1. Booking Contract
All bookings made with EarthTreks will be processed through Travel Professionals International (TPI), our affiliate company through which EarthTreks is a licensed Travel Industry Council of Ontario (TICO) travel company. TICO is the regulatory body that offers Ontario travel consumers’ protection through the regulation, registration, inspection, supervision and discipline of registrants. By booking a trip with us you are deemed to have agreed to these Booking Conditions and your booking will be accepted by us on this basis. The protection offered by TICO may not be applicable to all travel booked through EarthTreks, as some of our tourism partners do not have Ontario-based operations. The services to be provided are those referred to in your booking confirmation invoice. EarthTreks can confirm whether they are protected by TICO upon your request.
2. Validity of Prices and Itineraries
Our treks’ rates, itineraries and prices are valid from January 1, 2015 until 31 December 2015. As of January 1, 2016, unless indicated specifically, itineraries and prices may change.
3. Deposit Requirement
You are required to pay a non-refundable deposit for your booking – one deposit per person, per trip. The amount of the deposit will be $500 Canadian, unless stated otherwise. If your booking is made within two months of the departure date, then the full amount is payable at the time of booking.
Your deposit is valid for life. In the case that you must cancel with us, and that the cancellation happens at least two months in advance of the trip departure date, your deposit can be used at any future time against future travel with EarthTreks.
4. Booking and Final Payment
If we accept your booking, a confirmation invoice will be issued to you on behalf of EarthTreks (unless otherwise indicated). Payment of the balance of the trip price is due two months prior to the departure date. If this balance is not paid on or before the due date, we reserve the right to treat your booking as cancelled.
5. Expenses not Included in Package Price
On many of our packages, some meals are not included, to allow for greater independence at the right times. It is up to the individual trekker to ensure they have enough money to pay for such additional costs, as well as any other incidental expenses you may incur. Details about what is and is not included is outlined within each package description.
6. Your Personal Information
In order for us to confirm your travel arrangements, we require many details, such as your full name (as written in your passport), your passport details, etc. For your own health and safety, we also require that you disclose any pre-existing medical conditions you have which may affect your ability to complete your travel arrangements. Your booking cannot be confirmed without provision of these details.
7. Cancellation Policy
If you need to cancel some or all portions of your booking, cancellation fees will apply. A cancellation will only be effective when we receive written confirmation of the cancellation. If you cancel a trip:
- three months (to the date) or more prior to departure, we will return the deposit.
- between two and three months prior to the date of departure, we will hold you deposit, and it may be used against any future trips with EarthTreks. This deposit will be held indefinitely, and can be transferred to others, at your discretion.
You are strongly advised to take out cancellation insurance at the time of booking which will cover any cancellation fees. If you leave a trip for any reason after it has commenced, EarthTreks is not obliged to make any refunds for unused services. If you fail to join a tour, join it after departure, or leave it prior to its completion, no refund will be made. The above cancellation fees are in addition to fees which may be levied by accommodation providers, travel agents or third party tour and transport operator fees.
8. Cancellation by EarthTreks
We may cancel a trip at any time, up to three months (to the date) prior to departure. We may also be required to cancel a trip at any time prior to departure if, due to terrorism, natural disasters, political instability or other external events it is not viable for us to operate the planned itinerary. If we cancel your trip, you can transfer amounts paid to an alternate departure date or alternatively receive a full refund. In circumstances where the cancellation is due to external events outside of our reasonable control, refunds will be less any unrecoverable costs. We are not responsible for any incidental expenses that you may have incurred as a result of your booking, including, but not limited to visas, vaccinations, travel insurance, excess or non-refundable flights.
9. Booking Amendments
If you wish to transfer from one trip to another or transfer your booking to a third party, you must notify us at least three months (to the date) prior to the proposed departure date. A fee of $150 per person per change will apply (in addition to any charges levied by hotels, ground operators or airlines). If you notify us less than three months prior to the proposed departure date, the refund policy applicable to cancellations will apply. Transfers to a third party are only permitted where the transferee meets all of the requirements in relation to the trip, and transfers to another departure can only be made to a departure within the current validity period. Amendments to any other arrangements made in conjunction with your trip will incur a $100 administration fee per booking per change. This fee is in addition to any charges levied by hotels, ground operators or airlines. No amendments are permitted to your booking within ten days of departure.
The land price of your trip includes:
- All accommodations, as listed in the Trek Overview
- All transportation, as listed in the Trek Overview
- All activities and meals, as listed in the Trek Overview
- The services of a group leader, as described in the Trek Overview
The land price of your trip does not include:
- International or internal flights (unless otherwise specified in the Trek Overview)
- Airport transfers, taxes and excess baggage charges (unless otherwise specified in the Trek Overview)
- Meals other than those specified in the Trek Overview
- Visa and passport fees
- Travel insurance, which is required to participate in all EarthTreks travel
- Optional activities that are not specified in the Trek Overview, including any personal expenses
12. Prices and Surcharges
Our treks are sourced from socially and ecologically conscious travel partners in other countries. The currency exchange into Canadian dollars is updated regularly, in order to reflect the real cost of trips from other providers in their own currency. EarthTreks reserves the right to impose surcharges up to one month in advance of the departure date due to unfavourable changes in exchange rates, increases in airfares or other transportation costs, increases in local operator costs, taxes, or if government action should require us to do so. In such instances we will be responsible for the first 2% of the additional costs and you will be responsible for the balance. If any surcharge results in an increase of more than 10% of the trip price, you may cancel the booking within 14 days of notification of the surcharge and obtain a full refund. We will not surcharge any booking for travel once that travel has been paid in full. Please note that a levy of up to 2.5% may be applied to all purchases made by credit card.
13. Age and Health Requirements
Some of our treks are not suitable for children. This will be explored on a trip-by-trip basis with travelers. All travelers under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a legal guardian, or, in lieu of a legal guardian, by an escort over the age of 18, appointed by their legal guardian. The legal guardian or their designee will be responsible for the traveler under the age of 18’s day-to-day care. If a legal guardian elects to designate an escort in their lieu, they will be required to complete and sign a relevant document to delegate their authority. Please note we cannot guarantee triple or joining rooms for families (although we will do our best to meet any such requests); accompanying adults may be required to share with others in the group on a twin share basis, unless a single supplement has been applied. There is no upper age limit for participation on our trips, however, for your own health and safety, we require all of our trekkers to disclose any pre-existing medical conditions you have which may affect at your time of booking. Where you do not do so, and either are not allowed to enter any country, or suffer personal injury or death as a result, we have no liability to you for any cost, loss or damage which you suffer, nor will we refund you the cost of any unused portion of your travel arrangements.
14. Passport and Visas
You must carry a valid passport and have obtained all of the appropriate visas, permits and certificates for the countries you visit during your trip. EarthTreks will assist you with advice on what those requirements are, but ultimately, these arrangements depend on you alone. Your passport must be valid for a minimum of six months beyond the duration of the trip, as this is a common requirement in countries. Ultimately, it is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of the correct visas, permits and certificates for your trip. EarthTreks will not be held responsible if you are refused entry to a country because you lack the correct passport, visa or other travel documentation. Let us know if you require further clarification or guidance for your upcoming trip – we would be pleased to assist.
16. Travel Insurance
Travel insurance is compulsory for all EarthTreks travelers and should be taken out at the time of booking. Your travel insurance must provide coverage against personal accident, death, medical expenses and emergency repatriation. We also strongly recommend the purchase of travel insurance to cover trip cancellation and interruption, and loss of luggage and personal effects. You must provide proof of your medical travel insurance on the first day of your trip. EarthTreks can assist you with the purchase of travel insurance to suit your needs.
The nature of this type of travel requires considerable flexibility and you should allow for alternatives. The itinerary provided for each trip is representative of the types of activities contemplated, but it is understood that the route, schedules, itineraries, amenities and mode of transport may be subject to alteration without prior notice due to local circumstances or events. Such flexibility may be required for safety (such as the change of vehicle for safety reasons) or in other cases, to enhance your trip with us.
18. Change of Itinerary
While we endeavor to operate all trips as described in your Trek Itinerary, we reserve the right to change the trip itinerary, if deemed necessary or important (including taking advantage of a great new opportunity). Please refer to our website before departure for the most recent updates to your itinerary. If we make a major change to the itinerary, we will inform you as soon as reasonably possible if there is time before departure. The definition of a major change is deemed to be a change affecting at least one day in five of the itinerary. When a major change is made you may choose between accepting the change, obtaining a refund of money paid on the land portion of the trip only or accepting an alternative tour offered. We also reserve the right to change an itinerary after departure due to local circumstances or events outside of our control (such as avoidance of a landslide, for example). In such emergency circumstances the additional cost of any necessary itinerary alterations will be covered by you, as necessary. Please note we are not responsible for any incidental expenses that may be incurred as a result of the change of itinerary such as visas, vaccinations or non-refundable flights.
19. Authority on Tour
Our group treks are run by a group leader. The decision of the group leader is final on all matters likely to affect the safety or well-being of any person participating in the trek. If you fail to comply with a decision made by a group leader, or interfere with the well-being or mobility of the group, the group leader may direct you to leave the trek immediately, with no right of refund. You must at all times comply with the laws, customs, foreign exchange and drug regulations of all countries visited, and you also agree to travel in accordance with our socially and ecologically conscious travel guidelines.
20. Acceptance of Risk
You acknowledge that the nature of the trek is adventurous and participation involves a degree of personal risk. You may be visiting places where the political, cultural and geographical attributes present dangers and physical challenges greater than those present in our daily lives. We use information from government foreign departments and reports from our own contacts in assessing whether the itinerary should operate. However it is also your own responsibility to acquaint yourself with all possible relevant travel information and the nature of your itinerary. You acknowledge that your decision to travel is made in light of consideration of this information and you accept that you are aware of the personal risks attendant upon such travel.
21. Limitation of Liability
We contract with a network of travel providers, companies, government agencies, and individuals to assist in the running of our treks as agents for these third parties. We are not responsible for the acts and omissions of these third parties.
To the fullest extent permitted by law:
- Any liability for any loss, death, injury or damage which you may suffer (directly or indirectly) in connection with or arising out of your participation in a trek, or any breach of the Booking Conditions, is excluded.
- You release us and our officers, employees, agents and representatives from any liability and expressly waive any claims you may have against us arising out of or in connection with your participation in a trip.
- Any condition or warranty which would otherwise be implied by law into these Booking Conditions (Implied Warranty) is excluded.
To the extent an Implied Warranty cannot be excluded, our liability in respect of the Implied Warranty is limited to (in our absolute discretion): (i) the provision of a similar trip to an equivalent value; or (ii) a refund of the total amount received by us from you in connection with your booking.
Any claim by you is excluded to the extent that it is for indirect or consequential loss, loss of profits or economic loss, however it arises, or for indirect, special, punitive or exemplary damages.
22. Optional Activities
Optional activities not included in the trek price do not form part of the trek or this contract. You accept that any assistance given by your trek leader or local representative in arranging optional activities does not render us liable for them in any way. The contract for the provision of that activity will be between you and activity provider.
23. Claims and Complaints
If you have a complaint about your trek, please inform your trek leader or our local representative at the time, in order make every attempt to rectify the matter. If the situation is not rectified and satisfaction is not reached through these means, then any further complaint should be put in writing to us within 30 days of the end of the trek.
24. Ability to Sever Contract
In the event that any term(s) or condition(s) contained in these Booking Terms & Conditions is unenforceable or void by operation of law or as being against public policy or for any other reason, the given term or condition shall be deemed to be severed from this contract or amended accordingly (only to such extent necessary to allow all remaining terms and conditions to survive and continue as binding).
25. Photos and Marketing
You consent to us using images of you taken during the trek for advertising and promotional purposes in any medium we choose, unless you indicate otherwise by your own volition (in which case no photos will be publicized). You grant us a perpetual, royalty-free, worldwide, irrevocable license to use such images for publicity and promotional purposes.
27. Applicable Law
The laws of Ontario, Canada govern these Booking Conditions to the fullest extent allowable. Any disputes in connection with a trip or these Booking Conditions must be initiated in the courts of Ontario, Canada.
29. Registered Address
EarthTreks – TPI
Travel Professionals International
1131 Nottinghill Gate, Suite 203
Oakville, ON L6M 1K5
TICO Registration # 1576226
30. Updating of Terms and Conditions
EarthTreks reserves the right to update and/or alter these terms and conditions at any time. It is our clients’ responsibility to be familiar with them. The latest terms and conditions can always be found on our website, www.earthtreks.ca and will supersede any previous versions.