SALT & WIND TRAVEL
Salt & Wind is the premier boutique travel company for food lovers seeking unique food travel experiences. Brought to you by by the team behind the food and travel lifestyle site, Salt & Wind, we launched Salt & Wind Travel to help fellow food lovers travel in good taste.
Who started Salt & Wind Travel?
Salt & Wind Travel was created in 2017 by food and travel expert, Food Network personality, and chef, Aida Mollenkamp who believes you don't know a place until you've broken bread there. For a full list of our team and more, check out our about us page.
What sort of travel services do you provide and where do you travel?
We host group trips, arrange private group travel, and create custom travel itineraries in the places Aida loves to eat and travel: California, Hawaii, Mexico, Italy, France, and Spain.
All these destinations have a deep sense of place, vibrant food culture, strong creative scenes, and unique local makers — the very things we believe that makes a destination magical. While all the Salt & Wind staff is familiar with each of our destinations, we have certain team members act as experts in the various destinations.
While all the Salt & Wind staff is familiar with each of our destinations, we have certain team members act as experts in the various destinations. Whether you join a group trip or have us plan a custom itinerary for you, you’ll be partnered with the team member who knows that place best.
What is your trip philosophy?
Our trips are all about balancing a mix of high and low experiences: as in refined but without losing touch of the local culture; relaxed but with a lot of exploring; active but with quality food and drink; meticulous planning with enough leeway for adventure; and a small group of fellow food and travel lovers. Traveling with Salt & Wind means you get access to exclusive experiences, first-rate service, expert-led tours, and lots of fun!
TRIP ATTENDEES & STAFF
Why should I consider group travel?
Group travel gets a bad rap but we don’t run your average group travel experiences. Salt & Wind trips are small (minimum 6 and maximum 12 guests) groups and we travel with the goal of leaving the smallest footprint but having the most impact. That means we’re always looking how to show you the local, unique parts of our favorite destinations so that you can support the makers and artisans who make a place special.
Traveling in a group the way we do it is pretty much nothing but pros, if you ask us. First of all, you have fellow travel mates so you can fly solo but still have people to talk with when you want to converse (oh, and it’s safer than traveling solo since you have travel buddies). Second, it’s a higher value than if you travel alone not only because we can get group discounts but also because our relationships allow us to negotiate favorable rates. Finally, we love it because it allows us to show you all of our favorite things about a destination while you get to also make new friends!
What kind of traveler goes on the Salt & Wind group trips?
Salt & Wind Trips are designed for a curious, food-focused traveler who wants a unique, memorable experience without having to do all the legwork. We're first food lovers so we concentrate on good food, but we frame our trips in the context of the location and share everything — makers, independent businesses, art, and markets — that makes the local culture unique. Our trips are for someone who wants to get a chance to learn about the local scene instead of staying put at a resort.
How many guests are there total? Who else is going on this trip?
We run our group trips with a minimum of 6 guests and a maximum of 12 guests. Additionally, there are 3 to 5 staff with us at any given time (including drivers, the photographer, the concierge, tour guide, and our founder/host, Aida Mollenkamp). This makes for a big enough group to keep it lively but small enough you don't feel like its group travel.
We encourage you to bring a friend, significant other, or family member, because our trips are priced for double occupancy rooms and we think it's always more fun to have a roomie you know. Of course, solo travelers are more than welcome too!
Why do you have a group photographer?
Our trips include a group photographer so that our travelers can be present in the moment. Mind you they are the photographer for the whole group and not a personal photographer. The photographer will provide travelers with unique images on a daily basis throughout the trip so that travelers can share their experience in real time. Photos will be shared with the whole group and we at Salt & Wind will use them for marketing of our trips (ie on social media and on our website).
And why is there a concierge?
Team Salt & Wind values quality hospitality and we want to make sure you have a top experience. That is why we provide a group concierge to help with any hiccups (delayed flights), to help you arrange some activities during your free time, and to assist with any special requests you may have.
ABOUT THE ITINERARY
How much travel is involved?
We aim to keep the each itinerary within about 150-mile radius so you get to intimately know an area and so that there is not a ton of car time. And, we do our best to break it up so you never have to be in the car for more than 90 minutes at one time. Of course, unforeseen circumstances or traffic could cause delays but we’ll do our best!
Can I bring a friend or significant other with me?
Please do! Rooms are priced for double occupancy to make it super simple. Just indicate when you book that you would like to room together. Of course, if you’re traveling solo, we’d also love to have you.
Are food and drinks covered?
For the most part, yes! All wine tastings and meals listed in the itinerary are included. Our seated meals will be served either family-style, as a fixed menu, or as tasting menus, which allows our restaurant partners to service our large group in a consistent manner. Please inform us in advance of any food allergies or dietary restrictions.
I don’t speak the local language, is this a problem?
Absolutely not! Most of our partners speak English and we have staff on every trip who speaks the local language.
There’s a lot here — how busy will I be?
We want you to really get to know the areas we’re traveling to but know that you’re on vacation and will want some downtime too! That said most days don’t start until 10AM and we try to pepper in a fair amount of free time in the afternoon as well as optional activities.
We have partnered with hotels that meet the Salt & Wind standards of service.
Double occupancy pricing is the price for (1) person to stay in a shared (i.e. double) room. In other words, each person staying in that room will pay the posted double occupancy rate. If you're a couple or friends traveling together, please know that you'll each pay the double occupancy rate.
Need some alone time? We hear you. That's why we offer single occupancy rooms. The single occupancy rate is what you will pay to have the room all to yourself!
If you do not have a travel partner, you can purchase single occupancy and have the room all to yourself. Please contact us at email@example.com to discuss further.
Where exactly do we meet?
Every group trip has a different meeting point but it’s usually at the hotel (except for the Baja California trip where we'll meet near the U.S./Mexico border in San Ysidro, California). Once you book your trip, we’ll send you loads more information about the trip specifics including exactly where to meet, what time to meet, and, of course, a contact person you can call if you're running late.
I don’t live close by. Can you book my flight?
The group trip price does not cover airfare from your hometown to the trip destination. But, we can help! Just ask and we'll connect you with our travel agent who can assist you with those details.
I need more time off! Can I add additional days on to the trip?
Great! We plan to add on day trips or trip extensions to the trips in the near future. For now, you can use our concierge (for an additional fee) to arrange additional tours, restaurants, or hotel nights. And, if you want to stay longer, we can help you get preferred rates with our hotel partners.
I love good food but I have a dietary restriction, allergy, intolerance....
We love good food too and we'll do our absolute best to work with you to accommodate your dietary restriction, allergy, or intolerance.
Our founder, Aida Mollenkamp, has celiac disease so we and our partners are familiar with making it work. Just please inform us as soon as you book as to your specific diet so that we can work with our partners to make sure you eat and eat well.
SAFETY & PRECAUTIONS
I gotta ask...is it safe to travel to Mexico and Italy?
Our team members have all spent an extensive amount of time traveling, drinking, eating, shopping and hanging out in all of the locations we will visit. We would not be running trips there if we didn’t think it was safe, but we urge you to check the U.S. State Department website to make your own determinations.
You can also enroll in the STEP program for travel warnings and updates. As with any unfamiliar location, we urge you to take precautions against pickpockets and to minimize traveling with unnecessary valuable goods, like high-end jewelry. All of the hotels we partner with have their own security.
And can I drink the water in Mexico and Italy?
Our hotel partners offer filtered water in the rooms and bottled water in the bathroom with which you can brush your teeth if you prefer. Team Salt & Wind constantly has ice in drinks and hasn't had a problem but just let us know if you want your drinks without ice.
Not to be a downer but what happens in case of a medical emergency?
We have work with local hospitals in case of an emergency. You can also look into buying a MedeVac such as AirMed if you want to be able to easily return to the United States for medical care.
Wait, what about zika?
This is not an issue in Italy but we urge you to check the CDC website so that you have the most updated information about Zika in Mexico. As of May 2018, there has been only one reported cases of Zika in Baja California, thanks largely to the region's arid, desert climate and Mexico City and Guadalajara at such a high elevation that it is not an issue. The only trips that are in potential zika zones are Oaxaca City and Morelia.
Do you recommend trip insurance?
Yes, we actually require travel insurance in case you are unable to come due to circumstances beyond your control. There are a variety of services for providing trip insurance and note that many credit cards (such as Chase Sapphire and American Express) include the service as part of a trip purchase. Please check with your credit card to confirm.
Does Global Entry or SENTRI help with border crossing?
If you travel a lot, you'll want to look into the CBP Global Entry and/or SENTRI programs, which allow you to have expedited border crossing. The SENTRI program is specific to the Mexico/U.S. border while Global Entry is for travelers flying in and out of the U.S.
On our Baja California trips where we cross the border as a group, we will split our group into two groups when crossing back into the U.S so that the Global Entry and/or SENTRI travelers can take advantage of the program.
PRICING & PAYMENT
For a specific trip's pricing please visit the "Reserve" section of the site. Please read all these FAQs for more information and take a look at our BOOKING TERMS AND CONDITIONS for the fine print.
Got it. So, what’s included in the cost?
A group photographer so you can enjoy the moment
Hands-on cooking class with Salt & Wind founder and food expert, Aida Mollenkamp
Street food tour conducted by the regional food experts
Market tours, art gallery visits, and pop-up parties with local creatives
A group concierge to help with any extra events you may want to plan
10 edited group photos daily
Group transportation across the border to/from San Ysidro, California and to/from all events listed on the itinerary
Boutique hotel accommodations with complimentary wifi
Meals listed in the itinerary
Tips for all meals, hotels, drivers, and activity guides
Wifi hotspots at all times
A few gifts from some of our favorite food & travel brands
A couple surprises! (You didn’t think we’d tell you every last detail, did you?)
Then what's not included in the cost?
Tips for photographer and trip hosts
Any incidental expenses
Required travel insurance
Any extra activities you plan with our concierge
Transportation from your home to/from San Ysidro, California
Alcohol outside of any listed wine tastings or happy hours
What types of payment do you accept?
We accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, Apple Pay, and Paypal.
I snagged a promo code. How do I use it?
If you have a promo code, you will use it during checkout. Click on the "Book Now" button below or on the "Reserve" tab in the upper or lower navigation. While you're checking out, you'll see a promo code field and that's where you'll apply the code. Note that promo codes cannot be combined for multiple discounts.
How do I make sure to get a spot on a trip?
If you have your heart set on a certain trip during certain dates (and at its current price), you really should book your reservation as early as possible. To reserve a spot more than 45 days before the trip's departure date, a deposit of 30% of the trip price is required. Within 45 days of trip departure, the full payment is due immediately. Please visit the "Reserve" tab in the navigation in order to make a payment. If you pay your deposit more 60 days or more in advance of the departure date, you’ll have 24 hours to request a full refund.
What is Salt & Wind's payment schedule?
We offer several easy, fee-free payment options for your trip. All that’s needed to book a tour is a 30% deposit so long as you're booking more than 45 days ahead of departure. The remainder of the balance will then be due 45 days ahead of departure. If you do not pay your balance at that time, you will forfeit your spot on the trip. We will implement an Automatic Payment plan and a Pay-As-You-Go plan but they are not available at this time.
Can I transfer my reservation to another person?
That depends on the kind of trip you are going on — please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss.
What if the trip I want to go on is sold out?
Even if a trip is sold out, there still may be a few options to get you onto the trip of your dreams. If we can make it happen, we will. We have wait list for our trips so contact us at email@example.com to discuss.
Have additional questions? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org