Our covid-19 policy
Here are some factors you may like to consider when booking a holiday now that Covid-19 is a recognised pandemic. We all expect to have to live with for some time to come.
Our trip planning process is, as always, with the same care, making sure you end up with the trip that you want. Yet we are suggesting certain precautions to try and minimise potential disruption. Things you might like to consider include:
- Slow travel, spend more time in each place
- Minimise the number of countries you visit to reduce border crossings
- Less flights, and a preference for non-stop flights where possible
- Spend time in the countryside, in small hotels and lodges
- Choose properties that are small and spacious
- Minimise the up-front payments needed, including instant purchase flights
When you book, we will ask you for a deposit, which is not only a sign of commitment from you but also lets us make essential hotel and flight prepayments. In some cases, hotels or boats ask for larger prepayments, not covered with our standard deposit. We always advise clients what these are, together with any further conditions.
If you decide to cancel before departure then you will forfeit the deposit, and any extra hotel deposits. You need to make sure you have insurance cover for at least: ill health (including that of a close relative or close business partner). Most policies also include jury service, redundancy, contracting Covid or enforced self-isolation.
Once you have paid your final balance, make sure you have sufficient insurance cover for that too. We have a sliding scale which reaches 100% less than 39 days before departure. All the above should be available irrespective of the Foreign Office (FCDO) guidance in place at the time of booking/taking out the policy.
If we cannot provide your trip, we will offer a choice of an alternative holiday or a full refund or a Credit Note. We may not be able to decide whether we can provide your holiday until departure is imminent, e.g. 4 weeks before your travel date. Factors that count to not being able to provide your holiday include closed borders or quarantine on arrival at the destination.
Factors introduced by the UK government that don’t affect our ability to provide your holiday include testing on arrival, and quarantine (either at home or in a hotel) when you return to the UK.
Your travel insurance should cover you for medical expenses, including you or a member of your party contracting/testing positive for Covid-19. This should cover the usual repatriation/hospital expenses, and in the case of Covid extra accommodation costs should you be required to wait until you test negative before returning home, and the cost of any flight changes.
We understand that all insurers who are members of the Association of British Insurers (ABI) offer cover for contracting Covid on holiday. Association of British Insurers (ABI) has a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section here:www.abi.org.uk/products-and-issues/topics-and-issues/coronavirus-hub/travel-insurance
UK Foreign Office Travel Advice (FCDO): https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice
Foreign Office (FCDO) advice is guidance, not the law, and is in two kinds.
1. Advice against “all travel” is very serious and usually limited to risks of physical harm, terrorism, or natural disasters. If the FCDO introduce this level of advice most insurance policies are invalidated, and if your departure is imminent, we will consider that your holiday can’t be provided and offer postponement/refund options mentioned above.
2. Most FCDO advisories, including the Covid-specific ones, advise against “non-essential” travel. The FCDO say “Whether travel is essential or not is your own decision. Only you can make an informed decision based on your own individual circumstances and the risks”. In relation to Covid risk “individual circumstances” may include whether you are vaccinated.
We are flexible with clients having a good reason to travel against FCDO guidance and will assess the risks involved. We do not consider that travelling with the FCDO advising against “non-essential” travel obliges us to offer a refund, particularly if the advisory is only for Covid-related risks with no concession for vaccinated travellers, but we will always allow postponement and will transfer our deposit to new dates at no cost to you.