SALT & WIND TRAVEL

Salt & Wind Travel is by the team who brought you the food and travel lifestyle site, Salt & Wind. We launched Salt & Wind Travel because we believe travel is more fun when you have a good partner! Our founder, Aida Mollenkamp, has a made her career in food travel media and has crisscrossed the globe searching out unique destinations. 

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

Who are Salt & Wind Trips for?

Salt & Wind Trips are designed for a 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 cap our trips at 12 guests and then 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 the 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 the 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?

The entire itinerary takes place within about 100 mile radius so there’s not too much 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 (including 1 alcoholic drink at each lunch and dinner). 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! All of our partners speak English and we have local language speakers on staff.

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.

ACCOMMODATIONS

We have partnered with hotels that meet the Salt & Wind standards of service. 

Room Options

Double Occupancy

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. 

Single Occupancy

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. s!

Roommates

If you do not have a travel partner, you can purchase single occupancy and have the room all to yourself. Please contact us at travel@saltandwind.com to discuss further. 

LOGISTICS

So, do I have to cross the border on my own?

No, we'll meet up in the United States and cross together! Our usual meeting spot to start and end the trip is near the U.S./Mexico border in San Ysidro, California. From there, you (and your luggage) will board our private transportation (with English-speaking drivers).

These cars and drivers will be with us the whole trip and are fully insured so you won’t have to worry about catching cabs or whatnot (unless you venture out on your own outside the itinerary).

Note: Border crossing back into the United States can take a while and wait times vary greatly so we cannot guarantee an exact crossing time. Please inform of us of any train or flight arrangements so we can accommodate. 

 

Where exactly do we meet?

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.

How do I get to the meeting place?

San Ysidro, California is just south of downtown San Diego (about 15 to 30 minutes via car or trolley) and you have a few options of how to get there.

  • Drive: You can drive to San Diego (if you arrive the day before we can help you get preferred rates with our hotel partners in San Diego); there are a few options for secured, safe parking nearby our meeting spot where you can leave your car for the duration of the trip.
  • Train: Alternatively, you can take the Amtrak train to downtown San Diego and then take the San Diego trolley a few stops (about 15 to 30 minutes depending on time of day) all the way to San Ysidro. We have partnered with the Amtrak Surfliner to provide trip attendees discounts for train travel.
  • Fly:  You can fly into San Diego and then take a car service from the airport to San Ysidro. Or you can fly directly into Tijuana airport and we can pick you up. If you need help, just ask us and we can put you in touch with our travel agent.

I don’t live close by. Can you book my flight?

We do not directly book flights nor does the trip price cover airfare from your hometown to the San Ysidro US/Mexico border. But, we can help! Just ask and we'll connect you with our travel agent who can assist you with those details.

Speaking of, can I fly into Tijuana?

Yes, there are all sorts of affordable flight options into Tijuana. If you need help, just ask us and we can put you in touch with our travel agent. Just please keep us informed before you book your flight so we can ensure it fits into our itinerary. Oh, and keep our concierge informed of any delays so that we can arrange to pick you up!

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 in Tijuana or include a stay in San Diego, we can help you get preferred rates with our hotel partners.

DIETARY RESTRICTIONS

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?

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?

As a general rule the water across Baja California is cleaner and safer than that on mainland Mexico. You can definitely take a shower in the water and brush your teeth. That said you'll want to drink bottled water just in case your stomach isn't used to the local water. 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 two English-speaking hospitals (one in Tijuana and one in Ensenada) in case of an emergency. This area of Mexico has a long history of U.S. tourists (and a big expat community) so the quality of care is excellent. 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?

We urge you to check the CDC website so that you have the most updated information about Zika in Mexico. As of May 2017, there has been only one reported cases of Zika in Baja California, thanks largely to the region's arid, desert climate.

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 trips 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 at Club Tengo Hambre

  • Market tours, art gallery visits, and pop-up parties with local creatives

  • Complimentary morning yoga classes

  • A group concierge to help with any extra events you may want to plan

  • 20 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 (including 1 alcoholic drink at each lunch and dinner)

  • 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 the included 1 alcoholic drink at both lunch and dinner

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 travel@saltandwind.com 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 travel@saltandwind.com to discuss. 

FURTHER QUESTIONS?

Have additional questions? Contact us at travel@saltandwind.com