Important: as of 24 March 2020 our offices are closed; all of our staff are now working from home and will be answering email enquiries as normal. Please do not call us. All customers with imminent departures affected by the COVID-19 pandemic will be contacted by us in order of departure date to discuss the available options as detailed below. Apologies for any inconvenience caused and thank you for your patience and for bearing with us.
Message from Our Co-Founders, Peter Duncan and Alex Pazderski
The welfare of our customers is the first priority of everyone at The Natural Adventure Company and of our local partners, most of which are small family-run companies. We have worked through many periods of uncertainty including natural disasters and global health threats. We believe that responsible adventure travel is a great form of wealth redistribution and it is making a huge difference in the lives of many people in the countries where we operate.
And as much as we understand and share the concerns of our customers, we also have a commitment to our wonderful team and to our local partners and the small communities that tourism benefits as they have been disproportionately impacted by recent events. In this respect, we hope that you, our valued customers, will keep travelling, even if that means postponing your plans. In this respect we have tried to apply some of the most flexible policies in the adventure travel industry, with transferable deposits, travel credits and no change fees to move to another date (subject to conditions, see details below).
We have always designed our holidays in a responsible way that gives back to local people and gives you a more rewarding experience. Being committed to making tourism a more caring industry, we would like to thank you for your continued support and we hope when you plan your next trip you will think of The Natural Adventure Company.
Peter & Alex
New Bookings: Up to 2 Free Date Changes
As coronavirus-related travel restrictions constantly change and as we understand your worries that you might not be able to travel, all new bookings can enjoy a free change of the starting date, up to 45 days before your trip is due to depart:
- Booking must be made between 11 March and 31 May 2020
- Departure date must be within 24 months
- We do not accept new bookings for May 2020
- You are entitled to up to two free changes per booking
- In case the tour has seasonal pricing or there are exchange rate fluctuations, the price of the holiday might be different depending on the new date chosen – you will have to pay the difference if the price is higher or we will refund you if it is lower
- We will not charge any fees for changing your date
- The free date change does not apply to the Bike & Boat tours as local providers have stricter terms for them
Travel insurance for new bookings
You must always ensure that you have adequate travel insurance for your trip. You must be covered for Medical Expenses and Medical Emergency Repatriation in the event of illness or injury. For complete peace of mind, we strongly recommend that you add a CFAR (‘Cancel for Any Reason’) coverage.
Travel Vouchers & Gift Cards
Until 31 May 2020 you can buy a travel voucher valid for 24 months and enjoy a discount of up to 15% off its face value (the bigger the value, the bigger the discount); they can also be purchased as gift vouchers e.g. for a wedding gift, anniversary, birthday or Christmas present – the list is endless!
- £200 vouchers (5% discount – buy for £190)
- £500 vouchers (7% discount – buy for £465)
- £1000 vouchers (10% discount – buy for £900)
- £2000 vouchers (15% discount – buy for £1700)
If your departure date is before 15 May 2020
If you have already booked a trip with us, as your safety is our top priority, we’ve made the hard decision to postpone all trips starting between 17 March and 15 May 2020. Your assigned travel specialist will contact you, in order of departure date, as soon as they can, to discuss your options. The options include:
- Change your date to a new date within 24 months of the original date (you can change your date up to 2 times without a service charge)
- Receive a voucher (Refund Credit Note) equal to 100% of monies paid* to use on a future trip with us any time within 24 months after your original departure date. The vouchers are fully transferable and if you are not able to travel they can be used by a member of your family, a relative or a friend of yours so they can serve as gift vouchers too. If the voucher is not used within its validity, you will be entitled to a cash refund.
*All vouchers or money held against a future holiday (including when changing dates) will be calculated net of any trip cancellation insurance payments obtained by the customer and net of any cancellation charges levied by local providers or hotels booked (occasionally applied by certain hotels) and any bank/card charges. The above options do not apply to the Bike & Boat tours as local providers have stricter terms for them.
If your departure date is after 15 May 2020
It is important to remember that the containment of the coronavirus is an unfolding situation, and circumstances will likely change significantly in the next few months and even weeks. This means choosing now to cancel or delay your booking now may result in unnecessary cancellation fees for you and may disproportionately impact our local suppliers in the most affected countries (most of which are small family-run businesses who have supported us for so long and now entirely depend on us in relation to the continuity of their businesses). So we recommend that you keep monitoring the information sources provided on this page and you do not risk anything as there is no further financial commitment for you until your balance is due 45 days from travel date. Of course, if you still wish to cancel or change your trip, you can cancel altogether and forfeit the deposit paid as per our standard Booking Conditions.
Any decision we make as to whether to operate a trip, cancel or make any changes to it will always be in the interest of our customers’ safety and security. We operate our trips by strictly following the advice by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the ABTA guidelines. For our clients who are not UK nationals, note that we act entirely on the travel advice provided by the UK government. For customers who are concerned about their travel plans in light of the coronavirus outbreak, we answer the most frequently asked questions below, and you can always contact our customer support team if you need any further advice.
1. My departure date is imminent and there is FCO advice against travel, can I get a refund instead of changing my date or obtaining a voucher?
We operate our trips by strictly following the advice by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the ABTA guidelines. We are a duly licensed and registered Tour Operator and Tour Agent, EU license No. PK-01-7935, bonded by mandatory Public/Product Liability Insurance (also known as Tour Operator insurance) issued by Allianz. We are fully compliant with the EU Package Travel Directive (2015/2302/EU).
On 19 March 2020 the European Commission Directorate-General for Justice and Consumers updated its INFORMATION ON THE PACKAGE TRAVEL DIRECTIVE IN CONNECTION WITH THE COVID-19. Below is an excerpt regarding the acceptance of travel vouchers instead of refunds. In line with the advice, for the time being, on suspended or postponed tours we will be offering either a change of dates or vouchers – no refunds. The full document can be downloaded here.
“Having regard to the strains on liquidity of tour operators because of missing new bookings coupled with reimbursement claims, travellers should consider accepting that their package tour is postponed to a later point in time. Having regard to the current uncertainty to make travel plans, that could be done by means of a credit note (so-called “voucher”).”
And here is an excerpt from the most recent ABTA guidelines for travellers:
Advice to customers seeking refunds and with forward bookings:
- If your trip has been cancelled because of the change in FCO advice, talk in the first instance to your travel provider to discuss options.
- If possible, postpone your holiday or travel arrangements, don’t cancel – this will mean you have a holiday to look forward to in the future, and it will help your travel provider maintain its cash flow through the short-term challenges.
- If you are not able to postpone, they may offer you a refund credit voucher instead of a cash refund.
- If your travel provider has said they will offer a cash refund, please be patient with them as they process this: they are likely to be dealing with an exceptionally high volume of enquiries.
- If you have a travel booking for later in the year, please be patient. The situation is changing rapidly, and travel restrictions are currently only in place until mid-April. You may incur cancellation charges or lose your deposit if you make a hasty decision.
Nobody knows for sure how long the current coronavirus pandemic will last, but we know that we will come out of the other side and we need to ensure that when we do, holidaymakers are still able to book and take their holidays and that there is healthy and competitive travel industry to support them.
2. If I cannot follow my initial travel plans due to the Covid-19 outbreak, am I entitled to compensation?
In this case, you won’t be entitled to any compensation by us, as the reason for the holiday not continuing is outside the control of the tour operator. We can, however, offer you flexible options to move your booking as detailed above. You might also be entitled to insurance coverage – please consult your travel insurance provider.
3. I haven’t paid yet the balance for my holiday. Can I pay later while I wait and see what happens?
We ask you to make the balance payment for your holiday at least 45 days before your holiday start date. We are not able to delay final payments as we have commitments to accommodation and other local service providers we need to meet and support them during these challenging times. Most of them are small family-run businesses who have been hit disproportionately by this crisis and who rely on us and our travellers to ensure their business continuity. We reserve the right to treat your booking as cancelled by you if we don’t hear from you or receive your payment within 7 days of our balance payment reminder.
4. Do I need travel insurance?
You must always ensure that you have adequate travel insurance for your trip. You should check the wording of your policy, to ensure it covers all the activities and eventualities of the trip that you are taking part in. You must be covered for Medical Expenses and Medical Emergency Repatriation in the event of illness or injury (including the deterioration of known medical conditions). We also highly recommend that you include a CFAR (‘Cancel for Any Reason’) coverage.
If you haven’t already arranged cover, or you have concerns about your existing policy, our recommended travel insurance providers offer travel insurance specifically designed to cover travel with The Natural Adventure Company. We have teamed up with World Nomads to offer you adequate cover at a great value from a reputable insurer, and it takes only a few minutes to buy online. Of course, you are free to choose another travel insurance provider. Should you have an existing travel insurance policy, please take a few moments to ensure it is up to date, and the cover is adequate for your chosen destination and activity. Many travel insurance policies do not provide cover for some of the activities offered as part of your active holiday, so read carefully the small print.
You can buy and claim online, even after you’ve left home. Travel insurance from WorldNomads.com is available to people from 140 countries. It’s designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.
5. If I am in an area and the FCO advice is to return home, will my travel insurer cover any additional costs I incur in getting back to the UK?
Travel insurance policies may cover some out-of-pocket losses, and also help you to leave the area if a warning to return back to the UK comes into effect while you are there, if you are unable to get assistance from any other source. You should keep up to date with government advice.
6. Would any ATOL compensation arrangements operate?
No. ATOL relates to the failure of the providers of package holidays, and not for a major medical outbreak like Coronavirus.
7. Where can I check for updated travel and coronavirus information related to my destination?
- ABTA offers updated advice and FAQs for travellers: www.abta.com/coronavirus
- WHO is providing detailed advice on how to protect yourself and rolling updates on the outbreak: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
- Travellers are advised to read the FCO travel advice for the country they are travelling to: www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice
- The National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) TravelHealthPro website: travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries
- The Association of British Insurers (ABI) provides some useful info related to travel insurance in the context of the Covid-19 outbreak: https://www.abi.org.uk/products-and-issues/topics-and-issues/coronavirus-qa/