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I have booked an all inclusive (flights, hotel, excursions, food, etc.) tour for 8 days around Eastern Europe, starting from Munich (2 nights), then Prague (2 nights), Budapest (2 nights), Vienna (1 night) and Salzburg (1 night).

I have a confirmation from the tour operator of my flights (dates and times, etc.) and an itinerary with a list of hotels we will be staying at. Having looked through information required for Schengen visa, I noticed that it states that I must have confirmation booking from the hotel, with names and exact dates.

I called the tour operator and since the tour doesn't start until 1.5 months from now, they don't have specific details of hotel bookings as of yet and told me that confirmation booking from them - alongside the itinerary and list of hotels should be sufficient.

Is this right? or will my application be rejected? I noticed that in the itinerary they list a number or hotels for each city - am assuming depending on price, they will book and put us up in the cheapest.

I'm worried now because all I have is a confirmation from the tour operator that simply states that I am confirmed on the tour and no further details regarding hotels (not even addresses and contact details - just a list of hotel names).

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Not helpful, I know, but this part of Europe is typically called “Central Europe” (+1 to the question, hopefully someone can share their experience with obtaining a visa for this type of tours). –  Relaxed Nov 7 '13 at 15:04
    
i thought so too - but most tour operators place tours that visit these countries under Eastern Europe Tours heading. like this little info from Globus: Discover Eastern Europe on a Globus escorted tour and visit the fascinating and historic cities found throughout this region. Explore Eastern Europe's smaller cities as well as its capitals—Prague, Czech Republic; Budapest, Hungary; Bratislava, Slovakia, etc etc. FYI My visa application would usually take 3 weeks - hence me applying for a visa before the tours have their confirmation (typically 4 weeks before).... –  uniriri Nov 7 '13 at 15:39
    
The ways various people of various generations from various parts of the world use the terms "Eastern Europe" and "Central Europe" are not all in agreement but while a subset of people would consider Budapest and Prague to be Eastern Europe, when you mix in Munich, Salzburg, and Vienna I have to agree that Central Europe is the clearer and just better term overall. –  hippietrail Nov 7 '13 at 17:26
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2 Answers 2

So, here is the update on my situation - if anyone is in a similar situation.

I have spent the last 3 days talking to the tour operator and have finally managed to speak to a manager who is liaising with their accommodation bookings department for hotel confirmation. Last news I heard was that they managed to receive letters of confirmation for 5 out of the 6 hotels so they are just awaiting 1 more. They will also write a letter stating that travel will be provided for by the tour. Unfortunately, this is all over the phone and I have yet to receive any emails. Fingers crossed it arrives in the next few days.

I have spoken to a few people who have had no problems with Schengen visa because they made their own bookings (hotel and flight) and therefore received confirmation directly. Most of them have not paid for these bookings and did so purely for visa purposes and once in receipt of the visa, they made final and confirmed bookings.

I have now been told by a few people - though well meaning - that I should have just made my own online bookings (of hotels and flights) from free reservation sites that were for the same dates of the tour purely for visa purposes. Though this is in no way the right thing to do, it would have been much easier than chasing down tour operators and making numerous visits to the embassy. It is a shame that this is what some people have had to do purely because the embassy's inflexibility.

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Thanks for coming back to share that! It's annoying indeed. –  Relaxed Nov 11 '13 at 15:29
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yes it is annoying indeed, annoyed! :) I think the difficulty I have with the tour operator and their lack of response is mostly due to the fact that it is a UK BASED tour operator - so they mostly deal with British citizens and thus, don't have much experience with providing additional paperwork for Schengen visas. –  uniriri Nov 11 '13 at 15:37
    
Ah, you did not mention this important little detail in your original posting -- I assumed that the tour operator was in your country (Indonesia, I presume) and thus dealt with visas all the time. –  jpatokal Nov 11 '13 at 22:13
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I would trust your tour operator on this: you're presumably not the first person on their tours who needs a Schengen visa.

The point of the accommodation requirement is to ensure that you have & can afford a place to stay. If you have a confirmed all-inclusive tour, with a shortlist of hotels that they will arrange for you to stay at, that fulfills the requirement nicely.

The worst case is that you apply, they process for a while, and then tell you you need more detail. By this time the tour operator should know exactly where you're going to stay, so you can submit that.

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Well, this is exactly what we did. I saw on the embassy website that we required a hotel booking and flight confirmation. I thought since we booked an all inclusive holiday, a confirmation from the tour operator would be enough. It was not. My mother went to submit her visa application and was told that the confirmation from the tour operator was insufficient. We needed individual confirmation from the hotels as well as a letter from the tour operator that travel between the cities would be provided via private coach. –  uniriri Nov 11 '13 at 15:00
    
Also, the reason why I need the confirmation of hotels way before the actual tour is because my mother is visiting me in the UK, from Indonesia, 3 weeks before our tour so she needed to apply for a schengen visa in Indonesia before leaving to the UK. –  uniriri Nov 11 '13 at 15:07
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