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Hilaire Belloc

New Tour Operator Booking & Cancellation Policies in the Wake of Coronavirus

By Samantha Scott
March 18, 2020

As Coronavirus continues to affect industries all over the world, it’s fair to say that the travel and tourism industry has been one of the hardest hit.

Jump to: Cancelled Tours | Cancellation Policies Updates | Special terms & offers on new bookings

Tour operators have been forced to cancel numerous trips to numerous destinations. Many do not have the ability to offer full or partial refunds.

Notable exceptions include:

Collette - Full refund is available

There are far more suppliers however that are local businesses with limited cash resources and they themselves have made commitments to other local businesses like hotels based on your booking, so not all of them can afford to be as generous with cancellation policies as they would like to. 

In response to coronavirus, many suppliers are changing their current booking terms in effort to accommodate travelers who are rescheduling or booking new reservations. 

To help you stay informed, we are working with our tour operator partners to provide the most up to date information. 

Here’s what we know:

The following operators have cancelled tours through various dates in 2020

Note that these dates are subject to change as the world and the travel industry continues to adapt to the radidy changing nature of Covid-19.

  • smarToursall tours cancelled through August 31, 2020
  • On the Go Toursall tours cancelled through July 31, 2020
  • Intrepid: all tours cancelled through September 30, 2020
  • Peregrineall tours cancelled through September 30, 2020
  • G Adventuresall tours cancelled through August 31, 2020
  • Tauckall tours cancelled through August 31, 2020
  • Viking River Cruisesall tours cancelled through August 31, 2020
  • Globus Brands: (Globus, Cosmos, Monograms & Avalon): all tours cancelled through September 30, 2020 internationally and domestically
  • Explore!all tours cancelled through August 31, 2020
  • Colletteall tours cancelled through June 30, 2020
  • Collette: all China tours cancelled through August 31, 2020
  • Collette: all 2020 Oberammergau bookings cancelled and moved to 2022
  • Odysseys Unlimitedall tours cancelled through August 31, 2020
  • Topdeckall tours cancelled through September 30, 2020
  • Trafalgarall tours cancelled through August 31, 2020
  • Exodus Travelsall tours cancelled through August 31, 2020
  • Tucan TravelSouth America, Central America, Asia, North Africa & Middle East cancelled through September 30, 2020
  • Tucan TravelEurope and Africa all tours cancelled through December 31, 2020
  • Serbia Tour Operator: all tours cancelled through August 25, 2020
  • Discover Corpsall tours cancelled through July 30, 2020
  • America Israel Toursall tours cancelled through May 31, 2020
  • Penguin Travelall tours cancelled through May 20, 2020
  • Abercrombie & Kentall ground operations halted through July 31, 2020 except July departures in the United States
  • Contikiall tours cancelled through August 31, 2020
  • CroisiEuropeall cruises cancelled through July 15, 2020
  • Great Canadian Trailsall tours cancelled through July 21, 2020
  • Insight Vacationsall tours cancelled through August 31, 2020
  • Overseas Adventure Travel (OAT)all tours cancelled through August 31, 2020
  • Road Scholarall tours cancelled through August 31, 2020
  • UTracksall tours cancelled through July 31, 2020
  • Wildland TrekkingGroup inn-based tours and basecamp tours have been suspended through August 31. Private inn-based and basecamp tours are being operated with transportation provided
  • World Expeditionsall tours cancelled through August 31, 2020

 


Further Cancellation Information* From Our Tour Operator Partners 

*On Current Bookings. Note all information below is subject to change at the discretion of the tour operator.

smarTours

  • All smarTours trips through the end of May 2020 have been suspended and will need to be rescheduled
  • Credit available if you do not wish to reschedule
  • Tours departing between June 1 and June 30, 2020 are currently still scheduled to proceed as planned

We regret to inform you that all smarTours trips through the end of May 2020 have been suspended and will need to be rescheduled. If your tour has been suspended, we will notify you as soon as the dates for your rescheduled tour have been established.

Alternatively, if you would prefer to not wait for your rescheduled tour and instead take a credit toward any future smarTours tour departing prior to December 31, 2021, we will be happy to accommodate this request.

In addition, if you decide to use your credit to book a future tour departing in 2020, we will also include an additional $100 per person tour credit that will be applied towards the final payment of the new tour.

If you are scheduled to travel between June 1 and June 30, 2020, please note that your tour is currently still scheduled to proceed as planned. However, if you would prefer to cancel it in exchange for a credit toward any future smarTours tour departing prior to December 31, 2021, we will be happy to accommodate this request if you notify us by email at least 30 days in advance of your scheduled departure date.

On the Go Tours

  • Tours departing between March 17th - April 30th have been cancelled
  • Credit available
  • Tours departing between May 1st - May 31st are still departing

Holidays departing between 17 March and 30 April 2020

If you have booked a group tour, private tour or tailor-made holiday departing between 17 March and 30 April 2020, your holiday will not commence and we will credit your file with 110% of monies paid. You can then use this credit to travel on another holiday to any of our destinations before 31 December 2021.

Holidays departing between 01 May and 31 May 2020

If you have booked a group tour, private tour or tailor-made holiday departing between 01 May and 31 May 2020, you now have the option to continue with your holiday as planned or you can defer your holiday and we will credit your file with 110% of monies paid. You can then use this credit to travel on another holiday to any of our destinations before 31 December 2021.

G Adventures

  • Tours departing between March 16, 2020 and April 30, 2020, you will be provided with a future travel credit 
  • Credit can be applied toward any G Adventures tour scheduled to depart before 30th April 2022

If you have booked a tour scheduled to depart between March 16, 2020 and April 30, 2020, you will be provided with a future travel credit valued at 110% of the price paid for your tour and any ancillary services including hotels, pre-paid optional activities, and transfers; but excluding airfare and insurance.

This travel credit will be automatically applied to your G Adventures account within 5-10 days from date of scheduled departure and can be applied toward any G Adventures tour scheduled to depart before 30th April 2022.

If your tour is set to depart outside the suspension window, and also is 30-59 days in advance of your current first travel date; you may change your destination (or choose a later departure date) free of charge, or receive a travel credit for money paid for your tour.

If your tour is set to depart outside the suspension window, and is 60 days (or more) in advance of your current travel date, you may cancel, and hold your lifetime deposit on file, as we have always allowed.

Explore!

If your trip departs between 17 March – 30 April 2020:

If you booked directly with Explore

We will contact you, in order of departure date, as soon as we can to talk about your options. This process has already started. You will not lose any money paid to us. Instead you will receive a credit voucher to the value of 110% of what you have paid for your trip to use against any future trip with Explore.

You need to book your next trip within 12 months and can travel up until mid-2022.

If you have booked with a travel agent

We will be contacting them, and you should expect to hear from them soon about your options.

Collette

  • Full refund, re-booking, and travel vouchers available

Guests traveling on affected departures will be contacted and offered the following options: We will be offering clients the choice of one of the following options:

a. Re-book for travel later in 2020 – price protected

b. A travel voucher valued at 105% of their total tour price, land & air valid for travel through the end of 2021

c. Full money back

Topdeck

For those of you booked on one of our suspended trips, you’ll get the full amount paid refunded in the form of a travel credit voucher, plus an extra $100(AUD) travel credit on top! This is redeemable for travel by December 31, 2021.

As always, we’ll rebook your trip free of charge! You can move your tour to any other departure. This could be a later date or a different trip completely.

Trafalgar

  • You may change your travel dates to any trip in 2020 or 2021 without penalty
  • Travel credit option also available 

All guests currently booked on a guided vacation during this temporary suspension are eligible to either:

Change their travel dates or destination to any trip in 2020 or 2021, without penalty on the land portion of their trip. Any savings applied to the original booking, up to 15%, will be transferred to the new trip selected.

OR

Elect for a travel credit in the full amount paid (without penalty on the land portion) for the suspended vacation package (land only or land/air) redeemable against a new booking for travel to any destination departing before December 31, 2021.

Please note: Normal penalties apply for full cancellation without rebooking or cancellations made more than 30 days before departure. These policies are subject to change at any time and are not retroactive for bookings cancelled prior to March 16, 2020.

For guests with existing bookings departing from 1 May 2020, or for any new bookings being made, we are temporarily offering a fee waiver on the land portion of the trip until 30 days prior to departure should guests wish to change their dates or travel to a different destination. Airlines may have different policies and penalty charges, which are the guest’s responsibility.

Exodus Travels

If your trip departs 17th March – 15th May 2020 Exodus Travels will provide you with a travel voucher of 110% of the price paid for your trip.

To take advantage of the additional credit customers should book their new trip by 31st March 2021 for travel prior to 31st March 2022.

Tucan Travel

If you have booked a tour that we have cancelled, you will receive a Credit Voucher of 110% of the amount paid to use towards any alternative tour in any destination with a departure date before 31 December 2021.

America Israel Tours

If your tour date departs from March 13, 2020 until April 30, 2020, you may reschedule your land tour date with no additional cost.

The funds that your have paid for the land portion of your cancelled trip will be 100% redeemable towards the new tour date you choose. Our team is ready to assist you in selecting your new tour date for any time in 2020 or 2021.

Penguin Travel

If your trip departs between 17 March – 30 April 2020

If you booked directly with Penguin Travel: We will contact you, in order of departure date, as soon as we can to talk about your options. This process has already started. You will not lose any money paid to us.

Instead you will receive a credit voucher to the value of 110% of what you have paid for your trip to use against any future trip with us. You need to book your next trip within 12 months and can travel up until mid-2022.

Evaneos

For travelers departing on or before April 30

We have asked our local agents to help you postpone your trip to a later date. Your agent, and our customer care team, will contact you individually to give you more information and answer any and all questions you might have.

For travelers departing after May 1

Given how quickly and unpredictably the crisis is evolving, please contact your local agent as you approach your departure date.  

Contiki

  • You may rebook a suspended trip, free of charge, for trips in 2020 or 2021
  • On existing bookings departing after May 1st cancellation charges have been temporarily suspended

We’ll be reaching out to affected travellers whose trip has been suspended personally to help them rebook, free of charge on to a new trip in any destination for travel any time during 2020 or 2021, with a full credit of all monies paid redeemable against your revised trip with Contiki.

For travellers with existing bookings departing from 1 May and more than 30 days from today for other destinations, or any new bookings being made, we have temporarily suspended the cancellation charges until 30 days prior to departure should travellers wish to change their dates or travel to a different destination.

ROW Adventures / ROW Sea Kayak Adventures 

Unless local conditions prevent operations, we are running trips as scheduled.

If an official travel ban has been issued that does not allow you to travel to or from your point of origin, ROW Adventures and our Family of Companies will allow you to use the full value of your non-refundable payments as a credit for a future trip as follows:

For trips with ROW in the USA, you may apply this credit to any of our trips in the USA for any available departure through 2022. Once an alternate trip is booked, it is subject to standard cancellation policies. no refunds for any unused portion of the credit will be given.

For any trips with Sea Kayak Adventures in British Columbia, you may apply this credit to any of our sea kayak trips in either BC or Baja, for any available departure through 2022. Once an alternate trip is booked, it is subject to standard cancellation policies. No refunds for any unused portion of the credit will be given.

If we choose to cancel a trip due to closure by a federal, state or local authority, governmental intervention, our own decision or any other reason, and we do not provide an alternate trip*, we offer you the following options:

A credit equal to 120% of the price you paid for the actual tour (not including services provided by other companies such as air carriers, hotels, etc.) This credit can be used for another trip through 2022. Once an alternate trip is booked, it is subject to standard cancellation policies.

OR

A refund of your land tour cost, less any unrecoverable costs. (Example, a force majeure situation such as an earthquake, strikes your destination. We are unable to recover monies paid to a local hotel. Those costs would not be refunded.)

Lindblad

  • Full travel credit provided if you choose to cancel

If we elect to cancel a voyage because we believe it would be irresponsible to go, you will receive a full refund. We are looking to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) and WHO (World Health Organization) to provide guidance.

If you elect to cancel your 2020 expedition, provided you give us at least 24 hours’ notice, we will provide you with a 100% credit for your expedition fare which you may use on any future expedition in 2020 or 2021. This policy will stay in effect at least through June 30, 2020. 

Authentic Ireland

  • No penalties or fees if you change your travel dates 30 days prior to departure

For our clients whose travel plans include a departure in March or April, 2020, if you need to postpone your existing bookings, we’ll make our best effort to work with our suppliers to minimize, or avoid, penalties when it’s possible.

As a reminder, when you book with Authentic Vacations our Risk-Free Booking Policy is automatically included for you, our client. Simply put, should you need to change your travel dates, you can reschedule your trip up to 30-days prior to your departure date for ANY REASON.

And, you may rebook your trip within one year of original departure with no penalties from Authentic Vacations. Your deposit and any payments made will be credited towards your rebooked tour, with absolutely no cancellation or change fees applied.

While Authentic Vacations does not charge you a cancellation or change fee when you rebook your travel plans, there could be rate, fare and cancellation differences imposed by suppliers, such as host inns or airlines. Please know we are here to work with our suppliers on your behalf. Our constant goal is to minimize, or eliminate, these types of penalties for date changes whenever possible.

Wild Frontiers Travel

  • 10% discount available if you rebook for a tour departing between September 1 - August 31
  • Those on tours departing after May 31st are currently still scheduled to run as planned

Passengers booked to travel on group tours in March, April or May:

If you are booked to travel on one of our group tours in March, April or May 2020, we are offering you the chance to transfer to another tour departing later.

As a small, independent travel company, we hope you will do all you can to rearrange your travel plans and help support a small business, as well as our wonderful partners on the ground.

But to hopefully make that decision even easier, we are also offering a 10% discount to encourage you to rebook on any tour departing between 1 September 2020 and 31 August 2021.

Group Tour passengers booked to travel beyond 31 May 2020

As things stand we are planning on running our trips that depart from June onwards however we will be as flexible as we can with regards to any requests to transfer. We will be monitoring this situation regularly, and as a general rule if up to 21 days prior to departure the FCO are advising against travel to your destination because of Coronavirus, or if the government of the country you are visiting has closed its borders to visitors, we will extend to you the same set of options that we are currently offering our clients on our March, April & May departures.

50 Degrees North

  • Normal cancellation penalties apply
  • You may postone your trip with funds paid applied as a credit

UPDATED BOOKING TERMS & CONDITIONS

For all travellers with departures up until 30 September 2020 you have the following options:

You can postpone your travel plans until later in 2020, or in 2021. We will hold funds paid in credit and apply these to your new booking. However, we will need to cover our costs directly related to your booking including unrecoverable costs. We will hold the remaining funds paid in credit towards a booking for a new date up until 31 December 2021.

Note that if you move your booking there may be additional costs charged on certain services (i.e. unrecoverable costs), and the total price for the trip on a new date may be different due to rate variations, supplier increases, exchange rates, or other reasons outside our control.

If you wish to cancel outright our normal booking conditions apply.

Magic Hill Holidays

Updated Terms and Conditions

Due to the Coronavirus outbreak and the partial lockdown in Spain by the Spanish Government from the 14th March to the 11th April 2020, this is a temporary addition to our terms and conditions to cater for cancellations and is subject to change as the situation develops.

For clients travelling on Camino trips to Spain between 14th March and the 31st May 2020, the options are:

(a) Free Postponement of your trip to a later date, subject to availability

(b) Cancellation and refund of your trip, excluding initial deposit

For clients travelling on Camino trips to Spain from the 1st June 2020 to 30th October 2020:

(a) Standard Cancellation policy applies (see Paragraph 15 our Terms and Condition). Conditions for clients travelling on Camino trips to Spain during June 2020 will be re-evaluated on the 20th April 2020.

For further details please refer to Paragraph 13 and 14 of our Terms and Conditions.

Untours

  • Most cancellation penalties have been reduced
  • Some rollover payments can be applied if you reschedule the same trip

The CDC has recommended that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to Europe at this time. Flight disruptions, business closures, and local quarantines in Europe are also disrupting travel.

We will be in touch with all spring and summer 2020 travelers to discuss options, including cancellation or rebooking your trip.

We will contact our earliest guests first. Thank you for your patience as we work hard to manage the details of our scheduled travelers. This is an unprecedented situation.

Options vary depending on the date of travel and payments but include:

- Rescheduling the same Untour for 2021 with a rollover of your payment. (Certain restrictions apply.)

- Cancelling your trip with a reduction of our normal cancellation penalties.

- Rescheduling your trip for later in 2020 (or keeping your 2020 booking as planned). If this is your choice we will talk through details and options based on your Untour location.



The following operators are offering flexible booking policies* for future travel during coronavirus

*Note that these are not the operators normal booking terms, but an adjustment they are making to accommodate people booking travel during this extraordinary time.

Across South America

This is the special flexible policy for new bookings during March and April and for traveling during 2020 :

Book only with a 10% deposit

We are offering new clients to book trips with only a 10% deposit and pay the balance of the trip 45 days before trip departure.  

Flexible changes

We also offer a flexible cancellation policy should you decide to postpone your travels to South America up to 15 days before the scheduled departure date, due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. We are giving the possibility of postponing for 6 months their trip with no fee

We also offer the possibility of amending your itineraries,  in case of recommendations from WHO or the CDC not to travel to certain destinations. Such a policy is dependent on our discussions with our suppliers.

Spirit of the West Adventures

We have made some policy changes for our 2020 kayaking season (June through September).

Payment

As before, we ask for a 25% deposit at the time of reservation. For 2020 full payment will be due 60 days prior to the trip (down from 90 days).

Changes and Rebooking

We are welcoming up to two trip or date changes with no fees. 2020 tour reservations may be rebooked up to the end of next season (September 2021). Requests for date changes may be made up to 30 days in advance of the trip departure, after which the cancellation policy will apply.

Rebooking depends on the availability of the future date; for rebooked tours, the cancellation timeline applies to the date of the original booking.

Single Supplement Fees

We don't charge single supplements and will guarantee a single tent if it is requested.

Cancellation Policy

For 2020 we recently changed some of the wording on our general cancellation policy, summarized as follows:

  • Earlier than 60 days before trip - Full amount is refunded less a $150 administration fee (down from 90 days)
  • 59-30 days before trip - 50% of tour price is refunded*
  • Later than 30 days before the trip - No refund will be given*

*If we can find someone to fill the space, the guest may be eligible for a partial refund.

50 Degrees North

NEW BOOKINGS

If you want to book a trip for travel in the near future or at a later date we are currently offering a reduced deposit payment of 10% (down from 20%).

Note, there may be elements of your booking that still require a 20% deposit (e.g. a Norwegian Coastal Voyage), and in such case we will inform you what the minimum deposit will be.

Authetic Ireland

Additional Special Value-Add Offer Just for You

Right now, we’d like to offer you $100 off per person / $200 per couple with any tour value of $2,000 or more.

Simply book your trip by March 31, 2020, for any future dates in 2020 or 2021, with a $100 deposit, to receive this benefit. (You read the low deposit amount correctly.)

Discover Corps

Buy Now, Help Now … Save Later

Discover Corps’ mission is to inspire travelers to become advocates for the different local projects and communities they visit. Unfortunately, these nonprofits and organizations who count on tourism are seeing devastating effects from the current COVID-19 virus, so we want to do all we can to help.

Travel Voucher Deals

Until further notice, Discover Corps will offer discounted travel vouchers. This will allow us to help fund our partners’ small businesses until we can all travel again, it will help Discover Corps stay afloat during these uncertain times, and it gives our travelers (you) the opportunity to plan future travel at a discounted rate. 

All vouchers are non-refundable, but never expire, and can be used in conjunction with other select Discover Corps discounts (including our early booking discount).

Exodus Travels

Once you have paid your final balance, and up to 42 days prior to departure, you have the flexibility to transfer your travel plans to a future date or alternative holiday free of charge (subject to any difference in published holiday cost) or, if this isn’t suitable, you will receive a travel voucher valid for bookings made within 12 months.

If you decide to cancel and you are travelling within the next 42 days, Exodus will transfer all recoverable costs to another holiday of your choosing or issue a travel voucher valid for bookings made within 12 months.

G Adventures

Effective now until April 12, book travel with us departing before October 31, 2020 and you can cancel and rebook up to 14 days prior to your departure date.

Great Canadian Trails

Book your adventure today and if, at any stage outside of 70 days before your departure, you are prevented from being able to proceed with your travel arrangements due to a ‘do not travel’ government advisory, we will transfer your deposit to a trip departing within 12 months of your original departure date, and we will waive the standard $100 transfer fee. 

Ker & Downey Africa

We are offering new clients who wish to book between now and June a refundable deposit on a case by case basis (supplier dependent).

On the Go Tours

Holidays departing between 01 June and 30 June 2020

If you have booked a group tour, private tour or tailor-made holiday departing between 01 June and 30 June 2020, you have the option to continue with your holiday as planned (if it is possible to do so) or you can defer your holiday and we will credit your file with 110% of monies paid.

You can then use this credit to travel on another holiday to any of our destinations before 31 December 2021.

Wild Frontiers Travel

Flexible deposits for Group Tours

Until 6 April 2020, we are offering flexible deposits when you book a group tour departing in 2020.

What that means is you can transfer your deposit to another tour free of charge if you later decide on another tour or destination.

Trafalgar

For any new bookings being made, we are temporarily offering a fee waiver on the land portion of the trip until 30 days prior to departure should guests wish to change their dates or travel to a different destination.

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"We wander for distraction, but we travel for fulfilment."
Hilaire Belloc