The British & Irish Lions
Tour FAQ's

British & Irish Lions Tour FAQs

In order to give you a better understanding of what our British & Irish Lions Tour packages will include and prepare you for booking your tour, you can view the answers to the most frequently asked questions we receive from our tour guests below. If you have another question or have a further query relating to the below questions, you can always contact us and we will assist you.

Before I Book

The British & Irish Lions Tour will take place in South Africa in 2021.

The first match in South Africa for The British & Irish Lions will take place on 3rd July 2021 against the DHL Stormers in Cape Town. Over the following five weeks, The Lions will play a further 7 matches including three test matches against Rugby World Cup Champions South Africa. The 1st Test match takes place on 24th July in Johannesburg, the 2nd Test on the 31st July in Cape Town and the 3rd Test on 7th August in Johannesburg. The full match schedule can be viewed here.

Our packages are scheduled to go on sale on Wednesday 2nd September 2020. Join our newsletter to be notified when packages are available.

We have tour packages that cater for all needs from our eight match / five week tour through to the very popular all three Test tour and even test match weekend only packages. See all of our available packages here.

We appreciate that you are spending your hard earned money with us so we are offering the following three payment plans. If you are looking for an alternative, then let us know – we are very flexible!

Option A

  • 10% non-refundable deposit upon booking request
  • 40% by 15 November
  • 40% by 15 February
  • Final Balance by 15 April

Option B

  • 10% non-refundable deposit upon booking request
  • 25% by 15 November
  • 25% by 15 February
  • 25% 15 March
  • Final balance 15 April

We appreciate that you are spending a lot of money on your package and want to reassure you that it is financially protected. If your tour package includes flights ex Ireland then we are bonded and licensed with the Commission for Aviation Regulation, Tour Operators Licence No. T.O. 260. Further details are available at http://www.aviationreg.ie/

For customers with packages including ex UK we wish to reassure you that your money is also financially protected. In compliance with The Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018, an insurance policy has been arranged with Travel & General Insurance Services Limited (T&G), to protect customers’ prepayments in the unlikely event of our financial failure, and paid in respect of non-ATOL flight inclusive packages sold to customers. These bookings are sold by the Policyholder as principal to the contract for:

A refund of such prepayments if customers have not yet travelled, or

Making arrangements to enable the holiday to continue if customers have already travelled, or

Repatriation of customers as may be applicable, subject to the terms of the insurance policy.

In the unlikely event of financial failure please contact the claims helpline on +44 (0)1702 811397. A copy of the policy is available on request. This policy is provided by Travel & General Insurance Services Limited (T&G), registered number 02527363 and underwritten by Hiscox Insurance Company Limited (Hiscox), registered number 00070234. T&G and Hiscox are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority (number 113849).

A crucial element of this Lions Tour is that you can book with Rugby Travel Ireland safe in the knowledge that our COVID-19 Customer Charter assures you that if the Tour gets cancelled or postponed before your departure date because of COVID-19 you will be entitled to a full refund. You can choose to have a full refund or move your Tour to the new dates free of charge.

If the decision is made to play matches behind closed doors before you have departed on the tour that you have booked, then you will receive a full refund of monies paid.

We understand the uncertainty regarding stadium access, reduced capacities or if the games have to be played behind closed doors.

We have been advised that the British & Irish Lions are planning for the Tour to go ahead as normal in July and August 2021. We will stay in close contact with them and will share updates and details as and when we know them if the situation changes.

We are working with all service providers to ensure that they provide the very highest levels of safety regarding social distancing and international travel.

We have been in business for eleven years and are fully licenced and bonded assuring you of financial security including our COVID-19 Customer Charter refund guarantee.  

We have built a very strong reputation for delivering great tours where everyone is genuinely cared for and has great craic. It’s a rugby tour after all!

Our first ever tour was the Lions in 2009 to South Africa and since then we have been official agents for the Lions in 2013 and 2017 and now again for 2021. We have also been official agents for RWC 2011, RWC 2015 and RWC 2019.

We are also delighted to be the official travel partner to Munster Rugby.

It is this level of experience that we offer you coupled with an unbeatable level of customer service from the first time you contact us through to post tour.

In 2017 60% of our customers were from Ireland with the remaining split evenly over England, Scotland and Wales. It is this level of diversity that the Lions is and should be all about.

The best way to make a booking with Rugby Travel Ireland is to do so via our online booking process. There is a “Book Now” button against each tour and this takes you into a simple process to make a booking. Here you can decide to make a payment (there are three choices as defined in our “WHAT IS REQUIRED TO SECURE MY BOOKING?” or you can choose to “PAY LATER”. In doing any of these you are provisionally securing your place/s. If you have any questions or bespoke requirements please contact us at [email protected] and we will respond accordingly.

Please note that when we go on sale our telephone lines will be very busy so if you cannot get through please leave a message or email us your query and we will reply accordingly.

Yes and there are no age restrictions but we strongly advise you that many of the experiences on offer may not be suitable for small children in terms of noise and the volume of fans in attendance. It is important to note that one match ticket is required per person for entry to the stadium regardless of their age.

Please note that some age restrictions exist for safari lodge stays and game drives so please consult with us if you have any queries. 

There are additional requirements for taking children into South Africa so please visit dfa.ie or gov.uk for the latest travel advice.

We have a very experienced accommodation team who have undertaken a rigorous evaluation process of the hotel properties in South Africa. We spent three weeks on a recce trip in February to inspect all the properties that we are offering to ensure that they meet and exceed the standards that you require.

If international flights are not required, then we can offer the tour that you wish to book less €750 per person. Simply contact us to book accordingly.

Please note that if you choose this option then airport-hotel-airport transfers for international flights are not included in the service that we provide.

You are booking your Lions Tour because you want to watch the best rugby imaginable as well as experiencing everything that South Africa has to offer. Our official status guarantees that your tickets are 100% and you will not be refused entry on admission to the stadiums. Financial protection is guaranteed by booking with Rugby Travel Ireland and this is critical in the current climate.

Furthermore, our escorted packages provide you with our “switch off” guarantee in that we look after your flights, transfers, hotels, excursions and events. Just make sure you catch your flight to South Africa and we look after everything else! Our policy has always been to not treat customers like sheep. We will lay on plenty of inclusive excursions, optional excursions and events as well as giving you plenty of time at each destination to do your own thing.

The time difference between UK & Ireland and South Africa will be plus one hour. The kick-off times are yet to be confirmed and will be announced via our newsletter as soon as they are.

Yes. As an official sub-agent (OSA) and exclusively appointed in Ireland, the tickets within our packages are 100%, guaranteed and official.

We have worked with the British & Irish Lions to protect your tickets and this is reflected in our official ticket stamp (below) which you will see on all our marketing and booking confirmation collateral to give you the complete peace of mind and reassurance you need. Any company without this ticket stamp can in no way guarantee match tickets.

Official British & Irish Lions Tour Match Ticket Guarantee

In the UK and Ireland, only the Lions and appointed official sub agents (including Rugby Travel Ireland) have the rights to include tickets as part of a package. Any tickets you see elsewhere are likely to be unofficial and would not guarantee your access into the stadium. If you are unsure as to whether a travel company is part of the official programme then please get in contact with us and we will be able to help.

The Official British & Irish Lions Tour match tickets currently included in our tour packages are Category A.

Separate to, and in addition to, the ticket-inclusive travel packages, for the first time ever, The Lions are holding a ticket ballot for the Test matches in South Africa. Everyone can enter and there will be a limited number of tickets available for all three Tests and a maximum of two tickets per person and for one Test match only.

If you are successful in the ballot, we will simply refund you the face value of the tickets that you have secured.

Yes. If you would like to fly with a particular airline, please get in touch with our team and we can quote accordingly.

Unfortunately there are no child discounts available because of huge demand across the entire hotel, ticket and flight program.

Package prices are based on a half twin / half double room occupancy basis so the single supplement makes up for the unsold “half” of the room.

Yes. We are happy to help pair you with another tour guest with the same request. We will put you directly in touch with each other and you can both make the decision whether you are suitable to share throughout the tour. If a suitable person cannot be found the single room supplement will be payable in full no later than six weeks prior to your tour.

Yes we do, and we encourage it! If you a member of a rugby club, school, corporate incentive group, etc. you can nominate a member of the group to act as the liaison for the booking and they will receive all correspondence from us regarding the booking.

No. It is not possible to buy tickets outside of a travel package.

All our prices are in Euros so please bear that in mind when making price comparisons!

When you book with Rugby Travel Ireland you have booked on an official Lions Tour and the host of additional benefits this brings including official tickets, superbly located hotels all inspected by us and of course, the craic! We are competitively priced and we are guaranteeing you of a highly organised tour that will run smoothly and be the trip of a lifetime. There are significant commercial rights fees attached to tickets that customers don’t see along with staffing, merchandise and associated costs of delivering a Tour of this size for the Lions.

There are also significant other benefits, including our COVID-19 Customer Charter, flexible payment terms, over ten years of experience and much more. 

Beware of cheap unofficial imitations.

Accommodation is on a bed and breakfast basis throughout unless stated otherwise. Many of our packages will have extra meals, but please check our packages for full details.

Internal transfers are included for all our fully escorted packages. These include airport to hotel, hotel to hotel, hotel to airport and hotel to stadium where applicable.

In 2017 in New Zealand we had Donal Lenihan, Alan Quinlan, Martyn Williams and Brent Pope tour with Rugby Travel Ireland. Other legends that joined us at various events included Ian Jones, Rob Henderson, Ryan Jones, Mike Mullins and Kurt McQuilken. For the Lions 2021 both Donal and Quinny have already confirmed their participation.

Please note that due to the various tours that we have on offer we cannot guarantee that the rugby legends will be on your exact tour but we do guarantee that you will have the opportunity to meet them at various events or over a casual beer!

For sure! This is a key element of any Lions tour and we will have a number of events planned throughout each tour. These usually consist of rugby legends, food, drink and fun!

Rugby Travel Ireland packages for the British & Irish Lions Tour cannot be used as a prize for any promotion.

We strongly suggest that you read our Terms & Conditions. We draw special attention to the Special Terms relating to Travel Insurance and COVID-19 / Other Communicable Diseases.

My Booking

It is a condition of booking with Rugby Travel Ireland that you and the rest of your group MUST have travel insurance in place. Your travel insurance should cover the cost of cancellation, medical expenses, loss of luggage or money, personal liability claims, participation in activities and costs of assistance (including repatriation) in the event of accident, injury, illness or death. You should check any exclusions and, in particular, that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake. We strongly recommend that you are covered from the time of booking as this may assist you in recovering monies paid in the unfortunate event of you having to cancel your trip.

We recommend the services of our preferred travel insurance partner, Blue Insurance. If resident in the Republic of Ireland, click here for a quotation and if resident in the UK click here for a quotation.

Yes you can, subject to availability. During the booking process you can make this request and we will quote accordingly.

Due to the nature of group contracts with airlines airmiles cannot be exchanged for a reduction in the tour price. The miles themselves can usually be added to your account.

Please note that online check-in is also unlikely and this is due to the limitations imposed by group contracts with airlines. You will instead be sent your booking reference as part of your tour itinerary.

Group hotel contracts mean that reward points cannot be used to reduce the tour price. However, you should be able to avail of benefits at the hotel depending on the status of your reward points with a particular hotel group.

It is simply not possible for all supporters to travel to and from South Africa on direct flights, therefore we will be offering mainly indirect routings (mainly via Doha) but with very good connection times.

We only ever work with high quality and reputable airlines. Qatar (ex Dublin, Edinburgh, Cardiff and London) are currently contracted with more to follow during the sales cycle.

Only if the upgrade options is listed within your booked tour package.

Unfortunately, our properties do not offer triple rooms however some of our properties may have family rooms subject to availability – please speak to a member of our team for more details.

Yes, subject to availability. Please get in touch with our team to organise your flight deviation. Please note, there may be a price difference due to different flights.

Yes. Executive coach transfers are included in our flight inclusive tour packages but if you book your own flights, or deviate from the flights included in the tour, then airport-hotel-airport transfers are not included.

Many of our packages include a number of excursions such as game drives already included in the price and these are detailed within each tour brochure. Later in the year we will be offering an optional excursion programme which you can pick and choose from at an additional cost.

Executive coach transfers are included to every match but please note that a fans walk way is expected to be utilised for the 2nd Test in Cape Town instead of coach transfers (due to the proximity of the stadium).

Included in your tour package is merchandise that will include official British & Irish Lions garments. Full details will be available in the coming months. Please note that guests with delivery addresses outside of the UK and Ireland will incur additional postage costs for tour packs.

We have our own Rugby Travel Ireland App so a number of weeks before you depart you will be emailed a tour itinerary PDF plus the login details for your personalised tour app. This is very handy when on tour and includes plenty of additional information about each location that you will visit etc.

We will be in touch closer to the Tour to confirm how and when you will receive your tickets.

Our policy has always been not to treat customers like sheep. We will lay on plenty of inclusive and optional excursions and events as well as giving you plenty of time at each destination to do your own thing. Please note that most of our packages will already include Game Drive(s) as part of your package. These will be detailed in our package inclusions.

This is to be finalised, but we are expecting to include an official Canterbury gilet, backpack and bobble/beanie hat.

Due to the number of travelling guests to South Africa, it will not be feasible for tour packs to be collected in South Africa.

If the decision is made to play matches behind closed doors before you have departed on the tour that you have booked, then you will receive a full refund of monies paid.

Yes. Escorted tours offered by Rugby Travel Ireland require a minimum of 20 passengers to proceed. A tour may be cancelled if the numbers of travellers is less than the number of travellers required. A refund or transfer to another escorted tour will be available.

You may cancel your package at any time prior to the start of your trip subject to the cancellation charges set out below.

The British & Irish Lions Tour to South Africa 2021 – Cancellation Provisions:

TIME BEFORE DEPARTURE (DAYS)181+180-8584-5655-4241-2827 or less
CANCELLATION CHARGE EXPRESSED AS % TOTAL TOUR COSTDeposit25%50%70%90%100%

On Tour

Residents of Ireland and the United Kingdom do not need a travel visa to enter South Africa and stay for a duration of up to 90 days.

If you miss a transfer while on tour, it is your responsibility to reach the next destination at your own expense.

Morning game drives in open vehicles will be cold, so it’s advisable to pack warm winter clothing. The average morning temperature in Kruger (for example) is 6°C. Afternoons will be pleasant with temperatures around 23-25°C. Colder areas, such as Cape Town, often see lows of 7°C after dark and an average high of 18°C with a waterproof jacket a must. In contrast, Johannesburg enjoys mild temperatures and clear blue skies with little chance of rain. In summary, a bit of everything awaits!

The South African Rand is the currency used in South Africa. The exchange rate is €1 = 20 ZAR & £1 = 22 ZAR. Rate correct as of 26th August 2021. The Rand is volatile, so check the rate regularly.

It is important that you speak to your GP or to a travel clinic before travelling to make sure that you have taken all the necessary health precautions.  You may find the following links of assistance:

The Tropical Medical Bureau: https://www.tmb.ie/ 

Fit for Travel: https://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/home

For the latest travel advice including security, local laws, plus passport and visa information visit:

For Irish Citizens – Department of Foreign Affairs https://www.dfa.ie/

For UK Citizens – the Foreign & Commonwealth Office https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

Need help? Get in touch with our superb team at +353 (0) 61 624 734 now!

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OTP Travel Services Ltd (497583) T/A Rugby Travel Ireland is Licenced by the Commission for Aviation Regulation, TO 0260.

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