Our Covid Promise
So, you want to go on holiday, and we want to help you organise it... stress free BUT how on earth do we work out how to navigate the minefield of entry requirements for different countries, new flight schedules, and changing terms and conditions from airlines and other suppliers.
At first view, you’d be forgiven for thinking… ‘way too complicated’ – but we’ve come up with a clear framework that gives our customer, the clarity, the certainty and the flexibility that is required to plan and get excited about booking a holiday.
Our partners on the ground around the world are operating in very difficult conditions due to the pandemic. The best way to support them is by sending you out to enjoy their experiences and hospitality, and the only way we can do that is making sure you have a clear and simple framework for coping with the uncertainties Covid might cause.
Please have a look at our Covid 19 policy below which covers the following:
- details on flexibility around holiday date changes and location changes
- our guarantee on cancellations and refunds where FCO advice is ‘avoid all but essential travel’
- provides clarity about deposit payments you make for a holiday… importantly a guarantee that it is refundable should you not be able to travel due to FCO travel advice
- details on covid friendly insurance and insurance if you want to travel regardless of FCO travel advice
- details on timelines so you know what to expect when
- some example scenarios for complete clarity
Postponing your holiday
Postponements due to Covid-19
If you need to postpone your trip due to FCO travel advice against ‘all but essential travel’ as a result of Covid 19 – we will contact you to discuss date changes so that you can travel safely and comply with FCO guidance. This can be done at any time prior to travel, but we suggest not leaving it to the last minute. We are guided entirely by the FCO and will not contact you unless advise ‘against all but essential travel’ is in place. But see below about our general approach to postponements… we’re always happy to look into this… you don’t need a reason.
For Covid 19 related postponements we have found that almost all suppliers have honoured pricing from the initial booking – meaning postponements have not by and large resulted in increased costs to our customers. But it is important to note that additional charges are possible. When this is the case, we first negotiate hard on your behalf with the suppliers, but in the event they cannot be avoided, these costs will be added to your invoice.
In every situation we would always encourage postponing a holiday rather than cancelling it as these cancellations have a devastating effect on the local economy.
Postponing for other reasons
Irrespective of the reason - we’ll always happily look into changing the dates of your holiday if you wish. Whether we are able to do so will usually come down to the specific circumstances (how close to the date of departure you are, availability on new dates, committed costs of suppliers) – we’ll work with you to address these and come up with a plan.
Cancelations and refunds
If you have booked an ATOL bonded trip with us and would like to cancel your holiday as you are unable to travel due the FCO advising against ‘all but essential travel’ to the particular area you are travelling to, and you are unable to postpone to a later date, we will refund you in full.
We start this conversation with our customers 10 weeks before travel. Whilst the majority choose at this stage to postpone rather than cancel their trips, for those that opt to cancel, in line with the UK Package Travel Regulations, the right to cancel with a full refund comes into effect if the FCO guidance is in place two weeks before travel, so you do need to wait until this point, after which we will cancel all arrangements and refund you in full.
Please note that unlike some travel companies, we refund our customers in full immediately, irrespective of whether we receive refunds from suppliers on the holiday.
You can see feedback from customers who have had to cancel to due Covid on Trustpilot here; https://uk.trustpilot.com/review/www.farandwild.travel
Covid Friendly Insurance
To ensure that you are covered as an individual – i.e. if the country is deemed safe to visit by the FCO but you personally cannot travel due to Covid (for example due to catching it, or being denied boarding due to having a temperature) – we recommend you take out our Covid friendly insurance policy through specialist travel insurer Campbell Irvine which will help cover you in such circumstances. Call us on 01768 603 715 to talk to Ali if you'd like some further details.
Please note that in all circumstances where you are unable to travel due to Covid related reasons, you should, in the first instance, contact your insurer. Our Covid Promise is designed to apply in situations not normally covered by an insurance policy.
Insurance and FCO travel advice
FCO travel advice is just that – advice. It is not a legal mandate and if you wish to travel regardless of that advice, we work with a travel provider that offers cover for travel to areas where FCO advice against ‘all but essential travel’ is in place. This insurer has a long-provided policy for journalists, and now has cover aimed at the leisure market. Ask one of our team for details.
Financial Security & ATOL
Far and Wild Travel are well placed to navigate through any choppy waters. We have a highly experienced team, low everyday operating costs and strong cash reserves. We always hold in reserves sufficient cash across all currencies we are required to pay our suppliers in to cover all future bookings that have been made with us, in short, you can be confident any future trips you've booked for 2021 and beyond will happen! Read our full financial statement covid-19 update here.
In addition to the above, Far and Wild are an ATOL bonded tour operator which it is a government-run financial protection scheme operated by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). ATOL protects package holidays and means that in the unlikely event of Far and Wild ceasing trading for you any reason, you are still financially protected. This means if you were yet to go on a trip you would receive a full refund for any monies paid and if you were away at the time the CAA would try to minimize any disruption to your holiday and you would be guaranteed return home. You can read more about ATOL and financial protection here.
In order to confirm your holiday with us we are continuing to require a 20% deposit. This enables us to pay the necessary deposits to the hotels/lodges/airlines to confirm your holiday. Bookings won’t be accepted without this, so there isn’t an alternative here. But that does not mean there isn’t flexibility, and protection in a Covid ‘what if’ scenario.
This deposit is still covered by the ATOL scheme so if you are not able to travel due to FCO advice, 100% of monies paid to us for your holiday is refundable in full. This is the law – as dictated by the Package Travel Regulation: if FCO advice against ‘all but essential travel’ is in place for the particular area you are booked to travel to, two weeks before you are due to travel, and you do not wish to postpone your trip to a later date, then you will receive a full refund.
Balance Payments and Covid 19
Balance payments on all our holidays are due 10 weeks prior to departure (unless specific variations to this have been organised at the time of booking). We require the balance payment so that we can fulfil our corresponding payment obligations to the contracted suppliers on your holiday.
If, at the time your balance payment becomes due, the FCO travel advise against ‘all but essential travel’ then we will discuss the following options with you.
a) Postpone your holiday to a later time. Usually this means you do not need to pay the outstanding holiday balance – though in some cases suppliers require an additional top up amount.
b) Wait until closer to the departure date to see if anything changes. In this case you will have to make the balance payment for your holiday, as we are obliged to pay the contracted suppliers. You would still need to make a decision relatively promptly as to whether to (i) go on the trip irrespective of the FCO guidance (at the time of writing many people, including well known travel journalists, are now travelling to Africa – you can read the feedback of one such customer; Andy Holmes here). If you opt for this, we will give you info of our travel insurance provider offering standard cover for this. (ii) to postpone the trip – in which case the sooner this is done the better.
(iii) to cancel the trip… as outlined above, you would need to wait until two weeks before your departure date and if the FCO advice was still in place you will receive a full refund.
Below are a few situations to help try and explain the various scenarios:
Example - scenario #one:
A couple can no longer travel to Kenya due to FCO advising against all essential travel. It is 10 weeks to their departure date.
We ask that they either postpone their trip then and there to a suitable date in the future; OR they pay their balance and sit tight in the hope that the FCO advice will change – if it doesn’t and they are still unable to travel we will postpone their holiday to a date suitable to them or refund them their money in full two weeks before travel.
Example - scenario #two:
A family travelling to South Africa are due to pay their balance in 6 weeks but the South African borders are currently closed. They are asking what their options are.
- We can postpone their trip right now to a later date. The uncertainty over whether the borders will be open by the time they are due to travel – means they may opt to do this.
- If they aren’t sure yet about postponing their trip to a later date - we suggest they wait until 10 weeks out, when their balance is due. If borders are still closed and/or the FCO advice is against all but essential travel, they can then postpone the holiday
- They can pay their balance 10 weeks prior to departure when it becomes due, and hope that the borders open. This approach was taken by some family trips in Aug 2020 and for Oct 2020 – all of which were able to travel. In the event the trip can’t take place, the family either postpone the trip, or cancel the trip and receive a full refund two weeks before travel.
Example - scenario #three:
A family travelling to Tanzania (which is hypothetically on the FCO website as safe to travel to) have been refused boarding (or refused entry into Tanzania) because they were displaying Covid symptoms.
Provided the family have a Covid friendly travel insurance policy – all members of the party will be covered irrespective of which person is denied boarding. If they have not taken out a Covid friendly policy it is unlikely that a standard travel insurance would cover them. Far and Wild would not be able to assist with any refunds in this scenario.
Covid impact & how you can help
Although it has been a hugely challenging year, we know that we are very lucky to be here in the UK where there has been government support through furlough and where we are all entitled to NHS care if we become ill.
Tourism and travel accounts for 10% of jobs worldwide. The reality is that many developing or emerging countries are reliant on tourism and in these countries, there has been little or no government support for businesses struggling due to the lack of visitors or for those who have become unemployed as a result of coronavirus.
In Africa, one persons job typically supports ten dependants and so the impact from lack of tourism and job losses has been devastating.
So how can you help?
- If you have a holiday booked with us and are unable to travel due to FCO advice, we would ask you postpone rather than cancel your trip so that country will still get the benefit of your trip, all be it delayed.
- When booking your next holiday choose countries where those on the ground lack government support and choose properties that employ local people, work to improve the livelihoods of local communities and that invest in wildlife conservation (we can help advice on this).
- Donate to charities that are supporting those on the ground who have suffered as a result of the lack of tourists due to covid. We are hugely proud to have founded Ride4Rangers which is raising funds for Tusk to keep rangers in their jobs and protecting Africa's endangered wildlife, and you can see other charities we support as part of our refer a friend scheme here.
Speak to the team
For more details about our coronavirus promise or to book your next holiday, give us a ring.
Call an expert on
01768 603 715