Covid-19 FAQ | Our Safe Restart of Tours
We know most of you are eager to fly as soon as you get the jab, so we’ve put together this handy FAQ which will help you understand the criteria we are considering when deciding if and when to restart our tours. If you don’t see the answer you’re looking for, please contact us and we’ll do our very best to address your questions.
Before the tour
The situation around Covid-19 is continually changing, and Out Adventures will be providing regular communication to all guests on the status of their tour. For any tours with final payment due 90 days prior to departure, an update will be sent 5 months before departure, and for those with final payment due 60 days before departure, an update will be sent 4 months prior. In both instances, new updates will follow every month after that until the trip departs or is postponed. Updates will contain the following information:
- The current state of travel restrictions in the destination country including any vaccine mandates, required testing, quarantine requirements, mask mandates, physical distancing, lockdowns and restrictions of movement within the country.
- Localized outbreaks of Covid-19 and/or rising Covid-19 case numbers in the destination country.
- Any current travel restrictions or travel advisories from the home countries of all booked guests, as well as from the World Health Organization.
A final decision on whether or not a trip will proceed will be made by the date of final payment in most cases. The following factors will be considered when determining whether to run a tour:
- Travel advisories from the home countries of all guests.
- Destination country travel restrictions:
- local restrictions should not significantly affect the itinerary
- quarantine is not required upon entry or exit
- Covid-19 infection and vaccination levels in the destination country.
- Clinical care available in the destination country including:
- testing availability
- availability of Covid-19 treatments
- hospital and ICU capacity
- Airline reliability and flight availability.
- Community impact in the destination country and regions visited. For example, if the tour includes homestays or visits to vulnerable communities.
- Evacuation risks and capabilities.
- The number of guests booked on the tour. For example, if we receive cancellations and the tour no longer meets the required minimum number of guests advertised.
- The ability of all guests to purchase travel insurance that covers the destination of travel.
- The capability of local offices and suppliers to recommence operations and meet our health & safety promise.
We have worked tirelessly with our local partners and suppliers to secure more flexible booking conditions on all tours. These conditions vary by tour, and can be found by reviewing each individual tour page as well as your invoice, and we also encourage you to thoroughly review our booking conditions which vary depending on the departure and booking date.
Our tours are typically confirmed/guaranteed once they have reached the required minimum number of guests specific to that tour. If the tour receives a number of guest cancellations that results in it falling under the required minimum or if it’s postponed due to Covid-19 or any other Force Majeure event:
- and the tour is not confirmed/guaranteed, you will receive a full refund of your deposit.
- or, it is confirmed/guaranteed, you will receive 100% credit towards future travel with us – or you can choose a refund, less unrecoverable costs. For more information please review our booking conditions and travel insurance requirements/recommendations
Unrecoverable costs for refunds typically include a 5% fee to cover credit card processing, but there is a possibility that costs could be higher if we are forced to cancel a tour after final payment is due and deposits have been paid to suppliers. Examples of other unrecoverable costs can include but are not limited to: hiking permits, domestic flights, train tickets and deposits for ship charters. We strongly advise that you protect your trip with travel insurance including trip cancellation and cancel for any reason coverage (CFAR), if available.
We live for the adventure, but we take your health and safety seriously. That’s why you are required to have travel insurance when you book any of our tours or tailor-made holidays. At a minimum, your travel insurance must include medical coverage of US$50,000 and emergency repatriation coverage of no less than US$200,000. We also recommend that you consider personal liability, trip interruption, isolation costs if testing positive for Covid-19, and trip cancellation coverage that includes cancel for any reason (CFAR), if available in your province or state. This coverage often needs to be purchased within 24-72 hours of providing your deposit.
Please Note: Out Adventures cannot advise on or sell insurance due to complex regulatory requirements. Any insurance purchase decisions are yours, and yours alone and we do not recommend nor endorse any specific services of any provider. Note that many travel insurance providers have put blanket exclusions in place surrounding Covid-19 related issues and that government advisories against travel may also impact your coverage. It is imperative that you phone or email your provider directly so you understand any impacts of Covid-19 and related government travel advisories on your coverage.
The majority of countries and local authorities require proof of vaccination, a negative Covid-19 PCR antigen test or proof of recovery from a prior Covid-19 infection. Out Adventures will keep guests informed of all entry requirements, but ultimately it is the responsibility of each traveller to ensure they have met all requirements set by the destination country.
In addition to any requirements mandated by local authorities, at this point in time Out Adventures will require:
- Proof of Covid-19 vaccination in the following instances:
- For guests on cruises.
- For guests on any tour who will be aged 60 or older at the time of travel, OR are considered high-risk due to pre-existing medical conditions as outlined by the World Health Organization.
- There may be other tours and instances where we require proof of full vaccination for the safety of all guests and Out Adventures staff.
- On land based tours one of the following:
- Proof of full Covid-19 vaccination completed at least 2 weeks before tour departure.
- Proof of a negative Covid-19 PCR antigen test within 72 hours prior to departure.
- Proof of recovery from a prior Covid-19 infection, with documentation including a positive test result no older than 3 months before departure combined with a clearance letter from a medical professional.
These requirements are designed to ensure the health and safety of all guests, group leaders, staff and local communities, and they may change at any time based on international guidelines and industry trends. Additionally, we will require all guests to complete a Covid-19 self-declaration and waiver form prior to travel.
All guests must complete a mandatory self-declaration & waiver of liability form no earlier than 4 days prior to the start date of the Out Adventures tour. This is to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all guests on tour, vulnerable local communities, and Out Adventures staff and guides.
The form will include Covid-19 screening questions as well as a waiver of liability with the guest acknowledging that they are aware of any increased risk associated with travelling during a pandemic, along with risks associated with any pre-existing medical conditions, disclosed or otherwise.
Any risk posed to the tour based on the answers provided in the self declaration will be treated on a case by case basis. Records will be kept securely and retained for a period required under our retention schedules in compliance with privacy laws and regulations.
We will encourage all of our group leaders and hosts to be fully vaccinated before tour wherever possible. Due to the limited supply of vaccines worldwide this may not be possible in all instances. Where vaccination is not possible any group leader, host or driver will require a negative Covid-19 PCR antigen test within 72 hours prior to departure.
During the tour
The health and safety of our guests, group leaders, staff and local communities is our top priority. Please read our health & safety promise for details on how we’ll be keeping you safe. Please also review the factors we’ll be taking into consideration when determining if a tour is safe to run or not.
All local offices and suppliers have detailed contingency plans in case of any Covid-19 related incident while on tour. These plans and details include:
- Location of hospitals and/or screening clinics for Covid-19 in all key locations included in the tour itinerary.
- Details of the destination country’s Covid-19 symptom screening process.
- Availability of Covid-19 tests and how long test results may take.
- Plans for evacuation of guests in case of an outbreak and/or lockdown. These include but are not limited to:
- a list of accommodation suppliers near airports/exit points
- contacts at consulates/embassies
- contacts for reliable sources of local information
If you are experiencing common symptoms of Covid-19 you will be required to see a doctor and get clearance to continue on the tour. Your group leader and the Out Adventures office will support you and provide help throughout this process. If guests, group leaders or other crew show symptoms of Covid-19 and are either unable to or unwilling to be tested, Out Adventures reserves the right to remove them from our trips to prevent any risk to others. We recommend that all guests thoroughly review their travel insurance to determine their coverage should this occur.
Out Adventures will require that guests, group leaders and hosts bring face masks with them on tour, and will do the following to encourage good respiratory hygiene while on tour:
- Encourage the use of masks when risk is assessed to be high, such as in crowded public spaces and attractions.
- Include extra medical masks as part of first aid/emergency kits on all tours.
- Ensure guests are well informed pre-departure on whether masks will be required.
- Include information about when expected mask use will be required as part of the daily briefing from hosts and local group leaders.
- Educate all hosts, group leaders, drivers, suppliers and guests on the correct method to wear, handle and dispose of a mask.
- Require all hosts, group leaders, drivers, suppliers and guests to comply with any local regulation, laws or requirements that require the use of a mask in public or in certain places or situations.
- Require all hosts, group leaders, drivers, suppliers and guests to wear a mask in destinations with widespread community transmission and when physical distancing is difficult.
Out Adventures understands that maintaining physical distancing at all times between group members on a trip would be difficult to enforce and is likely to impact the trip itself. Out Adventures has put in place pre-tour screening and testing measures for group leaders and guests alongside other Covid-19 protocols such as enhanced hygiene and sanitation.
Although it’s not realistic or possible to maintain a 6ft/2m between guests at all times during the trip, the following rules still apply:
- We will comply with local regulations on physical distancing and allowable group sizes.
- Guests will be supported to the best of our ability if they wish to maintain physical distancing from the group.
- Physical distancing from the public (outside of the group) is still recommended wherever practical and in line with local regulations.
- Unnecessary physical contact between guests and/or the group leader such as handshakes or hugs should be avoided.
- Out Adventures will always follow local regulations and guidance on physical distancing in public.
- Tours will be proactively designed or amended to avoid crowds by visiting attractions outside of peak times wherever possible.
According to the World Health Organization, “temperature screening alone, at exit or entry, is not an effective way to stop the international spread” of Covid-19. Out Adventures will not be taking the temperature of hosts, local group leaders or guests upon arrival on tour. It is likely however that airlines, immigration authorities, hotels, restaurants, and tourist sites will be conducting temperature checks.
Although Out Adventures will not be taking temperatures, we will require Covid-19 vaccination, a negative Covid-19 test or proof of Covid-19 recovery from all guests before the tour.
Out Adventures will have hand sanitizer available and will encourage guests to use it when hand washing is not an option. We also recommend that all guests bring their own supply of hand sanitizer for personal use.
Protection against Covid-19 as well as other transmissible diseases requires enhanced protocols in hygiene and sanitation. In addition to providing hand sanitizer, Out Adventures will encourage proper hand sanitization by:
- Implementing a handwashing policy that dictates when, how often and for how long all hosts, group leaders, drivers and suppliers must wash their hands on tour.
- Contract hotels, restaurants and excursion operators that have hand hygiene protocols in place.
- Educate all hosts, group leaders, drivers and suppliers on the importance of hand hygiene via training.
The group sizes on our tours vary depending on the style and mode of travel. Most of our land tours have a minimum of 4 and a maximum of 16 guests with a few exceptions depending on local logistics. Our cruises vary in size depending on the vessel, with our largest cruise accommodating up to 38 guests on a private charter. To find the group size for your tour please visit the relevant tour page.
All tours will be carefully risk assessed before departure, and Out Adventures will follow local government guidance on allowable group sizes. This may mean reduced group sizes for the entire trip or for certain activities or in certain environments such as restaurants or transfers.
Out Adventures tours are operated based on twin-share accommodation which allows single travellers the chance to share accommodation with another guest on tour. Where available we’ve selected twin accommodations with ample space between the beds, but this is not possible in all locations.
Single supplements are available for single travellers who do not wish to share a room. We are working closely with our hotels to ensure increased availability of single rooms and competitive pricing on single supplements. It is the choice of the guest to decide if they want to purchase a single supplement, and as per our booking conditions guests must accept the risks associated with opting out of a single supplement as a solo traveller, as they will be sharing living quarters and facilities with another solo traveller.
Please note that on some tours there are days when a single supplement is not possible, typically in remote places where accommodation options and capacity are limited, or on trips that involve camping or basic lodges. Any instances where you may be sharing accommodation with another traveller are clearly outlined in the itinerary.
After the tour
All guests will be asked to fill out a post-tour questionnaire to tell us about their experience, and this will include questions around Covid-19 symptoms. If any guest is experiencing common symptoms of Covid-19 or tests positive in a PCR antigen test we ask that they let us know in the questionnaire and also contact us immediately by phone or email. In this instance we will make the group and staff aware of potential exposure. The identity of any guest(s) with symptoms or testing positive will be kept private and will not be disclosed to the group. Any records and contact tracing data will be kept securely and retained for a period required under our retention schedules in compliance with privacy laws and regulations.