Frequently Asked Questions
Welcome to New Orleans, the “Northern-most Caribbean City in the World!” Try our fantastic Creole-style red beans and rice! Enjoy our vibrant house colors! And expect a little rain now and then.
Daily Showers: Especially in Summertime, most days will show rain in the forecast. But don’t fret! As a sub-tropic climate, that often means daily showers that last about 20 minutes…if it rains at all! We suggest carrying a small travel umbrella or poncho, just in case you’re caught by surprise.
Severe Weather: If we are under threat of severe weather to occur during your tour, we will reach out within 2hrs of your tour start time to check the possibility of a delayed start, reschedule, or cancellation with refund. Severe weather is a safety concern (e.g. lightening within one mile, tornado warning, severe flash flood). If it’s simply some rain or a typical Southern thunderstorm, the show must go on! We have accommodations to help you stay dry, like taking advantage of French Quarter overhangs, but definitely bring an umbrella. It’s those short, regular showers that sustain our gorgeous trees and tropical flowers!
FAQs: Tipping Guides
Tipping IS voluntary, but it is considered a social norm in the United States. It is customary to tip between 15-20% of the tour cost, depending on the quality of service provided. However, if you feel that your guide went above and beyond, you can choose to tip more to show your appreciation; your guide will be very grateful!
Why Should I Tip a Tour Guide?
Great question! Because if your guide is doing it right, you’ll never see the work involved…so how would you know? Here’s a little of what goes on behind the scenes:
- Expertise and Knowledge: Tour guides are destination experts. They spend significant time researching and studying the history, culture, and local attractions to provide you with accurate information and insightful commentary for an interesting and engaging tour.
- Personalized Experience: A skilled tour guide goes above and beyond to tailor the tour to the interests and preferences of the group. They may adjust the itinerary, share insider tips, or offer additional information that enhances your experience. In other words, they’re NOT reciting a script; instead they are choosing from their vast story and fun fact options to create a personalized and enjoyable journey for you.
- Excellent Service: While regaling you with interesting stories and facts, they are also managing logistics and ensuring everyone’s safety and comfort. Where they stand to tell stories, which route they take, the venues they visit…none of it is random. They strive to create a smooth and well-organized tour, anticipating and addressing any issues that may arise.
- Professionalism and Communication: A good tour guide is friendly and welcoming to all guests and possesses excellent communication skills. They watch closely to see what makes their guests’ eyes widen with enjoyment, and then lean into that more. They also take care to make complex information accessible and engaging for all participants.
- Livelihood and Motivation: We won’t sugar coat it. Tour guiding is a hospitality profession that heavily relies on tips to supplement their income. No one gets rich in this profession; they do it because they are passionately in love with New Orleans and want to share her magic with you! By tipping generously, you contribute to their financial well-being and help motivate them to continue providing exceptional service to future travelers.
FAQs: Extra Guests & Pets
Can I Bring My Dog?
We love our fur babies, too! But no matter how well behaved pets are, they always distract the other guests who tend to watch them, love on them, and miss out on the tour they paid to attend. Oops! There is also a concern for potential allergy issues.
Many of our tours do allow pets on a Private tour. This also gives us flexibility to address any pet needs (like getting a bowl of water) along the route. Simply select the Private option when booking, and then please also notify the office so a non-allergic guide can be assigned to your tour. (Please note that Food and Cocktail tours include restaurants and bars that do not allow entry to pets, so someone will need to remain outside with the animal.)
Can I Bring a Stroller with My Infant?
If you’d like to bring a stroller, please let us know so that we can prepare ahead. This is especially important on our Food tours. The only tours where strollers are not allowed are our 21+ tours, since we will be entering bars where children are not allowed.
Why Can’t I Get Refund Within 24 Hours of My Tour?
We know not everything goes as planned and “life” happens! That’s why we offer refunds up to 24 hours prior to your tour! But we ARE running a business, and especially when there are only 9 people maximum on a tour, last-second cancels make a big impact on our company. Here’s why:
We care about our guides!
Most people have steady work hours and can make financial decisions based on a known amount of income. Not tour guides.
Imagine setting aside 3 to 4 hours of your day or more (plus commute) weeks in advance, and then at the last second, that work is cancelled, and you’re not being compensated for it! And it can happen multiple times per week! How could you ever have peace-of mind that you could pay your bills? Provide for yourself and your family? That’s exactly the life of a tour guide.
- Guides are paid only when they go out on tour and by the number of guests on that tour. To provide a responsible wage, we commit to paying them 24 hours before any tour. That way, they will be minimally compensated for the scheduled time slot they have set aside (and declined other work) to provide the tour.
- Guides rely heavily on tips to pay their bills, like other Hospitality workers do. With just 9 people per tour, if a family of 4 cancels on short notice leaving little time for us to resell their tickets, the guide would not only lose pay for that family of 4, but the tip as well! A double whammy!
We care about our partners!
We strive to support as many locally-owned, small businesses as possible, many of which are owned by women and/or people of color. Often times they must decline other customers in order to save space for our tour groups. Sometimes this requires pre-payment on behalf of our tour guests. Note: We intentionally pay full prices and tip your restaurant servers and bartenders 20 percent as one way of contributing to our local economy.
It happens more than you think!
Hopefully you rarely need to change vacation plans or deal with flight cancellations or untimely illnesses. Reality is, one isn’t a big deal. But we see several last-minute cancels and No-shows per week…sometimes multiples in the same day or tour! It might be one occurrence to you, but when everyone’s occurrences are piled together, they add up quickly! With only 9 people (at most!) per tour, there simply isn’t room to absorb this expense.
For Private, Custom, or Multi-Day Tours: Your Cancellation Window is different than the regularly-scheduled Public Tour policy above. It is not only nearly impossible to rebook the entire time slot being held for your event with a different customer, but we often are under contract with venues that will not refund the deposit we made on behalf of your tour. We will absolutely try to recoup and refund as much as we can for you! Please refer to the Invoice presented at time of booking for specific details pertaining to your event.
What Happens If New Orleans Secrets Has to Cancel?
“Force Majeure” means any circumstances beyond our reasonable control, including without limitation acts of nature, terrorist activities, insurrection, explosion, flood, tempest, forceful wind, fire or accident, war or threat of war declared or undeclared, sabotage, civil disturbance, labor strikes, requisition, sickness, quarantine, government intervention, weather conditions, and unforeseen circumstances.
If we and/or any of our Suppliers are affected by Force Majeure, we and our Suppliers shall be entitled to, and may in our sole discretion, vary or cancel any itinerary or arrangement in relation to the tour, and choose to offer future travel credits or no refunds of money paid. This includes losses or expenses due to flight or other transportation cancellations or delays.
Responsibility with Third Party Vendors: Certain services reserved by New Orleans Secrets LLC for inclusion in a tour itinerary, including but not limited to transportation, accommodations, restaurants, site locations/venues, sightseeing, and activities may be purchased from various independent suppliers not affiliated with New Orleans Secrets LLC (referred to as “Third Party Supplier(s)”, “Vendor(s)” or “Supplier(s)”). New Orleans Secrets LLC takes reasonable care in selecting competent, reliable, and qualified suppliers based on information that is reasonably available to us.
That said, we act only as an intermediary for these Third-Party Suppliers and do not and cannot control the quality of their services. You acknowledge that you are aware and clearly understand that these Third-Party Suppliers are independent contractors, are not managed by New Orleans Secrets LLC, and are not agents or employees of New Orleans Secrets LLC. In the event of an injury, damage to property, delay or any other loss, compensation must be sought from the Third-Party Suppliers, not from New Orleans Secrets LLC. You understand further that each of these Third-Party Suppliers are subject to the laws of the state or country in which the service is provided. The liability of Third-Party Suppliers may be limited by their tariffs, conditions of carriage, tickets and vouchers, and international conventions and agreements.
FAQs: Travel Insurance & Ticket Transferability
Should I Get Travel Insurance? What Is It For?
We must adhere to our cancellation policy to protect our ability to run experiences and to maintain our price structures. Please don’t ask us to make exceptions. This includes personal emergencies, flight issues, or Force Majeure. There is no refund for arriving late or leaving a trip early. We highly recommend purchasing travel insurance to protect your investment and researching plans that cover pre-existing conditions and/or have a “Cancel for any Reason” clause.
Please consider purchasing Travel Insurance for Emergency Medical and Evacuation Coverage and for protection against Trip Cancellation.
Choosing to travel involves some amount of risk. You never know when a simple fall may result in a broken bone or twisted ankle. Injuries may prevent you from continuing your trip and necessitate a visit to the emergency room. This can get expensive. We recommend purchasing Travel Insurance even if you already have medical insurance since some expenses may not be included or are not fully covered by your policy.
Trip Cancellation Insurance:
New Orleans Secrets Tours has a cancellation policy that we must abide by to protect our ability to continue offering trips, and to protect your experience in case others cancel. Unfortunately cancellations do happen, sometimes within the period of time where we can’t offer a refund. In many of these instances, Trip Cancellation Insurance covers forfeited, non-refundable deposits or payments up to the limits purchased. Please consider protecting your investment! We often see last minute cancellations due to illness or injury of the participant or a family member, and all of this would be covered by trip insurance. To inquire for more details or for a more detailed description of coverage or information on more extensive plans or coverage, please contact Allianz Travel at 866-884-3556 or visit https://www.allianztravelinsurance.com/ or Travel Guard at 800-826-1300 or visit their website at www.travelguard.com. We are not affiliated with any insurance provider and do not receive a commission – this is solely about your protection!
Can Someone Else Use My Tickets Instead?
Yes! TICKETS ARE TRANSFERABLE. You may resell your tickets on your own and alert New Orleans Secrets IN WRITING the names(s) replacing yours along with their email address and mobile phone number.
FAQs: Bookings & Gift Cards
What Payment Methods Do You Accept?
We accept all major credit cards, debit cards, Apple Pay, and Google Pay.
Can I Just Show Up and Pay the Guide?
No. Since our public tour groups max out at 9 guests, we can’t ever guarantee that there will be space for you; advance reservations are required.
Can I Make a Change to My Booking?
Yes. Tours more than 24 hours into the future can be changed. Please give us a call to make any changes.
Can I Buy a Gift Card?
Yes. People love receiving tours as a gift — they never collect dust in the back of the closet! 😉 You can buy them on our web site or just give us a call to purchase.
How Do I Redeem a Gift Card?
When you’ve selected your tour, there is a spot in the check out page to apply a gift card. It’s that easy! You can also just give us a call.