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COVID-19 Safety

It’s going to take a while until many of us feel safe traveling again. We will be there with you the whole way, both recommending what to do and avoid, as well as advising on where it is safe to travel or not. We have many options to offer, including complete isolation if that is what you are looking for. We will be able to help you navigate the ever-changing landscape of each destination, in real time. Then you can get back to the fun of planning your travel. Just imagine how good that is going to feel!
For those who want a thorough breakdown of all of our COVID-19 safety protocols, there is a long list of FAQs below. For those who just want the highlights, here you go:
  • Everyone traveling on an EarthTreks trip is required to show proof of full vaccination against COVID-19.
  • If you are booked on a trip that we have to cancel due to the pandemic, you will automatically receive a full (100%) credit voucher directly.
  • Before joining an EarthTreks trip, you will be asked to complete a self-declaration form as part of our health screening  and safety measures.
  • Masks must be worn by all travelers throughout the trip whenever required by local health authorities. You will need to bring your own supply of masks from home.
  • All EarthTreks Tour Leaders, local guides, drivers, and crew are fully vaccinated.
  • If you are unable to be vaccinated for medical reasons, you may apply for an exemption. Exemptions will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. To apply, you must provide a medical certificate from a medical professional.
  • Children under 18 are exempt. Children aged between 6 and 17 years old must provide proof of either vaccination, recovery or a negative COVID-19 test. Please see the section below for FAQs for further details specific related to children.
  • We will do everything possible to ensure your travel with us is as safe as possible. That includes ensuring social distancing measures are followed by everyone for the duration of your trip, requiring everyone to wear masks at all times it is required by local health authorities, and ensuring surfaces are always sanitized between seatings (in restaurants), between guests (in accommodations) and in all common areas.
We have compiled a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to help you figure out travel during these changing and often uncertain times.
Hit the + on the left of each question to get the answer. If we missed anything, don’t hesitate to GET IN TOUCH any time.

 

FAQs: EarthTreks & COVID-19 Safety

 

How do you decide when it is safe to resume travelling to a country?

EarthTreks follows travel advice from the Canadian government (and other governments as appropriate) when making decisions about where and when to operate our trips. Some destinations or regions may open gradually or partially and, in many cases, only to nationals from certain countries. That means we will continue to operate trips in a destination if at least one of the listed governments is allowing travel to that destination.

As responsible travelers, anyone who chooses to travel with us has a duty of care to themselves and the people around them. We ask that all our travelers comply with local regulations and laws, as well as our own health and safety guidelines, to ensure that everyone can enjoy their adventure, while remaining well.

In addition, each destination has their own vaccination, testing and health screening requirements for entry, exit and transit. It’s important that you check these on your government’s foreign travel advice website as these may include requiring evidence of recent COVID-19 test results or vaccination.

If your government is advising against travel to a destination, but you choose to do so, please be aware that we will need to receive your written acknowledgement that you are aware you are travelling against government advice. You will also need to ensure that your travel insurance covers you for travel against government advisories.

How do you decide which trips will operate?

This is a dynamic operating environment and situations continue to change and evolve quickly, but safety is our top priority. To ensure a trip is safe for travelers and the local communities we visit before operating, we look at a number of factors including:

  • Government safety and travel advice
  • Real time reviews and updates of current regulations by our local offices globally
  • COVID-safe requirements and protocols
  • Entry and exit requirements for travelers, including testing and quarantine
  • Current medical facility and healthcare availability within a destination
  • Flight and airline accessibility in and out of a destination
  • Ability for our travelers to get travel insurance protection for, and regularly scheduled, reasonably priced flights to, our destinations
  • Accessibility to everyday services, such as restaurants, public transport, cultural sites, etc.

Due to the ever-changing nature of the variety of travel restrictions, we generally wait until between one and two months before a trip is scheduled to depart to make a decision on whether the trip will run or not. This is in order to keep the possibility of travelling viable for any travelers who may be in a position to do so. All travelers will be notified of their options at least one month before they are scheduled to depart, to allow them time to make any changes to their current arrangements. However, at times it may be necessary to cancel a trip at late notice should the factors listed above change.

What are you doing to ensure trips operate safely?

EarthTreks is committed to ensuring health and safety across all aspects of our trips, and all of our suppliers are required to commit to enhanced minimum standards.  

Every trip has been thoroughly audited to ensure health and safety standards are met. In many cases, itineraries have been adjusted to avoid crowded locations or peak times, and enhanced ventilation standards have been introduced for venues and transportation, where possible. 

All leaders and crew have been thoroughly trained in COVID-19 safe protocols, including hygiene, sanitation, health screening and crisis management.   

We have introduced new vaccination requirements that apply to all of our trips. This includes a comprehensive pre-trip health screening, including proof of vaccination for all travelers (see vaccination requirements below for more information).  

These measures are overlaid by a number of additional hygiene and sanitation measures.  

In addition, each destination has their own vaccination, testing and health screening requirements for entry, exit and transit. It’s important that you check these on your governments foreign travel advice website as these may include requiring evidence of recent COVID-19 test results.  

Are there any changes to group sizes in response to COVID-19?

The majority of our trips are based on small group adventures, with an average group size of 10 travelers, and as a result carry less inherent risk of COVID-19. Any trips that are designed for larger groups will be carefully risk assessed before operating. On all trips we will follow local government guidance on permitted group sizes. This may mean reduced group sizes for the entire trip, for certain activities, or in certain environments such as restaurants or transport.

How will you manage physical distancing on trip?

At all times during a trip we will always comply with local regulations on physical distancing and permitted group sizes. As a general rule, EarthTreks will follow recommended guidelines of 2 meters apart from others. When necessary, we will make changes to itineraries to avoid crowds by visiting attractions or travelling outside of peak times. We understand that maintaining physical distancing at all times between group members when on a trip would be difficult and impractical. 

Will I have to share a room with a stranger?

Our trips are based on twin share accommodation. Most of our trips have Single Supplements available for solo travelers who wish to have their own room. We are working with our accommodation providers to ensure that more rooms are available for those travelers who wish to room alone.

Will insurance cover me for COVID-19?

Travel insurance providers’ policies vary. Please check with your individual provider for more information. 

Will I have to wear a mask when travelling?

Masks must be worn by all travelers throughout the trip whenever required by local health authorities.  

We recommend that all travelers, leaders and crew wear masks to both help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and as a normal part of interacting with other people. Masks are mandatory for travelers, leaders, crew and suppliers in any situation or destination when it is required by local government advice. In many countries, this includes (but is not limited to): 

  • Public and private transport
  • Crowds or places where physical distancing isdifficult 
  • Indoors (particularly in places with poor ventilation)

Local laws and regulations regarding masks apply to all travelers, leaders crew and suppliers in the destination, regardless of their vaccination status. Vaccinated travelers are not exempt from wearing masks unless this is specified in local regulations.

We advise you to contact your airline as well as check the foreign travel advice for your destination before travelling regarding wearing masks. You will need to bring your own supply from home to cover the duration of your travels. While our leaders carry masks as part of their first aid kits, we are unable to provide masks for daily use for travelers. 

Do I need to bring my own hand sanitizer?

We are working with our local partners to provide hand sanitizer at accommodation, on transport and at restaurants. We recommend also bringing your own personal supply for times when it is not available, such as when exploring a destination independently.

 

Can I get a refund if I am unwell before my trip and unable to travel?

If you are unwell prior to travelling, please stay at home and contact us to make alternative arrangements. Please refer to our BOOKING CONDITIONS for more details on our refund policy.  

What if my trip is cancelled?

This global health crisis has impacted everyone enormously, so we want to make sure your future travel plans are safe. We want you to feel reassured that we are committed to supporting our customers in the best way that we can. If you were booked on a trip that we have had to cancel due to the pandemic, you will automatically receive a full credit voucher (of your deposit or full payment) with no expiry date. This excludes additional flights or insurance as they will have their own booking conditions.  

What are EarthTreks vaccination requirements?

Everyone travelling on an EarthTreks trip must be vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of carriage.

All travelers are required to produce: 

  • Proof of COVID-19 vaccination
  • All children 6 and above must provide proof of vaccination, proof of recovery or anegative COVID-19 test.
  • If you are unableto be vaccinated for medical reasons, you may apply for an exemption. Exemptions will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. To apply, you must provide a medical certificate from a medical professional. 

In all cases, you must be fully inoculated. This means you must receive the full dosage of the COVID-19 vaccine and allow enough time for immunity to take effect. Each COVID-19 vaccine has different dosages and timeframes for inoculation, so please check the relevant medical advice associated with your vaccine.

Are children required to be vaccinated?

Children between 6 and 17 years of age are exempt from the mandatory vaccination policy. In order to join an EarthTreks trip, they must provide: 

  • Proof of vaccination status (for children who are eligible); or 
  • Proof of a negative COVID-19 test conducted no more than 72 hours before day 1 of your trip; or 
  • Proof of recovery from COVID-19 (a medical clearance certificate from a medical professional)  

Children aged 5 years and under are not required to provide any documentation to travel with EarthTreks.  

What vaccines do you recognize?

We recognize any vaccine that has been authorized for use by the relevant national authority for COVID-19 in the country where the vaccine was administered. 

This includes well known vaccines such as Oxford AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNtech, Sinopharm, Sinovac, Sputnik, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, and Covaxin. 

What is required for proof of vaccination?

A copy of your vaccination record (either paper or digital) is required.  

Are masks required on the trip?

Masks must be worn by all travelers throughout the trip whenever required by local health authorities. You will need to bring your own supply of masks from home. Make sure you have familiarised yourself with how to safely wear, handle, wash or dispose of masks when wearing them while travelling.

What other hygiene protocols do you have in place?

We have put in place additional measures, in line with government health advice and with global health authorities, to ensure that we maintain the highest standards of hygiene on all our trips. Throughout the trip there will be regular opportunities for handwashing and wherever possible hand sanitizer will be provided at accommodations, restaurants and on transport.

All leaders and crew have been thoroughly trained in COVID-19 safety protocols, including hygiene, sanitation, health screening and crisis management.  We require all suppliers that we work with to detail their cleaning and sanitation protocols to ensure that these meet our minimum standards. Rooms will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected between guests and all high touch public areas regularly sanitised. All private transport used will be regularly cleaned and disinfected. Restaurants used for group meals will also be audited for sanitation practices.

We are proactively moving towards contactless and low touch solutions for travel. This includes digital solutions for signing forms or providing traveler details in place of paperwork and using online ticketing and payments.

Will my leader be vaccinated?

All EarthTreks Tour Leaders, local guides, drivers, and crew will be fully vaccinated.

How do you decide when it is safe to resume travelling to a country?

As we resume operations, we continue to be guided by government foreign travel advisories and other reputable authorities, such as the World Health Organization. Some destinations or regions may open gradually or partially and, in many cases, only to nationals from certain countries. 

As responsible travelers, anyone who chooses to travel with us has a duty of care to themselves and the people around them. We ask that all our travelers comply with local regulations and laws, as well as our own health and safety guidelines, to ensure that everyone can enjoy their adventure, while remaining well. 

In addition, each destination has their own vaccination, testing and health screening requirements for entry, exit and transit. It’s important that you check these on your government’s foreign travel advice website as these may include requiring evidence of recent COVID-19 test results or vaccination.  

If someone on my trip gets COVID-19 will I get my money back?

If you are unable to continue travelling with us due to a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 on your trip, we can offer you a credit for the unused days of your trip.

And a few brief notes on extra COVID-19 protocols specific to our trips in the Galapagos Islands...

Travelers are encouraged to bring their own snorkelling gear, if possible.

All snorkelling gear available for traveler use/hire must be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. Travelers will be given one set of snorkelling equipment for use for the entire trip.

All boats and yachts will have enhanced sanitation protocols in place in line with local regulations.

All cabins will be cleaned daily and disinfected.

All high-use areas and touchpoints (such as staterooms, handles, doorknobs,