CORONAVIRUS/COVID-19 TRAVEL UPDATE & POLICIES
Last updated: October 30, 2020
AESU has been closely monitoring any new developments with respect to COVID-19 as it continues to evolve and disrupt many aspects of our daily lives and affect nations and people all over the world. Please know that the safety and well-being of our travelers and staff is, and has always been, our top priority.
The decision has not been made lightly, but we strongly feel that our most prudent course of action at this time is to suspend operations in Europe, the UK, South America, and the Middle East through Nov. 30, 2020.
Travelers planning to depart between now and the end of November will have several options available. You will be able to rebook on any of our later 2020 departures, defer your payments to a 2021 program of your choice, or cancel your trip. We hope that by offering you the opportunity to rebook your tour on an upcoming departure, we’ll be able to prioritize your health and safety while still providing you with the fantastic travel experience that you hoped for.
AESU staff will personally assist all travelers with assessing their options and rebooking their travel. The best way to reach us is to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will respond as soon as possible. We appreciate your patience and understanding during this unprecedented event.
FREEDOM TO CHANGE YOUR MIND
AESU is providing new, more flexible booking policies in order for you to plan your future travel with complete peace of mind for new 2021 bookings.
If your plans change for any reason, no problem. As long as you cancel at least 60 days before your trip departs, we won’t charge you anything to change it to another AESU trip. You can apply the full amount of your paid land tour costs to another AESU tour, to be used by 12/31/22. (Please note: these policies are subject to change at any time. Vouchers not redeemable as cash. Airfare penalties are separate and governed by the policies of the individual airlines.)
Future travel with AESU
With so many summer plans put on hold, we are very excited that borders are starting to reopen and quarantines around the world are being lifted! The “new normal” of travel will still be fun and exciting – just different.
Here is a quick rundown of what you can expect when traveling with AESU, including guidance from local governments, the World Travel & Tourism Council, US Center for Disease Control (CDC), and the World Health Organization (WHO). Please keep in mind that protocols will be updated as the situation evolves.
Change in greeting protocol
In most countries it is common to greet someone with a handshake or two kisses on the cheek. We’ll be asking our travelers and tour guides to refrain from normal customs and maintain appropriate social distancing requirements.
BYOM (bring your own mask)
Please bring your own mask – washable, with filter is preferred. Depending on the procedures in place for each location, you will probably be required to wear a mask in the airport, on the airplane, when riding in transportation as a group, and in crowded public places. Your tour director will provide guidance as to current regulations and recommendations. Plan to bring extra hand sanitizer and/or disinfecting wipes with you so you have your own supply.
Depending on protocols of each country, there is a good chance you’ll have your temperature taken at immigration and/or at hotel check-ins. AESU will provide pre-trip health screening questionnaires. Upon arrival, you’ll be asked basic COVID-19 screening questions by your tour director and go over safety practices for your trip. Touch-free temperature-checks will be given.
Extra cleanliness is key
All local suppliers including hotels, restaurants, transportation companies, and activity providers are enhancing disinfectant protocols for your added safety. All vehicles undergo rigorous daily cleaning. We will also ensure hand sanitizing is available throughout each trip, on buses and in hotels. All hotels are vetted to ensure they meet or exceed government-mandated standards of cleanliness and service. All rooms are based on double or single and have en-suite bathrooms.
Follow and respect local restrictions
Safety guidelines, especially at major tourist sites, will be constantly changing. Our team will be monitoring the situation in each country on a daily basis and will make sure you know what to expect. Itineraries will be subject to change due to local factors.
Tour directors & local guides
Our guides receive enhanced health and safety training to be prepared for any on-trip issues. This allows them to focus on your well-being and comfort. Our local offices will also be available to assist with any emergencies. The AESU headquarters support team is available 24/7 to assist our tour directors and local experts to ensure seamless communication and a safe experience for everyone.
Possibility of self-quarantine
You are assuming the risk of possible travel disruptions including, but not limited to, not being allowed to board your flight or being quarantined for 14 days upon arrival at your destination if a possible COVID-19 test is required and you test positive. Any additional costs will be at your expense. If one of our travelers comes down with COVID-19 symptoms, they must act with integrity, remove themselves from the group, and get tested. As per AESU’s travel waiver, all travelers are required to agree to remove themselves if they are symptomatic (See full AESU Terms and Conditions at www.aesu.com). AESU will continue to review and update safety protocols and policies as changes in guidelines may occur. You will receive the latest updated information before you travel.
HEALTH AND SAFETY WAIVERS
See AESU’s website for full terms and conditions including personal responsibility waivers concerning Coronavirus/COVID-19.
AESU will provide you with a status update for your tour no later than 75 days prior to departure. If at that time, we determine that government regulations or CDC recommendations would prohibit us from safely operating the tour, we will provide you with a full refund of the land cost, less minimal fees for administrative costs including credit card processing, if applicable. In the event that a change in circumstances within 75 days of departure forces us to cancel your trip, we will provide you with a travel voucher for 100% of the land cost that you paid, as per industry standard, which can be used on any future AESU program. Alternatively, you can apply for a cash refund, which will be provided less reasonable expenses incurred by AESU with respect to your booking. Airline penalties are governed by the policies of the individual airlines and you would be responsible for any penalties incurred with respect to the airline ticket. Please note: These policies are subject to change at any time. Travel vouchers cannot be redeemed for cash and have to be used by 12/31/2022. TRAVEL INSURANCE is compulsory for all AESU trips in the event of tour cancellation for any reason.
An inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present. COVID-19 is an extremely contagious disease that can lead to severe illness and death. AESU’s suppliers have taken enhanced hygiene protocols for your safety, as well as that of our other guests and team members. We ask that you also take personal responsibility for your well being and have travel insurance to cover you for any unforeseen circumstances. This begins with packing any personal protective items such as masks and hand sanitizers. Adopt physical distancing and hygiene practices and follow all safety requests from staff while traveling with AESU. In choosing to travel with AESU, you voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19.
Let’s help keep each other healthy and safe. It is a beautiful world, and we remain passionate about the power of travel to change lives and open minds. We look forward to welcoming you on an AESU travel experience very soon.