This page is a work in progress. Please check back for updates as the situation changes. Last revised on June 17, 2020.
We live in unprecedented times! The world is fully focused on the health threat of COVID-19, and it has consumed our attention at WAI, as well.
One of the aspects of travel we value greatly is that of gaining perspective by seeing things from different points of view. Perspective is easy to lose under the glare of the 24/7 news cycle. Making plans during uncertain times with a whirlwind of anxiety-inducing headlines is challenging, at best.
Rest assured that WAI’s top priority is the safety of our travelers; we will only travel if we believe we are taking you someplace inherently safe. At the same time, life does not come with guarantees and there are calculated risks inherent with every new day we greet. One of the realities of operating tours is that the money flows from you to WAI to providers of service located throughout our destinations, worldwide. The purpose of cancellation policies and deadlines is to recognize that when that money is paid, we usually do not have recourse to get it back. At some point in time, our suppliers need that commitment from us and we, in turn, need that commitment from you.
Our goal at WAI is to find the balance between remaining flexible in order to operate adventures as scheduled and offering maximum control to travelers. The Coronavirus situation has upset all of that. Finding a balanced perspective that addresses traveler expectations and honors our commitments to our suppliers has become one of the unique challenges of COVID-19. As a small, family-owned travel business, we have limited ability to refund payments to travelers that we are not getting back from our suppliers. These realities may affect the ability of WAI to provide full refunds if a departure is cancelled due to circumstances beyond our control. More details are provided below.
We believe in the incomparable value of travel, when and where it’s safe to do so. Below we’ve laid out our best attempt to find a balanced perspective and present you with our model of decision-making. This situation is extremely fluid, and we evaluate conditions on a daily basis. Ultimately, however, the decision about whether to travel or not is yours and highly personal, based upon your own research and understanding of what is best for you.
Going forward, we are regularly monitoring the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the US State Department for updates on how global conditions related to COVID-19 are unfolding.
What is the status of my WAI Tour?
Conditions for global travel continue to remain unfavorable. The US State Department has issued a Global Level 4 Health Advisory. This health advisory recommends U.S. Citizens avoid all international travel for the time-being, due to the impact of COVID-19. Traveler safety is our utmost concern, and WAI has canceled all upcoming tours through August. Participants have been contacted to discuss their options.
WAI departures after September 1, 2020, will be reviewed on a case by case basis, and travelers will be notified directly of any updates to these departures.
Will there be modifications to when my final payment is due?
For all 2020 tours, WAI is reassessing final payment due dates, working with our partners to extend final payments as close to scheduled departure dates as possible. Registered travelers on the scheduled departure will be notified of adjusted due dates by email. As mentioned above, WAI has limited ability to recover nonrefundable payments from vendors after they have been disbursed close to the date of departure. If circumstances beyond our control force us to cancel a tour after receiving final payments from travelers, and paying them on to our suppliers, we will do our best to recover these payments and return them to travelers affected by the tour cancellation, but we cannot guarantee a full refund. In cases where full refunds cannot be obtained, we will do our best to transfer unrefunded money as traveler credits to be applied to a future tour to that destination.
How does WAI determine when to cancel trips?
Traveler safety is our utmost concern. We are constantly monitoring global conditions via the US State Department, as well as sources mentioned above, to understand the potential impact to our programs.
If a specific destination is given a Level 1 or Level 2 Travel Advisory by the State Department:
- We will continue to operate our programs as scheduled in these countries, while monitoring the situation with our local partners.
- If you choose to cancel your trip to a Level 1 or Level 2 destination, our standard terms, conditions, and cancellation policies will apply (View our updated General Tour Conditions).
If a specific destination is given a Level 3 Travel Advisory by the State Department:
- We will plan to operate these programs as scheduled, while monitoring the situation with our local partners, and may choose to alter our itinerary to avoid the affected area(s).
- If you choose to cancel your trip to a Level 3 destination, our standard terms, conditions and cancellation policies will apply (View our updated General Tour Conditions). If you have already paid in full, we will do our best to obtain partial refunds from our local partners on your behalf. However, this may not always be possible. In cases where full refunds cannot be obtained, we will do our best to transfer unrefunded money as traveler credits to be applied to a future tour to that destination.
If a specific destination is given a Level 4 Travel Advisory by the State Department, or if a regional Level 4 Travel Advisory is issued:
- We will not operate trips that pass through these areas. If the reclassification to Level 4 occurs before departure, we may choose to alter our itinerary to avoid the affected area(s) or fully cancel the trip departure. If the reclassification and subsequent cancellation decision is made before final payments have been forwarded to our suppliers, travelers will receive a full refund. If reclassification to Level 4 forces a cancellation after travelers have made final payments, which have been forwarded on to suppliers, WAI will do everything in our power to recover these payments from suppliers and return them to the traveler, but we cannot guarantee a full refund. If a group is already in the affected country when it is reclassified to Level 4, we will either leave the affected area or facilitate your return home as soon as operationally possible. We will do everything possible to recover payments for unused services and return them to travelers, but we cannot guarantee a full refund. In cases where full refunds cannot be obtained, we will do our best to transfer unrefunded money as traveler credits to be applied to a future tour to that destination.
Flights & Travel Insurance
If you have questions on flights or travel insurance, our partnering local travel agents at World Travel are happy to offer advice.
- Laura Pfahler books flights and can be reached at [email protected].
- Sharon Mitchell handles insurance and can be reached at [email protected].
Here is a link to a quick intro on the insurance services World Travel provides: Intro to Insurance.
COVID-19 Policies and Procedures
This COVID-19 Policies and Procedures document identifies and explains Covid-19 mitigation policies and procedures WAI is using as a starting point for our fall 2020 tours. Because the knowledge base about COVID-19 changes daily, we review these policies and procedures on an ongoing basis, and will, of course, notify travelers on tour of updates as we approach the departure date of your tour.
COVID-19 Travel Waiver
During this age of COVID-19, WAI evaluates worldwide reports and conditions on an ongoing basis. Please read our COVID-19 Policies and Procedures document before signing the COVID-19 Travel Waiver. Travelers participating in our fall 2020 tours are required to sign the COVID-19 Travel Waiver.
WAI has operated tours for over 30 years, and we are well practiced in adapting nimbly to evolving circumstances. Although small, our team, both in the field and in the office, is world-class. Every tour relies on 24/7 support from our home office. Local WAI partners are reliable, responsive and effective. Our ongoing commitment is to respond consistently to all unforeseen events with professionalism, compassion, and competence. Thank you for being part of the Adventure!