are undisclosed fees & tips that are mandatory. You're having to pay in full 4 months in advance.

If this trip actually happens, you're likely going to get the absolute worst flights at the worst times. Many items on their list are listed as optional and even the stuff that isn't optional they have the rights to change based on their T&Cs. In short you're paying $2000 with no guarantees whatsoever. When you look at it that way, this doesn't sound like much of a deal to me.

Now it's possible that this trip goes off without a hitch and the company in question is trying to provide legitimate travel services using bargain-barrel techniques. That's not a bad thing. But in this case they're passing all of the risk, extra cost and potential inconvenience to you. If you're having to put up with all of that then what are you paying them for?
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
6,678
6,666
113
San Francisco
#19
The OP hadn't been back since she posted. I hope she reads this before making a deposit.
I agree, Neil, especially since we've learned here that Bali is a wonderful, inexpensive destination ... the group could have a wonderful trip at a good price if they work with a reputable travel supplier.
 

John Galbraith

Staff Member
Director
Jan 22, 2017
336
530
93
Poole
#20
The OP hadn't been back since she posted. I hope she reads this before making a deposit.
I hope she does - she posted two different questions and clearly people have spent time answering them. Slightly puzzling as to why someone seeks advice but does not then wait for the advice.