Travel the world safely despite Covid-19
Audits and risk assessments were carried out for each destination before our operations re-started.
We also put enhanced hygiene and cleaning protocols in place.
Prefer to travel only with people you know? All our group tours can now be booked as private departures for solo travellers, couples, families and private groups.
Do you want or need to change your plans? Our Covid-specific flexible booking conditions no longer apply, but you are still able to make changes to your booking under our standard booking conditions.
We already specialise in small groups, and along with expecting lower numbers when travel restarts, we have reduced some of our group sizes to improve your experience and ensure better distancing.
Travelling on your own? Single room supplements are kept as low as possible. As a small operator we are unfortunately not able to remove the need for these on all our trips though.
Our focus remains on travelling responsibly, supporting the local economies and communities that we travel through, and designing tours that protect the environment as best we can.
Do you still have a mix of both excitement and concern about travelling now, despite the fact that Covid-19 is not as serious a problem worldwide as it was during the height of the pandemic?
Don’t worry, we understand, and share both.
To help make things a little easier for you, we set up a Safer Encounters scheme, which focuses on the health and safety of our travellers and local staff, while still providing the memorable experiences, visits and activities that our tours normally include. This scheme continues to be updated to follow local protocols and regulations, and travel health advice about how we can travel responsibly and safely in different destinations.
We are also working towards the World Travel & Tourism Council’s 'Safe Travel' protocols for tour operators, following recommendations and advice from the World Health Organisation, and will always adhere to the updated regulations put in place by local health and tourist authorities.
We wish all our travellers the best of health and look forward to welcoming you in our destinations again soon.
If you would like to change your travel date, you are always able to. However, our standard booking conditions will now apply. Your travel insurance may cover any unrecoverable costs, so please check their coverage carefully when taking out the policy. Please check our detailed booking conditions for full details.
Yes, if you don't want to, or can't travel, you can transfer your booking and existing payments to other family members or friends. We waived our normal fees for doing this for all departures up to the end of 2022. This applied to bookings you may have moved to a Credit on File as well as those setup on a particular date. Note - not all payments may be transferrable - for example, flight tickets and permits such as Gorilla Permits normally incur 100% fees for name changes.
For all tours departing from 2022 onwards, our balance due dates reverted back to our standard conditions (60 days prior)
You will not be able to travel if you test positive for Covid-19 within 5 days of your departure date as you will probably still be infectious when you are travelling. In this situation you will need to either change your travel date, or cancel your booking. Cancellation fees will apply. As a small tour operator, we are unfortunately not able to offer 100% refunds right up to the day of your departure, even if you catch Covid. We don't feel that offering this is fair to our local ground partners in your destination (guides, hotels, drivers etc.) as we, and they, won't be able to replace the business lost at such short notice. Instead, we are happy to recommend travel insurance policies that do provide this level of cancellation protection for you. The travel insurance market has developed a lot over the last year, and a range of coverage for Covid-19 related situations is now available. Please check our Travel Insurance page for more information.
We will normally still be able to run your tour in this situation following all our Safer Encounters procedures and protocols (for nearly all of 2021, the UK government and others had default advice against travel for Covid reasons to most of the world. We were however still able to safely and successfully run trips to many countries under this level of advice). Should this level of advice be applied again we will assess the situation at the time, but aim to still run your tour. If we cannot do that then you will be able to move your booking to a Credit on File, or cancel completely.
If we cancel your trip, you will have several options. You can change your departure to a new date without any additional fees, request a refund, or convert your booking to a 'Credit on File'. In this situation your money stays held and protected with us until you are ready to select a new departure date. Your credit amount only applies to items on your booking which are not non-refundable or recoverable. For example, flight tickets and Gorilla permits may not be changeable or refundable, and we will deduct those amounts before working out your credit. Any refunds or credits for items such as flights or permits will be subject to the rules applied by the relevant service provider. Once you have accepted a Credit on File, our standard booking conditions will apply, including cancellation terms.
New bookings need to be made within 1 year of your original departure date, with travel started within 2 years of your original departure date.
The price for your new trip will be based on our current published price for your new date and/or tour at the time you make the new booking. If you received a discount for your original booking, we will do our best to offer you a discount on your new booking, but cannot guarantee the same amount will be available.
The rules for different countries are continue to evolve. Nearly all countries have removed all entry requirements with regard to Covid-19 and do not require either PCR tests or proof of vaccination. However, some countries do still ask for you to be vaccinated, so please check the government travel advice for your destination carefully.
It is generally always easier, cheaper and less hassle to travel internationally now if you are fully vaccinated. It also reduces your risk of catching Covid while you are on holiday. 'Fully vaccinated' means that you should have completed your course of vaccinations at least 2 weeks before you are due to fly. Most vaccinations require 2 shots, but some (eg. J&J) only need 1.
We all have a duty of care to travel responsibly and to act in such a way as to protect both our own health and wellbeing, and that of our fellow travellers and the people we meet while on our travels. We are therefore asking all our travellers to carefully monitor their health in the 4 weeks before your tour starts.
You must notify us if you have a positive test within 5 days of your departure, as you will not be able to join the tour. You should check that your travel insurance policy covers you in this situation.
Yes. All of our small group and shoestring tours are also now available as Private departures for people who do not wish to join a group, but would prefer to just travel with their partner or family. Prices for many of these tours will be kept exactly the same as our group dates with a minimum of just 2 people travelling, though some will require a supplement based on the number of people in your party. Please do contact us if you would like to travel on one of our group tour itineraries in a private fashion.
On most of our group tours, solo travellers may choose to form a temporary 'tour bubble' and share a room with another traveller of the same sex in the group. If a room share is not available then a single room supplement may be payable, with the costs for these kept as low as possible.
We are mainly a small-group operator already which helps with our aim of re-starting our operations with lower numbers of people travelling together.
Small group tours: These have maximum group sizes of 12 to 20 people, and average numbers per departure of 8-10 people. Some tour group sizes have been reduced to provide a better experience and to allow for better social distancing and follow local regulations for maximum vehicle capacity. This ensures you still get a great experience with your fellow travellers and guide, but with lower risks of catching infections too.
Shoestring tours: Some of our cheaper Shoestring tours are based on larger groups, potentially travelling with a full-sized coach and up to 50 people. We did reduce group sizes on these tours during the height of the pandemic, but they will not take up to full size groups again.
Overland tours: These have a maximum group size of 20-24 people. As on these tours the group will be travelling together for a long time, hygiene on board has always been a high priority and this will be enhanced further.
Hand and respiratory hygiene is extremely important for all travellers to manage, especially now. Advice on local requirements and general Covid-19 hygiene precautions will be provided by our guides at the start of our tours. We require all our travellers to follow any local regulations at all times.
We source hand sanitiser and tissues to be provided in our tour vehicles, but we request that all travellers bring their own as well. This will help protect local stocks and also mean you have your own handy for times when you are away from the vehicle, during your free time, and through your travel between your home and your destination.
We recognise that enjoying the local food and drink is a big part of travel – its one of our favourites too. We don’t want to take the opportunity away from anyone to try out local dishes and delicacies, but hygiene during breaks for meals is even more important now. Reminders about hand washing will be given before meal times and should be followed at all times. Most hotels are removing self-service buffets and providing servers at the buffet or arranging table service, which will help to remove the risk of contact infection from sharing serving cutlery & dishes.
We have always tried to offer the best value possible on our tours, including regular discount promotions when we have been able to negotiate special rates with our local partners and suppliers. We’re very aware that times have been financially tough for many people during the Covid-19 crisis and will continue to do our best to offer great prices on all our tours.
We do however ask our travellers to consider that money is also tight for everyone in the supply chain arranging your holiday and in the local tourist industry. Many costs have increased somewhat, due to the extra precautions and protocols being put in place, and the lower number of expected or permitted visitors. Most destinations will also have gone many months without seeing any tourists at all with corresponding drops in income for those affected. You may therefore find that the prices for eating, drinking, shopping, and for some activities in your destination may have gone up a little.
At the group meeting at the start of the tour, or when you meet your guide at the start of a private tour, part of the briefing will include a short health screening section. Should you have any Covid-19 symptoms you will be asked to seek medical advice (we will provide assistance), and for your health and safety, and for the benefit of everyone travelling with you, you will not be able to join the tour.
Should a traveller test positive for Covid-19 during a tour then travellers should be prepared not to be able to re-join the tour for 5 days. In this situation, then your fellow travellers will be informed, and deep cleaning and disinfecting procedures carried out. Any expenses for treatment, testing or quarantine, or rejoining the tour, will need to be covered by the traveller, though of course we will provide assistance.
Travel insurance has always been compulsory on all of our tours, and this continues to be the case. The insurance industry has developed its response to Covid-19 and many policies now do provide cover for Coronavirus related issues or for destinations which governments are currently advising against travel to. Please ensure you check the wording of the policy carefully and are aware of what it does and does not cover. Any expenses for treatment, testing or quarantine, or rejoining a tour, will need to be covered by the traveller, though of course we will provide assistance.Please check our travel insurance page for more information on policies available from us, and from other sources.
Before we start operating in each of our destinations following the break during the pandemic, we complete a detailed Covid-19 risk assessment and audit of our operations and tours in that country. This process may result in some changes to the way some tours, or parts of tours are run, both to comply with our own best practice requirements and with updated local regulations. Changes may also be made to ensure that you are able to take any required PCR tests and get the results before flying home. So far however, only very minor changes have been required. Information will be provided to all customers before travel about any significant changes.
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